P.A. Frequently asked questions
Q: What degree will I earn?
A: Master of Health Services in Physician Assistant Studies
Q: What is the length of each program?
A: 27 months, including three summers
Q: When does the program begin?
A: The program begins in late June of each year. Applicants must submit their application approximately one year in advance.
Q: May I apply to the P.A. program with my degree still in-progress?
A. You may apply to the P.A. program with an in-progress degree as long as your degree is completed by spring quarter or semester of the year you submit an application. For example, an applicant applying to the summer 2023 P.A. cohort must graduate no later than June 2022 for admission consideration. Applicants are welcome to apply in spring 2022 as they complete their last quarter or semester and await degree conferral on their transcripts.
Spring graduates who do not have a verified degree listed on their CASPA application by the Aug. 1 deadline should work with their degree-granting institution to send an updated transcript to CASPA as soon as their degrees are conferred. CASPA must receive transcripts with conferred bachelor’s degrees by Sept. 30 to be considered for admission.
Q: May I apply for the P.A. program with a Bachelor of Arts even if my major is non-health related?
A: Yes, the School of Nursing reviews all qualified applicants who earned a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree from an accredited institution, as long as they satisfied admission requirements. No preference is made for applicants' undergraduate majors. Applicants are welcome to pursue any field that interests them.
Q: Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to apply?
A: No standardized tests are required.
Q: May I apply to the physician assistant and family nurse practitioner programs simultaneously?
A: No, applicants are only eligible to submit an application for one program.
Q: How can I stay up to date on upcoming admissions requirement changes?
A: We recommend applicants watch this website and sign up for our email list
Q: When does the application cycle open and close?
A: Applications open by May 1 and close Aug. 1.
Q: Do all admission requirements need to be completed by the application deadline?
A: Yes, all admission requirements must be completed and received by CASPA by the Aug. 1 application deadline. This includes all prerequisite course work, 1,000 hours of clinical experience, transcripts and letters of recommendation. No changes may be made to the application once it is submitted.
IMPORTANT: Application and materials must have a “complete” (all materials received and pending verification) or "verified" status by the Aug. 1 deadline. This also includes applications that utilize the Professional Transcript Entry Service. It is the applicants’ responsibility to monitor the status of their applications and application materials on a regular basis. CASPA does NOT notify applicants if applications are incomplete or documents missing. Applications and application materials with a “complete” or “verified” status by the Aug. 1 deadline are considered for admission. For more information on your application status, please visit CASPA’s Applicant Help Center.
Q: If I purchased the Professional Transcript Entry (PTE) service, does my application still need to have a “complete” status by the Aug. 1 deadline?
A: Yes. PTE does not begin until the application and all documents are received and may take more than 10 business days to complete. Applications do not receive a “complete” status until the PTE is completed and approved. The school does not recommend using this service if you submit your application in July. Please see CASPA’s Applicant Help Center for more information.
Q: How many essays do I need to complete and submit in my application?
A: A statement of purpose (5,000 characters) is the required essay submission for the CASPA application processes. Applicants invited to complete the UC Davis Graduate Studies application are required to submit additional essays at that time.
Q: For a strong application, how many letters of recommendation are required and from whom? May letters of recommendation be sent directly to the school?
A: The school requires three letters of recommendation. Please use recommenders who can speak to academic or clinical performance. Applicants can track letters of recommendation through their CASPA accounts. Letters of recommendation must be submitted using the online recommendation service required in CASPA. Hard copy letters are not accepted.
References should be current, from within the last two years. Letters of recommendation should describe the applicant’s strengths and potential, as well as major weaknesses, for completing the program and moving forward with a successful career as a physician assistant.
Clinical experience and GPA
Q: What are some ways that I may obtain my 1,000 hours of clinical experience?
A: Please visit this page for a sample list of clinical experiences.
Q: How do you evaluate clinical experience?
A: Clinical experiences should meet the criteria of direct patient interaction and providing medical or psychological assessment and/or treatment in a clinical environment. Hands-on, paid, patient-care clinical experience is preferred.
Q: Is the 1,000 hours of clinical experience required to be completed by the application deadline?
