|The deadline to apply for the 2014 matriculating class has passed. The application to apply for the 2015 matriculating class will open in mid-April 2014.|
Printed information is not available. Prospective applicants are encouraged to thoroughly review admissions information carefully before contacting us via phone or e-mail if additional information is required.
The University of Utah Physician Assistant Program (UPAP) is accredited by ARC-PA, The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. UPAP is a full-time program that begins each summer semester (early May) and spans 27 months over 7 continuous semesters *. Part-time or interrupted attendance is not an option, and no online classes are offered.
The didactic phase of the program takes place over 4 semesters for a total of 64 credits of graduate level academic coursework, and includes full-day clinical rotations once weekly beginning at mid-year. The clinical phase takes place during the second year and includes full-time clinical rotations under the direct supervision of a preceptor: students are not required to supply their own clinical sites or preceptors. The total number of credits awarded during the clinical year is 27. In addition, all students must produce and present a master's project during their clinical year.
Graduates of the Utah Physician Assistant Program earn a Master of Physician Assistant Studies Degree, MPAS.
* The program loosely follows the University of Utah academic calendar during the first four semesters, http://www.sa.utah.edu/regist/calendar/datesDeadlines/deadlines.htm, with the exception of starting the first semester (summer) one week early, and PA program classes are held during part of fall break. Other exceptions announced on a yearly basis.
1. Bachelor's Degree
BA, BS, or BAS (four-year, any major) from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning in the U.S. or Canada is required. Applicants who are applying this year for the 2015 entering class who have yet to complete a bachelor’s degree must graduate no later than early May of 2015 order to be eligible to matriculate into the next PA class that will matriculate on Monday, May 11, 2015. Foreign degrees can be accepted, but must be evaluated and meet U.S. equivalency. Additionally, candidates with foreign degrees must complete a minimum of 60 semester credits of coursework (approximately two years) in the United States, including our prerequisite courses.
2. Prerequisite Coursework
Prerequisite coursework deadline: summer semester 2014. All prerequisite coursework must be complete by summer semester 2014. Candidates who are completing our minimum prerequisites during summer semester must have an official transcript sent to us after summer grades have been posted.
- Candidates completing prerequisites during summer semester should list those courses as “in progress” on the CASPA application, and submit the application no later that August 1st.
- Send an official transcript to verify prerequisites taken and grades for summer 2013 courses. Please do not send a transcript for courses taken that are not among our prerequisites.
- Candidates who are completing our prerequisites summer 2013 will not be eligible to receive a formal application evaluation until after the official transcript has been received.
- We will send an e-mail confirmation when the transcript has been received.
Send your official transcript to:
The University of Utah PA Program
375 Chipeta Way Ste A
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Transcripts are due by Monday, September 15, 2014.
Prerequisite grades and timeframe: we do not accept AP, CLEP, Audit, Pass/Fail for prerequisite courses. Additionally, classes from professional schools, including medical school, are not accepted.
Prerequisite courses must be completed from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning in the United States or Canada for a letter grade. Foreign prerequisite coursework is not accepted. All courses must be entered on the CASPA application. Letter grades of less than C (including C-) are not accepted, no exceptions.
We do not currently enforce an expiration date for prerequisites. However, candidates whose prerequisite coursework is older than 10-year range are strongly encouraged to consider refreshing, particularly if the candidate has not been challenged as a student in a traditional classroom for a similar length of time.
- Human Anatomy - four-semester credits - must be human and with a lab - animal or comparative anatomy courses are not accepted. UPAP will accept a three-semester credit Human Anatomy class in lieu of the four-semester credit requirement (such as that offered by BYU Provo), but only if a lab was taken as a part of the class, and the class is accepted for science majors.
- Human Physiology - four-semester credits - must be human - no other physiology courses are accepted,
- Anatomy and Physiology I and II - totaling eight semester credits - as a combined full year series is accepted in lieu of separate anatomy and physiology courses.
