FAQ

Requirements and the Application Process

▼   Do I also need to apply to the University of South Alabama Graduate School?

No, you only need to apply to CASPA and the USA Physician Assistant Department. Follow the steps on the How to Apply page on the program website for specifics.

▼   What undergraduate degrees are required?

We accept any bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution, and our accepted students have had degrees in business, music, psychology, exercise science, nursing, international studies, as well as many others.

 

Prerequisites

▼   I earned my degree at a non-accredited institution. Will you accept my coursework?

We only accept coursework taken at a U.S. regionally accredited institution. Check with your school or contact the USA PA Studies Program Admissions Coordinator at pastudies@southalabama.edu to determine if it has the accepted accreditation.

▼   Will you waive the medical terminology requirement or any other prerequisites?

No prerequisites are waived, and all applicants, regardless of academic or professional background, must take all of the required courses at a U.S. regionally accredited institution.

▼   I have courses/degree in progress until after the application deadline. Will you still accept my application?

Yes.  Applications with in-progress courses will be considered as long as all prerequisites are completed successfully by December of the application cycle, (December prior to the desired May matriculation date).  Proof of enrollment for in-progress prerequisites will be required with the application and can be emailed to pastudies@southalabama.edu.  Non-prerequisite courses and Bachelor’s degrees may be in progress during the application cycle and must be completed successfully before the program begins in mid-May.

▼   How can I make sure I am taking the right classes?

The Prerequisite Course Chart found on our website serves as a guide for course evaluation. If you have more questions, email the course number, name, description, and school attended to the USA PA Studies Program Admissions Coordinator, at pastudies@southalabama.edu. A syllabus may be required.

▼   What should I major in?

The program does not give preference to any major. Students are accepted with a wide variety of majors, though most are in health or science related disciplines.

▼   What does it mean, "Prerequisite courses must be for science majors?"

Although you are not required to have a science major or degree, pre-requisite science courses must be from the science curriculum at your university or college. Be cautious about completing science courses unique to a particular subject or major, as they may not be accepted (i.e.: nursing, radiology, veterinary, etc.).

▼   Do you accept online courses?

Yes, if they are taken at a U.S. regionally accredited institution, and the courses appear on an official college transcript.

▼   Can courses be taken at a community college?

Yes, if they are taken at a U.S. regionally accredited institution, and the courses appear on an official college transcript.

▼   Do courses need to be taken within a certain period, say 10 years?

We do not have a set “expiration date” for courses taken, as long as they were taken at a U.S. regionally accredited institution and meet the grade requirements of C or higher.

▼   Are CLEP and Advanced Placement credits accepted?

Advanced Placement credits may accepted with department approval, after review of the applicant’s academic history, and as long as they are listed on an official college transcript from a U.S. regionally accredited institution. CLEP credits will not be accepted to satisfy any prerequisites.

 

References

▼   What kind of references should I submit?

Your three letters of reference--one of which must be from a PA, MD, or DO--should ideally be from healthcare professionals who are familiar with your clinical skills, or with whom you have shadowed. We do not advise securing character references or those from pastors, friends, teachers, or your family doctor.

▼   My reference sent the letter to me, not to the program. Should I forward it to the program?

All reference letters must be submitted to CASPA and be included with your CASPA application. Procedures for submitting references are on the CASPA website. Reference letters sent to our office will not be accepted. CASPA will not verify your application until at least two (2) of the three (3) references letters have been received.

 

GPAs and GREs

▼   My GPA is below the program minimum requirements. Will you accept my application?

We cannot accept applications that do not meet the program minimum requirements.

▼   My GRE is below the program minimum requirements. Will you accept my application?

We can only accept applications that meet the minimum required GRE score, on one test date, of Quantitative 145, Verbal 145, completion of Analytical Writing (no minimum required score).

▼   If my CASPA is filed before I complete the summer semester, will you include those grades in my GPA?

Due to the large number of applications received, once CASPA has verified your application, we do not recalculate GPAs.

▼   Why is my GPA lower on my CASPA application than on my college transcript?

CASPA evaluates grades differently than some schools. If a student re-takes a course to get a better grade, CASPA averages the two together. CAPSA does not recognize Grade Replacement or Academic Bankruptcy. The higher grade does not replace the lower grade. Please visit caspaonline.org for clarification.

▼   Will you accept the GMAT / MCAT in place of the GRE?

No, we require and accept only the GRE.

 

After the Deadline

▼   When are the interviews scheduled?

Interviews are currently scheduled to be held in October and November. Interview invitations will be sent throughout the interview season up until the final interview day.

▼   When will I be notified about my interview?

Applicants invited for an interview will be notified via the email address listed on their CASPA application. Interview Invitations will be sent throughout the interview season, starting around October 1, up until the final interview day. Applicants should be notified their application status via email around the end of January.

▼   Does the USA PA Studies Program have rolling admissions?

The University of South Alabama does not utilize a rolling admissions practice. Admissions decisions are not made until after the October 1 deadline. The submission date of CASPA does not play a role in the evaluation process, as long as it is submitted to USA and verified by October 1 and as long as all admissions and application requirements are met.