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 two requirements for admission: (1) a qualifying bachelor's degree; and (2) completion of the CASPer assessment. All other application elements are recommended but not required.
In addition to our entrance requirements, 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.
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 15 of the year of matriculation. No specific discipline or major is required.
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.
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 TakeAltus.com to create an account. Applicants must sign up for the American Professional Health Sciences test (CSP10101) and select Stanford University in order for us to receive your results.
Please be 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.
The final CASPer test date for our program for the 2023-2024 admission cycle is in early July 2023. Please be sure to review available test dates carefully.
CASPer test results are only valid for one (1) admission cycle; applicants who have completed CASPer in previous cycles must retake it for the current cycle.
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 admission 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.
GRE, MCAT, or PA-CAT
Completion of the GRE, MCAT, or PA-CAT is not required in order for applications to be eligible for review. We 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), but we will review all eligible applications regardless of standardized test completion. 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 15 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.
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 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 July 15 in order to be considered.
Applicants are invited to submit two (2) essays through the CASPA application. The first 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. The second essay is a Stanford MSPA program-specific statement (limited to 2,000 characters) that asks the applicant to describe in more detail how they align with one of our program goals, 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.