Master of Science in Health Sciences — Physician Assistant Studies

 

Application Process

CASPA 

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) participates in the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). You may obtain additional information about CASPA and apply online at CASPA. CASPA applications become available for 2016-2017 enrollment on April 27, 2016. All applications must be e-submitted, completed, and verified by CASPA no later than December 1, 2016 for both Philadelphia and Georgia Campuses (separate application per campus). When applying to PCOM through CASPA, you will be required to complete PCOM specific questions before submitting.

All required application materials, including the $75 PCOM application fee (one fee per campus) must be RECEIVED BY the Office of Admissions NO LATER THAN December 8, 2016 for Philadelphia and Georgia Campuses in order to be considered for admission.  Note that the application fee can only be paid online through the link sent via email at receipt of a verified and completed CASPA application.

 

APPLY ONLINE

 

The Faculty Committee on Admissions recommends you submit a completed and verified CASPA application, which includes a PCOM specific question series, as soon as possible as we operate using a rolling admissions process.

 

Assessing Applicants for Interview Consideration

Assessing Applicants for Interview Consideration

Completed and verified CASPA applications and supporting documents will be reviewed and individuals will be selected for an on-campus interview by the Faculty Committee on Admissions. Interviews will be offered to those who qualify compared against the applicant pool and successful completion of the following factors:

Baccalaureate degree

Prerequisite coursework

Grade Point Averages (GPAs)

Letters of recommendation

Standardized test score (TOEFL)

Healthcare experience

Other considerations

An interview is required for admissions to the program and is typically conducted from September through February although interviews may be conducted before or after this timeframe.

Selection for the PA program at PCOM is very competitive. The following requirements represent the minimum criteria for consideration for admission. Successful applicants will generally exceed the minimum criteria.

Baccalaureate Degree

All applicants must complete a baccalaureate degree, preferably in science or a health-related field, from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom prior to matriculation. Applicants must send official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended directly to CASPA. Once enrolled at PCOM, candidates must submit official copies of all college transcripts directly to the PCOM Office of Admissions. 

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must also submit three letters of recommendation directly to CASPA. Others may be sent as a PDF document to PCOM's Office of Admissions at recommend@pcom.edu. One recommendation MUST be from a Physician (DO or MD), Physician Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner in order to be considered for admission.

Standardized Test Scores

Standardized test scores are not required for admission with the exception of English language testing. Fluency in written and spoken English is essential for success in the program and to ensure patient safety. Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate objective competency in English within the past two years by satisfactory performance on the TOEFL examination. The minimum required score for the IBT (Internet Based Testing) is 79, with a minimum score of 26 for the speaking component.

  • Applicants are exempt from the TOEFL requirement if:
  • English was the exclusive language of instruction at the undergraduate level,
  • They have earned a degree from a regionally accredited US college or university not more than 5 years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment, or
  • They have completed at least two (2) full-time semesters of graded coursework, exclusive of ESL courses, at an institution where English is the exclusive language of instruction not more than five (5) years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment.

Prerequisite Coursework

It is the responsibility of each applicant to meet the following minimum requirements:

COURSES REQUIRED

CREDIT HOURS

 

NOTES

General Biology I*

4

 

Lab required

General Biology II*

4

 

Lab required

Other Biology Coursework

3

 

Examples: Microbiology, Genetics, Cell Biology, etc.

Anatomy and Physiology

8

 

Can be taken as separate courses or combined as Anatomy and Physiology I & II. Labs required.

General Chemistry I*

4

 

Lab required

General Chemistry II*

4

 

Lab required

Other Chemistry Coursework

3

 

Examples: Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry

Health-related Science Course or Physics

3

 

Examples: Physics, Nutrition, Immunology, Virology, Microbiology, Genetics, Cell Biology, etc.

Social Sciences

9

 

Examples: Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, etc.

Math 

 

Statistics is considered an acceptable Math course 

* "General" coursework denotes the first two courses in the subject sequence for science majors.

All prerequisite coursework listed above must be completed prior to enrollment with a grade of at least a "C" or 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.

All science and math prerequisites must be completed within 10 years prior to June enrollment. (e.g., June 2007 or later)

Applicants must obtain an undergraduate science and cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher on a 4.0 scale (as calculated by CASPA).

One course cannot be used to satisfy multiple prerequisite courses.

AP coursework will be accepted provided the course and credits appear on your college transcript.

All courses must be completed at a regionally accredited institution.

The Program will accept credits completed at a community college.

The Program will accept courses completed online or on campus.

The Program will not accept prerequisite coursework completed as an audit or graded pass/fail.

The Program will not accept credits completed as CLEP courses.

At the time of application, candidates must have the prerequisite coursework completed or be able to provide a plan in writing that demonstrates the completion of the prerequisites prior to enrollment in the program (this can be achieved by completing the "Planned or In Progress Coursework" section of CASPA). Two science/math prerequisite courses may be "Planned or In Progress" at the time of application.

