MS in Physician Assistant Studies



The Physician Assistant is a licensed health professional qualified by specialized academic and clinical education to perform medical tasks traditionally undertaken by physicians, while practicing under the supervision and responsibility of a licensed physician. PAs provide essential diagnostic, therapeutic, preventative, and health maintenance services in primary and specialty care settings.

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Physician Assistant Studies (PAS) program awards a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree (MSPAS). MUSC is an academic teaching hospital and the PAS program benefits from the vast resources available from the University. Students participate in interprofessional and simulation. MUSC PAS students are also involved in projects within the local community as well as international mission trips. In addition to our outstanding resources and opportunities for student involvement outside the classroom, we have dedicated faculty who pride themselves in their students' success.

Application Requirements

1) Completion of a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university by the time of matriculation.

2) A minimum cumulative GPA and prerequisite course GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is REQUIRED for consideration. Transcripts from ALL colleges attended must be submitted through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).

3) A minimum of 30 credit hours of prerequisite courses (34 credit hours total) must be completed and transcripts received and verified by CASPA by the September 1st application deadline to be considered. All 34 hrs. of prerequisite courses must be completed by matriculation. (Submit the application, including all transcripts, to CASPA no later than August 15th to ensure verification by September 1st.

Prerequisite Courses Semester Hours

Statistics or Biostatistics 3

Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry 3

General Chemistry - includes lab 8

Biology - includes lab 4

Human Anatomy - includes lab 4

Human Physiology- includes lab 4

Microbiology- includes lab 4

Medical Terminology - continuing education courses will not count 1

Developmental Psychology or Human Growth and Development
(course must cover the entire lifespan from conception through death)

Total 34
  • Prerequisite courses must be completed at regionally accredited 2 or 4-year colleges or universities.
  • Courses can only be applied towards the prerequisite requirement if a grade of "C" or higher was earned. A prerequisite course may be retaken, and the highest grade will be used to calculate the prerequisite GPA. However, both grades will be reflected in the cumulative GPA.
  • Survey courses, CLEP credit, AP credit, and other courses for which credit was awarded by examination only are not acceptable toward any of the prerequisite courses.
  • General Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Child Development, etc. will not meet the Developmental Psychology/Human Growth and Development requirement.
  • Combined Anatomy and Physiology courses are accepted; however, an applicant must take Anatomy and Physiology I and II with labs to fulfill the separate Anatomy and Physiology requirements.
  • All prerequisite coursework MUST be completed within the past 10 years.
  • There will be no waivers or exceptions to the requirements.
  • Here is a guide to Frequently Approved Prerequisites.
  • The MUSC Office of Enrollment Management (OEM) offers unofficial transcript evaluations from March 1st to June 30th.  Send requests to

4) The Medical University of South Carolina details the Technical Standards needed by all students. While admission decisions do not take disabilities into consideration, nor are applicants invited to disclose a disability, all persons interested in entering a health profession education program should be aware of minimum abilities required for success.

PAS applicants, and students, either independently or with the help of compensatory techniques and assistive devices, must possess the following skills:

Manual Dexterity: Wrists (both), hands (both), fingers (all), arms (both), grasping, fingering, pinching, pushing, pulling, holding, twisting (rotating), cutting.
Ability to measure: Body (height, weight, range, strength, etc.), psychological status (general),coordination, vital signs, the ability to use sterile technique and universal precautions. The ability to communicate as part of a team, the ability to operate and maintain equipment (e.g. ventilator, monitor, power tools, car)
Sensation: Palpation, auscultation, and percussion
Vision: Depth, color, and acuity (corrected to 20/40)
Physical Strength: To support another person, to position another person, to transfer to/ambulance with walker, cane, crutches, bed, chair; Provide motion exercises, to stand for long periods of time, to perform CPR/resuscitation
Laptop/Computer Requirements (from University standards): Ability to complete computer-based assignments, and use the computer for searching, recording, storing, and retrieving information; ability to complete assessment examinations via computer-based software.
Other: To be poised and self-confident, to be able to read, write, understand and communicate proficiently and effectively in the English language, to be able to remain calm during emergency situations, to be able to meet and deal with people of differing backgrounds and behavioral patterns, to display and maintain mental and emotional stability, to be free from any active diseases that are infectious and may be spread by routine means such as; handshakes, skin contact, and breathing.

