Welcome to the only Joint MSPAS/MPH program in the United States.
In only 33 months, you can earn two degrees that will put you at the leading edge of health care and public health — able to view the wellness of people and communities through a public health lens that fosters social justice, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
The program starts every fall semester. Applications are due by November 1.
All required materials must be submitted and verified by the deadline.
How to Apply
All applicants are required to submit an application through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistant Programs (CASPA). There is no supplemental application. Typically, CASPA will take between three and six weeks to process your application materials, then make them available to us.
Once received, our admissions committee reviews complete files and extends interview invitations. Only candidates who submit all required admissions materials are considered for an interview. Submission of all materials, however, does not guarantee an interview and an interview does not guarantee acceptance.
Minimum Academic and Course Requirements
Cumulative and Science GPAs, as computed by CASPA, must be 3.0 or better. The GRE is not required. All applicants must earn a Bachelor’s degree and complete all required coursework before submitting the CASPA application. Required degree and coursework must be completed at an institution of higher education accredited by a TUC approved accrediting body (See Institutional Accreditation Requirement below). The prerequisite courses listed below must be completed with a grade of C or better (C- grades will not satisfy the requirement). Prerequisites are:
- 8 semester/12 quarter units (including labs) in each of the following categories:
- Biological Sciences (may be comprised of general biology, genetics, immunology, embryology, etc.)
- Chemistry (may be comprised of inorganic, organic, biochemistry)
- 4 semester/5 quarter units (including labs) of the following:
- Human Anatomy (must be completed within 6 years of expected year of matriculation)
- Human Physiology (must be completed within 6 years of expected year of matriculation)
- Microbiology (4 semester/5 quarter units, lab not required)
- Statistics (3 semester/4 quarter units)
Advanced Placement (AP) Credit
We accept advanced placement credit as long as such credit appears on the undergraduate transcript and indicates either specific subject credit (e.g. General Chemistry - 4 units) or specific course credit (e.g. Chem 101 - 4 units). General advanced placement credit without such specifications is not accepted.
Letters of Recommendation
The TUC Joint MSPAS/MPH Program requires three letters of recommendation, which are generally submitted with the CASPA application. One letter must be from someone who is working clinically (e.g., PA, NP, Physician). The source of the remaining letters is up to you. We do not accept reference letters from friends, family, the applicant’s personal healthcare provider, or patients/clients.
If letters are not submitted with the CASPA application, they may be sent directly to the Office of Admissions (email@example.com). Please note that submitting letters outside of the CASPA application may delay review of your application.
Be sure to submit all application materials prior to their respective deadlines. Letters of recommendation are used for admissions purposes only and do not become part of your official academic record.
Patient Care Experience (PCE) and Health Care Experience (HCE)
It is your responsibility to sufficiently document patient care and health care duties in the CASPA application. You should consider the tasks which you perform and use your best judgment to determine which category in the CASPA application they fall into. You are expected to separate hours for positions that consist of both Patient Care Experience and Health Care Experience accordingly. Please also make sure to list the type of setting in which you completed the experience (i.e. family medicine, pediatrics, outpatient internal medicine, FQHC, community health center, etc.) as this is not always clear from the name of the clinic.
All healthcare-related experiences should be documented either in the Patient Care Experience or Health Care Experience sections not the Volunteer section, even if you volunteered or were unpaid for the experience.
Patient Care Experience (PCE)
At the time of application, candidates must have obtained a minimum of 1,000 hours of Patient Care Experience, either as a volunteer or in a paid position. As outlined in the CASPA application, Patient Care Experiences are those in which you are directly responsible for a patient's care. For example, prescribing medication, performing procedures, directing a course of treatment, providing talk-therapy, designing a treatment regimen, actively working on patients as a nurse, paramedic, EMT, CNA (depending on job description), phlebotomist, physical therapist or aide, dental hygienist, etc. In addition, our program considers back office medical assistant work as patient care (even though CASPA lists it as an example of health care experience). If you have back office MA experience logged under health care experience, we will count those hours as patient care experience when your application is reviewed.
Having these experiences provides an applicant with the opportunity to observe and learn about the various roles of the health care team, ensures that an applicant has an understanding of, and commitment to working with patients, and provides a foundation of medical knowledge and experience to build upon in our fast-paced program.
