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NEW GRE CODE FOR CASPA –
EFFECT 2017-2018 ADMISSIONS CYCLE

Effective 2017 – 2018 Admissions Cycle please use USA PA Studies GRE code 2169. This will allow the testing service to send your official GRE scores to both CASPA and USA.

NEW FOR 2018-2019
AND FUTURE
ADMISSIONS CYCLES

Science GPA and Last 60-hour GPA as calculated by CASPA must be at least a 3.0 to be considered for the program.
All prerequisites must be completed one semester prior to matriculation. (i.e. prerequisites must be completed by December 2018 to enter the program May 2019)

    

Minimum Requirements

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.

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. To determine if your school has the regional accreditation that we accept for degrees and prerequisite coursework, please see the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) website.
     
  2. A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, as calculated by CASPA (includes post-baccalaureate undergraduate 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 semester prior to matriculation. They must be completed successfully when the program begins, failure to do so will result in the student losing their seat in the program.  Courses are not required to be taken within a timeframe.  Bonus Courses are NOT required but if completed with a “C” or above will earn extra application points. To determine if your school has the regional accreditation that we accept for degrees and prerequisite coursework, please see the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) website.
     

    Prerequisite Course Chart
    If you have questions about courses,
    please email Ms. Nancy Dunn.
    Include the course number, description,
    and school attended, a syllabus may be required.
    All science courses must be geared for science majors.
    Name Sem
    Hrs.
    Req
    Also Accepted/
    Additional
    Information
    Biology 3.0* General Biology - Lab required-4 hrs. total*
    or Cell Biology
    or Genetics
    or Immunology
    or Molecular Biology
    General Chemistry I 4.0 Lab required
    General Chemistry II 4.0 Lab required
    Organic Chemistry 3.0 or Biochemistry (no Bonus Points)
    General Microbiology 3.0 or Infectious Disease
    or Molecular Microbiology
    or Medical Microbiology 
    Human Anatomy
    AND

    Human Physiology
    ~ OR ~
    Human Anatomy &
    Physiology I

    AND
    Human Anatomy &
    Physiology II
    3.0

    3.0

    3.0


    3.0
    Human Preferred but will accept:
    Comparative, Vertebrate, Mammalian   Anatomy/Physiology 
    Mathematics 3.0 College algebra - minimum 
    or Pre-Calculus Algebra
    or Calculus
    Statistics 3.0 Statistical Reasoning and Applications 
    Can be taken in most departments
    General Psychology 3.0 Human development courses may be accepted.
    Medical Terminology 2.0 No certifications or clerical/office courses accepted.
    BONUS COURSES for Extra Points* - Not Required
    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 typically Not Accepted to satisfy prerequisites,
    USA PA department approval needed.
    •Survey, Applied
    •Physical Education •Exercise Science/Kinesiology
    •Veterinary •Nursing
     
    * Extra points are added for applicants who successfully complete bonus courses.
    ** Community college courses are accepted if school is regionally accredited.
    ** Online courses are accepted if school is regionally accredited. Though accepted, it is recommended that they be kept to a minimum and do not include upper level sciences.
    ** AP and CLEP credits may be accepted to satisfy prerequisites if they appear on an official transcript from a college/university that is regionally accredited and only after transcript evaluation and with approval from the USA PA department.

  1. Completion of the General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within the past five (5) years from May 1 cycle start date. The department accepts:
    • a minimum of 145 in both the Verbal and Quantitative sections. The Analytical Writing section is required.
    • 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 electronically to USA PA Studies Institution Code 2169 and must be received by the October 1 deadline. Applicants can self-report unofficial scores on their CASPA, but this does not replace official score reports.
    • About the GRE: visit ETS for more information.

  2. Completion of at least 500 hours in Direct Patient Care Experience is required:  See Direct Patient Care Experience examples. Applicants will document these hours on their CASPA application.

    Direct Patient Care Experience is defined as caring directly for 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 Care Experience Hours will be required.
    • Paid or volunteer work will be accepted.
    • These hours must be completed at the time the CASPA application is submitted.
    • 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Submission of completed application materials by October 1 as stated in How to Apply. Supplemental Applications with the non-refundable fee of $110.00 must be postmarked no later than October 1.  CASPA applications must be VERIFIED by October 1. Please allow at least four weeks for verification. Contact CASPA for more information.


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

Class of 2019 Profile

 

Class of 2019 Profile
Total Applications Received (CASPA) 1210
Total Applications Meeting Minimum Requirements & Eligible for Interview 461
Average Cumulative UG GPA 3.58
Average Science GPA 3.59
Average Last 64-Hour GPA 3.72
Average GRE - Verbal 154
Average GRE - Quantitative 152
Average Age 28
Age Range 22 - 44
Total Alabama Students 16
Total Out of State Students 24
Total Female Students 24
Total Male Students 16
Veterans 6
Average Patient Care Hours 3,673
Average PA Shadowing Hours 93
Average Volunteer/Community Service 256

 

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 the program 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 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.
  • Residency
  • Background and Experience

 

Residency Preference

While preference is shown to Alabama residents, 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.

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. 

A limited number of select applicants will attend one of the interview sessions to be held in November, December and January.  Invitations for interviews will be emailed in October, November, December and the beginning of January. Interviewees should know their status approximately three weeks after their interview.

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

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.

Direct Patient Care Experience

Direct Patient Care 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 Care Experience Hours will be required.
  • Paid or volunteer work will be accepted.
  • These hours must be completed at the time the CASPA application is submitted.
  • 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 Care Experience:

  • Armed Services:  medic/military corpsmen
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Caregiver/Home Health Aide
  • Chiropractor
  • Clinical Nutritionist or Dietitian
  • 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
  • Optometric Technician
  • 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, for approval for any other Direct Patient Care Experience categories not listed; include a detailed job description. Pharmacy Technician and Medical Scribe work are typically not considered Direct Patient Care experience.

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