Physician Assistant Studies Admission Criteria

Concerns Related to Coronavirus Closures

If you  are planning to apply to Grand Valley State University's PAS program and have questions/concerns related to your ability to complete one or more of the application requirements as a  direct result of the closures related to the Coronavirus pandemic, please complete the Academic Request Form Related to Coronavirus Closures.  We will accept these forms through August 15, 2021 for the Fall 2021 application cycle.  

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 2020/2021 Application Cycle

CASPA Application opens:  April 2021

Application Deadline:  September 1, 2021 (for classes starting August 2022)

  • CASPA applications must be COMPLETED by September 1, 2021. An application is considered complete after the online application is submitted and CASPA has received all supporting documents. 
  • CASPA's VERIFICATION of documents may occur after the application deadline of September 1, 2021. 

Admissions Academic Request Form Deadline:  July 15, 2021

  • Students should only submit an Admissions Academic Request Form (ARF) IF they have highly unusual circumstances that impact their ability to meet the published admission criteria.
  • See ARF form for further details.

Applicants Notified of Interview:  AFTER Mid-October, 2021

Interview Dates:

  • Grand Rapids Interview Day:  October 29, 2021
  • Traverse City Interview Day:  November 5, 2021

Applicants Notified of Admission Decision:  January, 2022

Incoming Class Sent Information Packet:  May, 2022

Orientation:  August 25, 2022 (Mandatory)

Classes Begin:  August 29, 2022


Important Reminders

  • 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.
  • The GVSU supplemental application and all CASPA documents must be completed and received on or before the September 1 application deadline.

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.

Admission to the Physician Assistant Studies program is competitive.  The criteria for admission involve three steps:  Application, Interview, and Acceptance

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 application form.
  3. $30 application fee payable to GVSU.  Applicants who have previously applied to GVSU and paid this fee are exempt.

Program Requirements

1.   CASPA Application.

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

2.   CASPer Online Situational Judgement Test.  (

  • All applicants to the GVSU PAS program must take the American Professional Health Sciences CASPer test before the application deadline.
  • Applicants must select GVSU for score distribution when taking the CASPer test.  Scores will be released directly from CASPer to GVSU.  You do NOT need to send score reports to CASPA.
  • NOTE:  There are only a select number of CASPer testing dates available each year.

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

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

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

5.   Prerequisite Coursework.  

  • List of prerequisite and recommended courses
  • 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 before the application deadline:
    • Human Anatomy
    • Human Physiology
    • Microbiology
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Biochemistry
  • The following courses must be completed within 5 calendar years of the year of application.  Example:  A course completed in April 2016 will expire at the end of December 2021.
    • Human Anatomy
    • Human Physiology
    • Microbiology
    • Biochemistry
  • All PAS program prerequisite coursework and a bachelor’s degree must be completed by May before program matriculation.

6.   GRE scores. 

  • 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.
  • The GRE code for GVSU on CASPA is 2524

7.   Minimum of two (2) Recommendation Rubrics

  • CASPA will email recommendation rubrics to an applicant's references at the time of application submission.
  • Separate letters of recommendation can NOT be substituted for a 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.

8.   Healthcare experience.  The applicant 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.  Hands-on patient care experience is highly encouraged.

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

9.   International Applicants

  • All students in the PAS program should be able to speak and write fluently in English.  Students whose first language is not English must submit one of the following:
    • Official test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL; minimum score 80), International English Language Testing System (IELTS; minimum score 6.5), Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB; minimum score 77), or Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic; minimum score 53).
    • Only original score reports will be accepted. 
  • Students completing higher education studies outside of the U.S. must also submit:
    • Original or certified original transcripts
    • Official transcript credential evaluation information (e.g. WES, ECE)
      • Note that WES and ECE are preferred transcript credential evaluation services, however, GVSU will accept a transcript credential evaluation from an organization listed on the following website:
    • Transcripts demonstrating 30 hours of higher education coursework taken at an established and accredited U.S. Institution.


Criteria for Interview

  1. Interview criteria are 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. The PAS Admission committee will review application materials.
  4. Applicants will be ranked based on the following factors:  grade point average (overall GPA, last 60 credit hour GPA, and/or PAS program prerequisite GPA), GRE official test scores, CASPer test scores, recommendation rubrics, life experiences, and health care experience hours.  Please note that Grand Valley State University is a Silver Military/Veteran Friendly school and holds a Gold Star Status from the Michigan Veteran's Affairs Agency (Veterans and Military Resource Center).
  5. Applications for admission to the Traverse City campus will also consider the following:  previous/current residence in Northern Michigan and previous/current connections to or experiences in Northern Michigan.
  6. Top-ranked applicants will be invited for an interview.
  7. Remaining applicants will be notified they have not been selected for interview.


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.   Applicants will be ranked based on the following factors:  grade point average (overall GPA, last 60 credit hour GPA, and/or PAS program prerequisite coursework GPA), GRE official test scores, CASPer test scores, recommendation rubrics, life experiences, health care experience hours, and interview day assessments.

4.   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.

5.   Top-ranked applicants will be selected for admission to the Program.  Alternate applicants will be notified of their alternate status.  The remaining applicants will receive a letter of denial.

6.   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 applicants a position at either campus to fill vacancies.

7.   Acceptance into the Program requires a criminal background check, fingerprinting, and a drug screen 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)