Admissions

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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 website 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.

    • Minimum GRE scores:
      The Program does not require a set GRE score. Scores are used as part of a wholistic admissions review process.

    • GRE prep guide

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

  • The program accepts credit by examination for prerequisites as defined as acceptable by Mississippi State University's credit by examination guidelines.

  • 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.

  • 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. We will accept documented virtual shadowing experiences.

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

  • Applicants considered potential applicants MUST visit MSU-Meridian to participate in an on-campus interview. Invitation to interview does not imply acceptance to the program.

  • An interview is required for consideration of admission into the program. Competitive applicants will be offered an interview. If offered an interview, you will be notified in writing what interview days are available. The potential to achieve a career as a PA will weigh strongly in the admission decision. Interviewed applicants will be notified in writing of the Admissions Committee decision shortly after the interview. Interviewed applicants will be listed as accepted, conditionally accepted, waitlisted, or denied.

  • All students are required to demonstrate proficiency of English when applying to MSU.

  • Prerequisite courses must be completed at regionally accredited U.S. 2 or 4-year colleges or universities.

  • The applicant must be able to master the Technical Standards (see Technical Standards this website) prior to and throughout the entire program.

  • Mississippi State University-Meridian details the Technical Standards needed by all students. 

  • 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 and have a science prefix.

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

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

  • Courses with grades of "C Minus" are not acceptable. 

  • A single course cannot be used to satisfy multiple prerequisites.

  • The MSU MPAS Admissions Committee holds final approval of all prerequisite coursework submitted for consideration.


Prerequisite Courses

  1. Upper Division Sciences: 6 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) 
  10. College algebra or higher: 3 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.**


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.

Communication

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. PA 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 appropriate 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.

Mississippi State University-Meridian will consider for admission, progression, and graduation individuals who demonstrate the 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 physical and emotional capacities to meet the requirements of the program’s curriculum and to graduate as skilled and effective practitioners of medicine.

Therefore, the following technical requirements apply.

  1. The applicant/student must demonstrate the ability to observe and participate in experiments in the basic sciences.
  2. The applicant/student must demonstrate the ability to analyze, synthesize, extrapolate, solve problems, and reach diagnostic and therapeutic judgments in a timely manner.
  3. The applicant/student must demonstrate the sufficient use of the senses of vision, hearing, and the somatic sensation necessary to perform a physical examination.
  4. The applicant/student must demonstrate the ability to establish and maintain professional relationships with patients, faculty, and peers.
  5. The applicant/student must demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with patients, and colleagues.
  6. The applicant/student must demonstrate the ability to perform routine laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures.
  7. The applicant/student must demonstrate the ability to perform appropriately in emergencies.
  8. The applicant/student must demonstrate the ability to display good judgment in the assessment and treatment of patients.

Application Process

Submit application through the Physician Assistant Centralized Application Service (CASPA) https://caspa.liaisoncas.com.

  • 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 caspainfo@caspaonline.org
  • 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 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.
  • 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. https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/register/your_ets_account/
  • 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 http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-mississippi-state-university-meridian.

For more information on the developing Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program, please contact (pa@meridian.msstate.edu)


Interview Process and Program Acceptance

CASPA application cycle opens in April.

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

In-person interviews are conducted by the Admissions Committee at the MSU-Meridian campus in September and October.

Applicants will be notified of a decision regarding their application by Admissions Committee in October through December.

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.

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