The Mississippi State University-Meridian Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program, in accordance with its mission and vision, strives to recruit and accept students who are dedicated to increasing access to care and to addressing health care disparities in Mississippi and similar populations. The program values a diverse student population capable of fostering a rich learning environment. Each application is reviewed holistically on its individual merits. However, academic strength, evidence of emotional intelligence, cultural competence, teamwork, professionalism, ethical responsibility, resilience and adaptability, capacity for improvement, critical thinking, community service, and knowledge of the profession weighs strongly in the admission decision.
The application cycle for the MSU Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program opens in April and closes August 1st annually. All applications must be initiated through Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). CASPA reviews and verifies all submitted materials for each application before designating the application as VERIFIED. The application must be verified by August 1st to be considered for the current application cycle.
Skip to specific sections about:
- Application Requirements
- Prerequisite Courses
- Technical Standards
- Application Process
- Seat Deposit Fee
- Important Dates
- Interview Process and Program Acceptance
- Requirements of Accepted Applicants
- Technical Standards Requirement
Admission to the Program is highly competitive. The MSU MPAS will accept up to 30 students in each cohort to begin each January. Invitation to interview does not imply acceptance to the program.
In support of the mission and vision of the program, preference is given to Mississippi residents.
Proof of completion of a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited United States college or University by the time of matriculation.
The minimum academic requirements must be met as follows:
Minimum 3.0 Cumulative or last 60 hours GPA on a 4.0 scale as determined by CASPA; science GPA carries greater weight in the holistic admissions process.
Minimum 3.0 Cumulative Science GPA on a 4.0 scale as determined by CASPA.
We recommend all prerequisite coursework be completed within the past 10 years.
ALL science courses must be for science majors.
Please note that prerequisite courses are required of all applicants, regardless of previous academic preparation or experience.
Grade of "C" must be achieved to meet pre-rewuisite requirements, grade of "C Minus" does not meet academic standards.
A single course cannot be used to satisfy multiple prerequisites.
Prerequisite courses must be completed at regionally accredited U.S. 2 or 4-year colleges or universities.
The MSU MPAS Program does not grant advanced standing for prior completion of PA program courses or like courses completed at other schools, experiences in the medical field, and other degrees earned in medicine or other health-related fields.
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be submitted through CASPA.
Three letters of recommendation.
Letters of recommendation must be sent through the CASPA portal only and must not be from family members.
Letters of recommendation should come from current and/or former professors, current and/or former employers, and one (1) must be from a PA.
(80) hours of direct patient care experience is required; more hours are highly recommended.
20 hours of shadowing experience with a medical provider (DO, MD, PA)
American Heart Association basic life support certification
All applicants whose native or first language is not English must also score at least 550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, or an iBT total score of 90 (with no subscore lower than the minimums listed: Reading: 22, Listening: 21, Writing: 25, Speaking: 22) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) within two years prior to admission.
Mississippi State University-Meridian details the Technical Standards needed by all students.
Decisions concerning the acceptability of pre-requisite coursework is determined by the MSU MPAS Admissions Committee.
- Upper Division Sciences: 6 semester hours (3000+ level courses)
- Microbiology or Bacteriology for science majors: 3-4 hours (with lab if offered)
- Chemistry I and II: 8 hours (with labs)
- Anatomy (human or comparative with a lab) 4 hours Human A&P I and Human A&P II can be taken to fulfill these requirements. Both courses must be taken to meet the prerequisite.
- Physiology: 4 hours (human or comparative with lab)
- Statistics: 3 hours
- Genetics: 3-4 hours (with lab if offered)
- Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry: 3-4 hours (with lab if offered)
- Behavioral Sciences: 6 hours
**The list of prerequisites above reflects desired academic preparation necessary to be successful in the program. The Admissions Review Committee evaluates each course for prerequisite competencies prior to admission and holds ultimate authority in determining an applicant's achievement of those prerequisite competencies.
