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 in order to achieve the level of competency required for graduation and practice. These include abilities and skills in five categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual and behavioral and social. 

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 contract the Disability Resource Center at 417-836-4192 (voice) or 417-836-6792 (TTY).  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 and other sensory modalities to accurately observe a patient at a distance and at close range, in order to gather necessary data about the patient such as that needed to describe posture, habitus, mood, activity and non-verbal communications.
  2. Communication: A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients from different social and cultural backgrounds, and to develop effective professional rapport with other members of the health care team. Communication includes not only speech, and nonverbal communications, but also reading and writing. This includes the ability to record examination and diagnostic results clearly, accurately and efficiently.
  3. Motor: Candidates must possess sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control and eye-to-hand coordination in order to utilize the standard medical/surgical instruments and possess sufficient control of the upper and lower extremities to meet the physical requirements for training (IE: standing in surgery for long periods of time) and performing a safe physical examination. They must have adequate sensory function to fulfill minimum competency objectives in order to be able to elicit information from patients through palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. Additionally, candidates must be able to learn and perform common diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and be able to quickly and appropriately provide general and emergency care 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 in order to formulate diagnostic and therapeutic plans.  Further, candidates must be able to accomplish these tasks quickly and efficiently 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 responsibilities 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 have the ability to 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 the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are essential to the role.
  6. Criminal Background and Substance Abuse:  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.  Therefore candidates for admission to the Missouri State University Physician Assistant Program must be willing to undergo the testing required by the Program’s affiliated medical facilities and also be able to meet their testing result standards.  The Program’s Drug/Alcohol Testing and Criminal Background Check Policy is available for additional information and a description of the current testing process.
  7. Be able to provide competent, compassionate and non-judgmental care to people who differ from you in terms of gender, age, race, sexual orientation, religion, political ideology, mental capacity or physical ability