Applicants must be residents of one of the following states; with preference given to residents of North Carolina:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
You must be a resident and have a permanent address in one of these states at the time of application and admission to the program. If you or your spouse is active military and stationed in NC during application and admission, then you can request a waiver from PAAdmissions@ecu.edu.
Applicants must currently have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. The undergraduate degree must be completed by June 1st of the year of enrollment. Example: Applicants who submit application materials by September 1, 2014 must complete the undergraduate degree by June 1st of 2015 in order to enroll in the fall of 2015.
Prerequisite courses must be completed by September 1 in order to be considered for an early interview. However, applications may have one pending prerequisite course as long as it is completed and reported to CASPA and the program by December 31.
We prefer that all prerequisite courses are taken within the last 7 years. If your courses are older than that, know that we recommend refreshing them.
Applicants are required to have completed the prerequisite classes in the table below.
We encourage students to have taken anatomy and physiology within 2 years of the program application date; however, this is not a requirement.
We do not accept online lab courses.
We do not accept Animal or Mammalian Anatomy and Physiology courses
Courses can be taken at any regionally accredited institution, including community colleges. We prefer that all prerequisite courses be taken at a 4-year institution.
All courses must be assigned letter grade with the exception of medical terminology which can be Pass/Fail.
Advanced Placement (AP) credit is accepted for Psychology and Statistics courses. If AP credit was granted, no letter grade is necessary.
- Waivers will only be given if you have been a course instructor for the course requesting a waiver. For this waiver, email PAAdmissions@ecu.edu
Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA in their prerequisite coursework to be considered for the program. A grade of B or higher in each course is recommended.
We do not accept more than 2 Cs in prerequisite courses.
|Human Anatomy and Physiology - Lecture
|Human Anatomy and Physiology - Lab
|General Chemistry or higher - Lecture
|General Chemistry or higher - Lab
|Introductory Psychology or higher
Taking Courses at a North Carolina Community College?
Colleges within the North Carolina community college system use the same course name and number designations regardless of which location you choose to attend. Use the chart below to plan and register for your prerequisite course of study.
North Carolina Community College Equivalent Courses
||ECU Course Name & Number
||NC Community College Course Name & Number
|Human Anatomy and Physiology with Lab
BIOL 2140, 2141 AND
|BIO 168 AND BIO 169
|General or Introduction to Chemistry with Lab
||CHEM 1150, 1151 AND CHEM 1160/1161
||CHM 151 AND CHM 152
||BIOL 2110 or BIOL 3220
|Introductory Psychology or Higher
||BIOS 1500, MATH 2228 or 2283 or PSYC 2101
||MAT 150 or 152
||ATEP 2800 or HIMA 3000*
||OST 141 AND 142 OR
MED 121 AND 122
*ATEP can be taken to fulfill the medical terminology prerequisite requirement and is offered online. HIMA 3000 is often reserved for ECU majors in specific allied health fields.
Patient Contact Hours
We require that applicants have at least 1000 documented healthcare exposure hours. All hours must be completed by September 1 in order to be considered for an early interview. However, if some hours are pending, they may be submitted by December 31. These hours can be obtained through paid, volunteer or shadowing experiences. We prefer that 250 of your clinical hours be direct shadowing of a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner.
We recommend that you keep your own records. The program may require verification of your clinical hours.