  • Upon admission, a student who discloses a disability (with certification) is assured of reasonable accommodations. MUSC has policies regarding the type of documentation required to document a disability and request accommodations. PAS students seeking accommodation, please go to the University’s ADA web site.

Application Process

1) Submit an application through the Physician Assistant Centralized Application Service (CASPA). 

  • Your CASPA application and all requested materials must be verified by the September 1 deadline in order to be considered for admission. 
  • 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:
    • Submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores through CASPA using the MUSC PAS program’s specific code.
    • The MUSC CASPA GRE Designated Institution (DI) Code is 2178.
    • Candidates should take the GRE before July 15 and send scores at least 2 weeks prior to the application deadline to ensure official test scores are received by September 1.
    • For additional information regarding the GRE, please visit the ETS-GRE website.
    • Transcripts from all post-high school course work.
    • Three references submitted through CASPA.
      • At least one should be from a health care provider, preferably a PA or physician. None should be from family members or friends.
    • Record of hands-on patient care experience.
    • A minimum number of patient care hours is not required for admittance into our Program, however, successful applicants average over 1,000 hours of patient care experience upon entering the Program.
    • We accept hands-on patient care experience hours received by shadowing, volunteering, or work experience.

2) Submit a separate MUSC application through the MUSC Office of Enrollment Management by the September 1 deadline. 

  • It is the applicant’s responsibility to review the progress of their MUSC application; progress may be seen by viewing the Application Progress Portal
  • Additional MUSC application questions should be directed to the MUSC Office of Enrollment Management at

3) Complete the Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer) evaluation. The last date to take CASPer is August 20, 2019. 

  • CASPer is an online evaluation which assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program and will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening.
  • You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times.
  • Please go to to sign up for the American Professional Health Sciences test (CSP10101) and reserve a test using your CASPA application ID number and a piece of government-issued photo ID.
  • Questions about the evaluation should be directed to
  • You may familiarize yourself with the test structure at, including taking a practice test.
  • The CASPer evaluation costs $10 to complete and $10 each to have the results forwarded to the schools of your choice.
  • Your official CASPer test score must be received by the application deadline. 

4) Factors that our admissions committee values include:

  • Traits desirable in a future physician assistant, previous accomplishments, diverse life experiences, and significant knowledge of how to deliver health care.
  • Experiences which demonstrate these traits may include: volunteer work, international mission work, military service, proficiency in foreign languages, unique life experiences, health training or certification, unique leadership positions, and biomedical research experience.

5) To view the academic qualifications of incoming students, click here.

All application materials must be received by the application deadline. Without all materials, your application will be incomplete.

Important Application Dates

Start Term Application Type Available Deadline
Summer 2020 CASPA Application April 25, 2019 September 1, 2019
Summer 2020 MUSC Application July 1, 2019 September 1, 2019


Interview Process and Program Acceptance

Only complete applications will be reviewed for consideration for an interview.  Applicants selected for interviews will be notified by the end of October.  Applicant interviews for the 2019-2020 application cycle will be held on October 28th & 29th and November 4th & 5th.

Due to the nature of our interview process, no alternate interview dates will be offered. All interviews will be in-person on the MUSC campus. If you have applied to the Program for this admissions cycle, please leave ALL dates open in the event you are selected for an interview.

Applicants who are invited to join the Program will receive a letter of acceptance from the Dean of Health Professions by the end of January. Classes begin in late May of each year.

Transfer Policies and Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement is a waiver of required coursework included in the PAS curriculum for applicants to the program and/or a waiver of required, coursework included in the PAS curriculum for currently enrolled students in the program which results in the student advancing in the curriculum without completing required curriculum components at the sponsoring institution. The MUSC PAS program does not honor Advanced Placement for prior course work or other experiences.

International Students

MUSC’s PA degree program is unable to admit international students requiring an F-1 visa. Applications will only be accepted from U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or those holding other valid nonimmigrant visa classifications that allow participation in lawful study while in the United States.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for admissions for international students whose native language is not English. A minimum score of 550 is preferred. The TOEFL score will be evaluated in conjunction with other academic credentials.  Communication skills which are essential to success as a PA student include reading comprehension, oral communication, and writing.


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