Applying to our PA Program

Program Overview

  • 24 month Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies
  • Schedule: Full time, year-round
  • Total number of students accepted per year: 36
  • You must have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited US institution before matriculation into this program. We are not currently able to accept applications from international students.


The MSPAS program does not accept advanced placement or transfer credit for required curricular components. No credit will be awarded to students for prior work experience. We do not accept CLEP or Advanced Placement (AP) credits to fulfill prerequisite courses.

A minimum 35 of the required 39 prerequisite credits (including associated labs) must be completed by the end of December in order to be considered for the following June start. All prerequisites must be completed by the end of May. An official transcript reflecting a grade of “C” or better must be provided before classes start the first week of June. Students accepted before all prerequisite coursework has been completed will be accepted on a provisional basis.

  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.2 (as calculated by CASPA)*
  • Minimum overall BCP (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) GPA of 3.2 (as calculated by CASPA)*
  • 2 Biology classes with labs**
  • Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • 2 Chemistry classes with labs**
  • 2 Anatomy & Physiology classes with labs (coursework expires after 7 years)
  • 1 class Psychology; Intro to Psychology or Abnormal Psychology. If AP credit has been awarded for Intro to Psychology, an upper level Psychology course will be acceptable.
  • 1 college-level math class; Statistics preferred
  • Minimum 250 hours of direct, hands-on patient care experience. (See FAQs for more detail on acceptable forms of patient care experience.)
  • PA shadowing is required (no minimum total of hours)
  • Three letters of recommendation

*All CASPA calculations are considered final. Admission to MSPAS programs is highly competitive and a much higher GPA than the minimum is normally required for admission.

**Upper level (300/3000 level or above) Biology and Chemistry coursework is preferred. Stronger candidates will have more than the minimum prerequisite science courses. Some examples are Cell Biology, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Immunology and Pathophysiology.

Online courses for prerequisites are accepted provided the courses still meet any laboratory requirements above and are offered by a regionally accredited U.S. institution.

Note: Johnson & Wales University has temporarily revised its prerequisite policy in response to the many institutions that have instituted non-traditional grading during the Spring 2020 semester. This temporary policy allows the acceptance of prerequisite courses with non-letter grades (P/F, S/U) earned during the Spring 2020 semester.

How to Apply

  • All applications must be submitted directly to CASPA.
  • Our program operates on a rolling admissions basis, so applying early is recommended. Our application opens with CASPA in late April; we continue to accept applications through our October 1 deadline with CASPA “Completed” status.
  • We do not require a supplemental application.
  • GREs are not required.

Admissions Process

  • The Physician Assistant Program Admissions Committee reviews applications. Preference for interview invitation is given to students with higher GPAs (cumulative, BCP), rigorous science curriculum (upper level courses exceeding the minimum prerequisites), more patient care hours, quality of the patient care hours (more clinical decision making), more PA shadowing hours, higher quality personal statements, stronger references, stronger mission match, and for applicants that qualify for a guaranteed interview through our articulation agreements. Qualified candidates are offered an on-campus interview to assess interpersonal and communication skills, as well as overall commitment to a career as a PA.
  • After each interview day, qualified candidates will be offered acceptance into JWU’s PA program. Preference for admission to the program is given to interviewed applicants that best demonstrate knowledge of the PA profession, strong communication and interpersonal skills, and a strong commitment to the mission of the PA program. Candidates that are not offered admissions after the interview may be placed on a wait list. Students that are selected from the wait list will be notified immediately of their acceptance.
  • In order to accept an offer for admission, an applicant must make a $1,000 non-refundable tuition deposit to JWU. This deposit will hold the applicant’s place in the class. The total deposit fee will be applied to the cost of tuition once the student matriculates.


Before matriculation, accepted applicants must:

  • Obtain a physical exam and provide documented proof of program- and university-required immunizations as listed in our Accepted Student Guide, which is emailed to all accepted students. Program immunization requirements are based on current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for health professionals.
  • Students may also be required to meet the physical examination requirements of the facility or facilities providing clinical education in connection with the program. These facilities may have specific requirements in addition to JWU’s requirements.
  • Provide proof of a negative national criminal background check performed by the program-approved agency. These are required by clinical training sites and state licensing boards. Students will be subject to drug screens as required by clinical training sites. These are both costs to the student and paid directly to the screening agency.
  • Provide documented proof of a current American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers certification.

This information must be presented prior to registration. Matriculation is subject to completion of these requirements and submission of appropriate documentation.

Note: To participate JWU’s PA program, each student — with or without reasonable accommodations — must be able to safely and effectively meet the following technical standards.

Technical standards, as distinguished from academic standards, refer to those physical, cognitive, and behavioral abilities that a student must be able to perform in order to be admitted, to progress satisfactorily, and to graduate from the program and subsequently enter clinical practice.