Learn about the admissions requirements needed to apply for KGI’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program.
Complete information on each fact is located below the table.
Download prerequisite checklist for 2022-2023 cycle
Now accepting applications through CASPA for the fall 2024 cohort
The MSPA program utilizes the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) for application review and processing.
A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution is required at the time of enrollment. The field of study can be varied as long as all prerequisite requirements are met. Undergraduates in their final years are eligible to apply if the bachelor’s degree will be completed prior to the MSPA program start.
International graduates: please see “International Applicants” section below.
The KGI MSPA program requires seven prerequisite courses prior to entry into the program. All prerequisites must be completed with a grade ‘C’ or higher within 10 years of the application deadline. Applicants are allowed to have up to two outstanding prerequisites (no more than 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours total) at the time of application. However, all prerequisites must be satisfactorily completed by June 15 of the enrollment year.
Please note that credit for Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) will not be accepted for prerequisite courses.
Note that online accelerated courses for science prerequisites (such as those designed to be completed in 6 weeks or less) are accepted but are strongly discouraged for courses foundational to future PA practice such as human anatomy and human physiology.
KGI offers most of the required prerequisite courses during the summer in online or on-campus formats, depending on the course. Please see the Summer Undergraduate Courses at KGI website for more information. Note that completion of prerequisite courses at KGI does not qualify as an admissions preference for the MSPA program.
Minimum Semester Hours: 8
Minimum Quarter Hours: 10
Course Information: For this requirement, students must either complete a full sequence of Anatomy and Physiology (at one or more institutions) OR two separate, standalone courses (i.e., one Anatomy course and one Physiology course). The course sequence must cover the entire human body.
Minimum Semester Hours: 3
Minimum Quarter Hours: 4
Course Information: No lab is required. Must cover bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The course may be lower division or upper division.
Minimum Semester Hours: 3
Minimum Quarter Hours: 4
Course Information: An additional biological/health science course is required from the following options: genetics, pathophysiology, pharmacology, immunology, cellular and molecular biology, health psychology, or biopsychology. Only these specific courses will be accepted as meeting this prerequisite. The course may be lower division or upper division.
Please note that Health Psychology or Biopsychology are very specific courses that must include these terms in the course title. The focus must be on health/disease/illness. Regular psychology courses such as Developmental Psychology or Abnormal Psychology will not meet this requirement.
Minimum Semester Hours: 4
Minimum Quarter Hours: 5
Course Information: Any chemistry course that includes a lab. The course may be lower division or upper division.
Minimum Semester Hours: 3
Minimum Quarter Hours: 4
Course Information: An additional chemistry course is required from the following options: biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, or organic chemistry. Only these specific courses will be accepted as meeting this prerequisite. The course may be lower division or upper division. Lab is preferred but not required.
Minimum Semester Hours: 3
Minimum Quarter Hours: 4
Course Information: May be taken through a math or psychology department. Other departments to be considered on a case-by-case basis. The course may be lower division or upper division.
MSPA program applicants must have a minimum cumulative and science GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) as calculated by CASPA at the time of application submission.
MSPA program applicants are not required to submit results of any standardized tests, including the GRE. The program does not use these scores to make any admissions decisions.
A minimum of 1,000 hours of direct patient care experience is required upon application submission. Preference will be given to applicants based on the quantity and quality of hands-on patient care experience. Hours obtained through KGI’s Postbaccalaureate Pre-PA Certificate program may be used to meet the direct patient care experience requirement.
Examples of direct patient care experience include:
Unacceptable patient care experience includes an administrative role in a hospital or office setting, lifeguard, aesthetician, non-clinical research assistant (i.e., laboratory setting only), and veterinary assistant.
Hours obtained as student hours during training programs are not counted towards patient care hours (e.g., certified nurse assistant, medical assistant, medical school, or PA school). Those attained after graduation are accepted, such as residency hours.
All applicants are required to complete a personal statement and supplemental application for KGI through CASPA. These two submissions provide the Admissions Committee with a multi-dimensional view of the applicant, including their background, strengths, commitments, and personal goals.
A total of three references are required for application to the program. These references will help guide the Admissions Committee on the candidate’s personal goals and attributes that would prepare them for success as a PA student and a future professional PA.
The letters have specific requirements as outlined below:
Please note that we will not accept any letters written by a personal friend or relative. All three required letters must have been requested through CASPA at the time of application submission to CASPA and must be completed by your references no later than December 31 of the application year. We do not accept reference letters sent directly to our program.
