Please see below for answers to our most commonly asked questions. If you have additional questions that are not answered here, please email


  • The program begins accepting applications when CASPA opens in late April. All applications must be submitted by 8:59 p.m. PST (11:59 p.m. EST) on November 1 for the following enrollment year.

    Applicants who submit their CASPA application with the included KGI supplemental application by September 1 will receive priority for early interview and acceptance.

  • Yes, applicants who apply by September 1 will be evaluated first and will be given first priority for interview dates if selected to interview. However, all applications received before the December 1 deadline will be reviewed and evaluated. Please ensure that all prerequisite requirements are completed as outlined in our MSPA Admission Requirements & Procedures prior to submitting the CASPA application.

  • No, KGI does not differentiate between in-state or out-of-state residency.

  • Only one cohort is accepted per year, and classes begin in the fall semester. 

  • The program has 40 students per cohort.

  • Program decisions are made throughout the cycle at various stages in the review process, beginning in September and completing by March of the enrollment year.

  • The program will host information sessions periodically throughout the year. Please check the KGI Admissions website for information about any upcoming sessions.


  • Our primary goal is to assess if any applicant shares in the mission, vision, and goals of the MSPA program and KGI. With this in mind, we have developed multiple formats within the interview process to evaluate applicants.

    On interview day, each applicant will complete a series of interviews assessing the following attributes:

    • Oral and written communication
    • Interpersonal skills
    • Knowledge of and commitment to the PA profession
    • Character attributes (i.e., empathy, compassion, humility, resiliency, motivation)
    • Professionalism
    • Critical-thinking skills and problem-solving
    • Leadership qualities
    • Entrepreneurship and innovation
    • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Yes. After all spots have been filled, those applicants who are selected for a wait list will be notified via email.


  • Every applicant must have the following in place at the time the application is submitted to CASPA:

    • 1,000 hours of direct patient care experience
    • No more than two prerequisite courses outstanding
    • A bachelor’s degree to be completed by June 15 of the following year
    • Three reference letters requested: 1) one healthcare provider reference from a PA, Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), or Nurse Practitioner (NP); 2) one letter from one of the following: healthcare reference from a person who works in patient care OR an academic reference (professor of a course you have taken or your academic advisor) OR a research reference; and 3) one reference of your choosing.

    Please review the MSPA Admission Requirements & Procedures page for full details.

  • Yes, the KGI MSPA program requires a supplemental application with no additional fee, but this does not carry an additional application fee. This application is already embedded in CASPA with a few short-answer questions (250 words or less). The supplemental application is expected to take no more than 30 minutes to complete.

  • CASPA takes up to four weeks to process your application and send it to us. Once we receive your application, Admissions team members first carefully screen each application to ensure it meets the minimum requirements. The process then moves on to MSPA faculty, who will use a holistic approach to evaluate each applicant’s cognitive and non-cognitive attributes. Based on this review, the Admissions Committee will then determine whether or not to extend an invitation to interview.

  • We encourage repeat applicants to keep improving their application between cycles. Some examples include:

    • Prerequisite coursework – Retaking prerequisite courses or any courses that pertain to your future career can refresh and expand your knowledge prior to PA school.
    • GPA – When taking courses, please ensure the grades you are earning will improve your overall and/or science GPA rather than decreasing it between cycles.
    • Patient care experience – Continue gaining patient care experience hours by working as an active participant in patient care. Hours obtained in settings with higher degrees of responsibility and clinical decision-making are most competitive. Consider formal training or additional certifications to enhance your skills and knowledge.
    • Knowledge of and commitment to the PA profession – Seek opportunities to learn about the PA profession through shadowing, interviewing PAs, getting involved with state/national PA associations, etc.
    • Leadership development – We encourage applicants to seek out ways to develop their leadership skills since this is a key part of our program.

    Please see our “Competitive Applicants” section for more information.

International Applicants

  • Yes, we welcome international students. No TOEFL is required, but all prerequisite courses must be completed in the U.S. Please review the MSPA Admission Requirements & Procedures page for full details.

  • Yes, a degree may be earned from a non-U.S. institution if an accredited foreign transcript evaluation service determines its equivalency to a bachelor’s degree or higher in the U.S. However, please note that all prerequisite courses must be completed through a U.S. accredited institution. Please review the MSPA Admission Requirements & Procedures page for full details.

  • We require the minimum of 1,000 hours be completed in the United States, U.S. territories, or as part of U.S. organizations such as the military, peace corps, etc.

  • Yes, every student who enters the program must complete all courses in the program in order to graduate and be eligible for licensure as a physician assistant.


  • Not every applicant who meets the minimum requirements will be invited for an interview, and the interview is a required step in the admissions process.

  • An applicant’s cumulative college performance is considered in the GPA calculations by CASPA. The Admissions Committee factors both undergraduate and graduate level performance in its decisions. Both the overall and science GPA (as calculated by CASPA) must be 3.0 or higher at the time of submission of your application to any PA program using CASPA. Even if you select our program after submitting to other programs, your GPA will remain fixed and will not be recalculated per CASPA policy. Please note that our program will not recalculate GPAs for any reason. We highly encourage you to review CASPA policies regarding the GPA calculation process prior to submitting your application to any PA program.

