Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Admission Requirements

  1. Baccalaureate Degree: A baccalaureate degree needs to be completed by June 30th of the year you plan to enter the PA Studies program. It must be from a regionally accredited U.S. institute of higher learning.
  2. Prerequisite Courses: Required courses must also be completed at a regionally accredited U.S. institute of higher learning. The required prerequisite courses are:
  3. Microbiology
  4. Biochemistry
  5. Human Anatomy (as a single course or as part of a two-semester combined anatomy and physiology course)
  6. Human Physiology (as a single course or as part of a two-semester combined anatomy and physiology course)
  7. Statistics
  8. Abnormal Psychology (or Developmental Psychology throughout the Lifespan)

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative prerequisite grade point average of 3.0 as well as a minimum grade of C in all prerequisite courses (listed above). Coursework ten years or older is not accepted as prerequisite coursework. Applicants may have up to two prerequisite courses in progress during spring of the year they plan to enter the program. This coursework and any degree work must be completed by June 30 of the year of admission.

Highly Recommended Upper Level Biology Courses
(Note: This is not meant to be all inclusive and includes suggestions only.)
Advanced Anatomy
BIOL 4420Musculo-Skeletal Anatomy2
BIOL 4470Cross-Sectional Anatomy2
Advanced Human Physiology
BIOL 4449Human Physiology I4
BIOL 4456Human Physiology II4
BIOL 4464Lectures in Human Physiology4
BIOL 4486Human Systemic Physiology5
BIOL 4451Immunology3
BIOL 4454Advanced Immunology3
BIOL 3358Genetics3
BIOL 4461Microbial Genetics3
BIOL 4443Endocrinology3
  • Other health-related courses from departments such as Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Health Education, and Gender Studies.
  • Proficiency in a second language, especially Spanish

Additional considerations for admission include:

  • Maturity
  • Work and health care experience
  • Evidence of the ability to achieve academic success in a rigorous academic program
  • Interpersonal skills and the ability to relate effectively with patients, peers, and at a professional level
  • Evidence of a desire to practice primary care in Idaho, particularly among the medically underserved

Required Applications

Central Application Services for Physician Assistants (

The CASPA application must be completed by the PA program application deadline of November 1. As part of the CASPA application process, you will be required to submit three letters of recommendation and official transcripts.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) (

The GRE is an important admission requirement as the scores are used for ranking applicants. Please go to the ETS website for information about testing locations and scheduling the exam.

The GRE must be taken by November 1. The ISU GRE School Code is 4355 and the Department Code is 0634.

CASPer Test (

The CASPer Test assesses non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics important for successful students and graduates of the program and is used to complement the other applicant screening tools. CASPer results will be evaluated during various steps of the admissions process. This may include but is not limited to the CASPA application review process for determining whether or not to call an applicant for an interview and the review of applicant interview performance results.

The CASPer Test must be taken on or before November 1. Results are valid for one admissions cycle.

ISU Graduate School Application (

The ISU Graduate School application (also called the "Supplemental Application") is required for admission to the PA program. When applying to the Graduate School, select the Fall semester. Please refer to the ISU Graduate School for information regarding the application, requirements, and fees.

CASPA DOES NOT forward transcripts to the Graduate School or the PA program. A separate set of official transcripts must be requested for ISU's Graduate School.

Official transcripts are to be sent from the granting institution directly to the Graduate School at the following address:

ISU Graduate School
921 S 8th Ave, Stop 8075
Pocatello, ID 83209-8075

The Graduate School application deadline is November 1.

Technical Standards

All entering students must meet the required list of Technical Standards. A complete list of technical standards covering essential capacities for observation, communication, sensory and motor function, intellectual, conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities, behavioral and social attributes, and other student performance requirements is available from the program or on the program’s website at


The ISU PA Program Graduate Curriculum is twenty-four (24) months in length, divided into twelve (12) months of didactic (3 semesters) and twelve (12) months of clinical education (3 semesters).

The Didactic Curriculum is comprised of foundation courses in the fall semester, followed in the spring and summer semesters by modules that provide an immersion experience in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases commonly encountered in primary care medicine.

Elective coursework in Medical Spanish is available to Physician Assistant students. The Department of Global Studies and Languages offers a graduate certificate in Spanish for Health Professions along with other elective courses. This is an excellent opportunity for students as well as graduates to enhance their credentials.

