University of Charleston

University of Charleston

When will the application cycle open to be considered for a seat in the program next January?

The application cycle for classes beginning in January opens the year prior in late April and closes on September 1st. Interested applicants can register for an online account through CASPA.

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What is the length of the master’s program?

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

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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.

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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, an outstanding and altruistic commitment to service and volunteerism, a passion for medicine and the PA profession, and a desire to serve as a primary care practitioner in a medically underserved area.

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How will my application be evaluated?

Your application will be reviewed to confirm you meet the minimum admission requirements. If it does, an academic score will be determined by evaluation of your overall GPA (as defined by CASPA), science GPA (as defined by CASPA), and GRE score.

Your application will then be sent to faculty to review the non-academic portion of your application. The following non-academic areas will be evaluate:

  1. Health Care Experience: Applicants must demonstrate an understanding of the Physician Assistant role. Applicants who possess direct patient care experience (as defined by CASPA) will be the most competitive. 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. The program will evaluate the types of experiences, the variety of experiences, and the number of health care experience hours.
  2. Social Engagement: We highly value candidates who demonstrate active involvement in their school and community. The variety, quantity, and quality of this involvement will be evaluated. Examples include but are not limited to community service activities, service for one’s church or religious establishment, participation in extracurricular activities at both the high school and college levels and pursuing leadership opportunities.
  3. Personal Narrative: 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.
  4. Evidence of Propensity to Practice in Medically Underserved Areas and with Medically Underserved Populations: We highly value applicants who show evidence of a propensity to practice in medically underserved areas. Examples include but are not limited to clinical experiences or community service activities (including volunteer work) with medically underserved populations (e.g. homeless, non-English speaking, or immigrant populations), prior residence and/or employment in medically underserved geographic areas (e.g., rural or inner city), and language skills applicable to underserved populations. Click here to investigate whether a location where you have lived or worked falls within a federally designated health workforce shortage area.
  5. References: References provide the opportunity for the UC Physician Assistant Program to examine an external perspective of an applicant’s ability to succeed. Two (2) references are required. 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 and the other must be from an instructor.


Following an application analysis, applicants meeting all minimum requirements or with a plan to meet all minimum requirements will be invited to participate in an interview.

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Does the program grant advanced placement?

Yes. Advanced placement can be granted under the Transfer Admissions Pathway if a PA student is unable to complete their PA education at their current school. All students who enter the program must fulfill all program requirements as outlined in the program’s policies, including being able to meet the program-defined competencies. Course audits may be required at a nominal fee.

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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 at any time during the didactic and supervised clinical practice experience phases.

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What is the start date and how many seats are available in each class?

Each cohort begins the first Wednesday in January, unless otherwise notified. Up to thirty-three (33) seats can be awarded for each matriculating class. Temporary cohort-size increases may occur to accommodate transfer students as needed and if approved by the accrediting body, ARC-PA.

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Do I need to have all prerequisite courses completed before I apply?

No. For CASPA and UC Transfer applicants, candidates may have outstanding prerequisite courses and still apply to the program. However, all candidates who are accepted must complete any outstanding prerequisite courses prior to matriculation and provide transcripts as evidence of completion as described in the Admissions policy prior to matriculation. A feasible plan to satisfy all admission requirements prior to matriculation should be detailed in the application if all admission requirements are not met at the time of application. For Transfer applicants, the UC PA Program will accept applicants based on their prior PA Program prerequisite requirements.

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Do I need to have a bachelor’s degree before I apply?

No. CASPA applicants who have not yet been awarded a bachelor’s degree may still apply to the program. However, all candidates who are accepted must earn their bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation and provide transcripts as evidence of the degree prior to matriculation. A feasible plan to satisfy all admission requirements prior to matriculation should be detailed in the application if all admission requirements are not met at the time of application.

For Transfer applicants, the UC PA Program will waive the need for a bachelor’s degree if their prior PA Program did.

For UC Fast Track applicants, a bachelor’s degree is not required.

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Can I apply through CASPA?

Traditional Admission Pathway applications are only accepted through CASPA. Applicants wishing to be considered for the Transfer Admission or Fast Track Admission Pathway can apply by completing a UC application.

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Why is a background investigation required?

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

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Does UC give preference for a certain type of undergraduate degree?

No. We value admitting students who have a variety of backgrounds and degrees. Incoming students must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher prior to matriculation.

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

If the seat deposit has been paid and all admission requirements can be met prior to matriculation, the program will consider a written request for a deferral. A written request should be sent to the Program Director, stating the circumstances surrounding the request for deferral. The Program Director will share the request with the Admissions Committee and the committee will determine if the request can be granted. Not being able to meet all program admission requirements is not a good reason to request a deferral.

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When are the deposits due if selected for the UCPAP?

A $1,000 non-refundable seat deposit is required if offered a seat in the program. All of it will be applied toward tuition the first semester.

Due dates for the seat deposit are as follows:

  • Accepted prior to November 1st: Due within two weeks of acceptance.
  • Accepted from November 1st to December 1st: Due within 1 week of acceptance.
  • Accepted from December 1st to January 1st: Due within 3 days of acceptance.

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Are there any scholarships?

Scholarship funding is generally limited for PA students.

Visit the Beckley Area Foundation website for scholarships available to students from Raleigh County, WV pursuing a degree as a Physician Assistant.

Students may opt to apply for National Health Service Corps scholarships or tuition repayment plans in exchange for primary care service in healthcare shortage areas. Check the US National Health site at for information.

Branches of the military offer scholarships in exchange for military service.

If you are a resident of West Virginia, you may be eligible for the Health Sciences Program at WV.

Currently, all students receive an Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Grant to help offset the cost of student housing during rural rotations.

All students can apply to become an AHEC Scholar. A small stipend is awarded to all scholars accepted into their program.

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Traditional Admissions Pathway:

Fast Track Admissions Pathway:

Transfer Admissions Pathway:

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