Frequently Asked Questions

Five Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine students discussing at desks

The frequently asked questions below were curated to give you additional insight into the Master of Science in Anesthesia Program at Case Western Reserve University. The page is designed to help you get a more personal feel for our program. Some of the following questions and answers focus on curricular and prerequisite details; others are included to give you an idea of the professional outcomes for MSA Program graduates.

Applicants whose first choice is the Master of Science in Anesthesia Program at Case Western Reserve University are strongly encouraged to apply early decision. The Program typically fills a significant number of seats during the early decision period, and does not guarantee seats for regular decision applicants.

Qualified applicants who apply for early decision will be interviewed in late summer or fall, and will receive an admissions decision from the program in advance of the usual notification date (usually by the end of December) stating that they have been accepted, denied, or that their application is still under consideration. Early decision applicants also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with our Network Admissions Director to strengthen their application, and have an advantage in terms of onboarding for the summer start.

However, each applicant is different and some may prefer the regular decision deadline. We recommend contacting the main office at 216.844.8077 to discuss your options and find the path best suited for you.

There is no one major that is considered “better,” but a major with more rigorous science coursework may make a student feel more prepared for the MSA Program curriculum.

The admissions committee evaluates each applicant’s academic success (GPA, coursework, MCAT), letters of recommendations, meaningful life experiences, leadership, clinical experiences, research, and demonstrated commitment to healthcare. All of those pieces of information factor into decisions to interview and accept.

No. However, all course prerequisites must be completed prior to the start of the program in the last week of May. Applicants for both the early decision deadline and the regular decision deadline should enter planned or in-progress coursework on their CASAA applications so that the admissions committee knows that they have a plan to take missing prerequisites.

When you feel most prepared. All students learn differently, and therefore we encourage students to prepare for the MCAT in the way that suits them best. Some students prefer self-study while others take prep courses. We endorse only the method that works best for you.

The Medical College Admissions Test administrators offer exams each calendar year until September. There are no test dates in October, November, or December. For this reason, applicants for both the early decision deadline and the regular decision deadline are encouraged to take the MCAT by the end of September.

Scores from the September MCAT test dates are acceptable for early decision applications even though those scores are released after our October deadline. Applicants who take or retake the MCAT in January may be at a disadvantage. Since the admissions committee makes early decision offers on a rolling basis, it is helpful to complete your application while you are waiting for your MCAT scores so as not to delay your application’s review.

The Cleveland location accepts up to 25 students, and our Houston and Washington, D.C. locations accept up to 26 each.

A grade of B- or above is required in all prerequisites. You may apply with a C grade; however, your application will be considered after those applications that meet the admission criteria. For the most competitive application, prerequisites courses in which C grades were received should be retaken prior to the start of the program. We will use the higher grade to calculate your science GPA.

For any applicant that does not meet our admission requirements in some way, the program asks that the applicant submit a written petition. The petition should be a few paragraphs in length and addressed to the admissions committee. It should explain what you are requesting, why you are unable to meet the requirement, and provide some strong reasons for why the committee should grant the request. Email the petition to our Network Admissions Director at

No. A final grade of B- or above is required in every prerequisite course. If labs are graded separately they must be completed with grades of B- or above as well.

Visit our Admissions Requirements for descriptions of our prerequisite courses. Applicants are encouraged to discuss the admission criteria with an academic advisor at their college or university to determine the appropriate courses to take. A good rule of thumb is for all prerequisite courses to be four-year college-level courses for science majors.

Yes. However, you must confirm that the courses you plan to take are at a four-year college level, are for science majors, and are what premedical students would take.

Please note that biochemistry and advanced statistics are typically not offered at an appropriate level at community colleges. Additionally, no survey, introductory or remedial courses will be accepted, and no courses specific to a particular discipline (such as engineering or nursing) will be accepted.

There is a five-year time limit for all prerequisite coursework. The time limit can be waived for some of the prerequisites if you score 500 or above on the MCAT. A high score on the MCAT indicates that your knowledge of the coursework is still current, and we do not ask that you retake your older coursework.

However, an MCAT score of 500 or above does not waive prerequisite courses. It merely waives the five-year time limit. All prerequisite courses must be completed regardless of MCAT score. All prerequisites must be completed with grades of B- or above, regardless of MCAT score.

Biochemistry, human anatomy with lab, and human physiology—our three key prerequisites— must be taken within five years of the application deadline, regardless of MCAT score. No exception will be made.

No. The curriculum is specifically designed for training the certified anesthesiologist assistant professional. Although other coursework may be similar, the MSA Program offers courses with a unique emphasis in anesthesia and the anesthesia care team model, as defined by the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Yes, we require a $3,000 tuition deposit to hold your spot in the program. This deposit must be submitted along with your written acceptance. The tuition deposit will be applied to your summer tuition once you matriculate.

Your deposit will be forfeited if you withdraw after accepting a spot in the incoming class. No exceptions will be made.

The MSA Program does not offer any scholarships for incoming students at this time, but the CWRU School of Graduate Studies has a list of outside funding opportunities for current students that may be useful to you. Each student may pursue these opportunities on their own.

CWRU students in their second year of study have the option to do clinical rotations at more than 80 affiliate hospitals. Our students are often invited to consider employment opportunities during their second-year rotations. By identifying where they would like to work and planning their second year carefully, CWRU students are likely to have at least one job offer prior to graduation.

Yes. CAAs continue to be in high demand due to the nationwide shortage of anesthesia care providers.

Salaries vary depending on the regional cost of living. The average starting salary for a newly graduated certified anesthesiologist assistant is approximately $150,000 for a 40-hour work week, plus benefits and consideration of on-call activity. An increase of approximately 5% to 15% should be expected after the first or second year. Salaries are comparable to compensation paid to certified registered nurse anesthetists employed within the anesthesia care team nationally.

A prior felony conviction may restrict a student’s ability to complete clinical rotations at some hospitals and may affect their ability to obtain professional licensure or employment. Acceptance into CWRU MSA Program or its completion does not imply or guarantee that a student will be able to obtain licensure or employment.