Master of Physician Assistant Studies program

Admission requirements

To be eligible to apply for the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You should have a baccalaureate degree (there is no preference in what the degree is as long as the prerequisite courses are completed) from a regionally accredited institution.
    • If you have not yet completed your bachelor’s degree at the time of application but expect to have it completed by the start of the Physician Assistant Studies program must complete the Declaration of Intent to Complete Degree Requirements Form. This form will need signatures from an advisor and a school official.
  • GPA requirements are as follows:
    • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 from all coursework. We use the cumulative GPA verified and calculated by Centralized Application Service Physician Assistant (CASPA).
    • Prerequisite GPA of at least 3.2/4.0. We use the cumulative GPA verified and calculated by Centralized Application Service Physician Assistant (CASPA).
  • Completed all prerequisites (see below for the list).
  • For international students where English is not the first language, the TOEFL test is required with the following minimum scores for each section:
    • Reading: 22
    • Listening: 22
    • Speaking: 26
    • Writing: 24
  • Applicants who complete coursework outside of the United States must have their official foreign transcripts evaluated and translated by a PA Program approved independent educational evaluating service based in the United States at their own expense. The evaluation should establish a degree equivalent evaluation and course-by-course equivalent evaluation for all foreign coursework. No PA Program courses will be waived for prior completion of similar courses at a foreign medical school.

    In addition to the program requirements, International applicants must meet additional requirements as determined by the IUPUI Office of International Affairs. This includes U.S. students who studied abroad.

  • You are required to have completed a minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care involvement occurring in the United States (within the past five years) must be completed at the time of application submission. See below for more information.
  • A CASPA application in “Complete” status by August 1st. This means all application materials submitted to CASPA have been received and documented by CASPA.
    • Applicants must submit materials to CASPA several weeks in advance of this date in order to be considered ‘complete’ by the August 1st
    • Applications which are not in ‘complete’ status or which are submitted after the August 1st will not be reviewed.
  • You are required to submit two letters of reference to the CASPA application. At least one of these letters must come from a practicing Physician Assistant you either worked or shadowed.
  • You need to include a personal statement regarding your interest in becoming a Physician Assistant and submit it in CASPA in the “Personal Statement” section. Evidence of plagiarism in these documents will result in an application denial and will receive no further consideration.
  • A completed IUPUI Graduate/Professional Application by the Application Deadline of August 1st.
  • Complete applications will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Candidates who are ineligible based on the selection criteria will be notified and will not receive further consideration. Based on the application review, selected candidates will be invited for an interview. Program interviews will occur in October. Participation in an on-campus interview is mandatory.

    Interviews are confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis. Candidates will be notified of their interview status by mid-September.


The Master of Physician Assistant Studies program requires a series of prerequisite classes to prepare you for the program’s coursework. CASPA will use these courses to calculate a separate specific GPA used in the admission decision. All courses, except for Medical Terminology, must be at least three credit hours.

As a part of your application, you must fill out a Course Completion Form.

  • Human Anatomy with Lab*
  • Human Physiology*
  • Microbiology with Lab*
  • General Chemistry with Lab (two semesters)*
  • Statistics or Biostatistics* (must include inferential)
  • General Biology I with Lab* (no plant-based courses)
  • Upper-Level Human Biology with lab preferred (3-5 credits)*
    • Recommended courses: genetics, immunology, advanced molecular or cell biology
  • Organic Chemistry with Lab*
  • Introductory Psychology
  • Medical Terminology (at least one credit)

*These courses comprise the prerequisite math/science GPA.

Please Note:

  • Online courses are accepted EXCEPT for science courses with online labs.
  • Dual credit courses are acceptable if recorded on a college transcript with a grade.
  • Courses taken for AP credit will be accepted for prerequisite courses if a score of three or higher is earned. The course must appear on official university transcripts.
  • For combined Human Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) classes, a full academic year curriculum is required.
  • For other Human Biology courses, genetics, immunology, molecular, and cell biology are preferred. Plant-based biology courses will not be accepted.
  • Class substitutions that do not cover the scope or information included in the above classes will not be accepted.
  • Students are approved to retake one prerequisite course, up to five credit hours, and the higher grade will be used to calculate the math/science prerequisite GPA. Both courses will be used to calculate the cumulative GPA. If more than one prerequisite course is retaken, both grades will be used.