!!! A mixed combination of the above courses will not be accepted: applicants must take AP I & II or Human Anatomy and Human Physiology separately to meet the requirement. (Example: AP I [four credits] + Physiology [four credits] = a mixed combination. The candidate would be considered short on Anatomy credit)
Human Anatomy and Human Physiology courses taken from Exercise Science, Sports Science, or Kinesiology departments are not accepted.
- Biology - four-semester credits, lab credit can be included - All Biology coursework with a relationship to the human body is accepted. Microbiology is most strongly recommended. General Biology, Cell, Genetics and some Intro classes are other examples of acceptable biology courses.
- Chemistry - eight-semester credits, lab credit can be included - All Chemistry coursework is accepted, including Intro, General, Inorganic, Organic and Biochemistry.
Additional Coursework Recommendation - Physician Assistants treat patients from a broad range of backgrounds. Therefore, UPAP recommends that applicants have some coursework that supports understanding of diverse backgrounds and contributes to a sense of cultural competency. We also recommend courses in writing, statistics, microbiology and genetics. However, no "extra credit" is given for having taken the aforementioned courses.
Coursework Completed at Non-U.S. Schools We do not accept foreign prerequisite coursework. All prerequisite courses must be completed at a regionally accredited college or university in the United States or Canada. For candidates holding foreign degrees, a total of 60 semester credits (approximately two years) at a regionally accredited U.S. College or University must be completed as well, prerequisite credit included. No exceptions.
3. Grade Point Average (GPA)
We recommend that applicants have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above, as per the University of Utah Graduate School requirement. A strong science GPA is preferred, and competitive applicants will tend to fall within higher GPA ranges of cumulative and science GPAs. UPAP uses the CASPA GPA calculations in the application evaluation. Be aware that ALL coursework is considered in your GPA calculation, including old coursework that has been repeated for a better grade.
Exceptions to the GPA policy are rare and at the discretion of the program and the graduate admissions committee, where final acceptance is determined. Applicants whose total GPA (CASPA calculation) is less than 2.7 will not be considered.
4. Health Care Experience
A minimum of 2000 hours of health care experience, which is at least one year full-time equivalent, as of the August 1st application deadline is required for an applicant to be considered*. We will project hours to the deadline for early applicants, and we do encourage applicants to apply early.
All forms of healthcare experience are considered and accepted toward the minimum requirement, with direct hands-on patient care experience being most preferred. Student practicum experience is not accepted.
Healthcare hours are subject to verification, i.e., the program may contact supervisors to confirm reported hours. Paid experience is weighted more heavily than volunteer.
* Cut-off is based on average applicants typically exceeding 4000 hours HCE.
5. Entrance Exam
UPAP does not require the GRE or other exams. Please do not send your scores, as they will not be considered.
6. If English is Not Your Native Language
All non-native speakers must produce a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score. There are no exceptions regardless of citizenship status or educational background.
Applications for whom English is not their native language will not be considered without a TOEFL score of 550 (written), 230 (computer) or 80 (internet). Test scores should be submitted with the CASPA application or sent directly to UPAP no later than early September 2014. Check testing centers in your area for availability and frequency of tests offered. Expect to wait several weeks for results.
University of Utah campus location:University of Utah Testing Center
440 Student Services Building
201 S 1460 E Room 498
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112
TOEFL tests taken at the University of Utah Testing Center are for applicants to University of Utah programs only, and results cannot be sent to other institutions.
Accepted Student Demographics
Click here for 2013-2015 class demographics in detail (current 1st year students)
Click here for 2012-2014 class demographics in detail (current 2nd year students)
How To Apply
Please visit our Important Dates webpage for details on this year’s deadlines.
1. CASPA Application
CASPA, the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants, is a web-based application service. Carefully follow instructions given on the CASPA website and check your application status regularly. Please do not send any materials to us, except for summer transcript to verify prerequisites taken during summer semester 2014. Other transcripts and additional letters of reference received will be disregarded.
!!! Candidates who have not met the completed coursework requirement by summer semester 2014 will not be considered.
