Quinnipiac University

MHS in Physician Assistant Admissions

We make our admission process as straightforward and personalized as possible. If you have any questions or need guidance, our counselors and advisers in the School of Health Sciences are available to assist you at every stage of your application process.

Admissions Overview

The Quinnipiac University Physician Assistant program believes that excellence is inclusive and built upon equity. We recognize that all members of society deserve the best healthcare possible and this is most effectively provided by a diverse healthcare team. We are committed to admitting qualified individuals using a holistic evaluation. The program seeks students who possess intellectual capacity, personal maturity, communication and interpersonal skills.

The physician assistant program is a full-time program; there is no part-time status. The program does not accept transfer credits, advanced placement in the program, applications for challenge examinations or credits for experiential learning.

Admission to the program is highly competitive. Candidate applications are evaluated for the following factors: overall GPA, science GPA, prerequisite GPA, quality of academic program/load, commitment to organized sports and work, evidence of academic grit (several years of sustained, high-level academic achievement or several semesters of sustained achievement after overcoming major adversity), direct patient care hours and experience, physician assistant shadowing, community service involvement, leadership activities, quality of narratives, letters of reference, performance on the Casper assessment, evidence of professional memberships and history of scholarly (published) activity.

Following this comprehensive application review, the most qualified candidates are invited for on-campus interviews and activities with program faculty, alumni and community partners. Those with the highest overall performance on the application and interviews are offered admission until the complete cohort of 54 students matriculates.

Application Timeline

The Quinnipiac Physician Assistant program participates in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Go to the CASPA website for more information regarding the application process and fees. All applications, transcripts, references and other supporting materials are submitted directly to CASPA.

All academic prerequisites must be completed prior to September 1 of the year of application. 

Apply on the CASPA website


Admission Requirements

Applicants not meeting the requirements below will not be considered for admission. Interested students must possess, at a minimum:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or a nationally recognized institution

  • An overall GPA of at least 3.20 (includes all undergraduate and graduate coursework)

  • An overall science GPA of at least 3.20 (includes all undergraduate and graduate science coursework)

  • A combined GPA of at least 3.20 on the following required prerequisites:

    • Four semesters of courses in biology (credits must be in mammalian or human biology), including one semester of microbiology and two semesters of human anatomy and physiology. All of these courses must include labs.

    • Three semesters of courses in chemistry with labs, including one semester of organic chemistry (with lab) or biochemistry

    • One semester of pre-calculus, calculus or statistics

  • 2,000 hours of direct patient care experience in the U.S. or Canadian healthcare system

  • Scores from the Acuity Insights Situational Judgment Test


Admission Disclaimers

  • Applicants not meeting the above requirements are not considered.

  • The program does not accept graduates of foreign/domestic medical school programs.

  • All prerequisites must be completed at a regionally accredited institution in the United States or nationally recognized institution in Canada within ten years of the date of application

  • Prerequisite labs must be completed through an on-campus course (not online)*

    • *COVID exception: Prerequisite labs that were changed to an online format and completed between the start of Spring 2020 and the end of Fall 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will be accepted. Online labs prior to Spring 2020 or after Fall 2021 will not be accepted.

  • The Acuity Insights Situational Judgment Test (Casper) is only offered on certain dates. Applicants may submit the CASPA application prior to taking the Casper exam. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure the Casper test is completed prior to the September 1 application deadline. Applicants may contact Acuity Insights, CASPA or the Office of Graduate Admissions for more information. Repeat applicants must take a new test each year.

  • Applicants who received a bachelor's degree from a non-English speaking country must also submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

  • Scores from Graduate Record Examination are not required

  • The program values the exposure of direct, patient-facing, hands-on healthcare careers rather than those that lack physical contact with patients. Examples of eligible and ineligible experiences that count towards the 2,000-hour requirement are listed below.

  • Quinnipiac has an undergraduate direct entry program whose students have different requirements for entry into the MHS in Physician Assistant program.

    • Entry-Level Master Physician Assistant (ELMPA) students are required to document 1,000 hours of direct patient care experience before they matriculate into the graduate program.

