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Admissions Overview

Please see the attached UKPA Admissions Response to COVID-19 here.

When the application cycle opens, advising meeting will conclude and will reconvene in the Fall (September).

The 2020-2021 Admissions Cycle will open April 30, 2020 and will close July 15, 2020 for the January 2021 cohort start.

Please thoroughly review all the admissions requirements below as well as the "Steps for Applying" tab on the right.

Informational Sessions information here 

For admissions advising please contact Julia Berry.  EMAIL IS BEST. At this time due to updated University regulations, I am unable to conduct in-person meetings.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any specific admissions questions after reviewing all requirements below.  I am happy to assist you in any way possible to ensure that your admissions process to the UKPA Program is as smooth as possible given the unusual circumstance faced with COVID-19.

Holistic Admissions and Values of the Physician Assistant Program

The UKPA Program values academic acumen, leadership, life-long learning, diversity and inclusion, ethical and professional behavior, advancement of medical knowledge and quality, safe, and accessible healthcare. To this end, we employ a holistic admissions process, wherein academic success, as well as personal attributes and experiences are considered.  The program selects 40 students for the Lexington campus and 16 students for the Morehead campus which matriculate in the Spring.  Applicants may apply to only one campus and are not allowed to apply to both.

Below is an overview of the UKPA Program admissions criteria. Additionally, applicants may acquire admissions information at UK's Graduate School website and in the Graduate School Bulletin pertaining to graduate admissions and UKPA Graduate Admissions Requirements.

Bachelor’s Degree

Completion of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university is required.  The UKPAS program does not require a specific degree and the program does not favor one degree over another. All applicants must meet the minimum academic standards for the Graduate School which is at least a 2.75 institutional undergraduate GPA and a 3.0 Graduate GPA (if applicable). Your degree must be completed by December 2020 if applying in the 2020-2021 Admissions cycle that opens mid/late April 2020.

Program Prerequisite Course Requirements

The prerequisites are as stated in the Graduate School Bulletin.   The UKPA program will also accept AP credit if the AP score is equivalent to the UK course requirement for the program as well as CLEP credit.  You may check the UK AP credit chart for equivalency here and CLEP chart here. Only 1 retake per prerequisite course is allowed and a "C" grade or higher must be received to meet the minimum grade requirement.  We will take the highest grade between the two attempts.

2020-2021 Admissions Cycle Update:

The UKPA Program will accept Pass/Fail grading for prerequisite coursework for the Spring & Summer 2020 semesters only.  This will only be applicable if the applicant’s undergraduate institution has transitioned to the Pass/Fail grading model.  Undergraduate, prerequisite, and science GPAs will still be calculated with letter grades excluding Pass/Fail grading to assist in application review.  Lastly, applicants who have a Pass/Fail grade for a prerequisite course requirement, will need to complete a grade confirmation form (appendix A) to send to their course director to verify a letter grade and send back to the program admissions officer.

The UKPA Program strongly recommends applicants to choose the option that best prepares them for the rigor of our graduate level coursework.  By choosing to receive a letter grade, this will give you and the admissions committee a better indicator of your knowledge of the curriculum.

The UKPA program will also extend prerequisite course completion for the 2020-2021 Admissions Cycle.  Currently, our program allowed up to two outstanding prerequisite course requirements that must be completed by August 2020.  However, due to some summer courses being cancelled, the UKPA Program will allow up to two outstanding prerequisite courses to be completed by December 2020.  If you are completing prerequisite courses in the Fall 2020 semester and accepted in August 2020 by the UKPA Program, your acceptance will be conditional based on completing the courses with a “C” grade or better.  Your bachelor’s must be completed by December 2020 and a transcript showing the completion of your degree must be received prior to the start of the PAS program. If a final transcript is not received showing confirmation of courses and your degree prior to the start of the program, your admission to the program may be rescinded.

Checking Course Equivalency

To determine equivalency with the UK courses listed below, consult the Transfer Equivalency Database.  If your course is not listed in the equivalency database, a copy of the course syllabus must be sent to Julia Berry for review of equivalency. 

