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Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant Studies (PA) Program 
Application Requirements

The Physician Assistant Studies program provides a comprehensive academic and clinical medical education to prepare students for their professional roles as physician assistants. Students may enroll at either our Suwanee, Georgia campus, or our main campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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PCOM's PA Studies Program Application Process

How do you apply to the PA Studies program at PCOM?

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.

Application Timeline for 2020-2021

When does the CASPA application process open?

CASPA applications for 2020-2021 enrollment will become available on April 30, 2020.

When is the PCOM PA Studies program deadline?

All Physician Assistant Studies program applications are to be e-submitted, completed, verified and received by the PCOM Office of Admissions by CASPA no later than December 1, 2020 for both PCOM and PCOM Georgia (separate application per campus). There are no exceptions to the PA Studies program application deadline of December 1, 2020. When applying to PCOM through CASPA, you will be required to complete PCOM specific questions before submitting.

All required application materials for the Physician Assistant Studies program, including a $25 PCOM application fee (one fee per campus), are to be received by the Office of Admissions by December 15, 2020, in order to be considered for admission by the appropriate Faculty Committee on Admissions. 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. Acknowledgement emails with instructions to pay the $25 PCOM application fee will be sent beginning in mid-June. Please check your spam folder if you do not receive an acknowledgment email a week after your application has been verified by CASPA.

How early should you apply to the PA Studies program at PCOM?

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 our PA Studies program operates using a rolling admissions process.

Assessing PA Studies Program Applicants for Interview Consideration

Is there an interview requirement for PCOM's PA Studies program?

Yes, an interview is required for admission to the Physician Assistant Studies program and is typically conducted from September through February although interviews may be conducted before or after this time frame. Applicants can receive an email inviting them to interview at any point between September through February.

Due to COVID-19, we will conduct online interviews only for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle at all PCOM locations.

How do you become a competitive PA Studies program applicant?

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 and who are deemed competitive against the larger applicant pool for the Physician Assistant Studies program, taking into consideration the following:

  • Baccalaureate degree
  • Prerequisite coursework
  • Grade Point Averages (GPAs)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Standardized test score (TOEFL)
  • Healthcare experience
  • Other considerations

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

How long does it take to hear back from PCOM about the PA Studies program admission decisions?

A PA Studies program candidate can be selected for an interview at any time throughout the review process between September through February as deemed competitive by the Faculty Committee on Admissions. Decisions for interviewed candidates typically are sent within five weeks after the interview. An email will be sent to all applicants not selected for an interview after the last interview session has occurred.

Undergraduate Degree Requirements for the PA Studies Program

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. The PA Studies program will accept courses and labs completed online or on campus. All prerequisite coursework must be completed prior to enrollment with a grade of at least a "C" or 2.0 on a 4.0 scale with the exception of coursework completed during the spring and summer 2020 terms which may be listed as Pass in a pass/fail grading scale.

Where do I send my transcripts for the PA Studies program?

Applicants must send official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended directly to CASPA. Once enrolled at PCOM, candidates for the Physician Assistant Studies program must submit official copies of all college transcripts directly to the PCOM Office of Admissions.

Letters of Recommendation Requirement for the PA Studies Program

PA Studies applicants must submit three letters of recommendation. One recommendation MUST be from a Physician, Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner in order to be considered for admission.

Where do I send my letters of recommendation?

Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation directly to CASPA. Additional recommendation letters may be sent as a PDF document to PCOM's Office of Admissions at recommend@pcom.edu.

PA Studies Program Standardized Test Scores Requirements

Are standardized test scores required for the PA Studies program?

No, standardized test scores are not required for admission to PCOM’s Physician Assistant Studies program 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 for the PA Studies program 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.

PA Studies Program Prerequisite Coursework

What courses do you need for the PA Studies program?

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, History, etc.

Math 

Statistics is considered an acceptable Math course 

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

What are the admissions prerequisites for PCOM’s PA Studies program?
  • 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 with the exception of coursework completed during the spring and summer 2020 terms which may be listed as Pass in a pass/fail grading scale. Coursework completed in fall 2020 and onward may not be pass/fail. Coursework completed fall 2020 onward must have a grade of a “C” or better 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 2011 or later).
  • 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 not accept prerequisite coursework completed as an audit.
  • 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.
What GPA do you need to get into PCOM’s PA Studies program?

