FAQ

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Can I take courses from anywhere to meet the requirements?

No, courses and undergraduate degrees must come from institutions accredited by agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

What if a school is on a quarter system?

The conversion is as follows:

One-quarter hour credit is evaluated as approximately 0.75 of a semester hour credit.

So you will need to take:
2 quarters to reach the equivalent of 1 semester of a prerequisite.
3 quarters to reach the equivalent of 2 semesters of a prerequisite. 

Does it matter which courses I take?

Introductory, nursing, and science courses for non-science majors are not considered competitive and would decrease the overall competitiveness of an application.  It is strongly advised to take science courses which are intended for science majors (not necessarily biology or premed majors, but science based).

What if I took other courses other than the prerequisites?

Courses in Exercise Physiology, Nutrition, Pharmacology, or Kinesiology certainly add strength to one's application but are not substitutes for the prerequisites.

Are community college courses accepted to fulfill the prerequisites?

Technically, all courses should be taken in class at a 4-year accredited institution. However, courses from a 2-year community college will be accepted.                           

Community college courses, although some may meet program requirements, do not always translate into a “highly competitive” application.  Many programs, including the Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) PA Program, look not only at the applicant's individual grade but also at the overall rigor of their college's curriculum when considering applicants.

Can any of the prerequisites be taken online?

While we do accept online courses, it is highly recommended that prerequisites be taken as face-to-face, classroom courses. The science prerequisites need to have the breadth and depth needed to prepare a candidate for the rigor of PA education. Online education courses, although meeting our program's requirements, do not always translate into a “highly competitive” application. Many programs, including Tufts, look at the overall rigor of a college’s curriculum when considering applicants. Therefore, applications with courses taken face-to-face are considered more competitive than those with online courses.

Do I need to retake prerequisites if they are older than 10 years, but I have taken other higher level science courses in the meantime?

No, as long as the higher level course requires the Tufts PA Program prerequisite that was previously completed, then the prerequisite does not need to be retaken.

For example, if BIO I was taken more than 10 years ago, but a higher level Biology course requiring BIO I was taken within the 10 years of applying, then the higher level Biology course will count in place of BIO I. You would just need BIO II or another higher level Biology course to complete the requirement.

You can, however, choose to just retake the introductory prerequisite if all of your courses are more than 10 years ago.

Would a candidate with a doctorate in basic science, years of experience, and all required courses completed in college and graduate school be excused for not having taken those prerequsite courses within the past 10 years?

Unfortunately, the program requires all prerequisite course work be completed within 10 years of applying to the program.  The only exception to this policy would be if someone has completed higher level coursework within 10 years.

Will you consider online courses as substitutes for older prerequisites which were taken face-to-face?

Although traditional face-to-face courses are recommended for the prerequisites, we will consider higher-level coursework taken online as a substitute for prerequisites older than 10 years.  Please keep in mind traditional face-to-face courses may be viewed as more competitive than online courses.

What should I do if I got a C+ in a prerequisite?

You could re-take a similar course or take a higher-level course. If you retake a course it will be averaged with the original grade.

Can AP courses fulfill prerequisites?

No, AP courses cannot be used to fulfill prerequisite courses. The admissions process requires a grade for each course that is used to calculate a prerequisite GPA. We do not get official grades for AP courses. You must take a higher level course to fulfill each prerequisite for which you receive AP credit. For example, if you received AP credit for part of a prerequisite (e.g. BIO I, but not BIO II), you must take an upper level course. The higher level course must have the Tufts PA Program course (e.g., BIO I) as a prerequisite. If AP credit has been received for a full prerequisite (BIO I+BIO II or CHEM I+CHEM II),  two upper level courses must be taken as well as at least ONE lab be taken on the undergraduate/graduate level to fulfill the requirement.

Are American Council on Education (ACE) courses or credits accepted?

No, American Council on Education (ACE) courses and credits will not be accepted for prerequisite courses. 

Does the PA Program accept CLEP or DSST (Dantes) Test Scores?

No, the PA Program does not accept CLEP or DSST (Dantes) Test Scores.

I took courses abroad that are not prerequisites for the program. Do I need to have the transcript evaluated by WES?

No. Only prerequisite courses and courses that are factored into your undergraduate GPA must be evaluated.

What will fulfill the prerequisite requirements for anatomy and physiology?

It should be Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II but it can be taken as 1 semester of each.  The course content is what is important.  Anatomy and physiology needs to cover the entire body, including body systems.

While the A&P prerequisite does not require a lab, if A&P hasn’t been taken yet, then it is encouraged to take A&P with a lab. A&P courses cannot be a substitute for the biology courses that are required.  Courses which are available for non-science majors will be accepted, but are not viewed as competitive.

Example of A&P I and II:

A&P I: A study of the human organism, correlation structure and physiological mechanisms.  Emphasis on skin, the special senses, and the skeletal, articular, muscular, nervous, and endocrine systems. 

A&P II: Continuation of A&P I.  Emphasis on the digestive, circulatory, respiratory, excretory, and reproductive systems.

What should the anatomy course include?

A systemic approach to human anatomy, including the skeletal, muscular, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, urinary, and nervous systems.

What should the physiology prerequisite course include?

Normal function of the human body based on fundamental biophysical and biomechanical principles. Systems covered will include cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, renal, neuroendocrine, muscular, and skeletal.

What type of Biology courses would meet the prerequisites?

Since institutions usually provide various biology classes with different labels it is difficult to come up with a comprehensive list. They should be for science majors.

Example of General Biology I and II with labs:

General Biology I –An introductory course primarily for prospective biology majors.  General biological principles and widely used methods related to current advances in cell and molecular biology, genetics, immunology, plant and biomedical sciences.  Three lectures and one laboratory each week.

General Biology II – Forms of logical sequel to BIO I.  Selected topics in animal and plant physiology, development, genetics, and population biology, with emphasis on evolutionary mechanisms.  Three lectures and one laboratory each week. 

What type of Chemistry courses would meet the prerequisites?

The following courses can be used to fulfill the chemistry prerequisite:

  • Bio-Organic Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Medical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Qualitative Analysis (must be taken through Chemistry department)
  • Quantitative Analysis (must be taken through Chemistry department)
  • Structures & Bonds 
Please keep in mind that they should be for science majors. If you have taken a course not on this list and would like to see if it will count, please send an email with the course code, name, description, and institution to PAProgram@tufts.edu.

Will organic chemistry fulfill the chemistry with a lab requirement?

Chemistry can be general or organic chemistry with a lab. It can also be a combination of general and organic chemistry with lab.

Will higher level math courses substitute for statistics?
No. A statistics course is required to prepare the students for certain courses in research methods and evidence-based medicine within our curriculum.