GPA Requirement

The UKPA Program reviews the institutional undergraduate GPA as well as the prerequisite GPA during admissions. The program will allow a graduate GPA to trump the undergraduate, if it is at least 20 credit hours from an enrolled graduate program.  This does not include post-bach graduate classes which are not associated with a program completion.

International Applicants

International applications or Foreign Medical Graduates (FMG) must have their international transcripts evaluated by World Education Services (WES).  The College of Health Sciences will not accept evaluated transcripts from any alternative agency.   Additionally, the UKPA Program will not allow FMG's to be exempt from any portion of the admissions process or PAS course in the program.  See below more information about taking the TOEFL exam.

Pre-Requisite Courses**

CourseRequirementUK Equivalency
General Chemistry I w/Lab1 Semester + LabCHE 109 & 110 w/CHE 111 or CHE 105/111
General Chemistry II w/Lab1 Semester + LabCHE 107/113
Organic Chemistry w/Lab1 Semester + LabCHE 230/231 or CHE 232/232

Human Anatomy* or
Anatomy & Physiology I*

1 Semester (3 hours) or
1 Semester (4 hours)

ANA 209 or ANA 109 (must be paired with ANA 110 only)

Human Physiology* or 
Anatomy & Physiology II*

1 Semester (3 hours) 
or 1 Semester (4 hours)

PGY 206 or ANA 110 (must be paired with ANA 109 only)
General Biology w/Lab1 Semester + LabBIO 148, 150 or 152 w/ 151 or 155 lab
Microbiology w/Lab1  Semester + LabBIO 208 or 308 with 209 or 309 lab or 380 lab
Statistics1 SemesterSTA 291, 296 or PSY 216
Psychology1 SemesterPSY 100
Developmental Psychology1 SemesterPSY 223 (we WILL NOT accept abnormal or any other psych. course) Also, must be a full child thru adult lifespan.

Anthropology or

1 SemesterANT 160, SOC 101, or HHS 453
Medical Terminology1 SemesterCLA 131

*A standalone Anatomy cannot be paired with an A & P II course and vice versa. The prerequisite must be taken with their corresponding course (i.e. Anatomy is paired with Physiology or A & P I is paired with A & P II).
**Science prerequisite courses that are equivalent to the UK courses are generally those taken from a biology/chemistry pre-med curriculum.  Please make sure to check our transfer equivalency database to see if your school's courses are equivalent to the UK course requirement. See link for database above.

Standardized Exam Requirement

Currently, ETS has allowed at home testing using ProctorU for both GRE and TOEFL.  Please review the ETS website for more information about the exams. 

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) 

All applicants are required to take the GRE which must have been taken within the last 5 years.  Official scores must be received by UK's Graduate School Office by our July 15th deadline.  A minimum score is not set by the program or UK's Graduate School.  Note the recent accepted class (2019-2020 cycle) average is: Verbal 153 (58%), Quantitative 152 (46%) and Analytical 4.0 (61%).

The UKPA Program accepts ONLY the GRE for our program. We do not accept any substitutes (e.g. the MCAT).  For more details about the GRE exam please refer to our Admissions FAQ's or the GRE website.  

The UK GRE code is 1837 and all official scores must be sent to the University of Kentucky Graduate School Office. Office scores are not sent to CASPA.  DO NOT CHOOSE A DEPARTMENT NUMBER. ONLY SEND TO THE 1837 CODE.

Additional, GRE resources:


UK's Transformative Learning offers GRE Prep courses.  Please refer to this link for more information.

TOEFL Requirements (If Applicable)
International applicants or domestic students who attended a high school that was not English speaking, are required to submit TOEFL iBT scores in addition to the GRE. A minimum combined TOEFL iBT score of 104 is required with a minimum score of 26 in each category: Reading, Listening, Speaking, & Writing. Refer to the TOEFL website for more information about the exam.

Foreign Medical Graduates & International Applicants may find more information on the Admissions FAQ page.

