Requirements and Recommendations

We are proud to have a robust admission process that welcomes applicants with a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds. We have only ONE requirement for admission: a qualifying bachelor's degree. All other application elements are recommended but not required. 

In addition to our entrance requirement, we recommend the following: (1) the GRE, MCAT, or PA-CAT examination; (2) completion of preparatory coursework; (3) at least 500 hours of preparatory clinical experience; and (4) at least three letters of reference. 

While our students have strong records of academic achievement, we do not have a minimum GPA requirement, and we do not require completion of the GRE, MCAT, or PA-CAT; we will review all eligible applications regardless of prior coursework, test completion, or test 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 experience. 

Bachelor's Degree

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited academic institution in the United States or Canada* or a graduate degree from the United States** by July 1 of the year of matriculation. No specific discipline or major is required. Online Bachelor's degree/program is not acceptable. 

Applicants with non-U.S. or non-Canadian degrees, including international medical degrees, are ineligible to apply unless they also hold a qualifying degree listed above. We do not accept WES equivalencies in place of degree requirements. We do not provide waivers or exceptions for applicants without a qualifying degree. 

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. 

*Three-year bachelor's degree from Quebec or a four-year bachelor's degree from other provinces. 

**Applicants with a graduate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. academic institution must also have an equivalent undergraduate degree (see required minimum level of study) from a recognized academic institution outside the U.S. in order to be eligible to apply. 


Completion of the GRE, MCAT, or PA-CAT is highly recommended. We highly recommend that applicants complete either the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT) examination, or the Physician Assistant College Admission Test (PA-CAT), we will review all eligible applications regardless of standardized test completion. The PA-CAT test is preferred among standardized testing. An application for partial fee waiver assistance for the PA-CAT is available.  

Applicants with GRE scores should 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 should 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 should designate Stanford to receive their scores; PA-CAT will then send official scores directly to us. Official GRE, MCAT, and/or PA-CAT scores should be verified either in CASPA (for GRE and MCAT) or received by our admission office (for PA-CAT) by July 1 in order to be included in our review. 

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. 

For admitted students who have not previously taken the PA-CAT Exam, completion of this assessment may be required prior to matriculating into our program. This exam and its accompanying curriculum is designed to enhance our understanding of students' academic readiness and provide tailored support throughout their studies. Exam results will not affect the record of admitted students in any way, including admission status, program standing, Stanford curriculum, eligibility for any opportunities, etc. The Program will cover the cost of the PA-CAT Exam for admitted students.

Letters of Recommendation

A minimum of three (3) letters of recommendation is recommended 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 from applicant's healthcare provider(s), families & friends would NOT be considered. Letters of recommendation should speak directly to the applicant's alignment with the mission and goals of our program. Letters of recommendation should be received in CASPA by the time of application submission. 


Applicants are invited to submit one (1) essay through the CASPA application. The essay is the general CASPA personal statement (limited to 5,000 characters) that asks the applicant to describe why they want to be a physician assistant.