Medical Biology (Pre-Physician Assistant Track - MPA)


Bachelor of Science in Medical Biology - Pre-Physician Assistant Track
College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)


Dr. Stine Brown


Biology is an exploration of the living world that underscores and explains the unity and diversity of life. But it is also a truly human endeavor in that it affects us all. Because we live at this time in human history – at the beginning of what many believe to be a biological age – students must be able to apply biological concepts to the wide array of problems and choices they inevitably face.

Students who major in biology programs become familiar with all levels of biological organization from molecules to ecosystems, and gain practical experience in both laboratory and field studies.  Small classes enable the faculty to adopt an approach to learning that stresses how different subjects are related to each other, facilitates critical thinking, and encourages a collaborative approach to learning between students and faculty.  Professors want students to experience the excitement and to see the applications of biology as well as appreciate science as a way of knowing about the world around them.  In addition, the medical biology program stresses the importance of field opportunities, research experience and experiential learning.  The department also offers a graduate degree in Biological Sciences (master level) which is detailed in the graduate portion of this catalog.  The department's medically related programs benefit from interaction with the College of Osteopathic medicine as well as UNE's graduate programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician assistant.  Visit our graduate programs page for details.

Major Description

The medical biology major is designed to provide a strong foundation in the biological sciences for students who ultimately pursue careers in human medicine, dentistry, other health professions (e.g. physical therapy), biomedical research, or the biotechnology industry. Students in the medical biology major can choose one of two possible tracks: (1) medical sciences track and (2) pre-physician assistant track.

The pre-physician assistant track is designed for students who wish to eventually enroll in a physician assistant program. This track provides students with a solid foundation in the biological sciences at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, and organismal levels. In addition to the comprehensive introduction to general biology, the courses offered in this track introduce the student to the fields of physiology, biochemistry, cellular biology, and genetics. This track includes those courses that are prerequisite courses for entrance into physician assistant schools. In addition, students in this track have the opportunity to complete off-campus internships for college credit (e.g. in the hospital, clinical, or laboratory setting).

Curricular Requirements

CAS Core Requirements 42 - 43


Program Required Courses 30 - 33
BIO 105 - Biology I: Ecology/Evolution (included in core requirements) 4
BIO 106 - Biology II: Cellular/Molecular 4
BIO 200 - Genetics or BIO 207 Organismal Genetics 5 - 4
BIO 245 - Gen Prin of Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathophysiology I 4
BIO 345 - Gen Prin of Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathophysiology II 5
BIO 370 - Cell Biology 3
BIO 200 or higher elective (not satisfied by Internship/Research) 3 - 4
BIO 400 or higher elective (not satisfied by Internship/Research) 3 - 4
Program Required Science and Mathematics Courses  32 - 33
CHE 110 - General Chemistry I 4
CHE 111 - General Chemistry II 4
CHE 210 - Organic Chemistry I 5
CHE 310 - Fundamentals of Biochemistry or 4
       CHE 211 - Organic Chemistry 5
 MAT 150 - Statistics for Life Sciences 3
 MAT 190 - Calculus I 4
PHY 110 - Physics I and 4
PHY 111 - Physics II 4
PHY 210 - University Physics I and 4
PHY 211 - University Physics II 4
Open Elective Courses (as needed to reach 120 credits)  variable
Minimum Required Total Credits   120

Additional Guidelines

BIO 210, BIO 275H, BIO 295, BIO 410, BIO 485H and BIO 495 research and internship courses do NOT meet 200- and 400-level course requirements.

3-2 Accelerated Pre-Physician Assistant Track (PPA)

An accelerated version of this track offers selected students the opportunity to enroll in the University of New England's master-level Physician Assistant Program one year early (i.e. after their third undergraduate year).  This five-year educational track is designed to combine a medical biology-pre-physician assistant track baccalaureate degree, master of science degree, and physician assistant certificate. The program has two components.

The undergraduate baccalaureate phase of this program includes: general biology (8 credits), general chemistry (8 credits), organic chemistry (5 credits), genetics (5 credits), biochemistry (4 credits), anatomy/physiology/pathophysiology (9 credits), cell biology (3 credits), physics (8 credits), calculus (4 credits), statistics (3 credits), and other science and core curriculum courses.

Pre-PA students are expected to earn and maintain a current Certificate in Basic Life Support. During the first three years of study students must obtain a minimum of 250 hours of direct patient experience (through paid or volunteer work) in a health/human services setting.

In the second phase, students will begin their application for admission into the Master of Science - Physician Assistant Program. 

To be eligible for a guaranteed interview for admission into the University of New England PA program, students, by October 1 of their 3rd year, must submit a competed CASPA application, have maintained a BCP GPA of 3.30 (BCP is the calculated CASPA GPA of all biology, chemistry, and physics courses completed), and an overall GPA of 3.0.

