What component of the application is most heavily weighed upon evaluation for admission into the M.S. Professional Phase PA Program?

We look at the CASPA calculated cumulative and science GPAs, age of academic experience (the most competitive applicants have completed the science prerequisites within the past seven years), amount and type of hands-on patient care experience (200 minimum required at time of application), letters of recommendation, and the personal statement.

What are minimum GPA requirements to be considered for admission?

We look at the CASPA calculated cumulative and science GPAs.  A 3.25 cumulative and science GPA is required.  Please keep in mind that your college institution may calculate your GPA differently than CASPA does, especially if you have repeated courses or taken courses at multiple institutions.

I am not sure if my courses meet your prerequisite requirement?

Applicants apply to the Program with degrees that are from a wide variety of diverse colleges or universities that often name their courses in a different way than we do.  The overriding principles are fairness and to assure that students have the necessary preparation to succeed in the Program.  This list should help in analyzing equivalents to our prerequisites.  Individual cases may be sent to PAProgram@philau.edu.  Prerequisite review form.

  • Biology 1 with lab (4 credits minimum) equivalents: Cell & Molecular Biology Organismal Biology, Human Biology, Zoology, Developmental Biology, AP credit
  • Biology 2 with lab (4 credits minimum) equivalents: Genetics, Immunology, Embryology, Histology, Pathophysiology
  • Chemistry 1 with Lab (4 credits minimum)
  • Chemistry 2 with lab (4 credits minimum) equivalents: Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry
  • Anatomy and Physiology 1 & 2 (4 credits minimum each) equivalents: Must have both Anatomy and Physiology, Anatomy equivalents: Human or Functional Anatomy, Mammalian/Vertebrate Anatomy only if a human focus, Physiology equivalents: Human Physiology
  • Microbiology (4 minimum credits) equivalents: Combination of courses Bacteriology, Virology, Mycology, and Parasitology
  • Introduction to Psychology(3 credits) equivalents: Combination of Abnormal Psychology and Developmental Psychology/Child Development, Psychology CLEP Test, AP Psychology 3 or better
  • Statistics/Mathematics (3 credits) equivalents: College mathematics, Algebra, Trigonometry, Finite mathematics, Pre-calculus, Intro to calculus, Calc I, Biostatistics
  • College Writing (3 credits)  equivalent: English Composition, English 1, Writing, Writing Seminar, Composition and Rhetoric
  • Medical Terminology (1 credit): can be taken as an independent-study at Philadelphia University after being accepted into the Program

Are GREs required?

No. We no longer require the GRE.

What is the deadline for application?

The deadline for application submission is September 1st.  However, because we utilize a rolling admission policy, applicants are encouraged to apply early.  Often applications received after mid-summer are not reviewed because our interview dates have already been filled.

As an applicant to the M.S. Professional Phase Program, do I need to have all of the prerequisites completed prior to submitting an application?

You may submit your application with a few prerequisites currently in progress, or to be completed prior to matriculation in the program (if accepted). The only prerequisite that MUST be complete at time of application is the 200 hours minimum of health care experience.  However, please keep in mind that students have the most success in the selection process if all prerequisites are complete. Remember that it is important to apply early in the cycle because of our rolling admissions policy.

Prerequisite courses may be taken at a regionally accredited university, college or community college (including approved online courses) anywhere in the United States.  A NACES-approved transcript evaluation of foreign transcript does not replace the need for all prerequisite courses to be taken at a U.S. institution.

I have taken one or more of my science prerequisite courses more than 10 years ago. Is this acceptable?

Applicants who have taken required science prerequisite courses greater than 10 years ago must either retake the science prerequisite course(s) prior to starting the PA Program or request a waiver.  Waivers are to be requested by email to  PAProgram@philau.edu  - writing a letter to the Admissions Committee.  The letter should explain the following:

If prerequisite coursework was completed more than ten years ago:

An exception to the ten year window for courses successively completed may be considered on a case-by-case basis. A petition submitted to the Admissions Coordinator for exceptions to the ten year window must include:

  •    When and where you took the course
  •    Grade received in the course
  •    Your specific rationale for requesting the exception and why your experience or more current coursework has kept you up-to-date with these topics

Note: The program believes that your success is dependent upon current working knowledge of the key science prerequisite courses within the seven year time limit. Due to the fact that science and healthcare fields are rapidly changing this time limit is intended to help ensure incoming students are current in the knowledge with those disciplines and have a solid foundation of that knowledge for the first semester didactic instruction. The intent of the exception is for those who have repeatedly returned to the same breath and depth of content in that course.

How much and what types of health care experience are acceptable to fulfill your prerequisite?

At the time of application, you must have a minimum of 200 hours patient care experience completed.  This paid or volunteer experience should be hands-on patient care in health care or human service.  Experiences where applicants participate in, or observe, the hands-on care of patients will count toward our requirement. Applicants often have backgrounds in such areas as nursing, nursing assistant, medical assistant, EMT, paramedic, athletic training, PA shadowing, and patient related volunteer experiences. Please note that experience gained as part of a degree program, i.e. nursing externships, will be weighted differently than experience as a working professional. This information must be completed and documented on the application. Beginning for the application cycle that opens in 2016, shadowing will not be an acceptable way to complete health care experience.

When can I be expect to be contacted about an interview?

The CASPA application process starts mid-April for the M.S. Professional Phase Program. The applications are reviewed when received. We will begin contacting qualified individuals to schedule an interview starting in late July. Please keep in mind that there is a delay between the time the application is submitted to CASPA and the time the University receives these materials.

When are your interviews scheduled?

We will begin contacting qualified individuals to schedule an interview starting in late July. We typically interview 1-2 times per month through January.

What is your policy for AP, CLEP, or Pass/Fail credit for prerequisite courses?

AP examination credit can be utilized to fulfill undergraduate prerequisite coursework only if the credit is documented on the college transcript of the granting institution as transfer or AP credit.  It is highly preferred that the actual college coursework be taken instead of AP credit.  Only Psychology CLEP credit can be counted.  Pass/Fail courses cannot be counted toward science prerequisite coursework.

Do you accept transfer credits or allow advanced standing?

The Physician Assistant Program does not give advanced standing.  All Professional Phase courses must be satisfactorily completed as described in the Progression Criteria.  

Program Policies

Can I work while I am in the PA program?

Our faculty strongly recommends students do not work during the PA program. The curriculum is very demanding in the first year and does not allow extra time for employment. In the second year, you will be in full-time clinical rotations in various locations, making employment impractical.

Do I need a car while I am in the PA program?

Students will require reliable transportation while in the Professional Phase, especially during the second year, as rotation sites may not be easily accessible from public transportation routes.

What should I budget for the PA Program Professional Phase?

See costs


Where are the clinical sites during the second year?

In the past, we have had hundreds of sites located in the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley area and all across the country. Students can expect to travel to clinical rotations. Of course, it is difficult to foresee exact future rotation sites availability.

Is housing provided for students at all clinical sites?

Some housing is provided for students free of charge, but in most cases, students will be responsible for finding and securing housing at clinical sites. Students are encouraged to budget for this expense when planning for their clinical rotations.

Will I have input to where my clinical rotations will be?

The clinical coordinators meet with each student to discuss certain site preferences. The clinical coordinators will attempt to take those requests into consideration when planning the clinical year. However, due to increasing demand and competition for clinical rotation sites, no guarantees can be made that requests will be fulfilled.