• Graduate Application

    US Resident: Physician Assistant

  • Requirements

    • Undergraduate degree from an accredited US college or university

    Admission to PA programs is quite competitive. We seek the most highly qualified students who have a demonstrated capacity to excel academically and show the most promise of becoming PAs who will exemplify our program’s mission. The information provided here is a guide to help you plan your coursework, program prerequisites and other required items.


    Completion of the minimum prerequisite courses does not necessarily guarantee an interview or admission. Courses in advanced physiology, pathophysiology, microbiology, immunology, genetics, statistics, organic chemistry and biochemistry are highly recommended.

    Prerequisites may be in-progress or planned at the time of application, but must be completed by December 2015 and bachelor’s degree must be completed prior to June 2016 matriculation. Any in-progress or planned coursework will be requested as part of the application process. Acceptance will be conditional upon successful completion of prerequisites.

    Review of an application may be delayed if the number of completed prerequisites is determined to be too few upon which to make a determination.

    All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.

    • Biology, human or mammalian preferred, with labs (8 credits)
    • Chemistry, organic and biochemistry preferred, with labs (8 credits)
    • Anatomy & Physiology, human preferred, with labs (8 credits)
    • A&P prerequisite must have been completed within 7 years prior to matriculation (taken summer 2009 or more recently for June 2016 matriculation)
    • Prerequisite must include all body systems and be a full-year (two semester sequence) or the equivalent, consisting of either 4 credits of anatomy with lab and 4 credits of physiology with lab OR 8 credits of A&P I & II (both with lab).
    • Courses devoted entirely to the study of the human species are preferred. Courses devoted to animal physiology, exercise physiology and/or comparative anatomy are not preferred.
    • Math, college algebra or equivalent (3 credits)
    • Psychology/Sociology/Behavioral Science, psychology preferred (6 credits)
    • English (6 credits). Medical Terminology course will not fulfill the English requirement.

    Academic Requirements

    • A Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited United States institution(s) at time of application or prior to matriculation.
    • All prerequisite courses must have been completed at a regionally accredited United States institution.
    • The following academic criteria must be met: minimum overall cumulative GPA of 3.0; and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all completed Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses.
    • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required, and preferably taken since June 2006. JWU’s designation code is 0468. An official record of that examination must be added to your application through CASPA. Preferred GRE scores are in the 50th percentile or better.
    • Transfer credits are not awarded to students.
    • There is no advanced placement.
    • No credit will be awarded to students for work experience.
    • Technical standards are required attributes necessary for entrance into, continuation within, and graduation from the Physician Assistant program at Johnson & Wales University. In addition, you may also be required to meet the technical standards of the facility or facilities providing clinical education in connection with the program.

    Experiential Requirements

    • A minimum of 250 hours of direct patient care in the United States and in an allopathic or osteopathic medical setting.
    • To help you gain a clear understanding of the PA’s role on the medical team, we ask that you observe (or “shadow”) a PA in the field. “Shadowing” of PAs in more than one practice type is preferred. You will be asked to record your experiences as part of the application process through CASPA; please note that they do not count toward direct patient care hours.
    • Computer experience is essential, as a significant portion of curricular material, assignments, evaluations and other materials will be exchanged using e-technology.

    To participate in the Physician Assistant (PA) program at JWU, each student, with or without reasonable accommodations, must be able to safely and effectively meet the following technical standards.

    Technical Standards of the PA Program
    Technical standards, as distinguished from academic standards, refer to those physical, cognitive, and behavioral abilities that a student must be able to perform in order to be admitted to, to progress satisfactorily and to graduate from the PA program, and subsequently enter clinical practice.

    If you are accepted to the program, you must sign a certification statement before matriculation. This signed statement certifies that you believe you will be able to meet the Technical Standards with reasonable accommodations.

    All students must possess aptitude, ability, and skills in the following 5 areas:

    The student must be able to acquire a defined level of required information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in the basic sciences.

    He or she must also be able to directly and accurately observe a patient at a distance and close at hand, with or without standard medical instrumentation. A student must be able to observe a patient’s demeanor, see a patient’s physical condition, and obtain a medical history and perform a physical examination correctly on the patient.

    The student must be able to integrate the information derived from these observations and develop an accurate diagnostic and treatment plan. These skills require the functional use of vision, hearing, smell, and somatic sensation.

    Furthermore, a student must be able to:

    • Acquire information from written documents;
    • Visualize information as presented in images from paper, films, slides or video;
    • Interpret x-ray and other graphic images, and digital or analog representations of physiologic phenomenon (such as EKGs)with or without the use of assistive devices;
    • Competently use diagnostic instruments, including, but not limited to, an otoscope, ophthalmoscope, stethoscope and microscope.

