Mississippi College

Admission to the physician assistant program is a highly competitive process. Prospective PA students are strongly encouraged to exceed minimum levels of work, especially in relation to grade point average, grades in the prerequisite courses, scores on the GRE, and recommended clinical experience hours. The prerequisite requirements listed above are the minimum for admission to the program.  The Admissions Committee will select those most qualified for the positions available. 

An interview with the admissions committee is required. When selecting applicants for interview, the Committee may take into account the interview and any aspect of the student’s prior educational, personal, and professional record. Click on the prerequisites above for details regarding minimum standards for entry into the Physician Assistant Program at Mississippi College. Select a prerequisite above to view each admission requirement in detail. Applicants must meet all or exceed the above prerequisites for consideration into the program.

Minimum requirements for admission to the physician assistant program include: 

  1. A Bachelors Degree from an accredited university.
  2. Completion of all pre-requisite courses with a grade of C or better from an accredited university or college within the United States. All prerequisites must have been completed within the 10 years prior to the expected date of matriculation at an accredited institution within the United States. With the exception of statistics, on-line coursework will not be accepted for pre-requisite courses.
  3. A cumulative overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 of a possible 4.0 on all undergraduate and graduate work completed at an accredited university or college.
  4. A cumulative biology, chemistry and physics grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 of a possible 4.0 on all undergraduate and graduate work completed at an accredited university or college.
  5. Minimum GRE scores for admissions are as follows: verbal (146/400), quantitative (140/450), and writing (2.5). GRE scores for Mississippi College PA Program should be sent directly through CASPA; school code:# 0598.
  6. Documentation of clinical experience by the applicant should be submitted directly to CASPA. Strong patient contact experience; (i.e., RN, LPN, Respiratory Therapist, Paramedic, Physical Therapist, EMT, Patient Care Tech, Radiology Technologist, Certified Athletic Trainer, Certified Nursing Assistant, Medical Assistant, Surgical Tech) is encouraged, but all patient care experience will be considered.  
  7. Consistent with State law for health care providers, and for compliance with hospital and health center requirements, criminal background checks and/or drug screenings may be required. Failure to successfully meet requirements for the background check or drug screening may result in denial of admission or dismissal from the physician assistant program.
  8. Applicants must have completed all required immunizations (as outlined in the PA student handbook) prior to matriculation.
  9. Applicants must meet all technical standards as evaluated by the admissions committee. 

The following courses must be completed before admission into the program: (Online or Hybrid courses are not accepted with the exception of the statistics course.)

  • A Bachelor's degree
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology, a complete sequence (including labs; 8 semester hours)
  • Microbiology, at the pre-med level/appropriate as a first-level requirement for a Microbiology major (including lab; 4 semester hours)
  • General Chemistry, a complete sequence geared toward science majors/appropriate as a first-level course for a Chemistry major (including labs; 8 semester hours)
  • Organic Chemistry (including labs; 4 semester hours)
  • Statistics, including statistical tests and analysis (3 semester hours)

Minimum course requirements for admission to the physician assistant program include:

  1. Applicant must demonstrate completion of all pre-requisite courses with a grade of C or better  from an accredited university or college within the United States.
  2. All prerequisites must have been completed within the 10 years prior to the expected date of matriculation at an accredited institution within the United States. With the exception of statistics, on-line coursework will not be accepted for pre-requisite courses.
  3.  A cumulative overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 of a possible 4.0 on all undergraduate and graduate work completed at an accredited university or college. 
  4. A cumulative biology, chemistry and physics grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 of a possible 4.0 on all undergraduate and graduate work completed at an accredited university or college. 

Direct Patient Care

Mississippi College recommends that all applicants complete the equivalent of at least six months (1000 hours) of direct (“hands-on”) patient care experience before entering the School. Applicants must provide information on both direct (“hands-on”) and indirect (“related”) health care experience, including role or job title, name of institution, name of supervisor, description of tasks, number of hours worked per week, and number of weeks worked at that institution. Clinical experience can be on a paid or volunteer basis.

Examples of direct patient care may include drawing blood, taking vital signs, providing personal hygiene care, serving as technician in Radiography, etc. For applicants who are already health professionals, such as nurses, paramedics, or respiratory therapists, the practice of your profession for the recommended length of time would constitute such clinical experience.

Applicants without previous health care experience are often able to acquire good direct patient care experience working as a medical or nursing assistant or aide in settings such as hospitals, clinics, or physicians’ private practices where a wide range of patients is seen and there is opportunity for exposure to numerous types of health care providers. Patient care experience in settings such as nursing homes and private homes utilizing the services of home health aides, offer limited exposure to a wide range of patients and providers and are therefore not as favorably regarded by the Admissions Committee as settings such as hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ private practices.

Applicants often complete a short nursing assistant or EMT program in order to secure paid employment while gaining clinical experience. Patient care experience can be acquired on a paid or volunteer basis, as long as the recommended amount of time is met in an acceptable health care setting.

Related Health Care

Related Health Care Experience is considered to be any experience working with patients that does not permit hands-on delivery of health care to patients. Examples include front office clerical work in a private physician’s office, medical records clerical work in a hospital or private office, etc.

Applicants with minimal exposure to physician assistants should arrange with one or more PAs to “shadow” them on a regular basis, especially in a primary care setting (family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics). Shadowing experiences should be listed as “Related Health Care Experience” on the application.

Research

Although research experience may be considered by the Admissions Committee in evaluating an application, it is not a substitute for direct patient care. Experience in laboratory research studies is not regarded as direct patient care unless it involves actual hands-on contact with patients who are subjects of a research study. Laboratory assistant positions in basic science laboratories are also not regarded as patient care.

Applicants to the Mississippi College Physician Assistant Program are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test. The program office must receive an official GRE score report for each student prior to final admissions decisions or matriculation. Applications will be reviewed if GRE scores are not yet received by the program. However, final admissions decisions cannot be made until all application materials are received including GRE scores. The Mississippi College Physician Assistant Program's specific program code for the GRE is #0598.

Applicant GRE scores are assessed in conjunction with the complete profile. In order to matriculate into the PA program applicants must be eligible for admission to the Graduate School. A minimum score or equivalent with the new scoring system at or above 146 verbal, 140 quantitative, and 2.5 on the writing component is required for admission to the Mississippi College Graduate School. The PA program considers scores at or above 155 verbal, 150 quantitative, and 4.0 on the writing component as more competitive. For additional explanations on the meaning of the GRE scores, click on the following link: http://www.ets.org.

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