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.

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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 with a grade of B- or higher at an accredited United States, U.S. territory, or Canadian institution of higher learning is required. Prerequisites must be taken within five years of the application deadline. For those courses that have been repeated, the highest grade will be used in the calculation. Prerequisites include:

  • one semester of biochemistry: advanced course preferred. Bioengineering courses will not fulfill this requirement.
  • one year of biology with laboratory:* 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 laboratory: advanced course preferred. Courses in vertebrate embryology 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 laboratory:* a year-long course sequence in general chemistry with lab required.
  • one year of organic chemistry with laboratory:* a year-long course sequence in organic chemistry with lab required.
  • one year of physics with laboratory:* a year-long course sequence in general physics with lab required.
  • one semester of calculus:* precalculus will not fulfill this requirement.
  • one semester of advanced statistics:* preferably for the life sciences. Introductory 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.

* Courses marked with an asterisk that were completed with a grade of B- or higher in excess of five years prior to the application deadline will meet the prerequisite criteria only if the MCAT composite score is 500 or higher. A high MCAT score indicates your knowledge of the coursework is still current, and we do not ask that you retake your older coursework.

Notes on Prerequisites

  • Online prerequisite courses will not be accepted with the exception of prerequisite courses that have been transitioned to remote/online courses during the Spring 2020 semester due to COVID-19. For updated policy on Summer 2020 semester courses, please see our FAQ section.
  • Substitutions are not permitted, and survey courses for non-science majors are not acceptable.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The program will accept AP exam 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 exam credit to fulfill a prerequisite course, we will need your AP score report and your high school transcript. You can upload these materials on the Documents page in CASAA.

3. Admissions Test

If the applicant has taken the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), then they must earn a minimum composite score of 493 on the MCAT. The test must be taken within three years of the application deadline.

If the applicant has taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), then they must earn a minimum score of 153 in Verbal Reasoning, 156 in Quantitative Reasoning, and 4.0 in Analytical Writing. The test must be taken within five 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.

2019-2020 Matriculant Averages for MSA Program and U.S. Medical Schools

Matriculants CWRU MSA Program U.S. Medical Schools
Total MCAT 501.0 511.5
GPA Science 3.59 3.66
GPA Overall 3.54 3.73

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

4. CASPer Test

Applicants must complete the Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics, or CASPer test, for their application to be considered complete. CASPer is an online assessment that can only be taken once per cycle. The scores are valid for one year. There is no minimum score required, but successful completion of CASPer is required in order to maintain admission eligibility.

Additionally, for this admissions cycle we ask that you complete CASPer Snapshot, an extension of the CASPer Test, to provide us with a better understanding of your communication skills and personal attributes. CASPer Snapshot is a short video response tool where you will be asked three standardized questions and be given two minutes to read and respond to each question. It should take you no longer than 10 minutes to complete. You can complete it at any time after reserving your CASPer test date or at the same time that you take the CASPer test. You can learn more about Snapshot at the CASPer site.

The program recommends taking CASPer before or concurrently with the submission of your application materials so that the scores will be received in a timely manner. CASPer reports scores directly to the program, approximately three weeks after the test date. Your application will not be considered complete until all components of the CASAA application and your CASPer results have been received.

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

Available Test Dates for 2020-2021 Cycle Start Time
May 7, 2020 5:00 pm
May 20, 2020 5:00 pm
June 4, 2020 5:00 pm
June 16, 2020 8:00 pm
June 28, 2020 5:00 pm
July 7, 2020 5:00 pm
July 19, 2020 2:00 pm
July 19, 2020 5:00 pm
July 30, 2020 5:00 pm
July 30, 2020 8:00 pm
August 11, 2020 5:00 pm
August 11, 2020 8:00 pm
August 23, 2020 1:00 pm
August 23, 2020 3:00 pm
September 9, 2020  8:00 pm
September 24, 2020 5:00 pm
October 13, 2020 8:00 pm
October 29, 2020 5:00 pm
November 17, 2020 8:00 pm
December 10, 2020 5:00 pm
January 12, 2021 8:00 pm
February 18, 2021 8:00 pm

All scores must be distributed by March 3, 2021.

The program recommends that applicants applying for the early decision deadline should plan to take the CASPer test no later than September 9 to ensure their results are distributed by the deadline and that their application can be considered complete.

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 medicine and anesthesia.
  • physical health: must possess the physical health and stamina needed to carry out the program of 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.