How do I contact Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)?

Phone: 617-612-2080, email:, Web site:

What component of the application is most heavily weighed upon evaluation?

All components of the application are weighed equally. We look at the cumulative and science GPAs, age of academic experience (the most competitive applicants have completed the science prerequisites within the past five years), amount and type of hands-on patient care experience, letters of recommendation and the personal statement.

What types of health care experience are acceptable to fulfill your prerequisite?

Any experience in which you participate in, or observe, the hands-on care of sick people will count toward our requirement. Some students have backgrounds in such areas as nursing, nursing assistant, medical assistant, EMT, paramedic, PA shadowing and volunteer experiences.

I don’t have the prerequisite courses completed yet. Can I still apply?

Yes! As long as you have a plan to complete the prerequisite courses by the time classes start, you are eligible to apply right away. Remember that it is important to apply early in the cycle because of our rolling admissions policy.

Do you accept transfer credits or allow advanced standing?

No. We do not accept transfer credits or experiential learning credits for the physician assistant program. CLEP credit, AP credit and Pass/Fail credit cannot be counted toward prerequisite coursework either. We do not allow for advanced standing, regardless of previous graduate work in healthcare. All incoming students must complete the entire PA curriculum.

Why is the GPA calculated by the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) different from the one on my university transcript? Which GPA will DMU use?

Oftentimes, the difference in GPAs between what CASPA calculates and what appears on a university transcript has to do with re-taken courses. If a student re-takes a course for a better grade, many universities will only count the higher grade in its GPA calculation. CASPA, however, counts both the original grade and the re-taken grade when it calculates a GPA. DMU only uses the GPAs provided by CASPA. More information on CASPA grade calculations.

Can I work while I am in the PA program?

Our faculty recommend students do not work during the PA program. The curriculum is very demanding in the first year and does not allow extra time for employment. In the second year, you will be in full-time Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (rotations) in various locations, making employment impractical.

Where are the clinical sites during the second year?

The program has established clinical sites in Des Moines, rural Iowa and throughout the surrounding states. Students should expect to be assigned to sites in any of these areas. Past availability of sites is not a guarantee that these sites will be available for consideration of scheduling for their clinical rotations.

Is housing provided for students at all clinical sites?

Housing is available at some sites and cost is location dependent. Students are responsible to secure their own housing for rotations. If past housing information is available it will be provided to the student. Students must include the cost of housing in their budget for the clinical year.

Will I have input to where my clinical rotations will be?

The clinical coordinators may meet with students to learn site suggestions. The student’s suggestions for sites will be considered when scheduling rotations. However the primary requirement is fulfilling program and national accreditation standards for clinical education. This will involve the scheduling of rotations in any geographical areas that sites are available to the program.