Admission Requirements

Begin your career in health care

Missouri State’s physician assistant program is a graduate, entry-level curriculum that leads to the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. This 24-month course of study prepares graduates for primary care practice.

You may enroll only on a continuous, full-time basis. Course work begins in January of each year. Each cohort includes no more than 30 students.

Application process

Our program participates in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). We do not require any supplemental application. Your verified application will be reviewed by our program. It may take up to four weeks for CASPA to complete verification after you submit your application. You will wish to follow up directly with CASPA to ensure that your information is complete and accurate and that your application has been verified.

Completed CASPA applications are first reviewed by the admissions coordinator for complete prerequisite work, GRE or MCAT scores and other required information. You will be contacted if any additional information or clarification is needed.

Applicants are expected to represent themselves honestly to the program. Falsifying academic or professional materials or omitting or misrepresenting facts are grounds for ineligibility for admission or dismissal from the program if discovered after matriculation.

The admissions committee will then review and rate completed applications. The highest-rated applicants will receive invitations to on-campus interviews in September. Successful candidates will be notified after the interview sessions.

Preference is given to applicants who complete all prerequisites at the time of application. Weighted consideration is given to the following: academic potential (overall GPA, science GPA, last 60 hours GPA, GRE/MCAT), quality and duration of health care experience, upper division courses in anatomy and physiology, supplemental life science courses beyond required prerequisites, service experiences (includes local charity volunteer, medical or non-medical volunteer experiences in a foreign country, U.S. military service, AmeriCorps or Peace Corps service), leadership experiences (includes student, professional, civil or U.S. military leadership), rural upbringing, strong motivation to practice in rural/underserved areas, graduates of Missouri State University, first generation college students, Missouri residence, diverse background and/or cultural experiences, educational experiences or long-term residence in a foreign country, or previous applicants who have strengthened their applications.  

Using CASPA to apply

The application portal will be open May 1 - July 15, 2021, for individuals interested in applying for the class beginning in January 2022. The deadline to submit your complete application to CASPA is July 15, 2021.

CASPA will forward your application to Missouri State for consideration only when it has received the following information:

  • Electronic application
  • All official transcripts
  • At least two of the three required letters of recommendation
  • Payment

You are encouraged to apply early. You must allow up to four weeks for a completed and verified CASPA application to reach our program; all verified applications must be received by August 12, 2021 in order to be considered for the class beginning January 2022. If you submit your CASPA application too close to the July 15, 2021 deadline, it may not reach our program in time for a full evaluation.

Any missing information, such as a third letter of recommendation or your GRE/MCAT score, should be submitted as soon as possible for timely evaluation.

Letters of Recommendation

Three professional or academic letters of recommendation should be submitted to CASPA from individuals who can attest to your potential as a physician assistant. Acceptable references include, but are not limited to: healthcare provider, supervisor, professor, co-worker, advisor. Family members and friends should not provide recommendation letters.

GRE/MCAT requirement

If you are applying for the class beginning January 2022, your official GRE or MCAT score report must be available in your application by July 15, 2021.

For Missouri State University, use GRE INSTITUTION CODE 2189. GRE scores are transmitted directly to CASPA.

Typical class profile

In 2021, the typical entering student to the Missouri State University Physician Assistant Studies Program earned a Bachelor of Science with an overall grade point average of 3.7, including a science GPA of 3.6 and a last 60 hour GPA of 3.8.  The typical student also had more than 5,000 hours of paid, direct patient health care experience prior to admission and GRE scores (combined) of 303 for the verbal and quantitative sections.

MCAT scores have been accepted in lieu of GRE, but data on MCAT averages is unavailable.

Admission requirements

Applications are submitted to CASPA online for individuals interested in applying for the class beginning in January.

