- School of Pharmacy and Physician Assistant Studies
- Physician Assistant Studies (PA Program), M.S.P.A.S.
- PA Program FAQs
PA Program FAQs
Get answers to your questions about the Physician Assistant Studies program.
General Program Questions
No, housing is not provided.
The program is 28 months long, divided into 15 month didactic and 13 month clinical phases. Classes are in session year-round and each cohort begins in January.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the University of Saint Joseph Physician Assistant Program sponsored by the University of Saint Joseph. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.
Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2031. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.
The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-university-of-st-joseph/
Students who successfully complete all program requirements will earn the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) degree.
Due to the rigors of the PA curriculum, students are strongly discouraged from working while enrolled in the program. Under no circumstances will students be permitted to alter their academic schedule or be granted excused absences to accommodate work schedules. Students who are placed on academic probation may be prohibited from working as a condition of that probation.
Financial aid in the form of federal student loans and private loans may be available to students meeting eligibility criteria. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have further questions.
Please check back in early 2024 for Open House information and registration.
The program enrolled 46 students for the class of 2025.
USJ’s PA Studies Program has developed a unique modular curriculum, the only program of its kind in the region. Students will enroll in one course at a time, allowing for complete focus on mastery of clinical sciences specific to each organ system, with opportunities to begin integrating and applying concepts embedded throughout the curriculum. The knowledge and critical thinking skills developed during the 15-month didactic curriculum will prepare students to excel during the 13-month clinical phase of the program when they will complete nine, 5-week Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences and participate in activities designed to prepare them to enter clinical practice.
The University of Saint Joseph has been educating students in pre-professional and professional programs for almost eighty years and is pleased to announce the development of our Physician Assistant Studies Program (PA Program). The University first enrolled students into the 28-month program leading to the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree beginning in Jan. 2017.
Rigorous academic preparation, coupled with a strong focus on ethical values, personal integrity, and a sense of responsibility to meet the needs of society, guided by the core Mercy values at the center of a USJ education, will position our graduates for success as they practice medicine at the heart of patient-centered medical teams.
Please note we are unable to provide a global review of transcripts before an individual applies to the program. It is the applicant’s responsibility to consult the most current application and admission requirements prior to applying. The program, however, will respond to questions regarding a specific course. Please email course questions along with course syllabi to [email protected].
Due to the volume of requests received, faculty and staff cannot meet individually with applicants or re-review applications. If you have a specific question regarding a particular area of concern, we will do our best to respond to your question via [email protected].
No, as of the Spring 2021-2022 admission cycle, the USJ PA Studies Program will not allow deferred acceptance-admission to the PA Program. Applicants wishing to defer acceptance will need to reapply in a future application cycle.
No, the program will only review and score 3 professional letters of recommendation for each applicant. Examples of professional letters of recommendations include letters from professor, employer, advisor, supervisor.
The CASPA 2024-2025 application cycle opens April 25, 2024. To apply, please visit caspa.liaisoncas.com/.
The verified application deadline for the USJ PA Studies Program, 2024/2025 application cycle is October 1, 2024. All CASPA applications need to be verified and the USJ PA Studies Supplemental Application Fee paid by the application deadline in order to be reviewed. Please go to the following link to pay the supplemental application fee.
The verified application deadline for the USJ PA Studies Program, 2024-2025 application cycle is October 1, 2024. All CASPA applications need to be verified and the USJ PA Studies Supplemental Application Fee paid by the application deadline in order to be reviewed. Please go to the following link to pay the supplemental application fee.
The USJ PA Studies Program will utilize a rolling admissions process. As such, there is a competitive advantage to the submission of verified applications as early as possible in the application cycle. It is possible the class will be full prior to the application deadline.
No, neither the GRE, MCAT nor PA-CAT scores are required or considered for application.
A minimum score of 100 (internet-based) on the TOEFL, taken within the last 2 years, is required of any applicant who has earned a degree outside of the US. This requirement cannot be waived, regardless of having completed coursework or living in the US for any length of time.