- Go to the CASPA website, https://portal.caspaonline.org/ to create an account and begin your application. Follow instructions for each section and refer to FAQs as needed.
- All required supplemental materials (transcripts, references, foreign transcript evaluation, if applicable) must be sent directly to CASPA as per instructions provided on the CASPA website.
- You can fill out and e-submit/pay for your application at any time before the deadline, even if your supplemental materials have not yet been received at CASPA. However, CASPA requires that your materials be received before application is considered complete and eligible for processing. Only applications that have been verified and processed by CASPA, with GPAs calculated, are eligible for evaluation.
- We strongly encourage applicants to have transcripts and letters received at CASPA on or near our deadline to assure timely processing.
2. UPAP Supplemental ApplicationThe Supplemental Application is available only to those applicants who have already submitted the CASPA application. We recommend completing your Supplemental Application within a few days of submitting your CASPA. Both applications are required in order for your application to be eligible for evaluation. The day after your CASPA application has been submitted, you will receive a confirmation e-mail that also includes a web link to complete the Supplemental Application.
The Supplemental Application is a timed online exercise. Candidates are given a limited amount of time to respond to questions posed. This exercise can be compared to participating in an online interview. Candidates will be given only one opportunity to complete the Supplemental Application.
How to complete your Supplemental Application:
Step 1. You must first submit your CASPA application. Please allow for up to one business day after you submit your CASPA application for our online Supplemental Application to recognize your valid CASPA ID and allow you to log in. You may to start your Supplemental Application if your CASPA application has been submitted.
Step 2. DO NOT BEGIN your Supplemental Application unless you are able to dedicate at least one continuous hour to complete the exercise, using a reliable computer and a reliable internet source. You will be given only one opportunity to complete the application.Step 3. Complete the application. Follow instructions carefully.
The online Supplemental Application will permanently close on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 11:59 PM, MST. Failure to complete the Supplemental Application will result in disqualification of candidacy. No late applications will be accepted.
3. DeadlinesYou can submit your application to CASPA at any time after the application cycle opens, and up to the submission deadline of August 1st even if your transcripts and letters have not yet been sent to CASPA. We recommend:
- That applicants apply as early as possible.
- That your transcripts and letters of recommendation have been received at CASPA by or near our August 1st deadline, to assure that CASPA will process your application by the time our Supplemental Application deadline passes on September 3rd.
- That applicants complete the online Supplemental Application within a few days of submitting the CASPA application.
We do not make exceptions to deadlines under any circumstances.
August 1st: Last day to submit the CASPA application
September 2nd: Last day to submit the Supplemental Application
September 2nd: Applications cut-off date. Candidates whose applications have not cleared processing (remain unverified) by CASPA, and/or who have not completed the Supplemental Application will be disqualified. Applicants are solely responsible for allotting sufficient time for CASPA to process the application.
Applicants who fail to submit both applications will not be considered.
!!! Processed applications are available to us electronically in real time on the day they are processed, or "verified", so there is no need to worry if your application has not yet been "mailed" to us from CASPA by September 2nd. If your application status is "verified" by September 3rd, your application is eligible for review, provided you have also completed the Supplemental Application, and have met our minimum requirements.
Recommended timeline to apply:
- If your prerequisite coursework is complete: apply as early as possible. We do not utilize a rolling admissions process, but some of the programs you are also applying to may have rolling admissions, thus advantaging your early application.
- If your prerequisite coursework is not complete: if you are taking summer courses to meet our prerequisites, we still recommend that you apply early. However, we require that your summer transcript verifying completion of prerequisites be sent to us before your application is eligible for formal review. Know the date when your summer grade will post to your official transcript, and have the transcript sent to us from your registrar.
All of your materials (transcripts and letters of reference) should be received at CASPA by or near the deadline, even if you choose to submit your application close to or on the deadline. CASPA will not consider your application complete and eligible for processing until after all of your materials are in, and processing may take several weeks.
Graduate School Application Please DO NOT apply to the University of Utah Graduate School unless you have been extended a formal offer of acceptance following an in-person interview by invitation.
