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Admissions Process

The admissions process for the EMU PA Program is highly competitive. Nearly 900 applications were received for 30 seats for the class beginning May 2018.

Required Applications

The Eastern Michigan University PA Program requires a completed Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) Application and an EMU Graduate Application. The EMU PA Program will not accept applications through any other means.

For those wishing to apply to begin the PA Program in May 2019, both a completed CASPA application and EMU Graduate Application must be submitted between April 27, 2018 and September 1, 2018. Applications submitted outside of this time frame will not be considered.

CASPA - By September 1, all of the following must be received by CASPA: complete and properly submitted application, appropriate application fee paid to CASPA, two letters of reference and official transcripts for all colleges/universities attended. Applicants are expected to be aware of all pre-admission course requirements and complete their application in accordance with the EMU PA Program admission requirements. Attempted changes to fulfill the minimum requirements or fix an error after an application has been reviewed and an application decision has been made are not accepted. For further information about a "complete" CASPA application, visit CASPA. CASPA applications that are not complete (CASPA notation of "complete") by September 1 will not be considered.

EMU Graduate Application - The EMU Graduate Application must be completed and submitted by September 1. Official transcripts for all colleges/universities must be sent to EMU only in the event that an interview invitation is extended to an applicant. Letters of reference are only required to be sent to CASPA, and personal statements are no longer required. An application not submitted by September 1 will not be considered. Please note that the EMU Graduate Application includes a fee of $45, payable by credit card. The EMU Graduate Application may be accessed here.

International and foreign degree applicants must have all necessary documents and evaluations completed and received by September 1.

Application Review & Timeline

During the summer and early fall, the EMU PA Program Admission Committee reviews applications and selects the most qualified candidates for on-campus interviews based on a program-specific evaluation rubric. Any applicant who does not clearly demonstrate attainment (or appropriate plan for attainment) of all EMU PA Program Pre-Admission Requirements via the CASPA application is not considered for admission. Incomplete applications will not be considered and will be automatically denied.

Interviews for Top Applicants

The highest rated/most qualified applicants are granted an on-campus interview with the EMU PA Program Admission Committee. We will interview approximately 90 candidates for 30 seats in the entering class. Successful completion of an on-campus interview is a requirement for admission. The interview is approximately one half-day in length and consists of individual interviews, a presentation on the program and curriculum, and a tour of the PA Program facilities and other key locations on the EMU campus provided by current PA students.

Admission Decisions

Following the completion of all admissions interviews, the EMU PA Program Admission Committee meets to choose the top candidates. The program anticipates admitting up to 30 candidates annually. Students are only allowed to start the EMU PA Program once annually in early May. Applicants who are not accepted into the EMU PA Program must repeat the entire admissions process if they wish to re-apply.

Evaluation Criteria

Once a candidate's application has been screened and is found to have met (or has an appropriate plan to meet) all of the minimum admission requirements, the application is fully reviewed and evaluated by the EMU PA Program. Candidates applying for admission into the EMU PA Program are evaluated on a number of cognitive and non-cognitive measures, seeking to assemble a class of students who are highly intelligent, well-rounded, work well with others and bring a wealth of varied life experiences. Due to the highly selective admissions process, not all applicants will be granted an interview. There is no advanced placement or advanced standing for anyone chosen to join the EMU PA Program. The specific applicant areas assessed include:

Academic Background

    • Highest/Best GPA: The EMU PA Program evaluates the highest/best of the following CASPA GPAs: overall undergraduate or last 60 undergraduate semester credit hours. The Highest/Best GPA has a large impact on candidate evaluation.
    • Science GPA: The EMU PA Program evaluates a CASPA generated GPA that includes all science courses ever taken at the college/university level. The CASPA Science GPA includes: Biology/Zoology, Inorganic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Other Science and Physics. The Science GPA has a large impact on candidate evaluation.
    • Additional Health Care and Science-related Courses: The EMU PA Program determines the number of health care and science-related courses completed beyond the pre-admission requirements with a grade of "B-" or better. This has a small-moderate impact on candidate evaluation.
    • Graduate Degrees: Applicants will be awarded additional points if they hold a graduate degree.
    • GRE: All applicants must have taken the GRE within five years of the date of a submitted CASPA application. The GRE has a significant impact on candidate evaluation.

Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours

    • Experience: The type(s) and amount of Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours are evaluated. Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours is no longer an admission requirement; however, preference in the application evaluation process is given to candidates with direct patient care experiences, particularly those that require specific training, a high level of medical decision-making and/or registration/licensure. The highest category, Professional Provider, includes registered nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists and medical corpsman. The next category, Technician, includes radiology technicians, physical therapists, athletic trainers, social workers, patient care technicians, physical therapy assistants, dental assistants, CNAs, medical scribes and others. Preference will also be given to candidates who have completed greater numbers of hours of clinical experience. The Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours has a large impact on candidate evaluation.

Life Experiences

    • Overcoming challenges: Economically and/or educationally/environmentally disadvantaged as noted by the indicators on the CASPA application. This has a small-moderate impact on candidate evaluation.
    • Community service / Involvement: Determination of the number and extent of community service and involvement in extra-curricular activities as noted on CASPA application. This has a small-moderate impact on candidate evaluation.
    • Leadership & awards: Determination of the number and type of demonstrated leadership, honors and awards as noted on CASPA application. This has a small-moderate impact on candidate evaluation.
    • Research experience: Involvement in research. High-level involvement in research directly related to humans is favored. Research experience has a small-moderate impact on candidate evaluation.

Letters of Reference

    • At least two letters of reference are required. All letters of reference submitted to CASPA may be evaluated (more letters are not necessarily better). The quantitative and qualitative information regarding the letters of reference are evaluated. This has a small-moderate impact on candidate evaluation.
    • There is no specific requirement regarding the credentials or background for the individuals who supply the letters of reference; however, it is recommended that those supplying the references are qualified to evaluate the applicant’s interpersonal skills, professionalism and ability to meet the demands of an academically rigorous physician assistant student curriculum. Examples of those who commonly supply letters of reference include: health care professionals (physicians, PAs, nurses, etc.), employment supervisors, science instructors or other college professors, or anyone qualified to evaluate the applicant’s potential for success as a graduate-level student and future physician assistant.

On-campus Interview

    • Only select applicants are invited for an on-campus interview.
    • The interview includes prepared questions and specific evaluation rubrics. The interview day also includes a presentation about our program, tour of the PA facilities, and an opportunity to speak with current PA students. The interview has a large impact on candidate evaluation.


    • Exceptionalities: Possible candidate qualities or accomplishments that are not addressed elsewhere and found to be exceptional and warrant additional evaluation. Exceptionalities are rare and can have a small to moderate impact on candidate evaluation.
The Physician Assistant Program is part of the School of Health Promotion & Human Performance, 318 Porter Building, 734.487.0090