The application cycle for the MSU Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program will open in April and close August 1st annually. All applications must be initiated through the 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.

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Admission Requirements

Admission to the Program is extremely competitive. The MSU MPAS will accept up to 30 students in each cohort. Applicants invited for interview must visit MSU-Meridian to participate in an on-campus interview. Invitation to interview does not imply acceptance to the program.

  • Preference is given to Mississippi residents, in keeping with the program’s Mission and Vision.​

  • Proof of completion of a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited United States college or University by the time of matriculation.

  • Applicants must have completed required courses and have earned a grade of “C” or better in the following required subjects.

    • Minimum 3.0 Cumulative or last 60 hours GPA on a 4.0 scale as determined by CASPA.

    • Minimum 3.0 Cumulative Science GPA on a 4.0 scale as determined by CASPA.

    • The MSU MPAS Program does not apply transfer credit from other programs or offer part-time enrollment.

    • We recommend all prerequisite coursework be completed within the past 10 years.

    • ALL science courses must be for science majors.

    • Please note that our prerequisite courses are required of all applicants, regardless of previous academic preparation or experience.

    • Courses with grades of "C Minus" do not meet pre-requisite requirements.

    • 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.

  • Successfully complete the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The institutional code for MSU CASPA is code is 4339 Mississippi State University-Meridian. Your official GRE scores must be sent directly to CASPA. The Program does not require a minimum GRE score. Scores are used as part of a wholistic admissions review process

  • Official transcripts from ALL colleges attended must be submitted through CASPA only.

  • 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.

  • A minimum of eighty (80) hours of documented healthcare experience is required; more hours are highly recommended.

  • 20 hours of shadowing experience with a medical provider (DO, MD, PA)*

    During the Covid-19 Pandemic, the program will take into consideration the difficulty of finding shadowing experiences. The program highly recommends gaining as much shadowing experience as available. Virtual shadowing will be expected.

  • Current CPR Certification (American Heart Association) or higher. This certification must be maintained throughout matriculation if accepted.

  • Interviewed applicants will be listed as accepted, conditionally accepted, waitlisted, or denied.

  • 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.

Prerequisite Courses

  1. Upper Division Sciences: 6 semester hours (3000+ level courses)
  2. Microbiology or Bacteriology for science majors: 3-4 hours (with lab if offered) 
  3. Chemistry I and II: 8 hours (with labs) 
  4. 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. 
  5. Physiology: 4 hours (general, human or comparative with lab)
  6. Statistics: 3 hours
  7. Genetics: 3-4 hours (with lab if offered) 
  8. Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry: 3-4 hours (with lab if offered)
  9. Behavioral Sciences: 6 hours (Sociology or Psychology) 

**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.

**At the time of application (or by the August 1 verification deadline), the applicant may have no more than TWO outstanding prerequisite courses. This includes planned courses and courses in progress.

Technical Standards

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 curricula.

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.

Motor Functions

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.

Intellectual Capability

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 for admission, progression, and graduation individuals 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.

  1. The applicant/student must have the ability to observe and participate in experiments in the basic sciences.
  2. The applicant/student must have the ability to analyze, synthesize, extrapolate, solve problems, and reach diagnostic and therapeutic judgments in a timely manner.
  3. The applicant/student must have sufficient use of the senses to learn to perform a physical examination.
  4. The applicant/student must have the ability to establish and maintain professional relationships with patients, faculty, and peers.
  5. The applicant/student must have the ability to learn to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues.
  6. The applicant/student must have the ability to learn to perform routine laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures.
  7. The applicant/student must have the ability to learn to perform appropriately in emergencies.
  8. 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.

Application Process

Submit application through the Physician Assistant Centralized Application Service (CASPA)

  • The MSU MPAS program faculty and staff do not provide assistance with completion of the CASPA application or review prior to submittal. For help with application-related questions, contact CASPA Customer Support at 617-612-2080 or
  • A note about professionalism: The PA profession and the MSU MPAS program value professionalism in program pre-applicants, applicants, students, and graduates. The MSU MPAS program expects all persons to exhibit professionalism when contacting and communicating with our program. The MSU MPAS program is not obligated to respond to communication that is dishonest, threatening, argumentative, or offensive. Unprofessional interaction with program staff and/or faculty will be taken into consideration during application review.

All requested materials must be verified by the August 1 deadline to be considered. 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 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.
  • Candidates should take the GRE three months before the verification deadline, and send scores at least 2 weeks prior to the application deadline to ensure scores are received by August 1.
  • For additional information regarding the GRE, please visit the ETS-GRE website.
  • Official transcripts from all post-high school course work.
  • Applicants are required to have a minimum of 20 hours of experience shadowing a medical provider (MD, DO, or PA).*
* During the Covid-19 Pandemic, the program will take into consideration the difficulty of finding shadowing experiences. The program highly recommends gaining as much shadowing experience as available. We will accept documented virtual shadowing experiences.
  • 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 hands-on patient care experience.
    • A minimum of 80 patient care hours is required for admittance into our Program; however, successful applicants average over 2,000 hours of patient care experience upon entering PA programs.
    • This includes voluntary or paid experience. 

Seat Deposit Fee

All accepted students must pay a non-refundable $750 seat deposit fee within two weeks of receiving an acceptance letter. Seat deposits are not refundable. The Seat Deposit Fee will be applied to tuition for enrolled students.

Deposit Payment Form

Important Dates

*The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Mississippi State University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Mississippi State University.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at

For more information on the developing Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program, please contact (

Interview Process and Program Acceptance

CASPA application cycle opens in April.

All CASPA applications must be submitted and VERIFIED by August 1.

In-person and a limited number of virtual interviews are conducted by the Admissions Committee at the MSU-Meridian campus in September.

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.

Applicants will be notified of a decision regarding their application by the Admissions Committee within 30 days of interviewing.

Classes begin in January.

Requirements of Accepted Applicants

Prerequisite Screenings

If accepted into the program, you must pass several background and health-related screenings. Information gathered from these screenings must match the information you supplied on your application. You will be responsible for the costs of the screenings.

If you are unable to pass, do not complete all of the screenings, or falsify information on your application, your seat will be automatically forfeited and your seat deposit will not be refunded. Further details about the screenings will be provided on acceptance.

Screenings include:

  • 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.

MSU PA Admissions Packet

Health Insurance

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

You 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.

During Orientation Week (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.

Technical Standards Requirement

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.

Student Support and Disability Services 

  • 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