Please note: This information is subject to change. All applicants must meet the admission requirements of SIU Graduate School.

Applicants to the 26 month, 7 semester Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPA) Program must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university by the time of matriculation to the graduate PA Program. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and must have completed a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework (including all prerequisite courses) in a U.S. regionally accredited, degree-granting college/university.  The master’s program is 26 months (7 semesters) long. The first year is completed on-site in Carbondale. The subsequent months are spent at a rotation site determined later in the program. Other requirements are listed as follows:

1. The applicant must have successfully completed the following prerequisite courses or their equivalents: 

  • Medical terminology - one semester (or passage of proficiency exam)
  • Chemistry, with lab - two semesters (select from general, organic, inorganic, or biochemistry)
  • Psychology - one semester
  • Human physiology - one semester with lab (upper level preferred)
  • Human anatomy - one semester with lab (upper level preferred)
  • Microbiology with lab - one semester
  • General biology for science majors - one semester (may also select from genetics or cell and molecular biology)
  • Statistics - one semester
  • English composition - one semester
  • Genetics, pharmacology, pathophysiology and biochemistry, although not required, are highly recommended before matriculation.
  • All prerequisite coursework must be completed by the end of the fall term prior to matriculation, with the exception of one prerequisite course (with a grade of "A" or "B") and Medical Terminology. These can be completed during the spring term before matriculation.
  • Only grades of C or better will be accepted for transfer. Grades of C- or below will not be accepted. Grades of C in the courses listed below will lower the prerequisite GPA significantly and may threaten acceptable requirements.

2. The overall grade point average (GPA) and the overall science GPA, as calculated by CASPA, must be at least 3.2 (A = 4.0). The prerequisite course GPA, as calculated by SIU, must also be at least a 3.2 (A = 4.0). All grades in completed prerequisites, if not included in the initial application, should be forwarded as soon as possible to the PA Program Advisor after each semester ends.

3. Healthcare experience is preferred for applicants. This experience should be in conjunction with shadowing a licensed, certified, practicing physician assistant. Combinations of experience may vary and can be full-time or part-time, as an employee or volunteer.  Preference will be given to those applicants with credentialed experience in providing direct patient care, rurality, and shadowing a certified physician assistant.

4. Applicants are evaluated on the overall submitted application package, academic potential, motivation, familiarity with the PA role, level of maturity, oral and written communication skills, interpersonal skills, and potential for success in the SIU School of Medicine PA Program and the PA profession.

5. Students are highly encouraged to be proficient in the use of computers before matriculation to the program, especially with software applications such as Microsoft Word.

6. The application process is open once per year, from late April and ending on the published date. You must apply to the Graduate School and have a completed, verified CASPA application by the stated application deadline. We utilize rolling admissions, thus applicants are encouraged to apply early in the process. No application will be processed after the published verification deadline.  In the absence of the SIU Graduate School application fee, applications will not progress in the process.

7. All applicants invited to join the SIU PA Program are required to pass a criminal background check through prior to matriculation.   

Application accepted through CASPA. Only complete, verified applications by the close of the application cycle (November 1) will be considered for acceptance. Application does not guarantee admission to the PA Program.

Please contact the SIU School of Medicine PA Program for a final list of prerequisites and other information at

Thank you for your interest in the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program at Southern Illinois University.