  1. Possess baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States prior to entering the program. Applicants who have completed a higher degree in the U.S. and a baccalaureate degree at an accredited international institution must submit a course-by-course U.S. equivalency report from a U.S. based evaluation service directly to CASPA in addition to other required transcripts.
  2. Applicants must have an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00 (as determined by CASPA) on a 4.00 scale, or 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for the last 60 hours of course work is required.
  3. Complete all pre-professional prerequisite courses by the end of the summer semester before the program begins (pre-professional prerequisite courses listed below). All prerequisite courses must be completed at a regionally accredited institution
  4. Complete the Graduate Record Examination General (GRE) or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) within the past 5 years.
  5. 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 the current catalog.
  6. 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.
  7. Meet technical standards of the program in order to successfully undertake the course of study. These standards are available upon request from the program. Matriculating students must also demonstrate evidence of good physical health and have up-to-date immunizations (MMR, tetanus, and a complete Hepatitis B series, varicella zoster virus or a titer demonstrating immunity, current influenza vaccination) and a PPD (Plus chest x-ray for PPD+ individuals).
  8. The Missouri State University Physician Assistant Program participates in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Applications will be available after May 1 for individuals interested in applying for the class beginning in January. Apply online at  The deadline for applications to CASPA is July 15. A All applications must be verified by CASPA no later than August 12. The CASPA web site provides additional information about the initial application requirements and fees.
  9. Competitive applicants will be invited to interview with members of the program’s admission committee.
  10. Matriculated students must enroll on a full-time basis and progress through the program with their class.
  11. All students are required to carry professional liability insurance throughout the program. This insurance is available through the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
  12. All students must also carry health (including hospitalization) insurance throughout the entire program.
  13. Students will be required to initiate and pay for any security checks and drug screening required by clinical agencies, for application to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), and when applying for professional licensure.
  14. Apply for criminal record check and receive response that the applicant has not been convicted of any crime pursuant to Section 660.317 RSMo or other disqualifications that would prohibit licensure as a physician assistant.
  15. 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).  Supervised clinical internships may account for up to 50 of the required 500 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.
Selection Factors

Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program is highly competitive. The maximum number of students admitted to each cohort is specified by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc.  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 admissions committee will consider the following characteristics of competitive applicants:

  • academic potential (science GPA, overall GPA, last 60 hours GP, program-specific graduate study entrance examination) 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
  • capacity for performance of the technical functions and tasks required of the physician assistant
  • service and leadership experience
  • characteristics to enhance the program’s mission and goals including strong motivation to practice in rural/underserved areas
  • graduation from Missouri  State University
  • diverse life experiences including, but not limited to, U.S. military experience, first generation college students, diverse upbringing/background or unique life experience
  • previous application to MSU PA program
Retention During the Program

The PA program holds high academic and ethical standards. A student must attain a grade point average of at least 3.00 on all graduate work. A grade of “C” or above (or “pass” for courses graded “pass/not pass”) represents acceptable professional work for the PA program, however a student earning more than nine semester hours of “C” or lower becomes ineligible for graduate study. No course with a grade below “C” may be applied toward a graduate degree. Any grade below a “C” in any given course, didactic or clinical, is not acceptable and may be grounds for dismissal from the PA program for academic reasons, subject to faculty discretion. If a student earning a grade below a “C” is retained in the program, the student will be required to complete remedial work prescribed by the faculty; this may result in the student's delayed graduation. Students must also meet any requirements for individual clinical preceptorship sites.

Admission to the PA program and acceptable grades represent the minimum criteria necessary for successful completion of the PA program. The PA program faculty constitutes the Promotions Committee which meets at the end of the didactic year to determine if students will be advanced to the clinical phase of training. While grades are important, the decision to promote a student is based on the composite picture of the ability of the student to perform satisfactorily in the clinical phase of training. If a student has failed to demonstrate an attitude of professionalism (as detailed in the didactic year policy manual) or if the committee does not believe that student is prepared to assume patient care responsibilities, a student may be dismissed from the program. Similarly, at the end of the clinical year, the Promotions Committee will make a determination about a student’s readiness to graduate based on academic performance and professional growth and development.