School of Health Professions

PA Program Frequently Asked Questions


COVID-19 Accommodations


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BCM PA Program will accept online laboratory courses completed in the Spring of 2020, Summer of 2020, Fall of 2020, Spring of 2021, Summer of 2021, and Fall of 2021. Beginning Spring 2022, all laboratory courses must be completed in person as per our prerequisites. All prerequisite coursework must be completed for a letter grade on transcript and at a regionally accredited U.S. institution. If you have extenuating circumstances, email


Email is the most efficient and accurate means to have your admissions questions answered. Please allow two weeks from the time your email is received for a response.

The following list includes frequently asked questions within the topics of general questions, prerequisites/applications, and demographics of the enrolled students.




Do you have a counselor or advisor I can talk to?
Questions that cannot be answered via the program's website may be addressed in an email to the program. These requests will be responded to by a representative of the admissions committee. Please allow up to 2 weeks for response. 

Do you offer any information sessions?
We offer virtual information sessions for those interested in finding out more about the PA profession and the Master of Science PA Program offered by Baylor College of Medicine. These informal, early evening sessions are held throughout the application cycle.

Do you offer any on-campus tours?
Currently, we do not offer campus tours. Applicants who are extended an offer of admissions will have an opportunity to visit the campus during a pre-determined date following interview. 

Is there a difference between instate and out-of-state tuition?
As a private institution, the tuition and fees charged to state residents and non-residents are identical.

Can I apply to your program if I am a non-U.S. resident?
All qualified applicants are considered for admission to the BCM Physician Assistant (PA) Program regardless of national origin. Applicants may include U.S. citizens, permanent U.S. residents holding a valid visa or Green Card, applicants who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the time of application, undocumented applicants, and international applicants. However, applicants are recommended to consider related matters that may affect their decisions. A non-exhaustive list of such matters - including financial aid, affiliated requirements, and state licensure - are briefly described below.

  • Currently, only U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens are eligible to receive any federal financial aid. View more information.
  • To register as a student, BCM requires that all international students must obtain and maintain an appropriate visa status for their stay in the U.S. 
  • All admitted students should note that BCM does not control the affiliate hospitals where clinical rotations or other Program-required training may take place. Affiliates may require vaccinations, background checks, and or proof of legal status in certain circumstances. BCM cannot guarantee that alternate locations will be available for students prevented -by affiliate requirements- from performing their course of study, clinical rotations, or other Program-required training. Inability to meet affiliate requirements may render PA students unable to complete their course of study or receive degrees or certifications demonstrating training completion. 
  • To practice in Texas or any other state, PA graduates must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and apply for state licensure. Criteria for eligibility to sit for the PANCE board examination and/or to qualify for state licensure are set by National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) board and each state. Thus, prospective PA students should consult the requirements of the licensing authority in any state in which they contemplate practicing to determine the qualifications for licensure.

Do you provide options for shadowing physician assistants?
The PA Program does not offer or arrange opportunities for shadowing a PA in the clinical setting. Passage of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) established standards to guard the privacy of a patient’s protected health information. Compliance requires that institutions and care providers ensure the confidentiality and integrity of a patient’s information and prevent errors that could compromise the privacy of a patient’s protected health information. The security and privacy elements within these regulations have caused clinical settings to greatly limit who may have access to patient information in oral, written and electronic form.

Students enrolled in health professions educational programs that use protected health information must undergo HIPAA training prior to accessing such information. Those not enrolled in such an educational program may not have access to protected health information in any form. Essentially, physicians, PAs and other healthcare providers are prevented from talking with you about patients, bringing you with them when they visit with and examine patients, and disclosing any information contained in the medical record. As a result, most clinical settings no longer allow for shadowing to take place.

Do you grant credit for experiential learning?
Applicants are not required to have prior healthcare or patient care experience to apply for admission to the BCM PA Program. Credit for experience obtained within the workplace or community setting, not related to a recognized course offered by an accredited academic institution, is not reviewed by the PA Program for the award of credit. Work experience must be evaluated and credit awarded by another college or university before the awarded credits may be considered for any stated PA Program admission prerequisites.

Do you offer clinical rotations for students enrolled in other accredited PA Programs?
We do not offer clinical rotations for students enrolled in other PA programs, except in special circumstances and when asked for assistance by the director of another PA program.

Is there on-campus housing available?
As an institution, Baylor College of Medicine does not own dormitory facilities. Community-based housing, such as furnished and unfurnished apartments, condominiums, duplexes, and houses are available near the Texas Medical Center in a wide variety of styles and cost.

Are students required to have health insurance?
Yes. Students are required to participate in the medical insurance plan offered by the school unless they are covered by a comparable plan elsewhere.

