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Common Questions

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About the Program

If I am admitted to the Physician Assistant program at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, can I select any of my own rotations during my clinical year?

The program's Clinical Year Team schedules the core clinical curriculum. For the two elective rotations, each student has the opportunity to request a site of his/her choosing. The department has a long list of established sites from which students may request rotations. All sites are subject to availability and approval by the clinical coordinator.

Will I be able to work an outside job while I am going to school?

We have an intensive program of study, which makes working outside of class nearly impossible. During the second-year clinical rotations there is no time available for an outside job. Our students frequently experience rotations that require 60 or more hours per week.

Can I specialize?

Students have two electives during the clinical year in which they can choose to do their rotation in a specialty area. As a practicing PA, positions are available in all medical fields.

Do you have a placement service for graduates?

Many of our students are offered positions during the course of their rotations by the clinical sites. In addition, the university receives many job opportunity listings which are passed along to students.

Do you offer shadowing opportunities?

Due to the number of requests for shadowing hours, please reference the following resources versus contacting the Physician Assistant program. The PA program at Rosalind Franklin University does not endorse any particular organization nor is it able to help obtain shadowing hours, as the program is not directly affiliated with the options provided below:

  • Northwestern Hospital
  • Illinois PA Academy - For those applicants who are out of state, they can contact the PA association in their state.
  • Applicants can Google "PA shadowing" and find a number of websites.

Prerequisite Courses

Can I take my prerequisites at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science?

No. Rosalind Franklin University does not offer undergraduate coursework.

I'm selecting prerequisite courses and am wondering if a specific course meets the prerequisite requirement?

Below are some general, basic guidelines to help you determine if a course you are considering for a prerequisite course is appropriate.

Biochemistry - The course in biochemistry should include the study of amino acids, proteins, enzymes, DNA, gene expression, and the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and nitrogen. This background information will be invaluable in understanding the medical pathophysiology that is taught in the Physician Assistant Program. A course with a title other than Biochemistry that covers this same course material may be accepted, upon review of the course syllabus by the PA Program Admissions Committee. However, the Physician Assistant program at Rosalind Franklin University will not accept a survey course in biochemistry under any circumstances.

Microbiology - The course in microbiology should include the study of microorganisms - bacteria, viruses, and fungi – and their classification systems, infectious diseases in humans, and the immune response to infection. This background information will be necessary to understand the medical pathophysiology that is taught in the Physician Assistant Program. A course with a title other than Microbiology that covers this same course material may be accepted, upon review of the course syllabus by the Physician Assistant Admissions Committee.

Anatomy and Physiology - Either a two-course sequence of combined Human A&P (I & II) or Human Structure and Function, or two separate courses in these subjects, is acceptable. Human anatomy and physiology are preferred over vertebrate, mammalian, or comparative courses because they will better prepare the student for the rigorous human anatomy dissection course that begins the PA program. Anatomy and physiology courses with a title other than ‘Human’ may be accepted if the content focus was 80% or greater based on human systems, upon review of the course syllabus by the Physician Assistant Admissions Committee.

Psychology – The course in psychology should be an introductory course providing general coverage of psychological concepts and principles. For applicants who have received advanced placement for Introduction to Psychology, an additional psychology course is required. This could be an upper-level course with a more specific focus such as child, developmental, or abnormal psychology. A course with a title other that Introduction to Psychology that covers the same material may be accepted, upon review of the course syllabus by the PA Program Admissions Committee.

I have prerequisite coursework still in progress. Can I still apply?

You may have up to three outstanding prerequisite courses to complete at the time of application. Be sure to identify that the required courses are “Planned” or “In-Progress” in your CASPA application. If you are offered a seat in the class with outstanding prerequisite coursework, you must provide proof the coursework has been completed satisfactorily prior to matriculation.

I did better as an older student going back to school for my prerequisites but my GPA is still low from my original college courses. Can I still apply?

When we review an application we not only review the total GPA, but also the student's academic progress over time. Positive trends over time are favorably considered by the program's admissions committee. Regardless of recent academic performance, however, a candidate must have an Overall GPA and an Overall Science GPA (as calculated by CASPA) of 2.75 or higher in order to be considered for admission to the Physician Assistant program at Rosalind Franklin University.

Can I substitute other classes for the ones published as prerequisites (e.g. organic chemistry for biochemistry)?

Our prerequisites are in place to ensure that students enter the program well-prepared for the challenging curriculum that we provide. Therefore, we do not accept any substitutions for our prerequisite classes.

What kind of healthcare experience do you require?

