Physician Assistant/Associate


A physician assistant or associate (PA) practices medicine under the direction of a physician and is a valuable member of a team. To learn more about the scope of practice for a PA, you can refer to the American Academy of Physician Associates.

In order to get into a PA program, you must complete an undergraduate degree in your major of choice and complete the prerequisite courses that are required by most PA programs. In addition to the academic requirements, PA programs typically require that students have extensive hours of paid, hands-on, direct patient and clinical care. Applicants must also complete the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), if required. Requirements for PA programs vary so greatly so be sure to do your research and consult with the Natural Science & Pre Health Professional Pathways Advisor.


Primary Applications

Students apply a full year in advance of starting PA school, which typically begins in the fall.

  1. Take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam), if required.
  2. Submit the CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistants/Associates). The application opens in April each year. Determine application deadlines for each school to which you are applying.

Visit the Apply page for more on prerequisite coursework and grades, transcripts, activities, personal statements and letters of recommendation in general.

Secondary Applications

When you are invited, submit secondary applications as necessary for the schools to which you are applying. These typically involve school-specific writing responses and interviews.


Most PA schools will conduct interviews as part of the secondary application process. Students are advised to prepare for their interviews by scheduling a mock interview with the Natural Science & Pre Health Professional Pathways Advisor. Students should also become familiar with the type of questions that may be asked during their interview.