Patient Care Experience
The UKPA Program requires patient contact, however a minimum amount of hours is not set. Contact hours may be completed utilizing the following (but not limited to) medical disciplines: CNA, EMT, CMA, Medical Tech., Professional Hospice Volunteer, Physical Therapy Assistant, Athletic Training, Scribe etc. Applicants must demonstrate hands-on clinical skills such as, but not limited to, taking patient vitals, blood pressures, glucose, administering immunizations, etc. Also, you may go to our FAQ's link here for more detailed information about acquiring patient contact experience.  

Patient contact hours are documented in the CASPA application only.  The UKPA program does not require any other documentation i.e. pay stubs, signed forms from preceptors etc.

If you have hours in other areas not mentioned or more detailed experience in the limited options, please contact Julia Berry for advising on accepted hours.


The UKPA program no longer requires shadowing as an admissions requirement, however it is strongly recommended in order to be competitive.  Applicants are expected to have a clear understanding of the profession in order to articulate their understanding in the application as well as the interview process.  While shadowing is an excellent means to immerse oneself in the profession other ways of exposure such as working clinically with PAs, having a close friend/relative who is a PA, taking the UK PAS 120 undergraduate course, etc. are considered valued experiences in learning more about the profession. 

Shadowing at UK HealthCare

UK HealthCare has updated their policy for shadowing students who are not enrolled in UK college of Nursing or College of Health Sciences. Please contact UK's OLE Office for information on setting up observations at UK HealthCare.
Shadowing hours are also documented in the CASPA application only. The UKPA program does not require any other documentation i.e. pay stubs, signed forms from preceptors etc.

Electronic Recommendations

Three letters of recommendation are required and completed on the CASPA application.

  • Letter 1 - PA or Physician
  • Letter 2 - Academic Professor or Advisor
  • Letter 3 - Medical (i.e. PA, Physician, supervisor) or Academic

CASPA allows a maximum of 5 letters, however the UKPA program only requires the three as stated above.  Applicants may have 2 additional letters in CASPA to complete the 5 recommendations.  If applicants have additional letters in addition to the 5 on CASPA, they may have them mailed or emailed to Julia Berry.

Admissions Essays

The essays are completed on the CASPA application. CASPA has a general essay which should be approximately 625 words asking, "Why are you interested in being a PA?".  There may be additional essays required by the program which will be included on the CASPA application.

Basic Life Support Certification

Applicants must be certified in Basic Life Support for Health Providers through the American Heart Association. Red Cross certifications will not be accepted. All students must have completed a BLS course by time of matriculation in January. Click HERE for a BLS provider course offered online or to locate a training center near you.

Non-Academic Attributes Considered

As stated above, the UKPA Program employs a holistic admissions process in which personal or non-academic attributes are considered in addition to academic attributes.  Examples include, however are not limited to, volunteer work, leadership, research, teaching, and diverse experiences.

Technical Standards, Background Checks & Drug Screening

All students matriculating into the UKPA Program are required to meet certain technical standards of the program and College of Health Sciences. Additionally, applicants must pass a background check and drug screen. If you have questions concerning the standards, background checks, and/or drug screen please contact Tammy Jo Edge.

College of Health Sciences Technical Standards
Physician Assistant Program Technical Standards

Notice: The official version of this material is available at the UK Graduate School site in the Graduate School Bulletin.

For further questions about our admissions requirements and program please refer to our FAQ page.

2019-2020 Admissions Cycle Statistics

The numbers presented in the table below are averages from the entire cohort matriculating in January 2020.  They are intended to provide information to individuals who are interested in our program and should not be construed as either necessary or sufficient for admission.  Admission decisions are based on a holistic evaluation of the unique attributes of each applicant.

Cumulative Undergraduate GPA3.60
Prerequisite GPA (Key GPA3.64
CASPA Science GPA3.50
Last 60 Credit Hour GPA3.69
Patient Contact Hours4463
PA Shadowing Hours108
Leadership Hours3147
Volunteer Hours948
Research Hours462