We prefer that applicants have direct patient care experience. This can be done by volunteering at a hospital, clinic, or nursing home, or by working in some health provider capacity in one of these areas. If your healthcare experience includes interaction with physician assistants, it is even more valuable. Other types of experience, aside from patient care, might be research or health-related employment. Typically, a successful candidate’s experience is equivalent to one half-year at a full-time job.

Can prerequisite courses be fulfilled with classes taken at the graduate level?

Yes. Coursework completed at the graduate level can fulfill a prerequisite course as long as the course is in the same field of study, and meets the required credit hours stipulated in application requirements.

Test Scores

Can I send my GRE Scores even though the Physician Assistant Program does not require them?

No. The Physician Assistant Program will not review or take into consideration any GRE scores sent in by applicants.

What are your guidelines for TOEFL?

If you earned a bachelor’s degree from outside the U.S. and/or you do not hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, you are required to demonstrate proof of English proficiency via an official TOEFL report that includes a total score and category scores in reading, writing, listening and speaking. (The TOEFL requirement may be waived on a case-by-case basis if you have been a full-time student at a U.S. college or university for at least two consecutive years, or if you are from a country in which English is a primary language.)

A TOEFL iBT (Internet-based test) of 100 or the equivalent is recommended for graduate school with no category score being lower than 22.

You may report your official TOEFL score through CASPA by having ETS send your score results to code 3709.

Applying to Rosalind Franklin University

What is the deadline to apply?

You must submit your application through CASPA along with all required materials by December 1. Please be sure that all required transcripts, at least two letters of recommendation have been received by CASPA by the December 1 deadline.

Any application that is not completed by the December 1 deadline will not be reviewed for admission consideration.

What is the cost to apply?

Check the CASPA website for their application fees. In addition to the CASPA application fee, the Physician Assistant program at Rosalind Franklin University requires a $35 application processing fee. Instructions for paying the $35 fee will be provided by Rosalind Franklin University once your application has been verified by CASPA.

What is considered acceptable Patient Care Experience?

The Physician Assistant program defines Patient Care Experience as experience where you have clinical and hands on duties with a variety of patients each day. Examples of Clinical experience includes taking vitals, inserting and care of catheters or IVs, administering injections or taking blood work  Do not assume that the Admissions Committee will know your responsibilities based upon your job title alone. Please be descriptive of all duties performed on your application.

Do you give preference to Illinois residents?

No. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science is a private university. We make no distinction by state of residency in our admissions policy. Tuition costs are the same regardless of state of residency.

How do I check the status of my application?

Until your application has been released to Rosalind Franklin University by CASPA, you will need to track the status of your application using the information supplied to you by CASPA. Once CASPA has released your application to Rosalind Franklin University, you will receive an email directing you to log in to your application checklist. Your application checklist will provide instructions for submitting your $35 application processing fee.

Should I mail or email my information (transcripts, application, letters of recommendation, TOEFL) to RFU?

No. Your test scores, application materials, and letters of recommendation must be provided directly to CASPA.

However, if you are admitted to Rosalind Franklin University, we will ask that you have final official transcripts sent directly to us to show successful completion of any outstanding prerequisites as well as the conferral of any degrees that had not yet been conferred at the time of application submission.

When are interviews held and does everyone get interviewed?

Interviews are held once per month between July and January. As the number of applications far exceeds the number of available seats in the class, this is a competitive process and not all applicants are invited to interview.

If my GPA is under 3.0 will I automatically be rejected?

No. Our minimum Overall GPA and Overall Science GPA, as calculated by CASPA, is 2.75. Anyone with an Overall GPA or Overall Science GPA below a 2.75 will automatically be denied admission. These Overall GPAs are calculated by combining grades earned in all undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate coursework. Please know that once your application has been verified by CASPA, they will not recalculate your GPA as you complete additional coursework. You can, however, self-report updated grades through CASPA after you have submitted your application. These updated grades can be viewed by the Admissions Committee, but they will not impact your CASPA GPA calculations.

For those who meet the minimum GPA requirements, we conduct a holistic review of all components of an application. Historically, students with an Overall GPA of 3.0 or above are more likely to be successful in the admissions process.

What is the Physician Assistant class size at Rosalind Franklin University?

We enroll 67 new students per year. Rosalind Franklin University utilizes rolling admissions and encourages applicants to apply early in the cycle for best consideration. For more information, check out our Class Profile.

When do classes start?

Classes begin in late May.

Contact us:

Email us:

Call us: 847-578-3204

Mailing address:

Rosalind Franklin University
CHP Admissions
3333 Green Bay Road
North Chicago, IL 60064