COVID-19 Updates

Letters of Recommendation

Will your institution be relaxing “Letters of Recommendation” requirements, given that access to physicians and PA shadowing opportunities may be limited?

At least one Letter of Recommendation is required from either a PA, a work supervisor, or a faculty member. We prefer three Letters of Recommendation: one from a PA, one from a work supervisor, and one from a faculty member.

Pass/Fail Grades

Given that many undergraduate institutions may be distributing pass/fail grades in the spring semester, will your institution accept pass/fail grades for prerequisite coursework taken between Jan 2020–Aug 2020?

No, we will not accept pass/fail grades for any prerequisite coursework.

GRE Exam

Does your program require a standardized test for admission?

Yes, the GRE exam continues to be a requirement. For the 2020 Application cycle only: There is the option of taking the GRE exam from home by contacting ETS (Educational Testing Service).


Due to campus closures, undergraduate (or graduate) institutions may be unable to deliver official transcripts to CASPA for verification purposes. If this is the case, can applicants upload ‘unofficial’ transcripts to CASPA for verification in the interim?                                                      
  • If you meet the detailed qualifications of CASPA’s ‘Transcript Hardship Process’ for your inability to obtain ‘official’ transcripts, we will accept CASPA’s ‘verification’ of your application with unofficial transcripts. 
  • If selected for an interview, you will be scheduled for our last interview day, pending our receipt of your ‘official’ transcripts prior to that interview.

Laboratory Courses

Given that many undergraduate (or graduate) institutions are completing spring instruction online, will your institution accept online lab coursework for spring 2020 and any subsequent semesters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Online labs will continue to be accepted for the 2020–2021 application cycle  The one caveat is that you are to have completed at least one ‘in seat’ lab, as required for our prerequisite coursework.

Candidate Interviews

For all selected Candidates, all interviews will be performed using a ‘virtual’ format via Zoom. These ‘virtual’ interviews will most likely begin in June 2020.

PA Shadowing

For the 2021 Application Cycle: A minimum of 15 PA Shadowing hours is preferred.

Bachelor’s Degree Requirement

The Physician Assistant Studies Program is a post-baccalaureate health professions program. Applicants must provide evidence of an earned bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university that is regionally accredited prior to enrollment.


Official transcripts must show that all prerequisite coursework meets the required attributes. The program will honor credits completed at community colleges and online through regionally accredited institutions. For the 2020 Application cycle only: If you are unable to take ‘in seat’ labs that were scheduled to be taken in the spring or summer of 2020, we will accept online labs. The one caveat is that you are to have completed at least 1 ‘in seat’ lab, as required for our prerequisite coursework.

Disputing and Correcting CASPA Course Subjects for Prerequisites

If, during verification, a course subject is incorrectly assigned to the wrong category, or the course title does not match the prerequisite, CASPA can re-review the course title and make appropriate changes. The applicant should contact CASPA customer service at Please refer to the CASPA website for further information.

Transfer Credit or Credit for Experiential Learning (Advanced Placement)

All courses within the curriculum are required. No credit is granted for pre-admission experiential learning, prior coursework, degrees, certifications or advanced training. Transfer coursework (with a grade) to meet prerequisite requirements is acceptable. AP credit will be accepted for all non-science admission prerequisites. Any required course in the sciences will need to be taken at a college-level degree granting institution.

Applicants in Another PA Program

Applicants should notify Dominican University of any current or previous enrollment in another PA Studies Program. Dominican University’s PA Admissions will request grade transcripts from the applicant’s enrollment in any current or previous PA Studies Program.

Application for Admission

Apply for admission using the online Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application. Following are the required criteria:

Grade-point Average

Minimum in science and overall: 3.00

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores

Official GRE scores are required. No minimum GRE score is required, however strength of GRE scores relative to the applicant pool will be considered as part of the admission process. Visit Cohort Composites. The GRE must have been taken within five (5) years of the application date. Dominican University’s CASPA GRE Designated Institution Code: 7340. Dominican University does not accept official scores submitted directly to the University. The application is not considered complete without reflecting official scores directly in CASPA. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure their scores are received by CASPA. For the 2020 Application cycle only: There is the option of taking the GRE exam from home by contacting ETS (Educational Testing Service).

Healthcare Experience Requirements

Healthcare Experience

A minimum of 1,000 hours of work or volunteer experience in a healthcare setting is required. The minimum number of hours must be attained prior to the application submission. Documentation of Healthcare Experience hours must be quantified and described with supervisor contact information in the ‘Experience’ section within the CASPA application.

Applicants are considered competitive who have significantly greater than 1,000 hours of volunteer experience, or work experience that resulted in demonstrable direct (hands-on) patient care or direct patient contact.

Averages for healthcare experience hours for each cohort admitted are posted on the PA website under ‘Cohort Composites’.

PA Observation Experience (Shadowing)

Applicants must demonstrate their knowledge and awareness of the Physician Assistant profession through direct observation of a Physician Assistant only. By the time of application submission, applicants must have obtained a minimum of 15 hours of direct observation (i.e. shadowing) of PAs, or an equivalent number of hours observing a PA through providing direct patient care along with a PA. For example, a medical assistant or other individual who works alongside a Physician Assistant in their health care experience may count some of this time toward their PA observation hours.

Documentation of PA Observation experience must be quantified and described with supervisor contact information in the 'Experiences' section under 'Shadowing Experience' within the CASPA application.

Shadowing/Observation is not counted toward the healthcare experience hours.


A total of three (3) references submitted on the official CASPA reference form are required. It is strongly recommended that students request references from the following:

  • Professor: A person who can attest to the applicant's academic preparedness for the program based on direct experience in a teacher-student relationship
  • Supervisor: A person who can attest to the applicant’s intrapersonal attributes and interpersonal communication abilities based on direct observation as supervisor of the applicant’s volunteer or work experience
  • Physician Assistant: A certified, practicing PA that can attest to your commitment, knowledge, and preparedness for the profession based on shadowing or employment experience

Personal Statement

A personal narrative submitted through the CASPA portal is required. In this personal essay, please:

  • Describe in detail your motivation or desire to become a physician assistant and
  • Reflect upon the interprofessional nature of the physician assistant's role in health care teams

Program Question

Additional writing samples are required by the Dominican University PA Studies through the CASPA Application portal. Please respond to the specific questions, which can be viewed on the CASPA Application site under "Program Questions."

Technical Standards

The Dominican University Physician Assistant Program is a demanding and concentrated program that places specific requirements and demands on all students enrolled in the program. The minimum technical standards establish the essential qualities considered necessary for students admitted to this program to achieve the knowledge, skills and competencies of an entry-level physician assistant. In the event an applicant is unable to fulfill these technical standards prior to or any time after admission, with or without reasonable accommodation, the student will not be allowed to enter or progress within the program.

Accreditation Statement

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Dominican University Physician Assistant Studies Program sponsored by Dominican University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2030. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website.