    • Most ELMPA students are not second-career applicants like the CASPA applicants and are less likely to have certifications such as radiologic technologist, registered nurse or paramedic; as a result, the program considers a broader range of allowed direct patient care experiences for ELMPA students. Examples of these allowed direct patient care experiences can be found on that program's admissions page.

    • ELMPA students all meet the minimum course prerequisites but are required to complete more higher-level courses than CASPA applicants. More information about the course schedule can be found on that program's curriculum page

    • In their senior spring semester, ELMPA students must complete an application and participate in interviews of the same format as CASPA applicants; they must also take the same situational judgment test. Their applications are reviewed with a similar rubric as for CASPA applicants, but the results of this process for these ELMPA students are formative and do not influence their admission into the graduate program.

    • Our faculty participates in the high-stakes admissions interviews of high school seniors who are applying for entry into the ELMPA program. ELMPA students who complete all of the ELMPA program requirements will earn a guaranteed seat in the graduate program. 

  • Athletic trainer
  • Certified nurse’s aide
  • Dental assistant
  • EMT/paramedic
  • Licensed clinical social worker
  • Medical assistant
  • Military medic
  • Occupational therapist
  • Orthopedic technician
  • Patient care assistant
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Phlebotomy technician/phlebotomist
  • Physical therapist/aide
  • Radiology technologist
  • Registered/licensed practical nurse
  • Respiratory therapist
  • Surgical technician
  • Scribe or clinical research coordinator positions that offer a majority of hands-on patient activities, like that assigned to a medical assistant, also count.

  • Lab technician
  • Life coach
  • Lifeguard
  • Massage therapist
  • Medical secretary
  • Patient transport technician
  • Patient sitter
  • Personal trainer
  • Scribe and coordinator positions only permitting observation and record-keeping do not count

Entry-Level Program

Quinnipiac University has a designated undergraduate feeder program for the Master of Health Science Physician Assistant program, known as the Entry-Level Master’s Physician Assistant program (ELMPA). Students who have successfully completed all requirements of the ELMPA program will be granted admission to the Master of Health Science Physician Assistant program.

Our graduate MHS in Physician Assistant program has 54 seats available each year and approximately half of those spots are reserved for graduates of our ELMPA program. 

ELMPA students matriculating to the graduate program by year:

  • 2024 - 25

  • 2023 - 26

  • 2022 - 35

  • 2021 - 33

  • 2020 - 26

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We appreciate your interest in the Quinnipiac University School of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Program. In an effort to make the application process easier, we've compiled a list of common questions and answers about the graduate physician assistant program. Please review the information prior to making inquiries to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Do you offer a bachelor's/baccalaureate degree program?
The university offers an entry-level master's physician assistant program (ELMPA). Students must be accepted into this program during their senior year of high school and enter the highly competitive program as first-year students. Students earn a bachelor's degree in health science studies and then continue on to complete the graduate PA program. Well-qualified applicants who are not accepted into the entry-level Dual-Degree BS in Health Science Studies/Master's Physician Assistant (ELMPA) program may be invited into the physician assistant-preparation (PA-Prep) concentration, which is part of the health science studies major. Top candidates from PA-Prep will have the opportunity in their junior year to be considered for limited spaces in the ELMPA program.

Learn more about the Dual-Degree BS in Health Science Studies/MHS in Physician Assistant (4+27 months) program

Can I transfer into the program and/or transfer credits?
No. The program does not offer advanced standing or accept graduate transfer credits.

What credentials will I have upon completion of the program?
Upon completion of the program, students earn an MHS (Master of Health Science) degree and a certificate of completion as a physician assistant. Graduates of the PA program are eligible for the PANCE exam and certification as a clinical PA.

How many spots do you have available in your PA program?
We have 54 spots available each year. Of the 54 spots, approximately half are reserved for students completing Quinnipiac’s pre-PA program known as the entry-level master’s physician assistant program (ELMPA).

What is the approximate cost of the PA program?
View tuition and financial aid information
Learn more about graduate tuition and financial aid

The Quinnipiac physician assistant program follows the Graduate and Part-Time Refund Policy
Learn more

Who should I contact if I'm unsure a course satisfies the prerequisite?
You are welcome to email our department for questions regarding prerequisites.

