Admissions Requirements

Admission to the Radford University Carilion (RUC) Physician Assistant (PA) program is very competitive, but students are evaluated thoroughly and given every opportunity to demonstrate their skills, passions and preparation for the program. Through written statements, in-person interview and a careful review of each application by a panel of faculty and staff, students are treated as individuals in the application process and those deemed most prepared to handle all aspects of the program from the academically rigorous classwork to the level of teamwork required to deliver quality healthcare will find success.

We offer a rolling admissions process (applications are reviewed as they are received), so we encourage you to apply early. 


Applicants must apply through CASPA, the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants, and submit a supplemental application to Radford University. Deadline for submission is Nov. 1. DO NOT send application materials directly to RUC or the PA program.


We recommend three references: one each from an academic advisor, a clinical supervisor and an employer. Substitutions may be made if all three are not available, but at least one reference should be from someone familiar with you in a work or professional setting. Submit these directly to CASPA using CASPA's forms.


The CASPA application includes a written essay, which will be reviewed by our admissions committee. The essay should be of high quality and demonstrate graduate-level writing.

Bachelor Degree 

A bachelor degree from a regionally accredited institution is required. We accept degrees from all disciplines provided you meet the PA program's course prerequisites. 


The RUCPA program requires a cumulative GPA on undergraduate and post baccalaureate work of at least 3.0. You must have earned a "C" or better on all prerequisite courses. Pass/Fail or placing out of a required prerequisite is not permitted, although AP credit appearing on college transcripts will be counted. Please contact the program if you have concerns about specific prerequisite coursework. We give no advanced standing/advanced placement or prior learning credit for PA program coursework. Each PA student must complete the entire curriculum at RUC. 


Send all transcripts to CASPA, not to RUC. Students are to send transcripts to RUC only after they are accepted and have paid their deposit. 

Healthcare Experience 

All successful candidates must have 500 hours of healthcare experience, paid, volunteer, or as a student, prior to enrollment in the PA program. This experience should be in areas with direct patient or client contact, for example, EMT, medical technology, nursing, and phlebotomy. Patient contact in fields such as health education, health promotion, and social work may be considered as long as work was in areas of patient or client services. The 500 hours need not be completed by the time of application. Applicants with formal certifications in a health-related field should provide a copy of license or certification upon request. 


The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required and should have been taken within the last five years. GRE scores are considered along with other applicant factors, and will be required before a candidate is interviewed. We strongly prefer that GRE be submitted through CASPA with the Designated Institution (DI) code 0597. However, if you encounter problems with submitting through CASPA, scores can be sent directly to RUC using DI Code 5099.

As of April 2, 2020, Educational Testing Service (ETS), who administer the GRE exam, have made provisions for test takers to take the exam in their homes, monitored online by a live human proctor. Please see the ETS web page for additional information. Our program will accept these at-home exams as equivalent to exams taken at testing centers.

International Students

International students must have their transcripts submitted for independent evaluation of equivalency by an acceptable credentialing evaluation agency. The Program suggests World Education Service. Students for whom English is not their primary language are required to submit their TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign language)score. The minimum score accepted for admission is 550 for the paper-based test (equivalent requirements are 80 for internet-based and 215 for computer-based tests). We encourage international applicants to have some coursework at an accredited U.S. or Canadian institution. 

Prerequisite Courses 

Applicants must have completed the following prerequisite coursework before beginning the program. At least 12 hours of this coursework must have been completed within the past three years.

  • Anatomy and Physiology I & II with lab: 8 hours 
  • General Chemistry I & II with lab: 8 hours
  • Biochemistry or Cell Biology: 3 hours
  • Microbiology with lab: 4 hours
  • Genetics or Immunology: 3 hours
  • Statistics: 3 hours
  • Medical Terminology: 1 hour
  • Psychology: 6 hours; at least one upper-level course is required (Abnormal Psychology or Developmental Psychology are recommended as upper-level courses) 

Requests for waivers of any of these requirements will be considered on an individual basis, must be made in writing to the program, and must be supported with excellent reasons.

Requirements for Accepted Students

  • Deposit: An accepted applicant has two weeks after receipt of notification of acceptance to submit a $500 deposit, which is counted toward tuition.
  • Health Requirements: Enrolling students must complete the College health requirements.
  • Criminal background checks are required for all enrolling students. The enrolling student is responsible for the costs.
  • BLS: Certification of Basic Life Support (BLS) is required before entering the program.
  • Technical Standards: Students must be able to comply with all of the PA Program’s required Technical Standards.
  • Contingencies: Applicants will be required to complete all unfinished prerequisites before matriculation, and may be required to complete those prerequisites with a grade of B or higher.