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WesternU’s PA Program has been approved to matriculate a cohort for Fall 2024 from our accreditor, ARC-PA, while we remain on Accreditation-Probation status, which will be reviewed by ARC-PA in March 2025. Please review this important information to ensure you understand how this may impact you as an applicant.

You Have Questions. We Have Answers.

Please explore the questions and answers below to learn what many of our prospective students are concerned about. If you still have questions, please contact us

  • Admissions

    Question 1: Do I need to have a bachelor’s degree to apply?
    No, a bachelor’s degree may be in progress at the time of application. HOWEVER, the degree must be earned by the end of the spring term or June 15th (whichever is later) of the planned year of matriculation.

    Question 2: Do you require a minimum GPA to apply?
    Yes. Candidates must have a minimum overall, prerequisite, and science GPA of 3.00 to apply. You must meet the minimum GPA requirements at the time of application and maintain the minimum through matriculation. Non-prerequisite courses in which Credit or Pass was earned will be calculated into your overall/cumulative GPA as a “C.” NOTE: Due to COVID-19, pass grades will be calculated as a “B” grade for courses taken in 2020 and for which a “pass” was earned. All courses completed prior to 2020 and after 2022 will be calculated as a “C” grade. Pass will only be accepted for prerequisite courses taken in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

    Question 3: How many hours of work experience are required prior to application?
    Admission to the program does not require medical work experience. However, a history of ongoing community service/involvement is an essential consideration for admission to our program, and the more hours accumulated in community service, the more competitive your application will be. Community service is not the same as medical work experience. Those without community service/involvement will not be eligible for consideration.

    Question 4: Can I transfer into your physician assistant program from another physician assistant program?
    No, we do not accept transfer students.

    Question 5: Can I defer to the next entering class if I am unable to matriculate as originally planned?
    No, the PA Program generally does not allow a candidate to defer their initial enrollment to a later term. Notwithstanding, in extenuating circumstances, the PA Program may offer the option of deferment to an entire admitted cohort.

    Question 6: Do you give preference to California residents?
    No. Although a significant portion of our student body is from California, this is merely a reflection of our overall applicant pool.

    Question 7: Can international students apply?
    Yes, we consider international applicants for admission. International applicants follow the same application procedures as domestic applicants, but must also have their foreign transcripts evaluated by a World Education Services.

    Question 8: Is tuition the same for in-state and out-of-state residents?
    Yes. We are a private institution, so the tuition rate is the same for all students. Visit the financing my education for more information on tuition, scholarships, and loans.

    Question 9: Can I turn in more than the required number of recommendation letters?
    Yes. However, it is advisable to limit the number to one-two extra since a total of three-four well-chosen recommendations will usually paint a clear picture of the candidate, and additional recommendations will only add to the committee members’ reading time.

    Question 10: Do you have an early decision process?
    No. There is not an early decision process in place for the MSPAS program.

    Question 11: How and when will I know if I’ve been invited for an interview?
    Interviews are held monthly October through February. If you are selected for an interview, you will be notified by email beginning August and through early February.

    Question 12: How does the committee decide which applicants are offered seats?
    The admissions committee works hard to select the best candidates for the program. To make this decision they consider a range of information including academic credentials, community service background, preparedness to complete the MSPAS curriculum, and information gleaned from the personal interview. Visit the competitive candidate profile page for additional insights.

    Question 13: When are acceptance letters and final notifications mailed?
    Letters are typically mailed and emailed by the end of March of the planned year of matriculation.

    Question 14: Will I be required to complete a background check?
    Complete confidence in the honor and integrity of the health professions student and health care professional is essential, and students must exhibit honesty and integrity in all aspects of their life. Any prior criminal record of an applicant will be evaluated by the University as part of its determination that the applicant meets the Standards of Professional Conduct. In addition, a prior criminal record may negatively impact a student’s ability to participate in the University’s curriculum. To meet State regulations and hospital accreditation requirements, hospital facilities are requiring students to complete criminal background checks prior to beginning rotations/clinical experiences. Some rotations require a urine drug test as well. Certain convictions may prevent students from entering hospital facilities, which may hinder their ability to successfully complete the MSPAS program. If a criminal conviction or other relevant sanction is shown on the background check, hospital facilities may choose not to allow a student to utilize their facilities. If applicable, we encourage you to check with the appropriate State licensing board(s) to determine whether your background may be a barrier to future licensing.

    Question 15: Does the MSPAS program require drug screening tests?
    Urine drug screens may be required for clinical rotations or any sentinel acts. Procedures and costs for obtaining background investigations and urine drug screenings will be disseminated by the Physician Assistant Clinical Education Staff.

    Question 16: Am I required to have certain immunizations or health screening procedures completed before matriculation?
    As students will have some exposure to patients during the first year, no students will be allowed to matriculate until they have supplied proof that they are current on the required immunizations and health screenings consistent with current CDC recommendations. See catalog for a listing of specific health clearance requirements.

    Question 17: How can I submit an application to the program?
    The application consists of a primary application. Primary applications are available electronically from the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Primary applications must be completed and submitted electronically to CASPA and in complete status on or before the application deadline.

    Question 18: I am a re-applicant. How can I improve my application or my chances to get in?
    Take a critical review of the information that you submitted to the admissions office and see if there are any obvious voids. For example, maybe you had one or two low grades that lowered your overall and/or prerequisite GPA, or maybe you were not involved actively in community service, or merely forgot to include it on your application. You would be surprised at how much you can learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your application simply by looking at it from an admissions perspective.

