Admission into East Carolina University’s PA Program is very competitive. We select up to 38 applicants to matriculate into each cohort. Our process of application review and interview ensures a fair selection of students to join our program.  Please carefully review the below information and the Frequently Asked Questions as many of your questions may be answered here.

Admission Process 

ECU’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies has several requirements. Please carefully read through our requirements detailed below. In addition to our requirements, applicants must meet the standards of the ECU Graduate School.

To begin the Admissions process, applicants must submit an application to both CASPA (Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants) and to the ECU Graduate School. Each admissions cycle begins in April and closes on September 1. The Admissions team reviews applications on a rolling basis once completed for both CASPA and the ECU Graduate School. Preference for interview is given to applicants who apply early.

Begin your CASPA application at CASPA Applicant.

Begin your ECU Graduate School application at Grad School Apply.

Admission Requirements

Residency Status

Applicants must be permanent residents of one of the following states at the time of application. Preference is given to residents of North Carolina. Residency status is verified by the Residency Determination Service when applying to the ECU Graduate School.

  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Tennessee
  • Georgia
  • Washington D.C.

If you or your spouse are active military and stationed in NC during application and admission, you may request a waiver from PA Admissions.


Applicants must obtain a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. The undergraduate degree must be completed by June 1 of the year of enrollment.

Degrees and/or coursework must be completed from a college or university regionally accredited by the below bodies recognized by the ECU Graduate school or an international university deemed to have equivalent credentials as determined by ECU pre-approved foreign institutions.

  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Prerequisite Courses

  • Submit all transcripts to CASPA. Course work, including prerequisite courses, are verified by CASPA. The ECU Graduate School has access to your verified transcripts through CASPA and will only request transcripts on an as needed basis for documentation of completed courses and/or degrees.
  • Applicants are required to have completed the prerequisite courses in the table below by the time of application submission.
  • Courses may be taken at any regionally accredited institution, including community colleges. However, we prefer the majority of prerequisite coursework be completed at a four-year institution.
  • You may check for course equivalencies at Course Equivalency. 
  • Applicants must meet a minimum 3.0 GPA overall to be considered for the program.
  • A grade of B or higher in each prerequisite course is recommended.
  • We do not accept more than two C’s in prerequisite courses.
  • We prefer prerequisite courses are completed within five years of application submission; however, this is not a requirement. If your coursework is out of this time frame, we encourage you to retake these courses, particularly Anatomy and Physiology.
  • We accept online lab experiences. However, we strongly encourage face-to-face lab experiences for preparation for our PA curriculum.
  • Coursework reported in a letter grade format is strongly encouraged. CASPA does allow course work to be reported as pass/fail; pass/fail courses do not factor into your reported GPA.
  • Biochemistry is not currently a prerequisite requirement. However, a grade of B or better in upper-level Biochemistry is given preference in application review.
  • One semester of Biochemistry (minimum of 3 semester credit hours) will be a required prerequisite beginning the 2026-2027 admissions cycle.  Until the 2026 cycle, we will continue to give preference to applicants who have completed the course with a B or better.  A survey or combined course will not meet this requirement.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) credit is accepted for Psychology and Statistics only. If AP credit was granted, no letter grade is necessary. Statistics courses in the social sciences are also acceptable.
  • We do not accept Comparative, Animal or Mammalian Anatomy and Physiology courses.
  • Waivers will only be given if you have been a course instructor for the course requesting a waiver. For this waiver, e-mail PA Admissions.
  • Coursework completed prior to matriculation is not eligible for transfer credit or advance standing within the PA curriculum.
Prerequisite RequirementMinimum Semester Credit HourECU Course NameECU Course NumberNC Community College Course Number
Human Anatomy and Physiology with lab*8
(two semesters)
Human Physiology and Anatomy I & 2BIOL 2140/2141 and BIOL 2150/2151BIO 168 and BIO 169
Genetics3Principles of GeneticsBIOL 2300BIO 250
General Chemistry with lab
(may substitute with Organic Chemistry)
(two semesters)
General Chemistry 1 & 2CHEM 1150/1151 and CHEM 1160/1161CHM 151 & CHM 152
Microbiology3Fundamentals of Microbiology or MicrobiologyBIOL 2110 or BIOL 3220BIO 275
Introductory Psychology or higher3Introductory PsychologyPSYC 1000PSY 150
Statistics3Biostatistics, Mathematical Statistics, and Statistics in Social Sciences acceptedBIOS 1500, MATH 2228 or 2283, or PSYC 2101MAT 150 or 152
(prerequisite requirement beginning 2026-2027 cycle)
3Principles of BiochemistryBIOL 4880No community college equivalent
*Completing one semester of Human Anatomy with lab and one semester of Human Physiology with lab for a total of 8 semester credit hours also meets the prerequisite requirement.

Accepted applicants for the Fall of 2023 (ECU PA Class of 2025) averaged the following scores:

  • Cumulative GPA: 3.81
  • Science GPA: 3.77
  • Prerequisite GPA: 3.85


We require three letters of reference to be submitted directly to CASPA. We prefer your references come from medical professionals, supervisors, and/or professors. Please see below for a tier of reference recommendations. We do not allow references from family members, family friends, neighbors, or relatives. CASPA allows for five references. However, additional letters above our requirement of three do not factor into application review. Letters mailed or emailed directly to our Admissions committee or faculty/staff will not be taken into consideration.

