physician assistant class group outside smiling

Every applicant who is interested in attending the Mount St Joseph University PA program must apply through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) portal

The following are the admission requirements of the MSJ PA program. Every applicant that is successful in meeting these requirements will be considered for an interview for the current cycle if their application is submitted within the window of application for the program. This window begins at the end of April when the CASPA portal opens. All applications must be verified through CASPA by September 1st.

MSJ PA Program Requirements:

1. Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and science GPA of 3.0.

2. Course of study must include the successful completion (grade of C minus or greater) of the following courses with labs as indicated (+).

  • General Chemistry  (one year) +
  • Organic Chemistry  +
  • Biochemistry
  • General Biology (one year) +
  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy and Physiology (one year) +
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Statistics

Prerequisite Course Guidelines

  • Each course must have a final grade of a C minus or higher.
  • Each prerequisite course must have been completed within 10 years of matriculation into the program (January of the year you start), except for Anatomy and Physiology I & II with lab, which must be completed within 5 years of matriculation.
  • The program will accept Advanced Placement (AP) and CLEP credit for prerequisite courses. These Advanced Placement (AP) and CLEP courses will not calculate into the GPA. 
  • The program may accept online and hybrid courses from regionally accredited institutions, pending review of the syllabus by the Admissions Committee to assure the material delivered is comparable to a similar class delivered in a traditional classroom format.
  • The program will accept the higher grade for prerequisite courses that have been retaken, replacing the prior grade in GPA calculations.
  • Any applicant who has expired pre-requisites, but has been working continually as a certified or licensed health care provider since the conclusion of their schooling may be eligible to have their pre-requisite courses waived. If this applies to you, please send a direct letter of request to Bethany Spencer ( The Admissions Committee will review and decide on these requests on an individual basis.

3. Three letters of Recommendation

  • One letter must be from a certified physician assistant.
  • Other suggestions include previous supervisor, professor, professional or social colleague.
  • Please do not have family members or friends write your letters of recommendation.

4. A minimum of 500 hours of Health-Related Experience

  • CASPA defines Health-Related Experience as: Both paid and unpaid work or internships in a health or health-related field. This includes direct interaction; for example, filling prescriptions, performing clerical work, delivering patient food, cleaning patients and/or their rooms, administering food or medication, taking vitals or other record-keeping information, working as a scribe, CNA (depending on job description), medical assistant, etc.
    • The program does not require any hours related to direct-patient-care experience however, the program gives preference to applicants who exceed 200 hours of direct-patient-care experience. (See Preference section below for further details).
    • The program does not count positions such as scribe, pharm tech, lab assistant, research assistant or COVID contact tracer as direct patient care hours however, they are still honored as health-related experiences.

5. Minimum of 40 hours shadowing a certified physician assistant in a clinical setting


6. TOEFL iBT Requirement for international students or those students who did not attend a high school where English is the primary language. Information can be accessed at

  • A minimum score of 120 is required with at least a 26 in each of the following categories:


MSJ PA Program Preferences

The following are items that the program values and takes into consideration while reviewing applications for interview invitations. The program reviews verified applications within a couple weeks of submission. Due to this timeline, the following preferences are considered at the time of application. These are NOT considered program requirements.

  • Graduates of Mount St. Joseph University
  • Veterans of the Armed Forces
    • In order to receive VA Educational Benefits, students must have their Clinical Rotations limited to Ohio hospitals that have been approved by the Veteran’s Administration.
  • Residents of Greater Cincinnati (includes the following OH–KY–IN Counties)
    • Dearborn County, Indiana
    • Franklin County, Indiana
    • Ohio County, Indiana
    • Boone County, Kentucky
    • Bracken County, Kentucky
    • Campbell County, Kentucky
    • Gallatin County, Kentucky
    • Grant County, Kentucky
    • Kenton County, Kentucky
    • Pendleton County, Kentucky
    • Brown County, Ohio
    • Clermont County, Ohio
    • Hamilton County, Ohio
    • Warren County, Ohio
    • Butler County, Ohio
    • Clinton County, Ohio
  • Over 200 Direct-Patient-Care hours
    • The program defines direct-patient-care hours as paid/unpaid experiences that involve direct interaction with patients for every shift worked. Examples of this include: medical assistant, PCA, home health aide, STNA, patient transporters, EMT, paramedic, athletic trainer, physical therapist, respiratory therapist, nurse, social worker, speech pathologist, audiologist, etc.
  • Professional demeanor exhibited in correspondence with the program during the application process
  • Over 20 non-healthcare volunteer or community enrichment experience hours within 5 years of matriculation.
    • CASPA defines “Non-healthcare volunteer or community enrichment experience” as: Volunteer work done outside of the healthcare field; for example, working for Habitat for Humanity, tutoring students, participating or working for a fundraiser walk or blood drive, etc.
  • Over 40 hours of physician assistant (PA) shadowing experience from multiple settings.
  • A cumulative or science GPA that surpasses a 3.0.
  • We also value other non-academic attributes such as:
    • Leadership
    • Diversity of life experiences
    • Success in overcoming adversity
    • Underrepresented medical minorities
    • First generation college student
    • Economically disadvantaged


Admission timeline and process:

At the time of application review, the program faculty and staff on the Admissions Committee identify applicants by their CAPSA ID and are blinded to applicant name and other personal demographics (that do not pertain to preferences listed above). Applicant review involves consideration of the following information: academic achievements, health related experiences, non-healthcare volunteer experience, PA shadowing experience, responses to program custom questions, personal statements, and interpersonal communication skills. After completion of the initial application process, a prospective student may be offered an interview with the PA program admissions committee. The program conducts rolling admissions, with seat offers extended between July and December. Those who have accepted are required to make a $1,000 non-refundable deposit (later applied towards first-semester tuition) by the deadline communicated by the program to verify their seat in the program. All communication from the program at this time will be delivered to the applicant via e-mail through CASPA.

Following acceptance into the program, but prior to matriculation, students must complete the following pre-program requirements:

  • Complete a criminal background check and drug screening evaluation.
  • Provide proof of immunization status consistent with the current CDC recommendations for health-care workers.
  • Provide proof of health insurance coverage.
  • Complete a medical screening examination with a health-care professional who attests the student meets the Technical Standards for Physician Assistant students with reasonable accommodation, if necessary.

Additional background checks, drug screening, and proof of immunization will occur annually throughout the program and as may be required by clinical rotation sites. This will be done at the student’s expense.

There is no acceleration or advanced standing in the program regardless of prior experience or degree.

No applicant who was dismissed from, or discontinued their participation in a health professional program due to an academic deficiency or non-academic policy violation(s) will be considered for admission.

Please visit “Admission FAQ” page for further clarification on commonly asked questions.  

For more information please contact: