University of Charleston

Traditional Admission applicants must have been awarded a bachelors degree (or higher) from an accredited institution of higher education prior to the matriculation date for which application is being made. The bachelors degree does not have to be completed prior to submitting an application, but there must be a feasible plan for degree completion prior to the program start date for which application is being made.


Beginning with the 2020 Application Cycle, the UC PA Program is utilizing the CASPer assessment as part of the admissions process.

The CASPer test is an online assessment designed to evaluate key personal and professional characteristics, beyond academics, that make for successful students and graduates. CASPer provides us with a reliable measure of traits such as professionalism, ethics, communication, and empathy. The applicant’s score will be used in a holistic approach in the final selection process.

Applicants are required to complete the CASPer test prior to review of the application. Scheduling and completing the CASPer test as early as possible is recommended to ensure that scores are available by the Application Completion deadline of August 1, 2020.

Note: July 19 is the last test date available to apply to the University of Charleston PA Program for classes beginning January 2021.

For more information on the CASPer assessment go to Here, applicants will sign up for the American Professional Health Sciences test (CSP10101) and reserve a test using his or her CASPA ID and a government-issued photo ID.

CASPer test results are valid for one admissions cycle only.

The University of Charleston PA program requires all Traditional Admission candidates to use CASPA for submitting applications. Applications will not be considered until all application materials (completed application, 3 letters of reference, official transcripts, and official GRE scores) have been received by CASPA AND VERIFIED, and your Supplemental Application has been submitted. Please note that from the time your application is received by CASPA, verification may take as long as six (6) weeks. The Supplemental Application is sent from the UCPAP to all qualified candidates (determined by the UCPAP Admissions Coordinator) following CASPA verification. Submission of the supplemental application to the UCPAP completes the CASPA portion of the application process.

To be considered for an interview, all of the above mentioned materials must be received and VERIFIED prior to the application deadline of midnight on August 1st.

As a result of the pandemic, processes are taking longer to complete, which we understand may hinder completion of all application requirements by the August 1 deadline. For the 2020 Application Cycle, the UC PA program has extended the deadline as follows. Applications must be submitted and considered COMPLETE by CASPA by midnight on August 1. A COMPLETE status according to CASPA requires all components of the application to be complete, including all transcripts and two letters of reference. Once complete, CASAP will then VERIFY the application, which may occur after August 1 but is acceptable for the 2020 cycle. All other requirements and application analysis processes remain unchanged.

All Traditional Admission applicants will be required to have the following to be considered Academically Eligible:

  • Completed and VERIFIED application through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA), including:
  • Three References: Instructions for obtaining reference letters are available in the online CASPA application portal. It is strongly recommended that at least one be from a physician or physician assistant. Three references must be received by CASPA by the application deadline.
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores received and verified by CASPA. All test scores must be sent directly to CASPA by Educational Testing Service(ETS). UC’s CASPA-specific GRE Code is: 8830.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts must be submitted directly to CASPA for verification. The UCPAP will only accept transcripts of additional coursework that has been completed AFTER the application is verified by CASPA.
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • The UC PA program utilizes the CASPA-calculated overall GPA for consideration of eligibility into the program. CASPA standardizes grades across all institutions and, therefore, there may be a discrepancy between your institutions’ calculated GPA and the CASPA calculated GPA.
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher prior to matriculation.

Admission to the Physician Assistant Program is highly competitive. Applicants are evaluated and selected based upon the Admissions Committee’s assessment of the student’s perceived ability to successfully complete program training, demonstrated communication and interpersonal skills, emotional maturity and life experiences, awareness of physician assistant roles and responsibilities, and commitment to the mission and goals of the University of Charleston Physician Assistant Program.

After academic eligibility is determined (see Application Requirements) the non-academic portion of the application is evaluated by the Admissions Committee. Only submitted and VERIFIED applications through CASPA with completed and submitted UC PAP Supplemental Application will be considered. All qualifying applications will be scored and individuals who meet the predetermined threshold will be invited for interviews.

Traditional Admission applications will be evaluated in the following areas:

Academic Strength (40%)

Evaluation of academic strength is largely based upon transcripts including course selection and cumulative GPA and official GRE scores. Science GPA, semester load, and performance in course repeats will also be scrutinized.

Minimum academic requirements include:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher prior to matriculation.
  • Completion or feasible plan for completion of ALL required prerequisite coursework.