Applicants must obtain an undergraduate science and cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale (as calculated by CASPA).

Can you take prerequisites for the PA Studies program at a community college?

The PA Studies program will accept credits completed at a community college.

Are online prerequisites accepted for PCOM’s PA Studies program?

The program will accept courses and labs completed online or on campus.

Healthcare Experience Requirements for the PA Studies Program

How many direct patient contact hours are required to apply to PCOM's PA Studies program?

To be considered for an interview for the Physician Assistant Studies program, 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, pharmacy technician, phlebotomist, LPN, EMT, paramedic, scribe, medical translator, etc.

Many Physician Assistant Studies program candidates 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 PA Studies Admissions Considerations

Applicants for the PA Studies program 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 requirements. However, all Physician Assistant Studies candidates must have earned a baccalaureate degree prior to enrollment. 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.

What are the background check requirements for PCOM's PA Studies program?

To ensure that students accepted to PCOM will be permitted to perform preceptorships 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.

PA Studies Program Application Decisions

Candidates interviewed for PCOM's PA Studies program 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, PA Studies program 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 (PDF) 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 waitlist after completion of the interview process. Typically, PA Studies program 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.

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.

Licensing Requirements

It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to determine that he/she will meet the eligibility requirements for national certification and state licensing. It is also the applicant’s sole responsibility to determine whether any particular country will allow the practice of the profession for which a PCOM degree is received and licensing in the United States is obtained.

PCOM PA Studies Program Statistics

Please note the data below represents the ranges of the Class of 2021 for the Philadelphia and Georgia campuses and 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.

PA Studies - PCOM Class Statistics
  • 44 Female, 11 Male
  • 35 percent of the class reports their ethnicity to be Asian, Black (Non-Hispanic), Chinese, Cuban, Filipino, Other Hispanic, Pakistani, Puerto Rican and South American.
  • Average age of the incoming class: 24 (22-36)
  • States represented: CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, MA, MD, MI, NC, NJ, MY, PA, RI, VA
  • Total CASPA verified applications: 2,037
  • Total matriculants: 60
  • Average undergraduate cumulative GPA for PCOM's Physician Assistant Studies program as calculated by CASPA: 3.68 (Middle 50% Range 3.55 – 3.88)
  • Average undergraduate science GPA as calculated by CASPA: 3.65 (Middle 50% Range 3.49 – 3.88)
PA Studies - PCOM Georgia Class Statistics
  • 28 Female, 4 Male
  • 25 percent of the class reports their ethnicity to be Asian, Black (Non-Hispanic), Japanese, Pakistani, and Vietnamese.
  • Average age of the incoming class: 25 (23-33)
  • States represented: AL, AZ, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, ME, MS, NC, PA, SC, TX, UT, VA
  • Total CASPA verified applications: 1,055
  • Total matriculants: 32
  • Average undergraduate cumulative GPA for PCOM Georgia’s Physician Assistant Studies program as calculated by CASPA: 3.68 (Middle 50% Range 3.58 – 3.76)
  • Average undergraduate science GPA as calculated by CASPA: 3.61 (Middle 50% Range 3.47 – 3.82)

View more Physician Assistant Studies (MS) program data.

Additional Questions About PCOM's PA Studies Program

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, please contact the respective Office of Admissions via email at:

View frequently asked questions about PCOM and PCOM Georgia's PA Studies program.


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Contact the Office of Admissions

 

PCOM Admissions

4170 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131

Toll Free: 800-999-6998
Local: 215-871-6700
Fax: 215-871-6719
Twitter: @PCOMAdmissions 

For information about PCOM programs:

ASK PCOM ADMISSIONS

 

PCOM Georgia Admissions

625 Old Peachtree Road
Suwanee, GA 30024

Toll Free: 866-282-4544
Local: 678-225-7500
Fax: 678-225-7526
Twitter: @PCOMAdmissions 

For information about PCOM Georgia programs:

ASK PCOM GEORGIA ADMISSIONS

 

For information about the Doctor of Pharmacy program: 

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PCOM South Georgia Admissions

2050 Tallokas Road
Moultrie, GA 31768

Toll Free: 866-282-4544
Local: 229-668-3162
Fax: 678-225-7526
Twitter: @PCOMAdmissions 

For information about PCOM South Georgia programs:

ASK PCOM SOUTH GEORGIA ADMISSIONS

  

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