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Clinical Participation Requirements

Prepare for the next phase of patient care with Pitt's Physician Assistant Studies Residential Program. 

Qualified applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. They should have an Overall GPA of 3.0 (based on 4.0) in all college level coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.0 (based on 4.0) in the prerequisite science courses designated below with an asterisk (*). See the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) site for definitions of these GPAs. Exceptions may be made (but are not guaranteed) for candidates who present compelling evidence of success in graduate coursework. This means that if an applicant has an overall GPA of < 3.0, their application may still be reviewed/considered by our team if they have completed an entire masters or doctorate level program.  Completion of graduate level courses without a diploma from said programs will not be considered, nor will graduate-level certificate programs. All admissions requirements must be completed by October 1, 2024 to start classes in the Spring 2025 term of the PA Studies Residential program.

Our admissions process operates on a rolling basis. Initially, all 60 seats are available when CASPA opens in April. Applications are reviewed in the order they're received, undergoing a 'verification' step by WebAdmit/CASPA, which can take several weeks. Please note, our faculty cannot begin reviewing applications until verification is complete.Following verification and faculty scoring, applicants may receive interview offers as early as July (specific dates below). Program seats may be offered to interviewees two weeks after interviews. Applying later in the cycle means fewer program seats might be available.

For transparency, we'll regularly update this page with our current status to include:

1. Actively reviewing applications and conducting interviews to fill program seats.

2. Interview seats are full, but interviews are ongoing (applying at this stage means joining a pre-interview waitlist).

3. Program seats are full (applying now means joining a pre-interview waitlist).

While applications are welcome until the cycle closes on October 1, 2024, keep in mind that later applications might have reduced chances due to verification and seat availability.

Individuals from Health Professions Shortage Areas, Underrepresented Minorities in Medicine, and other minoritized communities are encouraged to apply. We welcome applicants of all abilities/disabilities, religions, marital statuses, familial statuses, sexes, ages, sexual orientations, veteran statuses, national origins, all ethnic and racial backgrounds, genetic information, and gender identities and expressions.

Advanced placement, defined as a waiver of required coursework included in the PA curriculum for applicants to the program and/or a waiver of required coursework included in the PA curriculum for currently enrolled students in the program which results in the student advancing in the curriculum without completing required curricular components at the University of Pittsburgh, is not an option in this program. 

NOTE: Our Department offers two entry-level programs for those seeking to become practicing PAs.  Our other Program is the PA Studies Hybrid Program.

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the University of Pittsburgh Physician Assistant Studies Hybrid Program sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed in the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-university-of-Pittsburgh-hybrid/.

For more information, click here Overview | PA Studies Hybrid Program or email PittPAHybrid@shrs.pitt.edu.

PA Studies Residential program applicants need to have completed the following prerequisites: 

  • Biology with lab designed for science majors, two semesters* 
  • Chemistry with lab designed for science majors, two semesters* 
  • Microbiology with lab, one semester* 
  • Anatomy with lab and Physiology* (This requirement may be met by taking either one semester of Anatomy with lab and one semester of Physiology or two semesters of Anatomy with lab & Physiology combined.) 
  • Statistics, one semester 
  • Medical Terminology, one semester for at least 1 college credit 
  • English Composition/writing, two semesters 
  • Psychology, one semester 

There is no expiration date for prerequisite courses. For questions about whether your specific courses satisfy our prerequisite requirements, please review this detailed prerequisite rubric. If you still have questions after reviewing the prerequisite rubric, please contact pittpa@shrs.pitt.edu for additional information. Please note that the GRE General Test is not required for admission to the program. 

Requirements 

To apply to the Physician Assistant Studies Residential program, you must complete and submit the following: 

  • Online Application: Upload all application materials through CASPA. View application timelines below. 
  • Patient Care Experience: A minimum of 500 hours of direct, “hands-on,” patient care experience is required by the admissions requirement deadline. Eligible experiences include work as an RN, EMT, paramedic, medical assistant, physical therapy or occupational therapy assistant.  
  • Technical Standards Verification: Students admitted to the program must review the Technical Standards for admission and graduation, and submit a signed form at the time of matriculation verifying satisfactory performance of the essential skills.  
  • Personal Statements: Students must provide two personal statements in the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Your first essay should be a personal statement focusing on why you want to become a PA. The second essay should reflect the mission of the PA Studies Residential program and commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 
  • Letters of Recommendation: Submit three letters of recommendation including one (1) from a former college/university instructor, one (1) from a supervisor of the required patient care experience and one (1) character reference describing your commitment to leadership and service. 
  • Additional information for International Applicants. 

