Frequently Asked Questions

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General Questions

Must I apply through CASPA?

Yes. Applicants must submit all application materials through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistant Programs (CASPA).

Must I have a bachelor’s degree to enter the program?

Yes, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited United States university or college is required. We recommend science prerequisites are completed within the past ten years, and all science courses must be for science majors.

Does the MSU MPAS Program give preference to any major?

No, the program does not give preference to any major. The program utilizes a holistic admissions process.

Are there any standardized tests required for admission?

Yes, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. Please see the GRE website for complete details We do not accept the MCAT. 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.

Why do I have to undergo background screenings for misdemeanor and felonies?

The program aims to confirm all enrolled students will be eligible for board certification and licensure. Therefore, a criminal background check is required to identify any convictions which would interfere with the licensure process.

Many clinical sites and state licensing boards have “no misdemeanor” provisions. Programs must guard the integrity of the profession and the public whom they serve. It would be unethical to allow someone to enter a program and then be ineligible for licensure.

How many students are accepted?

The program will accept up to 30 students per cohort. 

May I enroll in the Program on a part-time basis?

The MSU PA program is a full-time program, meeting 5 days per week. 

Does the program accept transfer credit?

No. All students accepted into the program must participate in the complete admissions process. The program does not allow students to transfer credit from other graduate programs.

What are the personal technology requirements?

Yes. The program requires a laptop with specifications needed upon acceptance. *Refer to the Student Handbook for technical specification requirements. Tablets and/or iPads to not meet this requirement. 

Is a supplemental application required?

No supplemental application is required.

If accepted into the program, when do classes begin?

Orientation begins the first week of January each year. 100% participation is required in orientation to matriculate.

What is the wait list?

When the class is selected, an alternate group of applicants is also selected. Applicants from this list may be called upon to fill a vacancy if a selected applicant decides not to accept a position in the class. Alternates may be selected up to the university's registration deadline for the spring term.

What are the minimum overall GPA, minimum Science GPA and minimum GRE scores required of accepted students?

  • Minimum 3.0 Cumulative or last 60 hours GPA on a 4.0 scale as determined by CASPA.
  • The GRE is required, but there is no established minimum score.

Can I work while I am in the PA Program?

Working while enrolled in PA program courses, including the clinical portion, is not recommended due to the rigorous academic demands of the program.

What is the length of the curriculum?

The program curriculum will begin in January of each year and complete in 29 months.

Academic and Experience Prerequisites

Must all prerequisite courses be completed before applying?

No. Up to two pre-requisites may be pending at the time of application. All pre-requisites must be complete prior to matriculation.

What is direct patient care experience?

Direct patient care is ‘hands-on’ in nature.

  • emergency medical technician
  • licensed vocational nurse
  • medical assistant (back office)
  • medical scribe
  • medical technologist
  • military medical corpsman
  • nursing assistant
  • paramedic
  • psychiatric technician
  • radiologic technician
  • respiratory therapist
  • chiropractor
  • registered nurse
  • etc.

Is volunteer experience required?

The program is dedicated to the advancement of PA education and emphasizes service to the medically underserved. Volunteering in both health-related and non-health related settings is highly recommended.

Must I shadow a PA?

Shadowing a PA is highly recommended, but all applicants are required to shadow a medical provider (MD, DO, or PA). A minimum of 20 hours of shadowing experience is required.

Can a single course meet more than one admissions pre-requisite?

No. A single course may only meet one admissions pre-requisite. For example, a Genetics course will only meet the Genetics requirement. The Genetics course cannot also count towards the upper division science course requirement.

Which upper level science courses will meet the pre-requisite requirement?

The upper level science courses must be a 3000 or 4000 level course (equivalent to junior and senior coursework) that is related to the application. Applicants are encouraged to consider the application of the course to a medical curriculum. 

Can I transfer into the program and/or transfer credits?

No. The program does not offer advanced standing or accept graduate transfer credits. All students must complete the entire series of academic courses and clinical rotations. No credit hours may be substituted.

If I am accepted into the MSU MPAS, may I defer my acceptance to the following year?

Deferral of acceptance is only permitted when active-duty military training or orders interferes with matriculation dates. The MSU MPAS Program is unable to defer admissions for other reasons, including academic, medical or social needs. The applicant must re-enter the applicant pool in subsequent application cycles. 

