Admission Requirements for Physician Assistant, MMS
- A Physician Assistant application to be completed through Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a recommended GPA of 3.0 or better.
- One official transcript from each college, university or professional school attended. Transfer credits included on a transcript must include grades earned; if not, an official transcript from the original school must be submitted. Please send transcripts directly to CASPA.
- Students must have completed the following prerequisites:
- Biological Sciences—five courses with labs to include Anatomy, Physiology, and Microbiology. Biochemistry is recommended. Candidates may take either a full semester of anatomy and a full semester of physiology OR A&P I and A&P II.
- Chemistry—three courses with labs to include at least one semester of Organic Chemistry.
- Psychology—one course.
- Statistics—one course.
- NOTE: Prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. The program does not allow students to waive courses, nor does it accept students with advanced standing.
- NOTE: A medical terminology course is not required, however it is necessary to pass a medical terminology exam based on the textbook “The Language of Medicine” by Davi-Ellen Chabner (Edition 8 or later). The exam is given during the first week of the program.
- Three letters of recommendation. Ideally, one should be from a professor and one from a practicing licensed physician, physician assistant or other medical provider who can judge your character, work ethic, or aptitude.
- A minimum of 200 hours of patient care experience (see FAQs below for more details).
- Students must meet the minimal technical requirements for admission, continuation and graduation. The technical standards are posted on the PA program technical standards page. We value experience in community engagement, leadership, and clinical shadowing experience in the profession.
- Arcadia’s PA program does not require, nor consider, GRE exam scores or any standardized testing scores.
- Arcadia welcomes applications from non-U.S. citizens. However, students who have already completed a medical degree at a foreign institution are not eligible. It is strongly recommended that all science prerequisites be taken at an accredited U.S. institution. Individuals who have completed their education outside the United States or Canada are required to submit to CASPA a World Education Service (WES) course-by-course foreign evaluation. In addition, TOEFL or IELTS test results are required for all students for whom English is a second language, except for non-native speakers of English who hold degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand). The test results must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to CASPA in electronic format and be no more than two years old.
- Arcadia performs a holistic review of each student’s application. The program does not allow students to waive courses, nor does it admit students with advanced standing. However, students who have withdrawn or who have been dismissed from the program may be readmitted with advanced standing.
- Increasingly, clinical facilities require that students seeking placements undergo various criminal background checks, child abuse clearances, and/or drug screens prior to placements. Therefore, students should be prepared to participate in these screenings. Applicants who are unable to pass these clearances may be denied admission into the program.
Applying for Admission
While an interview is not required for acceptance to the program, we do offer several opportunities for accepted students to speak with faculty and current students in person or virtually prior to deposit deadline.
All applications are processed by the CASPA.
Applications will not be accepted by CASPA after October 1. Students are accepted on a rolling basis and encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Arcadia students applying for assured admissions must submit their application no later than August 1.
All applications are processed by the CASPA. Official transcripts and references are considered part of the CASPA application and should be sent directly to CASPA.
At its June 2023 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the Arcadia University Physician Assistant Studies Program sponsored by Arcadia University on Accreditation-Probation status until its next review in June 2025.
Probation accreditation is a temporary accreditation status initially of not less than two years. However, that period may be extended by the ARC-PA for up to an additional two years if the ARC-PA finds that the program is making substantial progress toward meeting all applicable standards but requires additional time to come into full compliance. Probation accreditation status is granted, at the sole discretion of the ARC-PA, when a program holding an accreditation status of Accreditation – Provisional or Accreditation – Continued does not, in the judgment of the ARC-PA, meet the Standards or when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.
Once placed on probation, a program that fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and is subject to having its accreditation withdrawn.
Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the Program Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).
The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at https://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-arcadia-university/.
Program Accreditation FAQs
- Is Arcadia’s PA program still accredited?
Arcadia’s PA program remains accredited and will continue to provide excellent instruction and clinical experiences to the approximately 200 students currently enrolled in PA coursework. The ARC-PA decision does not impact the ability of students to receive financial aid and will not impact their ability to earn their Master of Medical Science within their original timeline, advance through the program, or sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) for certification.
