McMaster University

McMaster University

Flying High: 1st year PA student Julie Aherne on observership with Ornge Air Ambulance

Prospective Students

Program Design

The PA Education Program is a two-year course of study delivered over a 24 month period beginning in September.  Year 1 will consist of clinical science courses delivered in the first twelve months.  Year 2 will consist of clinical training delivered in the consecutive 12-month period.

Distance education is not available. Curriculum information is available here.


Graduates will qualify to challenge the National Certification Exam through the PA Certification Council of Canada (PACCC) in order to practice as a certified PA in Canada.

Admission Requirements

The Physician Assistant Education program is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada only.

The Physician Assistant Education Program admissions committee adheres to the admissions policies posted on the Physician Assistant Education Program website and applies the same rules and guidelines to all applicants.

  • Minimum 2 years of undergraduate university 
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA 3.0 on the        OMSAS 4.0 scale
  • No specific course or background requirements 
  • Work and/or volunteer experience is not required 

    By June 2023, applicants must have completed a minimum of two years of undergraduate work.  A year is the full block of work specified for a year or level of the program as indicated on the university transcript and in the appropriate university calendar. If requested, applicants must provide evidence that this requirement has been met by June 30th of the year of entry. Only degree courses at an accredited university will be considered. A minimum of 10 full-courses or 20 half courses (two years) are required. Courses that employ small group, self-directed or inquiry learning are excellent preparation for the PA program however, there are no specific course or background requirements. There is no requirement for applicants to have carried a full course load. By February 1, applicants are expected to have achieved an overall simple average of at least 3.0 on the OMSAS 4.0 scale for consideration. The PA Program calculates a cumulative GPA for all completed undergraduate study.  Higher grades may be required. OMSAS Scale

    Students currently registered in the 2nd year of a university program must provide an official interim transcript showing results for all courses from their first academic year and results from their current 1st semester of their second academic year. Additionally, all courses registered for their 2nd semester must be indicated on the official transcript. Official transcripts must indicate registration in a minimum of 10 full credits or 20 half credits. Official transcripts must be submitted and received by McMaster prior to the February 1st deadline. Marks on completed supplementary and summer courses will be included in the grade point average calculation.

    By February 1, applicants must have achieved an overall simple average of at least a 3.0 on the OMSAS 4.0 scale. While an overall simple average of at least 3.0 on the OMSAS 4.0 scale meets the minimal criterion for consideration for admission, prospective applicants should be aware that given the rapidly rising level of competition for a limited number of positions, a significantly higher GPA would provide them with a more reasonable chance of admission. Due to changes from year to year in the level of competitiveness, an exact figure in this regard cannot be provided.

    Upon acceptance, successful applicants will be required to provide detailed medical information, including a record of completion of required immunizations, evidence of Basic Life Support Provider (formally BLS for Healthcare Providers) certification through the Heart & Stroke Foundation and a satisfactory Police Records Check (at the applicant’s expense) upon entering the program and annually thereafter.

    Admission Procedures

    Applicants are required to submit both: 

    • An application (including the appropriate fee) through the:

    Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) form 105

    • Supplementary Application (including the appropriate fee)
    • Access to the supplementary application will be emailed to all qualified applicants by end of February.

    Supplementary application assessment fee:

    In addition to the application fees paid to OUAC, students applying to the PA Program are subject to an additional $125 supplementary application assessment fee. The supplementary application assessment fee must be paid upon submission of your supplementary application.

    All application fees for the PA Program are non-refundable.

    OUAC application (including fees), transcripts and all supporting documentation must be received by February 1.

    Upon receipt of the application, official transcripts, supplementary application & supplementary application assessment fee selected applicants will be invited to an interview.

    Transcripts & Documents

    Please review your SLATE applicant portal for the status of your required transcripts and documents. Transcripts must include Fall grades. Secondary school (high school) transcripts are not required or reviewed. For transcript information please visit Transcripts & Documents 

    If you have not requested your transcripts electronically through OUAC, please upload your required transcript through your SLATE applicant portal. 

    Reference letters are not required or reviewed.

    Current McMaster University students:

    If you are a current McMaster undergraduate student not enrolled in your final year of study, you are not required to apply through OUAC. Please complete the PAEP Internal Transfer Application Form and e-mail to by January 12. Do not request your McMaster University transcript. 

    If you are a current McMaster undergraduate student enrolled in your final year of study, you are not required to apply through OUAC. Please complete the McMaster Returning Student Application online by January 12. Do not request your McMaster University transcript.

    Indigenous Applicants:

    Indigenous participation in the PAEP is important. To ensure equitable admissions we have a facilitated admissions process for First Nations, Inuit and Métis applicants. In accordance with the Self-Identification policy of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) applicants who wish to apply through this stream must complete the supplementary Self-Identification Application. Information on the policy, application requirements and the online application can be found on the ISHS Website.

    Indigenous applicants must meet the following requirements:

    • Indigenous applicants who meet the Self-Identification Application criteria and who satisfy all PAEP admission requirements, with a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0 on the OMSAS 4.0 scale will be automatically invited to come for an interview.
    PA Applicants who wish to be considered under the Indigenous application process must submit the Self-Identification Application by February 1.

