How and when can I apply to the program?

All applicants must apply through the Centralized Application System for Physician Assistants (CASPA). The cycle opens in April and our deadline for applications will be September of the application year. Please see PA Admissions for more information..

Does the CDU PA Program accept AP credits?

Yes, AP credit is accepted. The course must be listed as the subject name and the correct number of units on the official transcript.

Does the CDU PA Program accept courses and labs that are done online?

All required prerequisites must be completed at a regionally accredited university/college. At this time, online courses and labs are accepted to fulfill prerequisite requirements. Please note that online courses must still meet the required number of semester units posted on the program prerequisites page.

Does the CDU PA Program review official transcripts for prerequisite requirements?

The CDU PA Program does not conduct a review of transcripts. Course requirements along with the required semester units are listed on the PA Admissions page. Please use this as a reference to review your transcripts with your academic institution pre-health or academic advisor.

How does the PA Program calculate both overall GPA and science GPA?

Please reach out directly to CASPA for any questions regarding GPA calculations on the CASPA application.

Is there an admission advisor I may keep contact with to make sure I'm on the right track with my application process?

The application process is centralized through CASPA. If you have questions about the process, please contact CASPA directly. Please visit the PA Admissions page for information on application requirements If you have specific questions about the program you can contact the PA Program at  

Does the program require the GRE for admission?

The GRE is not required.

My first language is English; do I need to take the TOEFL?

If your primary language is English, you are not required to take the TOEFL.

I have quite a bit of volunteer experience; however, none in a medical setting. I read that applicants need direct patient care experience. Can I still apply? 

Yes, you can still apply! The direct patient care experience on the website is preferred not required. Any other experience you have should be noted and described in detail on your CASPA application.

Is working as an ECG tech considered direct patient care experience?

An ECG technician is considered direct patient care. Please make sure to give a thorough and detailed explanation of the job description on the CASPA application to better assist the evaluation of your application by the admission committee.

Besides the prerequisites, what are you looking for in an ideal candidate? 

An ideal candidate will be academically prepared for the program’s challenging curriculum, possess relevant health care experience, demonstrate compassion, good communication and interpersonal skills and indicate an interest in practicing in underserved communities following graduation.

Does CDU require a supplementary application? 

CDU does not require a supplementary application

Can I transfer into the program and/or transfer credits?

The CDU PA Program accepts transfer students from other US-based PA programs on a limited, case-by-case basis.  See transfer policy here:

I am a non-science major at a local university. Do I need to get a second degree in a science major in order to apply to your program?

We do not have a specified list of majors required for admission. Many students come from liberal arts backgrounds but complete the required prerequisites as electives for their major or as post-graduate courses.

I completed one year of medical school and would like to apply to your program. Am I eligible for matriculation?

Absolutely! We do accept applications from individuals who started medical school but for a variety of reasons did not complete their training.

Is a 3.0 GPA required?

The 3.0 GPA is a preferred requirement. However, please note that if you are offered admission into the program, pending pre-requisites are due by May 30 of the application year and admission is contingent upon completion of pending pre-requisites with a ‘B’ or better.

Does Cultural Anthropology replace the Sociology 1 requirement? 

Anthropology is an acceptable course to include toward the total six-unit Behavioral Sciences requirement.

Does introduction to writing or writing term papers fulfill the English composition requirement?

English Comp is generally offered as two courses, English Composition I is a class intended to help students develop better writing skills such as proper grammar usage, including punctuation and spelling, editing and revision. English Composition II is a class intended to enhance critical thinking skills with a focus on analysis and argument. If your course description is similar, then the course is acceptable, however, the course must be intended for writing development and not be a portion of another course.

Does the seven-year academic completion preceding application requirement refer to science or non-sciences courses?

The seven-year stipulation is preferred and not required. Nevertheless, if it has been about seven years since you have taken a science course, you might benefit from taking the course again, refreshing your knowledge of the material, and having it reflect more currently on your transcripts.

How do I know if the statistics course I take will be acceptable? 

Any introductory course in statistics will fulfill the requirement, and should include topics such as statistics terminology, analytical statistics, measurement of the mean and variance, null hypothesis, p-values, confidence intervals, and probability.

Does it matter what chemistry courses I take? 

Yes and No. To fulfill the basic chemistry requirement for the program, you may take any two college level chemistry courses with lab. However, taking biochemistry and organic chemistry (preferred courses) will enhance your competitiveness for admission.

What type and how many letters of reference should I obtain?

We require three letters of reference in order to submit to CASPA. Someone who is familiar with the applicant’s patient care experience usually serves as a reference. At least one reference must be from a medical provider who has observed the applicant in either a volunteer or employment capacity, and one letter from a professor or academic advisor who has evaluated the applicant academically. If we do not receive three letters of reference by the application deadline, the application will be considered incomplete.
Examples of reference letters include, but are not limited to:

  • A professor familiar with one's academic ability
  • A physician, physician assistant or other medical provider
  • Another professional affiliate

I noticed that two of the three reference letters must be from medical professionals that the applicant has worked with.

This is a preference of the program and does not exclude you from applying. However, a reference from a medical provider attesting to your ability to become a competent PA is extremely helpful for the admissions committee during the applicant evaluation process.

Is there a wait list for the program? 

Yes, in addition to the individuals who will be selected for admission, other qualified applicants will be wait-listed in the event that positions in the class become available.

How does CDU define "direct patient care?" 

Direct patient care refers to direct (hands-on) patient experiences. Direct patient care experience (DPC) may be paid or volunteer. The admissions committee will review and evaluate each individual DPC experience. DPC should provide exposure to patients and members of the healthcare team in a clinical capacity to allow for the understanding of medical terminology, interaction with a wide variety of patients and exposure to various clinical scenarios. Experience with underserved populations is also highly valued.

What happens if my criminal background check shows a felony? 

The CDU Physician Assistant Program will obtain Criminal Background Checks and Drug Screens on all accepted and deposited students prior to matriculation. Results will be reviewed by the Program Review Committee. Please refer to the Criminal Background and Drug Screen Policy at
Background check and/or drug screen results may be grounds for withdrawal of an admission offer and/or program dismissal. In addition, individual clinical training sites may, as a component of their individual student training policies, require additional criminal background checks.
History of felony or misdemeanor convictions may prohibit the student from being accepted for clinical training in medical offices, clinics and hospital facilities. Students unable to complete clinical rotations due to criminal history will NOT meet the Program’s requirements for graduation.
Successful completion and graduation from the program do NOT guarantee board certification OR state licensure for practice as a Physician Assistant. It is the responsibility of the applicant/student to contact the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) ( and the state medical board for certification and licensure requirements.

I recently applied to the PA program at CDU and just finished completing a prerequisite course I listed as "in progress" on CASPA and was wondering what address I should send the updated official transcript to? 

Please update the information in CASPA.  Additionally, e-mail and mail your transcript to the PA Program.

I recently applied to the PA program at CDU and was not offered acceptance. What can I do to improve my application for the next cycle?

We encourage reapplicants to review all components of their CASPA application. For specific guidance please review the following reapplicant document.

Can undocumented or DACA students apply?

Yes. Applicants are considered for admission to the CDU PA program without regard to their country of origin. Eligible applicants include U.S. citizens, permanent U.S. residents holding a valid visa, applicants who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the time of application, undocumented applicants, and international applicants.