**Note that all prerequisite coursework must be completed as semester hours or the quarter hour equivalent.
**AP courses may not be used to substitute any science prerequisites.
**By August 1st of the application year, the applicant may have no more than 2 outstanding prerequisite courses. This includes planned courses and courses in progress.
Students in the Mississippi State University-Meridian Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program must possess ability, aptitude, and skills in these areas: observation, communication, motor, intellectual, behavioral/social and physical demands.
This description defines the capabilities that are necessary for an individual to complete successfully the Mississippi State University-Meridian Physician Assistant curriculum.
Observation and Sensation
The PA student must possess sufficient visual, auditory, and tactile sensation to receive appropriate information in the classroom, laboratory, and other educational and clinical settings. Sensation must be satisfactory to receive verbal and nonverbal communications from patients and others, and to perform inspection, auscultation, and palpation techniques during the physical examination.
The PA student must be able to speak, hear, and observe patients, family members, and other clinicians. This includes expressive and receptive modes of verbal, nonverbal, and written communication. The student must have the ability to assess accurately receptive communication in order to make appropriate and timely responses. The student must be able to communicate attentively, effectively, and sensitively to others.
Students must have sufficient strength and coordination to perform the activities required of a PA. These include but are not limited to performing a physical examination utilizing diagnostic instruments and techniques in palpation and percussion. Students must have sufficient stamina to sit, stand, and move within classroom, laboratory, examination rooms, treatment rooms, and operating rooms for long periods. The student must have sufficient coordination to move about patient care environments, and sufficient dexterity to use common medical instruments. Students must be able to arrange for transportation between educational and clinical settings.
Clinical problem solving and reasoning requires these intellectual abilities and encompass those to accurately measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, learn, and retain information and make decisions in a timely manner. Students must be able to comprehend two and three-dimensional structures and must be able to understand diagnostic testing and treatment regimens.
Behavioral and Social Attributes
PA students must possess the emotional health required for the use of their intellectual and mental abilities, including logical thinking, good judgment, impulse control, empathy, interest, and motivation. These abilities should be sufficient to assure the development and maintenance of therapeutic relationships with patients and those who care for them. Individuals must be able to maintain emotional health despite stress, uncertainty, and physically taxing workloads and to adapt to changing situations while handling the responsibilities associated with medical education and patient care.
MSU MPAS will consider individuals for admission, progression, and graduation who demonstrate the skills, knowledge and the ability to perform or learn to perform the skills described in this document. Individuals are assessed not only on their scholastic accomplishments, but also on their skills, knowledge and abilities to meet the requirements of the program's curriculum and to graduate as skilled, safe, and effective practitioners of medicine. Therefore, the following technical requirements apply.
- The applicant/student must have the ability to observe and participate in experiments in the basic sciences.
- The applicant/student must have the ability to analyze, synthesize, extrapolate, solve problems, and reach diagnostic and therapeutic judgments in a timely manner.
- The applicant/student must have sufficient use of the senses to learn to perform a physical examination.
- The applicant/student must have the ability to establish and maintain professional relationships with patients, faculty, and peers.
- The applicant/student must have the ability to learn to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues.
- The applicant/student must have the ability to learn to perform routine laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures.
- The applicant/student must have the ability to learn to perform appropriately in emergencies.
- The applicant/student must have the ability to display good judgment in the assessment and treatment of patients.
These technical standards are aligned with the technical standards required of students matriculating in accredited U.S. medical institutions.
Applicants and students must be able to meet the demands and performance expectations required of the MSU PA student.
Submit application through the Physician Assistant Centralized Application Service (CASPA) https://caspa.liaisoncas.com.
The application of the student must be designated as VERIFIED by CASPA by August 1 of the application year to be considered for admission. Please review the CASPA website carefully for the definition of VERIFIED.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to review the progress of their CASPA application on the CASPA website.
Questions completing the CASPA application should be directed to CASPA.
