Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Admissions & Deadlines

Admission Selection Criteria 2023-2024 Application Cycle

Admission to the PA program is extremely competitive. The program bases its admissions decisions on the following: candidates’ general and science course GPA, type and quality of prior health care experience, experience working with or shadowing PAs, leadership and community service activities, professionalism, communication skills, letters of reference, and personal statement quality. The following are specific admissions requirements to keep in mind. 

Requirements for Admission to the PA Program

  • A bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university completed prior to matriculation into the program.
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required each, for both the total and science GPAs. The higher a candidate’s GPAs, the more competitive the application. GPAs of  3.3 or higher in both total and science are competitive. GPAs of 3.5 and higher for both total and science are highly competitive.  
  • Completion of the following prerequisite courses at a U.S. regionally accredited college or university prior to matriculation into the program.  

    Minimum Semester
    Credit Hours

    Minimum Quarter
    Credit Hours
    Human Anatomy 3 4

    Human Physiology

    3 4

    OR a two-course sequence combined Human Anatomy & Physiology

    5 combined 7 combined


    3 4
    Microbiology (with lab preferred but not required) 3 4
    Psychology or equivalent course work in behavioral science 3 4
    Statistics 3 4
    • We recommend that all prerequisites be taken within seven years of planned program start date.  Human anatomy, human physiology, microbiology and biochemistry must be taken within seven years of planned program start date.
    • You may have up to two outstanding prerequisite courses at the time of application submission.
  • Documented hands-on, direct patient contact experience in a health care setting, accrued with seven years of application submission.
    • A minimum of 1,000 hours of direct patient contact experience (via paid employment) is required at the time of application submission.  Having more than 1,500 hours is competitive, and more than 2,500 hours is highly competitive.
    • Experience working with Advanced Practice Providers or physicians is preferred.
    • Hours accrued during the completion of previous health care degrees, certifications or training do not count towards health care experience hours
  • Three professional letters of reference.   We recommend references be from educators, PAs, MDs, or other professionals that candidates have worked with who can speak to their medical skills, academic performance potential, commitment to service, and leadership skills. At least one reference should be from a physician, PA, or other health professionals, and one should be from a college or university instructor. Personal references from family and friends are not competitive for admission to the program.
  • A completed application submitted to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).  Access CASPA here:
  • An interview with members of the PA program faculty and other university faculty and leaders is required for final admissions decisions.
  • Candidates are required to complete a supplemental application and submit a $40 supplemental application fee only if they are invited to a program interview. Information regarding this requirement is provided upon interview invitation.
  • All applicants must meet the minimum requirements to perform the essential functions of a PA.  See the Technical Standards sheet for more information.  
  • Admission is contingent upon successful completion of a health assessment, criminal background check and drug screening processes prior to matriculation.  Information regarding this requirement is discussed during interviews.
  • Applicants with coursework or a bachelor’s degree conferred outside of the United States must submit a course equivalence evaluation by either World Education Services (WES) or Education Credentials Evaluators (ECE).
  • TOEFL scores, if English is not your native language.  Information regarding this College of Health Sciences standard is available here:

Temporary Changes to the Program’s Admissions Standards for the 2023-2024 Cycle:

  • We will accept passing grades taken in a Pass/Fail system for any course taken from May to December 2020.  This may impact your GPA calculations.
  • We will accept passing grades taken in a Pass/Fail system for up to two prerequisite courses taken from May to December 2020.  You must have letter grades for four of the six required courses.
  • Leadership and/or community service involvement is highly valued for admissions consideration and contributes to the competitiveness of a candidate’s application.

  • We will accept virtual shadowing hours completed from 2020 to the present.

  • All interview sessions will be held virtually.

Attendance in the program is on a full-time basis only.  No advanced standing or transfer credits are awarded, regardless of a candidate’s previous professional or academic experience. 

Providing clinical placement sites or preceptors is not a factor of consideration for admission to the program. The PA faculty have sole responsibility for securing sites for clinical rotation placements. Students may recommend a new site for clinical rotation, but that does not guarantee that the site will be available for placement.

The PA program admits students into the class on a rolling basis, which means at each interview session, offers are made to fill seats in the class.  Under a rolling admissions process, it is possible to fill all interview spots before the close of the admission cycle. Applicants are encouraged to submit all application materials as early as possible.  

Due to the competitive nature of the application process, meeting posted admission criteria to the program does not guarantee an interview offer for the program

Additional Factors for Admissions Consideration

RUSH University and the PA Program are committed to creating a class environment that mirrors our diverse community and that supports access and inclusion among our students.  While all candidates must meet posted minimum admissions criteria, candidates with any of the following factors indicated on their CASPA application are given priority consideration towards an admissions interview and are reviewed on a case by case basis: 

  • Military veterans
  • Persons from economically disadvantaged backgrounds
  • First person to attend a higher education training program
  • Recommended graduates from the RUSH Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences program

Completing My Application to the RUSH University PA Program

The application cycle is open from April 29 to October 1 of each year.  

Applications must be submitted online via CASPA at:

CASPA application requires:

  • Submission of official transcripts for all college course work completed
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement
  • Payment of an application fee as outlined by CASPA

For More Information

For additional information, review the RUSH PA program info packet.

For inquiries related to the CASPA admissions process, contact CASPA directly.  

For questions about the RUSH University physician assistant program, contact   

For information about RUSH University or the admissions policies of the College of Health Sciences at RUSH University, contact the admissions office directly at (312) 563-6626.

You can attend an upcoming open house event to find out more information about the PA program.  See the CHS events calendar for information related to upcoming PA Program Open House events.

Admissions Contact 
Phone: (312) 563-3234


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Learn more about the Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program at an on-campus or online information session.