Admission Requirements | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) Admission Requirements

Application deadline is October 1st

The application will be considered on time if it is e-submitted to CASPA by the October 1st deadline. Supporting documents may be submitted to CASPA after the deadline, but candidates are strongly encouraged to complete their application by the October 1st deadline. Candidates must have their PA Shadowing Hours and GRE completed by October 1st. The next application cycle will open in late April 2019 for students intending to start in Fall 2020.

Applying to the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) Program

Chatham University’s Physician Assistant Studies program is a member of the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). All applications must be submitted through CASPA with all relevant materials (transcripts, PA shadowing information and recommendations) at

Applicants must document their physician assistant shadowing experience by completing the “Shadowing” section of the CASPA application.

Conditional acceptances may be granted pending successful completion of prerequisites for this program. All pre-requisite courses must be completed by June 1st of the matriculation year.

Master of Physician Assistant Studies Admission Requirements

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution or completion of the undergraduate requirements for the Integrated Graduate Degree Program.
  2. Cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better on a scale of 4.0, as calculated by CASPA.
  3. Cumulative science GPA of 3.25 or better with a minimum of 20 semester credits, as calculated by CASPA.
  4. Prerequisite Courses. A grade of "B-" or better is required for each prerequisite course:
    • General Biology 1 with lab (one term)
    • General Biology 2 with lab (one term)
    • General (Inorganic) Chemistry 1 with lab (one term)
    • General (Inorganic) Chemistry 2 with lab (one term) *
    • Organic Chemistry 1 with lab (one term)
    • Anatomy with lab (one term) **
    • Physiology (one term)
    • Microbiology (one term)
    • General Psychology (one term)
    • English (one term)
    • Medical Terminology (one term)
    • * Organic Chemistry 2 with lab (one term) may substitute for either, but not both, General (Inorganic) Chemistry 1 or 2.
    • ** If taking Anatomy with Physiology, both Anatomy and Physiology I and II with lab are acceptable to fulfill the requirement for Anatomy and Physiology.
    • All courses must be completed by June 1st prior to the August matriculation.
  5. Prerequisite courses must have been completed no more than 10 years prior to the anticipated start date of the PA program. Applicants requesting an exception to the 10-year limit due to healthcare work experience will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  6. Completed CASPA application, including all pertinent supporting documentation such as recommendations, PA shadowing, GRE scores and transcripts.
  7. Three references: one academic, one from a volunteer or work experience, and one other (candidate's choice) submitted through CASPA. (Two work references are acceptable for those who have not had a recent academic experience.) The application will not be considered complete until all three letters are received.
  8. PA Shadowing Experience Requirement – PA shadowing experience of at least 32 hours is required for admission to the program. The shadowing experience must be documented in the "Shadowing" section of the CASPA application. Shadowing a physician or nurse practitioner will not satisfy this requirement.
  9. On Campus Interview – Applicants are required to receive a passing score on the on-campus interview to meet the criteria for admission. Interviews are by invitation only.

    Interview dates for the Fall 2020 entering class:
    Saturday, September 28, 2019 and
    Saturday, November 9, 2019

Recommended Courses

We recommend, but do not require, the following courses:

  • Genetics
  • Statistics
  • Nutrition
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Additional/Advanced Anatomy and Physiology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Cadaver Lab Dissection


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.

International Applicants

  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for international students whose native language is not English
  • Minimum TOEFL scores required: 600 or above on the paper-based test; 100 or above on the internet-based test. Minimum IELTS score: 7.0 or above.
  • International applicants must complete the International Graduate Student Application Supplement and provide the proper documentation [see University Catalog].
  • A course-by-course credential evaluation of university transcripts.
  • Additional requirements for international applicants can be found at


Applicants whose native language is not English and who have not completed their degree in the US or Canada will be required to submit current TOEFL or IELTS scores, regardless of their citizenship status. Minimum TOEFL scores required: 600 or above on the paper-based test; 100 or above on the internet-based test. Minimum IELTS score: 7.0 or above.

Technical Standards

The student must possess the mental, physical, and emotional capacities essential to attaining the competencies required to function as a physician assistant. All PA students will be expected to have abilities in five categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual and social. These abilities enable the student to perform tasks required to meet graduation and professional requirements as measured by state and national certification, licensure and registration processes. Candidates who posses any disability that would potentially interfere with the attainment of such competencies are encouraged to contact the Graduate Admission Recruiter, Tyson Schrader, or the Director of the MPAS program, Judy Truscott, to discuss and identify possible accommodations. Chatham University and/or affiliated sites may arrange to enable the candidate to demonstrate the necessary physical, mental, and emotional capacities.

