General FAQs

Physician Assistant Studies

Is the program accredited by Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)?

No. The program has applied to the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) for Accreditation-Provisional with a conditional meeting scheduled for March 2018. Pending receipt of formal Accreditation-Provisional, the first PA class will be introduced summer of 2018. (Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status for a new physician assistant program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its initial accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation standards).

Will I be eligible to take the national certifying exam (NCCPA PANCE) upon graduation from your provisionally accredited program?

Yes. Provisional accreditation is an active accreditation status. PA program graduates will be deemed to have graduated from an accredited program if their PA educational program was accredited at the time of their matriculation.

Do I need to complete a bachelor's degree before I apply to the PA program?

Yes. In order to be eligible for admission, your bachelor's degree must be must be completed at a US regionally accredited institution and awarded prior to submitting your application.

Accreditation status and what it means

Regionally Accredited Institutions: Credits earned at accredited institutions, or at institutions that are approved candidates for accreditation, by one of the following regional accrediting associations recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), are normally transferable, provided the courses are comparable to those offered by the University of Nevada, Reno, or other regionally accredited colleges and universities, and the courses are relevant to the student's academic program.

  • Middle States Association of College and Schools (MSA), Middle States Commission on Higher Education;
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE), Commission on Institutions of Higher Education;
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CTCI), Commission on Technical and Career Institutions;
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA-HLC), The Higher Learning Commission;
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU);
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Commission on Colleges;
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASCACCJC), Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges;
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASCACSCU), Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities.
Is there a preferred undergraduate major?

No. Applicants are encouraged to gain a broad educational background and choose a major that is challenging and interesting to them.

Do all of my prerequisite courses need to be completed by the time I apply to the PA program?

Yes. Completion of all prerequisites, earned at a US regionally accredited institution, is required to submit a "complete" application in order to be eligible for consideration for admission.

My prerequisites courses were quarter credit hours, how do these transfer?

All academic prerequisites (quarter accepted for Statistics) are measured in semester credit hours – see the Requirements & Prerequisites page.

Where do I have to complete my prerequisite courses?

Prerequisite courses must be taken at a US regionally accredited institution.

Accreditation status and what it means?

Regionally Accredited Institutions: Credits earned at accredited institutions, or at institutions that are approved candidates for accreditation, by one of the following regional accrediting associations recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), are normally transferable, provided the courses are comparable to those offered by the University of Nevada, Reno, or other regionally accredited colleges and universities, and the courses are relevant to the student's academic program.

  • Middle States Association of College and Schools (MSA), Middle States Commission on Higher Education;
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE), Commission on Institutions of Higher Education;
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CTCI), Commission on Technical and Career Institutions;
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA-HLC), The Higher Learning Commission;
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU);
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Commission on Colleges;
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASCACCJC), Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges;
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASCACSCU), Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities.
Why does the program strongly recommend that prerequisite courses be taken within the last five to seven years?

Although not required, the program strongly recommends that prerequisite course be taken within the last five to seven years. The PA program is dedicated to the success of its students. Because much of the information taught in the basic science courses is highly technical, the program feels that students should be current in anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, and statistics. In addition, a very large amount of material is taught over a short period of time. Without a solid background, students may struggle to keep pace with the program.

How many hours of health care experience are required for the application?

2000 hours. Only paid, direct hands-on clinical health care experiences are considered for the minimum 2000 hours (1 year, 5-day workweek, at 8 hours/day = 2080 hours). All forms of health care experience are considered. Although encouraged as an additional experience, student practicum or shadowing experience is NOT considered toward meeting the 2000-hour requirement. Please visit the Requirements & Prerequisites page for more information.

Is a GRE score required for admission into the PA program?

No. A GRE score is not required for admission into the PA program.

When can I apply for the program?

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine Physician Assistant Studies Program will accept applications annually, usually beginning in May or June with a September deadline. Please visit the Physician Assistant Studies admissions page for more information.

I am attending another PA program but would like to transfer to your program. Do you accept transfer students?

We do not accept transfer students from other PA training programs; however, students are welcome to apply along with all other applicants.

Does the program offer advanced placement?

No. Advanced placement is not granted into the program. All students must complete the full program. (A3.15c)

What is your interview and admissions process?

We use a rolling admissions process. The program will conduct interviews starting in November and ending in December for each matriculating class. We expect to have 2-3 interview sessions. Each session will include a Friday evening orientation followed by a full day of activities on Saturday. Approximately 30-40 applicants will be invited to each session.

Will my age, gender or ethnicity make a difference in my chances for admissions?

No. The PA program encourages applicants from all socioeconomic, gender, racial and religious backgrounds.

Do I need to complete the entire program?

Yes. All students accepted to the PA program (including IMGs; also known as FMGs) must complete all required courses regardless of their prior degree status, in order to graduate from the program.