Requirements & Academic Criteria

The Master of Science in Anesthesia Program’s mission is to graduate skilled and compassionate certified anesthesiologist assistants. 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, color, sex, disability, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, or status as a disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam era, or other veteran.

General Degree Criteria

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

Academic Prerequisite Requirements

Required Coursework: This is the minimum amount of courses we expect you to have completed at the time of matriculation, not necessarily at the time of application. With that said, it is to your advantage to have as many of the required courses completed in preparation for the MCAT and to strengthen your application to our Program.

  • Biochemistry – 1 semester Advanced course preferred. Bioengineering courses will not fulfill this requirement.
  • Biology with Lab – 1 year 1-year 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.
  • Human Anatomy with Lab – 1 semester Advanced course preferred. Courses in vertebrate embryology and developmental anatomy will not fulfill this requirement.
  • Human Physiology – 1 semester Advanced course preferred. Courses in mammalian physiology and embryology will not fulfill this requirement.
  • Chemistry with Lab – 1 year 1-year course sequence in general chemistry with lab required
  • Organic Chemistry with Lab – 1 year 1-year course sequence in organic chemistry with lab required
  • Physics with Lab – 1 year 1-year course sequence in general physics with lab required
  • Calculus – 1 semester  Students typically meet this requirement if they have completed 1 semester of a course in calculus for premedical or life sciences.
  • Advanced Statistics – 1 semester Students typically meet this requirement if they have completed 1 semester of an advanced course in statistics for the life sciences. Introductory and 100 level courses will not fulfill this requirement.
  • Writing/College English – 1 semester This can also be fulfilled with other expository writing courses in the humanities. Science courses with extensive writing components can fulfill this requirement as well.

IMPORTANT! Online prerequisite courses will not be accepted.

Each of the prerequisites listed must be completed, with a grade of B- or higher, at an accredited U.S. or Canadian college or university. Substitutions are not permitted, and survey courses for non-science majors are not acceptable. For those courses that have been repeated, the highest grade will be recognized. No C grades will be accepted in prerequisite courses.

Prerequisite courses must be completed within 5 years of the application deadline. However, for all prerequisites except biochemistry, human anatomy with lab, and human physiology, this 5-year requirement will be waived if the student's composite score on the MCAT is 25 or higher (former version of the exam). A high MCAT scores does not waive the grade requirement for the course, only the time restriction. Biochemistry, human anatomy with lab, and human physiology must always be taken within 5 years of applying.


A one-semester course in human anatomy and physiology with lab will fulfill both our human anatomy with lab and human physiology prerequisites. You may take these 2 prerequisites separately or combined. These are the only two prerequisites that may be combined.

If a laboratory 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 suffice.


The MCAT must be taken within 3 years of the application deadline. For instance, the oldest MCAT that will be accepted for the 2016-2017 application cycle is 2013.

Students who take the MCAT this year will be administered a revised version of the examination which was put in place in 2015. Please visit AAMC’s MCAT site for additional information regarding the changes, new course requirements, and how to best prepare for the test.

For the 2016-2017 application cycle, we will be accepting the old and new version of the MCAT. A minimum score of 493 is expected on the current exam and a minimum score of 20 is expected on the old version. When the test has been taken more than once, component scores from different exams may not be combined.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are very important in our decision-making process. These letters should come from individuals who know the candidate well and who are in a capacity to objectively judge the applicant's performance (no family members or friends of family). Confidential letters are preferred. All letters of recommendation must be submitted through CASAA. Keep in mind that your application will not be considered complete until all letters have been received by CASAA. Late submission will delay the review of your application!

Physical & Technical Requirements

As outlined in our Program’s Physical/Technical Requirements Policy, each CAA 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, touch and smell.
  • 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.
  • Professional Behavior: 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 CAA 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 set forth in the Program’s Physical & Technical Requirements.

Average MCAT Scores and GPAs for Matriculants to The MSA Program & U.S. Medical Schools, 2014

Matriculants MSA Program Medical School
MCAT VR 8.5 10.0
MCAT PS 8.3 10.6
MCAT BS 8.8 10.9
Total MCAT 25.6 31.4
GPA Science 3.56 3.63
GPA Overall 3.48 3.69


Information taken from table 17 of