Application Deadline
August 1st

Additional Info
Interested in becoming a Physician Assistant but don’t have enough clinical hours?
Consider the

Exercise Science for Clinicians Graduate Certificate.


Both academic work and hands-on patient care experience must be completed prior to applying to the program.  Admissions requirements and procedures are reviewed and revised annually.  Updates are generally made on our web page in mid-March.  Please note that we are unable to pre-review transcripts before an individual actually applies to the program. It is the applicant’s responsibility to review the most current information prior to applying.

Individuals who hold a prior doctoral degree from an accredited US institution in a health or science field (MD, PhD, DrPH, DVM, ScD) may have individual prerequisite course requirements waived at the sole discretion of the Program Director.

PA shadowing is not a prerequisite.  However, we highly recommend it in order to acquire a solid understanding of the PA role.

We can answer general questions about the program that are not addressed on our website.  You can call us at 617.373.3195 or email at

The GRE is not required for any PA pathway (MS, MS/MPH, MS/HI) options.


All requirements must be minimally met in order to be considered.

  • ŸBachelor’s degree in any major from a regionally accredited institution.
  • ŸOverall GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale as calculated on the CASPA application.  We will accept any of the following overall GPAs to satisfy this requirement:
    • Bachelor’s degree-associated overall GPA
    • Master’s or doctoral degree-associated overall GPA
    • Post-baccalaureate-associated (at least 10 courses or 30 credit hours) overall GPA
  • Science GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale as calculated on the CASPA application.  This GPA includes all college science courses taken at regionally accredited institutions.

Academic Course Requirements

COVID-19 Prerequisite Modifications

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the Northeastern University Physician Assistant Program Admissions Committee has made the decision to accept Pass/Fail grades in any 2 of our required prerequisite courses (see chart below). These 2 courses must have been taken during the spring 2020 or summer 2020 terms only. All other prerequisite courses taken at any other time must still have grades of solid B or better in order to satisfy our requirements.
We are cognizant of the fact that some undergraduate schools are providing an option for students to take courses either for grades or on a Pass/Fail basis. Some schools are not giving students this option and are instead giving only Pass/Fail grades. We therefore want to be explicit that applicants should not feel pressured by us to choose the graded option or worry that we will not accept a Pass/Fail grade. Students and their families are facing many challenges at the moment, and the pressure for grades need not be one of them. All other prerequisites remain the same including the August 1, 2020 application deadline.

The following academic work must be completed prior to applying by the August 1 deadline.  It is essential that applicants review the detailed Physician Assistant Program Prerequisites information below. Please be sure to review the FAQ section for additional guidelines and explanations on course prerequisites.  Students must earn a grade of solid B or better from a regionally accredited institution in order for a course to fulfill a prerequisite.  Pass/Fail grades do not fulfill any of the prerequisites.


1Any combination (basic or upper level) of 2 semesters of biology lectures plus 1 biology lab.  Courses may include general biology, microbiology, genetics, immunology, infectious disease, pathophysiology, cell biology.  Courses labeled “for non-science majors” are not appropriate.

2Any combination (basic or upper level) of 2 semesters of chemistry lectures plus 1 chemistry lab.  Courses may include general chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry.  Courses labeled “for non-science majors” are not appropriate.

3Anatomy and Physiology is most commonly offered as A&P 1 plus A&P 2 or 1 semester of anatomy plus 1 semester of physiology.  Course content must be in sufficient depth in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the body and must cover the entire body from head to toe including all body systems.  A 1-semester A&P courses is generally not adequate.  Human, vertebrate, and animal A&P are all acceptable.  A&P lab is not required.

4Statistics may be offered by any department (biostatistics; statistics for psych, math, or business majors among others).  The course content needs to include probability theory, multiple regression, hypothesis testing, T tests, chi square, ANOVAS, Z tests, correlations, means, medians, modes, and logistical regression as well as how to select and apply the appropriate statistical test, how to analyze the data, and how to interpret the results. Calculus does not satisfy the statistics prerequisite

5Grades of B- or below do not fulfill the minimum grade requirement.

Advanced placement (AP) or international baccalaureate (IB) credits from high school do not fulfill any of our course prerequisites.  Non-credit courses are not accepted to fulfill any prerequisites.  Advanced placement will not be awarded to any applicant to the Physician Assistant Program, regardless of prior education or experience.

Hands-on Patient Care Experience

The Admissions Committee defines hands-on patient care experience as working one-on-one with patients.  Examples of hands-on skills include, but are not limited to: taking vital signs, doing ECGs, drawing blood, changing bandages and dressings, splinting, casting, removing sutures, bathing and toileting. Jobs that involve counseling patients on medical procedures, protocols, or treatment plans may be acceptable but may be considered less competitive than positions that require direct physical patient contact. The job title of the position is not as important as the specific duties performed.