Are students covered by malpractice insurance?
Physician Assistant students are covered by malpractice insurance while enrolled as students performing duties on a clerkship either at Baylor College of Medicine or elsewhere. Activities aside from the above are not covered by Baylor College of Medicine malpractice insurance.

Are students able to work (volunteer or paid) while enrolled in the program?
Physician Assistant students are strongly encouraged NOT to hold any employment while enrolled in the program. The schedule of the didactic and clinical years, coupled with study and other requirements, do not allow for students who are employed to be successful in our program.

Does your program participate in rolling admissions?
No. Regardless of the submission date of application, all applications are screened, and interview invitations are extended at the same time on a yearly basis.




Are there any specific requirements for patient care or shadowing hours?
There are no requirements for patient care experience, healthcare experience, or shadowing hours. If applicants chose to gain these experiences, they will be evaluated in the context of their overall application. However, they are not required for admission.

Can prerequisite courses be completed at a community college?
Yes. The listed prerequisite courses may be completed at any accredited college or university in the U.S.; including community colleges.

Can someone apply for admission without all the prerequisites completed?
Yes. The admissions process is designed to allow individuals to apply to the Program as long as all prerequisite courses are completed before enrollment in the Program. This means that all course requirements must be completed no later than the end of the spring semester of the year in which you intend to enroll.

A course ‘in-progress’ during the fall semester or ‘planned’ should be indicated on the CASPA application. Visit the CASPA FAQ for listing coursework on the CASPA application.

When is the latest I can complete the prerequisite courses and still apply for admission?
Outstanding course prerequisites must be completed no later than the end of the spring semester of the year in which you intend to enroll.

May credit earned for courses completed while enrolled in a foreign medical or graduate school fulfill the prerequisites?
No. All prerequisite coursework must be completed at a regionally accredited US institution.

Do you accept advanced placement (AP) credit for program prerequisites?
AP credit is only accepted if it resulted in a letter grade on your official transcript.




What can I do to improve my application/chances of being accepted into the Baylor College of Medicine PA Program?
Select references wisely and talk with the individuals so they clearly understand what it is you are about to do. It is not uncommon for letters to speak about an applicant making a good medical student and future physician. This attention is most important if the same reference has been asked to send letters to both a medical school and a PA program

Pay great attention to the quality of the narratives submitted with the application. The Program’s supplemental questions ask each applicant to provide specific information. This is an opportunity for you to talk more about yourself along with why you think you are prepared to succeed in graduate studies. Be careful about changing the name of the school to which you are applying in these narratives. Inattention to details such as this is quickly picked up on by faculty screening applications.

Stick to the basics and do them well. We look for congruence between measures of academic performance, letters of reference, and written narratives. Continue to be a good student. Continue an ongoing volunteer experience, but do not run out at the last minute and do it. We look for sustained patterns of performance.

It is also essential to understand the importance of all parts of the application. This is where you get to present who you are and what you are about. It is also the hurdle one must get over to be asked for an interview. With thousands of applicants all meeting minimum grades and course prerequisites, the narrative components and letters of reference take on even greater significance.

What are the mistakes individuals make as applicants?
The common mistakes result from ineffective time management, inattention to details, limited follow through, and non-specific responses to questions asked. The most common mistakes include:

Missing application deadline: Completion of the CASPA application cannot be accomplished in one sitting, so plan ahead, work a little each day, and be sure to submit the CASPA application, required documents and payments before the midnight Aug. 1 deadline. We strongly recommend submitting your application at least 2 weeks prior to the deadline to ensure CASPA has time to verify your application.

Information in narrative statements not responsive to questions: Narrative statements should be well written, incorporate the use of critical reflection, and respond directly to questions asked. Avoid using the CASPA narrative response as the sole basis of your response to the questions in the Program supplemental section of the CASPA application.

Lack of follow-up: Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all college and university transcripts, and letters of recommendation, are received by CASPA in a timely manner.

There are also occasions when applicants invited for interviews experience difficulty in communicating information in response to questions raised by interviewers. Because communication and interpersonal skills are competencies expected of all physician assistants, they are a very important part of the interview process.




How many new students do you enroll each year?
Each entering class is comprised of new students. Over 1,000 applications are received each year of which 150 are invited for interviews before offering positions to 40 individuals.

Do you give preference to Texas residents?
Applicants seeking admission to the program come from many states, including Texas. In that more applications are received from in-state residents, it is possible for any entering class to be comprised of more residents of Texas. Regardless of the state of residence, admission to the PA Program is on a competitive basis.

Can I apply to your program if I am a non-U.S. resident?
Email the PA Program at

What is the entering class profile?
Based upon a review of demographic and academic information on applicants matriculated into the PA Program entering class, the typical student was female, 24 years of age, and had a bachelor's degree. The mean grade point average was 3.7 (range 3.2 to 4.0).