Admission Process

It is the goal of Bethel University Physician Assistant Program (BUPAP) to recruit and admit highly qualified applicants.  BUPAP selects applicants who have the ability to become highly competent PAs.  BUPAP 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. 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 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

To apply, you should have the following: 

  • Verified CASPA application.
  • Completed Supplemental Application and fee received by BUPAP.
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university by September 1st before matriculation in January.
  • 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. 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 with a Grade C or better by September 1st before matriculation in January.
  • Completion of GRE and results received by CASPA for review and verification.
  • Completion of a minimum of 40 hours shadowing with a Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C).
  • 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 of: Reading: 21, Speaking: 26, listening: 20, and Writing: 20. The TOEFL IBT must have been taken within the two years of applying.

Pre-requisite 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

Recommended Courses:

  • Biochemistry 
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology
  • Introductory Statistics
  • Critical Thinking

General Information

Students may apply before the completion of some pre-requisite courses, but should inform the university as to when and where the needed course(s) will be taken. Such candidates may gain conditional acceptance. Successful completion of the nine prerequisite courses with a Grade C or better (preferred) by September 1st before matriculation in January is required. No prerequisites older than 5 years will be accepted, unless you have been employed full time in the health care field with direct patient contact since completion of those prerequisites. 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.

Applicants who received their baccalaureate degrees from colleges and institutions outside of the United States may also be considered for admission. These applicants must 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 submitting an application to the program. 30 semester hours is preferred. Applicants must also meet all other requirements. 

Applicant Readiness 

The accelerated nature of the graduate-level curriculum offered by BUPAP requires that applicants seeking admission provide adequate evidence of their ability to undertake an advanced course of study. When evaluating an applicant's readiness to matriculate in the PA Program, members of the admissions committee consider closely all information available with particular attention to the following elements: 

  • Academic achievement
  • Science and overall grade point average
  • Scores received on the Graduate Record Examination
  • Responses to questions contained in the application
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Leadership experience
  • Community service experience
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Compassion
  • Personal integrity
  • Motivation for a career in health care
  • Recommendations of faculty interviewers

Each of these qualities is viewed as essential to support the development of a physician assistant.

Application Procedure 

First complete a CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistants). Next complete a Supplemental Application, and send with it a $75 application fee to the Bethel University Physician Assistant Program. The supplemental application form is available in the Resources tab.  Selected applicants will be interviewed by the admission committee. 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 2 weeks of interview. Applicant will be expected to pay $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.

Admission Information 

We will begin the interview process as soon as verified applications are received from CASPA. Interviews will be offered to qualified applicants and student positions will be offered on a rolling admissions basis. Early application is strongly encouraged. Admission to Bethel University PA Program is very competitive. Statistically, the ideal applicant has presented with a 3.4 overall GPA, 304/3.8 GRE scores, completed 250+ hours of healthcare experience, 100 shadowing hours, and 80 science hours before applying to the program. These applicants have gone on to be very successful PA students. Therefore, we encourage all applicants to have scores similar to the ones mentioned above. Applicants who have scores that deviate significantly from the average will be considered on a case by case basis.

Dates to Remember

  • April 27 – start applying to CASPA
  • October 1 – deadline to apply to CASPA and have all materials to Program and verified by CASPA (example: supplemental application, shadowing forms etc.)
  • June – October interviews will be conducted
  • January – New class matriculates

Student Work Policy

Students enrolled in the PA Program are not prohibited, but are strongly discouraged from working during the didactic year, due to the intense and rigorous nature of the program. Students are not allowed to work for the program. If you choose to work and are unable to fulfill program requirements due to a work conflict, you will be dismissed from the program.

Students enrolled in BUPAP are prohibited from working during the clinical year, due to the intense and rigorous nature of the program. Students are not allowed to work for the program. Students are not to receive or accept compensation for any work performed within the preceptor’s clinical site or practice. Students may only render services as part of the clinical phase of their education. If you choose to disregard the work policy and are unable to attend scheduled clinical rotations due to a work conflict, you will be dismissed from the program. Students must not substitute for, or function as, instructional faculty at the PA Program.

International Students

An applicant who possesses a degree from an accredited institution outside of the US may also be considered for admission. These students must have their transcripts verified and translated by an approved organization (such as World Education Service) and should meet all the other application requirements, including the TOEFL score for non-native speakers of English.


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