Question 1: Do I need to have a bachelor's degree to apply?
No, a bachelor's degree may be in progress at the time of application. HOWEVER, the degree must be earned by the end of the spring term or June 15th (whichever is later) of the planned year of matriculation. Visit the view requirements page for a complete list of requirements.
Question 2: Do you require a minimum GPA to apply?
Yes. You must achieve a minimum overall, prerequisite, and science GPA of 2.7 in order to apply. You must meet the minimum GPA requirement at the time of application and maintain through matriculation. Non-prerequisite courses in which Credit or Pass was earned will be calculated into your overall/cumulative GPA as a “C.” Visit the requirements page for a complete list of requirements.
Question 3: Do you require any standardized tests prior to application?
No. The MSPA program does not currently require any standardized testing prior to application.
Question 4: How many hours of work experience are required prior to application?
None! This is a good question to ask other schools, as some will require between 1000 and 5000 hours of experience prior to application. However, a history of ongoing community service/involvement is an essential consideration for admission to our Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program, and the more hours you have, the more competitive your application will be.
Question 5: Can I transfer into your physician assistant program from another physician assistant program?
We do not accept transfer students.
Question 6: Do you give preference to California residents?
No. Although a significant portion of our student body is from California, this is merely a reflection of our overall applicant pool.
Question 7: Can international students apply?
Yes, we consider international applicants for admission. International applicants follow the same application procedures as domestic applicants, but must also have their foreign transcripts evaluated by a pre-approved evaluation service.
Question 8: Is tuition the same for in-state and out-of-state residents?
Yes. We are a private institution so the tuition rate is the same for all students. Visit the financing my education for more information on tuition, scholarships, and loans.
Question 9: Does it matter that I'm older than your average applicant?
Definitely not. We find that students of all ages make unique contributions to the class. We encourage applications from qualified applicants regardless of age.
Question 10: Can I turn in more than the required number of recommendation letters?
Yes. However, it is advisable to limit the number to one-two extra since a total of three-four well-chosen recommendations will usually paint a clear picture of the candidate, and additional recommendations will only add to the committee members' reading time.
Question 11: Do you have an early decision process?
No. There is not an early decision process in place for the MSPA program.
Question 12: How and when will I know if I've been invited for an interview?
Interviews are held monthly September through February. If you are selected for an interview, you will be notified by email beginning August and through early February.
Question 13: How does the committee decide which applicants are offered seats?
The admissions committee works hard to select the best candidates for the program. To make this decision they consider a range of information including academic credentials, community service background, preparedness to complete the MSPA curriculum, and information gleaned from the personal interview. Visit the competitive candidate profile page for additional insights.
Question 14: When are acceptance letters and final notifications mailed?
Letters are typically mailed and emailed by the end of March of the planned year of matriculation.
Question 15: Will I be required to complete a background check?
Complete confidence in the honor and integrity of the health professions student and health care professional is essential, and students must exhibit honesty and integrity in all aspects of their life. Any prior criminal record of an applicant will be evaluated by the University as part of its determination that the applicant meets the Standards of Professional Conduct. In addition, a prior criminal record may negatively impact a student's ability to participate in the University's curriculum. To meet State regulations and hospital accreditation requirements, hospital facilities are requiring students to complete criminal background checks prior to beginning rotations/clinical experiences. Some rotations require a urine drug test as well. Certain convictions may prevent students from entering hospital facilities, which may hinder their ability to successfully complete the MSPA program. If a criminal conviction or other relevant sanction is shown on the background check, hospital facilities may choose not to allow a student to utilize their facilities. If applicable, we encourage you to check with the appropriate State licensing board(s) to determine whether your background may be a barrier to future licensing.
Question 16: Does the MSPA program require drug screening tests?
Urine drug screens may be required for clinical rotations or any sentinel acts. Procedures and costs for obtaining background investigations and urine drug screenings will be disseminated by the Physician Assistant Clinical Education Staff.
Question 17: Am I required to have certain immunizations or health screening procedures completed before matriculation?
