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  • B.S. in Health Science: Pre-Physician Assistant Studies

    Build a strong foundation in the sciences
    Preparing students to apply for the Mercy College graduate program in Physician Assistant Studies.
    School of Health and Natural Sciences
    Dobbs Ferry

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Health Science: Pre-Physician Assistant Studies B.S. Curriculum

General Education Requirements 60 Credits
Major Concentration 57 Credits
Open Electives 3 Credits
Total 120 Credits

Students who select the Pre-Physician Assistant Concentration must successfully complete:

  • HLSC 102 Intro to Health Professions
  • HLSC 201 Medical Terminology
  • HLSC 215 Cultural Comp in Hlthcare
  • HLSC 250 Global Health
  • HLSC 302 Pathology for Rehabilitation
  • HLSC 350 Health Communication

3 Credits in one of the following:

  • HLSC 380 Workplace Experience in Health Science I or HLSC 400 Health Sciences Capstone

The following related courses in Natural Science, Social and Behavioral Science and Mathematics

*Students must complete these courses as part of their General Education Requirements

  • BIOL 130 Hum Anatomy & Physio I Lecture
  • BIOL 130A Hum Anatomy & Physio I Lab
  • BIOL 131 Hum Anatomy &Physio II Lecture*
  • BIOL 131A Hum Anatomy & Physio II Lab
  • BIOL 160 General Biology I Lecture*
  • BIOL 160A General Biology I Lab*
  • CHEM 160 General Chemistry I Lecture
  • CHEM 160A General Chemistry I Lab
  • CHEM 161 General Chem II Lecture
  • CHEM 161A General Chem II Lab
  • CHEM 260 Organic Chem I Lecture
  • CHEM 260A Organic Chem I Lab
  • CHEM 261 Organic Chem II Lecture
  • CHEM 261A Organic Chem II Lab
  • CHEM 354 Biochemistry
  • BIOL 161 General Biology II Lecture
  • BIOL 161A General Biology II Lab
  • BIOL 265 Microbiology Lecture
  • BIOL 265A Microbiology Lab
  • BIOL 309 Human Physiology/Bio Med Scinc
  • MATH 201 Precalculus*
  • PSYN 101 or PSYN 195 Introduction to Psychology and Honors Psychology respectively*
  • PSYN 233 Dvlpmntl Psych Across Lifespan
  • PSYN 370 Statistics for the Social and Behavioral

Recommended Open Electives (3 credits)

There is an 18-credit residency requirement in the major concentration of health sciences.

  • BHSC 308 Health Care Management
  • BHSC 366 Medical Ethics
  • BIOL 117 Science of Nutrition
  • HLSC 200 Issues in Personal Health
  • HLSC 205 Stnd Sfty Precaut/Hlth Care Pr
  • HLSC 209 Emerg Care & Personal Safety
  • HLSC 225 Intro to Accessing and Reading Scholarly Literature
  • HLSC 295 Topics in Health Science
  • HLSC 380 Workplace Experience in Health Science I
  • HLSC 381 Workplace Experience in Health Science II
  • HLSC 390 Epidemiology
  • HLSC 400 Health Sciences Capstone
  • HLSC 402 Scientific Writing
What is the first step in the admissions process?
Click on "Apply Now" on the Mercy homepage or call 1.877.MERCY.GO to apply for admission to Mercy College and arrange for an appointment with an Admissions Counselor. Bring your completed application form and copies of your high school and/or college transcripts with you at the time of your appointment.
What are the job opportunities for a BS in HS?
A wide-range of areas such as licensed rehabilitation professions, environmental and occupational health, public health or health promotion. Graduates may also pursue careers related to health care and health promotion in various public and private, clinical and non-clinical settings.
Are department faculty available for academic advising?
Yes, faculty are always ready to help students with questions about what courses to take, the sequencing of courses, and career opportunities, including internships and cooperative education.
Is the schedule flexible?
Very. You can take classes as a part-time or full-time student, at various times including evenings and weekends.
I've taken classes at another college. Can I transfer credit to complete the BS?
Yes. Acceptance of transfer credits is determined by Admissions. They consult with any graduate program to which you intend to apply. To be eligible for a B.S. in Health Science, which is a 120-credit degree, students must complete a minimum of 30 undergraduate credits at Mercy College. Mercy may transfer up to 90 undergraduate credits from a four-year college and up to 75 credits from a two-year community college.
How long does earning a degree take?
Full-time students can complete the 120-credit degree program in four years.
How many credits can be transferred from another institution?
Up to 75 credits from a two-year institution. Up to 90 from a four-year institution. Up to 90 credits combined however the credits may not exceed 75 credits from any combination of two-year institutions as they apply to your chosen degree. In addition you may only transfer in two courses of upper-level business credit (six credits) to apply to the major / specialization.
What are the benefits of obtaining a BS in Health Sciences?
If an employer requires a college degree with a health care focus, a B.S. in Health Science is usually preferred. A B.S. in Health Science is the most effective route to completing a Bachelor's degree that includes all the graduate program prerequisite courses for programs such as the Health Promotions Concentration as well as the Graduate Occupational Therapy, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant Programs.
Is Mercy College a nonsectarian institution?
Yes. Qualified applicants are admitted without regard to race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age or physical disability.
Ferdinand Esser HLSC Program Director
Jean Walsh Clinical Assistant Professor, Health Science
Matthew Hyland Associate Professor, Physical Therapy
Irina Ellison Associate Professor, Chair Natural Sciences
Debra Zizik Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy

