2020 Application Requirements (2021 entering class)
See the "Application" page for information on the CASPA Application and the CASPer Test.
Information related to the current coronavirus outbreak:
- The Utah PA Program has always accepted online coursework from regionally accredited institutions. Recent transition to online learning in response to the virus will have no impact on applications.
- For applicants whose institutions have adopted a pass/fail grading system for the spring/summer 2020, we will accept "pass" or "credit" marked on transcripts to meet prerequisites. Note, however, that a letter grade is preferred if receiving one is still an option.
- In an effort to accommodate candidates who have been furloughed but would otherwise have met the minimum experience hours by the acquisition deadline, we will reduce the minimum number of hours required for the current application cycle to 1500 for all program applicants.
- There are currently no plans to adapt other requirements or application deadlines.
1. Bachelor's Degree
BA, BS, or BAS (four-year, any major) from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning in the US or Canada is required. Applicants who are applying this year for the 2021 entering class who have yet to complete a bachelor’s degree must graduate no later than Friday, May 7, 2021, order to be eligible to matriculate into the next PA class that will start orientation on Monday, May 10, 2021. Foreign degrees can be accepted, but must be evaluated and meet US equivalency. Additionally, candidates with foreign degrees must complete a minimum of 30 semester credits of coursework (approximately one year full time equivalent) in the United States, including our mininum of 20 credits of prerequisite courses.
2. Prerequisite Coursework
All prerequisite coursework must be complete at the time you submit your application by the August 1 submission deadline. Coursework must be completed for a letter grade that is published on your official transcript and verified by CASPA.
Summer 2020 coursework: If you hope to complete your minimum required coursework in summer of 2020, there is some risk of missing the secondary deadline of September 1st:
You must submit the CASPA application by August 1st, and you must enter a grade for the summer course, even if the course has not yet ended.
Do not send in the transcript from the institution where you are taking the class to CASPA until after your grade has posted.
If the grade posted on the transcript does not match the one you entered on your application, CASPA will not correct it for you. They will notify you and you must change it yourself. Once you have done so, your application must be re-processed.
If re-processing delays your application past Tuesday, September 1st, our secondary deadline, your application will be disqualified.
There is no need for repeated coursework to be verified by CASPA: apply as early as possible.
Prerequisite grades and timeframe: We do not accept AP, CLEP, or audited coursework. Pass/Fail prerequisites accepted only from regionally accredited institutions whose pass minimum is B or higher.
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 (such as C-) are not accepted for prerequisites, no exceptions. Online courses are accepted.
Expiration for Anatomy and Physiology: Fall 2013 and earlier
Anatomy and Physiology courses taken fall 2013 and earlier must be repeated no later than fall semester of 2020. There is no need for repeated coursework to be verified by CASPA, or to be completed before applying. However, if invited to interview with us, coursework completion (spring or summer), or verification of enrollment (fall) will be requested. Labs are not specifically required for re-takes. Online coursework is accepted.
Prerequisites other than Anatomy and Physiology do not expire.
- 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,
- or -
- 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 care for 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-US 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 (minimum 4 years of study), a total of 30 semester credits (approximately one year) at a regionally accredited US college or university must be completed as well, prerequisite credit included. No exceptions.
3. Grade Point Average (GPA)
We will review applicants whose total and science GPAs are calculated by CASPA to be at least 2.70, though we recommend a GPA above 3.0 to be a competitive applicant. A strong science GPA is preferred, and competitive applicants will tend to fall within higher GPA ranges of cumulative and science GPAs. All coursework is considered in your GPA calculation, including old coursework that has been repeated for a better grade.
4. Health Care Experience
A minimum of 2,000 hours of health care experience, which is at least one year full-time equivalent, as of the August 1 application deadline is required for an applicant to be considered. However, we will reduce the minimum hours to apply in the current cycle to 1500, based on limitations as a result of the pandemic crisis. The national average for healthcare experience is in the 4000 to 5000 hour range. We will project hours to the deadline for early applicants, and we do encourage applicants to apply early.
All forms of health care experience* are accepted and considered toward the minimum requirement, with direct hands-on patient care experience being most preferred. Student practicum experience is not accepted (undergraduate or certification training), however, medically-related graduate practicum experience is accepted on a case-by-case basis.
Health care hours are subject to verification: the program may contact supervisors to confirm reported hours. Paid experience is weighted more heavily than volunteer.
*Does not include administrative work from healthcare settings or caring for family members.
5. Entrance Exam
UPAP does not require the GRE. Please do not send your scores, they will not be considered. UPAP requires the CASPer test, see information on the Application web page.
6. If English Is Not Your Native Language
All non-native speakers must produce a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score. Exceptions are made only to candidates who have fully completed high school in the U.S. and who also have a U.S. bachelor's degree. High school transcripts may be requested.
Applicants 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 by October 2020. Register to take the TOEFL at www.toefl.org.