College of Health Sciences and Human Services

Master of Science Physician Assistant

Admissions Overview

Interested students must meet the following Admission Requirements for the MSPA program as well as the California State University Graduate Admission Requirements. Applicants will not be considered if they do not meet all of the requirements of this program.

The GRE is not required, and scores will not be considered for admission to the MSPA program.

Are you an international applicant? View additional requirements for international students.

Information Session Events

Information Sessions are opportunities to learn more about the program, meet the faculty, and to have your questions answered. Please RSVP to receive the Zoom link or to be notified of special events.

  • Upcomming Sessions
    • Tuesday, September 20, 2022 6:00 PM
    • Tuesday, October 18, 2022 6:00 PM
    • Tuesday, November 15, 2022 6:00 PM

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants must have a U.S. Bachelor’s Degree (in any discipline), or its equivalent, from an accredited institution and completion of prerequisite coursework.

    Applicants are required to have a minimum cumulative grade point average and a minimum prerequisite science grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale in which A=4.0).

    All prerequisite coursework are expected to be completed within 7 years of the application deadline at a 2-year or 4-year regionally accredited institution in the U.S.

    The program does not award advanced placement for any MSPA program courses and will not accept outside courses to substitute for MSPA program curriculum courses.

    All prerequisite coursework must be complete at the time the application is submitted. Prerequisite coursework does not substitute for more advanced applied content within the professional component of the program.

    Sciences:

    One-year sequential coursework for science majors in:

    • General Biology with lab (8 semester units or 12 quarter units, may not be introductory)
    • General Chemistry with lab (8 semester units or 12 quarter units, may not be introductory)

    4 semester units or 5 quarter units for science majors in:

    • Microbiology with lab
    • Human Anatomy with lab*
    • Human Physiology with lab*

    *Human Anatomy & Physiology may be completed by taking a 2-semester sequential course of Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II with labs, or a quarter system equivalent sequential course. A & P courses must be "Human." Other A&P coursework will not meet the requirement.

    Non-Sciences:

    • Statistics for psychology, sociology or biology majors or Introduction to Statistics through a math department (3 semester units or 4 quarter units)
    • English Composition (3 semester units or 4 quarter units)
    • Spanish Language, one year of coursework or the equivalent. See options below:
      • A. One year of college level coursework (minimum 6 semester units or 9 quarter units);
      • B. Placement exam - AP credit (minimum of 6 semester units or 9 quarter units, indicated as Spanish credit on college transcript);
      • C. CLEP Spanish Level I & II Exam. Applicants must achieve a score of ≥ 63; or
      • D. CSUMB Online Spanish Placement Exam. Applicants must achieve a score of ≥ 356.
      • Rationale: One of the most common questions asked by potential applicants is why Spanish? The CSUMB program is a mission-based program, caring for the underserved in Central California. In order to care for this community, students must speak Spanish by the time they go into their clinical rotations. In fact, many of the clinical rotation sites will not accept students if they are unable to communicate in Spanish. In order to be prepared for medical conversational Spanish courses, students must have a basic foundation before entering the program.
  • Applicants are expected to complete a minimum of 1000 hours of direct patient care. A variety of healthcare experience is acceptable. PA applicants should be familiar with medical care environments, the role of a physician assistant in primary care, and have experience working with patients.

    “Direct-patient care experience” means that the applicant was an active participant in the care of a patient. This may include performing a service to the body (physical therapy assistant, paramedic, etc.), performing a service to the mind (counseling, health education, etc.), or personally interacting with patients (scribe, etc.) in the medical environment. Direct patient care does not include front office or administrative work. The medical environment refers to the place where medical services are rendered, or medical examinations occur.

    Students should list their experience, whether paid or volunteer, in the CASPA application with a full description of their direct-patient care activities. Applicants who demonstrate greater independence, ongoing advancement, and willingness to take on greater challenges in their direct patient care experience roles will be given stronger consideration.

    Acceptable forms of patient care may include, but are not limited to:

    • Emergency Medical Technician
    • Medical Scribe
    • Nursing (CNA, LPN, RN, MSN)
    • Medical Assistant (back office)
    • Military Medical Corpsman
    • Certified Nursing Assistant
    • Paramedic
    • Respiratory Therapist
    • Surgical Technician
    • International Medical Graduate (must have patient contact hours in the U.S.)
    • Physical Therapist
    • Occupational Therapist
    • PT/OT Assistant
    • Medical Interpreter
    • Dietician
    • Phlebotomist
    • Radiologic Technician
    • Chiropractor
    • Dental hygienist/assisting
    • Acupuncturist

    Educational hours earned during internship or training for other health professions (i.e., nursing, medical assistant, etc.) will not be accepted as direct patient care experience.

  • Applicants are expected to demonstrate a commitment to community service which benefits underserved or disadvantaged populations.

