Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies: Admissions
We take great pride in the rigor of our curriculum and our students' thirst for success. Setting the bar high in our program admissions requirements helps maintain those standards from the get-go. All are outlined below for you to begin your application.
Applying to a PA program can get complicated. We know you have questions, and we know you're not alone. myPAbox.com is a resource that allows you to view questions that other applicants have asked, as well as ask your own questions for us to answer, helping to make the application process easier to manage.
myPAbox.com is provided simply as a resource to applicants, and is not officially affiliated with AHU. AHU does not receive any compensation in exchange for paid subscriptions at myPAbox.com. Any information presented on myPAbox.com does not supersede the information presented on AHU’s website or Academic Catalog. Applicants should use this resource at their own discretion.
All applicants to the Physician Assistant program must submit an application directly to the online Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA), accessible at CASPA. The application cycle will open in April and the deadline for a verified application is December 1. Applications that are not verified by the application deadline will not be considered for admittance. The program does not accept applications through our website.
In addition to the CASPA application, all applicants must submit an AdventHealth University (AHU) supplemental application by the CASPA application deadline. There is a $50 supplemental application fee. Once you submit your verified CASPA application you will receive an email with instructions on completing the supplemental application including a payment link.
Transcripts from each regionally accredited college and university attended, whether or not a degree was awarded, must be submitted directly to CASPA. Failure to disclose all colleges and universities previously attended could result in denial or dismissal. We do not accept transcripts delivered to our campus.
Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applicants, we are unable to provide individual transcript evaluations. If you have questions or concerns regarding specific courses and if those courses fulfill our pre-requisite requirements, you are welcome to email your inquiry to our program admissions team. In this email, please include the course description(s) with the course code(s) and the name of the institution(s) where the course(s) was completed. Please indicate which requirement you are looking to fulfill with each course that you submit. Email course inquiries to PA.email@example.com.
We require course-by-course transcript evaluations of college or university work that has been completed outside of the Unites States. All non-U.S. transcript evaluations must be completed through World Education Services (WES) and sent directly to CASPA. You can contact WES at 212-966-6211, firstname.lastname@example.org, or at www.wes.org.
International Medical Graduates
International Medical Graduates (IMGs) are welcome to apply to AdventHealth University’s (AHU) Physician Assistant (PA) program and are required to meet the same minimum standards as all other applicants. IMGs must follow the same application process as all other applicants to AHU’s PA program. No exceptions to this policy will be granted.
Policy on Pass/Fail Grades
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, the AHU PA program will allow an applicant up to 8-credit hours of prerequisite pass/ fail grades received during the Spring and Summer terms of 2020 only. Any prerequisite course that has not received an alphanumeric grade must earn a “Pass” grade or equivalent. If the applicant has more than 8-credit hours of prerequisites with a pass/ fail grade during this timeframe, their application will not be complete or considered for admittance until the applicant retakes the course(s) for an alphanumeric grade prior to matriculation. Prerequisite pass/ fail credit hours will not be accepted outside of the Spring and Summer terms of 2020. Please note that courses taken for a pass/ fail grade will not impact the applicant’s GPA. With this in mind, all applicants are still required to meet the minimum science and overall GPA for their application to be considered.
Non pre-requisite courses:
There is not a cap for non-prerequisite pass/ fail credit hours as long as the applicant has a minimum of a conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university at the time of matriculation.
All applicants must have a minimum of a conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university prior to matriculation into the program. Selection preference is not granted to any specific fields of study. All fields of study are equitable and competitive.
Minimum GPA Requirements
We require a 3.00 minimum cumulative and overall science GPA on a 4.00 scale as calculated by CASPA at the time of application. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or above.
In addition to the CASPA essay requirement, we require an additional essay be submitted as part of each applicants CASPA application. The essay should detail the applicant’s reasons for choosing to become a physician assistant, experiences or interactions they have had with a physician assistant, reasons for choosing to attend a faith-based institution, and why they have specifically chosen to apply to AHU.
Standardized Test Requirements
Physician Assistant College Admission Test (PA-CAT)
All applicants are required to take the Physician Assistant College Admission Test (PA-CAT®). The PA-CAT is a specialized test designed to measure applicant knowledge in key prerequisite science subjects typically required for PA school. For information about the PA-CAT and to schedule your exam, visit their website at www.PA-CAT.com. Applicants should schedule and complete the PA-CAT by December 31, 2020. Please ensure that AdventHealth University is selected as the institution to receive your official PA-CAT transcript score report. The PA-CAT results will be sent directly to the University, not to CASPA. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that AdventHealth University's PA program has received the PA-CAT official transcript score report by December 31, 2020.
All applicants are required to complete the CASPer online test as part of our admissions process. CASPer is an online test which assesses non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program and will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening. In implementing CASPer, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process.
In order to take CASPer, you will be responsible for securing access to a computer with audio capabilities, a webcam, and a reliable internet connection on your selected test date. CASPer can be taken practically anywhere that you can satisfy the aforementioned requirements.
Please go to www.takeCASPer.com, and select 2020-2021 Admissions Cycle to sign up for the USA Professional Health Sciences test (CSP10101) and reserve a test using your CASPA ID and a government-issued photo ID. You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test. The last available testing date for the current cycle is December 10, 2020. There will be no additional tests scheduled. Please use an email address that you check regularly; there may be updates to the test schedule.
