Introduction - Physician Assistant Program Admission Process
Included below is information pertaining to the admission requirements and process for the Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program. The information will be presented in three distinct sections – Admission Requirements & Process, Technical Standards, and Frequently Asked Questions. If you intend to submit an application for the MU Physician Assistant Program, please review all of this information carefully and proceed by applying through The Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) link, which is provided below.
PLEASE NOTE: We will begin accepting applications through CASPA in September 2017 for the cohort that will begin in July 2018 (pending ARC PA approval). We will continue to accept applications until all seats are filled. Applications will not be accepted after March 1, 2018.
Admission Requirements & Process
The following requirements apply to each applicant who is seeking to gain entry into the Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program. Please carefully review all information that is presented in this section to guide you in determining your eligibility for admission. The requirements are non-negotiable.
All applicants should understand that the Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program will adhere to a rolling-admission process. This means that an applicant who submits an application early during the allowed submission time period and who holds a completed bachelor’s degree, who has met all minimum requirements to qualify for an interview, and who has a successful interview will be offered acceptance into the MU PA Program. Applications will be reviewed until all seats (as allowed by ARC PA accreditation requirements) have been offered and accepted. Thereafter, no additional applications will be reviewed.
(The Misericordia University Physician Assistant Program is requesting an entering cohort size of 20 students, which are anticipated to begin in July 2018, pending ARC PA approval during its March 2018 commissioners meeting.)
Requirement 1: (Applicants May Satisfy the Requirement for a Completed Degree by Either of the Following Two Mechanisms)
- Completion of a baccalaureate degree or graduate degree (from a regionally accredited college or university). The degree must be fully completed. Applicants who have not completed their degree are not eligible for admission.
- Applicants who have completed their undergraduate degree (or graduate degree) within the United States must present an official transcript which demonstrates a specific and distinct grade for each course and an overall GPA. (If a grade is listed as Pass / Fail, a “Pass” will be considered it as equivalent to a “C” and a “Fail” will be considered an “F”)
- Applicants who intend to use foreign educational experiences and degrees (those obtained outside of the United States), must have their higher education record, including all course work and completed degree(s), evaluated by an organization accredited and licensed to do so. In addition, the evaluation of any foreign transcript(s) must result in verification of the equivalent of a fully completed bachelor’s degree, or higher, as compared to United States educational system standards. Each course that is evaluated must also be assigned a specific grade. (If a grade is listed as Pass / Fail, a “Pass” will be considered as equivalent to a “C” and a “Fail” will be considered an “F”).
Applicants who have not completed a bachelor’s degree or higher level degree from a regionally accredited college or university within the United States must complete a TOEFL evaluation. To be eligible for entry into the PA program, such applicants must attain a minimum score of 20 in each TOEFL category (Reading / Listening / Speaking / Writing). Please refer to the following web site for more information regarding TOEFL:
- “Holistic” or qualitative transcripts (those without grades assigned to each course and / or without an overall GPA) will be considered as invalid for the purpose of acceptance into the Misericordia University PA Program.
Additional Information for All Applicants:
- Applicants who have completed a bachelor’s degree from any regionally accredited college or university are encouraged to apply. The MU PA Program does not require an applicant to hold an undergraduate degree from Misericordia University to be eligible for admission. Each application that is evaluated will be reviewed in an equitable and unbiased manner, utilizing the PA program evaluation tools that will utilized to evaluate all applications.
- Applicants who have completed a bachelor or master’s degree through Misericordia University or who hold United States military veteran or active duty status will be advantaged in the scoring of their initial application materials by an automatic addition of a specified number of points. As a result, Misericordia University graduates who apply to the PA Program will have an increased chance of being offered an interview. However, the outcomes of the interview and overall final assessment of each applicant will determine if that individual is a “right-fit” candidate for the MU PA Program. An individual applicant will receive this advantage for being an MU graduate or for military veteran or active duty status, but not for both. This advantage equates to approximately a 5% increase in the academic (pre-interview) score.
