Frequently Asked Questions

I am a history major at a local university. Do I need to get a second degree in the sciences in order to apply to your program?

We do not have a specified list of majors required for admission. Many students come from liberal arts backgrounds but complete the science prerequisites as electives for their major. Strong preparation in science is valued.

Is there a time frame in which my prerequisites must be completed?

We require that the 8 credit hours of human anatomy and physiology, consisting of lecture and lab, be completed within 7 years prior to matriculation. While there is no time limit on the other prerequisites, the more recent courses are likely to better prepare you for the coursework in our program.

Where can I take the prerequisite courses?

Prerequisite courses can be completed at any regionally accredited college or university in the US, including community colleges.

Some of my classes are from an online institution. Will you accept these credits?

Online credits are acceptable if they are from an accredited institution, but we do prefer that courses are taken in class. If you have a question about whether or not we accept a particular accreditation, please contact admissions coordinator Katie Spolidoro.

How are GPAs calculated?

CASPA calculates many GPAs. We require a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and a minimum 3.0 BCP GPA (BCP consists of all biology, chemistry, and physics courses taken). Your cumulative GPA is based on your undergraduate, post-baccalaureate and graduate courses as calculated by CASPA. For a detailed explanation of how GPAs are calculated, we recommend visiting CASPA’s FAQ section.

If I repeat a course, will the new grade replace the existing grade in my GPA(s)?

When a course is repeated, both the initial grade and the new grade will calculate into your GPA(s).

Do you accept CLEP or AP credits?

No, we do not accept CLEP or Advanced Placement (AP) credits to fulfill prerequisite courses. However, we will consider writing-intense coursework as a substitute for one of the English prerequisites on a case-by-case basis.

Can my 3 letters of reference required by CASPA be sent directly to you or do they have to go through CASPA?

All application materials must go through CASPA.

Clinical/Experiential Requirements

What is considered direct patient care experience?

Your experience should be hands-on in an allopathic or osteopathic medical setting in the United States. It is crucial that every applicant be aware of the expectations and day-to-day operation of the medical setting in which they will be a clinical year student and practicing PA.

We require 250 hours of direct patient care. The hours may come from one experience or a combination of experiences and may be voluntary or paid work. If you are starting the process of gaining direct patient care experience, you may want to consider a skill or certification that will enable you to work directly with patients.

What types of direct experience are preferred?

We prefer that you have direct patient contact in a direct clinical or patient care setting. Below are examples of desirable and acceptable patient experiences. Contact Katie Spolidoro with any questions you may have.

Desirable patient experiences include, but are not limited to: medical assistant, certified nursing assistant in a clinical setting, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), medical scribe, medic or corpsman, ER technician, and paramedic.

Acceptable patient experiences as long as there is direct patient contact in an allopathic or osteopathic setting: audiologist, radiology technician, respiratory therapist, phlebotomist, occupational therapist, registered dietitian in a clinical setting, patient care assistant/associate, physical therapist, Doctor of Pharmacy or pharmacist in a clinical setting, and exercise physiologist or athletic trainer in a clinical setting. (Normally we will count half of the hours worked as direct patient contact.)

NOT considered towards your 250 required hours of direct patient care: pharmacy technician, optometry technician, veterinarian/veterinary technician, unit secretary, ward clerk, peer educator, reader or other non-medical work in waiting room or other medical setting, marathon volunteer, blood donor clinic volunteer, fundraiser for medical causes, babysitter, camp counselor or any camp setting, after-school programs, coaching, church reader or religious student, meals-on-wheels volunteer.

Will you consider direct patient contact hours that I plan on completing at a later date?

We only consider hours that have been completed at the time of application — not hours planned for the future. However, if you gain additional experiences after applying, you may email an update to Katie Spolidoro.

* Direct patient care hours must be separate and not tied to academic credit received.

What is “shadowing”?

To help you gain a clear understanding of the PA’s role on the medical team, we ask that you observe (or “shadow”) a PA in the field. “Shadowing” of PAs in more than one practice type is preferred. You will be asked to record your experiences as part of the application process; please note that they do not count toward direct patient care hours.

Can shadowing be considered direct patient care experience?

No, shadowing is not considered direct patient care experience. However, shadowing is encouraged and should be included in your CASPA application under the “Health Care Shadowing Experience” section.

Prerequisite Courses

Do the prerequisite science courses need to include a lab?

Yes, prerequisite courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology require a lab. Classes without a lab will not be considered.

Is the science GPA calculated using the courses that fulfill prerequisite requirements or the entire transcript of science courses?

The science GPA is calculated using the entire transcript(s) of science courses.

Which courses satisfy the biology prerequisite requirement?

Two semesters of general biology (I and II; 8 credits) will fulfill the requirement. Upper-level biology courses can also be used towards fulfilling the biology requirement. To satisfy the requirement, the biology courses must include lecture and lab.

Which courses satisfy the chemistry prerequisite requirement?

Two semesters of general chemistry (I and II; 8 credits) will fulfill the requirement. Courses in organic chemistry and biochemistry can also be used towards fulfilling the chemistry requirement. To satisfy the requirement, the chemistry courses must include lecture and lab.

Which courses best satisfy the anatomy and physiology prerequisite requirement?

Two semesters of human anatomy and physiology (I and II with lab; 8 credits) or human anatomy (with lab; 4 credits) and human physiology (with lab; 4 credits). We prefer that these courses be designed specifically for biology/pre-medical majors. These courses must include all body systems. Animal physiology or exercise physiology courses are not preferred.

You have a requirement that the required anatomy and physiology courses be taken within 7 years of the start of the first class. What if I took these courses just one semester before the “expiration” date?

The 7-year requirement is firm.

Campus Life

Is on-campus housing available for PA students?

On-campus housing is not provided for PA students, but Residential Life offers resources for off-campus living.

Students are discouraged from having outside employment while in the Program. If a student feels that it is necessary to work while in the Program, it is advisable that students inform their Faculty Advisor of this need. Program expectations, assignments, deadlines and responsibilities will not be altered or adjusted to accommodate working students and it is expected that the student employment will not interfere with the student learning experience.

Additionally, students will not be required to perform any clerical or administrative work or teaching on behalf of the PA Program.