    One self-identification application is used for all Faculty of Health Sciences programs that have a facilitated Indigenous admissions stream. The Self-identification Application must be completed by whatever the earliest deadline date is for the programs for which you have applied to.

    The admissions committee will consider:

    • Transcripts and GPA
    • Supplementary Application
    • Interview - MMI

    Reference letters are not required or reviewed.

    The Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI)

    Selected candidates will be invited to participate in a virtual MMI. Invitations will be e-mailed by mid-April; the virtual MMI will take place on a Saturday in early May. 

    McMaster has always been an innovator in the field of medical education. The Multiple Mini-Interview, or MMI, is one example of how McMaster has approached an accepted process, like the traditional interview and revolutionized it. Researchers at McMaster hypothesized that increasing the number of encounters for each interviewed applicant would lead to a more reliable assessment of the individual. This proved to be exactly the case. The MMI increases the overall reliability of the interview in judging an applicant's merits. It also dilutes the effect of a single misrepresentative showing by an applicant in any one interaction. Pioneered at McMaster in 2002, the MMI is currently being adopted at other schools across both Canada, the United States and internationally.

    During the MMI, applicants will move between interview "stations" in a multiple station circuit. Each station lasts eight minutes and there is a two-minute break between each one. At each station, applicants will interact with, or be observed by, a single rater. The stations deal with a variety of issues, which may include but are not limited to, communication, collaboration, ethics, health policy, critical thinking, awareness of society health issues in Canada and personal qualities. Applicants are not assessed on their scientific knowledge.

    Supplementary Application

    The supplementary application is an additional application the PA Program uses to assess applicants.

    Access to the PA Program supplementary application will be emailed to all qualified applicants at the end of February. Applicants must complete their supplementary application by March 2 at 12:00 pm EST (noon).

    The supplementary application will include both written and video responses.

    Computer Requirements include:

    • Internet
    • Webcam
    • Microphone

    Tablets or mobile devices cannot be used.

    Supplementary application assessment fee:

    In addition to the application fees paid to OUAC, students applying to the PA Program are subject to an additional $125 supplementary application assessment fee.  The supplementary application assessment fee must be paid upon submission of your supplementary application. 

    The supplementary application assessment fee of $125 will be loaded on all applicants MOSAIC applicant portal. Payment methods are available here.

    All application fees for the PA Program are non-refundable.

    Credentialling Non-Canadian Grades

    Applicants with foreign (non-Canadian or US) transcripts should pay particular attention to this requirement. Possessing a transcript from a non-Canadian university is not sufficient.

    Applicants who have not met minimum course number criteria utilizing their Canadian data and require inclusion of their international education data must have their foreign transcript assessed by World Education Services (WES).

    Credentialling assessment means converting foreign academic credentials into their Ontario educational equivalents. The assessment is for PA program review only. The Physician Assistant program requires the WES ICAP Course-by-Course with an overall GPA assessment from WES Canada. Applicants must have their transcript(s) sent directly from their university to World Education Services and be able to prove (with dated letter and dated post office receipt) that an attempt was made to have the transcript issued by their university and sent to the registrar's office by February 1. Those requiring WES assessment must also ensure that their transcripts are received by WES in time for their assessment to reach the registrar's office by February 1.

    **Please note — grades from foreign credentials will not be included for applicants who meet the minimum course number requirements with Canadian education.

    English Language Proficiency

    All students must meet McMaster University's English language proficiency requirement for admission. English Language Proficiency Requirements

    If you require further information, please contact: (905)525-4600.

    Advanced Standing/Transfer

    The structure of the PA Education program requires that all students complete the entire program starting with Medical Foundation 1.  There is no provision for advanced standing or transfer into the program. 

    Application for Deferred Registration

    Deferred registrations will not normally be granted in the PA Education Program.  Deferred registration may be granted only under exceptional circumstances. Request for deferral must be submitted within two weeks of the offer of admission.

    Full-Time Status

    The structure of the program requires that all students be registered in the program on a full-time basis and attendance in all components of the Program is mandatory.

    Financial Information

    Careful consideration should be given to the financial requirements of this program.

    Please refer to the Office of the Registrar website for the most accurate tuition information here.

    2022-2023 tuition fees are approximately $12,000 for a 12-month academic term, plus supplementary fees estimated at $1,000.00 per year. 

    Clinical experiences require students to provide their own reliable transportation. Throughout the program, students will be placed in more than one clinical placement. Due to limited placements, it is likely students will need to relocate within Ontario. Travel and living expenses are the responsibility of the student.

    Additional costs include books, diagnostic equipment and other learning resources estimated at $2,500.00.

    There is a bursary program which has been developed by the University. Bursaries may be awarded to students who are Canadian citizens based on demonstrated financial need.  Bursaries are intended to offset provincial financial assistance and cannot supplement the full cost of education. For further information, please contact the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships Office at McMaster University.

    If you are unable to find the answer to your question on the PA Program Webpage please e-mail:

    Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Level Double-A conformance, W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0