Admission Requirements

Master of Science - Physician Assistant Studies

Admissions Information

1. Possess a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States prior to entering the program. All prerequisite courses must be completed at a US regionally accredited institution.

2. Complete all pre-professional prerequisite courses by the end of the fall semester before the program begins. Preference will be given to those who complete all requirements at the time of application (summer).

3. A minimum overall GPA of 3.0 (as determined by CASPA) on a 4.00 scale, or 3.0 on a 4.00 scale for the last 60 hours of course work is required.

4. Applicants must have a minimum of 500+ hours of paid, direct, hands-on patient care experience at the time the CASPA application is submitted. Patient care experience requiring certification is most competitive and includes, but is not limited to: nurse, paramedic, EMT-B, CNA or PCT, health educator, respiratory therapist, athletic trainer or Medical Assistant (MA). Student internships are not accepted as clinical hours. Volunteer work at hospitals, clinics or other medical venues does not count toward the required hours of clinical experience, but is valued by the admissions committee and can, therefore, strengthen a candidate's application.

5. Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) within the past 5 years. The GRE or MCAT must be taken prior to application deadline. There are currently no minimum GRE or MCAT scores required for admission to the Program. Scores on standardized tests (GRE or MCAT) are only one of many student selection criteria considered such as: academic performance, clinical experience, interview impressions and letters of recommendation. 

6. Meet all requirements for admission to graduate study at Missouri State University. Graduate College admission and degree requirements are detailed under the Graduate College policies in Graduate College catalog.

7. If accepted into the Program or those on Alternate status, present evidence of completion of the Basic Life Support for Health Professionals course approved by the American Heart Association. The certificate must be valid for one year after the beginning of the program.

8. Meet the technical standards of the program in order to successfully undertake the course of study. (Technical Standards / to download WordViewer) Matriculating students must also demonstrate evidence of good physical health and have up-to-date immunizations (MMR, tetanus, and a complete Hepatitis B series including a titer demonstrating immunity), and a PPD (Plus chest x-ray for PPD+ individuals). Successful completion of drug screening and security background check is also a requirement.

9. File an application with the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Apply at www.caspaonline.org after May 1. The CASPA website provides additional information about the initial application requirements and fees.

The application deadline for the class entering in January is August 1.   Due to often unforeseen delays such as transcripts or letters of recommendation for CASPA verification, it is STRONGLY recommended that all applications be submitted at least 4 to 8 weeks in advance of the deadline.  It is the applicants responsibility to ensure all Missouri State University required application materials are received by the deadline in August to CASPA.  

10. Competitive applicants will be invited to interview with members of the programs' admissions committee. Interviews are usually scheduled during the month of September.

11. Applicants who are accepted to the Program and those on the alternate list will be required to submit a Missouri State University graduate school application, and pay application fees. 

12. Matriculated students must enroll on a full-time basis and progress through the program as a cohort group.

13. All students are required to carry professional liability insurance throughout the program. This insurance is available through the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).

14. All students must also carry health (including hospitalization) insurance throughout the entire program. A comprehensive student group health and accident insurance policy is available through Missouri State University.

15. Students will be required to initiate and pay for any security checks and drug screening required by clinical agencies, for application to make the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), and when applying for professional licensure.

16. Apply for criminal record check and receive response that the applicant has not been convicted of any crimes pursuant to Section 660.317 RSMo or other disqualifications that would prohibit licensure as a physician assistant.

SELECTION FACTORS

Admission into the Physician Assistant Program is highly competitive. Normally up to 32 students are selected to enroll in the program each January. While applicants must complete all prerequisite requirements to be considered for a position in the class, completion of all admission requirements does not assure acceptance into the program. In making class selections, the admission committee will consider the following characteristics of competitive applicants:

  • Academic potential to successfully complete the program
  • Understanding and commitment to the role of the physician assistant
  • Personal maturity
  • Motivation
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Quality and duration of health care experience
  • Strong motivation to serve in rural primary care as evidenced by a willingness to sign a letter of intent to practice in a rural area (<25,000 population) for at least 2 out of the first 5 years following graduation from the PA program and two of the following: current or previous residency in a rural area (10 years duration), a letter of support from a rural healthcare provider, a letter of support from a rural community leader."
  • Capacity for performance of the technical functions and tasks required of the physician assistant. The "TYPICAL" Physician Assistant Student Profile (Missouri State University PAS Program 2015 datasource). The typical entering student in the Missouri State University PA Program in 2015 is 27 years old (range 22-46), earned a BS degree, has an overall grade point average of 3.58, a Science GPA of 3.51, and 5219 hours (range of 742-31000 hours) of paid, direct patient healthcare experience prior to admission, and GRE scores (combined) 301 for the verbal and quantitative sections, respectively. No averaged data are available for the MCAT which has been accepted in lieu of the GRE as of 2012.