Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies


Application Process


Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) participates in the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). You may obtain additional information about CASPA and apply online at CASPA. CASPA applications become available for 2015-2016 enrollment on April 22, 2015. All applications must be e-submitted, completed, and verified by CASPA no later than Dec. 1, 2015 for Philadelphia Campus and Jan. 15, 2016 for Georgia Campus. When applying to PCOM through CASPA, you will be required to complete PCOM specific questions before submitting. ALL required application materials, including the $75 PCOM application fee (one fee per campus), must be RECEIVED BY the Office of Admissions NO LATER THAN Dec. 11, 2015 for Philadelphia Campus and Jan. 22, 2016 for Georgia Campus in order to be considered for admission. (Documents postmarked by Dec. 11 for Philadelphia Campus or Jan. 22 for Georgia Campus but received after Dec. 11 or Jan. 22 will not be accepted.)



The Faculty Committee on Admissions recommends you submit a completed and verified CASPA application, which includes a PCOM supplemental question series, as soon as possible as we operate using a rolling admissions process.

Assessing Applicants for Interview Consideration

Completed and verified CASPA applications and supporting documents will be reviewed and individuals will be selected for an on-campus interview by the Faculty Committee on Admissions. Interviews will be offered to those who qualify compared against the applicant pool and successful completion of the following factors:

  • Baccalaureate degree
  • Prerequisite coursework
  • Grade Point Averages (GPAs)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Standardized test score (TOEFL)
  • Healthcare experience
  • Other considerations

An interview is required for admissions to the program and is typically conducted from September through February.

Selection for the PA program at PCOM is very competitive. The following requirements represent the minimum criteria for consideration for admission. Successful applicants will generally exceed the minimum criteria. At the time of application, candidates must have the prerequisite coursework completed or be able to provide a plan in writing that demonstrates the completion of the prerequisites prior to enrollment in the program (this can be achieved by completing the "Planned or In Progress Coursework" section of CASPA). Two science prerequisite courses may be "Planned or In Progress" at the time of application.

Baccalaureate Degree

All applicants must complete a baccalaureate degree, preferably in science or a health-related field, from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom prior to matriculation. Applicants must send official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended directly to CASPA. Once enrolled at PCOM, candidates must submit official copies of all college transcripts directly to the PCOM Office of Admissions.

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must also submit three letters of recommendation directly to CASPA. Others may be sent as a .PDF document to PCOM's Office of Admissions at One recommendation MUST be from a Physician, Physician Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner in order to be considered for admission.

Standardized Test Scores

Standardized test scores are not required for admission with the exception of English language testing. Fluency in written and spoken English is essential for success in the program and to ensure patient safety. Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate objective competency in English within the past two years by satisfactory performance on the TOEFL examination. The minimum required score for the IBT (Internet Based Testing) is 79, with a minimum score of 26 for the speaking component.

Applicants are exempt from the TOEFL requirement if:

  • English was the exclusive language of instruction at the undergraduate level,
  • They have earned a degree from a regionally accredited US college or university not more than 5 years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment, or
  • They have completed at least two (2) full-time semesters of graded coursework, exclusive of ESL courses, at an institution where English is the exclusive language of instruction not more than five (5) years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment.
Prerequisite Coursework

It is the responsibility of each applicant to meet the following minimum requirements:

General Biology I* 4   Lab required
General Biology II* 4   Lab required
Other Biology Coursework 3   Examples: Microbiology, Genetics, Cell Biology, etc.
Anatomy and Physiology 8   Can be taken as separate courses or combined as Anatomy and Physiology I & II. Labs required.
General Chemistry I* 4   Lab required
General Chemistry II* 4   Lab required
Other Chemistry Coursework 3   Examples: Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry
Health-related Science Course or Physics 3   Examples: Physics, Nutrition, Immunology, Virology, Microbiology, Genetics, Cell Biology, etc.
Social Sciences 9   Examples: Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, etc.
Math    Statistics is considered an acceptable Math course 

All prerequisite coursework listed above must be completed prior to enrollment with a grade of at least a "C" or 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.

*"General" coursework denotes the first two courses in the subject sequence for science majors.