The overall GPA and BCP GPA for students who transfer into the accelerated pre-physician assistant 3-2 track is calculated by CASPA using all college-level courses taken both at UNE and other institutions. This is inclusive of course work that does not transfer into UNE. Transfer students enrolling in the accelerated pre-physician assistant 3-2 track must be in residence as a full-time matriculated undergraduate student for four semesters at UNE.

Enrollment in the accelerated pre-physician assistant 3-2 track does not guarantee admission into the Master of Science - Physician Assistant Program. In the event a student does not proceed into the master's level program, it is the student's responsibility to plan for timely completion of the medical biology-pre-physician assistant track baccalaureate program.

Students from the accelerated pre-physician assistant 3-2 track who are admitted into the Master of Science - Physician Assistant Program will receive a bachelor's degree upon successful completion of the first-year of graduate PA studies. After successful completion of the second year of the graduate PA curriculum, a Physician Assistant Certificate, and a master of science - physician assistant degree will be awarded. Students should consult their academic advisor for additional information regarding the program.

Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee

The Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee (PHPAC) consists of staff and faculty members of the College of Arts and Sciences. The major function of this committee is to draft letters of evaluation for students applying to health professions programs such as Medical, Dental and Veterinary schools. Interested students should view our web page for information regarding the protocol for obtaining a PHPAC letter of evaluation.

Graduation Requirements

A minimum grade of C- must be achieved in all science and mathematics courses used toward graduation in any of the programs in the Department of Biology. A 2.00 cumulative average in sciences is a requirement for graduation in any of the programs in the Department of Biology.

Learning Outcomes

The expected learning outcomes for students graduating with a bachelor of science degree from the Department of Biology include:

A.  Knowledge of fundamental principles in biology, relevant concepts in mathematics and the physical sciences, and the ability to apply this knowledge to the critical analysis of new biological information, in the following areas:

  • Molecular and Cellular Basis of Life - including cell structure, metabolism, heredity, and reproduction.
  • Organismal Diversity - including organismal structure and function, hierarchy of organization, and the evolution of life.
  • Interrelations of Organisms and their Environment - including abiotic and biotic interactions, biogeochemical cycles; ecosystems and their dynamics, and human actions and interventions.

B.  Understanding of the process of science, as well as demonstrated competency in biological research, with a particular emphasis on:

  • The scientific method, including observational, comparative and experimental approaches and the tools utilized.
  • A critical reading of the primary scientific literature.
  • Data analysis, interpretation and the communication of scientific results (including oral presentations and scientific report writing).

C.  Appreciation for the relevance of the biological sciences to real-world issues, including:

  • Familiarity with avenues and applications of current and future research as well as the careers that use them.
  • Bioethical issues and their biological and social basis.
  • Recognition of the civic responsibility to share knowledge and to apply expertise to the improvement of human and environmental health.


A medical biology minor requires 6 biology courses, including the introductory biology series. In particular, department of biological sciences majors who wish to take a biology minor must select 4 additional courses beyond those required for their major. No biology courses can satisfy both the major and minor requirements except for the introductory 100-level courses.

Medical Biology Minor Required Courses Credits
BIO 105 - Biology I: Ecology/Evolution and
BIO 106 - Biology II: Cellular/Molecular



BIO 104 - General Biology and one of
(BIO 105 - Biology I: Ecology/Evolution
BIO 106 - Biology II: Cellular/Molecular
MAR150 - Introduction to Oceanography)





BIO 200 - Genetics 5
BIO 245 - Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology I 4
BIO 345 - Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology II 5
BIO 370 - Cell Biology 3

Honors Program

We offer qualified students the option of participating in our Honors Program and graduating with Honors. This includes significant research, scholarship or creative activity under the direction of a faculty member.

Transfer Credit

Courses previously completed at another accredited college can be transferred to this degree program.  Transferred biology courses must be reasonably close in scope and content to the biology courses offered at UNE in order to count as exact equivalents.  Otherwise, they will transfer as general electives. All Science/Math courses previously completed must be no older than five years.  Other options and restrictions apply.  See Undergraduate Admissions also.

Financial Information

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for subsequent years may vary. Other expenses include books and housing. For more information regarding tuition and fees, please consult the Financial Information section of this catalog.

Notice and Responsibilities Regarding this Catalog

This Catalog documents the academic programs, policies, and activities of the University of New England for the 2015-2016 academic year. The information contained herein is accurate as of date of publication April 30, 2015.  *Addendum published January 29, 2016.

The University of New England reserves the right in its sole judgment to make changes of any nature in its programs, calendar, or academic schedule whenever it is deemed necessary or desirable, including changes in course content, the rescheduling of classes with or without extending the academic term, canceling of scheduled classes or other academic activities, in any such case giving such notice thereof as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances.

While each student may work closely with an academic advisor, he or she must retain individual responsibility for meeting requirements in this catalog and for being aware of any changes in provisions or requirements.