The UNC Physician Assistant program is committed to diversity in the student body and in the physician assistant work force. We encourage persons from all socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and religious backgrounds to apply. Especially, we encourage veterans from all areas of the U.S. Armed Forces to apply to our program. We recognize that your service and experiences would provide a valuable perspective in our program. We give preference to veterans who served in a medical capacity while serving in the military, in particular, Special Forces Medical Sergeants. Preference is also given to applicants meeting the mission and goals of our program.

A first-year Physician Assistant Studies student during class.
A first-year Physician Assistant Studies student during class.

The UNC PA program participates in the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) online application process. Applicants must complete a CASPA application and submit a UNC supplemental application and applicant fee of $85. The link to complete UNC’s supplemental application and fee will be emailed within four to five business days after submitting your CASPA application. Waivers are not available for UNC’s supplemental application fee. Applicants should carefully read over CASPA’s application instructions early in the application period to familiarize themselves with the application process and requirements. It is the responsibility of the applicant to meet the required established deadlines.

CASPA applications are reviewed by administrative staff to ensure minimum requires have been met and supporting documentation has been received throughout the application period. Any additional documentation required by the admissions committee will be requested on an individual basis. Do not submit any documentation to the program outside of the established applications. Qualified applications are then reviewed by members of the admissions committee and recommendations are made to the program director. The application cycle for January 2019 is now closed.  The application cycle for January 2020 will begin in April 2019.

Admissions Requirements:


Applicants must meet the following GPA thresholds (no exceptions):

    •  Minimum cumulative GPA (all courses taken at all levels) or last 60 credit hours > 3.0
    •  Minimum cumulative prerequisite GPA > 3.2


Required. Recommended GRE scores: verbal, 150 or higher; quantitative, 150 or higher; analytical writing, 3.5 or higher. If the GRE is taken multiple times, the program considers the highest cumulative score for the test taken on a single date. GRE scores must be taken within five years of application submission. Applicants should plan ahead in scheduling the GRE so scores will be available at the time of application submission. GRE scores are required to be sent to CASPA using the code 6945. Codes sent to the UNC Graduate School (code: 5816) will not be reviewed and cannot be transferred. Applicants will have to resubmit their scores using the code 6945. Scores must be appended to the applicants CASPA application by September 1.

Prerequisite Work:

Applicants should plan to have most of the prerequisite work completed by May 31 of the application year. Two pending courses may be in progress during the summer of the application period, but must be completed by August 31.

Bachelor’s Degree or Equivalent:

Degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or Canada to be completed by the end of the spring semester of the application year. Applicants with a baccalaureate degree from a non-U.S. or Canadian institution may apply for admission if their prerequisite courses were completed at a regionally accredited U.S. or Canadian institution.

Patient Care Experience:

1,000 hours of direct hands-on patient care experience is required (examples). These hours must be completed no later than September 1 of the application period. Additional documentation will be required to confirm and applicant’s patient care experiences. Applicants may download the form here.

Three Letters of Recommendation:

Preference is given to applicants with at least two of the three letters from experienced health care professionals who observed or supervised you in a clinical setting. No personal recommendations are accepted.

Citizenship Requirement/Residency:

All applicants, including graduates from foreign institutions, must hold either U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status at the time of application. Candidates with pending citizenship or permanent residency will not be considered.

Technical Standards:

Students must meet technical standards for admission, progression, and graduation from the PA program.

Additional criteria considered in admission decisions include:

  • Alignment with program mission
  • Application
  • CASPA supplemental essay
  • Aggregate GPA
  • Science GPA
  • Last 60 credit hours GPA
  • Health care experience
  • Military experience
  • References
  • Personal statements

Evidence of maturity, motivation, academic potential, communication and interpersonal skills, knowledge of the PA profession, the health care system and the unique mission of the UNC PA program are strongly considered during the admission process.

Applicants to the UNC PA program must be aware that all courses within the curriculum are required. No transfer credit from other PA programs is accepted. The UNC PA program admits only full-time students. The program strongly discourages employment while enrolled. It is very difficult to maintain even part-time employment while enrolled in the PA program. Students must comply with the program’s academic schedule, and employment responsibilities are not a justification to miss scheduled learning activities or an explanation for poor performance.

ADVISING WORKSHEET – Use this tool to monitor your preparation progress and review helpful tips.

Prior Admissions Average Statistics:

Class of 2017 Class of 2018 Class of 2019 Class of 2020
GPA 3.41 3.71 3.54 3.40
Prerequisite GPA 3.57 3.63 3.64 3.65
GRE  303 304 310 309
Patient care hours 14,239 6,776 5,497 7,520