Skip to main

Update: Mercy's COVID-19 Policies

For the latest information about Mercy’s COVID-19 policies click here.  STUDENTS: To upload your vaccination documentation, click here.  

Pre-Physician Assistant

Health Science: Pre-Physician Assistant Studies Overview

Build a strong foundation in the sciences. Preparing students to apply for the Mercy College graduate program in Physician Assistant Studies.

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.

The B.S. in Health Science does not provide eligibility for licensure to practice as physician assistant. 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.

Pre-Physician Assistant

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.

Dr. Esser

Meet Dr. Esser, Health Science Program Director

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.

Program Outcomes

  • Synthesize and apply knowledge from biological, physical, health, and behavioral sciences as a foundation for practice as a health care professional

  • Explain the importance of cultural competency and appreciation for diversity in the community and health care environments

  • Demonstrate knowledge of sound ethical practice found in health care settings

  • Identify and use professional/scientific literature and materials to support professional decision making related to clinical practice and health care issues

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the current health care system, as well as challenges and changes in the delivery and funding of health care

  • Exhibit interpersonal skills required for client practitioner and professional interaction, as well as peer clinician communication

Full-Time Faculty

Photo of Dr. Davidson smiling and sitting in front of a brick wall
Charis Davidson Assistant Professor
Health Science
Headshot of Dr. Irina Ellison
Irina Ellison Associate Professor
Health Science

Chair, Natural Sciences, Co-Director, Honors Program
Esser Pic
Ferdinand Esser Assistant Professor
Health Science

Program Co-Director, Health Science
Mercy seal; placeholder for person with no headshot available
Jean Walsh Clinical Assistant Professor
Health Science

Part-Time Faculty

Mercy seal; placeholder for person with no headshot available
Jennifer Alves Clinical Placement Coordinator

Adjunct Instructor
Health Science
Mercy seal; placeholder for person with no headshot available
Lauren Donovan Adjunct Instructor
Health Science
Mercy seal; placeholder for person with no headshot available
Jacqueline Dunbar Adjunct Assistant Professor
Health Science
Mercy seal; placeholder for person with no headshot available
Ebenezer Ewul Adjunct Instructor
Health Science

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the job opportunities for a B.S. 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.

Is the schedule flexible?

Very. You can take classes as a part-time or full-time student, at various times including evenings and weekends.

How long does earning a degree take?

Full-time students can complete the 120-credit degree program in four years.

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.

I've taken classes at another college. Can I transfer credit to complete the B.S.?

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.

What are the benefits of obtaining a B.S. 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.

Program Information & Curriculum

Curriculum Overview

General Education Requirements: 60 Credits
Major Concentration: 57 Credits
Open Electives: 3 Credits

Total: 120 Credits

For a full curriculum listing visit our catalog. 

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.