International applicants are defined by the KGI MSPA program as citizens of any country outside of the United States (including Canada) who do not hold a United States permanent resident visa (green card). Permanent resident visa status is equivalent to U.S. citizenship for the purposes of our admission process and U.S. federal student loan programs.
International applicants that have completed their degree outside of the United States must meet two major requirements for admission:
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score is not required. All other requirements remain the same across all applicants.
DACA Applicants: The MSPA program welcomes applications from individuals who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). While the MSPA program does not consider an applicant’s financial status in the selection process, DACA students must be prepared for the cost of their education. DACA applicants are not currently eligible for federal financial aid, but they are eligible for KGI international student loans and institutional scholarships.
For more information regarding international student requirements and procedures, please see KGI’s international student webpage.
The KGI MSPA program requires that all matriculating students must meet the KGI Technical Standards for Admission, Progression, and Graduation.
In alignment with the MSPA program mission, our program will provide additional consideration to an applicant with one or more of the following characteristics:
Defined as underrepresented race/ethnicity according to current PA practice demographics from NCCPA, includes the categories designated by CASPA: Black/African American; Hispanic/Latino; American Indian/Alaskan Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; Arab/Middle Eastern/North African
Neither mother nor father attended college; as indicated on the CASPA application.
Individuals who select “native” or “advanced” in a language other than English on the CASPA application.
Defined as a history of past or ongoing non-academic circumstances impacting daily function, including personal health issues, mental health and wellbeing, primary caregiver for a loved one, challenges associated with immigration status, financial hardship, inability to access financial aid.
Includes veteran, active, and/or reserves.
Individuals who are pursuing or have received a certificate or a degree at KGI or one of the Claremont Colleges. Courses taken at KGI or the Claremont Colleges that are or were not part of a certificate or degree program do not qualify for this additional consideration.
Individuals who were raised in Medically Underserved Areas and/or who currently live or work in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area/Population (as defined by HRSA). Applicants will provide this information in the Supplemental Application.
Note that the presence of any of the above factors does not guarantee an interview nor admission into the MSPA program. Similarly, lack of the above factors does not prohibit an applicant from consideration for admission.
With the MSPA program’s holistic approach to admissions, there is no one formula for becoming a competitive applicant. However, several factors are reviewed, including:
All applicants who complete a CASPA application will also need to complete the KGI-specific supplemental application questions that are found within CASPA. Applications completed by the posted deadline will be reviewed initially for prerequisite criteria. Those who do not meet the prerequisites will receive a letter indicating they cannot move forward in the process, and their application is denied for this cycle.
Please note: once the application is submitted for any program, the information that CASPA considers to be not changeable will be “locked” by CASPA. Even if the applicant has not yet finished the supplemental application to KGI, the information provided to CASPA at the time of application submission to ANY program is used by KGI to make application decisions. KGI will not accept any changes that cannot be made through CASPA.
Any errors in CASPA noted by the applicant are the responsibility of the applicant to clarify with CASPA. The MSPA program at KGI will not accept updated information that is not able to be changed/updated and verified in CASPA. Please see the CASPA website for an explanation of which sections can be updated after application submission.
Applicants who meet all minimum admissions requirements will advance to an in-depth evaluation. Reviewers will holistically evaluate each applicant by considering a person’s entire journey to PA school. In alignment with the MSPA Program mission, our program will provide additional consideration to an applicant with certain characteristics or experience. For more details, please review the “Admissions Preferences” and “Competitive Applicants” sections above.
When evaluating applicants, we review both the verified CASPA application and the KGI supplemental application within CASPA. Not every applicant who meets the minimum prerequisite criteria will be invited to interview. Our goal is to invite those who share our mission, vision, and goals, and we keep this in mind during the review.
Each application is evaluated and scored for the following characteristics:
Applicants who are not invited to interview will receive a letter with an invitation to apply the next cycle and ideas for improving their application in the future.
Reviewers may reach out to applicants via email for clarification at any point in the review process. Applicants who do not submit required clarifications or documentation by clearly defined deadlines will be removed from consideration by the Admissions Committee. Please note that anyone who is found to have a code of conduct violation on CASPA (e.g., plagiarism) will be denied.
Applicants selected for an interview will be contacted by KGI Admissions to schedule an interview with the Admissions Committee, faculty, and staff members. The interview is our opportunity to get to know the applicant as a potential physician assistant (PA) student, and it is also the applicant’s opportunity to get to know us.