    The use of a trained intermediary is not acceptable reasonable accommodation in many clinical situations in that it implies that a student’s judgment must be mediated by someone else's power of selection and observation.

    Students must be able to relate effectively to patients while conveying compassion and empathy. They must be able to clearly communicate with patients in order to elicit information, accurately describe changes in mood, activity and posture of patients, and understand verbal as well as nonverbal communication.

    Communication includes not only speech, but reading and writing. Physician assistant education presents exceptional challenges in the volume and breadth of reading required to master subject areas and impart the information to others.

    Students must be able to communicate quickly, effectively, and efficiently in oral and written English in the classroom and with patients and all members of the health care team. Specific requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Rapidly and clearly communicating with the medical staff on rounds or elsewhere.
    • Eliciting an accurate history from patients.
    • Communicating complex findings in appropriate terms to patients and to various members of the health care team. Students must be able to learn to recognize and promptly respond to emotional cues, such as sadness and agitation; accurately and legibly record observations and plans in legal documents, such as the patient record.
    • Accurately entering patient data into an electronic medical record or other database.
    • Preparing and communicating concise, complete summaries of both limited patient encounters and complex, prolonged encounters, including hospitalizations. Students must be able to complete forms, in a timely fashion, and according to directions.

    Sensory and Motor Coordination and Function
    Students must possess sufficient sensory and motor function to perform physical examinations using palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. This requires sufficient exteroceptive sense (visual, auditory, touch and temperature), coordination to manipulate patients and adequate motor skills to operate diagnostic instruments. Students must be able to:

    • Evaluate various components of the voice, such as pitch, intensity, and timbre
    • Accurately differentiate percussive notes and auscultatory findings, including but not limited to, heart, lung, and abdominal sounds
    • Accurately discern normal and abnormal findings, using instruments including, but not limited to, tuning forks, stethoscopes, and sphygmomanometers
    • Execute physical movements needed to provide general care and emergency treatments to patients. The student, therefore, must be able to respond promptly to emergencies within the hospital or practice setting and not hinder the ability of his/her co-workers to provide prompt care. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of a physician assistant include arriving quickly when called and assisting in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), administering intravenous medications, applying pressure to arrest bleeding, maintaining an airway, suturing wounds, and assisting with obstetrical maneuvers. As further illustration, CPR may require moving an adult patient, applying considerable chest pressure over a prolonged period of time, delivering artificial respiration and calling for help
    • Learn to perform basic laboratory tests such as wet mount, urinalysis, gram stain, etc., and diagnostic/therapeutic procedures such as venipuncture or placement of catheters and tubes. The administration of intravenous medications requires a certain level of dexterity, sensation and visual acuity.
    • Measure angles and diameters of various body structures using a tape measure or other devices to measure blood pressure, respiration and pulse, and interpret graphs describing biologic relationships
    • Transport him/herself to a variety of clinical rotation settings in a timely manner

    Intellectual, Conceptualization, Integration and Quantitation
    Problem-solving, a critical skill demanded of physician assistants, often requires rapid intellectual function, especially in emergency situations. These intellectual functions include numerical recognition, measurement, calculations, reasoning, analysis, judgment, synthesis and application.

    Students must be able to identify significant findings in the patient’s history, physical examination and laboratory data, provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses, and choose appropriate medications and therapy.

    It is essential the student is able to incorporate new information, from many sources, toward the formulation of a diagnosis and plan and recall information in an efficient and timely manner.

    Professionally sound and evidence-based judgment in patient assessment and diagnostic/therapeutic planning is also essential. When appropriate, students must be able to identify and communicate the extent of their knowledge to others.

    Abilities, Aptitudes, Behaviors and Social Skills
    Students must possess:

    • the emotional and mental health required for full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of professional judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities associated with the diagnosis and care of patients and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships in diagnosis and care of patients.
    • the capacity to demonstrate the integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect, empathy and service inherent to learning the practice of humanistic medicine. Students must be able to monitor and react appropriately to their own emotional needs, which includes being able to maintain balanced demeanor and good organization in the face of long hours, fatigued colleagues, and dissatisfied patients.

    Students must be able to:

    • Develop appropriate professional relationships with their colleagues and patients, provide comfort and reassurance to patients and protect patients’ confidentiality.
    • Monitor changes in class and rotation schedules and be on time for all scheduled classes, clinical rotations and other scheduled expectations and responsibilities.

    Students are, at times, required to work for extended periods of time, occasionally with rotating schedules. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the practice of medicine. Students must be able to accept suggestions and criticisms, and if necessary, to respond by modifying their behavior.

    These functions critically important and must be autonomously performed by the student. It should be understood that these are standards for minimum competence in the program.