Clinical Year Rotation goals are designed to meet the needs of the student and to address the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) accreditation standards. The Clinical Year staff places students in eight rotations that best address PA student educational objectives and at sites that promote continued, quality, preceptor relations with the ISU PA Program. There are seven required content areas, including Internal Medicine, Outpatient Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Surgery, and Psychiatry. One rotation will be an elective. Students are expected to travel during the clinical year and to pay for the expenses incurred for this travel.

There are three Capstone Assessment Courses in the second year of the PA Program. Together they represent a comprehensive assessment of the students. The Capstone Assessment III course is the third one in the series and students are required to study for and pass multiple objective examinations.

Didactic Year
BIOL 55294PAS 66294PAS 66392
BIOL 55634PAS 66312PAS 66434
BIOL 55644PAS 66322PAS 66462
PAS 66017PAS 66332PAS 66501
PAS 66023PAS 66342PAS 66512
PAS 66036PAS 66353PAS 66521
PAS 66042PAS 66364PAS 66532
SPAN 55101-2PAS 66374PAS 66548
 PAS 66402PAS 66571
 PAS 66412 
 PAS 66423 
 PAS 66561 
 31-32 31 23
Total Credits: 85-86
Clinical Year
PAS 66614PAS 66644PAS 66674
PAS 66624PAS 66654PAS 66684
PAS 66634PAS 66664PAS 66731
PAS 66712PAS 66721 
 14 13 9
Total Credits: 36

Medical Spanish elective offerings available to MPAS students

The Department of Global Studies and Languages, in cooperation with the Division of Health Sciences, has created a new cooperative, interdisciplinary major in Spanish for the Health Professions (SHP), as well as a SHP graduate certificate. The hybrid undergraduate degree and graduate certificate are designed to increase graduate marketability and to better serve the health care needs of our state, region, and country.

Matriculated PA students may take individual SHP courses or pursue a Graduate Certificate in SHP. Dr. Helen Tarp, Director of the SHP Program, has a joint appointment with the Department of Languages and Literature and the Department of PAS. She teaches regularly scheduled Spanish courses for PAS students during the Didactic Year as well as other Spanish coursework in the Literature and Languages Department.

Access to individual Spanish for Health Professions courses

These SHP courses are designed to be flexible enough to fit a PA student’s schedule and also enhance what the PA student is learning in the MPAS curriculum. Here are examples of the course offerings: SPAN 5594 Topics in Language and Culture for the Professions I (1-3 cr) and SPAN 5595 Topics in Language and Culture for the Professions II (1-3 cr) are variable-credit courses covering special topics such as Spanish Medical Terminology, Spanish for Pharmacy, for OBGYN, Diabetes Management, Oral Health, Mental Health, Emergency Room/Trauma, the Physical Exam, and Nutrition. These courses are hybrid courses combining online coursework and a workshop experience with mock patients. SPAN 5501, Spanish for the Physician Assistant, is an eight-week course designed specifically for PAS to enable students to conduct a medical history and physical exam for a Spanish-speaking patient. PA students wishing to take these courses S/U may take them as undergraduate courses (SPAN 4494SPAN 4495SPAN 4499). More information can be found at:

Graduate Certificate in SHP (minimum of 9 credits)

Coursework credits counting toward the Graduate Certificate can be earned by PAS coursework/clinical rotations, as well as coursework and experience obtained after graduation from the PA program while continuing pursuit of the Certificate. There are three core areas of instruction: the Language Core, Health Professions Core, and Culture Core. The assessments in the three cores of instruction are designed to provide students with a thorough grounding in all three areas and to have their proficiency be a significant, tangible contribution to their MPAS degree. The Department of Global Studies and Languages provides the Language Core and elements of the Culture Core, which are delivered by faculty with qualifications in medical interpretation and translation. The Culture Core and diversity courses are provided by several departments in the College of Arts and Letters. For more details see:

International Rotation and Medical Mission experiences

In addition to course offerings and the Graduate Certificate in SHP, MPAS students are eligible to participate in two medical missions to Spanish-speaking countries (Dominican Republic and Peru) and an international clinical rotation in Belize. These international experiences are strictly voluntary. SHP credit (SPAN 5593 Spanish Internship, SPAN 5505 Spanish Exchange, or SPAN 5580 Special Topics) is available for these experiences.