» Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Physician Assistant (PA)? 

PAs are licensed healthcare professionals who practice medicine with physician supervision (MD, DO).  PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical care and services to diverse patient populations in both the rural and urban settings.  Their focus is patient care in the primary care setting, and their duties include, education, research, and administrative activities. 

What type of jobs in medicine can PAs perform?

PAs work in all areas and subspecialties of medicine.  These include, but are not limited to primary care, surgery, family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, orthopedics, psychiatry, pain management, and gastroenterology.  PAs also work in areas such as higher education, government, military, administration, and research.

How did the PA Profession begin? 

In the mid 1960’s, physicians and educators recognized there was a shortage of primary care physicians.  Dr. Eugene Stead of the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina selected four Navy corpsmen who had received considerable medical training during their military service and in Vietnam but who had no comparable civilian employment. In 1965 he put together the first physician assistant class and based the curriculum of the PA program in part on his knowledge of the fast-track training of doctors during World War II. 

What degree will I earn upon successful completion of the program?

Students who complete all requirements of the program will receive a Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MMSPAS).

How long is the program?

The program is 24 months in duration – 12 months didactic and 12 months of clinical.

How much does Chapman’s PA Studies Program cost?

You can find PA Studies Program cost here.

When does the program start?

Each new cohort begins in January.

How many cohorts are there each year in the program?

There is only one cohort accepted into the program per year.

How many students do you accept in each cohort?

The first cohort (January 2017) consists of 25 students, the second class (January 2018) will have 35 students, and every class after that will have 50 students.

Is there a part-time option?

No. The program is a 24-month, full-time, year-round educational experience. There is time off between each of the trimesters in both the didactic and clinical phases. 

Can I work while enrolled in the program?

As the PA Studies program is an intensive, full time program, we do not recommend that students work while in the program.

How do I apply to your program?

All applications must go through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). We do not accept applications or application materials sent directly to the college. We do not require a supplemental application in addition to CASPA.

What are the admissions criteria?

Check out our admissions criteria here.

Do I need a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for admissions?

Yes, a bachelor’s degree is required for entry into this program. An associate’s degree does not suffice.

Does Chapman’s PAS program accept international bachelor’s degrees?

Yes, we accept students who have earned their bachelor’s degree outside of the U.S. All Foreign Academic records must be translated to English and certified by University Language Services and submitted to CASPA. If foreign transcripts are in English applicants still need to submit the foreign transcript to CASPA and also have them evaluated by one of the following services: World Education Services(WES), International Education Research Foundation (IERF), and Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE). 

All foreign coursework and degrees must be evaluated for North American equivalencies with calculated GPA’s on a 4.0 scale by one these services and submitted to CASPA.  We will only recognize the degree, course credentials and GPA that they have evaluated. 

Depending on the circumstances, the applicant might have to begin with the language services because WES, IERF, and ECE will not evaluate the credential or coursework or calculate GPA without an English translation. All of these services are the responsibility of the applicant. 

Does Chapman accept PAS transfer students?

No, Chapman does not accept transfer students into the PA Studies program.

Must I complete all prerequisite courses before applying?

All science prerequisites must be completed and the grade needs to be reflected on your transcript at the time of submission, otherwise your application will be flagged as “does not meet minimum requirements.” Non-science courses can be “in progress,” but they must be completed by the time of matriculation, and priority will be given to applicants with all prerequisites completed. Applicants will be denied if they do not meet the minimum admission requirements.

I received passing AP credit in high school for one of the required prerequisite courses. Will you accept my AP credit?

We accept AP credit for the Pre-calculus or Calculus, Intro to Statistics, General Psychology, and Intro to Sociology requirements ONLY, and only if your undergraduate institution has awarded you credit for your AP scores (must be reflected on your undergraduate transcript). We do not accept AP credit towards any of the science prerequisites.

What is the minimum prerequisite GPA required?

We require a minimum overall GPA of a 3.2 and an overall science GPA of a 3.2. CASPA calculates those GPAs through their internal system of transcript evaluations.

My overall and/or science GPA is below 3.2, what should I do?

We recommend that you take additional courses in order to boost your GPA to meet the minimum before you apply. Applicants will be denied if they do not meet the minimum admission requirements.

Is a GRE score required for admission into the Chapman PA Studies Program?

Yes. The GRE must be completed within the last 5 years from the application deadline. A combination of the highest scores from separate sittings of the GRE exam will be accepted. No minimum score is required. Chapman University’s CASPA code is 3681.. A department code is not needed. Applicants will be denied if they do not meet the minimum admission requirements.

