Eligibility requirements

The program utilizes a holistic admissions process and values the character and potential of each individual applicant. This process reviews not only academic success but also the applicant as a person, including life experiences, community service, leadership qualities, resilience, and other personal attributes that indicate potential to contribute to the health-care field and to the diverse communities we serve.

To be eligible to apply for the MPAS program, you need to meet the following requirements.

  • Completed all prerequisites with a maximum of one outstanding course at the time of your application. All prerequisite courses must be completed before starting the program.

Subject areaComparable IU courses
Statistics/Biostatistics (must include descriptive and inferential)STAT 30100
Human Anatomy (with lab)*BIOL-N 261
Human Physiology (lab preferred)*BIOL-N 217
General Chemistry I (with lab)CHEM-C 105 & CHEM-C 125
General Chemistry II (with lab)CHEM-C 106 & CHEM-C 126
General Biology I (with lab; no plant-based courses)BIOL-K 101
Microbiology (with lab)BIOL-K 356 & BIOL-K 357
Upper-level human biology (lab preferred; must be genetics and molecular biology; cell biology; immunology; or basic principles of plant and animal genetics)BIOL-K 322 & 323, BIOL-K 324, BIOL-K 338 & 339, OR BIOL-N 322
Organic Chemistry I (with lab)CHEM-C 341
Introductory PsychologyPSY-B 110
Medical TerminologyHIM-M 330

*For combined Human Anatomy & Physiology classes, a two-course sequence—two semesters or one full year—at a 200 level or higher is recommended.

All courses, except for Medical Terminology, must be at least three credit hours. Online courses are accepted for science courses with labs, though in-person labs are recommended.

Read the prerequisite course descriptions to make sure your prerequisites are a suitable match.

At the time of application, you may have one, yet-to-be-completed course. This outstanding course must be finished before starting the program. The IU MPAS prerequisite courses do not have an expiration date.

Online courses and labs are accepted for prerequisite requirements.

The required courses must be completed with a grade of C or higher. In some cases, an official course description or syllabus may be requested to ensure the course you completed aligns with the required MPAS prerequisites.

If you have an outstanding prerequisite course, it too must be completed with a grade of C or higher. A final transcript indicating successful completion of the prerequisite is required prior to matriculation into the program.

The admissions committee accepts coursework from any U.S. regionally accredited institution. However, this does not guarantee that all coursework will meet IU MPAS prerequisite standards.

Transfer credits from PA programs are not accepted. Applicants should be aware that all courses in the program curriculum are required. There is not an option for the curriculum to be accelerated.

Prerequisites can be retaken. However, all attempts at prerequisite courses will be factored into the GPA calculations.

  • Completed—or will complete—your undergraduate bachelor’s degree before your intended summer start date in the program.
  • Earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, which includes all undergraduate and graduate courses.
  • Earned an overall grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale for all science courses. For a list of all course subjects factored into the science GPA view CASPA’s course subject list.
  • Competitive applicants to the program have GPAs that exceed the minimums.
  • CASPA calculates applicant’s cumulative and overall science grade point averages.
  • All applicants must have acquired patient care experience.


  • The purpose of accruing patient care experience is to ensure the applicant has adequate exposure to the health care system, patients, and the role of a physician assistant.
  • There is no requirement for the number of patient care hours an applicant must acquire.
  • Each applicant’s patient care experiences will be individually evaluated on the variety and quality of the experiences and the cumulative patient care hours obtained.
  • These hours may be paid, volunteer, or shadowing experiences.
  • All hours linked to patient care will be considered, and there is no pre-approval process for patient care experiences.
  • All patient care hours should be recorded in the CASPA application in the “Experiences” section.
  • Meet the technical standards that are deemed essential to be an MPAS student and to practice medicine. (Adapted from the Indiana University School of Medicine Technical Non-Academic Standards.)

The applicant/physician assistant student must be able to participate actively in all demonstrations and laboratory exercises in the basic medical sciences and to assess and comprehend the condition of all patients assigned to him or her for examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Such observation and information acquisition usually requires the functional use of visual, auditory, and somatic sensation.