A: Yes, all 1,000 hours must be completed when an application is submitted.
Q: What is the minimum GPA requirement?
A: The minimum overall bachelor’s GPA requirement is 3.0. The minimum science prerequisite GPA requirement is also 3.0.
Q: How do you calculate an applicant’s bachelor’s degree GPA? Do you use the CASPA calculation?
A: The school uses the overall GPA listed on an applicant’s degree-granting institution transcript.
Q: My overall GPA is below a 3.0 or my science GPA is below a 3.0; am I still eligible to apply?
A: No, all applicants must meet the minimum GPA requirements listed on the website.
Q: Can I retake classes to improve my GPA?
A: Applicants' overall bachelor’s-degree GPAs are final upon graduation. Taking additional courses or repeating courses after receiving a bachelor’s degree does not affect an applicant’s bachelor’s degree GPA. However, prerequisite science courses completed or repeated after graduation are calculated into the science prerequisite GPA.
Q: How are repeated courses calculated into my GPA?
A: If the course was repeated at the degree-granting institution prior to graduation, the GPA calculation is determined by the school’s grade forgiveness policy. For prerequisite science courses, only the highest grade is used to calculate an applicant’s science prerequisite GPA. Initial and repeated grades are not averaged.
Q: How is the science GPA calculated?
A: The school calculates a science prerequisite GPA in lieu of a traditional science GPA. Please see the website for the prerequisite science courses that are required.
Q: What courses are used to calculate the prerequisite science GPA?
A: Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Chemistry, and Microbiology with their associated labs are used to calculate the prerequisite science GPA.
Q: What are the requirements to complete human anatomy and human physiology?
A: One course in human anatomy and one course in human physiology both with labs
A combined human anatomy and human physiology series with labs completed over two quarters or two semesters:
- Only human anatomy and physiology are accepted. Animal, mammalian or vertebrate anatomy or physiology are not accepted.
- All courses must be completed in full prior to submitting an application.
- It is desired that these courses are completed within the past five years of when you plan to apply (expected as a mandatory requirement in the near future).
Q: I completed human anatomy and human physiology over five years ago. Am I still eligible to apply to the P.A. program?
A: No, both courses must be taken within five years of submitting an application.
Q: Will Introduction to Organic Chemistry or Introduction to Biochemistry satisfy the chemistry prerequisite?
A: No, introductory courses will not satisfy the prerequisite.
Q: Are prerequisites completed at community colleges or online considered poor or less competitive in comparison to those completed in-person at a university?
A: No, the School of Nursing reviews all applications equally, regardless of whether courses were completed in person, online, at a community college or at a university. Labs may also be completed online.
Q: Can prerequisites be waived?
A: No, applicants must complete all prerequisites, regardless of their prior academic or professional backgrounds. No substitutions are accepted.
Q: What is the minimum grade accepted for prerequisite course work?
A: All prerequisite courses must be completed with a solid C or better.
Time commitment and class schedule
Q: When are classes offered?
A: First-year students are in class approximately four days per week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This schedule is subject to change. Second-year students are in class about one week per month on campus and work in assigned clinical settings during the remainder of the quarter.
Q: May I contact UC Davis School of Nursing faculty with my application-related questions?
A: Faculty members are actively involved in the admissions process of each program. Therefore, they are not available to answer questions about admissions requirements or about the application process.
Q: Whom may I contact if I have questions about admission requirements or about the application process?
A: Please direct all questions to our applicant services team at hs-BettyIreneMooreSON@ucdavis.edu.
Q: May I meet with an admissions adviser?
A: Representatives may discuss questions or issues with potential applicants via e-mail at email@example.com; however, formal advising appointments are not available.
Q: Do you conduct information sessions or tours?
A: The how-to-apply videos on each of the program admission pages provides information similar to an information session. Formal tours and information sessions are not offered at this time. Please visit us at the UC Davis Pre-Health Conference in October! While this event is not hosted by the School of Nursing, it is a great opportunity to meet and hear from our current students, faculty, and staff.
Q: What are the programs costs?