    Collectively, these technical standards are essential to the PA program and also reflect industry requirements and standards.

    Johnson & Wales University complies with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as well as state and local laws which prohibit institutions of higher education from discriminating against students with disabilities.

    Although all PA applicants and students are held to the same technical standards, reasonable accommodations are provided upon request to qualified individuals with a disability.

    Review the Center for Academic Support’s documentation regarding accommodations and policies.

    To request a reasonable accommodation, accepted PA applicants and students can contact the Center for Academic Support at 401-598-1485.

    The integrity of the curriculum must be maintained and those elements deemed essential to the education of a physician assistant must be required and completed.


    All applicants must be able to understand and communicate in English to be admitted to the university. If the applicant is from a non-English speaking country and/or for whom English is a second language, a score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must be submitted by the application deadline. The score must be greater than 80 for internet-based exam or 550 for paper-based exam (foreign graduates).

    The Admissions Committee reserves the right to make changes or exceptions to the admission policies and procedures without notice when it deems such a decision is appropriate.

    For questions about these policies, contact Katie Spolidoro, 401-598-2381.

    The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Physician Assistant Studies Program at Johnson and Wales University.


    The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), the accrediting agency that defines the standards for PA education within the territorial US, has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Physician Assistant Studies Program at Johnson & Wales University.

    About Provisional Status

    Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status. The status indicates that the plans and resource allocation for the proposed program appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards, if fully implemented as planned. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than 5 years from matriculation of the first class.

    Successful graduates will receive a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) from JWU and will be qualified to take the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE) that is required for licensure as a physician assistant.

    Review the Program Prerequisites

    Prior to applying via CASPA, familiarize yourself with our admissions prerequisites, which will help you assemble the necessary documentation.

  • How to Apply

    Step 1.

  • Submit Your Application

    Apply now through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).

    If you are accepted, your official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended may be sent directly to:

    Physician Assistant Admissions
    8 Abbott Park Place
    Providence, RI 02903

    Application Checklist
    CASPA Application: Applications for June 2015 enrollment are due by March 1. Learn more about CASPA fees and payments.

    • GRE (preferably taken since June 2006 and scoring in 50th percentile or better)
    • TOEFL Test Scores (minimum score of 80 on the internet-based exam or 550 on the paper-based exam)

  • Step 2.


    All applications must be submitted directly to CASPA. Our CASPA admissions cycle begins in mid-April each year, with a deadline of March 1st of the following year.

    Applications are reviewed by the Physician Assistant Program Admissions Committee, which evaluates applicants’ overall qualifications. Qualified applicants are offered an on-campus interview to assess interpersonal and communication skills, as well as overall commitment to a career as a PA.

    After each interview day, qualified candidates will be offered acceptance into JWU’s PA program. Candidates that are not offered admissions after the interview may be placed on a wait list. Students that are selected from the wait list will be notified immediately of their acceptance.

    After an offer of acceptance is made by JWU, the applicant will have 4 weeks to accept or decline the offer.

    Once an applicant accepts an offer, a $1,000 non-refundable tuition deposit must be made to JWU. This deposit will hold the applicant’s place in the class. The total deposit fee will be applied to the cost of tuition once the student matriculates.

  • Step 3.


    Before matriculation, accepted applicants must:

    Obtain a physical exam and provide documented proof of program- and university-required immunizations as listed in our Graduate Catalog. Program immunization requirements are based on current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for health professionals. Students may also be required to meet the physical examination requirements of the facility or facilities providing clinical education in connection with the program. These facilities may have specific requirements in addition to JWU’s requirements.

    Meet the CDC Immunization Recommendations for Health Care Personnel (134K PDF)

    Provide proof of a negative national criminal background check performed by the program-approved agency.

    These are required by clinical training sites and state licensing boards. Students will be subject to drug screens as required by clinical training sites. These are both costs to the student and paid directly to the screening agency.

    Provide documented proof of a current American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers certification.

    This information must be presented prior to registration. Matriculation is subject to completion of these requirements and submission of appropriate documentation.

  • File Your FAFSA


    Filing is free, it’s easy — and it’s the only way to gain access to the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and the Graduate PLUS loan.

    Complete the FAFSA

  • Prerequisites
    Prerequisites may be in-progress or planned at the time of application, but MUST be completed by December 2014.

    Bachelor’s degree must be completed prior to the program’s June 2015 matriculation.

    Bachelor’s degree and all prerequisite courses MUST have been completed at a regionally accredited United States institution(s).

  • GRE Scores
    Use JWU’s school code: 0468.

  • Contact Us
    For admissions or program-related questions, contact Katie Spolidoro, 401-598-2381.