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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

General Program Information

When will the program start?

If granted accreditation by ARC-PA, our program will enroll the first cohort in August 2025. Please review the Accreditation Status section for more information.

How many applicants will be accepted into the program each year?

A total of 40 students will be enrolled into the program each Fall.

Do you enroll students more than one time every year?

Our program will only matriculate new students each Fall.

Are California residents given an admissions preference?

No specific preference is given to all California residents in the admissions process. However, preference is given to California residents residing in the Inland Empire (San Bernardino and Riverside counties) and other underserved areas of the state. Please see the Admissions Preferences section to learn more.

I am an undocumented applicant. Will I be able to graduate and practice as a PA?

A student’s immigration status will not limit their ability to graduate from the CSUSB MSPA program and sit for the national certifying exam. However, each state determines a graduate’s ability to obtain professional licensure following graduation. At this time, California provides comprehensive access for individuals to obtain professional licensure regardless of their immigration status. For more information, please visit the Physician Assistant Board of California website.

What is the difference between the application year and matriculation year?

The application year is the year that a candidate submits their application to the program. The matriculation year is the year that the student would enroll and begin in the program. For example, if an applicant applies in November 2024, the application year is 2024, and the matriculation year is 2025.


Accreditation Status

Is the CSUSB MSPA program accredited?

California State University – San Bernardino has applied for Accreditation - Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). California State University – San Bernardino anticipates matriculating its first class in August 2025, pending achieving Accreditation - Provisional status at the March 2025 ARC-PA meeting.

Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. In the event the program does not earn accreditation-provisional status, students will not matriculate, and admissions deposits will be refunded. The California State University – San Bernardino is fully accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

The MSPA program has been approved by the CSU Board of Trustees to be developed at CSUSB. The program is currently in development and will be submitted to the Chancellor’s Office for full approval in Spring 2024.


Applications (CASPA, Supplemental, and Cal State Apply)

When will the CASPA application open for the first cohort (Class of 2027)?

The CASPA application will open in late April 2024 for individuals to apply for our first cohort in August 2025.

What is the application window for the CSUSB MSPA Program?

Each year, the CASPA application opens at the end of April and closes on December 1 at 8:59PM PST/11:59pm EST.

When is the CASPA application due for the CSUSB MSPA Program?

The application is due December 1 each year for enrollment the following Fall. Please note that the application closes at 8:59PM PST/11:59pm EST. Late submissions are not accepted under any circumstances, so applicants are recommended to submit their applications in advance.

Where is the supplemental application located?

The free CSUSB supplemental application is embedded within the Questions section of CASPA. The supplemental application must be submitted at the same time as the general CASPA application. 

What should I do if I made an error on my CASPA application?

Please notify CASPA as soon as possible of any errors. Since all required application materials are within CASPA, CSUSB will not be able to make any updates to your application or accept any changes not listed within CASPA.

Do I need to submit a Cal State Apply Application?

The Cal State Apply application is only required for accepted CSUSB MSPA program students who are matriculating into the program. Fee waivers may be available.

Do I need to take a standardized exam to apply?

No standardized entrance exams are required for admission into the CSUSB MSPA program, including the GRE® (Graduate Record Examinations), Physician Assistant College Admissions Test (PA-CAT), MCAT® (Medical College Admission Test), and CASPer® (Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics).

In some circumstances, international applicants may be required to complete an English Proficiency Exam. Please review the International Applicants section for more information.


Grade Point Average (GPA)

How does the CSUSB MSPA program calculate GPA?

All GPA calculations are performed by CASPA. The CSUSB MSPA program will not perform any calculations or recalculations of GPA. To learn more about CASPA’s process for calculating GPA, please visit the CASPA website. Consideration of GPA is integrated into admissions decisions.


Prerequisite Courses

Is it preferred to take prerequisite courses at a four-year institution compared to a community college?

The type of institution does not have an impact on admissions decisions. Therefore, prerequisite courses can be taken at either a four-year institution or a community college. In both instances, the institution must be regionally accredited.

Can I take introductory courses to meet the program’s prerequisite course requirements?

Students who complete introductory courses are strongly encouraged to take additional courses in the prerequisite content area. These courses typically provide only a brief introduction to topics, which may not be sufficient in depth to prepare applicants successfully for the program.

How many courses can be outstanding at the time of application submission?

Up to two prerequisite courses can be in progress at the time of application. However, no more than one science prerequisite course can be in progress after December 31 of the application year. Applicants invited to interview with the program will have to show verification that the outstanding coursework will be completed by June 30 of the matriculation year.

When should all prerequisites be completed?

Applicants must complete all prerequisite courses and their bachelor’s degree no later than June 30 of the matriculation year.

Are online courses accepted for the prerequisite courses?

Yes, online courses are accepted if they are 1) taken at a regionally accredited institution and 2) equivalent in depth and content to in-person courses. Accelerated online courses (e.g., completed in six to eight weeks) are accepted but strongly discouraged. The prerequisite courses are intended to prepare applicants successfully for the program. The program is fast-paced and intensive in nature, and the first semester challenges students to build upon knowledge already gained in the prerequisite courses.

Does General Biology, Biology I, or Biology II fulfill the “Additional Biological Science” requirement?

No, these courses will not fulfill the “Additional Biological Science” requirement. Accepted courses include Genetics, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Immunology, Endocrinology, and Histology. Please note that courses listed as “introductory” will not be accepted for this science prerequisite.


Financial Information

How much does it cost to apply to the CSUSB MSPA program?

All applicants are required to submit a Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application and a brief CSUSB supplemental application (embedded within CASPA). The CASPA application requires a fee (or fee waiver), but there is no additional fee for the CSUSB supplemental application. The Cal State Apply application is only required for accepted CSUSB MSPA program students who are matriculating into the program. Fee waivers may be available.

What is the cost to attend the CSUSB MSPA program?

Information about tuition, fees, and expected expenses for the program can be found in the Cost of Attendance section.

Are scholarships available to CSUSB MSPA program students?

There are currently no established scholarships through CSUSB. However, applicants are encouraged to evaluate various national scholarships and loan repayment programs (e.g., National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program) that are available. More information is available through the student page of the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) website.

I am an undocumented applicant. Will I be eligible for any financial aid?

Although federal financial aid is not offered to undocumented students, opportunities for financial support may be available. For more information, please visit the Undocumented Student Success Center page, which includes information on financial aid, scholarships, and free legal services.

Will I be able to work to support myself during the program?

Due to the intensive, full-time nature of the MSPA program, students are strongly discouraged from maintaining any employment. If students are employed, employment obligations will not be considered an acceptable reason for absences or poor performance. In addition, students are not permitted to work directly for the MSPA program.