Admission Criteria | Physician Assistant Studies
The Physician Assistant Program Admissions Committee considers the following factors in the selection process:
Strength and Breadth of Academic Record
- An applicant can have prerequisites in progress at the time of application. All prerequisite courses must be completed by December 31st of the year prior to entering. For example, if an applicant is applying for entry in May 2024, their prerequisites need to be completed by December 31, 2023.
- The CASPA BCP (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) GPA and Last 45 Credits GPA must be a 3.0 or higher. The Last 45 Credit GPA is calculated in semester credits and includes your most recent courses taken. It would include courses taken after your bachelor's degree, if applicable. Applicants with a higher GPA increase their likelihood of an interview invitation.
- To ensure academic coursework will fulfill our requirements, complete an Unofficial Prerequisite Evaluation and submit to the Admissions Counselor for review.
- We do not have a preference between four year institutions, community colleges and online coursework as long as the courses and degrees are from regionally accredited institutions.
- If an applicant will not obtain a Bachelor's Degree prior to enrollment at Pacific University, please review our Bachelor's Degree Completion Option.
- The School of Physician Assistant Studies does not grant advanced standing for any coursework and does not accept transfer credit from any other program.
Type and Depth of Prior Health Care Experience
- Applicants must demonstrate a minimum of 1,000 hours of direct patient care experience within a health-care setting. The method to document this experience is through the CASPA online application. 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.
Strength of Professional Evaluations
We require two professional evaluations; it is recommended that at least one evaluation be obtained from a (non-relative/personal) Physician Assistant with whom you have worked with or shadowed. It is not required to have a PA evaluation. We prefer medical professionals over academic contacts. The method to obtain professional evaluations is through the CASPA online application.
Ability to support our mission of providing care for a diverse global community focusing on vulnerable, underserved and rural populations
- Special consideration will be given to applicants who are the first in their family to go to college, raised in a rural area (10,000 or fewer residents), their family was economically disadvantaged or resided in a Health Professional Shortage Area or Medically Underserved Area. Applicants demonstrate this via specific questions in the CASPA application.
Understanding of the Physician Assistant Profession
- An applicant’s knowledge and passion for the profession will primarily be assessed through the written essay in CASPA and our Supplemental Application.
Desire to match our vision of being committed to equity, diversity, inclusion, community service and leadership.
- We assess these items through review of your volunteer and extracurricular activities as well as through your written essays.
Strength of Personal Interview
- Interviews are a chance for us to get to know applicant’s outside of the materials they submit via CASPA and the Supplemental Application. We conduct virtual, standard style, individual interviews in the fall.
Ability to perform the Essential Functions and meet our Matriculation Requirements.
- Physician Assistant training is recognized as a broad-based process requiring the acquisition of general knowledge in all fields of medicine and of the basic skills required for the practice of medicine.
Please visit our Frequently Asked Question section.
English Language Proficiency Policy
A satisfactory command of the English language is required for admission to Pacific University, prior to admission. Please note that this requirement applies to all applicants if English is not their native language, including permanent residents and citizens.
Valid Proof of English Language Proficiency
The following criteria represent different ways to prove English proficiency for this program.
- Achieving the minimum required official score on the International Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Test scores are valid for 2 years after the test date, but will still be considered valid if the score exceeded the minimum requirement and you have maintained continuous residency in the United States since the exam date.
- Completion of a bachelor's, master’s, doctorate, or professional degree at a US regionally accredited college or university by matriculation.
Minimum Test Score Requirements
Minimum per section:
55 structure/written expression
Minimum per section:
Minimum per section:
Minimum sub scores per section:
Invalid Proof of English Language Proficiency
The following criteria represent different ways that indicate insufficient English skills to join this program.
- Test score less than Pacific’s minimum requirement
- Test score more than two years old (unless you have lived in the United States since the exam date)
- Institutional TOEFL score from any school except Pacific
- Completion of an English as a Second Language (ESL) program at any school
- Successful completion of English, writing or literature courses at any college or university
- An associate’s degree from a community college in the United States