Matriculation Requirements | Physician Assistant Studies

Admission Process

Every incoming student must successfully complete the admissions process and the admissions criteria. In addition, the following areas will also be required and coordinated after admission. 

Required Immunization Documentation

Pacific University requires students provide proof of immunizations. Failure to comply with the School of PA Studies policy can affect a student’s admission, enrollment, or ability to continue in a health professions program in Pacific University. Students are required to have all current immunizations as recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for health care providers.  Oregon Statute requires information about vaccine preventable diseases be given to all incoming university students. Please review this information at

Students are required to provide proof of:

  • Covid-19 immunization with proof of completed vaccination series.
  • Two immunizations for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) or reactive titer for each.
  • Current immunization for Tetanus, Diphtheria, and acellular Pertussis (TDaP)
  • Immunity to Hepatitis B (Hep B) which includes vaccination series and a positive/reactive quantitative titer:
    • Provide documentation of 2 (Hepislav-B) vaccines OR 3 doses of (Engerix-B or Recombivax HB) vaccines, and
    • Provide documentation of a quantitative positive antibody titer showing immunity to Hepatitis B.
    • Students without a positive/reactive titer and/or those who have not completed the vaccination series must be in the process of receiving the Hep B immunization series prior to matriculation.
  • Two immunizations for Varicella administered 4 weeks apart, a positive/reactive titer showing serologic proof of immunity, or diagnosis/verification of a history of Varicella or Herpes Zoster (shingles) by a health care provider.
    • If the titer provided is negative, the 2 shot series must be repeated. A second titer is not required.
  • Tuberculosis screening negative results within the last 12 months prior to matriculation by one of the following screening options: QuantiFERON-TB Gold Test (QFT), Tspot testing modality, or 2-step PPD TB skin test (2-step PPD requires 4 visits to the provider).
    • Students are required to remain in compliance throughout the course of their PA education.

Students are strongly encouraged to obtain COVID-19 booster(s) and immunization for Hepatitis A (Hep A). Students who will be participating in an international elective clinical course will be required to obtain immunization for Hep A.

  • The School of PA Studies does not accept immunization waivers, except in the case of a request for a medical waiver. These requests will be reviewed by Student and Employee Health Center clinicians on a case-by-case basis, and if granted, the student will be required to sign an attestation agreement which states they may not be able to complete the PA program and graduate, due to inability to participate in required supervised clinical practice experiences and/or program activities.
  • Students will not be able to participate in patient care activities during the program if students have not completed and maintained immunization requirements.

Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen

Upon acceptance and prior to matriculation, students will undergo a criminal background check (CBC) and a drug screen. A background check and drug screen are conditions of matriculation into the program. Legal offenses that are reflected in a criminal background check may preclude a student’s ability to enroll in the program or to participate in a rotation which would be a prerequisite to completion of the program. Because each jurisdiction has control over licensure of PAs, Pacific University is unable to provide its students with legal advice concerning license restrictions for any given jurisdiction related to results of a criminal background check or drug screen. Thus, mere admission into Pacific University’s School of Physician Assistant Studies is not to be interpreted as assurance of acceptance into a required clinical rotation or likelihood of subsequent licensure. For this reason, students who have been convicted of legal offenses are advised to obtain independent legal advice concerning related licensing issues.

Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification

Prior to matriculation, all students must be certified in Healthcare Provider BLS through the American Heart Association (AHA) with an in-person skills verification in order to participate in school activities. Students must maintain AHA BLS certification for the entire duration they are a student.

Health Insurance

Pacific University offers Student Health Insurance. All students are required to carry personal health insurance with coverage comparable to the plan offered by the University. Students currently enrolled in a health insurance plan that provides comparable coverage to the University sponsored plan and that will be in effect through the end of the school year, may be able to waive the automatic enrollment into the university-sponsored plan.

All questions regarding insurance, including questions about the waiver option, must be directed to the Business Office (, as School of PA Studies faculty and staff are not involved in the insurance process. 

Essential Functions | Physician Assistant Studies

Essential Functions/Technical Standards of Physician Assistant Education; Admission and Retention 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. The education of a Physician Assistant requires assimilation of knowledge, acquisition of skills, and development of judgment through patient care experience in preparation for semi-autonomous and appropriate decisions required in practice. They must have functional use of the senses of vision, hearing, smell, equilibrium, and taste. Their exteroceptor (touch, temperature, and pain) and proprioceptor (position, movement, pressure, stereognosis, and vibratory) senses must be sufficiently intact to carry out all of the activities listed below and in program materials. It is essential to require minimum technical standards in order for graduates to provide competent, effective, and safe patient care upon graduation from the program.


The Pacific University School of Physician Assistant Studies endeavors to select applicants who have the ability to become highly competent Physician Assistants. Admission and retention decisions are based on both satisfactory academic achievement and “non-academic factors” that involve physical, cognitive, and behavioral factors that serve to ensure that the candidate can complete the technical standards of the academic program required for graduation. Thus, it is important that persons admitted possess the intelligence, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern, and physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice medicine.

The School of Physician Assistant Studies, as part of Pacific University and the College of Health Professions, is committed to the principle of equal opportunity. Pacific University School of Physician Assistant Studies does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, and disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran status. When requested, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to otherwise qualified students with disabilities. However, the safety and welfare of patients shall never be put in jeopardy as a result of an effort to reasonably accommodate a student.

The student must possess the ability, aptitude, and skills in the following areas:

  • Observation
  • Motor and sensory function
  • Effective communication
  • Intellectual (conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities for problem solving and diagnosis)
  • Ethical and professional behavioral and social attributes.