Hands-on patient care experience should be completed prior to applying by the August 1 deadline.  Please be sure to review the FAQ section for additional guidelines and explanations.  Hands-on patient care involves working one-on-one with patients.  Strongest preference will be given to applicants who have approximately 1000 hours of hands-on patient care experience prior to applying to the program.  Applicants with fewer than 1000 hours may also be given consideration depending upon the strength of their entire application.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers Certification:
    • Students are required to have BLS certification prior to program matriculation.  Matriculated students must achieve and maintain certification for the entirety of the program. This is required prior to matriculation but is not an application requirement.
  • A laptop computer (PC or MAC) is required in order to take online exams in class.
  • Criminal background checks are required for all students.
    • This will be conducted upon matriculation.
  • Access to a car or alternate transportation is required in order to travel to clinical sites.

Please note:  These requirements are for the class matriculating in August of 2021.  Prerequisites are subject to change for future admissions cycles.

International Applicants

For applicants who have earned degrees outside of the United States, the following prerequisites must be completed prior to applying:

  • Completion of all the required science courses (see list of specific courses under “Academics” above).
  • TOEFL score within the previous 2 years of at least 100 (internet-based) to demonstrate proficiency in English.
  • A certified degree and course-by-course evaluation of foreign transcripts to ascertain equivalencies to United States educational standards. The GPA obtained at a foreign university must be equivalent to a 3.0 GPA in the United States. We will only accept evaluations done by World Education Services (WES).  Evaluations performed by other companies will NOT be accepted.  The report should be submitted to CASPA.

World Education Services
Bowling Green Station
PO Box 5087
New York, NY 10274
Phone: 212.966.6311

Successful completion of the ECFMG or USMLE cannot be substituted in lieu of taking all of the prerequisite courses. Advanced standing credit will not be given for courses taken elsewhere. All students accepted into the program must successfully complete the entire 2-year curriculum regardless of previous education and degrees. Current and ongoing hands-on patient care experience is needed in order to be a competitive applicant. While the Admissions Committee will consider experience gained in your home country, hands-on patient care experience in the United States is also recommended.

Required Technical Standards

A candidate for the Physician Assistant Program must have abilities and skills in:

  • observation
  • communication
  • sensory and motor coordination and function
  • intellectual-conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities
  • behavioral and social attributes

Observation Candidates and students must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in experiments in the basic sciences, and must observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand, noting both nonverbal and verbal signals. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities.

Communication Candidates and students must be able to: speak intelligibly, hear sufficiently, and observe patients closely in order to elicit and transmit information; describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and perceive nonverbal communications; and communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing skills. Candidates and students must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written English with all members of the health care team.  Students must demonstrate reading skills at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements, provide clinical care for patients, and complete appropriate medical records, documents, and plans according to protocol in a thorough and timely manner.

Sensory and Motor Coordination and Function Candidates and students are required to possess motor skills sufficient to: directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other basic diagnostic procedures; and execute motor movements reasonably required to provide basic medical care, such as airway management, placement of catheters, application of sufficient pressure to control bleeding, simple obstetrical maneuvers, etc. These actions require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Candidates and students must be able to: independently access and interpret medical histories or files; identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data; provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses and prescribed medications and therapy; recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans is essential. Good judgment in patient assessment and diagnostic and therapeutic planning is essential. Students must be able to communicate their knowledge to others when appropriate.

Behavioral and Social Attributes Candidates and students must possess the ability to: use their intellectual capacity, exercise good judgment, and promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients under potentially stressful and/or emergency circumstances; develop empathic, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients; adapt to changing environments and learn in the face of uncertainties that are inherent in the practice of medicine; use supervision appropriately and act independently when indicated. Compassion, integrity, ethical standards, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational process.

Immunization Policy

The University requires that every student submit proof of a health and immunization evaluation prior to matriculation. In addition, most institutions and clinical sites require that students provide documentation of immunization status.  University Health and Counseling Services provide Immunization Clearance Forms.  Students are responsible for having the Student Health Form completed and returned to Health Services prior to matriculation so that the Clinical Clearance Form can be processed and available for clinical sites. Students are required to sign a release form that allows the Program to share immunization records with clinical sites. The Bouvé College of Health Sciences immunization requirements are consistent with current Centers for Disease Control recommendations for the immunization of Health Care Providers and can be found on the Northeastern website, here. In addition, students are required to obtain a current influenza vaccination annually in accordance with CDC recommendations for health care providers.