Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Admissions & Deadlines

Admission Selection Criteria 2020-2021 Application Cycle

Admission to the PA program is highly competitive.  Student selection is based on various factors, such as overall strength of academic performance, type and quality of prior health care experience, including experiences working with or shadowing PAs, leadership and community service engagement, and demonstration of interpersonal communication skills. 

The program is rigorous and candidate preparedness for admission will be assessed through general and science course grade point average, prior health care experience, letters of reference, and personal statement quality. 

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 GPA and Science GPA is required.  GPAs greater than 3.3 each for total and science is considered competitive; GPAs greater than 3.5 each for total and science is considered highly competitive.  
  • Completion of the following prerequisite courses at a U.S. regionally accredited college or university prior to matriculation into the program.  You may have up to 2 outstanding courses at the time of application submission.
    • Human Anatomy
    • Microbiology
    • Human Physiology
    • Psychology/Behavioral Science
    • Biochemistry
    • Statistics
  • Complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of direct, hands-on, patient care contact hours working or shadowing in a health care setting.  These hours must be accrued within seven years of application.  Experience working with or shadowing PAs is highly competitive.  Having above 1,500 hours healthcare experience hours is competitive; having 2,500 hours and above is considered highly competitive.
  • Three professional letters of reference that address the candidate’s potential for success as a PA.  Personal letters of reference are not accepted.  One letter should be from an academic addressing the candidate’s academic strengths and another from a clinician addressing clinical potential.  The third letter is of the candidate’s choice or can address the candidate’s community service and/or leadership involvement.
  • A completed application submitted to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).  Access CASPA here:
  • Candidates will be required to complete a supplemental application and submit a $40 supplemental application fee only if you are invited to an interview.  More information will be provided upon interview invitation.
  • An on-campus interview with members of the PA program faculty and admissions committee is required for final admissions decision.
  • 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 2020-2021 Cycle Only:

  • We will accept passing grades taken in a Pass/Fail system for any course taken from January to May 2020.  This may impact your GPA calculations.
  • We will accept passing grades taken in a Pass/Fail system for up to 2 required, prerequisite courses taken from January to May 2020.  You must have letter grades for 4 of the 6 required courses.
  • We will conduct our interviews via online, synchronous meetings on Zoom.  Information regarding the online interviews will be sent to all interviewees.

Permanent Changes to the Program’s Admissions Standards Effective as of the 2020-2021 Cycle:

  • Effective April 2020, GRE scores are no longer a requirement for admissions consideration.
  • Candidates are strongly encouraged to complete the CASPer assessment.  Information available here:  Valid scores should be sent to the program from CASPer.  Completion of the CASPer assessment is not a requirement for admission for the 2020-2021 cycle.
  • Leadership and/or community service involvement is a strongly encouraged for admissions consideration.  The more hours accrued demonstrating leadership or service to the community, the more competitive your application profile.

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. 

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.  seats in the class before interviews are done.  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 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 additional consideration towards interview and admission to the program, to be reviewed on a case by case basis: 

  • Military veterans
  • Persons from an underrepresented minority group in the healthcare sciences
  • 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 27 to October 1 of each year.  

Applications must be submitted online via CASPA at: https://

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 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: for information related to upcoming PA Program Open House events.


For 2020-2021, applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to take the CASPer assessment exam for official score submission to the Rush University PA Program.  Applicant performance in the CASPer test will not be a factor of consideration for admission in the 2020-2021 cycle. Information regarding the CASPer assessment is available here: CASPer Assessment.

The CASPer assessment will be required for admissions starting in the 2021-2022 cycle.   

CASPer is a situational judgment assessment exam that evaluates the test takers non-cognitive and interpersonal interaction skills.  The CAPSer assessment will aid the PA Program in making holistic applicant evaluations. 

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.