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Application Questions:

There are two applications, both available online:

  1. Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application
  2. Idaho State University Graduate School application

Note: These two systems do not share documents between them. They both require transcripts. Please follow the instructions closely for both applications and do not assume the documents from one will automatically transfer to the other.

The CASPA application requires official transcripts, at least 3 letters of recommendation, and has an application fee. The Idaho State University Graduate School application requires the official GRE score report, transcripts, and has an application fee.

CASPA does not send transcripts on to Idaho State University's Graduate School. At the time of application, transcripts submitted through the Graduate School application may be unofficial, however certain features must be present for them to be accepted, including: the student's name, the institution's wordmark or logo in the header, courses, credits, terms, grades, and the date(s) of any awarded degrees. Once an applicant is accepted to the PA Program, official transcripts will be required.

CASPA applications become available at the end of April.

Graduate School applications become available in May most years. Be sure to select the correct Fall semester you are applying for, which is the Fall after the year you click submit on the application.

The application deadline is November 1st. Both the application to CASPA and the Idaho State University Graduate School application must be submitted by this date.

Note: CASPA runs on Eastern time, so if you are submitting your CASPA application, be sure to account for the time zone discrepancy. The Graduate School runs on Mountain time.

No, you must apply through the two application systems: CASPA and the Idaho State University Graduate School.

See the Admission Statistics page for details.

All applications that are received by November 1st are first reviewed to ensure they are complete. If not, the applicant is notified of what is missing so that it may be rectified. If it is complete, a file score is calculated to create an initial ranking of all applications received. Components of the file score are available on the File Score page.

A file score threshold is established once a sufficient number of complete applications is received. If an application's file score meets or exceeds the threshold, the application is moved on for a second review by Admissions Committee members. These reviewers examine the application as a whole and make a recommendation whether to offer an interview or not.

The Program aims to interview approximately 150 applicants each cycle. If it is determined later in the cycle that more applications must be reviewed in order to reach this goal, the file score threshold will be adjusted and all applicants notified.

For a full description of the process, please visit the Admission Process page.

Graduates of our Program receive a Master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Yes, a bachelor's degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution is required. The degree must be completed by June 30th of the year you are applying to enter (the year after you submit your application).

We do not have a preference for the bachelor's degree be in any specific topic. Virtually all bachelor's degrees from regionally accredited institutions are accepted.

Prerequisite Questions:

Please see the Admission Requirements page for prerequisite course information.

Yes. Online coursework is accepted as long as it is taken from a U.S. regionally accredited institution.

No. The general rule of thumb is that courses with matching titles to those listed on our Admission Requirements page will likely count, including if they have prefixes such as "Medical," "General," "Fundamentals of," "Survey of," or "Introduction to."

We do not provide transcript review services, however if you are particularly concerned that a course of yours will not qualify, you are welcome to send an email to pa@isu.edu with the name of the institution, the name of the course, the course ID number (such as BIOL 432), the semester and year you took or plan to take the course.

Please see the following frequently asked questions for answers regarding Biochemistry, Abnormal Psychology, and Statistics.

Typically, no.

If you are concerned that a course of yours will not qualify, you are welcome to send an email to pa@isu.edu with the name of the institution, the name of the course, the course ID number (such as BIOL 432), the semester and year you took or plan to take the course, or call 208-282-4726.

No. "Organic" cannot be in the course's title. It must be a fully fledged Biochemistry course. Qualifying courses have titles such as Medical Biochemistry, General Biochemistry, Fundamentals of Biochemistry, Biochemistry, Biochemistry I, or Introduction to Biochemistry (with no other topic in the title).

If you are concerned that a course of yours will not qualify, you are welcome to send an email to pa@isu.edu with the name of the institution, the name of the course, the course ID number (such as BIOL 432), the semester and year you took or plan to take the course, or call 208-282-4726.

No. It must be an Abnormal Psychology course. If you pursue the Developmental Psychology Through the Lifespan option to fulfill this requirement, the course or courses must cover the entirety of the lifespan from birth to death.

If you are concerned that a course of yours will not qualify, you are welcome to send an email to pa@isu.edu with the name of the institution, the name of the course, the course ID number (such as BIOL 432), the semester and year you took or plan to take the course, or call 208-282-4726.