Healthcare Experience

To be considered for an interview, applicants must have a minimum of 200 hours of direct patient contact experience in volunteerism or employment in the healthcare industry, as documented through CASPA at the time of application. Candidates complete the requirement in a variety of ways, some of which include: working as a certified nursing assistant, phlebotomist, LPN, EMT, paramedic, scribe, medical translator, etc. Many have experienced medicine overseas as volunteers in clinics. Any volunteer work or paid work in a clinical setting wherein candidates are either providing hands-on care or witnessing care first hand can be acceptable, depending on the nature of the role. Health care shadowing experiences are counted and highly recommended.

Other Considerations

Applicants with graduate degrees and/or five years of healthcare experience and/or other unique circumstances or qualifications may be considered, on an individual basis, for waiver of selected published prerequisite coursework. However, all candidates must have earned a baccalaureate degree prior to enrollment, excluding dual-degree candidates. Waiving of any criteria can only be assessed during the formal application review by the Faculty Committee on Admissions. Staff members of the Office of Admissions may not waive application requirements.

Applications are not accepted from individuals ineligible to be licensed as a Physician Assistant under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of Georgia.

To ensure that students accepted to PCOM will be permitted to perform clerkships during their second year of study, and thus ensure them the opportunity to successfully complete their MS degree requirements, PCOM requires all first year PA students to complete a criminal background check prior to matriculation. All students must have their criminal background checks processed through a PCOM chosen vendor.   The Admissions Office will send notification of the process after confirmation of enrollment and must have this information on file prior to orientation. Students will not be permitted to start classes without a criminal background check received and approved by the Office of Admissions.

Application Decisions

Candidates interviewed are evaluated based on multiple factors including:

Academic ability

Scholarly accomplishments

Problem solving ability

Decision making skills

Maturity

Potential for professional comportment

Level of commitment to the profession

Personal preparedness

Congruence with program philosophy and mission

The Admissions Committee reserves the right to accept or reject applications to the chosen program based on merit.

Notification of Acceptance or Alternate Status

Following completion of the admissions process, applicants will be notified of the Admissions Committee's decision in writing, including any conditions that must be satisfied prior to or following enrollment. Once admitted, candidates who wish to enroll are asked to review and acknowledge PCOM's Technical Standards for Admission and Matriculation and submit a $500 non-refundable tuition prepayment online. The acceptance packet will contain all materials required for enrollment.  Applicants may be placed on the wait list after completion of the interview process.  The wait list is not ranked or ordered. Typically, candidates are selected as seats become available from February until classes begin in June. After all expected candidates arrive for orientation in June, those not selected will be sent a final decision letter by mail.


Affiliation Agreements

PCOM Physician Assistant Studies program collaborates with two partner institution: the University of the Sciences (Philadelphia, PA) and Thomas University (Thomasville, GA). Students following this pathway matriculate into a physician assistant pre-professional program, leading to a Bachelor of Science degree from the undergraduate institution. Students who meet progression standards of the undergraduate institution and the PCOM graduate program may then progress to the professional phase, leading to a Master of Science in Health Sciences from PCOM.

For requirements and details on the programs, please contact the undergraduate institution or follow the links below.

University of the Sciences

Thomas University

Policy on Advanced Standing, Transfer of Credits and Experiential Learning and Graduates of Medical Schools

The Physician Assistant Studies program does not offer advanced placement based upon transfer of credits for academic work completed at other institutions of higher learning or upon credit from experiential learning. Applications are not accepted from graduates of medical schools.

Statistics

Please note the data below represents the ranges of the Class of 2018 for the Philadelphia and Georgia campuses by no means predicts one's success as a Physician Assistant candidate or student. Each application is reviewed and evaluated in a holistic manner by the Faculty Committee on Admissions.

Philadelphia Campus

46 Female, 9 Male

21.8 percent of the class reports their ethnicity to be Hispanic, Asian Indian, Black/African American, South or Central American, Korean, Peruvian and Cuban.

Average age of the incoming class: 24 (21-32)

States represented:  AZ, CA, CO,  DE, IL, MD, MI, ND, NJ, NY, OR, PA, TX

Total CASPA verified applications: 1,844

Total matriculates: 55

Average undergraduate cumulative GPA as calculated by CASPA: 3.73 (3.3 – 3.98)

Average undergraduate science GPA as calculated by CASPA: 3.68 (3.24 – 4.0)

Georgia Campus

17 Female, 3 Male

35 percent of the class reports their ethnicity to be Hispanic/Latino, South or Central American, Chinese, Black/African American, Korean, Hmong, Thai and Vietnamese

Average age of the incoming class: 24 (21-35)

States represented: AL, CA, FL, GA, IL, NJ, PA and VA

Total CASPA verified applications: 625

Total matriculates: 20 (Class of 2019 Goal: 30 students)

Average undergraduate cumulative GPA as calculated by CASPA: 3.65 (3.36 – 3.87)

Average undergraduate science GPA as calculated by CASPA: 3.63 (3.26 – 3.87)

Questions

For questions regarding submission of the CASPA application and GPA calculation, contact CASPA directly at caspainfo@caspaonline.org or 617-612-2080.

Should you have any questions related to the Physician Assistant Studies program or admissions process at either Philadelphia or Georgia Campus, please contact the Office of Admissions via email at admissions@pcom.edu.