MS in Cardiovascular Perfusion - Entry

David Fitzgerald, DHA, MPH, CCP, Division Director

The Master of Science in Cardiovascular Perfusion (CVP) program prepares its graduates to work as certified clinical perfusionists (CCP) in a variety of health care settings where extracorporeal life support services are required. Perfusionists are typically employed in cardiac surgical centers and operate the heart-lung machine during open heart surgery. They serve as experts in associated technologies such as ventricular assist devices and are involved in many aspects of perioperative blood management.

As a graduate of the MUSC CVP program, you’ll become an essential member of the cardiothoracic surgical team. Extensive knowledge of anatomy, pharmacology, pathology and surgical techniques are keys to success. Perfusionists can specialize in areas of pediatric perfusion and mechanical circulatory support devices. The MUSC perfusion program provides extensive experience in both areas.

The MUSC perfusion program was started in 1979 by James P. Dearing and is considered one of the best programs in the country. This is evidenced by very high pass rates on the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion Certification Exam, a large number of research publications by the full-time faculty members, and a world class simulation facility for practicing perfusion techniques. In addition to clinical facilities at MUSC, students receive clinical training at highly recognized cardiac surgical centers across the country and abroad that serve as MUSC clinical affiliation sites.


The MUSC Cardiovascular Perfusion Program is accredited by the Commission of Allied Health EducationPrograms (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Accreditation Committee for Perfusion Education (AC-PE).

CVP Temporary Admissions Exceptions due to COVID-19 2020/2021 Admissions Cycle

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, prospective applicants may have difficulty obtaining clinical observations to meet the program requirements. As such, we are waiving this requirement for the 2020 application season. While we still recommend pursuing clinical observations when possible, we appreciate the limited opportunities available to applicants in the regions in which they reside.

In lieu of clinical observations, we welcome all interested applicants to attend the 23rd Annual MUSC Update on Perfusion Conference, October 28 through 30, 2021. This year our conference will be a hybrid event, with virtual and live attendance opportunities. Virtual attendance is complimentary for all prospective students applying to the program. Information regarding the conference schedule and registration can be found on the conference website.


  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or above in all college work
  • Prerequisites (19 of 27 hours must be completed to apply)

  • 27 hours of prerequisite courses must be completed before the program's start date
Prerequisite Courses Hours
Mathematics (6 hours recommended) 3
Statistics 3
Anatomy and Physiology (includes lab) 8
Chemistry (includes lab) 8
Medical Terminology 1
Physics (includes lab) 4
Total 27
Here is a guide of Frequently Approved Prerequisites.

Please note: The Office of Enrollment Management is able to offer unofficial transcript evaluations from March 1st - June 30th.  Please call Enrollment Management at 843-792-2536 to speak with an admissions specialist or email at

CVP Shadowing at MUSC

We do not require that the shadowing experience be performed at MUSC. If you would like to shadow at MUSC, please visit this link:

International Students

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for admissions for international students whose native language is not English. The TOEFL score will be evaluated in conjunction with other academic credentials.  Acceptable communication skills including reading comprehension, oral communication, and writing are required.

Application Process

In addition to the application itself the applicant must complete the supplemental materials. These forms are available in a PDF format within the application and are also sent through email once an application is submitted. Applicants are required to submit official transcripts from each post-secondary school attended and all materials must be received by the application deadline.

Application checklist

  1. Confirm prerequisites
  2. Complete university application
  3. Minimal Skills Form
  4. Application fee
  5. Official transcripts from all colleges attended
  6. GRE scores
  7. Three letters of reference
  8. Shadow log (PDF)
  9. Academic Plan Form

Please note: All above information must be received on or before the application deadline before an admission decision can be made. It is the applicant's responsibility to review the progress of his/her application by visiting the progress portal.

Use of Marijuana and/or CBD Products

Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug and is illegal to purchase in South Carolina. Apart from a narrow and limited scope of codified/documented medical exceptions, it is illegal for individuals to use marijuana/tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)  in South Carolina. Although cannabidiol (CBD) products may be purchased and used in South Carolina, please be aware that CBD products may contain higher levels of THC than represented on packaging and use of CBD products can result in a positive drug screen for THC/marijuana.  Be aware that current drug testing methods cannot accurately ascertain the origins of THC metabolites (i.e., whether from marijuana or CBD products). Your academic program has the authority to conduct random and/or scheduled drug testing; if your test result is reported as positive for THC metabolites (even if you only used a CBD product), your ability to be accepted into the program, progress in the program, and/or successfully complete the program may be negatively impacted.

Application Deadlines

Start Term Application Type Available Deadline
Fall 2021 Regular July 1, 2020 Jan 1, 2021

Interview Dates

After the application process is completed, qualified applicants may be invited for a personal interview and tour of the facilities which are held at the end of February through early March.

Acceptances Offered

Offers will be sent in March/April.