Statistics in any field such as Psychology, Sociology, Biology, or Mathematics will meet this requirement.

Generally, Research Methods courses do not meet this requirement.

If you are concerned that a course of yours will not qualify, you are welcome to send an email to pa@isu.edu with the name of the institution, the name of the course, the course ID number (such as BIOL 432), the semester and year you took or plan to take the course, or call 208-282-4726.

First-time applicants may have up to two prerequisite courses in progress during the spring semester of the year they would enter the program. At least 4 of the 6 prerequisite courses must be completed by the Fall semester. All prerequisite coursework and degree coursework must be completed and posted to official transcripts by June 30th of the year an applicant would enter the program. Proof of registration and progress may be required to verify course enrollment.

Example: Applications for the Class of 2026 will open April 2023 and will close November 1st, 2023. 4 of 6 prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the Fall 2023 semester. Up to 2 prerequisite courses may be in progress in the Spring 2024 semester. All prerequisites and degree work must be completed by June 30th, 2024. If accepted, classes would begin in August, 2024.


Re-applicants must have all prerequisite coursework completed and may not have any prerequisites in progress at the time of their re-application.

Idaho State University's Physician Assistant Studies Program has instituted an exception in regards to non-letter grades awarded to prerequisite coursework during Winter, Spring, or Summer 2020 semesters. Due to many institutions offering P/F or S/U grades during the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants displaying a P/F or S/U grade on prerequisite coursework taken during affected semesters will be reviewed in the following ways:

Up to one P/F or S/U grade awarded during affected semesters will be forgiven, with credit given toward prerequisite progression but no grade utilized in the applicant's prerequisite GPA calculation. Additional P/F or S/U grades awarded during affected semesters will either be substituted with the applicant's science GPA or a course grade of B in calculations, with consideration for which provides the best file score for the applicant.

Each prerequisite course must have a grade of C or better, AND the GPA of the prerequisite courses must be 3.0 or higher.

Prerequisite courses must be 10 years of age or younger, have a grade of C or better, and the cumulative prerequisite GPA must be 3.0 or higher.

If a retaken course is complete at the time of application, the best grade that meets the above requirements will be used.

If a course is in the process of being retaken, the original course grade that meets the above requirements will be used until the retaken course is completed and the grade received. If the grade of the retaken course is received by mid-December and is a better grade than the original, it will replace the original fully and the prerequisite GPA recalculated.

Example: If an applicant took a Microbiology course for 4 credits and received a C grade, the applicant could retake the course as late as the Fall semester of the same year as the application deadline. The C grade would be used in the calculation of the prerequisite GPA until the grade from the Fall semester retake is received. The course will have to be completed and the grade received by mid-December. The prerequisite GPA will be recalculated with the best grade received for Microbiology at the time the retake is completed.

Courses being used to fulfill prerequisite requirements must each have a grade of C or better, and the cumulative GPA of those prerequisites must be 3.0 or higher.

Applicants must have a prerequisite GPA of 3.0 or higher, and a grade of C or better in each prerequisite course in order for your application to be considered. As any other university or college, higher GPAs are more competitive. Your goal as an applicant is to be as academically prepared as you can be, prove that you are able to be successful in an extremely academically rigorous program, and achieve as high a file score as you can comfortably manage. Prerequisite GPA and overall science GPA are components of that file score calculation, and applications without file scores high enough to meet the established threshold for the cycle will not receive the second review or an invitation for an interview. And although the Admissions Committee members do not base their decisions solely on grade point average during their second review, they do look at trends over time and whether it appears you can withstand the high demand of the PA curriculum.

Experience Questions:

Neither health care nor patient care experience is required for admission to the Program. It is, however, an excellent way to investigate a career and learn more about what physician assistants are and what they do. It can help illustrate dedication to our reviewers, and it is one of the possible ways to obtain points toward an applicant's file score. We use CASPA's definitions for these experiences. Applicants should use their best judgment when adding experiences to their CASPA application.

GRE Questions:

Yes. The GRE is required for admission to the Idaho State University PA Program, regardless of an applicant's background, education, work experience, etc. The test results must be 10 years or younger.

See ETS for information about testing locations and scheduling the exam.

The Graduate School regulates the minimum GRE scores required for entry into a graduate-level program, here.