What does it mean, “Prerequisite courses must be for science majors?”

Although applicants are not required to have a science major or degree, prerequisite science courses must be from science curricula. Science courses unique to a particular subject or major will not be accepted (i.e.: nursing, radiology, veterinary, etc.).

How is the Cumulative Grade Point Average calculated? 

The MSU PA Program Admissions Committee uses the official GPA calculations by CASPA for all final application decisions.

Application Process

Applicants must submit all application materials through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistant Programs (CASPA). CASPA will receive, review, and verify all applications. These verified applications are screened by the faculty members of the program.

Stage one eliminates from further consideration those applicants who fail to meet the stated minimum requirements.

Stage two involves principal faculty screening and ranking all eligible candidates against predetermined criteria.

Stage three involves the interview process.

The Admissions Committee will review all materials and recommend one of the following:

  • Acceptance for those who have completed all prerequisites and are highly recommended for admission
  • Conditional acceptance for those who need to complete prerequisites
  • Wait list applicants who meet the minimum requirement and who may be offered acceptance if the most qualified candidates do not fill all available seats.
  • Declined for those applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements or who are not competitive within the applicant pool.

Each of the following qualities are viewed as essential to support the development of a physician assistant. When evaluating an applicant's readiness to matriculate in the MSU MPAS Program, in the holistic admissions process members of the admissions committee consider all information available with particular attention to the following elements:

  • Quality and degree of difficulty of completed course work in application to human medical science
  • Science grade point average
  • Graduate Record Examination scores
  • Responses to questions contained in the application
  • References from advisors, professors, and employers
  • Commitment and leadership to community and service
  • Communication skills (written and oral)
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Cultural competence
  • Compassion
  • Personal integrity
  • Motivation for a career in health care
  • Recommendations of interview panel members
  • Depth and quality of personal statement

How competitive is the program?

How competitive is the program?

Admission is highly competitive. Meeting or exceeding the requirements does not guarantee admission.

What type of academic background and/or degree is likely to enhance potential for success in the program?

In a holistic admissions process, no specific degree enhances changes of admission. Students are encouraged to use coursework to showcase personal strengths and/or demonstrate growth in areas of perceived weakness. 

Tuition, Financial Aid, and Housing

Is there financial aid available?

Yes. Please review this information here:

How much does it cost to attend the MSU MPAS Program?

Tuition and fees can be found here.

Is there on-campus housing?


International Medical Graduates

I am an International Medical Graduate (IMG). Do I still have to complete the requirements?

Yes. All applicants, including International Medical Graduates (IMGs), must meet all requirements.

Admission Requirements/Prerequisites

Please review the prerequisite section of the website for all requirements.

Prior to matriculation, the applicant must have earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university. Applicants must have a minimum OVERALL GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale minimum AND a minimum OVERALL SCIENCE GPA of 3.0 at the time of application.

  • Minimum 3.0 Cumulative or last 60 hours GPA on a 4.0 scale as determined by CASPA.
  • The GRE is required, but there is no established minimum score.

I am an International Medical Graduate. Can I work as a PA in Mississippi without attending PA school?

No. An IMG cannot work as a PA in Mississippi without attending and graduating from an ARC-PA accredited PA program and without passing the national NCCPA/PANCE boards for PAs.


Is the Mississippi State University-Meridian Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program accredited?

Yes. The Mississippi State University – Meridian Physician Assistant Studies Program has been granted Accreditation-Provisional status. This is the ARC-PA’s first designation for full accreditation and is granted for a maximum of five years. At that time, the program will be reevaluated for Accreditation-Continuing status. The official ARC-PA statement can be viewed below:

*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 (

What degree does the MSU MPAS Program award?

The Program will award the Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree.

Clinical Rotations

Where will I do my clinical rotations?

The clinical coordinator determines clinical rotation sites. 

If accepted in the MSU MPAS Program, can I select any of my own rotations during my clinical year?

The program's Clinical Coordinator schedules the core clinical curriculum. Students are not required to solicit rotations. Students have two elective rotations and may work with the clinical coordinator in selecting those.

Where do clinical rotations take place?

Many clinical rotations are located throughout Mississippi and neighboring states.  Students are able to request rotations in other areas, but all clinical sites must be verified by the Physician Assistant Program.  All students may be required to travel out of the Meridian area for clinical rotations and will be responsible for housing and/or related costs.