- Will the accreditation status impact the student experience in the PA program?
Neither the didactic nor the clinical experience will change for currently enrolled PA students.
- What will happen with the faculty and staff in the PA program?
The expert faculty and dedicated staff in the PA program will continue to provide the extraordinary instruction and support for students currently enrolled, and they will guide the program for all future students upon their matriculation.
- When will the program be able to enroll a cohort of students again?
Arcadia continues to work with ARC-PA on the accreditation standards and remains optimistic that our progress will be sufficient for ARC-PA to allow for the matriculation of an incoming PA class in 2024. Arcadia anticipates a response from ARC-PA following its March commission meeting for a status update.
- How will the University address standards to change the accreditation status?
Arcadia has made significant progress over the past year in addressing the concerns cited by ARC-PA, and we will continue working with ARC-PA during this process to address concerns as needed.
- Where can I find more information on the accreditation status change?
Our program was primarily cited for standards related to documentation, assessment and institutional support. Arcadia’s PA program continues to have dedicated, experienced and loyal faculty, appropriate preceptors, supervised clinical experiences, and a PANCE pass rate and student attrition rate better than the national average. More information can be found at: www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-arcadia-university/.
- I am a current Arcadia Undergraduate in the Pre-PA assured admission track; an incoming first-year or transfer student planning to do the assured admission Pre-PA program; or a current University of Delaware undergraduate student in the MDD/Pre-PA assured admission track; what does this mean for me?
We encourage you to continue working on the requirements (including your prerequisites, patient care experience, obtaining recommendation letters) for the PA program. You may still apply to the PA program when the CASPA cycle opens in April, the year before you plan to enroll. Arcadia continues to work with ARC-PA on the accreditation standards and remains optimistic that our progress will be sufficient for ARC-PA to allow for the matriculation of future incoming PA classes.
- I am admitted to the PA program for May 2024 and have already deposited; will I be reimbursed for that deposit?
The $1,500 deposit you’ve paid will still hold your place in the 2024 entering class. If you would like your deposit refunded, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org; if you choose to have your deposit refunded, we cannot guarantee a place in our program when we matriculate our next class.
Fees and Expenses
An initial $500 deposit must accompany the acceptance reply with an additional $1000 deposit to secure the seat two weeks later. These deposits are applied to the first semester’s tuition and are nonrefundable.
Tuition and Fees
(A3.12f) Tuition for 2023-24 is $16,785 per semester (x 6 semesters). Find more information about Physician Assistant Tuition, Expenses and Financial Aid on Graduate Tuition and Fees.
- Mandatory clearances, which include criminal background checks, immunization tracking, child abuse screening, etc. Additional costs associated with drug screening varies upon clinical rotation: $270
- Books, supplies and medical equipment Didactic phase: $1,500
- Students are required to cover housing and transportation costs related to all off-campus and clinical experiences.
- Student health insurance annual premium: cost varies*
- Additional expenses will be incurred by students electing to participate in global service-learning or international clinical experiences.
- PA Program Estimated Fees and Costs (2023-2024) document
*Medical Insurance: Upon enrollment into their programs, all students must provide proof of medical insurance and also provide information about their health and medical history. Students who do not provide proof of adequate health insurance will be required to purchase health insurance through the University. Information and applications are available at Student Health Services.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Information on current costs is available at www.arcadia.edu/finaid. Financial aid is available to assist qualified students in covering tuition and related expenses, as well as living costs. Students in Arcadia University's Physician Assistant program are discouraged from outside employment while enrolled due to the rigors of the program. Students are considered for graduate assistantships based on their academic records once they are matriculated into the program.
Additionally, students can apply to receive up to $20,500 annually through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan at a fixed interest rate. In addition to the Stafford Loan, students can choose to borrow either a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan or a private alternative student loan to cover remaining expenses. More information on available financial aid and how to apply.
