Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

PAS program

How many students in each cohort?
We have a cohort of 45 students.

When does your program start?
Cohorts matriculate each January.

I think I’m ready to apply. Is there an easy way to check if I have met all of the requirements?
Before you apply, you should make sure you meet all of the prerequisites and other admission requirements. Use our pre-application self-checklist now to see if you’re ready.

I have a lot of questions about my application. Can I meet personally with a member of the admissions team?
Unfortunately, due to the volume of applicants, and in order to ensure fairness in the evaluation of applicants, we are unable to meet individually with applicants. The information sessions offer an excellent opportunity for applicants to interact with the faculty and learn more about the profession. The program is also happy to correspond with you via email (preferred) or telephone if you have questions or need further information.

My bachelor’s degree will not be completed until after the admissions cycle closes. However, I have completed all other prerequisites. Can I still apply?
No. In order to meet all prerequisites, your degree must be awarded and appear on an official transcript by the application deadline.

Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)?
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required, but applicants can elect to submit their scores at the time of testing using designated institution (DI) code 7363. If you have previously taken the GRE and would like to submit your scores, University of the Pacific’s GRE code is 4065. Scores are valid for 5 years per ETS website. For questions regarding submission of GRE scores click here.

How do you calculate my GPA?
We use CASPA calculated GPAs, specifically the Overall Total GPA and Overall Science GPA. We will not recalculate GPAs for admissions purposes. It is therefore very important that all grades have posted and appear on your transcript prior to submitting your application.
For more information on how CASPA calculates GPAs click here.

Are pass/fail courses acceptable for prerequisite courses?
Pass/fail courses are acceptable to meet prerequisite courses if taken at an accredited US institution. Please note, pass/fail courses do not affect your GPA per CASPA’s GPA calculation policy. Read more about how CASPA calculates GPAs here.

Is there a minimum grade for prerequisite courses?
The minimum allowable grade for prerequisite courses is a C-. Prerequisite courses may also be met with pass/fail courses.

Can AP/CLEP courses be used to meet prerequisites?
AP/CLEP courses can be used to meet non-science prerequisites. AP/CLEP credit must show on a college transcript for credit. Simply taking an AP/CLEP course or exam is not sufficient. Note: AP/CLEP credits cannot be used to meet science prerequisites.

I’m looking to better prepare myself for the rigors of PA school. Are there any non-prerequisite courses that I could take to help prepare me?
We’re glad that you are interested in making sure you are prepared before entering a PA program. There are a few recommended courses for those interested in better preparing themselves for PA school.

Science Courses

  • Immunology
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular & Cell Biology
  • Physics

Non-Science Courses

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Life Span/Developmental Psychology
  • Additional Math – Algebra and/or Calculus
  • Additional Writing or English Composition
  • Medical Terminology

Can I submit supplemental application materials to the program?
We do not have a supplemental application. Please do not submit documents directly to the program unless requested. We use the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) program to keep all of your application documents in one secure online location. We encourage you to make sure to include all pertinent information in your initial CASPA application, as it is sometimes difficult to add documents later.

My grades have now posted for courses that were in progress when I submitted my CASPA application. Can you recalculate my GPA?
We use CASPA calculated GPAs, specifically the Overall Total GPA and Overall Science GPA. We will not recalculate GPAs for admissions purposes. It is therefore very important that all grades have posted and appear on your transcript prior to submitting your application.
All applicants who are offered a seat in the class will have their GPAs verified prior to matriculation to ensure that any non-prerequisite, in progress courses, maintained a GPA, in both overall total and overall science calculations, above the required 3.0.
For more information on how CASPA calculates GPAs click here.

I have vertebrate (or another type of) anatomy. Will that satisfy the Human Anatomy requirement?
No, we require Human Anatomy to satisfy the Human Anatomy prerequisite requirement.

I have one composition class and one literature class. Do I need to take another composition class to satisfy the English requirement?
No, as long as you have at least one composition class we will accept a literature, writing intensive, composition class, or AP/CLEP credit (if recorded on a transcript) to fulfill the English requirement.

Is there a preferred undergraduate major?
We do not have a preferred undergraduate major and your undergraduate major will not affect your application.