- Applicants who reside in one of the following northeastern Pennsylvania counties will be advantaged in the scoring of their application materials, if they meet the minimum academic requirements first:
This advantage equates to approximately a 4% increase in the total (pre-interview) score.
Applicants who have graduated from Misericordia University, who also live in one of the northeastern Pennsylvania counties identified above, may be eligible to receive both of the advantages previously described. In total, these advantages combined would equate to approximately a 9% increase in the total (pre-interview) score.
Requirement 2: Academic Requirements (minimums):
Overall GPA = 3.2 (Scoring will be assigned on a graduated scale; higher overall GPAs will receive higher scores.) (NOTE: We do not impose an age limit for the completed degree that will be submitted with the application.)
- Undergraduate Science GPA = 3.2 (This will include all undergraduate science courses completed by an applicant. Scoring will be assigned on a graduated scale; higher Science GPAs will receive higher scores. The determination of the Science GPA will include all undergraduate science courses completed by an applicant, including courses that are being repeated for grade improvement.)
- Prerequisite Courses = each course will have an individual score, based upon the grade received. All courses, including medical terminology, must have an associated grade. Pass / fail grading will not be accepted. Grades less than a “B” are not acceptable and will result in an applicant being disqualified for that application cycle. Applicants may repeat prerequisite courses for grade improvement. However, all grades for science courses, whether a course is repeated or taken once, will be included in the calculation for the undergraduate science GPA. (NOTE: All prerequisite courses must have been completed within the last 10 years. Any course that is older than 10 years will not satisfy our requirement for that prerequisite.)
Required Prerequisite Courses are as follows:
- A&P I (w/ lab – 4 credits)
- A&P II (w/ lab – 4 credits)
- Microbiology (w/ lab – 3 credits)
- Biochemistry (no lab - 3 credits)
- Genetics (3 or 4 credits)
- Statistics (3 or 4 credits)
- Med Term (2 or 3 credits)
Requirement 3: Completion of a minimum of 500 hours of (acceptable) patient care experience.
All patient care experience must be logged and substantiated using the Misericordia University Department of Physician Assistant Studies “DOCUMENTATION of DIRECT PATIENT CARE EXPERIENCE FORM”, which may be accessed using the following link: DOCUMENTATION of DIRECT PATIENT CARE FORM
Applicants are encouraged to carefully review and follow the instructions associated with this form. All completed DOCUMENTATION of DIRECT PATIENT CARE EXPERIENCE FORMs must be upload through CASPA and included with your CASPA application. Other means of documenting patient care experience will not be accepted.
Requirement 4: A biographical sketch in which the applicant clearly and concisely describes his or her motivation for wanting to become a PA, their understanding of the PA role, and why they have chosen to apply to the MU PA Program.
(Upload through CASPA, should be limited to 500 words, or less.)
Requirement 5: Two to three letters of recommendation, with at least one, or more, letters Being provided by a Physician Assistant.
At least one recommendation should be from another licensed healthcare provider.
Requirement 6: If, after review and scoring of all (pre-interview) requirements, an applicant is determined to be eligible for an interview, he or she will be notified of the need to complete a supplemental application, prior to being assigned an interview appointment.
Requirement 7: Applicants who successfully complete all steps in the supplemental application process, and do so within the designated period of time,will be offered an interview.
Applicants who are offered an interview must be present on their assigned interview day. If not, an offer for an interview may be withdrawn.
Requirement 8: Each applicant who achieves a (quantitative) interview score that meets MU PA Program standards for admission will be contacted within a reasonable period of time, via e-mail, with an offer of acceptance into the PA program.
Next steps, deposits required to hold a seat, and additional information needed from the applicant will be provided after acceptance.
Requirement 9: All students who matriculate into Misericordia University Graduate Programs must meet and comply with the MU requirements for admission into graduate programs.
These requirements may be found in the MU Graduate Catalogue, in the section regarding “Admission Requirements” for graduate programs.
Please use the following web address to access this information:
Visit the MU Graduate Catalogue link.
