Application Questions

Here you will find answers to questions about the application process and admissions policies and practices.  Full information is located in the downloadable MPA Admissions Guidelines and the Admissions Information webpages.


When is the application deadline?

Completion of the CASPA application, EVMS supplemental application, and all 8 pre-requisite courses is required by the March 1st application deadline.  A bachelor’s degree may be outstanding at the time of application to the program but must be completed by July 1st.


What is the minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement?

As a student in the PA Program, you will be required to maintain a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) to be in good academic standing.  For this reason we require a 3.0 as the minimum GPA to be eligible to apply to our program.  With the increasing popularity of the profession, meeting the minimum 3.0 GPA does not mean an application is competitive. Higher GPAs are more competitive. Historical averages of the matriculants in our program can be found here.


Do you require GRE or MCAT testing?

These exams are not required to apply to the EVMS PA Program and do not influence the applicant’s acceptability or standing.

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If I am in this country on a work or student visa, may I apply to the program?

No, we only accept applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents (green card) as the Physician Assistant concept is primarily a U.S. healthcare system phenomenon.

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What if I attended a degree program outside the U.S.?

Applicants who are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents with a foreign degree are considered on a case-by-case basis.  An official evaluation of the foreign transcript (to include credential equivalency, course translation, grade, US credit equivalency, and overall GPA) must be submitted to the Admissions Director. In addition, all eight (8) prerequisite courses must be taken in the U.S. to establish a track record of successful academic performance in the U.S. educational system.

There is no accelerated curriculum or advanced standing offered to any matriculant, regardless of previous educational or healthcare work experience.  The curriculum must be completed in its entirety at EVMS and no course waivers are offered.

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Do I need to take the TOEFL?

Any applicant with English as a second language who entered the United States after the age of 12 will be required to take the TOEFL to complete their application. See the MPA Admissions Guidelines for more information.

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How do I apply to the PA Program?

Application to the EVMS PA Program is a three step process.  The first step is to download and review the Admissions Guidebook from our website.  The application to our program through CASPA and the subsequent EVMS Supplemental Application comprise the final steps.

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Are there additional materials the need to be submitted to EVMS to complete the application?

All material provided to CASPA will be forwarded to the PA Program.  Access to the EVMS Supplemental Application will be granted upon completion of the CASPA application.  In the event that your CASPA application is completed with any outstanding pre-requisite courses, satisfactory completion of the course (e.g., official transcript from the school) should be sent to EVMS directly to complete your application file. You will also need to update your CASPA application transcript as detailed in the ‌Admissions Guidebook.

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When can I start applying to the PA Program?

CASPA opens their admissions cycle in late April.  In order to accommodate applications that may be completing applications for programs that start earlier than EVMS and to take advantage of some cost savings, applications may be submitted at any time after the cycle opens.  However, there should be no assumption that EVMS will review the application until later in the cycle.  Our typical review period is from January to May.

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Are there scholarships available to the PA Program?

Financial Aid is available in the form of institutional and federal loans to cover educational and living expense. EVMS has a limited number of institutional awards and there are a number of federal loan repayment programs available.

More information can be found on the Tuition and Fees page, the Financial Aid Office landing page, and the PA Foundation website

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Can I apply if I have not finished all the pre-requisites?

Application files will not be considered complete until all the application requirements are met, including satisfactory completion of all eight (8) pre-requisites.  Only complete application files are eligible to be reviewed by the Application Screening Committee.  Regardless of when submitted, your application will be considered incomplete until proof of prerequisite completion (i.e. official transcript) is submitted directly to CASPA or EVMS.

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How do I know if the course(s) I took meet the program’s prerequisite criteria?

The prerequisite courses are fairly universal; however there are a wide variety of names for courses among undergraduate programs.  In general, if the name of the course is titled similar to the prerequisite requirements, it will be acceptable.  If you have specific questions regarding the acceptability of the course, please submit a course description from the institution catalog to the Admissions Director for review.  Additional information (e.g. course syllabus) may be requested in cases of continued uncertainty.

Additionally, higher level courses may substitute for the general prerequisites (e.g., a second organic chemistry to fulfill the general chemistry requirement).

