Frequently Asked Questions | Physician Assistant Studies

Help with frequently asked questions is available below.

What type of degree does this program offer?

Upon the successful completion of the 27-month continuous program, graduates will receive a master of science in physician assistant studies degree.

Is the program accredited?

Please find the latest on our Accreditation status by clicking here

Do I need a completed bachelor's degree to apply?

A Bachelor's Degree is not required, but is often obtained prior to matriculation. Read additional information about the prerequisite coursework. The program places no preference on type or major of the degree, but an emphasis is placed on the applicant's academic record in the prerequisite courses and the sciences. Consideration is also given to the last 45 credits of college course work.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Graduate Admission Office directly to discuss their individual plan in this area.

What type of experience qualifies for the minimum 1,000 hours of direct patient care?

Please review the information found here for Patient Care Experience.

A minimum of 1,000 hours of direct (hands-on) patient care/health care experience in a position of responsibility is required of all applicants. Shadow experience with a Physician Assistant may count towards the requirement, but will not fulfill the requirement completely.

Please note: The Admissions Committee will consider the total number of hours accumulated "at the time" you submit your CASPA application.

No consideration will be given to hours projected for the future.

If you have questions regarding your hours, please contact Leah Baldwin at

How do I document my patient contact experience?

The method to document this experience is through the CASPA online application.

Does all of my direct clinical patient care experience need to be completed by the time I apply to the program?

Yes, you must have completed at least 1,000 hours of direct patient care experience when your application is submitted. The committee will not accept hours projected for the future.

How can I make sure I’ve taken the correct prerequisites?

We recommend completing and submitting the prerequisite worksheet with a copy of your transcripts (official or unofficial) for review by the Graduate Admissions Counselor for the program. The prerequisite worksheet can be downloaded and printed.

Is there a time limitation on the required prerequisite coursework?

Anatomy and Physiology courses must have been completed within seven years of matriculation. Other course work and degree completion has no limitation. We ask applicants to use their best judgment in ensuring their ability to understand the foundational concepts of biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry and statistics in preparation for the program.

Will you accept community college credit or online credit?

We will accept credit as long as the institution is regionally accredited and the course is the appropriate level.

Do you require the GRE or MCAT to apply to the program? Will my application be more competitive if I take either of the tests?

No, our program does not require either test to apply. While the CASPA application will allow applicants to submit test scores, the Admissions Committee does not consider this information within its evaluation of an application.

Do you require a minimum GPA to apply to the program?

Yes. The Biology, Chemistry and Physics (BCP), GPA and the last 45 credits GPA must be above a 3.0 to be eligible.

What are your average GPAs?

Pacific focuses on two main GPAs; the Science BCP GPA and the last 45 credits GPA. For both, the average is usually around a 3.60 to 3.80. Check our class profile for more information.

Is there a difference in tuition if I am an in-state resident or an out-of-state resident?

Pacific University is a private liberal arts institution which does not require in-state residence or hold a preference for in-state candidates. Our tuition fees are the same for all applicants, in-state or out-of-state.

If I am an internationally trained medical professional, what steps must I take to apply?

We require all international students to obtain a valid and current F-1 visa or have permanent residency in the United States to apply to our program. In addition, all international based education must be evaluated by a credentials evaluator such as World Education ServicesAcademic Credentials Evaluation Institute or Education Credential Evaluators.

In addition, all international students must prove English proficiency.

What resources does the program provide for financial aid, housing, health insurance, student life, etc.?

We recommend completing a FAFSA application starting January 1 for the academic year you intend to enroll in our program. The FAFSA application can be completed at the FAFSA website. Pacific University is a participant in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) which provides subsidized and unsubsidized loans to students based on need. You can find more details through the Office of Financial Aid

In addition, the Pacific University School of Physician Assistant Studies program offers a competitive Community Service Scholarship to four incoming students each year.

The Pacific University Division of Student Life provides information on housing opportunities for all students of Pacific University. Our graduate students generally reside in off-campus housing within Hillsboro and the surrounding communities. Once admitted into the program, internal resource networking and housing opportunities are shared amongst current students.

Pacific University offers a wide and comprehensive variety of resources including healthcare and counseling services, accessibility & accomodation services, student government and outdoor recreational programs.