Acceptable forms of clinical experience include:
- Shadowing of PA, NP, MD/DO
- Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic
- Military Medic/Clinical Specialist
- Surgical Technician
- Radiological Technician
- Certified Nursing Assistant
- Laboratory Technician with phlebotomy experience
- Athletic Trainer
- Nursing (CNA, LPN, RN, CMA)
- Certified Physical/Occupational Therapist
- PT/OT Assistant
- Home health with verification of job duties
- Medical Interpreter
- Child Life Specialist
Unacceptable forms of clinical experience include:
- Veterinarian Assistant
- Secretary for Physician's Office
- Massage Therapist
- Pharmacy Technician
- Dental Hygienist/Assisting
- Patient Transport
- Health Fitness Specialist
Applicants must take the GRE. The GRE can taken several times; however, we will combine the top verbal and quantitative scores to determine the overall score. We do not observe a specific minimum score, but do encourage you to compare your GRE score with the accepted classes above to see if your score is competitive. There will not be a waiver for the GRE. If you have taken another exam or your exam is over 5 years old, you will still be expected to take or repeat the exam. GRE scores must be submitted by September 1 in order to be considered for an early interview. However, pending scores may be submitted to our program and CASPA by December 31. The ECU code for the GRE is 0421.
Criminal Background Checks and Drug Screens
ECU and the PA program are not responsible for reviewing background checks or paying for them. Some rotation sites require these background checks. If a student can not complete a clinical portion of the PA program because negative items contained in a criminal background check or failure to pass a drug screening, the student will not be able to graduate. Neither ECU nor the PA program will be held liable for the student's failure to obtain state licensing. Students will be subject to institutional and ECU policies regarding alcohol and drug use.
The Department of Physician Assistant Studies complies with the immunization recommendations for healthcare personnel set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The following immunizations are required for Physician Assistant students and are based on CDC guidelines:
- Tetanus (Td or Tdap) (within last 10 years)
- Hepatitis B Series OR Hepatitis A/B series AND Proof of Qualitative Hepatitis B Titer (this can take up to 6 months to complete)
- Qualitative Varicella Titer (chickenpox)
- MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella)-----2 doses and Qualitative titer of immunization
- Date of completion of primary tetanus series, (DPT, DPT,DTaP or Tdap)
- Date of completion of polio series
- PPD (Tuberculosis skin test): Initial test must be 2 step PPD and each following PPD annually with the most recent completed within the previous 6 months of 1st day of class
- Influenza – each fall
Each student must update their PPD status and statement of good health every 12 months or more frequently if required by a clinical site to which the student is assigned. Students should maintain a personal pocket file of current immunization status and CPR, ACLS, PALS certifications that may be easily accessed, if requested while participating in hospital ward visits and/or clinical rotations.
Students are advised that the information above may be released to third parties to facilitate their clinical placements.
All students accepted for admission must document with the program no later than July 1 that all immunizations or appropriate titers under Sections A and B of the Student Health Application have been completed or are in progress if immunization requires a series of injections. The Student Health Service web site is at: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-studentlife/studenthealth/.
Basic Life Support
All accepted applicants into the Physician Assistant Studies program are required to complete basic life support for health practitioners. Please contact your local American Red Cross on training courses available.
A student admitted into the East Carolina Physician Assistant program must meet basic and essential requirements that are necessary for obtaining employment and performing as a Physician Assistant. The technical standards each student must master include cognitive, physical and behavioral characteristics. Reasonable accommodation for persons with documented disabilities will be considered on an individual basis, but a candidate must be able to perform in an independent manner. All students must possess the intellectual, ethical, physical and emotional capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty. The following skills are required, with or without accommodation.
Critical Thinking: Students must possess the intellectual, ethical, physical and emotional capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty. The ability to solve problems, a skill that is critical to the practice of medicine, requires the intellectual abilities of measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Candidates for the program must be able to perform demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences.
Communication Skills: A candidate should also be able to converse with patients as well as hear and observe them on order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceived nonverbal communications. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written forms. Visual Ability: Candidates must be able to observe a patient accurately, both at a distance and close at hand. This ability requires functional use of vision and somatic sensation.
Hearing and Tactile Abilities: Candidates should be able to execute movements reasonably required to move from area to area, maneuver in small spaces, calibrate and use large and small equipment, position and move patients, and provide patients with general and emergency treatment.
Interpersonal Abilities: A candidate for the PA program must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of responsibilities required for diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature sensitive, and effective relationships with patients, families and colleagues.