Health Care Experience (HCE)
Health Care Experience includes paid or volunteer work where you are not directly responsible for a patient's care, but may still have patient interaction; for example, filling prescriptions as a pharmacy tech, performing clerical work (answering phones, filing paperwork, registering folks for insurance, etc.), delivering patient food, transporting patients, language interpretation services, cleaning patients and/or their rooms, administering food or medication, working as a scribe, CNA (depending on job description), etc.
All reported Patient Care Experience will be evaluated based upon the following criteria:
- Specific duties performed
- Skill set needed
- Quality of patient interaction
- Total number of hours
- Patient population served
- Time frame of the experience
The following are some common types of Patient Care Experiences:
- Athletic Trainer
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)*
- Clinical Nutritionist
- Clinical Research Assistant
- Dental Assistant
- Dental Hygienist
- Medic/Medical Corpsman
- Medical Assistant (MA)**
- Nurse (LPN/LVN/RN)
- Occupational Therapist
- Paramedic/Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
- Physical Therapist
- Physical Therapy Aide
- Registered Behavioral Technician
- Respiratory Therapist
- Techs: EKG, ER, Lab, Mental Health, Ophthalmology
- Techs: Radiology, Surgery
*CNA hours are often a combination of Patient Care and Health Care. Monitoring vitals, wound care, and assisting with medical procedures are examples of patient care duties. On the other hand, helping patients with activities of daily living (ADLs) is considered health care by our program standards because it involves a lower level of responsibility.
**CASPA suggests you report MA hours under "Health care Experience". The TUC PA program, however, will count back office MA hours, where you are directly responsible for a patient's care, towards our minimum required 1,000 "Patient Care'' hours. Therefore, when listing your MA duties it is helpful to define how many hours (or percent) were front office versus back office. The Program will consider back office MA duties as Patient Care Experience and front office MA duties as Health Care Experience.
Credit for Experiential Learning
No direct patient care credit will be granted for student-related experiences required for your degree or certificate program (i.e., athletic training student, EMT student, contact hours required for nursing school, etc.).
PA Shadowing & Community Service
Physician Assistant Shadowing (recommended)
Although we do not require PA shadowing, applicants who have a detailed knowledge of the PA role tend to perform better during the interview. Working with or shadowing a PA provides an applicant with more in-depth knowledge of the profession, allowing an applicant to make an informed career decision to enter a PA program. Applicants who have worked with PAs are advised to describe all such interactions under the appropriate job descriptions. Shadowing hours that occur in primary care settings (such as pediatrics, family medicine, outpatient internal medicine, occupational health, or women’s health) or working with underserved communities (in any clinical setting), support an applicant's demonstration of interest in our mission. Although we do recognize virtual shadowing hours, these are not preferred as there are substantial limits to understanding the role of the PA in a virtual setting. We discourage applicants from paying for these types of virtual opportunities.
Community Service (recommended)
Though not required, community service volunteer work is highly desirable and is viewed favorably during the application review process. Preference is given to candidates who have 200 or more hours of volunteer work with community-based organizations. We prefer to see experiences working with underserved, underrepresented, or under-resourced communities.
Application Review and Interview
Following submission of all required application materials, our review process is conducted in two phases. In Phase 1, applications are reviewed to confirm that minimum requirements for GPA, degree earned, and number of patient care hours have been satisfied.
In Phase 2 of our review process, applications are reviewed with a focus on the following:
- Relative strength of the academic record
- Patient care hours (carry twice the weight of Healthcare hours)
- Healthcare hours
- Demonstration of commitment to program mission
- Demonstration of commitment to public health
- Community Service/Volunteer Hours
- Physician Assistant Shadowing
- Fluency in a second language
- Letters of Recommendation
Qualified applicants (e.g., those who pass both review phases) are invited to interview on a space available basis. This program operates on a rolling admissions cycle and applying early is recommended for the best possible chances of acceptance. Interviews are typically scheduled between September and April. Not all applicants will interview and not all those who interview will be accepted into the cohort.
Interviews are conducted in a mixed format and will include both one-on-one and group interactions. Interview dates are scheduled between September and May. All interviews are conducted virtually on Zoom to increase access to our interview process while minimizing cost to applicants. We are not able to interview applicants by phone.
