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Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions
Department of Physician Assistant Studies
•  What is a PA?
•  The Program
•  Mission, Vision, and Goals
•  Curriculum
•  Admissions
•  Veteran Applicants
•  How to Apply
•  Tuition and Expenses
•  Technical Standards
•  Program Completion
•  Matriculation Requirements
•  Accreditation & PANCE
•  Scholarships and Financial Aid
•  News
•  Alumni News
•  Primary Care Experiences
•  Resources
•  Faculty & Staff
•  Contact Us

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The 2015-2016 Admissions Cycle opens May 1, 2015, with all materials due on November 1, 2015. Once the admissions cycle opens no changes can be made to the requirements.

 • Minimum Requirements
 • Class of 2016 Profile
 • Advanced Placement and Deceleration
 • Application Screening Criteria and Interviews
 • Extra Application Points
 • Residency Preference
 • Technical Standards
 • Veterans
 • Contact

Applicants who wish to apply to the USA PA program must meet the following minimum requirements. Please note that admission to the USA PA program is very competitive and accepted students typically exceed the minimum requirements.

Minimum Requirements

All of the following requirements must be met to be considered for admission into the program.
  1. Completion of a Baccalaureate degree in any field from a regionally accredited institution prior to the starting date of the program is required. You may have courses in progress through the spring semester prior to matriculation. They must be completed when the program begins in mid-May.

  2. A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, as calculated by CASPA (includes post-baccalaureate work). 

  3. Completion of prerequisite course work completed with a grade of "C" or higher, from a regionally accredited institution with one semester of at least 3 credits for each course below (except Medical Terminology 2+ credits). You may have courses in progress through the spring semester prior to matriculation. They must be completed when the program begins in mid-May.  Courses are not required to be taken within a timeframe.

  4. Prerequisite Course Chart

    If you have questions about courses, please email Ms. Nancy Dunn at pastudies@southalabama.edu

    Include the course number, description, and school attended.








    General Biology

    Cell Biology



    Molecular Biology

    Must be for biology or biological/biomedical science majors.

    General Chemistry I


    Must be for chemistry majors

    General Chemistry II


    Must be for chemistry majors

    Organic Chemistry



    Must be for chemistry majors.

    General Microbiology


    Infectious Disease

    Molecular Microbiology

    Medical Microbiology

    Must be for biology or biological/biomedical science majors.

    Human Anatomy AND

    Human Physiology

    ~ OR ~

    Human Anatomy & Physiology I AND

    Human Anatomy & Physiology II







    Comparative Anatomy

    Mammalian Anatomy

    Mammalian Physiology

    Must be for biology or biological/biomedical science majors.




    College algebra - minimum

    Pre-Calculus Algebra






    Can be taken in any dept. (business, psychology).

    General Psychology


    Higher psychology courses are accepted.

    Human development courses are also accepted.

    Medical Terminology 



    No certifications or clerical/office courses accepted.

    BONUS COURSES for Extra Points*




















     Online/web-based       Community College      AP      CLEP    


     Physical Education                    Exercise Science               Veterinary                     Nursing

    *Extra points are added for applicants who take bonus courses: See Extra Application Points section at bottom.
    **Community college courses are accepted if school is regionally accredited.
    **Online courses are accepted if school is regionally accredited.
    **AP and CLEP credits for prerequisites are accepted if they appear on an official transcript from a school that is regionally accredited.

  5. Completion of the General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within the past five (5) years from May 1 cycle start date. The department accepts:
    • (1) a minimum of 145 in both the Verbal and Quantitative sections, and a 3.5 in Analytical Writing; or (2) an old combined total score of 1000 in the Verbal and Quantitative sections, and a 3.5 in Analytical Writing.
    • The highest complete exam score is used in the ranking of applicants: We do not mix and match scores from different attempts.
    • Official scores should be sent to Institution Code 1880. Applicants can self-report unofficial scores on their CASPA, but this does not replace official score reports.
    • About the GRE: visit www.ets.org for more information.

  6. Completion of at least 250 hours in experience is required as listed in CASPA: (1) patient contact, (2) other work, (3) other healthcare, (4) community service, (5) research, and (6) shadowing. Applicants should document these hours on their CASPA application.

  7. Submission of three (3) reference letters, one of which must be from a Medical Doctor (MD), Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) or Physician Assistant (PA) submitted to CASPA and included with your CASPA application.  Reference letters sent directly to our office will not be accepted. 