The student must be able to observe demonstrations, visual presentations in lectures and laboratories, and conduct experiments in the basic sciences including but not limited to laboratory evidence and microbiological cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms, and tissues in normal and pathologic states. The student must be able to observe a patient accurately and completely at a distance and close at hand. These observations require the functional use and integration of vision, somatic sensation, and other sensory modalities.


The student must be able to speak to, hear, and observe patients in order to elicit information, perceive non-verbal communication, and describe changes in mood, activity, and posture. The student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients in English. Communication includes not only speaking, but writing, reading, and computer literacy. Communication with other members of the health care team in oral, written, and electronic form must be effective and efficient.

Motor and Sensory Function

The student must have sufficient motor and sensory function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, and percussion as well as other diagnostic maneuvers. The student will be required to integrate and coordinate both gross and fine motor movements, equilibrium, and sensation.

The student must have sufficient motor function to execute movements required to provide general care and emergency treatment of patients. The student must have the motor skills, sensation, vision, and dexterity to perform basic laboratory tests (e.g., wet mounts, urinalysis, gram stain), diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (e.g., venipuncture, placement of catheters), and read electrocardiograms and x-rays. 

The student must have the ability to effectively manipulate equipment and instruments necessary to perform diagnostic tests (e.g., stethoscope, sphygmomanometers, tuning forks) and treatment modalities (suturing of wounds, casting of extremities). Such skills require the coordination of gross and fine motor movements, equilibrium, and functional use of vision and touch.

Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities

These abilities include measurement, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. The critical skill of problem solving requires each of these abilities to be implemented under pressure and with time constraints. The student must be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and the special relationships of structures. The student must possess sufficient intellectual capacity to collect and analyze complex medical data, laboratory data, and verbal information to reach logical conclusions in a timely manner consistent with the clinical environment. The student must demonstrate the ability to identify complex problems and reach conclusions through reading and comprehension of technical materials, medical and/or laboratory information, medical texts, and journals.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

The student must be able to understand the basis and content of medical ethics. The student must possess attributes that include compassion, empathy, altruism, integrity, responsibility, and tolerance. The student must have the emotional health to function effectively under stress and to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

The student must possess the emotional stability for full utilization of their intellectual capacity, to exercise sound judgment and complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. The student must be able to develop mature, sensitive, effective, and culturally appropriate relationships with patients, peers, faculty, members of the health care team, and their community. The student must possess the necessary mechanisms to accept criticism and respond in the appropriate manner. The student must possess the interpersonal skills necessary to interact in a positive manner with people from all levels of society, cultural backgrounds, and belief systems.

Synopsis of Essential Functions | Physician Assistant Studies

The following essential functions of medical education identify the requirements for admission and retention for the Pacific University School of Physician Assistant Studies. These functions refer to the physical, cognitive, and behavioral abilities required for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the curriculum and the development of professional attributes required by the faculty of all students at graduation. The essential abilities required by the curriculum are in the following areas:  motor, sensory, communication, intellectual (conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities for problem solving and diagnosis), and the behavioral and social aspects of the performance of a Physician Assistant.

  1. The Pacific University School of Physician Assistant Studies curriculum requires essential abilities in information acquisition. The student must have the ability to master information presented in coursework in the form of lectures, written materials, and projected images.
  2. The student must have the cognitive abilities necessary to master relevant content in basic science and clinical courses at a level deemed appropriate by the faculty. These skills may be described as the ability to comprehend, memorize, analyze, and synthesize material. The student must be able to discern and comprehend dimensional and spatial relationships of structures and be able to develop reasoning and decision-making skills appropriate to the practice of medicine.
  3. The student must have the ability to take a medical history and perform a physical examination. Such tasks require the ability to communicate with the patient. The student must also be capable of perceiving the signs of disease as manifested through the physical examination. Such information is derived from images of the body surfaces, palpable changes in various organs, and auditory information (patient voice, heart tones, bowel, and lung sounds).
  4. The student must have the ability to discern skin, subcutaneous masses, muscles, joints, lymph nodes, and intra-abdominal organs (for example, liver and spleen). The students must be able to perceive the presence or absence of densities in the chest and masses in the abdomen.
  5. The student must be able to communicate effectively with patients and family, physicians, and other members of the health care team. The communication skills require the ability to assess all information, including the recognition of the significance of non-verbal responses and immediate assessment of information provided to allow for appropriate, well-focused follow-up inquiry. The student must be capable of responsive, empathetic listening to establish rapport in a way that promotes openness on issues of concern and sensitivity to potential cultural differences.
  6. The student must, in a timely manner, be able to accurately process and communicate information regarding the patient's status to physician supervisors and other members of the health care team. This information needs to be communicated in a succinct yet comprehensive manner and in settings in which time available is limited. Written or dictated patient assessments, prescriptions, etc. must be complete and accurate.
  7. The student must be able to understand the basis and content of medical ethics. The student must possess attributes that include compassion, empathy, altruism, integrity, responsibility, and tolerance. The student must have the emotional stability to function effectively under stress and to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

Pacific University Accessibility & Accommodation Services

Services and reasonable accommodations are available to students covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additional information is available on the Pacific University Office of Accessibility and Accommodation Services (OAA) webpages. Students who require accommodations are strongly encouraged to contact the OAA office at 503-352-2171 or email

Students who receive accommodations are strongly encouraged to discuss their needs with school administration, appropriate faculty and adjunct clinical faculty preceptors.