Is there a preference between community college or four-year institutions for completing prerequisite coursework?
There is no preference as to where you complete your prerequisites. We accept prerequisites from any accredited US institution.

What type of health care experience will satisfy the health care experience requirement?
We do not consider one type of clinical experience greater than another (i.e. experience as an RN is not more valued than that of a medical assistant). Experience may be paid or unpaid. There is not a published list of health care professions the program considers suitable for clinical experience, but there are a few common positions we will not accept:

  • Greeter
  • Transporter
  • Patient Navigator
  • Basic Caregivers & Companions
  • Pharmacy Clerks (Retail)
  • Medical Transcription, Virtual Scribe
  • Medical Translation/Interpreting
  • Case Management, Records Management
  • Dietary Aide/Clerk
  • Personal Trainers
  • Clinical Care Extender
  • Shadowing
  • Patient contact experience that is solely ADLs
  • Experience mainly administrative in nature.
  • Any experience earned in exchange for college credit or as part of an experiential learning course.

At a minimum, the applicant's clinical experience should include one of the following:

  • Collecting of, and/or reporting in the patient's chart, data necessary to establish a diagnosis or evaluate the progress of the patient's treatment plan;
  • Assisting a health care worker in the performance of diagnostic, therapeutic, or surgical procedures;
  • Under the supervision of a health care provider administering or dispensing medications;
  • Other work involving direct patient contact and interaction.

HCE credit is determined by the duties you preformed, not solely by job title. It is imperative when completing your application to include a detailed description of your job duties to ensure the Admissions Team can accurately determine HCE applicability.

If you are not sure if your experience will satisfy the requirement please contact the program at PAprogram@pacific.edu for further clarification.

I am a foreign medical graduate. Which services do you accept for academic evaluation?
We will only accept the World Education Services (WES) evaluation of foreign training. CASPA will also accept the WES evaluation of transcripts so this is the required service for our program. For more information visit https://www.wes.org.

How many letters of recommendation does your program require?
We require two letters of recommendation.

Is there a recency requirement for prerequisite courses?
No, we do not require that your prerequisites be completed within a recent time-frame, however it does strengthen your application if there is some recent coursework.

Is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) required? If so, what is the cutoff score?
Please consult the TOEFL flowchart. The TOEFL cut off score is 100. TOEFL scores are valid for two years after the test date per ETS website. IELTS scores can be substituted for the TOEFL exam with a cut off score of 7.0.

Is there an online or part-time option?
The PA program does not offer an online or part-time option. It is a full-time program.

Can I work while in the program?
While we do not have a policy prohibiting outside work while in the program, it is strongly discouraged. We will not make any accommodations related to employment while in the program.

Do I need to find my own clinical preceptors?
No, we will find clinical preceptors and training sites for you to ensure that you receive optimal clinical training and mentoring. You may be required to travel extended distances to clinical sites.

Do you have rolling admissions or offer early acceptance?
All seats will be offered after the final interviews have been conducted. Due to our admissions timelines and in fairness to all applicants, we do not offer early admission.

I was invited for an interview. What will the format of the interview day look like?
The interview day lasts several hours and consists of an orientation, panel interview, and group interview. Tours of the program facilities and campus are included.

I was invited for an interview. Can I bring updated materials (résumé, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) to the interview?
We use the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) program to keep all of your application documents in one secure online location. We will not accept any documents on the interview day. Please do not submit documents directly to the program unless requested.

I received a notification that I will not be offered a seat in the class this cycle. What can I do to improve my application for the next cycle?
With over 3,500 applicants for 45 seats, the applicant pool is deep and competitive and most programs do not have the time or staffing to give applicants who did not meet their criteria feedback about how to improve their application. We do not offer specific advice for applicants; however, if you look at the average matriculant to PA school in 2015, you can get an idea of what a competitive applicant looks like. For that year, the majority of matriculants applied to five or more programs, interviewed at two, and were accepted at only one. The average matriculant had a BS degree in chemistry or biology, a GPA of 3.56, 3,120 hours of health care experience involving direct patient care, and variable volunteer work. (PAEA, 2015). Every program has certain things they are looking for, so there is not any one thing to focus on but you will want to be competitive with those that are matriculating and pay attention to the program mission. You may also want to consult our matriculant data.