Note: While the Graduate School's requirements state that those above a certain cumulative GPA do not need the GRE, the PA Program specifically does require the GRE for all applicants.

While the PA Program does not have requirements outside of these, applicants should keep in mind that the GRE percentile scores are part of the file score calculation and can play a role in competitiveness for an application. Average GRE percentile scores for top applicants offered seats over the past five years may be found on the Admission Statistics page.

No, just the general GRE test is required. The PA Program uses the verbal and quantitative sections, and does not consider the writing section.

The GRE school code for Idaho State University is 4355, and the department code is 0634.

No. We do not accept the MCAT or PCAT in place of the GRE.

Program Cost & Financial Aid Questions:

Estimated cost is available on the Tuition and Fees page.

Cost is subject to change.

In many cases, yes. See the Financial Resources section of the Tuition and Fees page for more information.

Program fees pay for the PA Program's budget.

Campus housing is available through the Housing Office on the Pocatello campus. By nature of the Meridian campus being a satellite campus, there is no on-campus housing. For the Caldwell campus, the College of Idaho does have dormitories, but no graduate student housing.

General Questions:

Yes. The Program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA). The Program has been accredited since 1996. ARC-PA's statement regarding the Idaho State University PA Program's accreditation may be found on the Accreditation page.

See the NCCPA Pass Rate & Attrition page for full details.

We have a total class size of 72: There are 36 seats at our Meridian campus, 24 at our Pocatello campus, and 12 at the College of Idaho's campus in Caldwell.

Applications are for the Program as a whole. If an application's file score is high enough to move on for the second review, and the Admissions Committee members extend an invitation for an interview, the applicant will receive access to a campus preference survey. You can then submit to us your first, second, and third preference for where you would like your seat offer to be. We do our best to abide by these preferences, however offers are extended in order of applicant ranking, so it is possible that your first choice may already be full when you receive an offer. We will then offer you a seat at either your second or third preference, depending on seat availability. You have the opportunity to accept the offer as-is, accept the offer and request to be placed on a waitlist for your preferred campus, or decline the offer. Being placed on the waitlist still guarantees your seat, but may allow you to shift over the summer prior to the beginning of classes if a seat opens up.

As part of the clinical year, program students are placed in off-campus sites for clinical training. Clinical training sites may require criminal background checks prior to placement at that facility. Conviction of a felony, misdemeanor, or withheld judgment may result in a student being denied a clinical assignment which, in turn, may cause the student to be unable to complete the program. Further, conviction of a felony, misdemeanor, or withheld judgment may prevent a student from obtaining licensure as a Physician Assistant. Licensure laws vary by state.

For example, some clinical sites specify the following regarding student background checks:

The student may not have a history or criminal record (including conviction, plea agreement, withheld judgment, or pending charges) concerning any of the following crimes (felony or misdemeanor): (1) sexual assault, rape, indecent exposure, lewd and lascivious behavior, or any crime involving non-consensual sexual conduct; (2) child abuse or neglect, sexual exploitation of children, child abduction, contributing to the delinquency or neglect of a child, enticing a child for immoral purposes, exposing a minor to pornography or other harmful materials, incest, or any other crime involving children as victims or participants; (3) vulnerable adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation; (4) homicide or manslaughter; (5) assault or battery occurring within the prior seven years; (6) drug trafficking or other offenses involving narcotics, alcohol or controlled substances during the prior five years; (7) theft, embezzlement, fraud, or other crimes involving dishonesty committed during the prior five years; (8) driving under the influence during the prior two years if the Student's duties in the Program may involve driving; and (9) any felony conviction.

The Program supplies clinical sites and preceptors for PA students across the United States and abroad. No student, prospective or enrolled, is required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors.

Enrolled students who already have pre-existing relationships with a preceptor or site may provide those connections to the Clinical Year Team through the procedures given during the Didactic Year. Students may not cold-call preceptors or sites.

Enrolled students work with the Program's Clinical Year Team to establish their rotation schedule. Generally, rotations are located throughout the United States with the heaviest emphasis on western states, including Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and beyond. The Program also has rotations in states further east.

The Program offers opportunities for an Elective rotation to be fulfilled at an international site. This is a voluntary option, funded by the student.

Travel will be required during the clinical year.

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