The CASPA application includes the following components:
- Successfully complete the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). All applicants seeking admission to the MSU MPAS Program must register for and take the Graduate Record Examination General Test. The web site for the GRE General Test is www.gre.org. When filling out the application, you will be asked for an Institutional Code. The institutional code for MSU CASPA is code is 4339 Mississippi State University-Meridian. Your official GRE scores must be sent directly to CASPA.
- Official transcripts from all post-high school course work.
- Three letters of reference.
- At least one must be from a PA. Other appropriate references include professors or employers.
- None should be from family members or friends.
- Record of direct patient care experience.
All accepted students must pay a non-refundable $750 seat deposit fee within seven days of receiving an acceptance letter. The Seat Deposit Fee will be applied to tuition for enrolled students.
- Each cohort begins orientation the first week of January.
- CASPA application cycles open each April.
- Interviews are conducted each August - Spetember.
- The PA program operates independently from the academic calendar published by the registrars office. Students receive fewer and shorter breaks througout the calendar year.
*The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Mississippi State University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Mississippi State University.
CASPA application cycle opens in April.
All CASPA applications must be submitted and VERIFIED by August 1 of each application cycle.
In-person and a limited number of virtual interviews are conducted by the Admissions Committee at the MSU-Meridian campus in August - September annually.
Applicants will be notified of a decision regarding their application by the Admissions Committee within 30 days of interviewing.
Each cohort matriculates the first week of January annually.
Screenings and Vaccinations
If accepted into the program, applicants must pass background and health-related screenings. Information gathered from these screenings must match the information supplied on the applicants application. The applicant will be responsible for the costs of the screenings.
If the applicant is unable to meet the standards, fails to complete all required screenings, or falsifies information, the applicant will automatically forfeit the seat and seat deposit. Further details about the screenings will be provided on acceptance.
- Background Check
- Drug Screening
Medical Clearance & Immunizations
Applicants offered a seat in the MSU MPAS program must undergo a physical examination, immunizations, and/or titers, TB testing, and completion of Health Forms prior to the start of the program. Requirements are based on current CDC guidelines for healthcare workers including immunizations. Failure to comply prior with the start of the program can result in seat forfeiture. Under no circumstance will students be permitted to participate in clinical experiences without medical clearance. This can have a significant impact on course grades associated with clinical experiences and, ultimately, lead to dismissal from the program.
Applicants offered a seat in the MSU MPAS program must provide proof of personal health insurance and maintain the insurance throughout the entire program. Failure to comply prior to the start of the program can result in seat forfeiture. Failure to comply while in the program can result in a delay in graduation or dismissal from the program.
Transportation and Housing
Applicants must have your own mode of transportation while enrolled in the program. All students must participate in all assigned clinical experiences during the didactic and clinical phases of the program. Required rotations can occur outside of the region or state.
Students are responsible for their housing during the entire program.
Full participation in orientation is required for matriculation. During Orientation Week (First week of January), students must provide the following completed documentation:
- Proof of Completion of degree (if applicable, final official transcript)
- A photocopy of the current BLS (CPR) certification
- A photocopy of medical insurance card
- Provide evidence of compliance with CDC guidelines for healthcare workers regarding immunizations and freedom from communicable diseases.
- History and Physical Examination Form completed by PCP.
All students must meet the technical standards requirement of the MSU MPAS program.
If you are unable to meet all the technical standards without accommodation, Mississippi State University-Meridian will determine whether you can meet the technical standards with reasonable accommodation. This includes a review of whether the accommodations requested are reasonable, taking into account whether the accommodation would jeopardize patient safety or the educational process, including all coursework, clinical experiences, labs, and rotations deemed essential to graduate.
- If you have a documented disability and would like to request academic accommodations, contact:
Student Support Services
College Park Campus
1000 Hwy. 19 N
Meridian, MS 39307
Phone: (601) 484-0234
- Location: College Park Campus, Student Services Suite