Technical Standards – Required for Admission and Successful Academic Progress
The Physician Assistant student must possess the following physical capacity, with or without accommodations:
Adequate functioning of the senses of vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Each candidate’s and student’s senses must be keen enough to allow for gathering, integrating and analyzing data obtained during physical examinations, and in a consistent and reproducible manner. Additionally, candidates and students must possess the ability to feel temperature differences, pain, pressure, vibration and movement. The ability to gather and analyze such information must be accurate when compared to accepted physical examination standards, and physical findings confirmed by experienced clinicians. Finally, sufficient emotional health and stability is required for exercising good judgment and promptly completing all academic and patient care responsibilities.
Perform Motor Tasks
Students must possess sufficient fine and gross motor control to effectively conduct inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation activities, all of which are required to complete a physical examination. Additionally, all students must possess stable equilibrium, postural control, good motor function, and sound eye – hand coordination, as is necessary to for satisfactory performance in patient care and classroom or laboratory settings, including handling surgical instruments and providing routine and emergent medical procedures. Students must also possess sufficient mental and physical stamina to meet the demands associated with extended periods of sitting, standing, moving, lifting, and physical exertion required for satisfactory performance in patient care, clinical education, and classroom or laboratory settings.
The Physician Assistant student must possess the following cognitive capacity, without accommodations:
Communicate effectively and sensitively with persons of any cultural and social background using appropriate verbal, nonverbal, and written communication skills with faculty, peers, other members of the health care team, and patients/clients/caregivers. Read, write, and interpret written and nonverbal communication in a timely manner at a competency level that allows one to safely function in the academic or clinical setting. Answer calls, make calls, and communicate needs on a telephone.
Maintain a safe environment for students, faculty, patients, and colleagues. Recognize and respond appropriately and in a timely manner to a medical emergency.
Students must be able to accurately observe, through vision, hearing, and smell, a patient’s physical and emotional condition, as a means to differentiate between states of good health, acute illness or injury, and chronic illness.
Receive, remember, analyze, interpret, evaluate, and synthesize information from multiple sources, in a timely fashion. Attend to multiple tasks throughout the day of scheduled classes and clinical education experiences. Organize and prioritize information to make safe, appropriate, and timely decisions regarding patients for the purpose of further examination, intervention, or referral. Problem solve, recognize deviations from a norm, formulate evaluations, and derive clinical judgments from information collected, in a timely fashion. Observe and accurately interpret patient responses and adjust examination and/or intervention as indicated by the patient response.
Demonstrate Professional and Social Behavior
- Students must demonstrate the emotional health and stability that is required to persevere in spite of longs hours of classroom instruction, challenging laboratory settings, unsettling patient care experiences, differences of opinion with peers and instructors, and personal sacrifice. They must demonstrate the flexibility and personal resolve that is necessary to endure long hours of physical and intellectual stress, without demonstration of adverse behavior. Work with multiple patients/families and colleagues at the same time. Work with lab partners, patients, families, and others under stressful conditions, including but not limited to medically or emotionally unstable individuals, situations requiring rapid adaptations, the provision of CPR, or other emergency interventions. Organize and prioritize multiple tasks, integrate information, and make decisions. Adhere to the “Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession”, established by the American Academy of Physician Assistants, which may be found here: "Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession"
Note – Applicants & Students with Disabilities: In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, Misericordia University strives to ensure that "no otherwise qualified" individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program administered by the University. (Please refer to the following web site for additional information: DISABILITY SERVICES at http://www.misericordia.edu/page.cfm?p=693).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will I be required to submit my application through CASPA?
Yes, all applications must be submitted through CASPA. Applications will not be accepted through any other method of submission.
Must all of my prerequisite courses be completed at the time that I submit my application?
Yes, you must have successfully completed all required prerequisites prior to submitting your application. All prerequisites must have a letter grade assigned to them on an official transcript from a regionally accredited college or university to be eligible for admission. Prerequisites and all other coursework must be submitted through CASPA.
Must I complete graduate admission testing to be eligible to apply to this PA program?
No, pre-graduate program entrance examinations are not required for admission into the Misericordia University PA program. You do not need to complete a GRE, GMAT, or MCAT examination to qualify for entry.
