Frequently Asked Questions

The UTC PA Program is anticipating matriculating the first PA class in January of 2021.  This is pending accreditation approval from the ARC-PA with site visit February 2020 and board meeting in June 2020.

UTC PA will undergo an incremental increase in class size.  The first cohort will have 20 students, the second will have 30, and the third will have approximately 36 students.

The mission, values, and goals can be found here

The Program strives to graduate competent, confident PAs who will serve the needs of the community with health, wellness, and education in collaborative medical practice.


The UTC PA Program is a 27-month long curriculum that begins in January with graduation occurring in May.

The didactic phase comprises the first 15 months with students involved in classroom, laboratory, small-group, standardized patient experiences, problem-based learning, active-learning and flipped classroom techniques, and experiential learning opportunities.

The clinical phase comprises the last 12 months in which students are assigned to supervised clinical rotations at various hospital and outpatient offices.

 At the completion of the UTC PA Program, students are awarded a Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant (MPAS).
 This is our first application cycle. We will update the website as soon as we have data to share. 
 UTC PA Department accepts students from across the country, though we focus on the  Chattanooga Metropolitan area and the rural regions beyond. You must be able to confirm residency with the bursar’s office in order to apply.
No, but if you are accepted to the UTC PA Program, you will also be required to apply to the UTC Graduate School.

Visit the Graduate School's site →

Yes. The Physician Assistant Department at UTC offers a Masters Degree. All applicants accepted into the Program, must have a bachelor's degree. The undergraduate degree must be completed by August 1 of the year of application.

We do accept applications from foreign graduates. The requirements include:

  • Apply and be admitted to the Graduate School at UTC first
  • Send your WES equivalency paperwork to CASPA and the UTC PA Department
  • Obtain TOEFL scores and report them to the UTC Graduate School and PA Department
  • All prerequisite courses MUST be taken in the US
  • 50% of all clinical hours MUST be obtained in the US
  • You MUST take the GRE with Analytical Writing within the last 5 years
  • Must have a permanent address in the United States
The UTC PA Program does not endorse any specific undergraduate major or program. Many strong applicants obtain majors in various biological sciences for a solid foundation.
All prerequisite courses must be complete at the time of application and verified by CASPA.

You may take combination Anatomy and Physiology courses or dedicated Anatomy and Physiology courses, but they must be Human Anatomy and Physiology and must include an in person lab. 

We do not accept Vertebrate, Comparative, or Mammalian Anatomy and Physiology courses.

Yes. Each applicant is viewed equally; therefore, each must complete all prerequisite course work. No exceptions or substitutions.
There is no requirement that your courses are taken in any time frame. However, if it has been many years since your core science courses, specifically Anatomy and Physiology, we strongly recommend that you refresh your knowledge in these topics.
CASPA starts accepting applications in April. We begin interviews starting in August and ending in October. Our deadline for applications to be received by CASPA is August 1.
We expect to have the class filled after interviews have concluded and the admissions committee meets for the final time in October. You may expect a letter by the first week of November.
Yes—Candidates confirm their place in the class by submitting a $500 non-refundable deposit by specified date and instructions in the acceptance letter.
Deferment is not our policy.  Individual cases may be considered upon request.
No—the program can only be completed on a full-time basis.
Applicants are offered a place on the Alternate List if they are not initially chosen for a seat in the class. The Alternate List is activated when a student in the accepted class forfeits their seat. An Alternate List is active from the close of the interview process through the first week of classes for which the student applied. Applicants on the Alternate Listed that are not selected for a seat are NOT considered for admission to the following class without reapplication. Your number on the Alternate List will not be given to you.

YES, you need 1000 hours. Hands-on direct patient care experiences may come from a variety of places. The extent to which an applicant is actually involved in patient care will be weighed based on the description of the applicant’s duties during those hours. The title of a position is not as important as the duties the applicant performed in terms of patient contact and interaction with patients and other healthcare providers (physicians, PAs, nurses, etc.).

Examples of direct patient care experiences may include but are not limited to: EMT, paramedic, medical assistant, scribe, patient care tech, nurse, surgical tech, athletic trainer, physical therapy aide, etc.

We have many exceptional applicants, but numerous qualified people are turned down for admission because we accept only a small number of students each year.  We will increase our class size for the first 3 years of the program and then continue the class size around 36 students. Our accepted student decisions are based on GPA, GRE, clinical experiences, and interview results. We invite all potential students to re-apply for the next admission cycle thru CASPA and the Graduate School.
  • Meet our overall GPA minimum requirements and if needed retake courses that you may not have performed as well as you wanted.
  • Shadow a PA, MD, DO, or NP 
  • Understand the role of a PA and be able to articulate your understanding as related to your personal academic and professional strengths and goals.
  • Attend an information session at UTC to learn how to be more competitive.

Each applicant is considered individually leaving no specific path for a successful candidate.  Highlight your individuality and what draws you to the profession in the narrative section of the CASPA application.  Make sure to detail anything that we cannot glean from your application including challenges that lead to growth.

Some suggestions include:

  • Significant life experiences
  • Intellectual interests
  • Factors inspiring you to become a physician assistant
  • Significant obstacles met and overcome
  • Socioeconomic challenges
  • Atypical educational path
  • Previous career
  • Cross-cultural experiences

These subjects, as well as other related topics, would be appropriate to help the committee make a thoughtful decision.

 Unfortunately, the number of applicants restricts our ability to meet with individual applicants about your application.  We encourage you to attend the information sessions listed on the main web page and email specific questions to
 The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office at UTC is available to assist in graduate applications for financial aid.  You can find them on campus in the University Center or online here.
 Our first Cohort will graduate in May 2023 and cohort results will be posted as soon as they are available.
Current certification in Basic Life Support at the Healthcare Provider Level is required by the PA Program and will need to be maintained during the duration of the program.  American Heart Association certification is required. During the second year of the program, students will obtain Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Certification.

The program's policies and procedures for student admission decisions adhere to clearly defined and published practices of the institution and program. Applicants are evaluated using objective and subjective data retrieved from their CASPA application. A quantitative score is created based on GPA, GRE scores, Clinical Hours, and demographic information. Applicants are invited for an interview based upon their total score and ranking relative to other applicants.

Annually, we review our admissions process by reviewing the application, prerequisite requirements, clinical hour requirements, guidelines for GPA and GRE scores, applicant selection for interview, and interview process. Updates to the review process are made annually before CASPA opens each April and new guidelines are published on our website.
The Department of Physician Assistant Studies Admissions address is:
No—all applicants accepted into the UTC PA Program must apply through CASPA. We do not accept transfer students at any point in the program. You must complete the program from beginning to end with all courses included. 

Letters of recommendation should come from:
1- An MD, PA, or supervisor
2- A professor or advisor
3- someone who has known you for at least a year

Letters of recommendation should not come from:
1- a neighbor, family member, or friend
2- your personal medical provider (unless they are speaking from a supervisory position)
3- someone that has only known you for a short time

The International Elective allows for students, on a voluntary basis, to attend a rotation at Hillside Health Care International in Belize. This rotation is at the expense of the student for travel, the rotation, travel insurance, and health care cost for immunizations and malaria prophylaxis. Housing is included in the rotation expense as there is a dorm on-site. Cost of the rotation will vary depending on the cost of flights.

The Physician Assistant Program is contingent on the approval of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). This approval should take place in the beginning of 2020.