Admissions | Physician Assistant Studies Hybrid Program

Admissions Overview

Qualified applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. They should have an Overall GPA of 3.0 (based on 4.0) in all undergraduate- and college level coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.0 (based on 4.0) in the prerequisite science courses designated with an asterisk (*). See the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) site for definitions of these GPAs. Exceptions may be made (but are not guaranteed) for candidates who present compelling evidence of success in graduate coursework. This means that if an applicant has an overall GPA of < 3.0, their application may still be reviewed/considered by our team if they have completed an entire masters or doctorate level program. Completion of graduate level courses without a diploma from said programs will not be considered, nor will graduate-level certificate programs.

All admissions requirements must be completed by August 31, 2023, to start classes in the Spring 2024 term of the PAS-Hybrid program.

Individuals from Health Professions Shortage Areas, Underrepresented Minorities in Medicine, and other minoritized communities are encouraged to apply. We welcome applicants of all abilities/disabilities, religions, marital statuses, familial statuses, sexes, ages, sexual orientations, veteran statuses, national origins, all ethnic and racial backgrounds, genetic information, and gender identities and expressions.

PAS-Hybrid applicants need to have completed the following prerequisites:

  • Anatomy with lab and Physiology* (This requirement may be met by taking either one semester of Anatomy with lab and one semester of Physiology or two semesters of Anatomy with lab and Physiology combined.)
  • Biology with lab designed for science majors, two semesters*
  • English Composition/writing, two semesters
  • Microbiology with lab, one semester*
  • Chemistry with lab designed for science majors, two semesters*
  • Psychology, one semester
  • Statistics, one semester
  • Medical Terminology, one semester for at least 1 college credit

There is no expiration date for prerequisite courses. For questions about whether your specific courses satisfy our prerequisite requirements, please review this detailed prerequisite rubric. If you still have questions after reviewing the prerequisite rubric, please contact an enrollment advisor at for additional information. Please note that the GRE General Test is not required for admission to the program.

Advanced placement, defined as a waiver of required coursework included in the PA curriculum for applicants to the program and/or a waiver of required coursework included in the PA curriculum for currently enrolled students in the program which results in the student advancing in the curriculum without completing required curricular components at the University of Pittsburgh, is not an option in this program.

To apply to the Physician Assistant Studies Hybrid Program, you must complete and submit the following:

Online Application

Upload all application materials through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)

Patient Care Experience

A minimum of 500 hours of direct, “hands-on,” patient care experience is required by the application deadline. Eligible experiences include work as an RN, EMT, paramedic, medical assistant, physical therapy or occupational therapy assistant. Contact an enrollment advisor at for more examples.

Technical Standards Verification

Students admitted to the program must review the Technical Standards for admission and graduation, and submit a signed form at the time of matriculation verifying satisfactory performance of the essential skills.

Personal Statements

Students must provide two personal statements in the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Your first essay should be a personal statement focusing on why you want to become a PA. The second essay should reflect the mission of the PA Studies program and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required including one from a character reference, PCE supervisor, and instructor. Please see examples of who can write these letters and content below:

Required LORContent of LetterExamples of Authors
Character ReferenceEvidences leadership, integrity and humility, values honesty and equity among all personsCould be but are not limited to: peer, coworker, mentor, volunteer group, or religious/spiritual leader
PCE SupervisorEvidences positive interactions of applicant within with in patient care setting, respectful of best practices/protocols, takes ownership of actions, has strong work ethic, and values wellness of patient and teamworkSuperior who directly oversees your patient care hours who can specifically speak to your skills and patient interactions. Examples could be but are not limited to: current/past manager or assistant manager, department director, mentor, or military superior
InstructorEvidences a dedication to learning, is driven, and disciplined to achieve good outcomes, sets high standards and willing to ask questions when unsure of materialsA person who has been directly involved in teaching you in some capacity and can specifically speak to your ability to learn/be taught. Examples include but are not limited to: College of university instructor/professor, a certification or skills teacher, a superior who provided you on the job skills training, or a military instructor

Additional Information

Admitted students must complete a background check.

Acceptance into and successful completion of the University of Pittsburgh Physician Assistant Studies program does not imply or guarantee National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Certification or that the student will be able to obtain state licensure upon graduation.

Citizenship Requirements

Given the nature of the online format for the didactic year, all applicants and matriculants need to identify as U.S. citizens, have documentation of permanent residency, or have dual citizenship status. While an F-1 Academic Student Visa is permissible for in-person courses, this Visa only deems such students eligible for one online course per term, hence excluding participation in this hybrid format. International students are encouraged to pursue the University of Pittsburgh on-campus Physician Assistant program, as an Academic Student Visa can be honored with on-campus training.


If you have questions, reach out to an enrollment advisor at any time at or 412-218-0662.

Upcoming Deadlines

The Physician Assistant Studies Hybrid Program offers one program start per year. Qualified applicants can apply to the spring cohort of the program each year.

Only application materials submitted through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

Prerequisite Completion Deadline
Final Application Deadline
Spring 2024
August 31, 2023
November 1, 2023

Admissions Decision Process

The application and admissions processes for the Physician Assistant Studies Hybrid Program does not favor specific groups or individuals based on their personal or social identities.

Student admissions decisions are made in accordance with these practices:

Screening of Applications: Upon receipt of a verified application from the CASPA service, the Director of Admissions Tara McSwigan and the rest of the Admissions Committee (which includes the program director and all full-time faculty), along with program staff, award points for certain applicant criteria and characteristics, and the total points are used to decide who is invited to interview for a seat in the program. These criteria and characteristics include:

  • Health care experience and level of experience – Higher scores are awarded for longer service and at higher levels of patient care
  • Diploma and degree – While a bachelor’s degree is required, a graduate degree is scored higher
  • Grade Point Averages (GPAs) – Higher undergraduate and specific prerequisite science GPAs receive higher scores
  • Scoring of personal statements – Higher scores are awarded based on the strength of evidence of desire to be a PA, understanding of the role of a PA, demonstration of understanding of the program mission, evidence of how one’s background, qualifications, and/or identities match and/or support the mission, language and writing skills, and editorial care
  • Letters of Reference – Scores are compiled from the quality of the letter and score provided by the recommender in CASPA

Interview: Interviews for seats in our program are performed and scored by the program director, faculty, and practicing PAs. They include the following parts and scoring:

  • Essay – Higher scores are awarded based on apparent appreciation for the state of the PA profession, passion for pursuing PA school to positively impact the profession, language and writing skills, and editorial care
  • Individual interview – Higher scores are awarded based on the strength of demonstration of the following qualities: adaptability/stress management, conflict resolution, and technical and professional knowledge/ability to learn
  • Group interview – Higher scores are awarded based on the strength of demonstration of the following qualities: active listening, conflict management, probing the group to maximize performance, leadership skills, clarification of group responses, encouraging and harmonizing with fellow group members, articulation, drawing others into the conversation, offering ideas, and summarizing

Total Scoring and Final Review by Admissions Committee: After completion of the above, the committee reviews candidate scores, reviewer comments, and application information to decide who is accepted, waitlisted, and denied admission.


The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the University of Pittsburgh Physician Assistant Studies Hybrid Program sponsored by University of Pittsburgh. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at