International applicants must meet the same admission criteria as non-international applicants. In addition, they must submit a course-by-course evaluation of their transcript and degree from a professional organization. Additionally, if they have earned their degree at a non-US institution, they must submit TOEFL scores from within the last 2 years with a score of 100 or better (internet-based).
No. The PA Studies Program does not accept transfer students. All students must meet all application requirements and begin classes with a cohort at the beginning of the program.
Yes. We currently extend preference in the form of a guaranteed interview to any student who meets all application requirements and has earned a degree from and completed 60 credits or more of their college study at USJ. No points will be added to the applicants file scoring. In the event a preferential candidate is not granted admission, they will not be offered preference in subsequent application cycles.
Preference is also given to USJ Health Science Direct-Entry PA students whom have met the criteria and progressions noted on the following page. https://www.usj.edu/academics/sihs/health-science-direct-entry-pa/
No. The USJ PA Studies Program does not grant advance placement/standing within the program curriculum based upon previous coursework or educational/work experience.
Regarding pre-requisite coursework, students having earned a 4 or 5 of Advance Placement tests in a subject meeting a pre-requisite requirement will be considered to have met that pre-requisite, however that course will not be counted in their pre-requisite GPA.
We utilize a rolling admission process. Applications will be reviewed and scored as they are received. Students will be invited for interviews and admission to the class throughout the summer into the early fall if they meet specific scoring thresholds. Students meeting minimum requirements for admission, but falling below the established thresholds for the application cycle will be placed on a waiting list.
Student applications are rank-ordered by score. As we utilize a rolling process, we are not able to provide applicants with information about their position on the waitlist for interview or admission, as that information is constantly changing depending on activity within the applicant pool. Should an opportunity for interview or acceptance arise, it will be offered to the first individual on the waitlist at the time the respective opportunity becomes available.
Students will only be notified by the program once their application is received. If you are selected for an interview you will receive notification from the program. You will also be notified by the program if you are found not to meet the minimum admission requirements and once the class is full. Students who have not received any communication from the program since the acknowledgment of receipt of their application should consider themselves on the waitlist for an interview opportunity.
Any Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution will meet the requirement. International applicants must submit a course-by-course evaluation of their transcripts and degree to ensure they meet US equivalences.
A review of every applicant’s file involves an evaluation of the student’s transcripts. Performing well in upper-level science courses and in credit heavy semesters demonstrates strong academic aptitude. However, we do not specifically award points based upon grades in upper-level science courses alone nor are these courses required for application to the program beyond those required by the pre-requisites.
The USJ PA Studies Supplemental Application is not a separate application. The supplemental application is embedded within your CASPA application with information that is marked “required” (by the USJ PA Studies Program), and must be completed before you will be allowed to submit your application to the Program. This information cannot be edited after the application is submitted.
Once the University of Saint Joseph Physician Assistant Studies Program has been selected in the “Add Program” section of your CASPA application, the “Program Materials” and “Documents” tab will become visible in which to download specific materials and documents required by the Program. You will choose your prerequisite courses in the “Prerequisites” tab for the admission committee to review, answer “Custom Questions” specific to the Program, complete the USJ PA Studies essay, and make the Supplemental Application Fee payment via an online payment link.
Please go to the following link to pay the $50 USJ PA Supplemental Application Fee.
Please Note: The $50 PA Program Supplemental Application Fee is in addition to the CASPA Application Fee which CASPA requires. Please visit the CASPA website for information on their fees.
Yes, you may apply with no more than 2 prerequisite courses planned or in progress. Any outstanding coursework must be complete by December TBD, 2024 for the 2024-2025 application cycle, (the year prior to matriculation). If you were to be offered acceptance into the program with in-progress coursework, this offer would be contingent upon completion of that coursework according to guidelines outlined in your letter of acceptance.
