Frequently Asked Questions
- When is the application deadline?
The application will open April 2018 and close September 1, 2018. Only applications in CASPA with a verified status by September 1, 2018 will be considered. A verified status is given when an application is e-submitted and all transcripts, payments, at least three letters of reference have been received and verified by CASPA and attached to the application. Documents should be sent several weeks prior to this date to ensure items arrive on time. GRE scores must be received by CASPA and attached to your application by September 1, 2018 to be considered for admission.
- Where do I send my application materials?
All application materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, supporting documents) will be sent through the CASPA application system. Nothing should be sent separately to the PA program. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure all application materials are received by CASPA by the appropriate deadline. The supplemental application will be able to pull most of your application data from CASPA. Applicants will be asked to upload unofficial transcripts with their supplemental application. Do not send transcripts to the directly to the program.
- What is UNC’s policy on transfer students from other PA programs? Do you offer advanced standing?
The PA program does not waive curriculum requirements or accept transfer of credit from other PA programs or other graduate degree programs. Admitted students, regardless of level of education, are required to complete all curriculum requirements. All relevant coursework required for graduation must be completed in the UNC-Chapel Hill PA program.
- If I am accepted into the PA program, may I defer my acceptance to the following year?
No, the cycle of admission runs annually. Anyone wishing to defer acceptance will have to reapply to the program.
- How many classes does the program accept each year? How many students?
The program accepts one class of 20 students each year. The academic year begins in January.
- What are your guidelines on TOEFL?
International applicants may be asked to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores if English is a second language.
- Do you require a criminal background check?
Applicants are required to self-disclose any misdemeanors or felony convictions, other than minor traffic violations, including deferred adjudications, with the understanding that non-disclosure/falsification may lead to dismissal and disclosure may prevent enrollment. Additionally, in response to requirements in the professional practice environment stating that facilities providing care to patients must minimize the risk to patients that may be presented by persons with prior criminal activity, a criminal background check will be completed on all accepted applicants prior to matriculation and again prior to clinical rotations.
There are no substitutions or waivers of these requirements.
- Can substitutions be made for required prerequisites?
No, we do not accept substitutions for our required prerequisites, no matter your work experience or education level. We do not waive them for students who are already working in health care or who have already completed graduate education. For example, if you have taken a higher level course in biology, but have not taken general biology you will still be required to take general biology. If you have a graduate degree in a field such as nursing, public health, exercise science, etc., those courses cannot be used as substitutes for your prerequisites. There is a general level of knowledge that we want all students to have when starting our program.
- What if I took the required prerequisite course, but did not complete the corresponding lab? Will I still need to complete the lab?
Yes, if we require a lab in addition to the required course, you will need to complete the necessary lab.
- Do I need to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the health sciences to apply?
No; however, a baccalaureate or graduate degree earned at a regionally accredited U.S. or Canadian institution is required (regardless of major), as well as the required prerequisites.
- I completed my baccalaureate degree in a foreign institution. Will you evaluate my application?
If you have a baccalaureate or graduate degree from a non-U.S. or Canadian institution you can apply for admission if your prerequisite courses were completed at a regionally accredited U.S. or Canadian institution. There are no waivers of this policy.
- Do you prefer that I take my prerequisites at a four-year college?
No. Courses taken at a community college are accepted and are considered equally. Taking them at a four-year college does not help or hinder your application. The institution should be regionally accredited. Online didactic courses taken at regionally accreditation institutions will also be accepted. Online lab courses will not be accepted.
- What do you mean by regionally accredited institutions?
Regional accreditation means courses approved by one of the six regional accreditation organizations. Please see this link for a listing of the six organizations. Be aware that many for-profit institutions do not have regional accreditation, but only national accreditation.
- If I retake a prerequisite course, how will you determine my prerequisite GPA?
If you retake a prerequisite course, we will use the higher of the two grades to calculate your prerequisite GPA. For example, if you originally earned a “D” in a prerequisite course and retake it and earn a “B”, we will use the “B” grade in your prerequisite GPA calculation. You can retake the course at a different educational institution. Please note, however, that all of your courses (including courses that are retaken) will be used to calculate your overall cumulative GPA.
Direct Patient Care Hours
- Is there a time limit on the amount of time that has passed since I actively worked within the health care field?
While we do not have a time limit on previous health care experience, we do strongly recommend up-to-date and current health care experience.
- Why do you require health care experience as an admission prerequisite?
We realize that the demands, expectations, and responsibilities particular to health care present unique challenges. Applicants are required to have been exposed to health care in an effort to eliminate any erroneously preconceived notions about a medical career.
- Do you have any suggestions on how I can obtain the recommended 1,000 hours of patient care experience?
Seek a job in a setting that provides direct clinical patient contact.
- Do you require verification of my patient care experiences?
Yes. Due to the number of applications received each year, we are unable to individually verify each applicant’s self-reported experiences on their CASPA application. To ensure applicants are meeting the minimum 1,000 hours of direct hands-on patient care, we require applicants to provide verified documentation from a supervisor and/or HR representative for these experiences. It is in the best interest of the applicant to provide documentation for all qualifying experiences. Patient Care Verification forms can be found here.
- Can I substitute the MCAT or GMAT for the GRE?
No, we require GRE scores as part of the application process.
- Is the GRE still required if I already have a master’s degree?
- How long is the PA Program?
Our program is 24 months length, beginning with 12 months of didactic education and followed by 12 months of clinical rotations.
- Where can I find out more about the PA profession?
- Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant
- American Academy of Physician Assistants
- National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
- North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants
- North Carolina Medical Board
- Physician Assistant Education Association
- How have your students performed on the PANCE?
This program is newly launched, so our performance rate will not be measured until the first class graduates. As soon as the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) results become available, they will be posted.
- Do I get to choose where I complete my clinical site rotations?
We have arranged numerous clinical rotation sites for students to complete their supervised clinical training. Sites will be assigned by the clinical coordinator and students will be notified of their rotations during the fall semester of the didactic year.
- What credentials will I have upon graduation from your program? Where can I practice?
Upon graduation, students will have earned a Master of Health Sciences degree. Graduating from the PA program does not satisfy certification or licensing rights. After graduation, students will have received adequate preparation to take the PANCE. A passing score on the PANCE gives a PA program graduate certification as a physician assistant (PA-C). Licensing requirements vary state to state.
- Do you have a placement service for graduates?
Part of the curriculum includes professional preparation and will allow for networking opportunities. It is up to the graduate to find suitable employment. Job opportunities that are sent to the program will be available to students to explore.
*All information listed on this page is subject to change as the program goes through its approval and accreditation.
If you have questions, please contact the UNC Physician Assistant program at email@example.com.