  1. Medical providers, including PA, DO, MD, or NP
  2. Supervisor during healthcare hours (paid or volunteer)
  3. Professor
  4. Other/character reference

Patient Contact Hours

ECU PA studies highly values the clinical experiences matriculating students have acquired prior to beginning their PA education.  Quantity and quality of experiences are factored into the application review process. Patient contact and/or clinical experiences may include health related, patient care, research, shadowing, and volunteer experiences as defined by CASPA.  Experiences – Liaison ( In general, competitive applicants have at least 1,000 accrued patient contact hours at time of application submission. ECU PA does not have a requirement of minimum patient contact hours. Only hours accrued up to the point of the application deadline of September 1st are reviewed and considered in interview decision offers.  Applicants should make updates to clinical hours directly in their CASPA application by September 1st.  Applicants should detail their role and responsibilities for each reported experience.  Applicants are encouraged to keep their own records of accrued experiences as the program may request verification of clinical hours.

Positions that are in medical settings and involve professional experience with a provider with prescribing privileges are preferred. High quality patient care experiences include medical scribe, EMT, paramedic, medical assistant, and surgical tech. Shadowing of a medical provider (MD, DO, PA, NP) is also acceptable.


Standardized test (GRE, MCAT, or PA-CAT) completion is not required for application review and admission to our program. Applicants may choose to submit scores for review.  However, these scores do not provide advantage in application review. The PA-CAT (Physician Assistant College Admission Test) is designed to measure applicant knowledge necessary for success in demanding Physician Assistant programs such as ours. However, eligible applications will be reviewed regardless of PA-CAT completion.  Applicants taking the PA-CAT should designate East Carolina University to receive their scores. GRE scores may be submitted via the CASPA application using the ECU code 0421. MCAT scores may be released via the AAMC’s MCAT score reporting tool to CASPA.

If an exam is retaken, new scores may be submitted via CASPA prior to the application deadline.  Only official, verified scores will be reviewed.

Application Review

Applications are reviewed once complete and submitted to both CASPA and the ECU Graduate School. Applications are reviewed in the order they are received once complete and meeting the above outlined requirements (i.e. residency, GPA minimum, completion of prerequisites, etc). Additionally, ECU PA prioritizes application review of applicants in the following categories: NC residents, Military applicants, University graduates of Master level Science degree programs, Graduates and/or current students of the ECU Honors College, and Graduates and/or current students within the ECU College of Allied Health Sciences Department of Nutrition Science.  Applications are reviewed in totality for completeness and areas of excellence. We recognize academic success with review of total, science, and prerequisite GPA, as well as completion of Graduate course work in science fields if applicable.  Further, ECU PA Studies values diverse backgrounds within its cohorts and specifically identifies the below qualities in application review as contributing to the diversity of our program and profession.

  • Military service (veteran or active, including reserves, or military spouse)
  • Bilingual applicants
  • First generation college student
  • Disadvantaged socioeconomic status
  • Living in a geographically underserved area
  • Extraordinary life and/or healthcare experiences
  • Demonstration of commitment to service, as well as the mission and goals of ECU PA

Interview and Acceptance 

The most qualified applicants are invited for an interview. Candidates who have been interviewed may be notified of the Admissions committee’s decision shortly following the interview and no later than March 1. All applicants who apply to our program will be notified of the Admissions committee’s decision by March 1. Candidates confirm their place in the class by submitting a $750 non-refundable deposit. This deposit is ultimately applied to the first semester of tuition.

Admission Process Dates 

The CASPA application will open April 25th and the completed application deadline is September 1. Applicants should apply to the ECU Graduate School at the time of application to CASPA.
Tentative interview dates for the 2024-2025 admissions cycle are:
Friday, July 19th
Friday, August 30th
Friday, September 27th
Friday, October 25th
Friday, November 22nd
January date TBA if needed
Applicants selected for interview will receive email notification of their interview offer through the email address provided in their CASPA application. Interviews are conducted in person on the ECU Health Sciences campus. Applicants will receive further details regarding their interview after accepting their interview offer. Applications remain under review for interview invitation until the conclusion of interviews for the admissions cycle.

Application Timeline
CASPA Application DeadlineSeptember 1
ECU Graduate School ApplicationSeptember 1
Applications reviewed by Admissions CommitteeAs received
Interview offers made Rolling, starting in July and ending in January
Interviews conducted July-January
Offers of admission extended Rolling basis, starting in August
Immunizations and outstanding requirements due August 1st prior to start of program

Admission Requirements Checklist

  • CASPA application submitted by September 1
  • ECU Graduate School application submitted by September 1
  • North Carolina resident, or resident of one of the following: SC, VA, TN, GA, and Washington D.C.*
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.0
  • Minimum prerequisite GPA of 3.0
  • All prerequisite courses completed and reported by application submission
  • Bachelor’s degree completed by June 1
  • Documented patient contact hours
  • Review and meet our Technical Standards

*Check your residency status

For more information, please review our FAQs.

If you request additional information, please reference our Closer Look Closer Look | Physician Assistant Studies | ECU and attend an upcoming in person or virtual session.

If you have other questions not addressed by the above resources, you may email the Admissions committee at