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MU Home » Academics » School of Graduate Studies » Physician Assistant Program

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are your requirements for entrance into the PA Program?

  • A Bachelor's degree from a four year regionally accredited college or university. No specific major is required or preferred.
  • Successful completion (a letter grade of C or better) of the following coursework:
    • Anatomy and Physiology w/ lab
    • Microbiology w/ lab
    • 8 semester hours of any other human and/or animal life sciences
    • General Chemistry I and II w/labs
    • Organic Chemistry I and II w/labs
    • Biochemistry
    • College Algebra or higher
    • Statistics
    • 6 semester hours of Psychology
    • Medical Terminology
  • 500 hours of healthcare experience
  • General Record Exam (GRE)

2. What are your minimum recommendations to be considered?

  • 3.0 or higher overall GPA
  • 3.2 or higher prerequisite (medical core) GPA
  • 297 or higher verbal and quantitative combination on the GRE
  • Meeting or exceeding the 500 hours of clinical experience requirement at the time of application.

3. What makes an application more competitive? If I'm meeting, not exceeding the academic selection factors, will I be accepted?

Although the program has recommended GPAs, GRE scores and healthcare experience hours, these are minimum benchmarks. Averages for the incoming class have shown that the majority of applicants who are accepted have exceeded the minimum requirements.

4. Where can I access an application for admission to the MUPAP?

Applicants must apply through the Centralized Application Service for PAs (CASPA; www.caspaonline.org). Currently, the program does not utilize a supplemental application, nor do we have an application fee. Please click here to view CASPA's FAQ page.

5. When does the application open and what is the deadline for admissions?

The CASPA application opens for all programs in mid-April of each year, 16 months in advance of our start date. We operate on rolling admissions and utilize a March 1 deadline. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as the program can fill its class prior to the March 1 deadline. Interviews will begin an entire year in advance of the start date. Those applicants who have applied at an earlier date have a greater chance of being considered for an interview.

6. Is there a time limit on the prerequisite coursework and can certain courses be waived/substituted?

No, we do not have a time limit on courses. However, it is strongly recommended any prerequisite courses that were taken 6-10 years ago should be retaken as a refresher. The program will not waive or substitute any courses for our prerequisites regardless of previous education or experience.

7. Do I have to have all coursework completed when I submit my application?

No. Applicants who have a plan in place or are in progress of completing outstanding coursework for the program will still be considered, if selection factors have been met. Applicants are encouraged to have the majority of coursework completed at the time their application is received. If an applicant has 20-30 hours of outstanding coursework at the time of application, he/she is encouraged to wait until the next application cycle to apply to be a more competitive applicant.

8. Where can I document my planned or in-progress coursework?

There is a section on the CASPA application where applicants can list these courses.

9. Is it ok to take or retake my outstanding coursework at a community college?

Through the admissions process, the program places a lot of emphasis on how an applicant has demonstrated their academic preparation for our demanding curriculum. Applicants who take the majority of coursework at the college/university level are more competitive than those who have taken all prerequisites at the community college level. Community college coursework for math, psychology and medical terminology courses have been accepted, but university level work is stressed and deemed more competitive for biology and chemistry requirements.

10. How does the program view repeated coursework?

The MUPAP evaluates the following GPAs: prerequisite GPA (calculated by the program), science GPA, and overall GPA (both calculated by CASPA). We will take the higher grade of the repeated course when determining a prerequisite GPA. Repeated coursework will be factored in with old coursework when calculating your science and overall GPA, as these are calculated by CASPA. Click here to read more about how CASPA determines an applicant's overall GPA.

11. I have been in the medical field for several years. Do I still have to take Medical Terminology?

Yes, regardless of your past or present experience you must complete a medical terminology class.

12. What are Direct Patient Contact hours and how can I obtain them?

Please see our page on Direct Patient Contact hours.

13. Explain the interview process.

Those applicants deemed to be the most competitive and who have applied early are invited to campus for an interview with our Admissions Selection Committee. Unfortunately, the program cannot and does not interview all applicants. Interviews begin in September of each year and continue on a monthly basis until the class is filled, and the program does interview for an alternate list.

Currently, interviews are held during the week and are an all-day event. Through a series of program interactions, individual interviews and a group exercise, applicants will be assessed on non-cognitive factors such as, but not limited to: understanding of the role of the PA, compatibility with the program and profession, professionalism, communication, ethical decision making, problem solving, teachability and critical thinking skills.
Admissions decisions are made at the conclusion of the interview day and applicants are notified within 2 weeks of their interview of our decision.

14. How many seats are available vs. how many apply?

The program received over 500 applications a year for 40 seats. Previous trends have shown close to 90 applicants a year are invited for an interview. The program does interview for an alternate list, but the alternate list is only active for the current application cycle and does not fill up seats in the next class.

15. Do you give preference to in-state residents?

Methodist University is a private institution and is not mandated by our state to accept only NC residents.

16. What is the difference in tuition for in-state and out-of-state students?

Since MU is a private institution all costs are the same for in-state and out-of-state students.

17. Where can I view class averages?

18. I see many states represented in class profile, but did not see my state. Does that mean you don't accept applications from this state?

No. Just because the class profile shown may not have a student from your state, it does not mean we do not have applicants who apply from your state, that we do not accept them, or that some students have not relocated to NC from another state at the time their application is received (i.e. military spouses). Every class will have a different demographic profile, but overall the program has a good number of states outside of NC represented and accepts applications from all states.

19. I am a Foreign Medical Doctor and have completed all coursework requirements in medical school, but in another country. Will I have to retake the prerequisite coursework requirements for the program although I have already completed them in a foreign medical program?