The GRE is not required nor considered in the selections process for AdventHealth University’s PA program.
Prerequisites and Undergraduate Credit Hours
(all must include a lab component with the exception of Genetics)
Human Anatomy and Physiology I, II or Human Anatomy and Human Physiology – 8 credit hours
Organic Chemistry I – 4 credit hours
Organic Chemistry II or Biochemistry I – 4 credit hours
General Microbiology – 4 credit hours
Genetics – 3 credit hours
TOTAL – 23 credit hours
All of the above science prerequisites must be current within 7 years of matriculation without exception.
Other prerequisite courses
*General Psychology or Developmental Psychology or Abnormal Psychology – 3 credit hours
*General Statistics or Elementary Statistics or Biostatistics – 3 credit hours
Medical Terminology – 1 credit hour (certification acceptable)
TOTAL – 7 credits
*Advanced Placement (AP) courses will be accepted in place of the above referenced courses. The AP course must be listed on the applicants conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
Policy regarding Outstanding pre-requisite courses
An applicant is allowed up to 11-credit hours of outstanding prerequisites at the time of application. However, all prerequisite courses must be completed prior to matriculation in addition to a minimum of a conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
We strongly recommend that applicants present documentation of at least one year – or 2000 hours – of direct patient care experience, including exposure to the PA profession. Quality and quantity of patient care hours will be considered on a per-applicant basis. Applicants who undertake a wide variety of patient responsibilities and demonstrate excellent critical thinking skills are competitive during the consideration process.
Examples of preferred patient care experience (hours counted at 100%) include:
Examples of Related Healthcare experience (hours counted at 50% up to a maximum of 1000 hours) include:
Patient care advocate
Medical laboratory technician
Pharmacy technician – retail/compound, non-hospital based
Non-clinical researcher/Non-clinical research assistant
Medical assistant (administrative)
The above list of direct patient care and related healthcare experiences is not all inclusive. Additional types of direct patient care and related healthcare experience submitted on an application will be critically evaluated for depth and breadth of the experience.
Please note, shadowing healthcare providers and any hours credited as part of a training, educational, or internship/externship program will not be considered direct patient care or related healthcare experience.
We do not have a minimum requirement for shadowing hours; however, we highly recommend shadowing a variety of Physician Assistants in order to acquire a solid understanding of the PA profession.
Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation are required and must be submitted through CASPA. If more letters of recommendation are provided, we will only consider three. Please do not submit additional recommendations on the AHU supplemental application. Two letters of recommendation must be from practicing Advance Practice Providers or practicing Physicians. These individuals should be able to attest to your potential as a physician assistant. We highly recommend that the third letter come from a college or university professor who can strongly attest to your academic ability. We do not accept letters of recommendation from family members or friends.
International applicants, where English is not the primary language must demonstrate English proficiency by providing one of the following:
A score of 90 or higher on the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language iBT (TOEFL iBT), as well as appropriate evidence of temporary or permanent U.S. residency. These requirements are supplemental to the general education requirements.
Successful completion of a bachelor’s, master's, or doctoral degree from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction.
The following are the groups of applicants who receive preference for admission. Applicants who meet any of these preferences must still meet the same academic and clinical prerequisites as every applicant to qualify for admission. Applicants who do not meet any of these preferences are still considered for admission to the program. Additionally, the presence of one or more of these preferences does not guarantee admission to the program.
Graduates of AdventHealth University or other Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities
Applicants with current or previous documented military experience
State Residence Preference
Preference is not given to in-state applicants. Regardless of the state of residence, admission to the AHU PA program is equitable and competitive.
We offer interviews by invitation only, applicants who are selected for an interview will be contacted via email. Interviews, a required part of the admissions process, are conducted each January. Please understand that meeting our minimum requirements does not guarantee an interview invitation. Additionally, all applicants who are interviewed are not guaranteed admission.
The admissions committee will consider the cumulative data collected, strength of the interview, and the applicant’s firm and clear commitment to the profession and the program. Due to the competitive nature of our admissions process, meeting the minimum standards does not guarantee admittance.
Immunizations and Verification Requirements
Matriculating students must provide verification of the following:
Hepatitis B+ (3 vaccine series)
All accepted students must complete and validate the university’s physical examination form.
All accepted students must provide evidence of a tuberculosis screening test annually. In the event of a positive test result, please refer to the Communicable Disease Policy in the AHU Student Handbook.
All accepted students must provide evidence of current Basic Life Support for Healthcare Professionals certification through the American Heart Association. This certification must be current throughout the duration of the program.
All accepted students must provide proof of health insurance at the time of matriculation and maintain health insurance throughout the duration of the program.
All accepted students will be required to complete a drug screening prior to matriculation.
We require that accepted applicants place a nonrefundable $500 deposit to reserve your program seat. Your acceptance letter will provide a deadline indicating when we must receive the deposit. Once enrolled in the program, these funds will be applied to your account. Those who paid the deposit but decline to enroll in the program will forfeit the deposit; if that student is admitted to the same program at a later date, AHU will require another full deposit. A professional program deposit is not transferable to another department.
A criminal background check will be conducted upon acceptance into the program. Criminal convictions of any nature may create difficulty placing the student in clinical rotations, as well as potentially resulting in ineligibility for the national board examination and licensing in many states. It is the student’s responsibility to address any such issues and determine the continued viability of their program candidacy. Please refer to NCCPA and Florida Board of Medicine for further information.