How to Apply Section Table of Contents

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How to Apply

All applicants must apply online via the online application service CASPA. Below please find the application deadlines for those wishing to matriculate in January, 2025 (Class of 2026).

  • April 27, 2024: CASPA available for Spring 2024-2025 candidates
  • September 1, 2024: CASPA Application closed
  • December 31, 2024: Prerequisite Due Date


Application Requirements

North Central College's MSPAS program is dedicated to recruiting diverse and highly qualified students, as such, the MSPAS program employs a holistic approach to admissions. The program makes admission decisions in accordance with clearly defined and published practices of the institution. Special application requirements and considerations are notable to the MSPAS program. The MSPAS program offers two pathways to admission:

  1. Selective Internal PA Admissions Pathway (SIPAAP)
  2. Standard Admissions Pathway

The following admission and enrollment practices are followed: 

  • The North Central MSPAS program follows a holistic admission process and is committed to accepting a diverse group of qualified individuals from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. The program selects students who reflect varied socioeconomic, educational, and healthcare experience backgrounds. The program seeks students who excel in leadership, service, scholarship, communication, intellectual capacity, and interpersonal skills.
  • Holistic review occurs at several stages:  screening, interview, and selection for the cohort. The Admissions Committee emphasizes the importance of giving individualized consideration to every applicant to ensure that admissions processes and criteria are both mission and evidence-based, and promote cohort diversity. Applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply to the North Central MSPAS program. However, applicants with backgrounds that include prior military service, who are first generation to attend college, and those persons who are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds will be given admissions preference. Additional metrics used for admissions include GPA, candidate grade trends, prior healthcare experience, and commitment to courses of academic rigor. Therefore, applicants with high academic performance, greater direct patient care experience, and greater PA shadowing experience will be given preference in our admissions process. GRE and PA-CAT scores are recommended, but scores will not be required in the 2024-2025 cycle.
  • North Central College undergraduate students are at an advantage in the admission process through admission preference via the Selective Internal PA Admission Pathway (SIPAAP).
  • North Central graduates who apply via the Standard Pathway and meet admissions criteria are at an advantage as they will be offered an interview in the 2024-2025 cycle. Preference for an interview does not mean preference for selection into the program. 

Selective Internal PA Admissions Pathway (SIPAAP)

The overarching goal of the Selective Internal Admissions Pathway is to increase diversity in the PA workforce and encourage pre-healthcare students to consider attending North Central College as undergraduates. This program encourages students to apply who are accepted incoming NC freshmen, transfer, and undergraduate students who have a minimum of four semesters left at the college (including summer semesters). This allows for the SIPAAP Scholar to attend important mentoring and required program activities. The first cohort of SIPAAP students will matriculate in 2026. In the future, this internal pipeline pathway will admit up to 31% of each class who complete this Pre-PA program (10 of 32 students) per cycle.  

All applicants are held to the same admissions standards and are required to apply via CASPA. 

We are currently receiving applications to the 2024 SIPAAP scholar program up until March 15, 2024. Here is the link to submit your application materials: SIPAAP Application

Standard Admissions Pathway

The Standard Admissions Pathway is a competitive process, admitting 100% (32 of 32 students) of its class through this pathway in the 2024-2025 cycle.

The following criteria are required for submission to CASPA:

  • CASPA Application fee.
  • Official Academic Transcripts.
    • According to North Central College graduate admissions protocol, official transcripts from all colleges and universities must demonstrate an overall grade point average of 3.00/4.00 scale.  
    • The North Central MSPAS program has an additional requirement of a minimum science grade point average of 3.00/4.00 scale.
    • Evidence of earning a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university prior to enrollment in the program.
  • GRE or PA-CAT scores are highly recommended, not required.
    • Use GRE code 4789 to send scores directly to CASPA for verification.
    • GRE and PA-CAT Scores must be within 5 years of admission.
    • The PA-CAT is a specialized test designed to measure applicant knowledge in key prerequisite science subjects typically required for PA school.
    • For information about the PA-CAT and to schedule your exam, visit
    • PA-CAT test scores must be sent directly to the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at 30 N. Brainard Street, Naperville IL 60540.
    • There is no minimum score for either test in the 2024-2025 cycle.
  • Direct Patient Health Care Hours.
    • A minimum of 750 hours of direct, hands-on patient care is required. Please see our FAQ's for examples of acceptable patient care experience hours.
    • Shadowing hours cannot be used for direct patient health care hours.
    • Proof of completion of at least 750 hours of Direct Patient Health Care must be submitted using our North Central College Direct Patient Health Care Hours form no later than December 31, 2024.
    • Applicants with outstanding hours who are offered admissions and who fail to provide evidence of completion of these hours by December 31, 2024, will forfeit their seat in the class.
    • Download Direct Patient Health Care Hours form and upload to your CASPA application.
  • PA-C Observation Hours.
    • Applicants must obtain a minimum of 15 hours of direct observation of a PA's providing direct patient care.
    • Observation hours cannot be counted towards the healthcare experience hours.
    • Proof of completion of at least 15 hours of PA-C Observation must be submitted using our North Central College PA-C Observation Hours form no later than December 31, 2024.
    • Applicants with outstanding hours who are offered admissions and who fail to provide evidence of completion of these hours by December 31, 2024, will forfeit their seat in the class.
    • Download PA-C Observation Hours form and upload to your CASPA application.
  • Three letters of recommendation are required.
    • It is highly recommended that one letter come from a certified Physician Assistant (PA-C). 
    • The second two letters are to be written by a professor or supervisor who can attest to the candidate's academic preparedness and professional attributes.
    • Letters from friends or family members will not be accepted.
  • Personal Statement.
    • A statement of no more than 5,000 characters describing the motivation to become a certified Physician Assistant (This is the CASPA essay.).
  • Optional Supplemental Clarifying Statement.
    • There is an optional supplemental application information section. You may use it to tell us anything about yourself or your application that you would like to explain further. Please note, there is a 200 character limit for this section.
  • Prerequisite coursework.
    • There is a 7-year limit on the length-of-time passed since Prerequisite coursework completion. Prerequisite courses completed PRIOR to April 27, 2017 would need to be retaken.


