We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19. The Admissions Committee has reviewed its policies with special consideration for the effects of COVID-19 on our applicants. The current policies have been established with these considerations in mind. For this reason, and in keeping with our Program’s policies, we are unable to waive any of our admission requirements for any reason.

We are making preparations to return to full operations in Fall 2021, while still taking the necessary safety precautions including requiring masks, symptom screenings, and maintaining social distance to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, Pacific has announced that all students will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus. Our staff is currently using a hybrid on-campus and remote working model. Given this change, we'd like to assure you that we have robust technology and a culture of flexibility that allows us to continue providing you with uninterrupted service.

For the 2021 admissions cycle, all admissions information events have been moved online. However, interviews have been pushed back to begin in July and will be held in person.

We are closely monitoring guidance from the World Health Organization, the CDC, and state and local authorities and will provide up-to-date information on our website as new information becomes available.

Ready to Apply?

Before you apply, make sure you meet all of the prerequisites and other admission requirements. Use our pre-application self-checklist now to see if you’re ready.

Application Timelines

Matriculation: January 2022
Application Window: April 29, 2021 – August 1, 2021
Interviews: July – September 2021
Class Selection: No later than October 1, 2021
Expected Graduation: April 2024

students looking at laptop

Prior to the submission of an application to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA), all of the admission requirements must be completed. Applications received that are incomplete or missing any of the prerequisites will be denied without opportunity for correction. See How to Apply for application deadlines.

  • Bachelor’s degree *
  • All prerequisite coursework **
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.0 (on 4.0 scale) 
  • Minimum overall science GPA of 3.0 (on 4.0 scale)
  • Minimum of 1,000 hours of health care experience

*Degree conferral must appear on the transcript for a CASPA application to be considered complete.
**Grades for all prerequisite courses must be posted and appear on a transcript (i.e. no “planned” or “in progress” notations on transcript).

Prerequisite Health Care Experience

We do not consider one type of clinical experience greater than another (i.e. experience as an RN is not more valued than that of a medical assistant). Experience may be paid or unpaid. There is not a published list of healthcare professions the program considers suitable for clinical experience. At a minimum, the applicant's clinical experience should include one of the following:

  • Collecting of, and/or reporting in the patient's chart, data necessary to establish a diagnosis or evaluate the progress of the patient's treatment plan;
  • Assisting a health care worker in the performance of diagnostic, therapeutic, or surgical procedures;
  • Under the supervision of a health care provider administering or dispensing medications;
  • Other work involving direct patient contact and interaction.

Experiences that typically satisfy the HCE requirement include evidence of direct patient care: collecting detailed patient histories, assisting with minor procedures or treatments, administering medications, etc.

Experiences that typically do not satisfy the HCE requirement include administration duties, billing, insurance, patient transport, lifeguarding, care of family members, companionship, caretaking, working with animals, etc.

See the FAQ page for additional information about HCE and examples of experiences.

  • All prerequisite coursework must be completed at an accredited US institution.
  • A single course cannot be used to meet multiple requirements.
  • Online and hybrid courses are acceptable to meet all prerequisite courses.
  • No preference is given for coursework completed at 4-year institutions versus 2-year institutions.

Prerequisite Science Courses

Important! Pacific will NOT accept AP/CLEP courses to fulfill science prerequisites. 

  • General Chemistry: Two courses with a minimum of 1 lab. Total of 8 semester units or 12 quarter units. Should be a course sequence designed for chemistry majors.
  • Biological Sciences: Two courses with a minimum of 1 lab. Total of 6 semester or 9 quarter units. Should be a course sequence designed for biology majors.
  • Human Anatomy: One course with lab is required. Total of 4 semester or 5 quarter units with lab (or combined Anatomy & Physiology).
  • Human Physiology: One course is required. Total of 4 semester or 5 quarter units (or combined Anatomy & Physiology). Lab recommended, but not required.
  • Microbiology: One course is required. Total of 3 semester units or 4 quarter units. Lab recommended, but not required.

Prerequisite Non-Science Courses

  • Math: One course in Statistics is required. Total of 3 semester or 4 quarter units.
  • Psychology: One course in General or Abnormal Psychology is required. Total of 3 semester or 4 quarter units.
  • English Composition: Two courses are required. Total of 6 semester or 9 quarter units. Minimum of 1 composition course; 2nd course can be composition, literature, or writing intensive course. English as a Second Language courses will not fulfill this requirement.

