Physician Assistant Studies Admission Criteria

The GVSU PAS program uses the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) for the application process.  CASPA was established in 2001 and is a service of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA).  The CASPA application process is designed to simplify the PA school application process by allowing students to apply to several programs with only one application.  Currently 95% of accredited PA programs across the country use CASPA to process applications.


Important Dates for the 2019/2020 Application Cycle

CASPA Application opens:  April 25, 2019

Application Deadline:  September 1st, 2019 (for classes starting August 2020, Class of 2022)

  • CASPA applications must be COMPLETE by September 1, 2019. An application is considered complete after the online application is completed and all supporting documents have been received by CASPA. 
  • Verification may occur after the application deadline of September 1, 2019.
    • Verification is the process CASPA uses on completed applications to match courses on the official transcript with completed courses listed on the ‘Transcript Entry’ section of the application in order to calculate numerous GPAs. 

Admissions Academic Request Form Deadline:  July 15, 2019

  • Students do not need to submit an Admissions Academic Request Form (ARF) unless they have highly unusual circumstances that impact their ability to meet one or more of the published admission criteria.
  • See ARF form for further details.

Applicants Notified of Interview:  AFTER Mid-October, 2019

Interview Dates:

  • November 1, 2019  (Grand Rapids applicant interviews at Cook DeVos Center for Health Sciences, Grand Rapids Campus)
  • November 8, 2019  (Traverse City applicant interviews at Traverse City Campus)

Applicants Notified of Admission Decision:  January, 2020

Incoming Class Sent Information Packet:  May, 2020

Orientation:  August 27, 2020 (Mandatory)

Classes Begin:  August 31, 2020


Important Reminders

  • Note that applicants may apply to the Grand Rapids OR Traverse City Campus.  Applicants are NOT permitted to apply to both campuses.
  • Applicants are responsible for ensuring they meet all application requirements.  It is recommended to check the website regularly for any changes.
  • Admission to the Physician Assistant Studies program is competitive.  The criteria for admission involves three steps:  application, interview, and acceptance.
  • GVSU supplemental application and all CASPA documents must be completed and received on or before the application deadline.  


Admission Criteria

Applicants are considered without regard to age, gender, sexual orientation, race, color, national origin, religion, political beliefs, or disability.

Applicants must meet certain health and technical standards that demonstrate their capacity to function as a physician assistant.

Criteria for Application

University Requirements

  1. Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education (must be completed by the month of May prior to program matriculation).
  2. Completion of GVSU supplemental form.
  3. $30 application fee payable to GVSU.
    • Application fee is waived for those who have previously applied to GVSU and paid the $30 application fee.

Program Requirements

1.   CASPA Application.

  • Refer to the FAQ page (Admission Related FAQ) for details on how to ensure your application is complete.  Failure to meet the "complete" status requirements by the deadline will result in an incomplete application.

2.   College Transcripts.  Copies of official transcripts from all institutions of higher education previously attended, including GVSU, must be sent from those institutions directly to CASPA.

3.   GPA.  Applicants must maintain an average GPA of “B” (3.0) or higher in EACH of the following categories:

  • Overall GPA (based on CASPA calculated overall GPA)
  • Last 60 hours of coursework
    • GVSU will calculate the GPA based on the last 60 hours of coursework completed at the time of application.
    • Note:  The actual number of credit hours used to calculate this GPA may vary slightly between applicants.  The calculation will include the entire semester’s grades, in which the final 60th credit hour falls.  Therefore, the total credit hours used to calculate this GPA may be slightly more than 60.
  • GVSU PAS Program Prerequisite Courses
    • GVSU will calculate the PAS program prerequisite course GPA.
    • The GPA will be calculated based upon the higher grade earned, if any course was repeated.
    • If a two-semester sequence course is used to complete a prerequisite, the higher of the two grades will be used to calculate the prerequisite GPA.

4.   Prerequisite Coursework.  

  • Click here for the list of prerequisites and recommended courses
  • Click here for courses from Michigan universities that fulfill GVSU PAS prerequisites.
  • Applicants must attain a minimum grade of “C” (2.0) in each of GVSU’s PAS program prerequisites.
  • The following courses MUST be completed prior to the application deadline:
    • Human Anatomy
    • Human Physiology
    • Microbiology
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Biochemistry
  • All PAS program prerequisite coursework and a bachelor’s degree must be completed by the month of May prior to program matriculation.
  • The following courses must be completed within 5 calendar years of the year of application.  Example:  A course completed in April 2014 will expire at the end of December 2019
    • Human Anatomy
    • Human Physiology
    • Microbiology
    • Biochemistry

5.   GRE scores.  The GRE code for GVSU on CASPA is 2524

  • GRE test scores are valid for five years after the testing year (See the GRE website for additional details
  • If there is more than one GRE score, the test with the highest composite score will be used for admission decisions.

6.   Minimum of two (2) Recommendation Rubrics

  • Recommendation rubrics will be emailed by CASPA to your references at the time of application submission.
  • Separate letters of recommendation are NOT acceptable substitutes for the recommendation rubric.
  • One recommendation rubric must be completed by a health care professional.
  • The other recommendation rubric may be completed by either a second health care professional or a university faculty member.