Health Care Experience (25%)

Applicants must demonstrate an understanding of the Physician Assistant role. Applicants who possess direct patient care experience will be most competitive. Applicants with no direct patient care experience are less likely to be selected for an interview and/or admission. Examples of direct patient care include but are not limited to: medical/nursing assistant, military medic or corpsman, nurse (LPN, RN), paramedic/EMT, athletic trainer, surgical tech, radiologic tech, and phlebotomist. Other health care experiences that have minimal or no direct patient care responsibility (such as provider shadowing, administrative jobs, and home care) will be less competitive in the admissions evaluation process.

Social Engagement (15%)

We highly value candidates who demonstrate active involvement in their school and community. Both the quantity and quality of this involvement will be evaluated in the application process. Examples abound and include but are not limited to: community service activities, service for one’s church or religious establishment, participating in extracurricular activities at both the high school and college level, and pursuing leadership opportunities.

Personal Narrative (10%)

Personal narratives will be assessed by evaluating the ability of applicants to articulate their passion for becoming a Physician Assistant, strengths that will lead them to become an excellent practitioner, and career goals.

References (5%)

References provide the opportunity for the UC Physician Assistant Program to examine an external perspective of an applicant’s ability to succeed. Three references are required for Traditional Admission applicants. Applicants are encouraged to choose references that can speak to the selection criteria described above. It is strongly recommended that one of these references be from a physician assistant or physician.

Supplemental Application (5%)

Following application analysis, select candidates will be invited to campus to participate in an interview process.

All applicants for whom English is a second language must submit a copy of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 550 for the paper based test (PBT) and 80 for the internet based test (IBT). Alternatively, this requirement can be met for UC students through evaluation and recommendation by the University of Charleston’s Director of International & ESL Programs.

Applicants who have completed coursework and/or obtained a degree from an educational institution outside the United States are required to have their educational credentials evaluated by any National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) accredited services such as World Education Services (WES) or Education Credential Evaluators (ECE). Evaluation reports should be sent directly from the credentialing service to the UC PA Program.

Advanced placement and exemption from application requirements will not be granted to international medical graduates.

1. When are the deposits due if selected for the UCPAP?

An initial deposit of $500 is due within 14 days after you activate your UCPAP account on the University of Charleston portal. The link to activate your account will be provided when you receive your official email acceptance notification. A second deposit of $500 is due on November 1. The deposits are applied to the first
semester tuition for the professional program.

2. What is the length of the master’s program?

The professional program is seven consecutive semesters spanning 28 months. This includes 16 months of didactic work followed by 12 months of supervised clinical practice experiences.

3. What degree will be awarded?

Upon successful completion of the Physician Assistant Program, students will be awarded a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree.

4. Does the program grant advanced placement?

Advanced placement will not be granted under any circumstances. All students who enter the program must fulfill all program requirements.

5. Will the program require drug screening?

Drug screening will be performed on all students during the didactic year prior to the onset of supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPE). Students may be subject to random drug screenings any time during the didactic and supervised clinical practice experience phases.

6. What is the start date and
how many positions are available in each class?

Each class begins in January. Thirty seats will be awarded for each matriculating class.

7. Do I need to have completed
the prerequisite courses and my bachelor’s degree before I apply?

No, candidates who have outstanding prerequisite courses and who have not been awarded a bachelor’s degree may still apply to the program. However, all candidates who are accepted must complete any outstanding prerequisite courses and their bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation, and
provide transcripts as evidence of completion, as described in the Admissions

8. Can I apply through CASPA?

Yes, Traditional Admission applications must be submitted through CASPA.

9. What will happen if I am unable to matriculate in the UCPAP in the year for which I was accepted?

You will relinquish your seat and must reapply in the next application cycle.

10. Why is a background investigation required?

Supervised clinical practice experience sites require background investigations for employees and students.

11. What would the profile of the “ideal” successful applicant look like?

The “ideal” candidate will be well-rounded, demonstrating excellent grades, hands-on patient care experience, outstanding and altruistic commitment to service and volunteerism, have a passion for medicine and the PA profession.

12. For the Traditional Admission pathway, does UC give preference for a certain type of undergraduate degree?

No. We value admitting a class with students who have a variety of different types of bachelor’s degrees.

UC's CASPA GRE Code is: 8830