As students will have some exposure to patients during the first year, no students will be allowed to matriculate until they have supplied proof that they are current on the following immunizations and health screenings consistent with current CDC recommendations:
- MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) (proof of immunization and/or serologic titers showing immunity)
- Tetanus/Diphtheria (within 10 years)
- Hepatitis B (proof of completion of 3 shot series and/or serologic titers showing immunity),
- Tuberculosis Clearance through one of two methods: P.P.D. (Purified Protein Derivative) skin test (within the last six months) or chest x-ray (within the last year)
- Varicella (chicken pox) proof of completion of the age appropriate imumunization series or positive serologic titers
A positive PPD or chest x-ray must be followed up with an appropriate health care provider. No student will be permitted to register or attend classes without having proof of completing required immunizations.
Question 18: How can I request a primary application packet?
Primary applications are available electronically from the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Primary applications must be completed and submitted electronically to CASPA. After everything is submitted and verified, we will import your application information electronically into our system. Upon receipt of your CASPA application in our office you will be notified via e-mail notifying you of our receipt of your primary application. Applicants are encouraged to complete and electronically submit the secondary/supplemental application and additional application materials as soon as possible and no later than November 1st. Please note: it typically takes the application service (CASPA) four to six weeks to process your primary application and make it available to the admissions offices you indicate on your application, so submit your application early! Visit the apply now page for details.
Question 19: How can I request a secondary application packet?
The secondary application will be available on the apply now page as soon as the CASPA application is available (typically late-April). The secondary application must be completed and submitted electronically along with the non-refundable $50.00 application fee payment. Applicants must also upload the Prerequisite Worksheet and Repeated Coursework Form (if applicable) to their secondary application by the November 1 deadline. The application will remain available until the application deadline in November each year.
Question 20: I am a re-applicant. How can I improve my application or my chances to get in?
Take a critical review of the information that you submitted to the admissions office and see if there are any obvious voids. For example, maybe you had one or two low grades that lowered your overall and/or prerequisite GPA, or maybe you were not involved actively in community service, or merely forgot to include it on your application. You would be surprised at how much you can learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your application simply by looking at it from an admissions perspective.
If you had a low grade, especially in a science course, you should consider retaking that class, since we will recalculate your GPA with the new higher grade when we receive the new transcript. It is important to realize that sometimes it is not something obvious that you can change to be admitted. Every case is different and every year the competition is different. Above all else, it is important to realize that we receive applications from many highly qualified applicants each year and are only able to offer acceptances to 98. If this is the path you are committed to, then keep trying! Visit the competitive candidate profile page for additional insights.
Question 1: What are the prerequisite courses for the physician assistant program?
Visit the view requirements page for a complete list of requirements.
Question 2: Can I have prerequisite courses in progress at the time of application? How many?
You may have one science prerequisite (except anatomy and physiology) and one non-science prerequisite in progress after December 31 of the year prior to when you plan to matriculate. These courses must be completed by the end of the spring term or June 15th (whichever is later) of the year you plan to matriculate. Anatomy and Physiology must be completed by December 31 of the year prior to when you plan to matriculate. No exceptions will be made.
Question 3: Can I substitute any courses for your prerequisites?
No. The required classes are clearly outlined and you must complete all prerequisite courses.
Question 4: How are repeated courses calculated in the GPAs?
When re-calculating your GPA’s, the admissions staff will use Repeated Coursework Form submitted with the application to exclude the course in which the lesser grade was received. Courses, and the grades received, will not be averaged or counted more than once. The GPA’s reported on the CASPA application will only be re-calculated using the Repeated Coursework Form uploaded by the applicant with their secondary/supplemental application. Applicants must list all repeated courses, including those repeated more than once to have the courses excluded.
Question 5: Do you accept Pass/No Pass or Credit/No Credit for any of the prerequisites?
No. We will only accept graded courses to satisfy prerequisites.
Question 6: Do you accept CLEP, A/P credit or can I test out of any prerequisites?
No. We do not accept CLEP, AP credit, nor can you test out of any prerequisites.
Question 7: May I use a single course to satisfy more than one prerequisite?
