​Central Michigan University's PA Program strives in recruiting high caliber students who will develop the ability to practice medicine as future outstanding PA clinicians.  Prospective students who want to truly make a difference in the healthcare of our underserved communities will find the PA Program experience an outstanding opportunity to learn.

Applicants are evaluated based on their own credentials and merit.  To be considered for admission into CMU's PA Program, students must have completed or be in the final stages of completing an undergraduate degree. Furthermore, the prerequisite course requirements must also be met: a) earned a minimum of a 3.0 grade in all core prerequisite courses and an overall GPA of 3.25, b) successfully complete the Graduate Record Exam (GRE),    and c)  pursued direct patient care experiences as evidenced by at least 500 direct patient care work hours (of which 100 of the 500 were paid).

We value the unique qualities and life experiences that each person possesses. Our application process is designed to identify applicants' qualities through a holistic review process. This holistic approach to screening candidates allows for the PA Program's admissions team (a mix of faculty, staff and alumni) to seek students who have personal characteristics and interests which align with the PA Program's mission. We consider an applicant's cognitive capabilities, depth of past experiences, and personal attributes and characteristics. Findings from the interview process complement the applicant's CASPA and supplemental application portfolio.  Furthermore, the interview process enables the PA Program admissions team to gain insight into each applicant's personal values, capacity for using critical thinking and logic, understanding principles of ethics, and other potential qualities to become an outstanding PA.

The mission of CMU's PA Program is to produce well-educated and highly-trained Physician Assistants who provide evidence-based medical services within the interdisciplinary primary care environment, with an emphasis on diversity and service to medically underserved populations in rural or urban communities.  Consequently, we seek applicants who fit the program's mission by their demonstrating –

  • Understanding of the importance of primary healthcare.
  • Comprehension for the need to bridge cultural differences in order to promote effective relationships with patients through, for instance, the application of exploring patient beliefs, building rapport with patients, finding common ground, pursuing knowledge about different cultures, facilitating or offering language assistance for patients with limited English proficiency, building community partnerships, and implementing various other strategies that may improve access to care.
  • Commitment to pursuing careers in primary or rural healthcare, as suggested by past involvement with providing support to address the needs of medically underserved populations, whether through volunteer work, a service learning experience, past military service, or other employment.

Applicants who submit their files on time and meet the minimum prerequisite requirements are granted consideration for admission into the program, but they are not guaranteed to be admitted.  The Admissions Committee determines the selection of the top 90 applicants to be invited for interviews.  The selection of applicants for interviews is based on each applicant's files (GPA, transcripts, GRE, personal statement, letters of recommendation, portfolio of extracurricular activities, and work history) maintained in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) online repository and supplemental data maintained by the Admissions Department office. 

The interview process provides applicants the opportunity to meet the PA Program faculty and staff Admissions Team, along with several current PA students and alumni.  All invited applicants undergo a multi-faceted multiple mini interview (MMI) and evaluation process. In addition to the MMI, prospective students will also complete a brief essay. This process involves our applicants rotating in small groups through a set of short interview stations through which applicants rotate. At each station, the applicant is presented with a question, scenario or task. The information we compile through these stations helps us evaluate each applicant based on several factors - academics, work experience and interpersonal qualities (such as maturity, altruism, communication skills, adaptability, reliability and teamwork). All interviewed applicants are scored on each item and a composite score is calculated. 

We are looking for well-rounded PA student candidates.  So, even though one may be very strong in one area, the decision for admission offers is based on overall composite scores which are ranked to identify top applicants. Offers are based on admissions data metrics and any articulation agreements CMU may have in place with another university (at present, we have dedicated four spots to qualifying Northern Michigan University students). We extend several offers to top candidates following their interviews as part of the rolling admissions process, and then we complete our class selection (and our alternate list) shortly after the close of the last day of our series of scheduled interviews.

Average academic and practical qualifications

The following information highlights the average of academic and practical qualifications for those students who were enrolled for the graduating class of 2016. This information will allow you to assess your chances of admission and help in your planning process.

​Cumulative GPA:​3.53
​Prerequisite GPA:​3.62
​Direct Patient Care Experience:​3,450

 PA Program Essential Standards for Matriculation can be found under the Student Guidelines and Handbooks​ portion of the website.


Contact Barb McIntrye for additional admissions related questions:  989-774-1730.​

[Updated 3/2/2015]