Observation: Candidates must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe in the problem-based learning and lecture settings, the laboratory, and the health care or community setting. Sensory abilities must be adequate to perform appropriate examination or assessments including functional vision, hearing, and tactile sensation to observe a patient's condition, and to elicit information appropriate to a physician assistant.

Communication: Students must be able to communicate effectively and professionally in academic, community, educational, and health care settings, and be able to demonstrate proficiency in both verbal and written English.

Motor: Students must have the ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures. Students must be able to negotiate patient care environments, and be able to move between settings such as the classroom, health care facility, educational, or community setting. Physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study is required. Long periods of sitting, standing or moving are required in a variety of learning sites. Students must be proficient in typing skills.

Intellectual: Students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and integrate information as well as be able to comprehend temporal and spatial relationships.

Social: Students must exercise good judgment and be able to function, appropriately and effectively, in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice, and must maintain mature, sensitive and effective professional relationships with faculty, students, patients, and other members of the health care and/or educational team. Students are expected to fully participate in physical examination courses as both examiners and patients. Students should be comfortable with modest exposure of the body to allow for adequate examination (donning of sports bra or tank top for women, males will remove shirt; and shorts for both males and females). Students must also be able to be comfortable with donning surgical scrub clothing that expose the arms above the elbows, the neck and upper chest areas.

Students should be completely comfortable working in small groups for Problem Based Learning, including, but not limited to: verbal discussion of knowledge and limitations of knowledge, scribing of information via handwritten transmission in front of a group of students and a faculty member, or typing via use of smart board technology in front of a group of students and a faculty member.

In lab settings, students should be comfortable with and prepared to work with different students, both male and female, with regard to physical examination and/or procedures in a large room with other students present. No genital, breast, or rectal examinations are performed on fellow students.

Admissions Process Guidelines

After verifying that the minimum academic requirements are met, the Physician Assistant Studies program utilizes a holistic approach in reviewing the candidate's entire application. This process is intended to seek talented and qualified individuals of all backgrounds. Taking multiple factors into consideration during our admissions process positively achieves the educational benefits of a student body that is both diverse and academically excellent. This approach includes an evaluation of each candidate’s academic achievement as well as their personal characteristics, attributes and experiences. In order to receive credit for these factors, applicants are required to provide additional information in the personal statement section of the CASPA application. Further corroborating documentation may be requested before credit is awarded. As part of the holistic review, Chatham reserves the right to request a background check prior to offer of admission.

  • In addition to the minimum academic requirements stated above we take into consideration the following academic achievements:
    • Advanced degrees
    • Performance on the GRE
  • We also consider personal characteristics of the applicant including:
    • Socioeconomic status
    • Chatham student or alumni
  • Significant personal experiences have an impact on how individuals view the world and those around them. The following list provides illustrations of the types of experiences that would be considered but should not be viewed as all-inclusive:
    • Contact with other cultures, including travel, for a period of one or more months
    • Work experience, especially in healthcare
    • Military or government service
    • Voluntary service, especially with underserved populations
    • Significant PA shadowing experience

Integrated Degree Program

Chatham University undergraduates applying through the Integrated Degree Program (IDP) must complete all requirements outlined on their respective admission or track tab on the IDP Portal Site. All IDP applicants should work closely with their academic advisor to ensure they are meeting all requirements according to their IDP course of study.

Articulation Agreements

Chatham University has entered into "Articulation Agreements" with a select group of Colleges and Universities. These agreements provide for additional student pre-professional advisement and possible priority admission status for candidates with exceptional applications, demonstrating academic preparation above the minimal acceptable standards. Agreements exist with the following institutions for the 2018-2019 academic year: Allegheny College, Grove City College, Saint Vincent College, Washington and Jefferson College, and Waynesburg University. Pre-existing agreements with Mount Aloysius College, Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Slippery Rock University, and Thiel College are only applicable to undergraduates who matriculated at these institutions prior to August 31, 2017. Applicants from these institutions are advised to discuss the articulation requirements with their advisor as well as the graduate admission counselor at Chatham University.

Please review the Frequently Asked Questions, FAQs, for more information on our program.