A: Tuition and fees for all Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Degree Programs are set by the University of California Board of Regents and are subject to change. Tuition is based on residency as well as degree type (i.e. academic or professional). For the exact fee schedule, please visit: http://budget.ucdavis.edu/studentfees.
Q: Does the school determine residency?
A: The school does not determine residency. It is determined only by the Residency Officer on UC Davis Campus: http://registrar.ucdavis.edu/tuition/residence/index.cfm.
Q: Is preference given to California residents during the application process?
A: No, no preference is given to California residents.
Q: Is preference given to UC Davis undergraduate or graduate students during the application cycle?
A: No, the School of Nursing reviews all applications equally.
Q: Do you offer distance-learning programs? Are the classes offered online?
A: No, all classes take place at the UC Davis Sacramento campus.
Q: Do any of your programs accept transfer students? Do you have a bridge program?
A: No, there are no transfer opportunities or bridge programs available.
Q. Does your school operate on a rolling admissions cycle?
A: No, please make sure applications and all required materials are submitted by the deadline for consideration.
Q: Do you offer a bachelor’s degree in Nursing?
A: No, please refer here for a list of schools with BSN programs.
Q: If I am not accepted, can I receive feedback on my application?
A: If you are not accepted, you will receive an email from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing as well as an official denial letter from the Office of Graduate Studies. Due to the volume of applications received, the school does not have the resources to offer individual feedback to each applicant.
Q: Are undocumented applicants eligible for enrollment?
A: The School of Nursing seeks to provide full disclosure for individuals who are undocumented: Undocumented applicants to the school’s clinical programs (physician assistant, nurse practitioner and entry-level nursing) must apply for a Childhood Arrival (DACA) work permit and a Social Security number, which are required for licensure exams upon graduation.
At this time, regulations governing clinical practice require licensure boards to use Social Security numbers to identify exam applicants. Without a social security number, students are unable to sit for licensure exams upon graduation. A Social Security number is also required for some clinical placements.
Q: If I am offered admission, can I defer my acceptance to another semester?
A: The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing does not permit deferred admission unless there are extenuating circumstances beyond a student’s control that would prevent him or her from enrolling in the term he or she is admitted. Deferment requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. If you have a concern about your ability to start the program, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I have reviewed the website, but I want to learn more about your programs. Whom should I contact?
A: You can send additional questions to hs-BettyIreneMooreSON@ucdavis.edu. This is the best way to receive answers about the school’s programs and admissions process.
Q: Can you provide GPA statistics for admitted students?
A: The school does not calculate GPA statistics due to structure of the admissions process. All applicants are reviewed as a whole to determine their preparation for the graduate health care program as well as their fit for the school. Applicants should seek to exceed minimum requirements for admission when preparing for any of the graduate degree programs.
Q: What are the requirements for international applicants?
A: All international applicants, regardless of their educational or professional background, must meet each of the requirements for admission that are listed on our website. In addition, international applicants and graduates must submit a course-by-course evaluated transcript and complete a TOEFL prior to submitting an application. Please visit the international graduate requirements page for more information.
Q: I have lived and worked in the US for years, but all of my transcripts are from another country. Is there a way to waive the TOEFL or IELTS requirement?
A: Applicants must meet the English Language Requirement listed on the UC Davis Graduate Studies website. Please refer to the UC Davis International Applicant Website for information regarding the TOEFL or IELTS.
Q: What if my evaluated transcripts are not received by the deadline?
A: You will not be considered for admission.
Q: I only have one official copy of my international transcript and I cannot get another copy from my home country. What are my options for submitting my transcript for your admissions?
A: You may be able to obtain a notarized copy of the original transcript. Please contact the evaluation service directly for more information.
Q: I am an international graduate and practicing clinician. Do I still need to complete all of the prerequisites to be eligible to apply to the physician assistant program or Master’s Entry Program in Nursing?
A: All applicants interested in applying to the physician assistant program or Master’s Entry Program in Nursing must complete all required prerequisites, regardless of their academic or professional backgrounds. A foreign medical degree does not serve in the place of prerequisite course work.
Q: Do I need a U.S. R.N. license in order to apply to the Doctor of Nursing — Family Nurse Practitioner Program?