Apply to Union’s PA Program

COVID-19 and Applications

We understand the disruption the COVID-19 has caused to students’ education. We are committed to working with students as they work to meet admission requirements. For science prerequisite requirements, we will accept online course work and pass/fail course work (equaling a C or above) for the spring, summer, and fall 2020 terms. We will also accept online science prerequisite course work for the spring and summer 2021 terms. Science prerequisite classes taken in the fall of 2021 and onward must be taken in person as is our usual policy. For additional questions regarding ability to meet specific requirements as related to COVID-19, please direct questions to the PA department.

Start your journey toward a rewarding career as a PA. Start your CASPA.

How do I apply?

To apply to the Union College Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program, use CASPA, Central Application Service for Physician Assistants—a service that provides a single application you can submit to PA programs across the country. Get started here.

Applications are typically initiated after May 1 and must be submitted and given the designation of "completed" through CASPA by September 1. 

PA Program applications are processed at Union College after they are verified, and interviews will be granted in the fall.

If you have questions regarding the online application process, please contact CASPA directly at or call 617-612-2080.

If you have any difficulties completing the application process, do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Union College does not require the GRE at this time, and a supplemental application is not required.

(The above information is only for master’s level students. If you're interested in a bachelor’s degree, please go to PA Prospective Students.)

Ensure you have all the requirements taken care of when you apply.

Admissions requirements

Admission into the PA Program is limited and competitive. Please make sure you understand the requirements thoroughly before applying.

Bachelor's degree—You must complete a bachelor's degree (any major) and the PA Program prerequisite requirements. All prerequisites must be completed by August of the year of admission. All college transcripts must be received by CASPA by September 1. See the list of prerequisite classes below.

(Note: Students in Union's Biomedical Science, Advanced Pre-PA Emphasis program are exempt from the Bachelor's degree requirement.) 

GPA—You must have GPAs (cumulative and science) of at least 3.0 on a 4.00 scale for all college work.

Technical Standards—You must demonstrate proficiency in a variety of cognitive, problem solving, tactile, communicative, and interpersonal skills.

Learn more about our technical standards.

Recommendations—You must present three letters of recommendation.

Learn more requirements for letters of recommendation.

Work experience—You must have at least 480 hours of direct patient health care experience by the time you enter the program, 240 of which must be completed and reported at time of application. If the 480 hours are not completed at the time of application, a clear plan that confirms how the hours will be completed by the start of PA classes is required.

Learn more about work experience requirements.

Shadowing—You must have spent time shadowing a PA.

Learn more about shadowing a PA.

Interview—After you submit complete application materials, you may be selected for a personal interview with members of the PA Program Admissions Committee.

Learn more about the personal interview.

International students

Click here for additional information for international students.

Post-acceptance requirements

Health requirements—You must complete a physical examination and have all required immunizations.

Learn more about the physical examination requirements.

Learn more about the PA Program immunization policy.

Background check—You must receive clearance through a criminal background check.

Learn more about the background check.

Health insurance—personal health insurance is required and personal liability insurance is encouraged.

American Heart Association HeartCode BLS—CPR certification must be obtained by June 1 of the same calendar year the student begins the PA Program and must be kept current while a PA student.

Prerequisite courses

These are the prerequisite courses you'll need to complete before you begin the PA Program. The transfer equivalency tool may help you find if the courses you took qualify.


Semester hours

General Biology I *


General Biology II * °


Microbiology *


Human Anatomy * ^


Human Physiology * ^


General Chemistry I *


Organic Chemistry I *


Biochemistry (lab preferred) +


Medical Terminology


Elementary Statistics & Probability


Developmental (Lifespan) Psychology


* Lab required

°Another biology course may (at the discretion of the PA Program) be substituted to fulfill this prerequisite requirement. Examples of substitution include, but are not limited to: Developmental Biology, Immunology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Endocrinology, or Cell Biology. Please direct questions to Jan Lemon, Admission Coordinator  (

^ Upper division series is preferred

+ Must be upper division (Note: Upper division courses are 300-400 courses (or 3000-4000) geared toward college juniors and seniors. These courses are not offered at community colleges.

Other information

  • All science classes and required labs must be taken in person rather than online. 
  • Since the MPAS is a rigorous graduate program, Union College prefers courses from a four-year college or university. We recommend that you take some upper division biology and chemistry courses for better preparation and to show your academic strength.
  • Union College does not accept prerequisite courses with grades less than "C." Even if you retake courses to get better grades, all courses are averaged when applying to the PA Program.

Getting accepted

All applications are reviewed without regard to age, sex, race, color, ethnicity, creed or national origin. Admission preference is given to Union College students or graduates and to graduates of other accredited North American Division Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities. The program also gives a preference for those applicants with direct, hands-on patient care experience in a clinical setting; please see the above section "work experience requirements" for more information.

The PA Program Admissions Committee admits applicants from other colleges and universities who have demonstrated a commitment to Christian principles and are best suited to meet the educational goals of the Union College PA Program. The committee will recommend candidates who meet the admission requirements, technical standards, and course prerequisites listed herein, and present the best overall profile evidenced in these areas: 

  1. Overall GPA—ability to meet the demands of the PA Program as shown by college GPA, grade trends, and variety and rigor of courses taken.
  2. Science GPA—ability to successfully complete the basic science portion of the PA Program as shown by the quality of academic science preparation.
  3. Health care experience—ability to perform professionally in the health care environment as shown by experience in the delivery of health care.
  4. Christian values—career goals consistent with the philosophy and goals of Union College, including commitment to Christian service.
  5. Sound healthphysical and mental health to meet the standards of the profession, as evidenced by completion of a physical examination (and submission of the required form).
  6. Outstanding character—noteworthy character traits such as moral integrity, compassion, diligence, etc.
  7. Personality and maturity—commendable interpersonal skills and appropriate maturity based on a personal interview with representatives of the PA Program Admissions Committee.

Policy for PA Applicant Processing

1. Applicants received from CASPA are reviewed.

2. Those not meeting application requirements are notified in writing.

3. Those meeting application requirements are considered for interviews through approval of the Admissions Committee.

4. Approximately 100 candidates will be invited for interviews (to fill 30 available seats).

5. Candidates interview from October to December. 

6. After all interviews are complete, all criteria scores are reviewed and presented to the Admissions Committee for final decisions of applicants. 

7. Applicants are notified in writing of their status. 

Find out how we rate our applicants

Summary of graduate program accepted students, 2018-2020

Class of 2023 applicant pool profile

Advanced placement

Within the Union College PA Program, “advanced placement” refers to allowing students to transfer graduate credits from another accredited PA institution rather than complet­ing those hours in the Union College PA Program. While possible for didactic course­work, advanced placement does not apply to the clinical component (clinical rotation experiences in the third year).

Transfer of PA professional courses—those specific to the PA profession, not to include general study requirements that are part of a bachelor’s degree in PA studies—is limited to students transferring from another accredited PA Program. The student must have a recommendation from the previous program and may be required to validate proficiency in courses being transferred either by a challenge examination or by demonstration of the necessary skills. Individuals requesting advanced placement must meet the regular application and selection criteria.

Due to the rigorous academic course work in the PA Program, international medical graduates may not receive advanced placement beyond the scope of this policy. (See the PA Student Handbook Section 9.10.2 ADVANCED PLACEMENT.)