Admissions Requirements

Admissions Policy

Marshall B. Ketchum University’s School of Physician Assistant Studies is committed to the principles of equal opportunity in education. Marshall B. Ketchum University does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities.  The Vice President for Student Affairs has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and can be reached at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

For further information on notice of non-discrimination, visit The Office of Civil Rights Contact Page for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481. 

Application Cycle 2016-17

The most competitive applicants should possess at a minimum:

  • Overall GPA of 3.0
  • Science GPA of 3.0
  • 1000 hours of verifiable, direct, hands-on patient care experience.

Community Service and Veteran Groups

Additional consideration will be given to applicants with volunteer community service or military experience (verifiable by DD-214).


Marshall B. Ketchum School of Physician Assistant Studies 2016-2017 CASPA application deadline is November 1st. Applicants must have a “complete date” on or before deadline date.

A “complete date” status is given when an application is e-submitted and all transcripts, payments, and at least three letters of reference have been received by CASPA and attached to the application. Documents should be sent to CASPA several weeks prior to this date to ensure items arrive before the above deadline. No exceptions will be considered.

To be eligible for review, all admissions requirements, degree and coursework prerequisites must be completed by the CASPA deadline

Applications completed by September 1st may qualify a candidate for an earlier interview process and possible earlier consideration for admission.

*MBKU’s School of Physician Assistant Studies does not participate in rolling admissions.

Degree Prerequisite

A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or an equivalent institution as determined by Marshall B. Ketchum University, is required for admission.

Applicants educated outside the U.S. must utilize a transcript evaluation service to verify their degree and course work.  The academic record must show credits and grades equivalent to those given by U.S. institutions of higher learning.

Coursework Prerequisites

The following courses must be completed at a regionally accredited institution in the United States, with a grade of "C" or better and are the minimum requirements for all applicants.

16 semester units of Biological Science courses, which must include:
Microbiology w/ lab
Human Anatomy w/lab (Must be taken in the last 10 years)
Human Physiology w/lab (Must be taken in the last 10 years)
Remaining units can be in any area of the biological sciences
One course (3 semester or 4 quarter units) of EACH of the following:
Biochemistry or Organic Chemistry
General Psychology

Advanced Placement (AP) credits will be accepted for Psychology and Statistics.

All prerequisites must be completed at a college or university accredited by one of the U.S. Regional Accrediting Associations.  Please see Accrediting Institutions for a list of those associations.  To verify a college or university accreditation, you are advised to visit their website.

Online Course Policy

MBKU accepts prerequisite lecture courses completed online but does not accept labs completed online.  MBKU requires that all labs be completed in a classroom setting. Virtual labs are not considered an acceptable format.  Some online courses offer an online lecture with labs completed in a classroom setting. This is an acceptable format.  Online courses completed through regionally accredited* college or universities are acceptable. Please see Accrediting Institutions for a list of those associations.

Requirements In Progress

Applicants with a pending degree or in progress prerequisite(s) may still submit their CASPA application; however, official proof of completion (i.e. official transcripts) of outstanding requirements must be received by the PA Admissions Office by the deadline noted above. Applicants should be aware; some universities have lag times in producing official transcripts which could impact their ability to be considered for admission.

Clinical Experience

Health care experiences will be considered on a case-by-case basis and dependent upon the quality of patient interaction.

Examples of preferred clinical experiences:

  • Military medic or corpsman
  • Back Office Medical Assistant  (MA)
  • Certified Nurses’ Aide
  • EMT (patient care hours only)
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse
  • Paramedic
  • Physical Therapy Aide
  • Radiological Technician
  • Registered Nurse
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist Aide
  • Clinical Care Extender
  • Scribe

Letters of Recommendation

Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. Reference letters should not be from personal friends or family members. Letters of recommendation must be submitted directly to CASPA on or before November 1st.

Completion of admissions requirements and coursework prerequisites does not guarantee an interview or admission to the program.

Foreign Applicants

To be eligible to apply to MBKU, foreign/international applicants must fulfill these requirements:

  1. You must have completed all the prerequisite courses in either the U.S. or Canada. Please note that even though you have taken the prerequisite courses as part of your undergrad degree in a foreign university, you will need to repeat the prerequisite courses at a college or university in the U.S. or Canada.
  2. You must send all non-U.S./Canadian transcripts to CASPA (the centralized application service utilized by physician assistant programs).
  3. While the prerequisite courses are not accepted from a foreign university, the transcript to verify a degree and license is required. Applicants should have their foreign (Non U.S./Canadian) transcripts evaluated by one of the approved services and the evaluation forwarded to CASPA.                    
  4. The TOEFL must be completed and official scores submitted to MBKU using the school’s code: 4893.

Test Scores

Scores from the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) are not required.

Applicants who have not earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited institution must also submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), regardless of the official language of the country in which the education took place or the predominant language of the degree-granting institution.  Scores should be sent directly using Marshall B. Ketchum University Code 4893.  Minimum scores are noted below:

  • Reading 22/30
  • Listening 22/30
  • Speaking 26/30
  • Writing 24/30

Advanced Placement

We do not accept previous experience or medical training for advanced placement in the PA program. All students are expected to complete all didactic and clinical elements of the program.

Matriculated Students

Two weeks prior to orientation students will be given online access to complete an Intro to PA Profession course. In addition, during the first week of orientation students will be required to take a medical terminology assessment. In July, accepted students will receive a letter from the Director of Didactic Education outlining these expectations.

Intro to Physician Assistant Profession on Moodle

Students will access Moodle to complete the Intro to PA Profession course 2 weeks prior to orientation. Students are expected to pass the course assignments and assessments with a score of 80% or higher.

Medical Terminology

Students will be required to take a medical terminology assessment during the week of Orientation. Students are expected to pass the assessment with a score of 80% or higher.

Knowledge of medical terminology is critical to your success as a physician assistant student. Therefore, a medical terminology book is required prior to starting in the MBKU School of Physician Assistant Studies.

Below is a list of recommended books to help you familiarize yourself with commonly used medical terms. Any ONE of these books will be sufficient.

  1. Quick Medical Terminology: A Self- Teaching Guide, 5th Edition, by Shirley Soltesz Steiner M.S., R.N. and Natalie Pate Capps M.N.S., R.N.
    ISBN#: 978-0-470-88619-9
    Approximate cost= $14.27
  2. Medical Terminology: A Short Course, 7th Edition, by Davi-Ellen Chabner, B.A., M.A.T.
    ISBN#: 978-0-3233-2210-2
    Approximate cost = $72.76
  3. The Language of Medicine, 10th Edition, by Davi-Ellen Chabner, B.A., M.A.T.
    ISBN#: 978-1-4557-2846-6
    Approximate cost= $108.00