7.   Healthcare experience.  Applicants must complete a minimum of 500 hours of significant volunteer and/or work and/or observational experience in a health care environment by the time of application.  It is highly encouraged that this experience be hands on patient care activities.

  • Health care experience will be documented on the CASPA application.
  • CASPA experience categories that may count towards the required 500 hours of health care experience include patient care experience, health care experience, and shadowing.
    • Experiences documented in the patient care experience and shadowing categories on the CASPA application will count towards the required 500 hours.
    • Some of the experiences documented in the healthcare experience category on the CASPA application will count towards the required 500 hours of health care experience.
      • Examples of experiences from the healthcare experience category that will NOT apply towards the required hours include clerical work, delivering patient food, and cleaning patient rooms.
      • Examples of experiences from this category that will apply toward the required hours include filling prescriptions, administering medication, taking vitals or other record keeping information, working as a scribe, CNA, medical assistant, etc.

8.   International Applicants

  • Students whose first language is not English should be able to speak and write in fluent English and submit the following materials:
    • Official TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB score reports.
    • The minimum TOEFL score is 80 Internet-based, the minimum IELTS score is 6.5, and the minimum MELAB score is 77.
    • Only original score reports will be accepted. 
  • Students whose higher education studies were completed outside of the U.S. must also submit:
    • Original or certified original transcripts
    • Official transcript credential evaluation information (e.g. WES, ECE)
    • Transcripts demonstrating 30 hours of higher education coursework taken at an established and accredited U.S. Institution.


Criteria for Interview

  1. Interview criteria reviewed yearly and are subject to change.
  2. All applicants must meet all application criteria by the application deadline to be considered for interview selection and possible admission.
  3. Application materials will be reviewed by the PAS Admissions committee.
  4. Applicants will be ranked based on the following factors:  GPA (overall GPA, last 60 credit hour GPA, and/or PAS program prerequisite GPA), GRE official test scores, recommendation rubrics, and healthcare experience hours.
  5. In addition to general admission requirements, admission to Traverse City campus will include the following consideration:  previous/current residence in Northern Michigan, and previous/current connections to or experiences in Northern Michigan.
  6. The top-ranked applicants will be invited for an interview.
  7. Remaining applicants will be notified they have not been selected for interview.


Interview Day

The interview is a half-day experience which will include:

  • Welcome and overview of the GVSU PAS program 
  • Individual interviews with PAS faculty and members of the local health care community
  • Facility tour with current PAS students
  • Group interview with program director
  • Opportunity to meet with representatives from GVSU College of Health Professions Student Services academic advisors, GVSU graduate school, financial aid, and housing

Throughout the interview day, PAS faculty will assess:

  • Motivational factors, life experiences, patient care experience, maturity, and personal characteristics that are necessary to become a successful physician assistant.
  • Applicants will be asked to complete an applicant survey to evaluate the application and interview process during interview day.

Criteria for Acceptance

  1. Admission criteria are reviewed yearly and are subject to change.
  2. Applicants must meet all admission criteria by the time of program matriculation.
  3. Following the interview, the PAS Admissions Committee and PAS faculty will review candidate application materials.
  4. Applicants will be ranked based on the following factors:  GPA (overall GPA, last 60 credit hour GPA, and/or PAS program prerequisite coursework GPA), GRE official test scores, recommendation rubrics, health care experience hours, and interview day assessments.
  5. In addition to general admission requirements, admission to the Traverse City campus will also include the following considerations:  previous/current residence in Northern Michigan, and current/previous connections to or experiences in Northern Michigan.
  6. The top-ranked applicants will be notified of acceptance into the program.  Alternate applicants will be notified of their alternate status.  Remaining applicants will receive a letter of decline.
  7. GVSU PAS Alternate Candidate Policy
  • An attempt will be made to fill all vacant spots in the upcoming class.
  • Alternates may be notified of an opening up to, but not including, the first day of class.
  • The GVSU PAS program will NOT discuss the ranking of students within the alternate list.
  • The GVSU PAS program requires applicants to apply to a single campus (Grand Rapids or Traverse City), however, GVSU reserves the right to offer an applicant a position at either campus to fill vacancies.
  1. Acceptance into the program requires a criminal background check, fingerprinting, and a drug screen in order to participate in certain components of the PAS program.
  • If a student has a history of a criminal record or has criminal charges pending, the student needs to be aware that this may impact their ability to complete the GVSU PAS program according to Exclusionary Law.


Traverse City Campus

For information about application to the Traverse City campus, please click here (visit TC)

HOPE College Articulation

STATEMENT OF AGREEMENT.  The PAS Program of Grand Valley State University (GVSU) agrees to admit to its Accreditation Review Committee – Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) -accredited, entry-level master's degree program in Physician Assistant Studies up to two (2) suitably-qualified and duly-enrolled, full-time students from Hope College who satisfy all admission criteria. The admission of these candidates shall occur on a non-competitive basis with respect to the applicant pool as a whole. For more information and requirements, please contact the HOPE Pre-PA advisor.  

Page last modified May 16, 2019