Technical Standards for Admission

Missouri State University is committed to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Therefore, The Physician Assistant Studies Program at MSU seeks to ensure that qualified persons with disabilities are not denied admission or subject to discrimination in admissions. 

The technical standards for admission establish the expectations and requisite abilities considered essential for students admitted to the Physician Assistant Program to achieve the level of competency required for graduation and medical practice. These include abilities and skills in six categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual, behavioral/social, and ethical and professional. In addition, criminal substance misuse screening requirements are also detailed as part of the technical standards for admission.

It is recognized that degrees of ability vary widely among individuals. Any candidates who feel they may not meet the technical standards set forth are encouraged to contact the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. Any candidate who may require academic accommodations to fulfill the technical standards due to a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Center at 417-836-4192 (voice) or Relay Missouri 711 or 800-735-2966. The website address is MSU’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies is committed to enabling its students by any reasonable means or accommodations to complete the course of study leading to the Master of Science - Physician Assistant Studies. 

  1. Observation: A candidate must be able to observe demonstrations in the classroom and clinical setting and be able to effectively gather and assimilate information from them. A candidate must have sufficient visual, auditory, tactile, and other sensory cues (i.e., discriminate changes in monitoring devices and alarms) to accurately observe a patient at a distance and at close range. This ability is required to gather necessary data about the patient such as posture, habitus, mood, activity, mobility, and non-verbal communications.
  2. Communication: A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively in the English language with patients from diverse social and cultural backgrounds, and to develop effective professional rapport with members of the health care team. Communication includes not only speech, and nonverbal communications, but also reading, writing and electronic methods using the English language. This includes the ability to record examination findings and diagnostic results clearly, accurately, and efficiently.
  3. Motor: Candidates must possess sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control, and eye-to-hand coordination to utilize standard medical/surgical instruments. The candidate must possess sufficient control of the upper and lower extremities to meet the physical requirements for training as a medical provider and performing a safe physical examination for both the provider and patient. They must have adequate sensory function to fulfill minimum competency objectives to elicit information from patients through palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. Additionally, candidates must be able to effectively perform common diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and execute motor movements required to provide general care and emergency treatments to patients.
  4. Intellectual: Candidates must have the mental capacity to learn and assimilate a large amount of complex, technical and detailed information; solve clinical problems through critical analysis, perform measurements and synthesize and apply concepts and information from various disciplines to formulate diagnostic and therapeutic plans.  Further, candidates must be able to accomplish these tasks quickly, efficiently, and in an appropriate manner to sustain life, even in settings with multiple distractions.
  5. Behavioral and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess the emotional and mental health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibility's attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and maintain composure and emotional stability during periods of high stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice. Compassion, integrity, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that are essential to the role. Candidates must demonstrate the ability to accept criticism, and respond by appropriate behavior modification, and demonstrate personal and professional self-control as well as tactfulness, sensitivity, empathy, and respect.
  6. Ethical and Professional Standards: A candidate must demonstrate professional demeanor and behavior, not only in the classroom but also in clinical settings. A candidate must perform in an ethical manner in all interactions with peers, faculty, staff, patients, and members of the health care team. A candidate must also apply such ethical and professional standards in social settings where the individual is a representative of the institution, program, and profession. Lastly, the candidate must be able to provide competent, compassionate, and non-judgmental care to people who differ in terms of race, color, religion, disability, gender, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, or veteran status.

Criminal background & substance misuse screening: Physician assistant education depends heavily on clinical instruction in licensed medical care facilities including, but not limited to hospitals, clinics, emergency and urgent care facilities, and institutions providing long term medical care. These facilities have substantial legal and accreditation obligations to protect their patients from injury by criminal behavior and/or drug impaired individuals. The Program’s criminal background and substance misuse screening policy is available for additional information and a description of the current testing process.

 Criminal Background: candidates for admission to the Missouri State University Physician Assistant       Program must be willing to undergo and clear a criminal background screening. This screening may be     repeated throughout the program training.

 Substance Misuse:  Prior to clinical training, candidates must be willing to undergo and clear a drug   screening. This screening may also be repeated throughout the program training.

The Missouri State University Physician Assistant Program will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with a disability. Determining what is a reasonable accommodation is an interactive process between you, the student, the Disability Resource Center, and the PA program. If you believe you have a disability that might require a reasonable accommodation, contact the Disability Resource Center at Meyer Library Suite 111, 417-836-4192 or