Applicants for the Physician Assistant Program must have the following prerequisites for admission into the program:
The following courses must be completed before admission into the program: (Online or Hybrid courses are not accepted with the exception of the statistics course.)
- A Bachelor's degree
- Human Anatomy & Physiology, a complete sequence (including labs; 8 semester hours)
- Microbiology, at the pre-med level/appropriate as a first-level requirement for a Microbiology major (including lab; 4 semester hours)
- General Chemistry, a complete sequence geared toward science majors/appropriate as a first-level course for a Chemistry major (including labs; 8 semester hours)
- Organic Chemistry (including labs; 4 semester hours)
- Statistics, including statistical tests and analysis (3 semester hours)
Direct Patient Care
Mississippi College recommends that all applicants complete the equivalent of at least six months (1000 hours) of direct (“hands-on”) patient care experience before entering the School. Applicants must provide information on both direct (“hands-on”) and indirect (“related”) health care experience, including role or job title, name of institution, name of supervisor, description of tasks, number of hours worked per week, and number of weeks worked at that institution. Clinical experience can be on a paid or volunteer basis.
Examples of direct patient care may include drawing blood, taking vital signs, providing personal hygiene care, serving as technician in Radiography, etc. For applicants who are already health professionals, such as nurses, paramedics, or respiratory therapists, the practice of your profession for the recommended length of time would constitute such clinical experience.
Applicants without previous health care experience are often able to acquire good direct patient care experience working as a medical or nursing assistant or aide in settings such as hospitals, clinics, or physicians’ private practices where a wide range of patients is seen and there is opportunity for exposure to numerous types of health care providers. Patient care experience in settings such as nursing homes and private homes utilizing the services of home health aides, offer limited exposure to a wide range of patients and providers and are therefore not as favorably regarded by the Admissions Committee as settings such as hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ private practices.
Applicants often complete a short nursing assistant or EMT program in order to secure paid employment while gaining clinical experience. Patient care experience can be acquired on a paid or volunteer basis, as long as the recommended amount of time is met in an acceptable health care setting.
Related Health Care
Related Health Care Experience is considered to be any experience working with patients that does not permit hands-on delivery of health care to patients. Examples include front office clerical work in a private physician’s office, medical records clerical work in a hospital or private office, etc.
Applicants with minimal exposure to physician assistants should arrange with one or more PAs to “shadow” them on a regular basis, especially in a primary care setting (family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics). Shadowing experiences should be listed as “Related Health Care Experience” on the application.
Although research experience may be considered by the Admissions Committee in evaluating an application, it is not a substitute for direct patient care. Experience in laboratory research studies is not regarded as direct patient care unless it involves actual hands-on contact with patients who are subjects of a research study. Laboratory assistant positions in basic science laboratories are also not regarded as patient care.
Applicants to the Mississippi College Physician Assistant Program are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test. The program office must receive an official GRE score report for each student prior to final admissions decisions or matriculation. Applications will be reviewed if GRE scores are not yet received by the program. However, final admissions decisions cannot be made until all application materials are received including GRE scores. The Mississippi College GRE code is 1477. There is no specific program code for the GRE.
Applicant GRE scores are assessed in conjunction with the complete profile. In order to matriculate into the PA program applicants must be eligible for admission to the Graduate School. A minimum score or equivalent with the new scoring system at or above 148 verbal and 140 quantitative is required for admission to the Mississippi College Graduate School. The PA program does not set a minimum acceptable score for the GRE but considers scores at or above 155 verbal, 150 quantitative, and 2.5 on the writing component as more competitive. For additional explanations on the meaning of the GRE scores, click on the following link: http://www.ets.org.