Entrance Requirements

We are proud to have a robust and holistic admissions process that welcomes applicants with a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds. We have five requirements for admission: (1) a bachelor's degree; (2) the GRE, MCAT, or PA-CAT examination; (3) the CASPer assessment; (4) three letters of reference; and (5) two essays. All other application elements are strongly recommended but not required. While our students have strong records of academic achievement, we do not have minimum requirements for GPA or GRE/MCAT/PA-CAT scores and will review all applications regardless of prior coursework or scores. Similarly, while we expect applicants to be familiar with the role of physician assistants and with patient-centered care, we welcome applicants with unique experiential histories and will review all applications regardless of prior clinical experience. 

Bachelor's Degree

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a recognized academic institution in the U.S. or Canada (three-year bachelor's degree from Quebec, four-year bachelor's degree from other provinces) by July 15 of the year of matriculation. No specific discipline or major is prescribed. 

Applicants with a graduate degree from the U.S. and an equivalent undergraduate degree (see required minimum level of study) from a recognized academic institution outside the U.S. are also eligible to apply. 

Please note that applicants with non-U.S. medical degrees are ineligible to apply unless they also hold a U.S. graduate degree and an equivalent undergraduate degree from a recognized academic institution outside the U.S., or an undergraduate degree from the U.S. or Canada. 

Applicants with degrees in progress at the time of application may be conditionally accepted into the program but must demonstrate that they are on track to complete their degree. 


All applicants are required to take either the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT), or the Physician Assistant College Admission Test (PA-CAT). The examination must be taken within five (5) years of the application deadline. Applicants with GRE scores must submit official scores for all sections (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical) in the CASPA application using the Stanford MSPA Program CASPA code 4510. Applicants with MCAT scores must provide their Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) verification code in the CASPA application using the Stanford MSPA Program CASPA code 4510. Applicants taking the PA-CAT must designate Stanford to receive their scores; scores will be sent directly from PA-CAT to our admissions office. Official GRE, MCAT, or PA-CAT scores must be verified in CASPA (for GRE or MCAT) or received by our admissions office (for PA-CAT) by August 1. Please allow for processing time, as we will not offer extensions for delayed score reporting.

Only one of these examinations is required. Applicants may submit scores for more than one examination if desired, but this will not confer any type of advantage.

Applicants who have taken an examination(s) more than once may submit new scores through the CASPA application portal at any time prior to the application deadline. However, please note that we will see scores for all completed examinations, and will only consider official scores that have been reported and verified prior to the application deadline. 


All applicants are required to take the Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer). CASPer is an online test that assesses non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program. Applicants should go to www.takeCASPer.com to sign up for the American Professional Health Sciences test (CSP10101) and select the Stanford MSPA program to receive their official scores. Please be sure to select the current admissions cycle and to review available test dates carefully. CASPer must be completed by August 1.

CASPer test results are only valid for one (1) admissions cycle; applicants who have completed CASPer in previous cycles must retake it for the current cycle.  

Please make sure to register for CASPer at least three days before your preferred test date and time. CASPer dates are limited, and last-minute bookings are not recommended and not guaranteed.

There is a fee to take CASPer. If the fee is a financial burden and prohibits you from taking the test, please reach out to our admissions office.

Due to the high volume of applicants, please note that we are unable to confirm receipt of individual CASPer results. If we discover any issues with receipt of your results, we will contact you before continuing with our review of your application. 

Letters of Recommendation

A minimum of three (3) letters of recommendation are required with a maximum of five (5) letters allowed through the CASPA application. Letters of recommendation from a physician assistant, a physician, and a person who can speak to the applicant's academic potential, such as a science professor or academic advisor, are strongly preferred. Letters from prior employers, professional colleagues, and mentors are also acceptable. Letters of recommendation should speak directly to the applicant's alignment with the mission and goals of our program. Letters of recommendation must be verified in CASPA by August 1. Please give recommenders sufficient time to submit their letters, as we will not issue deadline extensions for applications with missing letters of recommendation.


Applicants are required to submit two (2) essays, limited to 2,000 characters each, through the CASPA application. The first is a personal statement that asks the applicant to describe why they are applying to our program. The second asks the applicant to describe in more detail how they align with one or more of the goals of our program, including contributing to the diversity of the PA profession; working with underserved healthcare communities; working with the Stanford healthcare community; engaging in patient-centered care; and demonstrating potential as a future PA leader.