Touro University California complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act by providing reasonable accommodations to candidates for admission with known disabilities. To ensure that disabled candidates timely receive all reasonable accommodations necessary for them to participate in the on-campus admissions interview process, Touro University strongly encourages such candidates to contact the Office of Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org) at least three (3) days before their scheduled interview.
Memorandums of Understanding
Memorandums of Understanding (MOU's) exist with various institutions serving as pipelines for underrepresented and disadvantaged students to enter our joint MSPAS/MPH program with a goal of increasing diversity within the PA profession.
Currently, we have MOU's with the following partners:
- San Francisco State University
- CA Army National Guard
- TUC MSMHS program
The Program does not allow part-time status for new students.
Individuals who have met all application requirements and permanently reside in the United States at the time of application, inclusive of DACA recipients, are permitted to apply and matriculate at Touro University California. Currently, TUC does not accept international students.
Eligibility for Federal Financial Aid is limited to US Citizens and US Permanent Residents. Candidates applying without US Citizenship or Permanent Residency are strongly encouraged to explore financing options before proceeding with the application process. Additional information may be viewed by visiting the Eligibility Requirements on the Financial Aid page.
Transfer Students from Other PA Programs
The Program does not accept transfer students.
Transfer of Credit
The program does not grant transfer credit. This includes prerequisite credit for work-related experiences and credit for completing a public health degree at a different institution.
Applications from TUC MPH Students and/or Graduates of Other MPH Programs
The Joint Program does not award credit for coursework completed prior to enrollment. Designed as a joint MSPAS/MPH curriculum, applicants who already hold an MPH degree are not eligible to apply to this program.
Institutional Accreditation Requirement
Touro University California will accept coursework and degrees from institutions accredited by one of the seven institutional accrediting agencies listed below:
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
- Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (AACJC)
Applicants who have completed degrees and/or coursework outside of the United States must have their transcripts evaluated by a TUC approved agency to verify equivalency to those offered by institutions accredited by one of the accrediting agencies listed above. For a list of TUC approved evaluation agencies, please refer to the Graduates of Foreign Institutions section of this website.
Graduates of Foreign Institutions
Except in cases where the institution is accredited by one of the agencies approved by Touro University California, all coursework completed outside of the United States must be submitted for evaluation using one of the following approved evaluation agencies:
- World Education Services This is the preferred evaluation agency for Touro University California
- International Education Research Foundation
- Josef Silny and Associates, Inc. International Education Consultants
When possible, evaluations should be submitted directly to the respective centralized application service (AACOMAS, PharmCAS, CASPA, SOPHAS, GradCAS, or NursingCAS). In the event submission to the CAS is not possible, evaluations may be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions.
Minimally, transcript evaluations must include the following information:
- Course by course evaluation
- Number of semester units each course is worth
- Letter grade for each course
- Cumulative GPA
- Indication the degree earned is equivalent to a degree from a TUC approved accrediting body.
Post-Interview & Acceptance
The Admissions Committee typically meets immediately following the interview day to discuss each candidate and make recommendations to the Program Director. Following the Program Director's review, decisions are emailed and mailed via U.S. Mail shortly thereafter. If you do not receive correspondence with your decision within 3 weeks from the date of your interview, please contact the Office of Admissions (email@example.com) to follow up.
Accepted candidates are required to submit a non-refundable acceptance deposit, which is typically due within two weeks of the date of acceptance. A refundable tuition deposit is required later in the process. Upon matriculation, both deposits are credited toward tuition.
Multiple Deposit Policy
Applicants to Touro University California (TUC) may also choose to apply to and submit seat deposits for other programs located within TUC or the greater Touro University System (TU). TUC applicants who have deposits at one or more TUC or other TU programs will be given until April 15th (for summer starts) or June 1st (for fall starts) to decide which program they wish to attend and will be required to withdraw from all other TUC/TU programs to which they have deposited. TUC applicants who are accepted and who submit seat deposits after April 15th (for summer starts) or June 1st (for fall starts) will be required to immediately withdraw from any other TUC/TU program(s) to which they have deposited.
Incoming and current students may be required to submit to a background check before and/or during their enrollment at Touro University California. Facts uncovered as a result of a background check which could preclude licensure and/or practice in the profession may impact their ability to begin or continue their education at the University. Details are provided with the letter of acceptance.