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Admission Requirements

Application Process

The University of Iowa Physician Assistant Program is a non-thesis, 28-month graduate level program awarding the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPA) degree upon completion. One class of 25 students is enrolled in August each year. Applications are accepted starting in April (date established by CASPA) with a deadline for completed application on Oct. 1. All application materials including official GRE/MCAT scores, 3 recommendations, and college transcripts must be received by CASPA by our Oct. 1 deadline. Under present Carver College of Medicine regulations, applications will only be accepted from U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Request Information/Application(s)

Application for the class beginning each August should be made through the Central Application System for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Please visit the CASPA Web site for more information. All materials for application need to be received by CASPA by our October 1st deadline. Official GRE scores, as well as official TOEFL scores, should be sent to CASPA using our CASPA GRE Code, "0466 U Iowa Phys Asst CASPA". Official MCAT scores should be sent to CASPA.

Completion of a Bachelors Degree

The University of Iowa requires that all applicants complete at least a bachelors degree from a United States accredited institution.

Foreign medical graduates, who are US Citizens or hold Permanent Resident status can apply to our program. However, the University of Iowa PA Program traditionally requires at least one full year of course work in the science being completed within the past 2 years from a US institution.

Prerequisite Course Requirements Completion

The University of Iowa PA Program has specific prerequisite course requirements in the Biological, Chemical and Statistical Sciences. A list of the prerequisite courses can be found at our Prerequisite Course Requirements webpage.

  • All prerequisite courses must receive a letter grade. If the institution only grades Pass/Fail, the PA Program will review these on an individual basis. The applicant should state this on their application.
  • If an applicant had the option to take a course for letter grade versus Pass/Fail during the COVID-19 pandemic, the PA Program strongly encourages students to take the letter grade option (especially for all prerequisite courses).  The COVID-19 Pandemic semesters are Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021.
  • If an applicant does not have the option to take a course for letter grade and the institution has moved courses to Pass/Fail during the COVID-19 pandemic, the PA Program will review these on an individual basis.  The applicant should state this on their application.

Minimum Cumulative GPA

The University of Iowa PA Program requires that applicants have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher on a traditional 4.00 scale. (A=4.00)

The overall cumulative GPA is calculated from ALL courses taken at the collegiate level, no matter when the courses were completed.

Minimum Science GPA

Applicants must have a Science GPA of a 3.20 or higher on a 4.00 scale (A=4.00).

An applicant may meet our Science GPA in one of two ways:

  • 3.20 overall cumulative Science GPA
  • 3.20 on the most recently completed 40 semester hours of Biological and Chemical Science coursework

Direct Patient Contact Experience

Direct patient health care experience hours are determined by the University of Iowa PA Program. The University of Iowa requires a minimum of 1,000 hours of direct patient health care experience. The hours are calculated through December 31st of the year the applicant is applying for admission.

Direct patient health care experience can come from traditional paid employment, volunteer or research experiences.  

If you have questions about how your direct patient health care experiences would be evaluated by the University of Iowa PA Program, please contact the Director of Administrative and Student Services at paprogram@uiowa.edu.

GRE/MCAT Exam

The University of Iowa PA Program requires applicants to submit proof of completion of a professional exam, either the general GRE exam or MCAT exam.

GRE scores must be taken within the last 10 years of applying. Applicants must be at the 25th percentile or above in each of the Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical sections. Official GRE scores (General exam) should be sent to CASPA using our CASPA GRE Code, "0466 U Iowa Phys Asst CASPA".

MCAT scores should be taken within the last 10 years of applying. At this time, there is no minimum score for each section. The MCAT will be reviewed on an individual basis. Traditionally, applicants must score at or above a 510 total.  Official MCAT scores should also be sent to CASPA.

Three Letters of Recommendation

The University of Iowa PA Program requires that students submit at least three letters of recommendation. The following requirements are:

  • One must be from a collegiate academic reference with whom the applicant took a course or did research under.
  • One must be from a health care experience supervisor (someone who directly supervises the applicant as they gain health care experience). Please note health care providers that supervised during a shadowing experience does not meet this requirement.
  • The third can be from anyone the applicant feels will provide the best evaluation of their ability to be successful in the PA Program.

Please note, CASPA allows applicants to submit up to five letters of recommendation. The University of Iowa's program has a minimum of three but will review all five if submitted.

Meet Program Technical Standards

The University of Iowa PA Program has a set of Technical Standards that all students must be able to successfully meet as a student in the Carver College of Medicine. The Standards can be found at our webpage, Technical Standards.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) -- Non Native English Speakers

The TOEFL must be taken within 2 years of applying to the University of Iowa PA Program.

We may waive the TOEFL requirement for applicants with Masters or Doctoral degrees from an accredited US institution. To review your application, we must receive official scores from ETS for the TOEFL. Only the IBT (Internet Based Test) form of the TOEFL will be accepted. We require a total score of 93 and a speaking score of 26 for entry into our program.​