Program Admissions Requirements


To be considered for the Physician Assistant program, applicants must:

1. Submit all application materials to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) at including official transcripts for all institutions of higher education attended and three recommendations. All applicants are asked to read and adhere to the CASPA Admissions Code of Cooperation available on the CASPA web site

2. Submit official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing) scores from exams taken after 2002. Scores are to be sent to CASPA.  The Shenandoah designated institution code (DI) is 0414. While there is no minimum GRE score required for admission, the successful candidate generally has scores above the 50th percentile. Note: GRE test scores are not required if the applicant already possesses a relevant graduate degree (i.e., MS or MPH) with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
Phone: (609) 771-7670

International students must have their transcripts submitted for independent evaluation of equivalency by an acceptable credential evaluation agency. International students are also required to demonstrate English language proficiency as outlined in the Graduate Catalog.  See Application Process & Time Line and FAQs available at for more details.

3. Preference will be given to candidates who can demonstrate a commitment to practice in primary care in rural or urban medically underserved areas. Candidates requesting this preference must do so in the form of a letter or e-mail sent directly to the PA program (not CASPA) and include their rationale for the request along with documentation supporting the commitment to primary care practice in underserved communities. Documentation is best achieved by identifying and describing prior work or community volunteer experience.

4. As a part of the CASPA application, candidates will prepare an admissions narrative, which will be evaluated by the admissions committee and must be considered graduate student quality. Use this narrative to explain why you are interested in becoming a physician assistant and demonstrate that you have an in depth understanding of the PA role in the health care system. In addition, candidates are encouraged to use the CASPA narrative to explain any aspects of their application that may require clarification (e.g., gaps in education or work, etc.).

5. Health-care experience (voluntary or paid) or observational experience with a physician assistant is not required, but highly suggested and considered by the SU PA admissions committee. This will also be documented within the CASPA application.

6. Academic Requirements:
To be considered for regular admission applicants must have:

  1. A bachelor’s degree from a college or university accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education
  2. A minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) undergraduate cumulative grade point average (GPA)
  3. A minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) biology, chemistry and physics (BCP) GPA

A candidate with less than a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average may be considered for admission with regular student status if he/she has completed at least 15 semester hours of relevant coursework at the graduate level and has a minimum GPA of 3.0 for these courses. See FAQs posted on the Physician Assistant Web site for the definition of a relevant degree.

Applicants must complete the following prerequisite coursework (documented via official transcripts):

  1. Human  Anatomy and Physiology with lab - 2 semesters/8 credits
  2. General or Introductory Chemistry with lab – 1 semester/4 credits
  3. Biochemistry – 1 semester/3 credits or organic chemistry with lab – 1 semester/4 credits
  4. Microbiology with lab – 1 semester/4 credits
  5. Abnormal Psychology – 1 semester/3 credits
  6. Child Developmental or Life Span Psychology (preferably Life Span) – 1 semester/3 credits
  7. Mathematics (preferably statistics) – 1 semester/3 credits
  8. Medical Terminology – 1 semester/3 credits
  • In order to satisfy a prerequisite, courses must have been passed with a grade of C or better at a college or university accredited by an agency recognized by the US Dept. of Education. In order to be competitive, however, it is strongly recommended that prerequisites be completed with a grade of B or better.
  • Science courses must be current within ten (10) years of application. The program strongly encourages the Human Anatomy & Physiology prerequisites to be completed within the past 5 years.
  • Distance education formats are not encouraged for the science courses that require a laboratory component.
  • In some cases, work experience specific to the science course older than 10 years may substitute for repeating the course. Contact the PA program for information on how to request the substitution.
  • Human anatomy and physiology sequence (A & P) should be taken at the same university to ensure continuity and must cover all body systems. Comparative anatomy, vertebrate anatomy, functional anatomy, animal physiology, anatomy and physiology designed for specific disciplines, or fundamentals of anatomy and physiology courses are not counted toward the A & P requirement.
  • Candidates may take anatomy and physiology as separate courses provided both have laboratory components, both have a human, comprehensive focus, and both have a minimum of 4 credit hours.
  • If organic chemistry is taken instead of biochemistry, the course must include a lab.

7. The PA Program reserves the right to verify credentials documented in the candidate’s application.

8.  All applicants are asked to read and adhere to the CASPA Applicant Responsibilities available on the CASPA web site.

The PA program uses a rolling admissions process. Early application is strongly encouraged. After the interview is conducted, the admissions committee may recommend one of the following based upon the collective judgment of the committee and a point scoring system:

  1. Acceptance: Candidates with all prerequisites completed will be recommended for full acceptance. Candidates with outstanding prerequisites will be recommended for conditional acceptance. The number of candidates recommended for acceptance will be determined annually by the PA program class size.
  2. Admission Alternates: A limited number of applicants will be selected as alternates and will generally be notified of their admission status on or before June 1. Applicants not admitted from the alternate list must reapply, if they wish to be considered in subsequent years. Rank or position on the alternate list will not be disclosed to candidates due to its dynamic nature.  (See FAQs.)
  3. Non-Acceptance: Applicants denied acceptance will be notified in writing. Candidates wishing to be considered in a subsequent admission cycle must reapply and must satisfy all admission requirements for that cycle.

Other Requirements

Applicants selected for admission to the program must provide evidence of good health and up-to-date immunizations prior to matriculation. Prior to beginning coursework, students are required to authorize and submit to a criminal background check, including sex offenses and crimes against minors. Students may also be expected to submit to drug testing required by clinical practice sites or the program. Non-compliance with the criminal background checks and/or drug testing policies may be cause for dismissal from the program of study.

In addition, students are required to maintain health insurance and liability insurance coverage. Further information will be reviewed in detail at orientation. Accepted students are required to attend all orientation sessions scheduled by the program.

Falsification of any portion of the application process, including the CASPA application, will be cause for immediate withdrawal of the acceptance offer or dismissal from the PA Program.