    Competitive applicants will have completed a minimum of 500 hours of community service that directly benefits those who are disadvantaged. This may include volunteering at homeless shelters or soup kitchens, tutoring, coaching, mentoring children, etc.

  • The purpose of the PA shadowing experience is to gain a clear understanding of the role and scope of the PA through direct observation and interaction with a practicing PA.

    Applicants are required to have shadowed at least one PA for a minimum of 8 hours, preferably in an outpatient primary care setting such as family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, or women’s health.

    Competitive applicants will have shadowed a PA in primary care for more than 8 hours.

    If an applicant has worked with a PA in the course of their employment, that may count as shadowing experience, but details of the experience and what was observed and learned should be clearly described on the CASPA application.

  • Two letters of reference are required. One letter should be from a medical provider (PA, NP, MD, or DO) who has directly observed you in your patient care role.

    Competitive applicants will have at least one letter of reference from a PA.

    Letters from personal friends, family, or patients will not be accepted.

    Letters of reference MUST be submitted directly to CASPA by the application submission deadline.

  • Applicants who are re-applying to the program must submit updated application materials. Re-applicants are encouraged to explain, in the personal statement, what they have done to improve their qualifications since their previous submission.

  • The following statistics from the 2020 Application Cycle are intended to provide applicants with an indication of how they compare to the successful applicants.

    2020 Application Counts

    Verified CASPA Applications: 281

    Interviews Granted: 60

    Students Enrolled: 29

    Enrolled Student Data (Average)

    Cumulative GPA: 3.35

    Overall Science GPA: 3.29

    PA Shadowing hours: 152

    Patient Care hours: 4,148

    Volunteer/Community Service hours: 835

    Age at time of Application: 25.8

    Gender

    • 73% Female
    • 27% Male

    Other Demographics

    Students with Advanced Degrees: 1 PhD

    Students with Military Experience: 0

    Student Demographic Graphs

    Students by Region

    2020 Student by Region Graph
    • Tri-County: 7 students
    • Other CA: 16 students
    • Other West: 2 students
    • Other US: 4 students

    Students by Race & Ethnicity

    • White (non-Hispanic): 30%
    • Hispanic/Latino: 30%
    • Asian: 36%
    • Black/African American: 3%
    • Pacific Islander: 3%

    Total exceeds 100% due to applicants selecting multiple categories.

  • The following statistics from the 2019 Application Cycle are intended to provide applicants with an indication of how they compare to the successful applicants.

    2019 Application Counts

    Verified CASPA Applications: 543

    Interviews Granted: 100

    Student Enrolled: 33

    Enrolled Student Data (Average)

    Cumulative GPA: 3.40

    Overall Science GPA: 3.32

    PA Shadowing: 179 hours

    Patient Care: 4,191 hours

    Volunteer/Community Service: 733 hours

    Age at time of Application: 26.4

    Gender

    • 70% Female
    • 30% Male

    Other Demographics

    Students with Master's Degrees: 3

    Students with Military Experience: 0

    Student Demographic Graphs

    Students by Region

    2019 MSPA Students by Region Graph
    • Tri-County: 7 students
    • Other CA: 21 students
    • Other West: 2 students
    • Other US: 3 students

    Students by Race & Ethnicity

    2019 MSPA Students by Race & Ethnicity
    • White: 20 students
    • Hispanic/Latino: 10 students
    • Asian: 4 students
    • Black/African American: 1 student
    • Not reported: 2 students

    Total exceeds 100% due to applicants selecting multiple categories.

  • The following statistics from the 2018 Application Cycle are intended to provide applicants with an indication of how they compare to the applicant pool. The program was granted Accreditation-Provisional by the ARC-PA in July 2018, and application numbers are expected to increase with each upcoming application cycle.

    2018 Application Counts

    Verified CASPA Applications: 477

    Interviews Granted: 97

    Students Enrolled: 32

    Enrolled Student Data (Averages)

    Cumulative GPA: 3.34

    Overall Science GPA: 3.29

    PA Shadowing: 153 hours

    Patient Care: 5,724 hours

    Volunteer/Community Service: 1,384 hours

    Age At Time of Application: 26.7

    Gender

    • 65.6% Female
    • 34.4% Male

    Other Demographics

    Students with Master's Degrees: 3

    Students with Military Experience: 1

    Student Demographic Graphs

    Students by Region

    2018 MSPA Students by Region Graph
    • Tri-County: 6 students
    • Other CA: 19 students
    • Other West: 2 students
    • Other US: 5 students

    Students by Race & Ethnicity

    2018 MSPA Students by Race & Ethnicity
    • White: 13 students
    • Hispanic/Latino: 10 students
    • Asian: 5 students
    • Black/African American: 1 student
    • Not reported: 5 students

    Total exceeds 100% due to applicants selecting multiple categories.