If I am still an undergraduate, how do I get 2,000 hours of direct patient care experience?
We require candidates have a minimum of 2,000 hours of direct patient care experience. As an undergraduate, you may wish to begin looking into options for obtaining certification and/or direct patient contact while in school or over the summer and breaks.

Do volunteer (unskilled/unpaid) hours count?
It does not have to be paid experience to count as direct patient care. A good example of this is a volunteer EMT position, which is direct patient care and unpaid. However, volunteer work that is primarily observation is a great way to "get your foot in the door" in a health care setting but it is not direct patient care that would count towards the 2,000 hour minimum. A key is to look into receiving a certification or a skill, as the more hands-on and intensive the patient care experience the better.

Though the Quinnipiac website lists some examples of direct patient care, I'm not sure my position qualifies, where can I check?
You are welcome to email our department for the admissions committee to review.

How do I apply?
Quinnipiac participates in CASPA, the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants. This is a web-based centralized application process, a service of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), which allows a candidate to apply to multiple PA programs. CASPA will verify your application for accuracy, electronically process it, and once verified, release your materials to the programs you designate.

What is the application deadline?
Quinnipiac's application deadline for a complete application is Sept. 1. Documents should be sent several weeks prior to this date to ensure items arrive on time. A complete application is defined by CASPA when an application is e-submitted and all transcripts, payments, and at least 2 letters of reference have been received by CASPA and attached to the application. However, admissions will not review the application until at least 3 letters of reference have been completed.

Do you require a supplemental application in addition to CASPA?
Yes, a supplemental essay is required; details are provided when applying to Quinnipiac PA Program through CASPA.

What is the application processing timeline with CASPA?
The process begins when applications are complete and verified by CASPA. Quinnipiac will review verified applications, conduct interviews and make final admission decisions. Submitting materials early will ensure timely processing and help avoid delays. The average duration of time for CASPA to verify and process applications is 3 weeks, so please plan accordingly.

How do I check the status of my application?
Applicants are responsible for monitoring the status of their CASPA application on a regular basis. Notifications are not sent for any missing items. To help you keep track of your application and all materials, click Check Status at the top of the application dashboard. Visit the CASPA Applicate Help Center

Are GRE or MCAT scores required and will it help to submit them?
Scores from the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) or MCAT are not required in the admission process. If you are applying to other PA programs that require standardized tests, your scores will be listed on the CASPA application so admission committee members may see them, however, since they are not required at Quinnipiac, the score does not factor into our admission decisions.

How are GPA/QPA's (Quality Point Averages) determined?
In order to calculate an accurate GPA, applicants must report all collegiate-level courses to CASPA. CASPA calculates overall GPA, science GPA and prerequisite GPA. When an applicant has taken courses abroad, World Education Services and CASPA will verify foreign transcripts, therefore allowing for the calculation of an overall GPA.

What is required for letters of reference?
You are required to request at least 3 and may request a maximum of 5 evaluations as part of the CASPA application. The evaluations must be submitted electronically by evaluators using the Evaluator Portal on CASPA. We don't have specific requirements regarding who submits your references, however common choices include supervisors/managers at work, professors, PA/MD's and other health care providers. Ideally, at least 2 letters of reference should come from healthcare professionals who can speak to your work with patients.

What is the Acuity Insights Situational Judgement (Casper) Test?
The Acuity Insights Situational Judgment (Casper) Test test is a standardized test that evaluates social intelligence and professionalism. Applicants may complete the Acuity Insights Situational Judgement Test (Casper) online. Please note that the Casper test is offered only on certain dates and it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure the test is completed prior to the September 1 application deadline. Applicants may submit the CASPA application prior to completing the Casper.  

When are interviews held and does everyone get interviewed?
Top candidates are invited for interviews. These are typically held in the fall semester (August-November). If invited, you will be assigned a specific date. Invitations are typically sent out via email at least 2 weeks prior to the interview date.

When can I expect to receive an admission decision?
Applicants are notified of an admission decision as early as August, following our first round of interviews. Following the last round of interviews, in October/November, we will offer the remaining spots to the top candidates. Upon acceptance, a $1,000 non-refundable matriculation deposit is required to secure your spot in the program. A waitlist is created for other top candidates, and the program may offer acceptance if a previously deposited student withdraws. We do not publish position on the waitlist.

