PA Programs That Accept Low GPA

If you’re interested in pursuing a physician assistant graduate program, but don’t have a good undergraduate GPA, then you’ve come to the correct place. Here, you’ll find 13 PA programs with low GPA requirements from partnered institutions and the other admissions requirements for each.

List of 13 PA Programs with Low GPA Requirements

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of physician assistants is expected to increase 31% during the ten years from 2019 to 2029. Plus, as of 2020, the median annual wages for PAs was $115,390.

This demand has led many PA programs to have stricter admissions requirements. This includes a higher overall GPA. That does not mean you are out of luck. Other options exist for the PA student. Check out the list below for PA programs that accept a low GPA below.

What Is Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants or CASPA?

The Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) is a full-service, web-based application system. It allows students to apply to multiple participating PA programs with a single application.

CASPA is a branch of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA). This is the only national organization representing physician assistant educational programs in the United States. Most accredited programs in the US are members.

Number of Programs Participating in CASPA As of March 1, 2018, there were 213 participating programs in CASPA with eight programs still in the developing stage. This is 95% of currently accredited PA programs.

3 Ways to Overcome Low GPA When Applying to PA School

The minimum GPA doesn’t mean that you’re going to get accepted. In fact, because physician assistant graduate programs are in high demand, the average GPA may be higher than the minimum. For instance, Thomas Jefferson University has a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0, but states that a 3.3 GPA may be more competitive. In addition, the University of New England has a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0, but states that the average matriculated students average a 3.5.

Tip for Applying to a PA Program Have a low GPA? That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply. Look for schools that consider applications holistically. That’s a school that looks beyond just strict numbers.

1. Gain High Score on GRE

There are some grad schools that don’t require the GRE. Some other ;PA programs are going in that direction. Many programs look at your application holistically. That means that take everything into account and not just one aspect.

Score higher on the GRE, MCAT, or other standardized test scores. This may improve your chances of being accepted.

2. Apply to Programs that Accept Low GPA because they Look at Application “Holistically”

As mentioned, many PA programs look at your application in total. This means your GPA should meet minimum requirements. However, having more direct patient care experience or scoring higher on standardized tests improve the likelihood of you being accepted.

  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access

3. Direct Patient Experience

Many PA programs with low GPA requirements ;state that you have a minimum amount of direct patient care. The exact number of hours spent varies. Having more than the minimum may help you. After all, one of the reasons GPA is a factor in the application process is to judge how well you may be able to handle the rigors of pursuing a graduate degree. Therefore, having direct ;patient care experience is a great way to overcome low grades.

PA Schools that Accept Low GPA

If you are a pre-PA student or considering enrollment, check out these schools. At last check, they offered options for students with a lower GPA.

1. Marquette University

Minimum GPA Requirements: 3.0 (As calculated by CASPA)

The Physician Assistant Studies ;program at Marquette combines the school’s Jesuit tradition of caring for the whole person with the ideals of concern for the spiritual, emotional, and physical development of the individual. It is a part of the College of Health Sciences. Each year, the PA program accepts 55 students. These are roughly split 50/50 between Marquette undergraduate students and external candidates.

Tip for Applying

Marquette also takes into consideration the total and science GPA. It also looks at the quantity and performance in science coursework. Other selection factors include a personal interview and a knowledge of the ;PA profession and its role in health care.

PA Programs at Marquette University:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

  • Submission of completed application to the CASPA
  • GRE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Minimum of 200 hours of patient contact and other health care experience

2. The George Washington University

Minimum GPA Requirements: 3.0

It was designed to teach a superior academic foundation. It offers an abundance of clinical experience to the student.

Difference Maker

This program introduces students to health care and social services. It has an innovative curriculum and a community service component.

PA Programs at GWU:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

  • 3.0 GPA (Cumulative and Science)
  • GRE scores
  • 1,000 hours of direct patient care experience
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts

Required Prerequisite Coursework:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Statistics

3. A.T. Still University of Health Sciences

Minimum GPA Requirements: 2.50 (Overall and PA Program)

The courses and curriculum of the Advanced Masters in Physician Assistant Studies ;are designed to broaden the clinical knowledge and skill level of practicing physician assistants. Key topics include ethical issues, health care delivery systems, and evidence-based medicine and clinical research design.

Difference Maker

There is a coursework and assignment requirement here. These may be completed online. The Clinical Medicine concentration requires 400 hours of direct patient care. This may be completed at your place of employment.

PA Programs at A.T. Still:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

  • Graduation from ARC-PA accredited PA program
  • Physician Assistant License or Certification
  • Official transcripts
  • Bachelor’s Degree from a Regionally Accredited College or University

4. South University

Minimum GPA Requirements: 3.0 (Overall and Science)

The Physician Assistant (MS) at South University offers courses that focus on the fundamental medical concepts and theories in the key functions of physician assistants. This may include:

  • Evaluation
  • Monitoring
  • Diagnostics
  • Therapeutics
  • Counseling
  • Referral

Tip for Applying

South requires that you complete all prerequisite courses with a grade of C or better. This includes Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, and other science courses.

