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Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions
Department of Physician Assistant Studies
 
 
 
Admissions
   
•  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
•  FAQs
•  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
 • Technical Standards
 • Veterans
 • Direct Patient Contact Experience
 • 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 successfully when the program begins in mid-May, failure to do so may result in the student losing their seat in the program.  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.

    COURSE NAME

    SEMESTER

    HRS. REQUIRED

    ALSO ACCEPTED/

    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    Biology

    3.0*

    General Biology - Lab required.

    Cell Biology

    Genetics

    Immunology

    Molecular Biology

    Must be for biology or biological/biomedical science majors.

    General Chemistry I

    4.0

    Must be for chemistry majors. Lab required.

    General Chemistry II

    4.0

    Must be for chemistry majors. Lab required.

    Organic Chemistry

    3.0

    Biochemistry

    Must be for chemistry majors.

    General Microbiology

    3.0

    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

    3.0

    3.0

     

    3.0

     

    3.0

    Comparative Anatomy

    Mammalian Anatomy

    Mammalian Physiology

    Must be for biology or biological/biomedical science majors.

    Mathematics

     

    3.0

    College algebra - minimum

    Pre-Calculus Algebra

    Calculus

    Trigonometry

    Statistics

    3.0

    Biostatics

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

    General Psychology

    3.0

    Higher psychology courses are accepted.

    Human development courses are also accepted.

    Medical Terminology 

     

    2.0

    No certifications or clerical/office courses accepted.

    BONUS COURSES for Extra Points**

    Genetics

    3.0

    Genomics

    Biochemistry

    3.0

     

    Immunology

    3.0

     

    Physics

    3.0

     

    Pathophysiology

    3.0

     

    Pharmacology

    3.0

     

    COURSES ACCEPTED***

     Online/web-based       Community College      AP      CLEP    

    COURSES NOT ACCEPTED

                      Physical Education               Exercise Science               Veterinary                Nursing


    *Semester hours required does not reflect any required labs.
    **Extra points are added for applicants who successfully complete 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 500 hours in Direct Patient Contact Experience is required:
    Click for Direct Patient Contact Experience examples. Applicants will document these hours on their CASPA application.

    Direct Patient Contact Experience is defined as working directly with patients (in person, talking, touching); assessing patients medically or psychologically; providing some form of medical or psychological treatment (i.e. psychotherapy, CPR, nutrition plan, administering medication, taking vitals, etc.)
    • A minimum of 500 Direct Patient Contact Experience Hours will be required.
    • These hours must be completed at the time of application.
    • Hours credited as part of a training, educational, or internship program will be considered as part of those hours.
    • There is no time frame for when hours have been earned.
    • PA/Physician Shadowing does not count towards these hours.


  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. CASPA will not start the verification process of your application until two of your three letters of reference have been received.


  8. Submission of completed application materials by November 1 as stated in How to Apply. Supplemental Applications with the non-refundable fee of $110.00 must be postmarked no later than November 1. 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
753
Total Applications Meeting Requirements
262
Total Applicants Interviewed
75
Average Cumulative GPA
3.59
Average Science GPA
3.53
Cumulative GPA Range
3.06 - 4.00
Average GRE - Verbal
154
Average GRE - Quantitative
156
Average GRE - Analytical Writing
4.1
Average Age
25.5
Age Range
22 - 38
Total Alabama/Service Area Students
25
Total Out of State Students
15
Total Female Students
28
Total Male Students
12
Average Healthcare Experience Hours
2,235
Average Shadowing Hours
134



Advanced Placement and Deceleration

The program does not offer advanced placement or deceleration.



Application Screening Criteria and Interviews

Selection Process

Upon receipt of the verified CASPA application, supplemental application with application fee and GRE scores, the completed application packet is reviewed by the Admissions Coordinator.  Applicants who meet all of the minimum requirements will be considered for an interview.

