Master of Science in Anesthesia Requirements

Academic Requirements

Male and female Master of Science in Anesthesia students with male nurse anesthetist

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 sciences. Elementary or basic courses 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.

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 accept AP credit for a prerequisite course if you received a score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam, and a grade of B- or higher 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 502 511.9
GPA Science 3.65 3.68
GPA Overall 3.66 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 156
GRE Quantitative Reasoning 156
GRE Analytical Writing 4.4

4. Acuity Insights - admissions assessment of non-cognitive skills

Acuity Insights is an online assessment of non-cognitive skills, interpersonal characteristics, and personal values and priorities that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program. Acuity Insights will complement the other tools we use for applicant screening. In implementing Acuity Insights, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process. 

Acuity Insights is comprised of the Casper assessment, an online situational judgment test.

To complete Acuity Insights, visit You will register for Acuity Insights 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 Acuity Insights 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 Acuity Insights results have been received. 

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

Available Acuity Insights Test Dates for 2023-2024 Cycle Start Time
May 4, 2023 5:00 pm
May 23, 2023 8:00 pm
June 1, 2023 5:00 pm
June 1, 2023 8:00 pm
June 11, 2023 1:00 pm
June 11, 2023 4:00 pm
June 27, 2023 5:00 pm
June 27, 2023 8:00 pm
July 9, 2023 1:00 pm
July 9, 2023 4:00 pm
July 18, 2023 5:00 pm
July 18, 2023 8:00 pm
July 27, 2023 5:00 pm
July 27, 2023 8:00 pm
August 10, 2023 5:00 pm
August 10, 2023 8:00 pm
August 27, 2023 1:00 pm
August 27, 2023 4:00 pm
September 12, 2023 5:00 pm
September 12, 2023 8:00 pm
September 28, 2023 5:00 pm
September 28, 2023 8:00 pm
October 12, 2023 5:00 pm
October 26, 2023 8:00 pm
November 14, 2023 5:00 pm
December 7, 2023 8:00 pm
January 7, 2024 1:00 pm
January 16, 2024 8:00 pm 

All scores must be distributed by January 29, 2024

The program recommends that applicants applying for the early decision deadline should plan to take the Acuity Insights assessments no later than September 12 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.