Correspondence from UPAP: What to Expect Candidates will be notified by e-mail when applications have been received at the program.
The UPAP Application Evaluation ProcessScored application criteria include:
- Academics: GPA, science GPA, and quality/quantity of prerequisite coursework.
- Health Care Experience: Quality/quantity of direct patient care (preferred) and other health related work experience. Paid experience is weighted more heavily than volunteer hours. Student practicum experience is not accepted at Utah, although candidates should list it on the CASPA application, since it may be accepted at other programs applied to.
- Personal Statement: Narrative up to 5000 characters, approximately 625 words in length. Personal statements are submitted with the CASPA application.
- Letters of Reference: Three references, preferably from supervisors in a patient care setting. Letters are submitted with the CASPA application.
- Supplemental Application: The content of responses to interview-style questions posed in Supplemental Application will be evaluated and scored.
Applicants receiving highest total application review scores will be invited to an in-person interview. Only candidates interviewed will eligible for acceptance.
The Interview ProcessA limited number of candidates receiving among the highest composite application scores based on the application review criteria will be invited to interview in person. Interview dates are posted under Important Dates on our website. No other dates will be offered.
All candidates offered interviews are given a test of basic anatomy, physiology, and general medical terminology during the interview sessions. Study guides are not provided.
Candidates receiving admission offers must also apply and be accepted to the University of Utah Graduate School.
Requirements for Accepted StudentsUniversity of Utah Graduate School Application
Technical Performance Standards The University of Utah School of Medicine Technical Performance Standards has been adopted by UPAP. These standards establish the minimum physical, cognitive, and emotional requirements needed to reasonably assure that a student can complete the entire course of study and participate competently in training and practice. To view UPAP Technical Standards, click here [pdf].
Laptop Computer or Tablet Students receive all program correspondence, course materials, syllabi, and PowerPoint presentations to accompany lectures electronically, and must be able to access them in the classroom.
Background check Acceptance to the program is contingent upon acceptable background check results. All students receiving an offer of admission must consent to a criminal background check. Adverse results of background checks will be considered on an individual basis by the Admissions Committee and could result in revocation of offer. Matriculated students will undergo a second background check prior to clinical year, and individual clinical sites may conduct background checks independently.
Drug testing All students will be drug tested prior to entering clinical year.
Immunizations Students who are accepted to the program must provide immunization records or proof of immunity to Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), and Hepatitis B. The Hepatitis B series must be started before the clinical year commences. A TB test is also required annually. UPAP also recommends that students obtain additional vaccinations for healthcare workers as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control that include Tdap (Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis combo), Varicella (Chickenpox), Meningococcal, and Influenza (when available annually).
More About UPAP and the University of UtahWe support a policy of nondiscrimination with respect to age, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, nationality, college(s) attended or major field of study, religious or political preference, prior occupation, parental occupation, status, work or extracurricular activity involvement. http://www.oeo.utah.edu/.
The University of Utah provides reasonable accommodation to students with known disabilities. http://disability.utah.edu/.
UPAP is committed to recruiting, admitting, and graduating qualified candidates from diverse groups. Characteristics of a potentially strong applicant include:
- Evidence of dedication to medically underserved populations. Prior medical experience working in a community or with an organization whose mission is to target populations with barriers to receiving health care is valued.
- Strong clinical background. Previous employment requiring a high level of medical knowledge, clinical responsibility, and critical decision-making.
- Strong academic aptitude as demonstrated from past academic performance.
- Superior interpersonal and communication skills, high motivation, strong ethical/moral character, understanding of limitations, exceptional knowledge of a PA’s role, an ability and desire to live and work among diverse populations, and a sincere desire to care for others.
Business hours are Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM MST
University of Utah
School of Medicine
Physician Assistant Program
375 Chipeta Way, Suite A
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Phone: (801) 581-7766
Fax: (801) 581-5807
We very strongly recommend that prospective applicants attend an Information Session prior to requesting individual appointments. Click here for Information Session dates.
For questions, call 801-581-7969 or email@example.com
For appointments, a phone call is preferred