Direct patient care requirement

You must have completed a minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care occurring in the United States (within the past five years) at the time of application submission.

Direct patient care experience can be achieved either through employment, paid or non-paid services, or observing health care being provided. A minimum of 10 hours must be spent observing a practicing Physician Assistant.

This requirement is meant to help you achieve a knowledge base of the United States healthcare system and develop the skill set needed for the successful completion of our program. Not all health care positions can or will provide the appropriate experience. Accepted patient care hours will include the observation of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan for a patient.

Examples of Acceptable Direct Patient Experience

Clinical experiences involving direct patient care are evaluated on an individual basis.

Acceptable clinical backgrounds, including, but not limited to:

  • Certified Medical Assistant
  • Medical Scribe
  • Military Medic, Corpsman or Technician
  • Nurse (LPN or RN)
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
  • Paramedic / EMT (only hours with patients count)
  • Patient Care Tech
  • Radiology Technician
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Shadowing hours

Clinical experiences NOT accepted include, but not limited to:

  • Athletic training
  • Camp or school-based experiences
  • Dental assistant/hygienist
  • Home health aide
  • International Experiences
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Physical therapy aide
  • Research
  • Student clinical/training hours
  • Transporter
  • Unit coordinator

Other clinical experiences involving direct patient care are evaluated on an individual basis. It is recommended prospective applicants seek approval from the Office of Student Enrollment Services for their direct patient contact hours if the student is unsure if the experiences will count.

Technical Standards

Technical Standards for Admission and Retention

The Indiana University Physician Assistant Program faculty has specified the following non-academic criteria ("Technical Standards") which all applicants/physician assistant students are expected to meet in order to participate in the IU Physician Assistant Program and the practice of medicine.

1. Observation:

The applicant/physician assistant student must be able to participate actively in all demonstrations and laboratory exercises in the basic medical sciences and to assess and comprehend the condition of all patients assigned to him or her for examination, diagnosis and treatment. Such observation and information acquisition usually requires the functional use of visual, auditory and somatic sensation.

2. Communication:

The applicant/physician assistant student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, assess non-verbal communications, and be able to effectively and efficiently transmit information to patients, fellow students, faculty, staff and all members of the health-care team. Communication skills include speaking, reading and writing, as well as the observation skills described above.

3. Motor:

The applicant/physician assistant student must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers, be able to perform basic laboratory tests, possess all skills necessary to carry out diagnostic procedures and be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients.

4. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities:

The applicant/physician assistant student must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the applicant/physician assistant student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. The applicant/physician assistant student must have the capacity to perform these problem-solving skills in a timely fashion.

5. Behavioral and Social Attributes:

The applicant/physician assistant student must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and others. Applicants/physician assistant students must also be able to tolerate taxing workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, commitment and motivation are personal qualities which each applicant/physician assistant student should possess.

*Adapted from the Indiana University School of Medicine Technical Non-Academic Standards

The most competitive applicants will likely be those that have surpassed the minimum academic requirements and have a clear understanding of the program mission and the PA profession. Feedback to unsuccessful applicants is limited because of staff availability. Confidentiality issues prohibit giving feedback by telephone.


Are you ready to apply?

All items are due by the August 1st deadline.

  1. Apply to IUPUI using the graduate online application and pay the $60 application fee. 

For “Intended Program and Plan,” please select the following answers to each question:

  • What type of degree do you intend to pursue?: Masters
  • Academic Program: SHHS-Physician Assistant Studies
  • Academic Plan: Physician Assistant Studies MPAS
  • Are you applying to a dual degree program: No
  • Term: Summer 2019
  • Recommendations: skip this session
  • Personal Statement: skip this session
  1. Complete the CASPA Application. Your CASPA application must be in “Complete” status by the application deadline.
    • Initial Program Designation: $177
    • Each Additional Program: $51
  2. Your personal statement should be submitted in the Personal Statement” section of your CASPA application.
  3. Record all patient care involvement hours including your 10 hours of Physician Assistant shadowing in the CASPA application in the “Experiences” section.
  4. Prerequisite Course Completion Form: submit with the IUPUI Graduate Application in the “Department Information/Additional Upload” section.
  5. If you have not completed your bachelor’s degree you will need to complete a Declaration of Intent to Complete Degree Requirements Form and submit with the IUPUI Graduate Application in the “Department Information/Additional Upload” section.