Before You Create An Application


The Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) simplifies the process of applying to physician assistant programs. By using CASPA, you are able to complete one application via our online website and send one set of documents to our centralized service. CASPA will verify your coursework for accuracy, calculate your GPA, and provide your application to your designated PA programs.

Physician assistant programs choose to participate in CASPA. Approximately 90 percent of accredited PA programs participate in each CASPA cycle. Developing PA programs that are within one year of being granted provisional accreditation may also choose to participate.  There are PA programs who do not utilize CASPA; they handle their application process individually. For a list of programs who participate in CASPA, please see the Participating Programs list

IMPORTANT: Before you start your application, you are responsible for knowing the information contained in these Instructions and FAQ pages, so please review them carefully, even if you have applied previously.


The CASPA application cycle runs from April every year until the following March. Applicants may not create an account or submit documentation to CASPA prior to our opening date.

UNDERSTAND: The 2017-2018 CASPA application cycle opens on April 27, 2017 and closes on March 1, 2018.

Applicants who apply during this timeline will be considered for the 2018 OR January 2019 entering class of physician assistant students. It is your responsibility to ensure you are applying for the correct application cycle. If you are unsure, please contact the programs to which you are applying to confirm that you are filling out the correct application BEFORE creating a CASPA account. CASPA cannot provide refunds for your application or transfer payment and documents to a new application should you apply for the incorrect cycle.


Each PA program has different deadline requirements and prerequisites for entry. Please contact the schools to which you are applying to determine their entry requirements.

CASPA does NOT determine if an applicant is eligible to apply to any program. It is your responsibility to know the prerequisite requirements of the program(s) you are applying to and apply only to those programs with minimum requirements that you meet or exceed. Please note that CASPA will accept all application payments regardless if you meet program requirements or not. Refunds are not granted under any circumstance, including to applicants who did not meet a program’s minimum requirements to apply.


The following steps are highly recommended BEFORE applying:

1. Read through CASPA’s Instructions and FAQ and the Professional Code of ConductYou are responsible for understanding this information BEFORE you start your CASPA application, and will be asked to state you understand and agree to these policies prior to submitting your CASPA.

2. Determine what types of references your PA programs require (ie. academic, clinical, PA, etc.) and contact your potential evaluators to ensure they are willing to complete a recommendation on your behalf.

3. Request official copies of transcripts to be sent to you to aid you in filling out the coursework portion of the CASPA application (these can NOT be the same ones later sent to CASPA).

4. Compose your personal essay in a word processor. Please note CASPA has a character limit of 5,000 characters, including spaces and line breaks.

5. Research your the deadline requirements for each PA program you are interested in applying to and note what is required for each deadline as this can greatly affect your timeline for submitting documents and completing your CASPA application.

6. Determine PA programs’ requirements regarding prerequisites, standardized tests scores, supplemental applications, foreign evaluations, etc. and ensure you meet their minimum requirements.


If you have created an active account during the 2015-2016 OR 2016-2017 cycle, instead of clicking “Create New Account,” sign in with your previous login information to begin the process for the current cycle. If you have forgotten your username or password, click “Forgot username or password” to retrieve it. Please see the “Re-Applying to CASPA” section of our instructions for more detailed information on how to proceed once you log in.

UNDERSTAND: Even if you would like to start over with a “fresh” application, the new re-applicant process will give you the option to do so. If you would like to start completely fresh, still sign in with your old account information. Do NOT create a new account.

If your previous CASPA account is older than 2015-2016 and you have never before created an account on our 3.0 platform, your application information is no longer accessible. Please proceed by creating a new CASPA account.


IMPORTANT: Please review the “Technical Requirements” page to ensure your web browser, email settings, and mobile device are compatible with the CASPA application.


Below we have outlined a suggested timeline you should keep in mind when completing your application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible; this suggested timeline represents the latest we recommend completing each step. Please note processing times vary throughout the cycle and each PA programs’ deadline requirements differ, therefore this timeline may not apply to every applicant’s situation.

Prior to Start of the Application Cycle

Research PA programs, prerequisite requirements, program information, and other requirements. Begin narrowing down and selecting programs you may be interested in applying to. Focus on finishing outstanding courses or other prerequisite needs at this time, and begin reaching out to potential letter of reference authors. Begin gathering your demographic and academic information, which will help speed up the process of completing your application.

At Least 3 Months Prior to Deadline

Begin the CASPA application; inform references of the process and ensure they have agreed to participate. Complete the Colleges Attended section and References section immediately so that references and transcripts can be received by CASPA.

At Least 10-12 Weeks Prior to Deadline

Request that transcripts be sent to CASPA directly from your schools and confirm with your references that they have received the online reference request via e-mail. Request that additional copies of transcripts be sent to you directly so that you may begin entering your coursework into your CASPA application. Begin drafting your personal essay.

At Least 6-8 Weeks Prior to Deadline

Monitor application for receipt of transcripts and letters of reference and follow up with CASPA on any missing items. Complete filling out application and submit it to CASPA.

At Least 4-6 Weeks Prior to Deadline

CASPA application has been submitted and all transcripts, payments, and at least two letters of reference have posted to the CASPA application. The application has received a complete date and is in line for verification. Monitor your application status regularly and follow up on any incomplete or undelivered statuses until the application is “verified.”


Q: How early should I start the application process?

A: APPLY EARLY! To ensure your application is verified on time, ALL MATERIALS should arrive at CASPA to complete your application at least four weeks prior to your earliest deadline. Once your application is considered COMPLETE, it can take up to FOUR WEEKS for it to be processed.

Q: What do I do if I have applied before?

A: If you had an active CASPA account in the 2015-2016 or 2016-2017 application cycle, please visit the “Re-Applying to CASPA” section of our instructions for details on how to proceed. If you applied prior to 2015-2016, you will need to create a new application, as information cannot be carried over from our 2.0 version of the application onto the 3.0 platform.