Applicants are selected for interviews based on a holistic evaluation.  Many factors are taken into consideration:
  • GPA – The applicant must be able to succeed in the academic demands of the program.  Each applicant will be evaluated based on academic achievements in light of the opportunities available to the applicant and demonstrated capacity to contribute to the intellectual life at the USA. Any GPA trends are noted; grade deficiencies should be addressed in the USA custom question section in the Program Materials section of the updated CASPA application.
  • GRE – Standardized test performance may be an indicator of success during the program as well as on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE).
  • Direct Patient Contact/Health Care/Shadowing Experience – It is vital that applicants have a thorough understanding of the PA profession as well as experience in the health care industry and working directly with patients.
  • Community Service – We strive to produce culturally sensitive and compassionate PA’s.  Paid work or volunteering with underserved populations is strongly recommended.
  • 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.

Residency Preference

Preference is shown to Alabama residents, however, highly qualified Service Area and out-of-state applicants whose academics and experiences indicate that they may be a success in both the program and the PA profession will be given the same consideration as residents.  Non-residents will be required to pay the non-resident tuition and fees as set by the University.  For information on residency please contact the Office of the Registrar at http://www.southalabama.edu/registrar/residency.htm.


Interviews

The interview process has been designed to complement the evaluation of an academically proven applicant by the holistic appraisal of non-academic traits.

Approximately 120 applicants will be selected to interview.

The applicant will attend one of three interview sessions to be held in November, December and January.  The applicant will have three (3) one-on-one interviews.  Each interview will last approximately sixty (60) minutes.  An information session and tours will also be held that day.  Knowledge of the PA profession, maturity, cultural awareness, general attitude and other intangible traits will be assessed.  Notification of applicant status may be emailed at any time during the interview cycle until the class positions are filled.  All applicants should know their status by the end of January.

Of those interviewed, the top 40 will be invited for the matriculate class.

Currently the program reserves 10 seats for qualified Veteran applicants for the 2016 matriculate class. The USA PA program is the recipient of a 2012 HRSA Title VII PA Training Grant with one of its targeted objectives being the recruitment of veterans to the civilian healthcare workforce by leveraging their military training to becoming certified physician assistants.  




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 four areas of background and experience, as documented on the CASPA application. Three (3) points will be given for each of the four (4) categories, for a maximum total of twelve (12) 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, documentation will be required and will be uploaded onto CASPA.
    • Military or Government Service: includes all branches of service, AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, U.S. Public Health Service.
    • Disadvantaged Background:

      • Overcame significant adversities and struggles as detailed in the CASPA Personal Statement.
      • 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.


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.


Veterans

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




Direct Patient Contact Experience

Direct Patient Contact Experience is defined as working directly with patients (in person, talking, touching); assessing patients medically or psychologically; providing some form of medical or psychological treatment (i.e. psychotherapy, CPR, nutrition plan, administering medication, taking vitals, etc.)

  • A minimum of 500 Direct Patient Contact Experience Hours will be required.
  • These hours must be completed at the time of application.
  • Hours credited as part of a training, educational, or internship program will be considered as part of those hours.
  • There is no time frame for when hours have been earned.
  • PA/Physician Shadowing does not count towards these hours.
Examples of Direct Patient Contact Experience:
  • Armed Services:  medic/military corpsmen
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Caregiver/Home Health Aide
  • Chiropractor
  • Clinical Laboratory Services (med tech)
  • Clinical Nutritionist or Dietician
  • Clinical Research Assistant
  • Community Health Worker
  • Dental Assistant/Hygienist
  • Hospice Volunteer
  • Massage Therapist
  • Medical Aide/Assistant/Technician:
  • (Radiology, PT, OT, EMT (basic & paramedic), MA, CNA, Nursing Aide, cardiology, ER, surgical tech, ultrasound, other hospital tech positions)
  • Mental/Behavioral Health Counselor
  • Medical Mission Trip Participant
  • Other Health Professions:  Nursing, OT, PT, RT, Communications Sciences
  • Patient Transporter
  • Peace Corps volunteer
  • Phlebotomist
  • Volunteer fireman w/ medical calls

*Please contact Nancy Dunn, Admissions Coordinator, pastudies@southalabama.edu for approval for any other Direct Patient Contact Experience categories not listed.



Contact

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
pastudies@southalabama.edu







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