Technical Standards 

Students must be able to achieve certain technical standards of knowledge and skill in order to successfully complete the PA Program. The technical standards in this document apply to satisfactory performance in all academic and clinical course work, as well as fulfillment of non-academic essential functions of the curriculum involving physical, cognitive, and behavior factors that are essential to a professional clinical practitioner.

Health Requirements

Student Health Admission Requirements — See section for Physician Assistant.

Background Clearance

The Program requires students to undergo background screenings prior to matriculation and periodically throughout enrollment. Students have a fiduciary responsibility for the costs associated with the background screening. Background screening will be completed on all students at matriculation and prior to placement on clinical rotations. Applicants are required to be truthful when completing their application in the CASPA system. Discrepancies noted on the pre-matriculation background screening will be investigated and may result in denial of matriculation. Some clinical rotation sites require an additional background screening immediately prior to the start of the rotation, therefore students may be required to complete multiple background screenings throughout enrollment. Facts uncovered as a result of the background screening which could preclude licensure and/or practice in the profession may impact the student’s ability to begin or continue in the program.

Pending Criminal Action Decisions

Applicants offered admission who have pending criminal charges must have adjudication of the offense(s) completed prior to matriculation. Applicants offered admission who fail to complete adjudication of the offense(s) prior to matriculation, or are convicted of a misdemeanor or higher crime, will have their offer of acceptance withdrawn. Persons currently under the command of the criminal justice system will not be accepted for admission.

Toxicology Clearance

The Program requires students to undergo toxicology screenings prior to matriculation and periodically throughout enrollment. Students have a fiduciary responsibility for the costs associated with toxicology screening. Toxicology screening will be completed on all students prior to matriculation, randomly throughout enrollment and prior to placement on clinical rotations. Toxicology screening may be via urine or serum. Some clinical rotation sites require additional toxicology screens immediately prior to the start of the rotation, therefore students may be required to complete multiple screens throughout enrollment. The Program requires the authorization by each student for a urine toxicology screen prior to matriculation into the Program. Abnormalities noted on the pre-matriculation toxicology screening will be investigated and may result in denial of matriculation.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required, but applicants can elect to submit their scores at the time of testing using designated institution (DI) code 7363. If you have previously taken the GRE and would like to submit your scores, University of the Pacific’s GRE code is 4065. Scores are valid for 5 years per ETS website.

Advanced placement policies

Advanced placement cannot be granted in the Program

Transfer of credits policies

Transfer of credit is not allowed. No credit will be granted for work-related experiences. The program does not accept transfer students.

PA School Admissions Director Interview

How to apply

Visit the CASPA website to start an application. Be sure to follow CASPA’s instructions for completing the application. Designate University of the Pacific located in Sacramento, CA. Note: Use caution when designating institutions as there is also a Pacific University, which is a separate institution located in Oregon.

Submit all documents required to CASPA. Make sure that your contact information is correct and submit your application. Once your application has been verified we will notify you by email that it has been added to the applicant pool.

We do not have a supplemental application. Please do not submit any documents directly to the program unless requested.

Applicants must have an application complete date on or before the deadline date. A complete date is given when an application is e-submitted and all transcripts, payments, and at least two letters of reference have been received by CASPA and attached to the application. Documents should be sent several weeks prior to this date to ensure items arrive on time. Click here for more information about CASPA’s application statuses.

If you are not sure if a particular course meets one of the prerequisites, you may email the program at PAprogram@pacific.edu for clarification after a review of the FAQ page. Please include a course syllabi if available, or at a minimum a course description, so a determination can be made.

Please be advised that the program does not offer transcript evaluation services for applicants.

PA white coat ceremony
Have you applied?
Complete a FAFSA!

Pacific’s FAFSA school code is 001329.

Admissions policy and practice

Our admissions and recruitment strategy reflects the mission of the Program and is aligned with school policy on fair admission practices.

The Program is an equal opportunity institution of higher learning and is firmly committed to nondiscrimination in its delivery of educational services and employment practices. In compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, such decisions will be made irrespective of the individual's race, color, religion, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, age (except for minors), sex, marital status, citizenship status, military service status, sexual orientation, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic condition), disability and/or any other status protected by law. When necessary, the Program will reasonably accommodate an individual (including students) with disabilities if the educational program of the school determines that the student meets the technical standards, and that such accommodations may be made without undue hardship to the school and/or without altering fundamental aspects of its educational program.