Program-Specific Loan Options
The National Health Service Corps offers loan repayment programs for primary care physician assistants who agree to provide service in a priority health-professional shortage area (HPSA) for a two-year period following graduation. Other loan programs are available through the Allied Health Education Loan Program.
- Department of Veterans Affairs: full scholarships plus monthly stipends for second-year students. (Obligation is two years’ service at a V.A. medical center.)
- Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants: PSPA student member essay contest with three annual scholarship awards of $2,000.
- PA Student Scholarships
- National Health Service Corps Scholarships
Enrolled Student Profile
Class of 2024
- Total number of applications: 3344
- Total number enrolled: 99
- Average Overall GPA: 3.62
- Average Science GPA: 3.51
- Average GRE: 310 verbal and quantitative combined, 4.3 analytical
- Average patient care hours: 2,184
*Approximately 95% of admitted students have GPAs that fall within this range. Applicants with exceptional clinical experience, defined as working three years or longer as a health professional (i.e. RN, PT, OT, Pharmacist) with a GPA outside of this range are also encouraged to apply.
Arcadia University has an articulation agreement with the University of Delaware. Interested students should contact Arcadia’s Enrollment Management office for details.
Arcadia University PA Admissions FAQs
When can I apply and what are your deadlines?
All applicants must apply through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) portal. The CASPA portal opens in late April. The application deadline is October 1 and admissions are on a rolling basis. Applying early in the admissions cycle is strongly recommended given the program’s rolling admission process.
Do you accept prerequisite courses from a community college?
Yes, as long as the institution is regionally accredited, prerequisite courses from a community college are accepted. Please note that some required courses may not be offered at two-year colleges due to the academic level of the curriculum.
Do you accept prerequisite courses taken online?
Some prerequisite courses may be taken online, however, they must be taken at a regionally accredited institution. Please note, it is required that science prerequisite courses be taken with a lab component.
Do you accept Advanced Placement (AP) credits?
(A3.13c) Yes, as long as your undergraduate institution granted AP credits and they are listed on your transcript.
What types of experiences do you accept as patient care hours?
Patient care experiences should involve direct contact with and care for patients in a medical setting. Examples of experiences that qualify as direct patient care include work as an EMT, CNA, PT aide, and home health aide. The goal is to gain exposure to, and experience in, direct patient care. There are many scenarios in which this can be accomplished.
We highly recommend that prospective students keep a detailed log of hours, which may also include supervisor(s) name, dates/times, etc.
Administrative and research experiences, although valuable, do not qualify as patient care experiences. Hours spent shadowing physicians and/or physician assistants (PAs) are recommended, but are not accepted as direct patient care hours. Hours of patient care experience gained as part of a degree or certificate training program are also not accepted as patient care experience hours. Some examples of direct patient care experiences include:
- Rehab Aide
- Physical Therapy Aide
- Medical Assistant
- Patient Care Technician
- Clinical Assistant
- Clinical Care Technician
- Clinical Medical Assistant
- Personal Care Assistant
- Personal Attendant
- Athletic Trainer
- Neurotology Assistant
- Ophthalmic Technician
- EKG Technician
- First Aid Responder
- Emergency Technician
Do you accept multiple applications from one individual (for the two-year program - Glenside Pa., the two-year program - Christiana Del., and the dual degree program)?
Applicants interested in the two-year PA program, without a preference for either campus, are encouraged to apply to both campuses. We recommend that applicants with a campus preference apply only to their campus of choice. Each applicant who applies to both campuses will be considered for one campus at the discretion of the Arcadia Physician Assistant program after a holistic review of his/her application.
Applicants with a strong interest in public health who are considering the three-year dual degree program may choose to only apply to this program or may apply to the two-year program as well. Again, each applicant will be considered for one program at the discretion of the Arcadia Physician Assistant program after a holistic review of his/her application.
The Arcadia University Department of Medical Science opened a campus in Christiana, Del., in the fall of 2006. The Christiana Campus is located in an executive center in the growing Newark area and provides a different learning environment. The campus is immediately adjacent to the Christiana Hospital and the Delaware Academy of Medicine Library, which provides access to all students. The campus includes classrooms and laboratory spaces, a Student Center, offices and meeting rooms. The Christiana students are provided access to the University of Delaware library facilities and Athletic and Recreational Center.