Below is the minimal expected content for the prerequisite courses:

  • Human Anatomy – covers the structure and function of the major human body organ systems, including the musculoskeletal, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, urinary, endocrine and reproductive systems. Integrates anatomy and physiology of cells, tissues, organs, and systems of the human body. Integrates concepts of chemistry, physics, and pathology
  • Human Physiology – discusses basic biochemical principles, such as cytology, histology,immunology, and the function and interaction of the major organ systems of the human body.
  • General Chemistry – explores the fundamental laws, theories and mathematical concepts of chemistry.
  • Organic Chemistry– discusses the theories, structures, and reactions of organic molecules, the properties of various functional organic chemical groups, the bonding and structure of organic molecules, and the reactions of aromatic and aliphatichydrocarbons.  Includes study of structure, nomenclature, properties and reactions of alcohols and phenols, aldehydesand ketones, carboxylicacids and their derivatives, amines, polymers, and biomolecules.  Introduces fundamental chemistry of carbon compounds, including structures, physical properties, syntheses, and typical reactions. Emphasizes reaction mechanism.
    • Biochemistry – discusses the relation of molecular structures to the processes found in living organisms such as kinetics, enzymatic reactions, metabolic pathway functions, and the genetic code.  Includes the structure of amino acids, nucleotides, lipids, and sugars, and their corresponding macromolecular structures, such as proteins, nucleic acids, cell membranes, and polysaccharides.
  • Microbiology – covers the biology of microorganisms - bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses -that impact human health.  Content covers the metabolism, genetics, identification, control, physiology, host defense, and the relationship of microorganisms to health and disease. Studies the general characteristics of microorganisms. Emphasizes their relationships to individual and community health.
  • Introductory Psychology – Covers the scientific study of behavior, behavioral research methods and analysis, and theoretical interpretations. Includes topics that cover physiological mechanisms, sensation/perception, motivation, learning, personality, psychopathology, therapy, and social psychology. Examines human and animal behavior, relating experimental studies to practical problems. Includes topics such as sensation/perception, learning, memory, motivation, emotion, stress, development, intelligence, personality, psychopathology, therapy, and social psychology.
  • College Math, Statistics, or Physics– Presents scientific notation, precision and accuracy, decimals and percents, ratio and proportion, variation, simple equations, techniques of graphing, use of charts and tables, logarithms, and the metric system. Covers concepts of numbers, fundamental operations with numbers, formulas and equations, graphical analysis, binary numbers, Booleanand matrix algebra, linear programming, and elementary concepts of statistics.
    • NOTE: A wide range of courses that discusses statistical methodologies and mathematical concepts are acceptable towards meeting this course requirement.

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Do you accept online coursework?

Yes. Courses can be taken at an accredited 2- and 4-year college or university of higher education in the US, including online courses offered through such programs, without any penalty or discrimination in the application review process. 

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Do you accept AP or CLEP credits toward fulfilling the prerequisite courses?

Up to two (2) prerequisite courses may be completed with a non-letter grade (e.g. AP, CLEP, Pass).

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If I have retaken a class for a better grade, how is that factored into my application by CASPA and EVMS?

CASPA calculates overall GPA calculations based on every course taken, including repeated courses.  Our policy is to replace the poorer grade in a given prerequisites with the better grade.  In addition, our Replacement GPA calculation only includes the last 40 semester credit hours on your CASPA application.

Due to the volume of applications, the Admissions Office will not accept new coursework for GPA calculations once your CASPA application is complete.  Replacement grades for prerequisite courses are not accepted once your application has been processed by the Application Screening Committee.

Therefore it is best to apply to our program AFTER you have completed your pre-requisites with your best performance and have that recorded on the transcript you submit to CASPA for verification to complete you application.

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Do you accept transfer or advanced standing students?

No. The PA Program curriculum must be completed in its entirety at EVMS.  We do not offer advanced standing or transfer credits into the program, regardless of prior educational or work experience.

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How current do my prerequisites need to be to apply?

The higher level prerequisites must be completed within 10 years of the application deadline (e.g., since January 2007 for application deadline of March 2017).  The general prerequisites (chemistry, psychology, and math) have no time frame.

Science and healthcare fields are rapidly changing on a regular basis. The 10 year rule for prerequisite courses is intended to help ensure incoming students are current in the knowledge within those disciplines and have a solid foundation of that knowledge for the first semester didactic instruction.  Applicants with prerequisites older than 10 years are encouraged to review the information in the Admissions Guidelines.

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How many hours of healthcare experience are required to apply?

EVMS does not require any healthcare experience to apply to our program; however it is considered and rewarded in the application review process because it provides a student with a framework to help them understand what they are learning didactically in a healthcare context.  With a short time frame to get students ready to practice clinically, we rely on the previous healthcare experience to prepare the student. 

Although both volunteer and paid experience is acceptable, experience from a paid position is preferred.  Hands-on, direct patient care experience is preferred to “peri-clinical” (secretarial or non-patient care) experience.

More information can be found in the Admissions Guidelines available for download.

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What does “hands-on, direct, patient care experience” mean?  What type of experience count?