The applicant/physician assistant student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, assess non-verbal communications, and be able to effectively and efficiently transmit information to patients, fellow students, faculty, staff and all members of the health-care team. Communication skills include speaking, reading and writing, as well as the observation skills described above.

The applicant/physician assistant student must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers; be able to perform basic laboratory tests; possess all skills necessary to carry out diagnostic procedures, and be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients.

The applicant/physician assistant student must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize. Problem-solving, the critical skill demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the applicant/physician assistant student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. The applicant/physician assistant student must have the capacity to perform these problem-solving skills in a timely fashion.

The applicant/physician assistant student must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and others. They must also be able to tolerate taxing workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, commitment, and motivation are personal qualities that each applicant/physician assistant student should possess.

The most competitive applicants will likely be those that surpass the minimum academic requirements, have a clear understanding of the physician assistant profession, demonstrate professionalism, leadership, and community service, and support the vision, mission, and values set out by the program.

CASPA and IU CAS application deadlines are August 1 for program admission.

Application instructions

  1. Craft a personal statement. Tips for writing are included on the IU CAS graduate application page. The personal statement and any written responses to supplemental essay prompts will be submitted through CASPA (not IU CAS).
  2. Request official transcripts for submission to CASPA.
  3. Secure two letters of recommendation. Competitive applicants provide letters of recommendation from those practicing in health care who have had meaningful, professional experiences with the applicant.
  4. If you have not completed your bachelor’s degree, you will need to complete a Declaration of Intent to Complete form. Enter your information, print the form emailed to you, obtain necessary signatures, and submit as a document upload.
  5. You will need to compile all patient care and shadowing experiences in the “Experiences” section of CASPA. There are no minimum requirements. However, be sure to provide detailed description of the activities, as this is an important factor in the holistic admissions process. Competitive applicants to the program have experiences such as working as a patient care technician, medical scribe, emergency medical technician, medical assistant, and other patient care experiences.
  6. Complete your application via the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants. All application materials must be submitted in full, and your application must be in “verified” status by the admission deadline. Additional application fees apply.
  7. Submit your Indiana University graduate program application (IU CAS). The program’s name in IU CAS is “Physician Assistant Studies MPAS.” Applications are not reviewed until the application fee is paid, and must be received by the deadline.
  8. Interviews are by invitation only and are conducted in early fall. Final decisions on interviews will be made after the closing of the application cycle on August 1.
  9. GRE test scores are not required.

Information for international students

In addition to the requirements above, international applicants must follow the international application process and admission standards of the Office of International Affairs.

To earn admissions as an international applicant, you must also meet these program requirements:

  • If you are a non-native English speaker, you must meet the minimum requirements for English proficiency.
  • Applicants who complete coursework outside of the United States must have their official foreign transcripts evaluated and translated by an approved independent educational evaluating service based in the United States at their own expense. The evaluation should establish a degree equivalent and course-by-course equivalent for all foreign coursework.

Approved evaluation centers

International Education Research Foundation (IERF)
P.O. Box 3665
Culver City, CA 90231-3665
Phone: 310-258-9451

Josef Silny & Associates
7101 SW 102 Avenue
Miami, FL 33173
Phone: 305-273-1616

World Education Services, Inc. (WES)
PO Box 745
New York, NY 10113-0745
Phone: 212-966-6311
World Education Services

Minimum requirement for English proficiency

The test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL) test is used and you must meet the following scores for each sub-section and total.

  • Reading: 22
  • Listening: 22
  • Speaking: 26
  • Writing: 24

Final notes

  • A background screening will be required if you are accepted into the program.
  • Applicants who previously matriculated in any physician assistant program in the United States are not eligible for admissions into the IU MPAS program.
  • Due to the number of applicants, personal feedback will not be provided to unsuccessful applicants.
  • Unsuccessful applicants are welcome to reapply in future cycles.