Yes, you will have to retake all coursework requirements for the program in the U.S. regardless if you have already completed them within a foreign medical program. The program will not make exceptions to this policy regardless of experience. Although transcript evaluations will have coursework evaluated we will not consider any courses taken outside the U.S. The only item of importance the program is looking for on the WES evaluation is the degree equivalency (typically located on page 2 or 3 of an evaluation). It will not benefit the applicant to request the program to make an exception because no exception will be made to this policy.

20. My undergraduate grades are not very strong. Would retaking some classes help my chances of being more competitive?

Applicants who have completed their degree many years ago and who may be close, but below the recommended overall GPA are sometimes encouraged to retake prerequisite courses to boost their prerequisite GPA to make them a more competitive applicant. In instances such as these, we focus on the last 60 hours of coursework and look for an upward trend in academic performance. Applicants in these situations exceed the recommended prerequisite GPA of 3.2, GRE scores and health care experience requirements.

21. I have no clinical experience and have plans to apply to the program. I do have a plan in place to complete my experience hours by July 15th, am I still competitive?

In most instances, no, you would not be as competitive with the applicants whose other factors (GPA, GRE) are equal. The purpose of clinical experience is to allow for exposure to the PA profession and medical field. Having direct patient contact is also critical in helping applicants establish a comfort level when working with patients and other members of the medical team.

The program looks favorably upon applicants that have invested time to seek the understanding of the PA profession and medical field prior to applying. We strongly encourage applicants to have at least half of their hours completed prior to applying. If the applicant has no patient contact he or she is strongly encouraged to wait until the next application cycle to apply; thus allowing ample time to obtain direct patient contact.

22. Do student hours towards a certification count for clinical experience?

No, only hours after you have been certified will count.

23. How does the program view paid hours vs. shadowing hours for healthcare experience?

Paid hours allow for more patient interaction and may afford an applicant a better environment to gain an understanding of how the healthcare system works. Common ways applicants have accrued paid healthcare experience have been through, but are not limited to: C.N.A, EMT, paramedic, phlebotomy, patient care tech, ER tech positions. Some applicants have accrued all hours through shadowing a PA or physician, but are encouraged to seek paid experience if possible. Students who have been accepted usually have a good mix of paid and shadowing hours.

24. How does the program consider volunteering for health care experience?

The program accepts volunteering hours in a clinical setting IF he/she is performing duties that are similar to medical assisting. Hours that contain prepping exam rooms, stocking rooms, comforting patients by reading or playing games, etc. will not count.

Although not all volunteer experiences may count for health care experience, applicants who have volunteer or leadership experience are encouraged to list these experiences on their CASPA application. The program seeks applicants who are well rounded, and outside of academic selection factors, volunteering and leadership experiences speak a lot about an applicant.

25. Do I have to provide documentation of my hours to the program?

No. Hours completed are documented on the CASPA application with the dates of employment, number of hours completed, description of duties, and a contact person. However, the applicant should keep pay stubs (if applicable) and/or a log of the number of hours completed each day and have the supervisor sign off on the hours. This way, if the program has any doubt, documentation can be easily provided by the applicant and the supervisor will be called.

26. Do I have to major in nursing to get into the program?

No. The program does not have a specific major required or preferred for applicants, and many nursing classes do not fulfill the prerequisite coursework requirements. If an applicant has not completed their bachelor's degree and is looking for a recommended major, we recommend majoring in Biology or Chemistry because these majors will help cover prerequisite coursework within the major. If an applicant does not major in Biology or Chemistry it will not hurt their chances of being considered.

27. I would like to visit the program and have someone look over my transcripts, what do I need to do?

The program strongly encourages prospective students to attend one of our weekly information sessions. Sessions are listed on a monthly basis and applicants must confirm their attendance via email. The Director of Admissions will cover prerequisites, application process, program curriculum, and reserves time at the end of the session to look over transcripts and answer individual questions.

Students who are unable to attend the session may send an electronic copy of their transcripts to the Director of Admission via or by fax (910) 630-7643. If faxed, please make sure to include an email address so a response can be sent. Further, if prospective students call and no one is available to answer your questions at that moment you are encouraged to leave a voicemail and your phone call is always returned promptly. If the Admissions Director is out of the office applicants are encouraged to send an with their question. In most instances emails will be returned on days that the Admissions Director is out.

28. Will the program make exceptions based on amount of experience?

No, every applicant is required to have the same requirements regardless of his or her academic and/or healthcare experience.

29. I have already obtained a Masters or Ph.D. degree. Do I still have to take the GRE?

Yes.

30. Does attending Methodist University to take my prerequisites guarantee me an interview even if I have an unsatisfactory GPA and/or unsatisfactory GRE scores?

No. Completing prerequisites or your bachelor's degree at MU does not guarantee an interview if you have not met the selection factors for GPA, GRE, and healthcare experience. MU graduates and students who do meet the selection criteria will be granted first interviews, but are must complete a successful interview with the Admissions Selection Committee to be accepted.

31. How long is your program? Do you have 1 or 2 start dates?

The program is a full-time, 27 month curriculum. There are no night time classes, part-time tracks, or online version of the program. Classes are typically Monday through Friday from 8 am-5 pm and clinical rotation (phase 2 of the program) schedules are based on the hours of the PA or Physician in which the student is assigned.
The program has one start date a year, late August.

32. Can I work during my enrollment in the PA Program?

Due to the demands of the program, through academics and clinical rotations, students will not be able to and are highly discouraged to find outside employment while enrolled in the program.

33. What is the program's passing rate on the PANCE?

Please click here to view the PANCE pass rates.

 

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