  • All science and math prerequisites must be completed within the 10 years prior to June enrollment. (e.g., June 2006 or later)
  • Applicants must obtain a science and cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher on a 4.0 scale (as calculated by CASPA).
  • One course can not be used to satisfy multiple prerequisite courses.
  • AP coursework will be accepted provided the course and credits appear on your college transcript, with the assigned credits based on AP Exam scores of 4 or higher.
  • All courses must be completed at a regionally accredited institution.
  • The Program will accept credits completed at a community college.
  • The Program will accept courses completed online or on campus.
  • The Program will not accept prerequisite coursework completed as an audit or graded pass/fail.
  • The Program will not accept credits completed as CLEP courses.
Healthcare Experience

To be considered for an interview, applicants must have a minimum of 200 hours of direct patient contact experience in volunteerism or employment in the healthcare industry, as documented through CASPA at the time of application.

Other Considerations

Applicants with graduate degrees and/or five years of healthcare experience and/or other unique circumstances or qualifications may be considered, on an individual basis, for waiver of selected published prerequisite coursework. However, all candidates must have earned a baccalaureate degree prior to enrollment, excluding dual-degree candidates. Waiving of any criteria can only be assessed during the formal application review by the Faculty Committee on Admissions. Staff members of the Office of Admissions may not waive application requirements.

Applications are not accepted from individuals ineligible to be licensed as a Physician Assistant under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of Georgia.

To ensure that students accepted to PCOM will be permitted to perform clerkships during their second year of study, and thus ensure them the opportunity to successfully complete their MS degree requirements, PCOM requires all first year PA students to complete a criminal background check prior to matriculation. All students must have their criminal background checks processed through PreCheck. The Admissions Office will send notification of the process after confirmation of enrollment and must have this information on file prior to orientation. Students will not be allowed to start classes without a criminal background check completed.

Application Decisions

Candidates interviewed are evaluated based on multiple factors including:

  • Academic ability
  • Scholarly accomplishments
  • Problem solving ability
  • Decision making skills
  • Maturity
  • Potential for professional comportment
  • Level of commitment to the profession
  • Personal preparedness
  • Congruence with program philosophy and mission

The Admissions Committee reserves the right to accept or reject applications to the chosen program based on merit.

Notification of Acceptance or Alternate Status

Following completion of the admissions process, applicants will be notified of the Admissions Committee's decision in writing, including any conditions that must be satisfied prior to or following enrollment. Once admitted, candidates who wish to enroll are asked to review and acknowledge PCOM's Technical Standards for Admission and Matriculation and submit a $500 non-refundable tuition prepayment. The acceptance packet will contain all materials required for enrollment.

Affiliation Agreements

PCOM Physician Assistant Studies program collaborates with PCOM and three select partner institutions: the University of the Sciences (Philadelphia, PA), Brenau University (Gainesville, GA), and Thomas University (Thomasville, GA). Students following this pathway matriculate into a physician assistant pre-professional program, leading to a bachelor of science degree from the undergraduate institution. Students who meet progression standards of the undergraduate institution and the PCOM graduate program may then progress to the professional phase, leading to a Master of Science in Health Sciences from PCOM.

For requirements and details on each program, please contact the respective undergraduate institution or follow the links below.

University of the Sciences

Brenau University

Thomas University

Policy on Advanced Standing, Transfer of Credits and Experiential Learning and Graduates of Medical Schools

The Physician Assistant Studies program does not offer advanced placement based upon transfer of credits for academic work completed at other institutions of higher learning or upon credit from experiential learning. Applications are not accepted from graduates of medical schools.

Admissions Statistics

Class of 2017

32 Female, 23 Male

30.9 percent of the class reports their ethnicity to be Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Chinese, Asian Indian, Japanese, Native Hawaiian, Filipino, Spanish, Dominican, Black/African American or Vietnamese.

Average age of the incoming class: 24 (20-36)

States represented: CA, DE, GA, HI, KS, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH and PA

Other Statistics

Please note the data below represents the ranges of the Class of 2017 for the Philadelphia campus and by no means predicts one's success as a Physician Assistant candidate or student. Each application is reviewed and evaluated in a holistic manner by the Faculty Committee on Admissions.

Total applications: 2,722

Total matriculants: 55 (per year)

Average cumulative GPA as calculated by CASPA: 3.65 (3.27 – 4.00)

Average science GPA as calculated by CASPA: 3.63 (3.20 – 4.00)


For questions regarding submission of the CASPA application and GPA calculation, contact CASPA directly at or 617-612-2080.

Should you have any questions, please contact us via email at