Experience that is exposing you directly to patients and caring for their health in a clinical setting is the intent of the phrase.  If you are caring for patients in a healthcare environment and responsible for aspects of the their health, it is likely that it will count. 

  • Examples of acceptable types of direct patient care include: registered nurse, certified nursing assistant, emergency medical technician, paramedic, emergency room technician, certified medical assistant.
  • Examples of peri-clinical patient care experience include: scribe, pharmacy technician, unit secretary, etc. 
  • Please note the following experiences DO NOT count toward patient care experience:
    • Experiences providing supportive care only (i.e., feeding, comforting)
    • Experiences required for a clinical training program/degree
    • PA shadowing and student/intern hours
  • Paid internships associated with a training program may be considered peri-clinical experience depending on the duties and responsibilities.

The Admissions Screening Committee relies on the description of your job duties and responsibilities and not merely the title of your position to determine the eligibility of the experience listed.

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Does the PA Program offer assistance in finding clinical experience?

No. We cannot offer such assistance to students seeking to gain pre-program clinical experience.  It is recommended that applicants contact local hospitals, other health agencies, or medical practices to obtain information on how to gain experience as a volunteer or in an entry-level position.

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Is working with or “shadowing” PAs required for admission?

No.  Due to various regulations and logistic challenges, formal shadowing is not required for application to the PA Program.  However, information gathered from such experience and talking with currently practicing PAs is encouraged in preparation for interviews and to develop a personal understanding of the role and function of a PA.

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Does the PA Program offer assistance in finding shadowing opportunities?

No. While we think these experiences are valuable, we do not have any resources to facilitate these opportunities. Contacting the Virginia Academy of Physician Assistants can help if you do not know any working PAs. 

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Will you review my application for admissions eligibility?

Applicants are expected to carefully review all admissions information on our website and the published to determine their admissions eligibility before applying to the program.  Candidates with specific questions are encouraged to communicate with the admissions staff via e-mail.  Additional opportunities via on site and virtual Information Sessions are offered throughout the year. Face to face consultations are discouraged and will be limited to specific situations.

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Am I too old to apply?

Eastern Virginia Medical School does not discriminate in the recruitment and admission of students on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, religion, political affiliation or handicap as required by Title VI, Title IX and Section 504.

The PA Profession is a great “second career” opportunity for many individuals who have become interested in a job in healthcare later in life. The program does publish Technical Standards which all students must meet in order to successfully complete the curriculum.  All applicants are encouraged to review these and consult with the Disability Compliance Office to discuss any questions related to accommodations.

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Do you give preference to Virginia residents?

Being a private institution, we are not under any obligation to train Virginia residents.  However, being founded by the community and striving to be the most community-oriented school in the U.S., we do want to train students that are interested in contributing to the health of our community after graduation. Our process does highlight (but does not give preference to) residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the application review process.

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What is the profile of the typical successful applicant to the EVMS MPA Program?

EVMS does not have a model candidate. PAs work in a wide variety of jobs within the medical field.  Successful applicants generally exceed minimum requirements in more than one area and their interview demonstrates excellent interpersonal and communication skills, a high level of professionalism, and in-depth of knowledge regarding the EVMS PA Program and PA profession

Descriptive statistical information on the successful applicants admitted to the EVMS PA Program for the past 3 years are available here, however variations in the ranges and means can be expected from year to year and no guarantee is implied or should be inferred regarding future admission cycles.

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After Applying

Once I submit my complete application, how long before I will hear from the Program?

This depends on when you apply.  Completed applications are available to the program starting in mid-July.  The Admissions Staff typically start processing applications during the fall and work to get the information processed in a timely manner. However, during peak admission season (December through May) such updates may be delayed.  Any questions can be directed to the Admission Office for the School of Health Professions.

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How many: applications do you receive?  interviews do you conduct? Applicants do you matriculate?

Answers to these questions (and others) are available in the Admissions Statistics document posted here.

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If I am accepted, may I defer my acceptance to the following year?

Questions about deferment of admission are only entertained before matriculation and in such cases where unpredicted life circumstance may interfere with expected matriculation or success in the program. The EVMS PA Program reserves the right to determine if the request warrants deferment or if the candidate will need to reapply in a future admission cycle.

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If I was not promoted off the Admissions Wait List by the 1st week of January, do I need to reapply?

Yes.  Candidates who are not activated off the wait list and offered a seat in the current cycle must reapply through CASPA in order to be considered for a subsequent admissions cycle. Consultations with the Office of Admissions and Enrollment are recommended before reapplying and can be scheduled by contacting them directly. 

Note that if you do reapply, it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the new submission accurately reflects your most recent preparation and status.  It is encouraged that you update your transcript, certifications, healthcare experience and personal statement as appropriate.

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