Selection Criteria

Selection Information
The admissions process for the PA program is highly selective and is based on a variety of criteria including the applicant’s overall strength relative to the applicant pool. The Admissions Committee, made up of full-time PA program faculty, assesses the applicant’s academic background, type and amount of previous clinical experience, community service experience, knowledge of the physician assistant’s role in health care, and personal and professional qualities including knowledge of, and sensitivity to, multicultural issues relevant to the organization and provision of medical care services. The most qualified applicants meeting the prerequisites and requirements will be selected based upon a thorough review of all written statements, and points earned from:

  • Interview
  • Mission (disadvantaged, veteran, humanitarian service, underserved experience, non-health care community/volunteer service & commitment)
  • CASPA cumulative GPA
  • CASPA science GPA
  • Clinical experience (paid or volunteer)
  • Related healthcare experience (PA shadowing, clinical or laboratory research)
  • GRE or MCAT score

Transfer Students
The program does not accept transfer students. Each applicant who is admitted is required to complete the full Master of Physician Assistant Practice curriculum in residence at USC. No waivers, substitutions or advanced standing are permitted.

The following information shows the selection template used, and where applicable, the average profile of interviewees from the 2019-2020 application cycle:


  • Knowledge of the PA profession
  • Communication/interpersonal skills
  • Professionalism
  • Leadership potential
  • Personal attributes
  • Program fit

Interviewees averaged 1651 hours of non-health care related community or volunteer experience and/or underserved community service

CASPA cumulative GPA
Interviewees averaged a 3.48 GPA

CASPA science GPA
Interviewees averaged a 3.41 GPA

Clinical Experience
Interviewees averaged 3,686 hours of paid/unpaid (2,000 hrs = 1 year of experience)

Related Health Care Experience
20 hours of PA shadowing is recommended.


  • The majority of applicants take the GRE
  • Interviewees averaged 306 on the new GRE
  • Interviewees averaged 20 on the old MCAT version and a 500 on the new MCAT version

Application Process for 2020-2021 Application Cycle

  1. The CASPA application should be submitted directly to CASPA, postmarked no later than November 1st (**please note that CASPA closes the portal at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and applications will be considered late after that time). CASPA notifies the PA Program regarding the date the application and supporting documents are received.
  2. The PA Program online Supplemental Application must be completed and a non-refundable $50 dollar processing fee mailed directly to the USC PA Program, mailing envelope and fee postmarked by no later than November 1st. Applications are reviewed in the order received, early application is strongly encouraged (**please note that the program only accepts Money order or cashier’s check for the supplemental fee).
  3. After a careful review of each application, a select portion of the applicants are invited to interview with PA program faculty, alumni, and current students. Interviewees will be required to submit a non-returnable passport sized photo of themselves.
  4. The Admissions Committee reviews the files of all interviewed applicants and selects the incoming class.
  5. The USC PA Program does not utilize the USC Online Graduate School Application. Please complete only the CASPA application and the Supplemental Application.
  6. Applicants are notified by email of their status as the selection process ensues. Travel costs related to the interview are the responsibility of the candidates. The class is selected on a competitive basis from early fall through early spring utilizing rolling admissions.
  7. Final notifications of acceptance, placement on the alternate list, or denial are sent by mail or email.

Applicants offered admission must accept a seat by submitting specified documentation and deposit, usually within 1-2 weeks of the offer. Those who accept a position will be required to submit official transcripts, if necessary, to the program prior to enrollment. Classes begin in mid-to-late August for those who accept the program’s offer.

Due to the high volume of applicants and the need to focus on current students, the program faculty and admissions committee members are unable to answer emails or phone calls from prospective applicants. All correspondence should be sent to

All program students are required to have a background check prior to admission to the Master of Physician Assistant Practice (MPAP) Program.

What’s next if you are offered a seat on the Alternate List?

  1. Confirm if you want to be on the alternate list.
  2. Those on the alternate list can potentially be admitted into the program up until August.
  3. Continue with your current experiences, and complete your prerequisite courses.
  4. Review the website and statistics on interviewed applicants.
  5. Start your process of reapplying for the next admissions cycle

Please do not call and submit any additional materials or letters of recommendation.
At this point additional materials will not be considered for admissions.

Admission is a holistic review process, and hours exceeding the average applicant does not guarantee admittance into the program.