  8. Submission of completed application materials by November 1 as stated in How to Apply. CASPA applications must be VERIFIED by November 1. Please allow at least four weeks for verification. Contact https://www.caspaonline.org for more information.

International Students
have additional requirements and application steps. Please see How to Apply for information.

Class of 2016 Profile

Class of 2016 Profile
(entering 2014)
Total Applications Received
Total Applications Meeting Requirements
Total Applicants Interviewed
Average Cumulative GPA
Average Science GPA
Cumulative GPA Range
3.06 - 4.00
Average GRE - Verbal
Average GRE - Quantitative
Average GRE - Analytical Writing
Average Age
Age Range
22 - 38
Total Alabama/Service Area Students
Total Out of State Students
Total Female Students
Total Male Students
Average Healthcare Experience Hours
Average Shadowing Hours

Advanced Placement and Deceleration

The program does not offer advanced placement or deceleration.

Application Screening Criteria and Interviews

Based on the current Dept. of Physician Assistant Studies Admissions Policies and Procedures, the following steps are conducted. If an application is completed, submitted and verified on time, the program conducts an initial assessment of the overall application for quality and accuracy, and then ranks qualifying applications by academic score. Academic scores consist of cumulative undergraduate GPA, science undergraduate GPA, last 64-hour GPA (both undergraduate and master’s level work), GRE scores and any extra application points. Those who rank in the top 90 are invited for interviews. Of those interviewed, the top 40 will be invited for the matriculate class. Currently the program reserves 6 seats for qualified Veteran applicants.

The interview process consists of two segments: the Group Case Scenario Interview and the Individual Interview. Both segments of the interview process have been designed to complement the evaluation of an academically proven applicant by the holistic appraisal of non-academic traits.

In the group interview, three applicants will be given a healthcare dilemma to discuss for 15 minutes. The individual interview will consist of questions posed by two or more interviewers. Knowledge of the PA profession, maturity, cultural awareness, general attitude and other intangible traits will be assessed.

Extra Application Points

Points will be added to the overall academic score for the following categories:
  1. Bonus Courses: Up to nine (9) points will be added to the Academic Score for course work completed in Immunology, Genetics, Biochemistry, Physics, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology.

    Points for extra course credit will be awarded as follows:
    1.50 points each for "A" grade
    0.75 points each for "B" grade
    0.375 points each for "C" grade

  2. Background and Experience:  Points will be awarded for five areas of background and experience, as documented on the CASPA application. Three (3) points will be given for each of the five (5) categories, for a maximum total of fifteen (15) points awarded.

    • Rural/Underserved: born in, graduated high school from, or resided in any rural county as referenced on ftp://ftp.hrsa.gov/ruralhealth/Eligibility2005.pdf
    • Additional Degree or Training: additional degree (Master’s or Doctorate), or three or more current basic health training certifications or registrations, e.g., CPR, EMT, CNA, MA, PALS.
    • Military or Government Service: includes all branches of service, AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, U.S. Public Health Service.
    • Research, Publications, and Presentations: includes all professional work.
    • Disadvantaged Background:

      • Overcame significant adversities and struggles as detailed in the CASPA Personal Statement.
      • Worked with underserved population.
      • Economically and/or environmentally disadvantaged, as defined by HRSA and detailed on the CASPA application.
        An economically disadvantaged student is one who comes from an environment that has inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skill and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school.
        An environmentally disadvantaged student is one who (1) has the abilities needed to succeed in a health career, but comes from backgrounds and educational environments that have made it difficult for them to reach and fully demonstrate their academic potential; and (2) Are more likely than other students to provide care to underserved areas and populations following completion of their degree.

Residency Preference

Residency preference will be shown only in the instance when an Alabama resident/Service Area applicant and a non-resident applicant receive the same database-generated score. Alabama residents and Service Area residents are classified as resident applicants, and all other applicants are considered non-resident applicants as defined in the University Bulletin. This preference will be applied to the interview invitation list and the acceptance invitation list.

Technical Standards

Students must be able to demonstrate abilities in observation, communication and motor functions, as well as critical thinking, interpersonal skills, and behavioral and social attributes. For a full description, visit Technical Standards.


Please visit http://www.southalabama.edu/alliedhealth/pa/veterans.html for more information about veteran applicants.


Nancy Dunn
Admissions Coordinator
University of South Alabama
Department of Physician Assistant Studies
5721 USA Drive North, Room 3124
Mobile, AL  36688-0002
Office: (251)-445-9345
Fax: (251) 445-9336

University of South Alabama Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions Department of Physician Assistant Studies