Health Science: Pre-Physician Assistant Studies Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Health Science, Pre-Physician Assistant Studies Concentration, offers a comprehensive curriculum grounded in scientific principles and its practical application to prepare students for application to a graduate physician assistant program. The diverse curriculum that includes general education requirements, the foundational sciences and psychology courses that are typically pre-requisites for application to a graduate program in physician assistant studies.

Pre-Physician Assistant Studies Concentration

The B.S. in Health Science does not provide eligibility for licensure to practice as physician assisant. The health science degree is awarded after completion of the 120-credits of coursework detailed in the Pre-PA concentration. Completing the health science program does not guarantee admission to a Mercy College graduate program in occupational therapy. Graduates of the B.S. in Health Science must apply to the graduate programs, meet specific requirements, and compete with all other applicants. Mercy College B.S. in Health Science graduates are offered an admission interview for the respective graduate program provided they meet the minimum criteria as outlined by the program. The B.S. in Health Science: Pre-PA concentration satisfies the course requirements for admission to the respective Mercy College graduate program. The B.S. in Health Science: Pre-PA concentration may or may not satisfy the course requirements for admission to other graduate PA programs. Courses can vary based on the college/university. Students have the responsibility to check entrance requirements for college/university to which they intend to apply.

Health Science: Pre-Physician Assistant Studies FAQS

Is Mercy College a nonsectarian institution?
Yes. Qualified applicants are admitted without regard to race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age or physical disability.
How long does earning a degree take?
Full-time students can complete the 120-credit degree program in four years.
Meet Dr. Esser, Program Director Health Science

As a Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Esser's work has been in providing holistic health care, including utilizing an extensive aptitude in manual therapies, exercise rehabilitation, as well as nutritional guidance and lifestyle modification leadership for over three decades. In addition, he teaches and writes on the issues and technologies impacting health science today. He is a Health Science and Anatomy course curriculum builder and the lead course instructor.

What is a PA?

Physician Assistants can be found in general medical and surgical hospitals, public or private practices, outpatient care centers, health maintenance organizations, government agencies, colleges and universities, and professional schools. The Physician Assistant Studies Program at Mercy College will prepare you for a worthwhile and fulfilling career in medicine. Graduates of the Mercy College PA Program are employed in some of the best hospital centers in and around the Tri-State area within the following medical specialties:


  • Outpatient medicine or primary care
  • Emergency medicine
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • General surgery
  • OB/GYN
  • Neonatology

Others are employed in hospital-based medicine, critical care, urology, pain management, rehabilitation medicine, breast surgery, oncology, pediatrics, addictive medicine, dermatology and interventional radiology.

Meet Alumna Mina Islamovic

My undergraduate experience at Mercy College has prepared me for the PA program in numerous ways.  From rigorous academic course work to caring professors, undergrad has taught me how to multitask, manage my time, and most importantly work well under pressure which are all key elements to success in the PA program.

Degree Requirements

Students who have selected a pre-physician assistant concentration must maintain a minimum cumulative and major GPA of 3.0 to maintain matriculation within the pre-professional concentrations. If a student’s cumulative and/or major GPA falls below a 3.0, they will be placed on pre-professional concentration probation and will have one semester to restore their matriculating concentration status by raising their cumulative and/or major GPA to a 3.0.  Pre-professional concentration students must achieve a grade of B or better in ENGL 112 or equivalent and MATH 116, MATH 201 or equivalent. Any student who receives a grade below a C in a major course will be required to retake the course. Major courses may be retaken once.