Frequently Asked Questions | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Frequently Asked Questions

Chatham University Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Please make sure to read the Admission Requirements before completing your application.

+ Application FAQs

When can I apply?

The application cycle for the class that begins in August 2020 runs from April 27, 2019 until October 1st.

Applications must be e-submitted to CASPA by the October 1st deadline. An applicant's PA shadowing experience and GRE must be completed by October 1st.

When should I have my materials in to CASPA in order to meet Chatham's deadlines?

CASPA recommends having your application completed 4-6 weeks prior to the October 1st deadline. You may complete your application later but you risk further delays in processing and this could jeopardize your admissions status. We strongly encourage you to complete your application by the October 1st deadline.

Is there a supplemental application for Chatham in addition to the CASPA application?

No, there is not a supplemental application.

Will you review my application before it is complete?

No, an application will not be reviewed by the PA Program until it is completed and verified by CASPA.

If I have retaken a class; do Chatham and CASPA look at the new grade or the average of both?

CASPA does their overall GPA calculation based on every course taken, including repeated courses. Chatham uses the overall and science GPA's as calculated by CASPA.

Chatham takes the newer or better grade for your prerequisite coursework.

Does the program require any standardized test?

Official GRE scores are required. These scores must be sent directly to CASPA. Chatham's MPAS GRE ID number is 3879. We do not use a cutoff or minimum GRE score.  Our average combined score (quantitative and verbal) range is 305 - 310, and average analytical writing score range is 4.0 - 4.5. However, applicants should achieve a score of 290 or higher on the combined quantitative and verbal sections, and a score of 3.5 or higher on the analytical writing section. Submitted GRE scores must be from GRE tests taken within 3 years of the application date.

Is healthcare experience required for admission to the program?

Healthcare experience is not required. As part of the holistic review of the application, healthcare experience is considered along with other work and volunteer experiences.

What can I do to make myself a competitive candidate for the PA program at Chatham?

There is no single formula for a successful applicant. If an applicant meets the required minimum 3.25 CASPA calculated Overall and Science GPA, then the applicant is reviewed holistically. For more information regarding the holistic review process read the Admission Process Guidelines section of the PA Requirements webpage.

Can I transfer credits to reduce the number of courses I must take?

No, advanced standing nor transfer of credits are accepted for the PA program

+ Prerequisite Coursework FAQs

Do I need to have all of the prerequisites complete in order to apply?

No, you may have prerequisite courses still in process. However, if accepted into the graduate program, all prerequisites must be successfully completed with a grade of "B-" or higher prior to June 1st of the matriculation year. You must indicate on the CASPA application any courses that you still need to complete and the terms in which you plan to complete them. It is recommended that you not have more than 3 incomplete pre-requisite courses at the time of application.

Are my prerequisite courses too old to be accepted?

Prerequisite courses must have been completed no more than 10 years prior to the anticipated start date of the PA program.

What if I have not completed my prerequisites at the time of matriculation?

All admissions requirements must be completed by June 1st of the year in which you are planning to enter the Program. Any student who has not done so will be unable to begin the Program. Students must provide evidence of completion (official transcript) of any coursework.

May I take prerequisite courses at a community college?

Yes, you may take outstanding prerequisites at a community college or any other accredited school. Online courses offered by an accredited college or university are also permitted. (If you are unsure whether a course meets our criteria and you have a course description, you may email it to the Admissions office for review.)

+ Interview FAQs

What is Interview Day?

On campus interviews allow our faculty to meet the prospective candidates to learn more about your abilities, motivation and suitability for our program. Interviews also allow applicants to visit Chatham to learn more about problem-based learning, the campus, our facilities and Pittsburgh.

Interview day includes a program overview, a writing sample, a group interview, a problem-based learning session, and a tour of the facility.

When is Interview Day?

Chatham holds two interview dates for the PA program applicants. The interviews will be scheduled for September 28, 2019 and November 9, 2019. Students will be selected for one interview date. Interviews are by invitation only.

Are there individual interviews?

Interviews are held in small groups of applicants and interviewers. There are not individual interviews.

+ Program FAQs

How long has Chatham had a PA program?

Chatham University's PA program has been providing an innovative educational experience since 1995.

How long is Chatham PA program?

Students complete their course of study in 6 semesters over 24 months, starting in August every year.

What is the program's first-time pass rate in the national boards?

The PA programs's first-time pass rate for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) can be found here.

How many seats are available?

Chatham is accredited for a maximum of 80 seats for the incoming class.

What distinguishes Chatham from other PA programs nationally?

Chatham's PA program is an innovative leader in Problem-based learning. It was one of the first PA programs to incorporate PBL into its curriculum. PBL is a dynamic small group learning process for the self-directed adult learner.

How are the courses taught during the two didactic semesters?

The focus of the first-year curriculum is the problem-based learning format for learning clinical medicine in the Essentials for the Physician Assistant courses. A mixture of lecture based, on-line, and experiential courses provide information about the basic medical sciences, pharmacology, research, physical diagnosis, and clinical documentation and procedures that complements the material covered in PBL.

You should review the PBL video and information found on our website.

How can I learn more about Problem based learning?

You should review the PBL video and information found on our website.

Do I need to purchase a laptop for the program?

Each student will be required to have a laptop computer. Specifications are available on the website.

Can the Program be done as a part-time student?

No, the PA Program is completed as a full-time, cohort program only.

Can I work while attending the Program?

Due to the intensity and time demands associated with the Program, students are strongly discouraged from working while in the Program. There may be classes that meet during evenings or weekends as the schedule permits and students must be available to attend these sessions. The intensity of study required for successful completion of the Program makes working a significant distraction.

Can I defer my acceptance into the Program for a future class?

Offers of acceptance are valid for one entering class only. Each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Deferrals can only be applied to the next term of admission for the program.  Please contact the Graduate Admissions Office for details via e-mail at or call (800) 837-1290.  For more information about the graduate deferral policy, view the School of Health Sciences Graduate Admissions Policies in the Course Catalog.

+ Clinical Rotation FAQs

Where do students do their clinical rotations? What do the Clinical Rotations involve?

Chatham PA students are required to complete nine clinical experiences. Seven of these experiences are prescribed; Internal medicine, Family practice, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Emergency medicine, Psych, and Surgery. Students can choose two areas for their elective clinical rotations. Chatham PA students complete their rotations at clinical sites that are located in the Pittsburgh area, as well as across the country. Rotation sites include in- patient facilities, out-patient facilities, and long-term care settings. Travel to sites greater than 50 miles from campus most likely will be required.

How are Clinical Rotations scheduled?

The MPAS program has developed a selection process that gives students input on where they complete nine clinical rotation experiences, as available.

+ Employment FAQs

What is the job market for PA's?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' ( Occupation Outlook, "employment of physician assistants is expected to increase 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. As more physicians enter specialty areas of medicine, there will be a greater need for primary healthcare providers, such as physician assistants".

If I attend Chatham, will I be able to get licensed in any state in the country?

At the end of Chatham's program, you will take the national certification examination through the NCCPA. Please click here for state specific licensing requirements.

+ Chatham FAQs

Where is Chatham located?

Chatham is uniquely situated on a 39-acre campus that is designated as an arboretum, providing a serene environment in the center of a thriving urban educational and medical center in the East End of Pittsburgh. The PA program is housed in the Chatham Eastside which is a green "LEED" rated building located at the intersection of Penn and 5th Avenues just a few blocks from the Shadyside location.

Is University Housing available to PA students?

Graduate students are a vital part of our on campus residential community. Several options for university housing are available for full-time degree seeking students. For more information please visit our Graduate Housing web page.