PA Programs at South:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

  • 3.0 GPA (overall and Biology-Chemistry-Physics)
  • GRE scores (preference will be given to those with GRE scores at the 50th percentile or above)
  • One reference from physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner whom you have worked with or shadowed

5. Barry University

Minimum GPA Requirements: 3.0 (Overall and Science)

The Physician Assistant Program at Barry educates students in the practice of collaborative medicine. It encourages life-long learning and professional development. It fosters a tech rich environment and clinical training experiences to help diverse patient populations.

Difference Maker

This liberal arts emphasis integrates the Catholic tradition of combining study, reflection, and action to foster individual and communal transformations.

PA Programs at Barry:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

  • 3.0 GPA (cumulative and science)
  • GRE scores
  • Official transcripts
  • Evidence of experience in health care is highly recommended

Required Prerequisite Coursework:

  • General / Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Microbiology

6. Midwestern University

Minimum GPA Requirements: 3.0

Physician Assistant Program is taught by caring faculty experts who prepare you to apply evidence-based medicine and compassionate decision making to benefit a diverse community of patients. It is designed to teach the skills you need to become a vital member of the health care team. The student-centered curriculum and clinical experiences teach how you may become a competent, caring physician assistant.

Tip for Applying

Midwestern also looks at your previous work, volunteer work, or life experiences that show motivation for and commitment to healthcare. It also looks at demonstration of service and leadership through community service or extracurricular activities.

PA Programs at Midwestern:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

  • 3.0 GPA (cumulative and science)
  • GRE scores
  • Completion of prerequisite courses

7. Missouri State University

Minimum GPA Requirements: 3.0

This course is designed for full-time students to complete in as little as two years. The Physician Assistant Studies at Missouri State strives to full prepare you for success on the national certification exam through:

  • Clinical experiences at every stage of the program
  • Small student-faculty ratio
  • Individualized attention
  • State-of-the-art facilities

It features a rigorous curriculum and mentorship with experienced faculty. The program teaches the intellectual and interpersonal skills needed by physician assistants.

PA Programs at Missouri State:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

  • 3.0 GPA
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE / MCAT scores

8. Loma Linda University

Minimum GPA Requirements: 3.0 (Overall and Science)

The Physician Assistant Program teaches primary care physician assistants to provide health care in collaboration with physicians as active members of a health care team. This program is designed specifically to teach the compassion for the whole person. It also focuses on quality health care for under-served communities locally and globally.

Difference Maker

The school shares its campus with six hospitals. Students receive hands-on training there. As a private health sciences university, Loma Linda looks for students to help them transform the world and shatter barriers in the healthcare industry through this degree program.

PA Programs at Loma Linda:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

All bachelor’s degrees are acceptable. However, a strong science background is encouraged. Some of the other admissions requirements include:

  • 3.0 GPA (cumulative and science)
  • Prerequisite courses in science and general education (C- grades are not accepted)
  • 2,000 hours of hands-on patient care experience prior to enrollment
  • Three letters of recommendation

9. University of Utah

Minimum GPA Requirements: 3.0 (2.7 GPAs may be considered)

It is one of the oldest PA programs in the country. The Physician Assistant Program at Utah is committed to training PAs to meet the challenges of providing high quality care to patients in medically underserved and rural communities. The program has refined its curriculum and format to provide a combination of didactic and clinical training. This provides hands-on experience in the field.

Difference Maker

One of the key aspects of the PA program at Utah is that they do not require any standardized test, such as the GRE or MCAT.

PA Programs at University of Utah:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • 3.0 GPA (though 2.7 GPAs are considered)
  • 2,000 hours of health care experience, with at least one year of full-time equivalent
  • Prerequisite courses (such as Human Anatomy and Human Physiology)

10. Western University of Health Sciences

Minimum GPA Requirements: 3.0 (Overall, Science, and Prerequisites)

The Physician Assistant Studies Program is designed to meet the increasing need of PAs as valued and vital members of the health care team. The two year program prepares students to demonstrate:

  • Competency in established and evolving medical and clinical sciences
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Effective, patient-centered, and compassionate care
  • Critical analysis, evaluation, and improved patient care to a diverse patient population

Tip for Applying

You may be required to have a 3.0 GPA. This includes cumulative, science, and prerequisite. Clinical experience is preferred, it is not required.

PA Programs at University of Western University of Health Sciences:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • 3.0 (Overall, Science, and Prerequisites)

11. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Minimum GPA Requirements: 2.75

The 24-month Physician Assistant Program at Rosalind Franklin was created in 1991. The faculty takes pride in teaching its students to provide competent, compassionate, and ethical medical care. It does this by teaching with dynamic lectures and innovative labs. The program’s mission is to educate and prepare PAs who to be integral members of the inter professional health care team. It aims to ensure students provide quality, patient-centered care.

