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PA Program Application/ Acceptance

The Bethel University physician assistant program maintains the responsibility for the selection of students, the design, implementation, and evaluation of curriculum, evaluation of students, and determination of who should be awarded a degree, as directed by the Accreditation Review Commission for the Physician Assistant Standards.

Admissions Goal

It is the goal of the Bethel University Physician Assistant Program (BUPAP) to recruit and admit highly qualified applicants. For this reason, admission decisions are based not only on satisfactory academic achievement but also on non-academic factors, which serve to ensure that applicants for admission can complete the essential functions of the didactic and clinical education required for graduation.

The education of the physician assistant student requires the acquisition of a core medical knowledge in all fields of medicine and basic clinical skills essential for the practice of medicine regardless of specialty. The education of the physician assistant student also requires the development of critical thinking skills that prepare students for appropriate decision-making in clinical practice. BUPAP’s responsibility to the public is an assurance that its graduates are exceptional and compassionate healthcare professionals who practice medicine within an ethical framework grounded in Christian principles.

The Physician Assistant Technical Standards and Physician Assistant Competencies provide the framework of the physical, cognitive, and behavioral abilities needed to complete the BUPAP curriculum. Applicants must be able to meet both the Technical Standards and Competencies in order to successfully complete their education and training to become a Physician Assistant. 

Application Requirements

Student positions will be offered on a rolling admissions basis, and early application is strongly encouraged. To apply, each student must have completed the following:

  • Verified Central Application Service for Physician Assistants, CASPA application.
  • BUPAP receives completed Supplemental Application and a $75 fee.
  • Before matriculation in January, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university must be acquired by December 15th.
  • Official transcripts from all universities attended. Original transcripts are sent to CASPA for review and verification. Do not send to BUPAP.
  • Three letters of recommendation:
    • Two (2) of your letters of recommendation must be from a PA, MD, DO, or FNP.
    • One (1) letter can be from a university professor or advisor. If you are unable to obtain a letter from someone within a college/university, you may submit a letter from your supervisor.
    • Letters of recommendation from family members are not accepted. These letters of recommendation are part of the CASPA application.
  • Successful completion of the nine prerequisite courses, which can be found below, with a Grade C or better by September 1st before matriculation in January.
  • Students may apply before the completion of some prerequisite courses but should inform the university as to when and where the needed course(s) will be taken to gain conditional acceptance. Prerequisite course(s) completed after September 1st will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • No prerequisites older than 5 years after Baccalaureate Graduation will be accepted, unless you have been employed full time in the health care field with direct (hands on) patient care since completion of those prerequisites.
  • BUPAP generally does not accept prerequisite grades for CLEP but will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Prerequisite course work consists of the following classes:

  • Two Semesters - General Biology (or equivalent)
  • Two Semesters – General Chemistry (or equivalent)
  • Two Semesters – Human Anatomy & Physiology
  • One Semester – Microbiology or Bacteriology
  • One Semester – Psychology
  • One Semester – Human Genetics

The following are BUPAP's Recommended Courses:

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology
  • Introductory Statistics
  • Critical Thinking
  • Completion of GRE and results received by CASPA for review and verification.
  • Completed a minimum of 25 hours of Community Service/Volunteering within the past 5 years.
  • Completion of a minimum of 40 hours shadowing with a Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C), within the past 5 years.

Guaranteed Interview Agreement

BUPAP maintains a Guaranteed Interview Agreement/Articulation Agreement with Austin Peay State University, Baptist Health Sciences University, Bethel University, Murray State University, and the University of Tennessee-Martin. The student must meet the Terms and Conditions set forth in the Articulation Agreement. The interview is not a guarantee of selection for admission but will enable students to be considered for admission.

International Students

Applicants who received their baccalaureate degrees from colleges and institutions outside of the United States may also be considered for admission. These students must meet the following requirements.

  • Have their transcripts verified and translated by an approved organization, such as World Education Services.
  • Complete at least 12-16 semester hours of additional Undergraduate or Graduate Study at an accredited U.S. college or university, prior to applying to the PA Program. 30 semester hours is preferred.
  • Non-native speakers of English: Achieved TOEFL IBT (internet-based testing) scores of at least 87 for non-native speakers of English with the minimum section requirements: Reading = 21, Speaking = 26, Listening = 20, and Writing = 20. The TOEFL IBT must have been taken within two (2) years of applying.*
  • Must meet all other admission requirements.

Admissions Process

After the completion of the application requirements above, the following admissions process begins.

  • The Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) opens accepting applications the last week in April through October 1 for the next January Matriculation.
  • The admission committee will interview selected applicants from the CASPA applications.
  • Interviews will be scheduled either face to face or virtual and be conducted by an Interview Panel consisting of Program Faculty.
  • Following the interview, candidates are evaluated by the admission committee to assess their acceptability to the program.
  • The applicant who has been accepted to the program will be notified of the interview team’s decision within one week of the interview.
  • The applicant will be expected to pay a $1,000 deposit to hold a seat within 10 business days of receiving the offer. This deposit is applied towards the first semester of tuition and is non-refundable. This initiates the enrollment of the student into the next matriculating class beginning in January.

For more information, contact the PA Program, paadmissions@bethelu.edu.

BUPAP Applicants

Bethel University PA program does not offer advanced placement. There is no credit for experiential learning. No physician assistant credits from another institution may be transferred into the didactic or clinical years. BUPAP students must complete the entire program at Bethel University.

Admission to the Bethel University PA program is very competitive. Statistically, before applying to the program the successful applicant has the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in a medical science concentration
  • Repeated less than two prerequisite courses
  • A 3.4 cumulative, prerequisite, and science GPA
  • 304/4.0 GRE scores
  • Completed 250+ hours of healthcare experience
    • Patient Care experience is preferred to Healthcare Related experience. Please note that Healthcare Experience is not required, though it is preferred to no experience at all.
  • Completed 100+ shadowing hours
  • Completed 60 science hours
  • Completed 100+ community service hours

Applicants meeting or exceeding these descriptions have gone on to be very successful PA students. Therefore, we encourage all applicants to have scores similar to the ones mentioned above. Applicants enhance their chances for admission exceeding these descriptions. Applicants who have scores that deviate significantly from the successful student will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The averages of the Physician Assistant Class of 2026 (matriculated January 2024)

  • Cumulative GPA 3.52
  • Prerequisite GPA 3.54
  • Science GPA 3.40
  • Science hours 88
  • 304/4.1 GRE
  • Healthcare Experience hours 1,123
  • Patient Care Experience hours 2,478
  • Shadowing hours 107
  • Community service hours 755

Applicant Qualities

The accelerated nature of the graduate-level curriculum offered by Bethel University College of Health Sciences for students enrolled in the PA Program, requires that applicants seeking admission, provide adequate evidence of their ability to undertake this advanced course of study. When evaluating an applicant's readiness to matriculate in the PA Program, members of the Admissions Committee closely consider all available information, paying special attention to the following categories:

  • Academic achievement
  • Cumulative (overall) and Science grade point averages
  • Scores received on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Responses to questions contained in the application
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Community service experience
  • Matriculation readiness
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Compassion
  • Personal integrity
  • Adaptability/stress management
  • Conflict management
  • Technical and professional knowledge/ability to learn
  • Motivation for a career in healthcare
  • Knowledge of the PA profession and its role in healthcare
  • Recommendations of faculty interviewers