Where are classes and labs held?
Our students will learn and practice their skills in the interprofessional Center for Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences. The state-of-the-art facility comprises 325,000 square feet and is designed for collaborative learning for students pursuing degrees in medicine, nursing and health professions. The facility features an operating room suite, high fidelity simulation rooms, 48 pro-section stations, 16 standardized patient rooms, multiple team study rooms, student lounges and a vending area, an expanded health sciences library, a 350-seat auditorium, multiple classrooms and seminar rooms that will seat from 12 to 150 students. In addition, multiple teaching laboratories include an orthopedics lab, a rehabilitative science lab, a clinical skills lab, an intensive care unit, a health assessment lab, a physical exam suite, a physical diagnostics lab, a motion analysis lab and other special amenities that set it apart from other universities offering programs in health science, nursing and medicine program.

What resources or services are available to students?
Quinnipiac University offers a variety of resources to its students including but not limited to career development fairs, counseling services, student health services, and technical assistance. Quinnipiac University has 3 campuses which are approximately 15 minutes of driving distance of each other; certain services are physically located on one campus vs. another. However, student services and resources are available to all students currently enrolled at Quinnipiac University. Please visit the Quinnipiac University catalog for more information on student resources and services

How is the curriculum organized?
The program begins with an intensive 4-semester didactic phase covering the core medical and clinical sciences. Students then enter the clinical education phase consisting of 7 core and 2 elective clerkships. The program concludes with a final semester of comprehensive review and

Are there clinical experiences during the first year?
During the first year, students are introduced to the clinical aspects of their training by being paired with a licensed health care provider one day a week. These pre-clinical clerkships enable students to strengthen their clinical skills (history, physical, written and oral presentations) and knowledge acquired in the classroom to the actual care of patients early in the program.

What can I expect in terms of clinical rotations?
Clinical rotations include 7 core rotations of 6 weeks duration in the following areas: primary care (family medicine and outpatient internal medicine), internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, women's health, general surgery and emergency medicine. In addition, there are 2 4-week electives where students may choose to gain additional experience in one of the above areas or a sub-specialty of interest. The clinical rotations are done within an extensive network of fieldwork experiences, which includes hospitals, medical centers, clinics, extended-care facilities and nursing homes.

How are clinical rotations set up?
The PA program faculty are responsible for setting up all clinical rotation sites and recruiting preceptors. Students have an opportunity to suggest a clinical rotation site, if they wish, however, the program will set up the clinical rotation site if it is found to be a high-quality opportunity and can fulfill the goals and objectives of the Program.

If I am accepted at Quinnipiac, can I select any of my own rotations during the clinical year?
The PA program faculty determine the clinical placements for the 7 core rotations. Students have the opportunity to designate a "wish list" for the 2 4-week elective rotations. This may include further experience in a core rotation, a sub-specialty of interest, and/or placement in a desired geographic area.

Where are the clinical rotations?
The 6-week clinical residencies are done predominantly in Connecticut, with a limited number in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Placement is determined by PA program clinical faculty that customizes rotations to best complement a student's academic and clinical experiences, expertise and personality. Each student will do rotations in health care institutions of various sizes, populations, settings and resources to ensure positive and diverse clinical experiences.

What are the employment opportunities for Quinnipiac Physician Assistant Graduates?
Two sets of statistics help to emphasize the outstanding employment opportunities for physician assistants. In 2024 the physician assistant profession was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #2 best healthcare job. In addition, in 2023 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics listed physician assistants as one of the top occupations with the highest projected percentage change of employment in the next decade, with a predicted increase in jobs of 27% between 2022-2032.

More information on job outlook is available at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website

Quinnipiac graduates are employed throughout the United States, as our program has a strong reputation nationally, and they are also prepared to work in a variety of healthcare specialties including emergency medicine, critical care, surgical subspecialties and internal medicine subspecialties. Looking specifically at Quinnipiac PA graduates, 43% of the Class of 2022 graduates accepted employment offers prior to graduation.

