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 3.00 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), please keep in mind that we do not need to receive your CASPA beforehand. The secondary application must be completed and submitted electronically along with the non-refundable $50.00 application fee payment (notifications no reminders will not be sent to submit the secondary). 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.