Application Requirements

Gardner-Webb University will begin accepting applications for its January 2016 cohort on April 22, 2015.  CASPA submitted applications will be evaluated in the following areas: Overall Academic Strength, Science Aptitude, Graduate Record Evaluation (GRE), Letters of Recommendation, Health Care Experience, and/or Physician Assistant Shadowing. 


The deadline for submitting applications is October 1, 2015.


Academic Strength

Evaluation of academic strength is largely based upon transcripts including course selection, semester load, and cumulative GPA. A Bachelor Degree from a US regionally accredited institution is required and the minimum acceptable overall GPA is 3.0. 


Applicants should be aware that acceptance into a PA program is an extremely competitive process.  A GPA 3.0 is the minimum and does not guarantee an interview or acceptance. 


Science Aptitude

Each applicant must have completed the following required courses in:

  • Human anatomy and physiology with lab (two semesters or three quarters),
  • General biology with lab (one semester or two quarters)
  • Additional biology with lab (one semester or two quarters)
  • Microbiology with lab (one semester or two quarters)
  • General chemistry with lab (one semester or two quarters)
  • Additional chemistry with lab (one semester or two quarters)
  • Organic chemistry with lab (one semester or two quarters)
  • Statistics (one course)
  • Psychology (one course) and
  • Medical terminology 

The GPA for each of these required courses must be a 2.7 or higher (equal to a B- or higher).


Coursework Note:

  • Bachelor's degree must come from a US accredited institution with a 3.0 cumulative G.P.A. minimum
  • Prerequisites must be taken at a US accredited institution and each course must meet a minimum 2.7 G.P.A. requirement. 
  • Should a course be taken more than once, all grades are utilized in the overall cumulative GPA calculation and the last grade must be a minimum of 2.7 (B-) or higher.
  • We do not accept online lab courses.
  • We prefer that all prerequisite courses are taken within the last seven years.  If your courses are older than that, know that we recommend refreshing them.
  • We encourage students to have taken anatomy and physiology within two years of the program application date; however, this is not a requirement.
  • All prerequisite work for an earned bachelor’s degree must come from US accredited institutions. However, in addition, Gardner-Webb University requires students to submit a foreign transcript evaluation for any coursework completed through non-US institutions. This does not apply for study abroad credits earned through US institutions.
  • Applicants with up to two remaining prerequisites may apply provided they complete each - with a 2.7 or higher G.P.A. - before the first day of September (official transcripts must be received at Gardner-Webb University by October 1 or a selected candidate will relinquish their seat).
  • Survey courses (usually 100 or 101) will not meet the prerequisite course requirements.
  • We do not accept Animal or Mammalian Anatomy and Physiology courses.
  • Prerequisites met via Advanced Placement credit (college equivalent courses taken in high school), where no letter grade is provided, will be accepted based on pass/fail criteria.  Transcripts must show a pass grade was met. 
  • Courses can be taken at any regionally accredited institution, including community colleges.  We prefer that all prerequisite courses be taken at a four-year institution.
  • The PA program does not accept College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credit or credit by examination for any prerequisite requirements.


Graduate Record Exam (GRE) 

The GRE is required and must be taken within the last five years. Gardner-Webb University Physician Assistant Studies CASPA GRE code is 3648.  The score will be weighted but no minimal score is being required.


Letters of Recommendation 

Each applicant will be required to provide three professional or academic letters of recommendation. Preference is given to applicants who have at least one reference from a healthcare professional. The references provide an external perspective of an applicant’s ability to succeed.


Health Care Experience

Although no minimum hours are required, the program places importance on health care familiarity and evaluates the quality and quantity of an applicant’s experience with direct "hands on" patient health care. Health care experience will be evaluated based on the type of experience and the number of hours specifically related to working with more acutely ill or injured patients in a hospital or clinical setting.


Applicants are encouraged to be very detailed in their description of health care positions in their CASPA application.


TOEFL requirement

An applicant whose native language is not English and who does not have a full year (two semesters) of composition or its equivalent in English studies must demonstrate skills in English understanding and use.  Recent scores on the Test of English and Foreign Language (TOEFL) normally suffice.  TOEFL scores should be submitted with the CASPA application or directly to GWU Graduate Admissions when CASPA is not used.  Satisfactory scores are based on the testing format and include:  

  • Internet-based TOEFL: Score of 100 with a minimum score of 20 on each section.
  • A total score of 600 on the paper TOEFL, with a score of 55 on the Listening Comprehension.
  • A total score of 250 on the computer-based TOEFL.
  • A level 112 from the ELS Language Centers or other recognized evidence may be considered satisfactory, pending the Admissions Committee approval.


For selected candidates, interviews will begin in June and seats will be offered using a rolling admission process.