  • All courses with an earned letter grade are used to calculate a GPA in CASPA. You may use an online GPA calculator to see how many courses would need to be taken to raise your GPA. Please note the program will accept GPA calculations for admission decisions from CASPA only. Although a beneficial tool for the applicant, online calculators are not official and will not be used by KGI.

  • Any course can be retaken to improve the GPA, but note that both grades will be used by CASPA to calculate GPAs. When the program evaluates specific prerequisite courses, the latest grade will be used.

  • The goal of reference letters is to demonstrate to the Admissions Committee your readiness for the rigors of PA school, as well as your suitability for medicine and the PA profession. As such, we strongly recommend you select references who can attest to your skill as well as your character.

    We have specific requirements for each letter. Please see the Admission Requirements & Procedures page for the specific requirements.

  • The KGI MSPA program does not require any standardized tests. Results of GRE, PA-CAT, or MCAT examinations will not be used for admissions decisions.

    • We encourage all applicants to review prerequisite requirements and ensure that all requirements are met by visiting the MSPA Admissions Requirements & Procedures page.
    • If the applicant’s patient care experience has a low degree of hands on care, we would encourage pursuing positions with higher degrees of hands on care and more responsibility in order to become more competitive.
    • Any prerequisite course can be retaken to improve the overall GPA.
    • Becoming familiar with the PA profession through shadowing experiences, interviewing PAs, attending pre-PA events, and personal research will always help strengthen an application.
  • We use the GPA as calculated and published by CASPA to make admissions decisions. We will not make any exceptions. For information on how CASPA calculates the GPA, please review this information on the CASPA website.

  • 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.


  • Only two total prerequisites can be outstanding at the time of your CASPA application. Both of these courses must be completed by June 15 of the enrollment year.

  • Yes, all prerequisite science courses must have been taken within 10 years of the date of completion of the CASPA application.

  • Yes, for some science prerequisite courses. Please see our Admissions Requirements & Procedures page under “Required Prerequisites” for details.

  • Yes, online courses can be used to meet prerequisite courses as long as they are through an U.S. accredited institution and meet the stated requirements. Accelerated online courses (such as those completed in 6 weeks or less) are strongly discouraged due to how important the material in the prerequisites is in preparing students for PA school and future PA practice.

  • Yes.

  • We do not accept pass/fail credit for any prerequisite science course when taken at an undergraduate level. Graduate level prerequisite science courses will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Non-science prerequisite courses will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

  • AP credit is not accepted for any prerequisite course.

  • You must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college by June 15 of the enrollment year. For example, for the cohort beginning fall 2024, the degree must be earned by June 15, 2024. For degrees earned outside of the U.S., please see the section for International Applicants.

Patient Care Experience Requirement

  • All applicants must have a minimum of 1,000 hours of patient care experience at the time of application. There are a variety of ways to receive patient care experience, and a list of acceptable experiences are on our website. Applicants who have been trained in a health profession with a high degree of hands-on patient care are considered more competitive. Please review the MSPA Admission Requirements & Procedures page for full details.

  • You may review the list of acceptable patient care experiences on our website. If your experience is not listed, please feel free to contact us by emailing KGI Admissions. Please include a description of your duties and whether the experience is paid or unpaid.

  • Shadowing of PAs, MDs, or DOs is accepted for healthcare hours, but it is not considered as competitive as hands-on, higher level experience.

  • The KGI MSPA program does not currently have a list of PAs willing to accept pre-PA students for shadowing. There are several websites that are devoted to helping pre-PA students with finding a PA to shadow. You may also check with your state PA chapter to see if they have a list of PAs who are willing to work with pre-PA students. Note that PA shadowing is not required for the KGI MSPA program but is highly encouraged.


  • The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Keck Graduate Institute Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Keck Graduate Institute.

    Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

    Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

    The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at


  • The KGI MSPA Program strongly discourages students from engaging in any form of employment while enrolled in the 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.

  • No, all enrolled students must attend full-time.

  • The KGI MSPA Program is redefining traditional PA Education through innovation. The core values of the KGI MSPA Program include:

    • Active learning: Professors do not simply lecture but rather bring real-world experience to the classroom through engaging educational methods.
    • Interdisciplinary education: Students at KGI will have the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge technology in medicine through robust interprofessional experiences. Students will gain valuable perspectives of medicine through a collaboration with KGI’s unique offering of programs, including medical device engineering, translational medicine, genetic counseling/genomics, pharmacy, and occupational therapy (in development).
    • Leadership and Entrepreneurship: Leadership development and entrepreneurship are also central to our program, and students will develop skills that can take them further in their PA careers.
    • Early Clinical Experiences: Students will not have to wait until the second year of the program to gain clinical experiences. KGI MSPA students have opportunities for “real life” patient experiences in the first year of the program.
    • Additional Focus on Surgery and Emergency Medicine: In addition to primary care practice, our students will be uniquely prepared to excel in the ER and OR through additional coursework and experiences.
    • Community Health: Students will be involved in community-based projects and local health events to ensure their focus is on caring for and educating our local community.
  • No, only students enrolled in the MSPA program can take MSPA courses. There is no course audit option.

Financial Aid

  • For more information regarding financial aid, please visit the KGI Financial Aid page.

  • The MSPA program offers a $5,000 JumpStart scholarship to one incoming student based on criteria elicited from the admissions process. Eligibility criteria will be published prior to the next admissions cycle.

    We encourage you to review the Funding Your Degree page for valuable scholarship and loan information.