    If you had a low grade, especially in a science course, you should consider retaking that class, since we will recalculate your GPA with the new higher grade when we receive the new transcript. It is important to realize that sometimes it is not something obvious that you can change to be admitted. Every case is different and every year the competition is different. Above all else, it is important to realize that we receive applications from many highly qualified applicants each year and are only able to offer acceptances to 98. If this is the path you are committed to, then keep trying! Visit the competitive candidate profile page for additional insights.

    Question 19: What are the Personal Competencies (Technical Standards) for Admissions and Matriculation?
    Personal Competencies


  • Prerequisites

    Question 1: What are the prerequisite courses for the physician assistant program?
    Visit the view requirements page for a complete list of requirements.

    Question 2: Can I have prerequisite courses in progress at the time of application? How many?
    You may have one science and one non-science prerequisite course (excluding anatomy and physiology) in progress after December 31 of the year prior to when you plan to matriculate. The courses must be completed by the end of the spring term or June 15th (whichever is later) of the year you plan to matriculate. Anatomy and physiology must be completed by December 31 of the year prior to when you plan to enter WesternU. No exceptions will be made.

    Question 3: Can I substitute any courses for your prerequisites?
    No. The required classes are clearly outlined and you must complete all prerequisite courses.

    Question 4: How are repeated courses calculated in the GPAs?
    When re-calculating your GPA’s, the admissions staff will refer to the courses designated as repeated on the CASPA application to exclude the course in which the lesser grade was received. Courses, and the grades received, will not be averaged or counted more than once. The GPA’s reported on the CASPA application will only be re-calculated to exclude the courses designated as repeated on the CASPA application. Applicants must list all repeated courses, including those repeated more than once to have the courses excluded.

    Question 5: Do you accept Pass/No Pass or Credit/No Credit for any of the prerequisites?
    No. We will only accept graded courses to satisfy prerequisites. Due to COVID-19, we will accept pass for prerequisite courses completed in 2020, 2021, 2022. Prerequisite courses completed prior to and after 2022 must be taken for a grade.

    Question 6: Do you accept CLEP, A/P credit or can I test out of any prerequisites?
    Advanced placement, transfer of credit, CLEP examination, or credit for experiential learning is not recognized by the program as meeting these prerequisites, nor is it recognized as acceptable within the PA curriculum.

    Question 7: May I use a single course to satisfy more than one prerequisite?
    No, you may not use a single course to satisfy multiple prerequisites. Each prerequisite must be satisfied by a unique course.

    Question 8: Can I talk to a counselor about my coursework?
    If you’d like to find out whether the courses you’ve taken or plan to take will satisfy WesternU’s MSPAS prerequisites you can:

    • search the prerequisite database by institution.
    • if your courses aren’t listed in the database and you have numerous course questions, or simply wish to lay out your coursework you may instead print and submit an academic worksheet (available on the requirements page April-August).

    By laying out your coursework in relation to our prerequisites, you will be able to determine the courses you may still need to complete. In addition, you will be able to assess your academic performance in the courses (prerequisites) our admissions committee believes are of greatest importance. If the course is not listed in the prerequisite database, you must submit a course syllabus, not a catalog description, for review.

    Once you receive our assessment, feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.

  • Online Application

    Question 1: How do I check my application status online?
    You can check your application status by visiting the application status page.

    Question 2: What if I want to change information on my application after I have completed it?
    You may not change answers or documents submitted with your application, but you may upload additional, supplemental materials. To do so, visit the application status page and use the “Upload Materials” section of the page to submit your supplemental materials.

    Question 3: What if I want to apply to more than one program? Do I need to create a new account?
    You can apply to multiple programs using a single account. Visit our online application, log in, and click “Start New Application” at the bottom of the page.

    Question 4: What address should I use if I need to mail any additional application materials?
    For official transcripts please mail to:
    Western University of Health Sciences
    Attn: Admissions Operations/MSPAS
    309 E Second Street
    Pomona, CA 91766

    For unofficial documents, please upload to the online application as indicated in the application instructions.

    Question 5: How do I withdraw my application?
    You may withdraw your application by visiting the application status page. Scroll to the bottom of your application and select withdraw my application.

    Question 6: I have applied to more than one program. How do I check my application status for multiple applications?
    You can check your application status by visiting the application status page. Select the application you wish to view from the drop down menu located on the right hand side.

  • Other

    Question 1: What is the difference between a physician assistant and a family nurse practitioner?
    This varies somewhat by state. Physician assistants (PA) and nurse practitioners (NP) share many of the duties. However, the primary difference is that a PA is a dependent practitioner that necessitates a relationship with a supervising physician.

    Question 2: How many applications do you receive, interviews do you grant, and applicants do you accept in an average year?
    Please visit the competitive candidate profile page for this information.

    Question 3: What is the board passing rate for your physician assistant students?
    Our graduates have consistently scored well on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) for those taking the test for the first time. Please take a moment to review recent WesternU PANCE scores.

    Question 4: Is it advisable to work while I take classes?
    No. Students are not allowed to work while attending the program.

    Question 5: How can I request an information packet?
    Submit an electronic information request form and we’ll be happy to mail you a brochure and keep you appraised of the latest developments. However, for the most up-to-date information we encourage you to visit our requirements page.

    Question 6: How can I learn more about the financial aid available to me?
    For more information regarding tuition, scholarships, and loans, please visit the Tuition and Scholarships page.

    Question 7: Can I work as a Teaching Assistant, or other type of instructional faculty while I am in the program?
    Despite previous expertise and experience, students are not permitted to substitute for or function as, instructional faculty during any phase of the PA curriculum. This helps to protect learners from divided attention while in the program