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Prerequisites for Admission to the Physician Assistant Program:

Education:

A baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by the Commission on Colleges of a Regional Accrediting Organization is required. The undergraduate degree must be completed by December 31st of the year prior to enrollment.


Prerequisite Coursework:

  • Prerequisite courses must be completed and reported to CASPA by December 15th of the year prior to enrollment.  Applications may not have more than two pending prerequisite courses at time of submission to the program. 
  • We require that all prerequisite courses are taken within the last 7 years.
  • Applicants are required to have completed the prerequisite classes in the table below.
  • We encourage applicants to have taken anatomy and physiology within 2 years of the program application date; however, this is not a requirement.
  • We do not accept online lab courses.
  • Courses can be taken at any regionally accredited institution, including community colleges. We will give preference to prerequisite courses taken at a 4-year institution.
  • All courses must be assigned a letter grade with the exception of medical terminology which can be Pass/Fail.
  • Applicants must have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative and a 3.0 science GPA based on a 4.0 scale.

Prerequisite Courses

Minimum Semester
Credit Hours

Human Anatomy and Physiology – Lecture

6

Human Anatomy and Physiology – Lab

2

Genetics

3

General Chemistry  - Lecture

6

General Chemistry  - Lab

2

Organic Chemistry – Lecture and Lab

4

Biochemistry

3

Microbiology

3

Introductory Psychology or higher

3

Statistics

3

Medical Terminology

1


Patient Care:

We require that applicants have at least 500 documented healthcare exposure hours. All hours must be completed by October 1st of the year prior to matriculation. These hours can be obtained through paid, volunteer or shadowing experiences. We prefer that 100 of your clinical hours be direct shadowing of a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner. We recommend that you keep your own records. The program may require verification of your clinical hours.


Acceptable forms of clinical experience include:

  • Shadowing of PA, NP, MD/DO
  • Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic
  • Military Medic/Clinical Specialist
  • Corpsman
  • Surgical Technician
  • Radiological Technician
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Laboratory Technician with phlebotomy experience
  • Phlebotomist
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Scribe
  • Nursing (CNA, LPN, RN, CMA)
  • Certified Physical/Occupational Therapist
  • PT/OT Assistant
  • Home health with verification of job duties
  • Medical Interpreter
  • Dietician
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Respiratory Therapist

Unacceptable forms of clinical experience include:

  • Veterinarian Assistant
  • Receptionist for Physician's Office
  • Administrator or Business Manager for Physician’s Office
  • Massage Therapist
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Aesthetician
  • Dental Hygienist/Assisting
  • Inpatient Patient Transport/Orderly
  • Health Fitness Specialist

GRE:

Applicants must take the GRE within 5 years of application to the program. The GRE can be taken several times.  A score of 300 or greater is considered competitive but is not an absolute requirement for admission. The GRE must be taken by July prior to matriculation in January to allow for submission and review of the scores. Applications will not be considered without a GRE score. The GRE code that needs to be used for submitting official GRE scores is 5818.


Competitive Admissions

Admission to the USC School of Medicine PA Program is very competitive. The following information will allow prospective applicants to assess their chances of admission.

For the January 2017 matriculating USC SOM PA class, CASPA received 1,207 applications that were designated for the USC PA Program and, of those applications, 424 of those were verified by CASPA and received and reviewed by the USC SOM PA Program. The USC SOM PA Program interviewed 91 applicants. Twenty applicants accepted the offer of admission for the January 2017 inaugural class.

The averages of academic and healthcare qualifications for accepted applicants for January 2017 were as follows:

  • Overall GPA: 3.71
  • Overall Science GPA: 3.63
  • GRE Scores: 306
  • Healthcare Exposure Hours: 1,445
  • South Carolina Residents: 65%

Although this represents the average among the January 2017 accepted candidates, each application is evaluated on its individual merits. Evidence of academic potential, knowledge of the health care system, motivation, personal maturity, self-assurance and good interpersonal skills will weigh strongly in the admission decision.


Citizenship:

Applicants should be a citizen of the United States of America or a permanent resident.
Note:  The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all applicants for whom English is not their native language. The TOEFL requirement may be waived for applicants with Masters or Doctoral degrees from an accredited US institution. The scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the PA Program office. Only the IBT (Internet Based Test) form of the TOEFL will be accepted. A total score of 93 and a speaking score of 26 will be a prerequisite for entry into the program.

Immunizations:

  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR):  Documentation of two doses of MMR vaccine is required for students born after January 1, 1957.  A copy of laboratory report(s) in English with evidence of immunity to Measles, Mumps and Rubella may be submitted in place of immunization records. 
  • Hepatitis B:  Students who have previously completed the Hepatitis B vaccine 3-part series should submit both their dose dates and a copy of a laboratory report(s) in English of a blood test (Hepatitis B surface antibody) to demonstrate immunity.  Proof of immunity may be submitted alone for students who have been immunized for hepatitis B but do not have documentation.  Students who have not yet completed the series should receive the first two (2) doses of the series and indicate these dose dates.  Students may complete the third dose of the series and undergo serologic testing during their first semester at the Student Health Office; vaccine and titer fees apply.
  • Varicella:  Students must present proof of immunity to Varicella (chicken pox) in one of two forms:  (1) receipt of two doses of varicella immunization administered at least one month apart or (2) laboratory documentation of immunity to varicella.  Students who have not previously been immunized and who do not have laboratory proof of immunity should complete the two-dose vaccination series.
  • Tetanus/TdAP:  Students must provide documentation of receipt of one dose of TdaP (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) immunization within the past three years.  The only exception to this requirement is for those who received the old tetanus/diphtheria (Td) immunization within the previous two years, as Td and TdaP immunization should be separated by at least two years.
  • Polio:  Documentation of three doses of IPV or OPV is required.  If vaccine records are not available there are two options:  (1) proof of immunity by titer may be substituted by sending a copy of the lab results or (2) a polio waiver form may be signed and submitted to student health.
  • Tuberculosis Screening:  Screening for tuberculosis exposure is a tuberculin skin test performed within the last three months prior to matriculation.  Students with a previous history of a positive tuberculosis skin test must submit a completed TB Symptom Survey (available from the Student Health Office) and a chest x-ray report obtained within three years of entry.  Skin testing is not necessary for these students.
  • Influenza:  All applicants are required to have the influenza (flu) vaccine documented after October 1st of the year prior to matriculating due to the start date being during flu season.

Exemptions:  Anyone with a vaccine exemption may be excluded from the University/College in the event of a Measles, Mumps, Rubella or Diphtheria outbreak in accordance with public health law.
Preferences for Admission:  SC Residents, USC alumni, US veterans
Advanced Placement:  We do not offer advanced placement in the PA Program.