Admissions Decision Process 

The application and admissions processes for the PA Studies Residential program does not favor specific groups or individuals based on their personal or social identities. 

Student admissions decisions are made in accordance with these practices: 

  • Screening of Applications: Upon receipt of a verified application from the CASPA service, the Admissions Committee (which includes the Program Director and all full-time faculty), along with program staff, award points for certain applicant criteria and characteristics, and the total points are used to decide who is invited to interview for a seat in the program.  These criteria and characteristics include: 
    • Health care experience and level of experience – Higher scores are awarded for longer service and at higher levels of patient care 
    • Diploma and degree - While a bachelor’s degree is required, a graduate degree is scored higher 
    • Grade Point Averages (GPAs) – Higher undergraduate and specific prerequisite science GPAs receive higher scores 
    • Scoring of personal statements – Higher scores are awarded based on the strength of evidence of desire to be a PA, understanding of the role of a PA, demonstration of understanding of the program mission, evidence of how one’s background, qualifications, and/or identities match and/or support the mission, language and writing skills, and editorial care 
    • Letters of Reference – Scores are compiled from the quality of the letter and score provided by the recommender in CASPA  
  • Interview: Interviews for seats in our program are performed and scored by the program director, faculty, current students, and practicing PAs. They include the following parts and scoring: 
    • Individual interview – Higher scores are awarded based on the strength of demonstration of the following qualities: adaptability/stress management, conflict resolution, and technical and professional knowledge/ability to learn 
    • Group interview – Higher scores are awarded based on the strength of demonstration of the following qualities: active listening, conflict management, probing the group to maximize performance, leadership skills, clarification of group responses, encouraging and harmonizing with fellow group members, articulation, drawing others into the conversation, offering ideas, and summarizing 
  • Total Scoring and Final Review by Admissions Committee: After completion of the above, the committee reviews candidate scores, reviewer comments, and application information to decide who is accepted, waitlisted, and denied admission. 

Pitt Guaranteed Admissions Programs

PAS offers guarantees for incoming first-year students and for sophomores applying to the Nutrition Science (BS) program at SHRS.

Learn more

Additional Information 

  • Admitted students must complete a background check.  
  • Acceptance into and successful completion of the University of Pittsburgh Physician Assistant Studies program does not imply or guarantee National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Certification or that the student will be able to obtain state licensure upon graduation. 

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Questions? 

If you have questions, reach out to pittpa@shrs.pitt.edu at any time. 

Upcoming Deadlines 

Pitt’s Physician Assistant Studies Residential program offers one program start per year. Qualified applicants can apply to the spring cohort of the program each year. 

For the class starting in January 2025, the application cycle will open on April 24, 2024 and close on October 1, 2024. 

Only application materials submitted through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) will be reviewed by the Admissions committee. 

Program Costs 

Click here for a breakdown of all estimated tuition, fees, and costs.  

How Will You Pay Tuition? 

Students have a variety of options to fund their tuition. Some of the most frequently used funding options are included below, but we encourage you to consult with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid when determining the best options available. 

  • Scholarships: We recommend the following sites for external scholarships:
  • Loans: The Federal government provides loan options for graduate students, even if they do not qualify for need-based financial aid. The Pitt Financial Aid Office works with two types of U.S. federal government loans: 
    • Federal Direct Loans: This is generally the lowest cost loan available, for up to $20,500 every academic year. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, take at least six credits per semester and submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to qualify. Pitt’s school code for the FAFSA is 008815. We recommend checking out Frank’s FAFSA Application Platform to help. 
    • Federal Graduate PLUS Loans: If you need to borrow more, then a Graduate PLUS loan can generally cover the remainder. You will need to submit the application for the Federal Direct loan prior to applying for the PLUS.

If federal loans are unavailable or insufficient, we can help you explore private or alternative education loans. Unlike federal loans, private loans do not require a FAFSA to apply. Private loans are not based on need and approval is generally based on creditworthiness and ability to repay. Some students may need to apply with a credit-worthy co-signer. Interest rates, grace periods, repayment options and fees are determined by the lender and can vary considerably from lender to lender; generally, they charge higher rates than Federal loans.