Physician Assistant Requirements
Must be from a regionally accredited institution
Any degree is acceptable but a strong science background is encouraged
Must be received by December 31 of the application year, for example, December 31, 2015 for the class beginning September 2016.
Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)
Overall GPA 3.0 on a 4.0 scale AND Science GPA 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
- Both the overall and science GPA as calculated by CASPA must meet the minimum requirement at the time of application.
- Pending coursework is not calculated into the minimum GPA requirements prior to interviews.
- You must maintain the minimum required GPA with any outstanding coursework through admission into the program.
- Pass/fail or credit/no-credit grades are not accepted for prerequisite courses. Grades of “pass” or “credit” for non-prerequisite courses will not be included in GPA calculations.
- Grades received for courses taken at non- U.S. institutions are not calculated by CASPA buy will be included in the evaluation of the GPA. Please see International Applicants page for more information.
Prerequisite Courses* (All prerequisite courses must be taken at a regionally accredited institution)
- Human Anatomy and Physiology with laboratory (8 semester units) Must cover all organ systems
- One year of General Chemistry with laboratory or a sequence in inorganic, organic and biochemistry with laboratory (8 semester units)
- General Microbiology with laboratory (4 semester units) Must include medically important bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa.
- Please note: "C- minus grades" are not accepted for prerequisite courses
General Education Courses
- General Psychology or equivalent
- General Sociology or Cultural Anthropology or equivalent
- College-level Algebra or equivalent
- One year of English (language courses not accepted)
- Medical Terminology
- Conversational Spanish
*A maximum of 2 total prerequisite courses may be outstanding at the time of application, with only 1 science prerequisite outstanding. An outstanding course is defined as any course listed as being in progress when the CASPA application is submitted by the applicant, even if the course will be completed prior to the applicant submitting his or her supplemental application. All outstanding prerequisites must be completed by the end of Spring Quarter of the year of matriculation.
**Science courses must be for science majors and include a laboratory component. Online courses will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis but must have an on-campus laboratory component in order to be considered. It is strongly recommended that all prerequisite science courses have been taken within the last 10 years, especially for those applicants who have only been in clinical practice for a short time. Introductory courses are not accepted for Anatomy/Physiology or Microbiology.
Patient Care Experience
2,000 hours of hands-on patient care experience must be completed prior to enrollment
Preferred experiences include accredited, credentialed professions that provide patient assessment, treatment, patient care plans, and diagnostic testing.
Preferred applicants will have direct patient care experience working in clinical settings that involve a range of patient responsibility and involve a high level of critical thinking. Only paid hours are acceptable.
Examples of preferred clinical experiences
- Military medic or corpsman
- Paramedic/EMT (waiting time not included in hours)
- Nurse (LVN or RN)
- Radiology technologist
- Physical therapist
- Respiratory therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Medical technologist
- Medical assistant (certified; back office hours only)
- Athletic trainer
Other professions not listed above (e.g.. phlebotomy, scribe, etc.) will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are dependent upon the quality of patient interaction.
Examples of clinical experiences not preferred
- Administrative duties
- Massage therapy
- Personal trainer
- Home care aide
- Home health aide
- Pharmacy technician
- Certified nurse’s aide (except with documented high-quality patient interaction)
- Shadowing a physician or PA
- Research with no patient contact
- Hours received during training programs (e.g. medical school, internship)
Letters of Reference
Three letters of reference, one of which must be from a practicing physician (MD or DO) or physician assistant that you have worked under in a paid position.
- MD/DO/PA letter cannot be from a friend or relative
- MD/DO/PA letter cannot be from a shadowing experience
- All applicants must be able to meet all Admission and Technical standards, and Graduation Standards with or without reasonable accommodations.
Health Screening and Immunizations
Students must meet specific health requirements prior to enrolling in classes. A physical exam is not necessary for enrollment in the Physician Assistant program. All vaccination policies are developed in accordance with current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). For more information regarding pre-admission health requirements including a list of required vaccinations, please visit our Student Health page for more information.
Standards for Students
Loma Linda University has certain policies and standards for all students who attend the University. We encourage all prospective applicants to review these standards as printed in the student handbook.