General Admissions

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 ten 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.

Are GREs required?

No. We no longer require the GRE.

What is the deadline for application?

The deadline for application submission is November 1st.  However, because we utilize a rolling admission policy, applicants are encouraged to apply early.  Often applications received later in the cycle may not be selected for an interview due to a high number of qualified applicants filling all available interview slots.

Do you accept updates to CASPA applications after submission?

No. An application is considered complete when it is verified by CASPA. You are welcome to bring any updates or additional information if you are selected for an interview.

Is there a supplemental application?


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. 

Prerequisite Course Requirements

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.  

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.

Do you accept courses taken at a community college or taken online?

Prerequisite courses may be taken at a regionally or nationally 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 prerequisite courses more than 10 years ago. Is this acceptable?

Applicants who have taken required prerequisite courses greater than 10 years ago must either retake the prerequisite course(s) prior to starting the PA Program or request a waiver. (Click to download Waiver Form) Waivers are to be requested by submitting the waiver requiest to: PAProgram@philau.edu

Note: The program believes that your success is dependent upon current working knowledge of the key prerequisite courses within the ten 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.

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. As of 2016, CLEP credit is not counted. Pass/Fail courses cannot be counted toward science prerequisite coursework.

Patient Care Hours

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 documented.  This paid or volunteer experience should be hands-on patient care in health care or human service.  Experiences where applicants participate in 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, and patient related volunteer experiences. Please keep in mind that patient contact experience with a higher scope of practice and more extensive education will be weighted higher than a patient contact experience with a more limited scope of practice and less education, i.e., an RN with 3 years of experience will be rated higher than an EMT-B with 300 hours of experience. Also, note that experience gained as part of a degree program, i.e. nursing externships, will be weighted lower than experience as a working professional in that field. 

Does shadowing count towards patient care hours?

Beginning for the application cycle that opens in 2016, shadowing will not be an acceptable way to complete health care experience. However, the program does recommend completing some shadowing hours in order to gain a better understanding of the PA profession.


When can I expect to be contacted about an interview?

The CASPA application process starts mid-April for the M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies Phase of the 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.

Do I have a better chance of being granted an interview if I apply to both campuses, East Falls and New Jersey?

No. Students should only apply to the campus(es) for which they are truly interested in attending. If you are interested in both campuses, you may submit applications for each campus separately through CASPA knowing that the program will only grant an interview for one campus.

If I apply to both the East Falls and New Jersey campus, can I choose where I interview? Or will I be interviewed at both?

No. There will only be one interview granted which will be decided by the Admissions Committee based on which campus has the greater need.

What should I expect during an interview day?

During an interview day, candidates should expect to be on campus approximately 3-4 hours. Candidates will be interviewed by two representatives of the PA program. Candidates will also have an informational program presentation, a question and answer session, and a tour. Please note: Participation in each component of the interview day is expected. All components of the day are considered in acceptance decisions.

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.  Students are not permitted to work for the program unless they are a tutor.

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.

Can I participate in Athletics while in the PA Program?

During the graduate program, students can only participate in athletics during the 1st year (didactic year). Students have successfully been student-athletes in previous years, however, it poses a significant time management challenge. As long as students recognize the ultimate importance of their academic experience in relation to their athletic experience, it is possible. During the graduate program, no accommodations will be made to the PA Program attendance policy for students to participate in practices or games.

What should I budget for the PA Program Professional Phase?

See costs


Where are the clinical sites during the second year?

We have hundreds of sites located in the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley area and all across the country. Most sites are within 70 miles of the student’s home campus, which is considered local. 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?

Currently, housing is provided for students rotating at sites in Mississippi and Maryland. In most cases, sites within 70 miles are considered local and students will be responsible for finding their own housing. 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.

Can I develop my own clinical rotation sites?

Students may suggest a clinical site to be developed but ultimately it is the Program’s decision if, when, and how a site is selected for development.


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