What are Patient Care Experience hours?

Patient Care Experience (patient contact) hours are defined as an experience in a healthcare setting that involves patients, either paid or voluntary. You can see our list of approved patient contact hours here.

Are PA shadowing hours a required part of the application?

No; however, observational/shadowing hours are strongly encouraged and will be taken into consideration in determining whether or not you will receive an interview and potential admission into the program. Shadowing a PA will provide the student applicant with valuable patient contact in various sub-specialties of medicine.  We want to be assured that you understand the role of a PA as part of the healthcare team.

I only have shadowing experience. Will that count towards the 1,000 required hours of Patient Care Experience?

No, it will not. While shadowing a Physician Assistant is recommended and strongly encouraged so that you may have an understanding of the role of a PA, it is not sufficient when it comes to the Patient Care Experience requirement of 1000 hours. You also must acquire direct hands-on patient care experience. Applicants will be denied if they do not meet the minimum admission requirements.

When is the application deadline?

The deadline is October 1. Applications received after this date will be considered on a space available basis. You must apply through CASPA. 

When are application decisions made?

Application decisions are made on a rolling admissions model. While October 1st is the final deadline to apply, we would encourage you to submit your application early on in the process. Admissions offers will be made over a period of time and will cease when the class roster is full. Applicants will be denied if they do not meet the minimum admission requirements.

Am I guaranteed an interview if I meet the minimum requirements?

No, you are not guaranteed an interview if you meet the minimum requirements.  Your chance of being invited to interview depends on how competitive your application is in comparison to the applicant pool that year.

If I meet all admission criteria, does that guarantee a seat in the PA Program?

Seats in the PA Studies Program are limited, and so meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee a seat in the program. The PA Studies Program Admissions Committee will admit candidates who meet the admission requirements, have a successful interview, and present the best overall profile.

I have submitted my application to CASPA and I would like to check the status. Who can I contact?

To check your application status, you may log into your CASPA application and view the program status page. For transcript updates, you may log in to your application and check the status, or call our Admissions Coordinator at 714-744-2190.

If I get denied, can I reapply for the next cycle?

Yes, if you meet the minimum requirements, we would encourage you to boost your application and materials and resubmit an application through CASPA for the next application cycle.

If I receive an invite to interview, how long do I have to pick a date?

Interview seats fill up quickly.  It is recommended that you select a date immediately; keep in mind dates cannot be changed once selected. Your invite email will include a deadline and instructions to register.

After I am interviewed, when should I expect a response?

Responses indicating whether you are accepted, waitlisted, or rejected will be sent as soon as possible.

Is the Chapman University PA Studies Program Accredited?

Chapman University’s PA Studies Program has been approved for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on the Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Updates can be found on the Chapman University PA Studies Program website at http:/www.chapman.edu/physician-assistant. 

What is provisional accreditation?

Provisional accreditation, known as “Accreditation-Provisional” by the ARC-PA, is an accreditation status for a new PA program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the Accreditation Standards.  Programs that have received “Accreditation-Provisional” status from the ARC-PA are considered to be accredited, and will receive future accreditation visits in the future to continue their accreditation as a program.

What happens if I am enrolled in the Chapman University PA Studies Program and it does not make full accreditation?

Students who are currently enrolled in the program will be allowed to complete the program, and will be eligible to sit for the national board certification through NCCPA, even if the Program fails to attain full accreditation status on subsequent accreditation visits.  On their website, the NCCPA states that “to be eligible for PANCE, you must graduate from a program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) as a Physician Assistant Program. PA program graduates will be deemed to have graduated from an accredited program if their PA educational program was accredited at the time of their matriculation.”



What is the Bridge Program?

The Bridge Program guarantees highly qualified Health Science majors at Chapman University the opportunity to interview for acceptance into Chapman's PA Studies program, contingent upon satisfactory completion of the Bridge Program Criteria.

Who should apply to the Bridge Program?

Only Chapman University students who are enrolled in the Bridge Program and meet the high eligibility requirements should apply.

What degree do I earn upon successful completion of the Bridge Program?

A Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences.

Am I guaranteed a seat in the graduate PA Studies Program upon successful completion of the Bridge Program?

No, you are not guaranteed a spot in the PAS Program. Upon successful completion of the Bridge program, you will be only be guaranteed an interview for the Chapman PA Studies Program.

Am I required to shadow a PA prior to applying to the Bridge Program?

No, but shadowing hours are strongly recommended to bolster your application. All observational hours are to be arranged by the student; the Bridge and PA Studies programs will not arrange or recommend observational sites.