Master of Science in Anesthesia Requirements

Academic Requirements

Washington, D.C. Class of 2025

The mission of the Master of Science in Anesthesia Program is to graduate skilled and compassionate anesthetists. The admission policy reflects this goal. Applicants are considered on a variety of parameters that measure academic ability, interpersonal skills, clinical aptitude, and qualities such as professionalism, empathy, and leadership ability. It does so without regard to race, religion, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or political affiliation.

Admission to the MSA Program requires that the following criteria are met. No exceptions will be made for required prerequisite coursework or the admissions tests, regardless of degrees or certification received, prior experience, work background, or education.

1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university

Applicants for admission must complete a course of study leading to a baccalaureate degree at an accredited United States, U.S. territory, or Canadian college or university, or its equivalent, prior to matriculation.

2. Prerequisite courses

Documentation of each of the prerequisites having been completed at an accredited United States, U.S. territory, or Canadian institution of higher learning is required. 

  • one semester of biochemistry: advanced course preferred.
  • one year of biology with lab: a year-long biology course sequence with lab that stresses general concepts required. Bioengineering courses as well as courses in micro- or molecular biology, cellular biology, genetics and histology will not fulfill this requirement.
  • one semester of human anatomy with lab: advanced course preferred. Courses in comparative vertebrate anatomy embryology, neuroanatomy and developmental anatomy will not fulfill this requirement.
  • one semester of human physiology: advanced course preferred. Courses in mammalian physiology and embryology will not fulfill this requirement.
  • one year of chemistry with lab: a year-long course sequence in general chemistry with lab required.
  • one semester of organic chemistry with lab: one semester of organic chemistry with lab is required. A second semester with lab is preferred but not required.
  • one year of physics with lab: a year-long course sequence in general physics with lab required.
  • one semester of calculus: precalculus and a survey of calculus courses will not fulfill this requirement.
  • one semester of advanced statistics: preferably for the life or health sciences. Elementary or basic courses will not fulfill this requirement. AP Statistics will not fulfill this requirement.
  • one semester of English with expository writing: can also be fulfilled with other expository writing courses in the humanities. Science courses with extensive writing components can fulfill this requirement as well.

Prerequisite courses must be taken in person. We will be accepting prerequisite courses during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years that were meant to be taught in person but were temporarily moved online due to COVID-19.

Course substitutions are not permitted, and survey courses for non-science majors are not acceptable.

Use the CWRU MSA Prerequisite Worksheet form for assistance in organizing your prerequisite courses.

Notes on Prerequisites

  1. Prerequisite time limits: Our three key prerequisites - biochemistry, human anatomy with lab, and human physiology - must be taken within 5 years of the application deadline. All other prerequisites must be taken within 7 years of the deadline. These time limits will be waived with an MCAT score of 500 or higher, provided the test was taken within 3 years of the application deadline. A high MCAT score indicates your knowledge of the coursework is still current, and we do not ask that you retake your older coursework. 
  2. As with your degree, you need to complete your prerequisites for the MSA program prior to matriculating to the program. You can apply to the program even if you have a few outstanding prerequisite courses to complete, but you must get them all done before matriculation.
  3. AP Credit: The program will no longer accept AP Statistics to fulfill its advanced statistics prerequisite. The program will continue to accept Advanced Placement credit for its other prerequisite courses, as long as the specified criteria are met - a score of 4 or 5 is received on the AP exam, and a grade of B- or higher earned in your high school AP class. If you are using AP credit to fulfill a prerequisite course, we will need your AP score report and high school transcript. You can upload these materials on the Documents page in CASAA.  
  4. A one-semester course in human anatomy and physiology with lab will fulfill both human anatomy with lab and human physiology prerequisites. You may take these two prerequisites separately or combined. These are the only two prerequisites that may be combined.
  5. Proof of labs: If a lab was included in a course but is not listed on your transcript, you must provide proof that the lab was completed. An official course description from your institution's website showing that a lab was included with the course will be sufficient. You can upload lab backup on the Documents page in CASAA.

3. Admissions Test

The MSA Program requires either the MCAT or the GRE. The MCAT or the GRE must be taken within three years of the application deadline. When an applicant has taken the MCAT or GRE more than once, component scores will not be combined. If an applicant has taken both admissions tests, they should submit both official scores for review. 

2022-2023 Matriculant MCAT Averages for MSA Program and U.S. Medical Schools

Matriculants CWRU MSA Program U.S. Medical Schools
Total MCAT 503 511.9
GPA Science 3.66 3.68
GPA Overall 3.70 3.75

Medical school matriculant data taken from AAMC Table A-16.