Admission process timelines

Matriculation: January 2022
Application Window: April 29, 2021 – Aug. 1, 2021
Interviews: June – August 2021
Class Selection: No later than Sept. 15, 2021
Expected Graduation: April 2024

Preferential factors

Some preference is applied in the pre-interview screening process to the following groups:

  •  Veterans
  •  Pacific alumni
  •  Residents of our geographic target area

Selection process

The PA Program Admissions Committee conducts a thorough vetting of each applicant file received from the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistant Programs (CASPA). Applications are screened upon receipt from CASPA to ensure that all prerequisites have been satisfied. Applications that satisfy all prerequisite requirements are then scored and ranked by proprietary criteria and the most competitive applicants are invited for an interview. Interviewees participate in a day-long event that includes social activities, a panel interview, and group interviews. Applicants are then scored using a pre-defined scoring system and reviewed by the admissions committee. The committee considers many factors when making selections for admission, to include: the applicant’s application, interview, experience, and suitability for successful completion of the program, and the development of diversity within the student body. In summary, using a holistic approach, the admissions committee considers all aspects of the applicant to make final admission decisions. All seats will be offered after the final interviews have been conducted. Due to our admissions timelines, and in fairness to all applicants, we do not offer early admission.

Granting of advanced standing

The PA Program does not offer advanced standing. To ensure that graduates of the PA Program will be adequately prepared for clinical practice, students are expected to participate in and satisfactorily complete all aspects of the didactic and clinical curriculum.

Notification of selection

Our primary method of communication is email. The admissions committee will meet once all interviews have been completed to make selections for the seats in the class. The Program will send an acceptance email and letter offering a position, or a position on the alternate list, for the incoming class. The Program will likewise notify those candidates who were not selected as soon as practical.


Classes are accepted once a year. Applicants not selected this cycle may reapply in the next application cycle. Applicants who have been in a previous class at the PA Program may apply for re-enrollment through the same process as other applicants unless conditions of dismissal from the prior class bar such action. All re-applicants will be required to submit a new application via CASPA including new evaluations and transcripts. Re-applicants are also required to interview again. All re-applicant strengths and weaknesses will be evaluated against those of other applicants in the current pool.

International applicants

Please note:

  • All prerequisite course work must be completed at an accredited US institution.
  • Baccalaureate degrees will be accepted from foreign institutions only if accompanied by a World Education Services (WES) evaluation of foreign training. CASPA also accepts the WES evaluation of transcripts.
  • Note: WES does not evaluate all Caribbean medical schools. If you attended a school that World Education Services (WES) will not evaluate, your transcripts will not be considered as part of your application. Applicants will still be required to demonstrate that all prerequisites have been met with the exclusion of the affected transcripts.
  • The entire curriculum is taught in the English language. If English is not your first language, you may be required to take the TOEFL/ IELTS and should submit your score with your CASPA application. The program will not accept applications with a TOEFL score less than 100 or IELTS score less than 7.0. TOEFL scores are valid for two years after the test date per ETS website. View the TOEFL Flowchart to see if it is required for you.

Undocumented, DACA or DACA-eligible applicants

Pacific welcomes applications for its MPAS degree program from qualified applicants who are undocumented, including those who have DACA immigration status or who are DACA-eligible. Pacific is also firmly committed to supporting enrolled students from these backgrounds. Admissions to the MPAS degree program follows the same process as all other applicants. All qualified applicants accepted to the program are required to satisfactorily pass a background check. A valid Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) is required to complete this process.

Ability to practice as a physician assistant:

In California, DACA students are eligible to apply for and obtain a license to practice as a physician assistant. To practice in California or any other state, a physician assistant graduate must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and apply for state licensure. The criteria for eligibility to sit for the PANCE board examination and/or to qualify for state licensure are set by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) board and each state. Students should consult the requirements of the licensing authority in any state in which they contemplate practicing to ascertain the qualifications for licensure. Information concerning licensure in California may be found at https://www.pab.ca.gov.

Financial aid for undocumented, DACA or DACA-eligible applicants

  • Undocumented students are currently not eligible to apply for any federal funding, including FAFSA and work study.
  • Undocumented students may be eligible for private scholarships, fellowships, grants, and/or loans. 
  • Non-institutional scholarships are available to members of certain backgrounds, such as military families, members of religious organizations or communities and particular groups of students. For example:
    • DREAMers RoadMap is an app launched in September 2016 that will help undocumented students (DREAMers) find scholarships for college.
    • Golden Door Scholars invests in education and career access for high-performing DACA students. 
  • Undocumented students are eligible to apply for alternative/private loans. In order to do so, they must have a co-signer that is a credit-worthy U.S. citizen.


Check out our FAQ page, attend an information session, or contact us at PAprogram@pacific.edu