The School of PA Studies at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Everything you need to know about applying to MBKU's School of PA Studies is right here. Just use the links below to find what you're looking for and if you have questions, please contact us. We're here to help.
All applicants must apply for our Master of Medical Science (MMS) degree via the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). MBKU’s School of Physician Assistant Studies does not participate in rolling admissions, so meeting our annual application deadlines is important.
- Regular deadline is November 1
- Early Consideration deadline is September 1
Information for PA Applicants
- Basic Prerequisites for PA Application
- Steps to Follow Before Starting Your CASPA Application Process
- Undergraduate Degree Prerequisites
- Coursework Prerequisites
- Online Course Policy
- Requirements in Progress
- Clinical Experience
- Letters of Recommendation
- International Applicants
- Test Scores (GRE is not required but TOEFL might be required)
- Advanced Placement in the Program?
- Requirements for Accepted Students (the Intro to PA Profession course & the Medical Terminology Assessment test)
- Admissions Policy
Basic Prerequisites for PA Application
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: Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty).
CASPA "Complete Date" Status
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 deadline. No exceptions will be considered.
Steps to Follow Before Starting Your CASPA Application Process
- Read through CASPA’s Instructions and FAQs and the Professional Code of Conduct. This is important because you are responsible for understanding this information BEFORE you start your CASPA application, and you will be asked to state that you understand and agree to these policies prior to submitting your CASPA.
- Contact your three potential evaluators to ensure they are willing to complete a letter of recommendation on your behalf.
- Request official copies of transcripts to be sent to you to aid you in filling out the coursework portion of the CASPA application. Bear in mind that these transcripts CANNOT, unfortunately, be the same ones later sent to CASPA.
- Compose your personal essay using a word processor. Please note CASPA has a character limit of 5,000 characters, including spaces and line breaks.
- Make sure to keep deadlines for application in mind, as this can greatly affect your timeline for submitting documents and completing your CASPA application.
- Carefully process requirements regarding prerequisites, standardized tests scores, supplemental applications, foreign evaluations, etc. and ensure you meet our minimum requirements.
(Based on CASPA website text "Before You Create an Application")
Undergraduate Degree Prerequisites
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.
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.
3 semester or 4 quarter units of Biological Science courses, which must include:
- Microbiology with lab
- Human Anatomy with lab (Must be taken in the last 10 years)
- Human Physiology with 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.
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
- Physical Therapy Aide
- Radiological Technician
- Registered Nurse
- Respiratory Therapist
- Occupational Therapist Aide
- Clinical Care Extender
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.
To be eligible to apply to MBKU, foreign/international applicants must fulfill these requirements:
- 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.
- You must send all non-U.S./Canadian transcripts to CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistants).
- 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.
- The TOEFL must be completed and official scores submitted to MBKU using the school’s code: 4893.
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 in the Program?
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.
If your are invited for an interview, information about the date, location, and meeting time will be provided via your CASPA account. SPAS interviews take place between November and February each year.
Requirements for Accepted 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.
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.
- 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.
Approximate cost= $14.27
- Medical Terminology: A Short Course, 7th Edition, by Davi-Ellen Chabner, B.A., M.A.T.
Approximate cost = $72.76
- The Language of Medicine, 10th Edition, by Davi-Ellen Chabner, B.A., M.A.T.
Approximate cost= $108.00
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.
Disability Services & Policies
MBKU welcomes students with disabilities to apply to our health professional programs. Please view our Disability Services Information for Prospective Students.