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Physician Assistant Program

The Physician Assistant program at Samuel Merritt University participates in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). The link to the CASPA website is provided for you at the bottom of this page.

Virtual Drop-Ins Now Available - Join a MPA online chat room

We are pleased to offer virtual drop ins to prospective MPA students.  You are welcome to virtually “drop in” and ask quick, general questions of an Admission Counselor.  This is entirely online.  Dates and times are:

  • February 11, 2014    2:00 p.m.– 3:00 p.m.
  • February 20, 2014    10:00 a.m.– 11:00 a.m.
  • February 27, 2014    9:00 a.m.– 10:00 a.m.
  • March 5, 2014           2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • March 10, 2014        11:00 a.m. – Noon
  • March 19, 2014        2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • March 25, 2014        9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
  • March 31, 2014        10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
  • April 24, 2014           11:00 a.m. – noon
  • April 29, 2014           1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.    

Please note that all times are Pacific Standard Time (California time zone).

Please click here for more information about the VIRTUAL DROP INS.  After you have reviewed the general chat information and are ready to start the chat (see dates and time above), click here to join the chat.

Counseling Appointments Are Now Available In Davis

In order to serve UC Davis students, Samuel Merritt University is pleased to announce that individual, one-on-one academic counseling appointments are now available in Davis. “Routinely UC Davis sends us the greatest number of applications for all programs at SMU,” says Anne Seed, Associate Director of Admission. Ms. Seed continues, “And over the years, we have found students from UC Davis to be extremely prepared for the rigorous academic nature of our health science programs. Finding The Work Shop, A Co-working Space, in downtown Davis, was the missing piece of the puzzle to allow us to meet UC Davis students where they work and live and go to school, IN DAVIS!”

Intended for all academic programs at SMU, one-on-one academic counseling sessions are available by scheduled appointment. Please click here for more information on the meeting location, available dates and times, and scheduling an appointment.

Admission Requirements
Diversity within the PA profession is greatly valued and the PA department is committed to recruiting a class which is representative of the community in which we operate.

Admission to the PA department is competitive. Each applicant is evaluated based on evidence of potential, knowledge of the culture of health care, personal integrity, motivation and interpersonal skills.

Master Physician Assistant

Fall 2012 Data

Applicants 1461
Seats Available 40
Average Overall GPA* 3.43
Average Science GPA* 3.48

* Data is based on enrolled students.

Admission Statistics Admission Statistics about all of SMU's programs are available on our statistics at a glance website.

Applicants must meet the following prerequisite criteria:

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. College seniors are eligible to apply provided they will receive their degree prior to matriculation into the PA program. Applicants coming straight from undergraduate studies may be at a disadvantage because of the likelihood that they will have fewer months of health care than other applicants.
  • The preferred standard for applicants is a cumulative all-college GPA of 3.0.
  • The preferred standard for applicants is an overall science GPA of 3.0.
  • International medical graduates and students educated abroad may apply for admission. Regardless of previous professional training and academic degrees earned, Samuel Merritt's MPA curriculum must be completed in its entirety. The TOEFL is required of all International Medical Graduates. All international academic transcripts must be evaluated by a U.S. evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluations Services (NACES) for degree, course content, semester unit equivalencies, and science and cumulative GPAs prior to the application deadline. Information on NACES may be found at For all applicants educated outside the United States it is strongly recommend that they should complete one semester (15 units) of graduate or undergraduate work at a U.S. college or university. In addition, all other admission requirements must be met.
  • Prerequisite courses:
    1. A minimum of 16 semester units of biological sciences are required including human anatomy*, human physiology* and microbiology*. The remaining units can be in any area of the biological sciences.
    2. A minimum of 8 semester units of chemistry* are required. This must include 4 semester units of Inorganic Chemistry and 4 semester units of Organic Chemistry.
    3. Statistics (three semester units)
    *Strong preference will be given to those who have completed these courses within the past 5 years. This recency recommendation is less stringent for those currently working in the health care field. It is preferred that students only have one prerequisite course in progress in Spring.
  • The TOEFL is required of all International Medical Graduates and scores should be submitted with the application. The need for a TOEFL for other applicants will be assessed based on information provided by applicants on their application. If required a score of 100 (Internet Based Test) is required and scores should be provided.
  • GREs are not required.

Health Care Experience
The MPA program defines health care experience as direct, "hands on" patient contact. This can be gained through paid experience as an EMT, paramedic, health educator, RN, patient care attendant or nurse's aid, clinic assistant, Peace Corps participant or other cross-cultural health care training, technologist, therapist, clinical research coordinator, etc. To a lesser degree, volunteer experience may be considered. Most competitive applicants will have a minimum of 1000 hours of related direct patient contact.

Three references are required. References from at least one health care provider with whom you have worked closely are strongly recommended. Relatives and personal friends should not complete the reference forms.

Upon receipt of your complete application packet from CASPA, the review process will begin. Approximately 144 individuals will be invited to interview and a class of 44 will be accepted. Academic potential, personal integrity and maturity, interpersonal skills and knowledge of the health care system in the United States are all part of the evaluation process and weigh heavily in the final Admission decision.

All candidates are notified of the Admission Committees decision in writing. Candidates who are interviewed are notified as early as two weeks after the interview. Deposits of $350.00 are required to reserve a place in the class. This deposit is non-refundable and is attributed to the first semester's tuition.

Each year an alternate list is generated from the candidates who have interviewed. Should an accepted candidate withdraw from the program prior to the start of classes, the position is offered to the highest ranked candidate on the alternate list.

Applying for Admission
The MPA program at Samuel Merritt University participates in the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Applicants apply online at

Applications for the upcoming Fall are generally available on the CASPA website beginning mid-April.

Applicants must e-submit their CASPA application by 11:59pm EST on the deadline date posted. Documents are not required to be received by the deadline date.

For applicants with questions about completing the online application:
CASPA's "Help" contact number is (617) 612-2080
CASPA's e-mail address is

For a representative Application/Admission Processing Timeline for fall 2013, please click here.

Use the following mailing address to send your completed material to CASPA:

PO Box 9108
Watertown, MA 02471