What are some of the unique aspects of the Quinnipiac PA program?
The Quinnipiac PA Program prides itself on its commitment to a first-class educational experience. The program offers small class size for experiential learning courses, cadaver anatomy labs, pre-clinical clerkship experience during the first (didactic) year, and hands-on application of knowledge in experiential learning activities including simulation and interprofessional education experiences. During the clinical year, the program places our students at high-quality clinical sites; recent graduates rate the clinical component of their training very highly.

In addition, the QU PA Program has many cross-curricular strengths including an award-winning community service program, many leadership opportunities, and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. For example:

  • The Quinnipiac University PA Program has received awards from the National Kidney Foundation, the American Lung Association.

  • The Connecticut Urban Service Track was awarded the 2018 Partnership Award for its community service partnership with the QU PA Program.

  • The program has integrated essential learning experiences such as “TED Talks”, book clubs, guest lecturers and presentations to promote awareness, acceptance and accountability in creating a diverse, inclusive, equitable and just community.

  • In 2022, the QU PA Program developed a first-of-its-kind podcast, “Short White Coat Syndrome: A PA Student Podcast” to highlight PA student experiences and important topics in PA education and the PA career.

Another unique aspect of our program is the involvement of Quinnipiac University PA faculty. Many of the program faculty members are involved in state and/or national leadership positions, including members who have served nationally with the AAPA and PAEA. William Kohlhepp, Professor Emeritus of the QU PA Program and the former Dean of Health Sciences at Quinnipiac University, won the 2020 National PAEA Lifetime Achievement Award which recognizes and honors an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to PA education over a sustained period of time in the areas of distinguished service, innovative efforts, leadership, mentoring and advocacy.

What is the approximate cost of the program?
View physician assistant tuition and financial aid information

What options exist for financing the program?
We recognize that students may need to rely on a variety of resources to assist them in paying for their educational expenses. Subsequently, at Quinnipiac, we offer a number of educational loan options, including federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans as well as private alternative loans.

We also offer an opportunity for full-time graduate students with the highest demonstrated need to considered for institutional grant aid. A separate application form in conjunction with the FAFSA is required to apply. All PA applicants are also considered for a limited number of institutional merit scholarship awards. No additional application is required.
Learn more

Will I be able to work full-time while I am in the program?
No. Given the full-time and intensive nature of the academic and clinical requirements, students are generally not able to work while enrolled in the program.

Do you give preference to Connecticut residents in the application process?
All applicants are considered equally in the admission process as we work to achieve a diverse class, balancing educational and career experiences and backgrounds. As a private institution, tuition is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students.

How can I find a PA to shadow?
We recommend candidates have a solid knowledge of the PA role and to shadow a PA. We do not provide a shadowing service. If you don't already know a PA, you may consider asking a local health care provider, local medical office or area hospital to recommend a practicing PA. Just make sure to first obtain permission from the physician assistant and be aware that you may also need permission from the hospital or clinic, as there are strict patient privacy (HIPPA) issues involved.

Is on-campus housing available?
The Office of Residential Life and Graduate Student Affairs keeps a listing of off-campus rental properties for graduate students. For further information, please contact 203-582-3542 or e-mail residentiallife@qu.edu

The PA department also coordinates a Facebook page, roommate matcher and other resources that help incoming students find local Realtors, housing options and roommates.

Can you recommend other resources to consider?
A wonderful book for more information on the PA profession and preparing for it is "So You Want to be a Physician Assistant: Your Guide to a New Career," by Beth Grivett, PA-C.

Can I meet/speak with someone regarding admission?
Every semester we hold information sessions on our graduate programs. These are a wonderful way to learn more about graduate life in general at Quinnipiac and about the physician assistant program in particular.

For additional information or questions not answered, please feel free to Contact Graduate Admissions

Additional Resources

Get to Know Us

Contact Graduate Admissions before coming to our campuses in North Haven or Hamden for information on what to see and do, details about directions and parking, and to set up an opportunity to speak with one of our admissions representatives.

Quinnipiac University supports equality of educational and employment opportunity. No person shall be denied admission to any educational program or activity or be denied employment on the basis of race, color, disability, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic or national origin.