On interview day, each applicant will complete a series of interviews assessing the following attributes:
All interviewees will be encouraged to ask questions throughout the day and should develop a good understanding of our program and the type of education they would receive here if accepted. Logistical details of the interview day will be provided during the scheduling process.
Applicants may sign up for an on-campus tour as part of KGI Fridays, which are hosted by KGI Admissions every Friday. Whether or not an applicant participates in a tour has no bearing on admission to the MSPA program. The tour is primarily for the applicant to see the entire KGI campus, including the new MSPA facilities. For more information and for the link to sign up, contact KGI Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that all tours will be conducted in accordance with current CDC and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines for the safety of all participants.
Following the interview, candidates will be discussed by the Admissions Committee and participants in the interview process, and determinations will be made based on the total score from both the pre-interview application review and the interview.
Accepted candidates will receive a letter of acceptance with a specific period of time to secure their seat in the class with an initial non-refundable deposit of $500. A second non-refundable deposit of $250 will be required to continue holding their seat. Those placed on the alternate list will receive a letter indicating their alternate status with instructions for preparing if a position opens.
After each interview, all candidate scores from the latest interview will be compared with those on the alternate list, and offers will be made accordingly. The program will continue to offer acceptances on a rolling basis but will leave seats open at the end to ensure equal opportunity for all qualified candidates who participate in an interview.
Once the first day of class has begun and all seats are filled, the remaining candidates on the alternate lists will be sent a letter indicating that they were unable to be accepted this cycle and are welcome to reapply in the future.
Medical Terminology – Accepted students will be required to show proof of a medical terminology course completed within the past 10 years through an academic institution. For those who have not taken a course or who wish to refresh their knowledge prior to starting the program, KGI will provide all matriculating students with a free, asynchronous online medical terminology course. This requirement must be completed by August 1 of the year of matriculation.
Orientation – All incoming MSPA students must attend orientation for both KGI and the MSPA program. A pre-orientation checklist will be provided to accepted, deposited students prior to orientation. All students are required to complete Student Health Verification Forms along with proof of health insurance by August 1 of the year of matriculation. More information regarding health insurance and other requirements will be provided closer to orientation.
Outstanding Requirements – Those students with any outstanding prerequisite requirements must be able to demonstrate completion of all coursework and/or their Bachelor’s degree by June 15 of the year of matriculation.
Neither the CASPA application nor the KGI supplemental application can be reused for another cycle. Each applicant who is not accepted must complete both applications again for the next cycle. Please note that an invitation to interview one cycle does not guarantee an interview for future cycles.
Transfer credits for didactic and clinical phase courses are not accepted. All KGI MSPA program courses within the curriculum are required for graduation. No credit or advanced placement is granted for prior experiential learning, coursework, degrees, certifications, or advanced training.
The KGI MSPA program strongly discourages students from engaging in any form of employment while enrolled in the MSPA program. The fast-paced, intensive nature of the program requires full-time attendance and a significant time commitment outside of class/clinical experiences. Outside employment obligations cannot be used to excuse absences from scheduled learning activities. In addition, the program will not consider outside employment as a reason for poor performance or for modifying program requirements.
The KGI MSPA program also does not allow students to work for the program (paid or voluntary).
KGI MSPA students cannot substitute for or function as instructional faculty. Students with specific prior knowledge, experiences, and skills may voluntarily assist faculty in didactic and laboratory sessions to share their knowledge and skills. However, students are not to be the primary instructor or instructor of record for any component of the curriculum.
KGI MSPA students are also unable to function as clinical or administrative staff at KGI or a clinical site. If a student is asked to substitute for a staff person on a clinical rotation, they must contact the Director of Clinical Education. Once information is collected and reviewed, the clinical team in conjunction with the MSPA Program Director will determine if continued use of the preceptor and/or clinical site is appropriate.
Prior to the clinical phase, students will have the opportunity to submit their ideal clinical sites/preceptors and locations. Prospective and enrolled MSPA students are not required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors for the MSPA program. Students may voluntarily submit information about potential preceptors or clinical sites to the Director of Clinical Education if desired. The Director of Clinical Education (assisted by the clinical team) must identify, contact, and evaluate clinical sites and preceptors for educational suitability prior to creating an official affiliation.
There is no direct or implied guarantee that the student will be assigned a rotation with any requested clinical site or preceptor.
Criminal history questions have been removed from the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA), and a criminal background check is not required to matriculate into the KGI MSPA Program. Read more.
Contact the KGI Admissions team today!
We also encourage you to review the Funding Your Degree page for valuable scholarship and loan information and relevant deadlines for both domestic and international students.
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