Difference Maker

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science is named after Dr. Rosalind Franklin. Dr. Franklin captured the photograph revealing the structure of DNA in 1952.

PA Programs at Rosalind Franklin University:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

  • 2.75 GPA (cumulative and science)
  • Special consideration will be given to the last 60 hours of completed coursework
  • All prerequisite grades must be a “C” or higher
  • GRE scores in the 50th percentile or higher
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement

PA Program Prerequisite Coursework

  • Biochemistry
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Microbiology

12. Thomas Jefferson University

Minimum GPA Requirements: 3.0

This program is designed to prepare you as a leader in health care. The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies strives to translate your knowledge and skills into evidence-based, innovative medical practice. The school relies on Philadelphia’s rich culture of medical education and its long-established history of educating outstanding healthcare providers. Jefferson has collaborated to create curriculum to ensure that students are prepared to be successful clinicians. These are students who may be able to influence healthcare and impact public health.

Tip for Applying

The school only requires a 3.0 GPA. They do make it clear that a 3.3 GPA is more competitive. They do not require that applicants take or submit standardized test scores, such as the GRE or MCAT.

PA Programs at Rosalind Franklin University:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

  • 3.0 GPA (cumulative and science)
  • Official transcripts
  • Personal Statement or Essay
  • Direct patient care (no minimum hours, though the school recommends at least 200 hours)

13. University of New England

Minimum GPA Requirements: 3.0 (Overall and Science)

The Master of Science Physician Assistant prepares you to work as part of an interdisciplinary team to deliver care to patients through coursework and clinical experiences. It does this by pulling from faculty experience. The full-time program takes 24 months. It is built on a foundation in science and pathophysiology. It aims to foster understanding of disease processes and clinical medicine.

About the Application Process

Note that, for UNE and other schools, meeting the minimum requirement is just that. It does not mean the school is required to review your application. It does not mean acceptance. It does not mean an interview is provided.

PA Programs at UNE:

PA Program Admissions Requirements:

UNE does not require a GRE score. It does not require any other standardized test score as part of your application. Some of the other admissions requirements include:

  • 3.0 GPA (cumulative and science)
  • 500 hours of direct patient care
  • PA shadowing for a minimum of 20 hours
  • Three letters of recommendation

14. Brenau University

Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.75

The program begins in January of each year and offers applicants positions based on a number of factors. These include:

  • Personal motivation
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Life experience
  • Recommendations
  • Previous healthcare experience
  • Knowledge of the profession

PA Programs at Brenau:

  • MS in Physician Assistant Studies

PA Program Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor Degree
  • GRE scores
  • Completed all prerequisite courses
  • Prior healthcare experience
  • Three letters of recommendation

15. Christian Brothers University

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

The program focuses on evidence based primary care. The program also focuses on caring for the medically underserved.

PA Programs at Christian Brothers University:

  • MS in Physician Assistant Studies

PA Program Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor Degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Completed all prerequisite courses
  • Interview
  • CASPer test results

16. Hardin-Simmons University

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

The program offers a number of benefits to those who participate:

  • Provide education in rural settings
  • Prepare students for National Certifying exam
  • Provide opportunities for employment

PA Programs at Hardin-Simmons:

  • MS in Physician Assistant Studies

PA Program Admission Requirements:

  • Online application
  • Complete prerequisite courses
  • Bachelor’s degree form an accredited school
  • GRE
  • CASPer test scores

17. Harding University

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

This is the first Physician’s Assistant program in the state of Arkansas. The program may be finished in 28 months.

PA Programs at Harding:

  • MS in Physician Assistant Studies

PA Program Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor Degree
  • GRE scores
  • Completed all prerequisite courses
  • Prior healthcare experience
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Interview
  • Application

18. Keiser University

Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.75

The PA program at Keiser uses a lot of hands on experience to teach the students. The program occurs in classrooms, labs, and clinics.

PA Programs at Keiser:

  • MS in Physician Assistant Studies

PA Program Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor Degree
  • GRE scores
  • Completed all prerequisite courses
  • Prior healthcare experience
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Shadowing
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • CASPA application
  • Registration fee

18. Mercer University

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Mercer University offers a Physician Assistant program that may be completed in two years. The program is fully accredited.

PA Programs at Mercer:

  • MS in Physician Assistant Studies

PA Program Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor Degree
  • GRE scores
  • Completed all prerequisite courses
  • Prior healthcare experience
  • CASPA application

19. University of Dubuque

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

The program at Dubuque prepares students to work in the field of primary care that covers all aspects of health care.

PA Programs at Dubuque:

  • MS in Physician Assistant Studies

PA Program Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor Degree
  • GRE scores
  • Completed all prerequisite courses
  • Prior healthcare experience
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • US resident
  • Shadowing experience
  • Community service

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