The Glenside campus is the historic home of Arcadia University and serves both undergraduate and graduate students. The Physician Assistant program is located in Brubaker Hall, which offers dedicated classrooms, laboratory space, offices and a student resource room. Students at the Glenside campus have access to student services on the campus, including the Landman Library. The PA program faculty are based primarily at one respective campus, but the faculty share teaching and course responsibilities at both campuses.
Both campuses follow the same curriculum and share lecturers. Combined, the two campuses offer the resources and advantages of a large program with the personal attention of smaller classes. Students come to Arcadia to pursue their careers as Physician Assistants of distinction.
How many students attend the two-year PA program at each campus?
The program is accredited for 56 students at the Glenside campus and 49 students at the Christiana campus for a total enrollment of 105.
Is there a supplemental application?
I have not completed all of the prerequisite courses, can I apply with any in progress?
Yes. However, you may have no more than two prerequisite courses outstanding at the time of application if you are in the regular applicant pool. Arcadia University undergraduate students who are assured admission candidates may have no more than one prerequisite course outstanding at the time of application.
Biochemistry is listed under biological sciences as a recommended prerequisite. If I have five additional biological science courses, can this course be considered a chemistry prerequisite?
Yes, it can be.
Do I need a Bachelor’s degree prior to applying?
No, however, all applicants must have completed their bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation into the program. If you have completed most prerequisites and are in the process of finishing your bachelor’s degree you may apply and be granted conditional acceptance. Proof of your degree will be required prior to matriculation.
Can prerequisites be waived if I have extensive healthcare experience?
No. The stated prerequisites are required of all applicants.
Do you accept foreign applicants?
Arcadia welcomes applications from non-U.S. citizens. Official results with acceptable scores from the TOEFL IELTS, or Duolingo are required for all students for whom English is a second language, except for non-native speakers of English who hold degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand). A course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts by an independent evaluation service based in the United States also is required. It is strongly recommended that all science prerequisites be taken at an accredited U.S. institution. Individuals applying for admission to the PA program who have completed their education outside the United States or Canada are required to submit to CASPA a World Education Service (WES) foreign evaluation of their coursework taken outside of the United States or Canada. The scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to CASPA in electronic format and be no more than two years old.
Do you accept pass/fail credits?
We are facing an unprecedented and challenging time in academia. Arcadia University has offered the student-centered approach of adopting a revised pass/fail grading policy for the Spring 2020 semester. The Physician Assistant Program recognizes that many undergraduate institutions from across the country have adopted this policy as well. Please note that a passing grade for any prerequisite course taken this semester will meet guidelines for admissions criteria. This will include guidelines for our assured admission pathways.
Please note that we will NOT accept Pass/Fail for any prerequisite courses required to enter the Program that have been taken after the spring semester of 2020. This applies to both the assured admissions pathway AND the regular applicant pool. If a student chooses the option of Pass/Fail for a prerequisite course after this time they will need to take it over so that we may see the final grade and factor that into their GPA. Please contact admissions with any questions.
Will I need to travel for any of my rotations?
Yes, students must plan on traveling outside of the Glenside, PA and Newark, DE areas for up to six (6) distant rotations which can be anywhere in the continental United States. "Distant" is defined as greater than 90 miles from the student's assigned campus. Students are responsible for travel, lodging, and other additional expenses that are associated with the distant rotations.
Can I set up any clinical rotations on my own?
Students are not required to provide any of their clinical rotations. However, students are allowed to arrange up to three external clinical rotations that must be approved by meeting the requirements of the program.
Do you hold in-person or virtual interviews?
No, at this time Arcadia does not invite applicants for in-person or virtual interviews. Arcadia meticulously evaluates prospective students through their essays and information included on CASPA. While an interview is not required for acceptance to the program, we do offer several opportunities for accepted students to speak with faculty and current students in person or virtually prior to the deposit deadline(s).