2022-2023 Matriculant GRE Averages for MSA Program 

Matriculants CWRU MSA Program
GRE Verbal Reasoning 155
GRE Quantitative Reasoning 157
GRE Analytical Writing 4.4

4. Casper - admissions assessment of non-cognitive skills

Acuity Insights offers admission assessments that give each applicant the opportunity for programs to get to know them better. The MSA program requires that applicants take the Casper assessment. Casper is an open-response, situational judgment test that evaluates aspects of your social intelligence and professionalism such as ethics, empathy, problem-solving, and collaboration. Casper will assess non-cognitive skills that we believe are important for successful students in our program. The Casper assessment will complement the other tools we use to review applications and will further enhance fairness and objectivity in our review and selection process. 

To complete Casper, visit You will register for the Casper test for Anesthesiologist Assistants (CSP-10101 - U.S. Professional Health Sciences).

We encourage you to take advantage of the practice test, which will not only immerse you in the test environment but will also ensure you meet the technical requirements to access and complete the test. 

We recommend that you complete the Casper assessment before or concurrently with the submission of your application to ensure there is no delay in the review of your application. Your application will be considered complete only after all components of the CASAA application and your assessment results have been received. 

Applicants can select one of the available test dates below (all times are reflected in EST/EDT).

 Casper Test Dates for 2024-2025 Cycle Start Time
May 2, 2024 8:00 pm
May 14, 2024 8:00 pm
May 30, 2024 6:00 pm
May 30, 2024 8:00 pm
June 11, 2024 6:00 pm
June 11, 2024 8:00 pm
June 27, 2024 6:00 pm
June 27, 2024 8:00 pm
July 9, 2024 6:00 pm
July 9, 2024 8:00 pm
July 21, 2024 1:00 pm
July 21, 2024 4:00 pm
July 31, 2024 6:00 pm
July 31, 2024 8:00 pm
August 13, 2024 6:00 pm
August 13, 2024 8:00 pm
August 27, 2024 6:00 pm
August 27, 2024 8:00 pm
September 17, 2024 6:00 pm
September 17, 2024 8:00 pm
September 29, 2024 4:00 pm
October 17, 2024 8:00 pm
October 29, 2024 8:00 pm
November 14, 2024 6:00 pm
December 5, 2024 8:00 pm
January 7, 2025 8:00 pm

All scores must be distributed by January 20, 2025.

The program recommends that applicants applying for the early decision deadline should plan to take the Acuity Insights assessments no later than September 17 to ensure their results are distributed by the deadline and that their application can be considered complete.

Shadowing Requirements

The MSA program strongly recommends shadowing a certified anesthesiologist assistant in the operating room environment. If you are in an area where CAAs are not prevalent, then shadowing an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist practicing within the anesthesia care team model is suggested. Use the MSA Program's shadowing form to keep a detailed record of your shadowing hours so that you may upload that document to your CASAA application.

Applicants may request a shadowing experience through the MSA Program. Requests can be made at any location office, and procedures differ according to affiliate hospital regulations. While the program tries to accommodate as many applicants as possible, requesting a shadowing experience in no way implies or guarantees placement.

Physical and Technical Requirements

As outlined in the Master of Science in Anesthesia Program’s Non-discrimination Policy, each MSA student must possess general abilities required of most healthcare practitioners, and specific abilities that relate more directly to the practice of anesthesia. Essential requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • motor skills: physical dexterity to master all technical and procedural aspects of patient care, and adequate motor capability to perform complex two-handed tasks.
  • sensory abilities: ability to gather all relevant information about a patient’s physical and psychosocial status with all five senses, especially sight, hearing and touch.
  • intellectual abilities: must have sufficient powers of intellect to acquire, assimilate, integrate and apply information; must have the intellectual ability to solve problems.
  • communication skills: must have sufficient use of speech, hearing and vision to communicate effectively with patients, teachers and peers in both oral and written forms.
  • professionalism: must exhibit professional behavior, including the ability to place others’ needs ahead of your own; display compassion, empathy, altruism, integrity, responsibility and tolerance. Must possess the ability to exercise the requisite judgment in the practice of anesthesia.
  • physical health: must possess the physical health and stamina needed to carry out the program of AA education.

A disability does not preclude a student from admission, and the MSA Program makes reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. However, each enrolled student is expected to demonstrate, without unreasonable dependence on technology or intermediaries, the skills and attributes outlined in the program’s Physical & Technical Requirements policy.

Transfer Admission

The primary responsibility of the MSA Program is to offer anesthesiologist assistant training to any person who meets the admission requirements and is accepted into the program. However, program format and enrollment constraints typically do not permit the acceptance of transfer applicants. Typically, the MSA program does not allow students to transfer within Case Western Reserve University programs, however, they may be considered under special circumstances.

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement within the MSA curriculum — exceptions are rarely made for required coursework or the admissions test, regardless of degrees or certification received, prior experience, work background, or education.