Courses must be completed within 7 academic years prior to matriculation. For the cohort beginning January 2025, courses taken in Fall 2017 or later may be considered.
COURSE WAIVER REQUEST FORM
For the 2024-2025 application cycle, consideration for a waiver of prerequisite coursework completed prior to Fall 2017 will be done on a case-by-case basis. The Admission Committee will evaluate the applicant’s coursework and professional work history to determine if a waiver can be granted. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have been working in a field where they have been utilizing the course content in order to be granted a waiver, and have completed recent coursework.
Please note, the admissions committee will only consider Course Waiver Request forms for prerequisite coursework completed outside of the 7 academic year deadline if the applicant has completed college-level course work within the past three years at a regionally-accredited institution. The coursework must be documented on the Course Waiver Request Form at the time of submission.
Regardless of past education or work history, applicants must have taken all prerequisite courses at some point in their academic history. We cannot accept work history in place of a prerequisite course.
COURSE WAIVER REQUEST FORM
We will accept coursework and labs completed at any regionally accredited college or university, including community colleges and online coursework.
No. All applicants must have completed all prerequisite courses to be considered for admission to the program, regardless of educational or career history.
We will accept repeated coursework to satisfy prerequisite course requirements. The most recent grade will be used in your prerequisite GPA calculation. Both attempts at the course are calculated in your overall GPA.
No. Applicants must have a 3.0 Overall GPA as calculated by CASPA, at the time of application, and a 3.0 Prerequisite GPA at the time of application. In the event an applicant is still completing courses after application, upon completion of that coursework, their GPAs must remain above 3.0 to be considered for admission.
Many institutions use varying scales to calculate GPA. To maintain consistency among applicants, we utilize only CASPA Verified GPA calculations. If you have questions about how CASPA is calculating your GPA, please visit their website for more information.
As of the 2024-2025 application cycle, the Program requires verification of 1,000 hours of experience to ensure that every applicant has met the threshold. Please document 1,000 hours only on the Experience Verification Form along with supervisor’s signature verifying your experience & hours. There is no advantage to submitting USJ PA verification forms demonstrating greater than 1,000 experience hours.
The USJ PA Studies Program accepts the USJ PA Studies Experience Verification Form only, in verifying 1,000 experience hours. Pay stubs, time sheets and employer letters are not accepted forms of verification.
If you have completed experience hours beyond 1,000 hours, please document additional experience hours in your CASPA application. When scoring an applicant’s file, we will review and consider ALL experiences listed by the applicant in CASPA.
EXPERIENCE VERIFICATION FORM
Yes, any volunteer work can be used to meet the requirement.
EXPERIENCE VERIFICATION FORM
In recognition of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the USJ PA Studies Program will accept Pass/Fail grades to meet pre-requisite requirements for courses taken in the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters.
In situations where students were given the option by their institution to select traditional letter grades or Pass/Fail grading options, selecting traditional letter grades provides the Admissions Committee with the most complete opportunity to assess an applicant’s academic ability.
The USJ PA Studies Program reserves the right to not accept Pass/Fail grades from institutions whose grade policies would allow a “Pass” grade to be issued for a course with an earned grade lower than “C”, in keeping with published admission guidelines.
Paid and unpaid work accepted as patient care includes experiences where you are actively responsible for patient care. Such work involves evaluating the patient, participating in clinical decision making and implementing treatment plans.
Examples of patient care experiences include obtaining vital signs, collecting detailed patient medical histories, assisting with procedures or treatments, administering medications, pharmacy technician, medical scribe, paramedic, EMT, nurse, CNA, medical assistant, PCA, phlebotomist, physical therapist, dental hygienist, mental health worker, etc.
Paid and unpaid work in a health or health-related field accepted as health care experience where you are not directly responsible for a patient’s care includes administrative duties-clerical work, billing, insurance, care of family members, delivering patient food, cleaning patient rooms, working with animals, etc.
If you are unsure if your health care experience qualifies as patient care, please email your questions to [email protected].