No, you may not use a single course to satisfy multiple prerequisites. Each prerequisite must be satisfied by a unique course.
Question 8: Can I talk to a counselor about my coursework?
If you’d like to find out whether the courses you’ve taken or plan to take will satisfy WesternU’s MSPA prerequisites you can:
- search the prerequisite database by institution.
- if your courses aren't listed in the database and you have numerous course questions, or simply wish to lay out your coursework you may instead print and submit an academic worksheet (available on the requirements page April-August).
By laying out your coursework in relation to our prerequisites, you will be able to determine the courses you may still need to complete. In addition, you will be able to assess your academic performance in the courses (prerequisites) our admissions committee believes are of greatest importance. If the course is not listed in the prerequisite database, you must submit a course syllabus, not a catalog description, for review.
Once you receive our assessment, feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.
Question 1: How do I check my application status online?
You can check your application status by visiting the application status page.
Question 2: What if I want to change information on my application after I have completed it?
You may not change answers or documents submitted with your application, but you may upload additional, supplemental materials. To do so, visit the application status page and use the "Upload Materials" section of the page to submit your supplemental materials.
Question 3: What if I want to apply to more than one program? Do I need to create a new account?
You can apply to multiple programs using a single account. Visit our online application, log in, and click "Start New Application" at the bottom of the page.
Question 4: What address should I use if I need to mail any additional application materials?
For official transcripts please mail to:
Western University of Health Sciences
Attn: EDS/program you are applying for (MSMS, MSNE, MSPS, etc.)
309 E Second Street
Pomona, CA 91766
For unofficial documents, please upload to the online application as indicated in the application instructions.
Question 5: How do I pay my application fee?
All application fees require payments made by credit card. Only cards with Visa and Master Card logos will be accepted. No checks, money orders, or cash will be accepted for payment of application fees.
Question 6: What if I do not have a Visa or Master Card?
Payment may be made with a Visa or Master Card prepaid gift card which can be purchased at many major chain stores or online. Please be aware that the gift card must contain a balance sufficient to cover the application fee in one full payment.
Question 7: Are fee waivers accepted?
Payment is required at time of application, if fee waiver is approved a reimbursement will be issued.
Question 1: What is the difference between a physician assistant and a family nurse practitioner?
This varies somewhat by state. Physician assistants (PA) and nurse practitioners (NP) share many of the duties. However, the primary difference is that a PA is a dependent practitioner that necessitates a relationship with a supervising physician.
Question 2: How many applications do you receive, interviews do you grant, and applicants do you accept in an average year?
For the 2016 entering class, we received over 1900 applications and interviewed 388 to seat a class of 98. Visit the competitive candidate profile page for additional information.
Question 3: What is the board passing rate for your physician assistant students?
Our graduates have consistently scored well on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) for those taking the test for the first time. Please take a moment to review recent WesternU PANCE scores.
Question 4: Is it advisable to work while I take classes?
No. Students are not allowed to work while attending the program.
Question 5: How can I learn more about your physician assistant program?
Join us for Preview Day, an information session, request an information packet be sent by mail, or contact us with your questions. You may also sit in on a class, please call 909-469-5378 to schedule a time.
Question 6: Do you have any information sessions/workshops on campus?
We host Preview Days and information sessions regularly on campus. We encourage you to view the schedule and RSVP for an upcoming session. These sessions provide an opportunity for you to meet faculty members, learn more about WesternU, the physician assistant profession, and the MSPA curriculum. You’ll have the opportunity to hear from students and faculty and tour the facilities.
Question 7: When are campus tours available?
We welcome you to meet our students and enjoy a student-led campus tour during one of our Preview Day events. We also offer some individual tours. Visit our Campus Tour Page for upcoming dates and to schedule a tour.
Question 8: How can I request an information packet?
Submit an electronic information request form and we'll be happy to mail you a brochure and keep you appraised of the latest developments. However, for the most up-to-date information we encourage you to visit our requirements page.
Question 9: How can I learn more about the financial aid available to me?
For more information regarding tuition, scholarships, and loans, please visit the financing my education page.