Candidates must possess, at a minimum, the following prerequisites:


Degree Prerequisites

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or Canada prior to matriculation into the program. A baccalaureate degree is a minimum requirement. Therefore, a masters or doctorate level degree awarded in lieu of a baccalaureate degree will meet this requirement.
  • If an applicant was educated outside of the U.S. or Canada, the School of Medicine requires an applicant’s baccalaureate degree to be assessed by World Education Services, as a course by course transcript evaluation. The academic record must show credits and grades equivalent to those given by U.S. institutions of higher learning.

Grade Prerequisites

  • A cumulative and science grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale) OR
  • A cumulative and science grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale) during the final 40 credit hours/final 2 years of completed coursework. This is based on taking a minimum of 9 credit hours of coursework per semester.

Course Prerequisites

General Information - All prerequisite coursework must be:

  • Taken within ten (10) years of application to the CWRU PA Program.
  • Completed at a regionally accredited institution in the United States or Canada.
  • Completed no later than Fall semester of the year of application. Please note: Applicants will not be considered for admission if they are taking more than two prerequisite courses during Fall Semester.
  • We will accept pass/no pass for any course taken between January and May of 2020. The PA Program strongly encourages students to take the letter grade, especially for all prerequisite courses, if applicants have an option.  

Required Courses

All prerequisite coursework must be taken at the listed requirement below or the quarter/trimester/semester credit hour equivalent.

  • Biology with lab: 4 credit hours
  • Human anatomy with lab: 4 credit hours (comparative anatomy may not be substituted)
  • Human physiology with lab: 4 credit hours (animal physiology or kinesiology may not be substituted)
  • Microbiology with lab: 3 credit hours
  • Organic chemistry with lab: 8 credit hours (general chemistry may not be substituted)
  • Biochemistry: 3 credit hours
  • Psychology: 3 credit hours
  • Statistics: 3 credit hours
  • Medical Terminology: 1 credit hour Note: Medical Terminology may be completed online but must be taken for a grade at an accredited university in the United States or Canada. Courses taken for a certificate must be pre-approved and will be reviewed on a case by case basis and proof of completion will be required if the course is accepted. Courses taken for CME or CEU will not be accepted.

AP Prerequisite Coursework

  • May be accepted towards program prerequisites if courses are listed as AP coursework on a CASPA verified transcript from a regionally accredited university in the United States or Canada
  • Will not be accepted towards prerequisite courses that require a lab

Online Prerequisite Coursework

  • For courses between January and May of 2020, we will accept online lab work only if the lab was started in person but converted to online/remote due to COVID-19. The PA Program will require a letter from your professor stating that the lab started on-ground and outlining the content delivered remotely. This will be reviewed on an individual basis.

    For summer and fall 2020 as well as spring 2021, the PA program will accept online prerequisites, including labs. The PA Program will require a letter from your professor outlining the content delivered remotely as well as a copy of the course syllabus.  

    For summer and fall 2021, the PA program will accept online prerequisites on a case-by-case basis only. The PA Program expects students to register for on-ground classes if possible.

  • Prerequisite courses, other than Medical Terminology, that do not require a lab will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be pre-approved by the program.

Test Prerequisites

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), taken within the last 2 years, is required of all applicants for whom English is not their native language but may be waived for applicants with Masters or Doctoral degrees from an accredited US institution. Official scores from ETS for the TOEFL must be received in order for and application to be reviewed. Only the IBT (Internet Based Test) form of the TOEFL will be accepted. A total score of 93 and a speaking score of 26 is required for entry into the PA program.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

All applicants are required to submit scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test. The CWRU PA GRE code is: 1703. GRE scores are to be:

  • Submitted directly through Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).
  • Taken within the past five years.
  • Taken early enough so that official scores are received in the PA office by the application deadline.

Letters of Recommendations - Applicants must provide:

  • No less than three letters of recommendation.
  • One letter of recommendation furnished by a healthcare professional who has known the applicant for at least 6 months.
  • Letters that collectively address the applicant’s academic aptitude and performance in the clinical environment.

Pre-Admissions Healthcare Experience

Previous direct patient care is required and is an indication to the admissions committee of an applicant’s awareness of and commitment to a career in healthcare.

A minimum of 1,000 hours of direct, hands on, healthcare experience in the United States must be completed by all applicants prior to application. Experience can be paid or volunteer, but clinical hours earned toward a degree are not applicable.

Working in a healthcare setting where one’s responsibilities are predominantly administrative, e.g. a unit clerk, patient transport, etc. does not qualify as healthcare experience. Working at a camp whose attendees have a chronic disease also does not qualify unless you are interacting with those attendees in a patient-provider context. In general, for the purposes of fulfilling the healthcare experience requirement, you must meaningfully engage with an individual providing a medical service or expertise to them in their identity as an ACTUAL patient rather than a POTENTIAL one.

Experience Types

Below is a sample of what fulfills the requirements for direct patient care healthcare experience and what type of experience does not. Please note: this list is not comprehensive and does not contain all possible experiences.

Fulfills requirements for direct patient healthcare experience:

  • Athletic Trainer
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
  • Chiropractic assistant
  • Community Health Worker
  • Dental assistant
  • Dental hygienist
  • EMT/Paramedics
  • Licensed medical massage therapist
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Tech (either technician or technologist, but must have Direct Patient Care Experience)
  • Mental Health aide
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Military Corpsman/Medic
  • Nurse
  • Nutrition/Dietitian
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Occupational Therapy Aide
  • Patient Care Technician (PCT)
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy Tech
  • Phlebotomist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physical Therapy Aide
  • Radiology Technician/Diagnostic Imaging
  • Research Assistant (must have direct patient care experience)
  • Scribe with Patient care (please see here for more information)
  • Social Worker

Experience that does not fulfill direct patient healthcare experience - can be included in the application under experience or related/other healthcare experience:

  • “Candy Striper”
  • Unit Clerk
  • Research (with no patient care contact)
  • Shadowing
  • Veterinarian Technician/Assistant


The program values and strongly encourages but does not require PA shadowing experience. Shadowing does not fulfill the direct patient care requirement.

    Non-cognitive Variables

    In addition to the above criteria, applicants will also be evaluated on a variety of non-cognitive factors in the admission process. These non-cognitive factors are utilized when considering applicants for an in person interview. These include:

    • Leadership
    • Current or past uniformed services
    • Volunteerism
    • Diversity of life experience
    • Success in overcoming adversity
    • Aptitude for critical thinking and reasoning
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • PA Shadowing

    Meeting minimal program prerequisites guarantees neither an interview nor acceptance to the program. The PA program website is the definitive source of information concerning admission criteria.

    For more information please email: or call us at 216-368-0575.

    Reviewed and updated by the PA Program March 1, 2020.