Pre-Physician Assistant

The areas of study available at Coe provide excellent preparation for students seeking to enter a professional school or graduate program. As early as possible in their undergraduate years, students should coordinate a four-year academic program with the entrance requirements of the graduate institutions in which they are interested.

The course of study for Coe Physician Assistant normally includes an emphasis on biology and chemistry, with additional related study possible in physics and mathematics. Coe's biology, chemistry and pre-med clubs can help you meet and interact with students who share your interests.

Because some students at Coe College are interested in careers as a Physician Assistant, special faculty advisors are available to confer with those who want to fulfill the requirements for entrance into postgraduate training for this area. Your Coe advisor can facilitate internships and other practical experiences to help you learn more about the professional specialties in which you are interested.

Program Outcomes:

Coe graduates have an excellent record of admission to leading graduate and professional schools.

Preparing Yourself In College:

  • Follow the pre-health course of study. This will include science requirements - usually biology, chemistry and physics courses.
  • Contact a Biology faculty member or one of the pre-health advisors (Dr. Dean, Dr. Hadow, or Dr. Leonardo). They will help you to plan out your schedule of classes. You will also have the opportunity to set up an internship, get experience, and keep your application process on schedule.
  • Check with the schools where you want to apply for specific courses they will require for admission. You may need to add some courses to meet a school's special requirements, and these courses can be taken through general education requirements.
  • Visit your own family physician and ask him or her questions about a careers as a Physician Assistant.
  • Join the Premed Club, Biology, or Chemistry Clubs and enjoy the company of students with similar interests.

Successful Graduates:


Emily Porter graduated in 2012 with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry. She is originally from Overland Park, Kansas, which is a southwestern suburb of the Kansas City metro area. She currently resides in Indianapolis, where she is studying in the Butler University physician assistant program. Emily's area of study is physician assistant studies, but in her program she earned another bachelor’s degree in health and human sciences.

"My sophomore year I didn't even know what a physician assistant was. Maria Dean, a chemistry professor outside of my major, was actually the first person to introduce the idea to me. I think this just proves that Coe professors even outside of your major can make a huge impact on your career path." - Emily Porter ’05

Kaitlin Breitbach

Kaitlin Breitbach graduated in May 2011 with a behavioral neuroscience major and philosophy minor. She grew up in Cedar Rapids and is currently living in Coralville, Iowa. Kaitlin is enrolled in the University of Iowa's physician assistant program. She will graduate in June 2015 and hopes to continue on in a pediatrics specialty.

"Coe is the place I attribute to providing me with the education, confidence, resources and life skills necessary to take on a challenging and rewarding career. There is no other school that could have provided me with such a complete and fulfilling experience; there's definitely no place like Coe." – Kaitlin Breitbach '11