Prerequisite Coursework

Prerequisite Coursework Minimum Semester Hours
Human Anatomy with lab* 3
Human Physiology with lab* 3
Microbiology with lab 3
General or Organic Chemistry with lab 3
Biochemistry 3
Science at the 200 level or above. The following classes will be accepted: Genetics, Immunology, Cell or Molecular Biology, Organic Chemistry, Neuroscience 3
Statistics 3
Psychology, Social Science, or Behavioral Science 3
Humanities , Fine Arts or, Foreign Language 3

*or may use two combined courses in Anatomy and Physiology with labs.

  • 7-year upper limit length-of-time passed since prerequisite coursework completion. Prerequisite courses completed PRIOR to April 27, 2017 would need to be retaken.
  • Each course may only satisfy one prerequisite.
  • We highly recommend applicants take a medical terminology course.
  • We will accept online coursework (lectures & labs) that was completed during the pandemic (January 2020 - December 2022). The program will no longer accept online labs starting in January 2024. 
  • Due to the pandemic, the program will honor up to two “Pass” grades in prerequisite classes taken anytime between January 2020 and December 2022. No more than 2 total prerequisite courses may be pass/fail.
  • Advanced Placement credit does not count towards prerequisite coursework.
  • Applicants must indicate on the CASPA application which courses are in progress.
  • Only 2 prerequisite courses may be outstanding or incomplete at the time the application is submitted to CASPA.
  • Applicants with outstanding prerequisite requirements can still be offered admissions, however the offer is contingent on evidence of completion on or before December 31, 2024 with a grade of "C" or better.
  • Applicants with outstanding prerequisites who are offered admissions who fail to provide evidence of completion of courses or do not achieve a "C" or better, will result in forfeiture of the seat.


Transfer Credit

All courses within the curriculum are required. No transfer credit is accepted. No credit is granted for pre-admission experiential learning, prior coursework, degrees, certifications, or advanced training.


Interview Process

The Admissions Committee will meet monthly starting in May to review completed and verified applications. Candidates will be notified regarding the first two interview dates in June, and proceed accordingly until all slots for all interview days are filled. All candidate interviews will be conducted in a virtual format. We do host routine "Open Houses" to the public for applicants to see our program learning spaces and campus. When candidates visit our North Central Campus in historic downtown Naperville, they can expect a warm welcome that reflects our relationship-based program, campus tour, financial aid briefing, and program curriculum overview. A representative of the Admissions Committee will communicate with the candidate following the interview dates to let them know of their status. As the program employs rolling admissions, it will offer notification of acceptance throughout the interview season (June - October). Students who are placed and wish to remain on the Alternate List may receive notification of acceptance up to the day classes begin.   


Minimum Required Technical Standards

  • Diversity and fostering an environment of safety and inclusiveness is a priority and our institution is deeply committed to creating a learning environment that reflects the evolving pluralistic society we live in. The North Central MSPAS program has a minimum set of technical standards for admission with the acknowledgement that every effort will be made for reasonable accommodations to meet these standards. 
  • Attached please find the required technical standards for the program. Required Technical Standards


Tuition Cost and Fees

Your actual expenses may vary from the "average" cost of attendance.  Historically, tuition and other fees have increased between 4%-6% annually.


    Tuition and Fees Refund Policy and Schedule

    A student who officially withdraws from the College or a course(s) should view the Refund Policy and Schedule.


    Financial Aid 

    Please visit the graduate financial aid page for additional information. 


    Class Profile

    Statistics 2024-2025 Composite 2023-2024 Composite 2022-2023 Composite
    Accepted Student Demographics:
    Class Size 32 students 32 students 32 students
    Gender 28.1% Male | 71.9% Female 18.8% Male | 81.2% Female 12.5% Male | 87.5% Female
    Average Age 23.5 years 24.5 years 26.2 years
    % Illinois Residents 84.37% 75.00% 71.88%
    % Midwestern US Residents 96.87% 90.63% 90.63%
    % Northeast US Residents 0% 0% 0%
    % South US Residents 3.13% 6.25% 3.13%
    % West US Residents 0% 3.13% 6.25%
    Applicants Underrepresented in Medicine (per AAMC definition) 44.00% 25.00% 18.75%
    First Generation to Enroll in Higher Education 43.75% 44.00% 37.50%
    Accepted Student Academics and Experience:
    Average Science GPA 3.5 3.5 3.49
    Average Overall GPA 3.59 3.57 3.57
    GRE Taken (% of Accepted Students) 18.75% 50.00% 43.75%
    Average GRE Score (%)- Analytic 53.00% 49.19% 55.21%
    Average GRE Score (%)- Quantitative 28.33% 32.69% 37.71%
    Average GRE Score (%)- Verbal 39.17% 52.81% 53.50%
    Average Direct Patient Care Experience Hours 3446 3795 3860
    Average PA Shadowing Hours 85 108 144


    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    FAQ page


    Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (P.A.) Program

    The North Central College Master's Degree Physician Assistant program will prepare our diverse students to become competent medical providers who deliver humane, patient and relationship-centered primary care in collaboration with healthcare professionals while developing future leaders committed to community service, life-long learning and advancement of the PA profession.

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