If I completed the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree (or higher level degree) outside of the United States, what must I do to be eligible for admission?
You must have your higher education record, including all course work and completed degree(s), evaluated by an organization accredited and licensed to do so. This evaluation must result in the determination of level of degree equivalency, as compared degrees completed and recognized within the United States. You must also be assigned a letter grade to each course and an overall GPA by the evaluating organization. In addition, you must complete a TOEFL examination and achieve a score of at least 20 in each of the four categories. (Please see requirements regarding TOEFL listed above.)
I have completed organic chemistry I and II. Am I still required to complete a biochemistry prerequisite?
Yes, we do not accept substitutions for any of our prerequisites. You must complete each prerequisite that is listed in our admission requirements.
The Following two FAQ Responses Pertain to the Following ARC PA Standard:
c) policies and procedures concerning awarding or granting advanced
PA Program Policy: Advanced Placement may be found in the Physician Assistant Program Handbook, under Miscellaneous Policies, page 53. The policy states:
“The Misericordia University PA Program does not grant advanced placement to anyone. Advanced standing or special consideration for previous coursework or degrees are not provided. All applicants will be evaluated and assessed through the same application and interview processes.”
If I have completed another health professions degree, or a medical degree from a United States or foreign medical school, am I eligible for advanced standing? Will I be given credit for some of the PA program coursework for courses that I completed prior to entering PA school?
No, the Misericordia University PA Program does not grant advanced placement to anyone. All students who enter the PA program must complete all courses and required activities successfully and in the sequence required.
I am a foreign medical graduate. Will I automatically be granted an interview or acceptance into the Misericordia University PA program?
No, the Misericordia University PA Program does not grant advanced placement for anyone. Advanced standing or special consideration for previous coursework or degrees are not provided to anyone. All applicants will be evaluated and assessed through the same application and interview processes.
When should I apply?
You should apply as soon as the CASPA application for Misericordia University is available through their web site. Also, your application will not be considered to be complete, unless you have completed all admission requirements. (As we anticipate starting an initial cohort in July 2018, predicated upon ARC PA approval of our application for Provisional Accreditation during its March 2018 meeting, we will be opening our student application cycle in September 2017. Please check the CASPA web site in early September for access to the Misericordia University Physician Assistant program.)
Is completion of an interview required for admission?
Yes, all applicants who successfully matriculate into the Misericordia University PA Program must have successfully completed an interview. Based on our rolling admission process and admission criteria, applicants will be selected for interviews until all seats are filled in a respective cohort.
May I apply to the PA Program before I have completed my bachelor’s degree?
You may submit applications through CASPA as soon as the application window is open. However, we will not consider your application to be complete and we will not review your application until all requirements have been met. Also, applying early with an incomplete application will not “hold your place in line” for application review.
If I repeat a prerequisite course, how will it affect my pre-interview evaluation?
(Carefully review all content in Requirement 2 (Academic Requirements), above.)
May I work while attending this PA Program?
ARC PA Standard A3.14: The Program must define, publish and make readily available to enrolled and prospective students general information to include:
(h) policies about student employment while enrolled in the program.
PA Program Policy: Employment During the Program (may be found in the Physician Assistant Program Handbook, under Miscellaneous Policies)
Misericordia University does not prohibit admission into or progression through the PA program if a student determines that he or she must work while in the program. HOWEVER, students are strongly discouraged from working during their time in the PA program.
If a student chooses to work during the academic year, the work schedule must not interfere with class performance, course schedules, or clinical rotation schedules.
Working often impedes a student’s ability to devote the time and attention required for effective study, thereby placing them at risk for failure. There are no special exceptions, or changes in program expectations or requirements for graduation if a student works. The program recognizes that, given unforeseen financial needs, a student may need to work to support themselves or family members. Thus, although strongly discouraged, working is not prohibited.
What constitutes a highly qualified or highly competitive applicant?
An applicant who meets or exceeds all academic criteria, as delineated above, who meets or exceeds the requirement of 500 hours of patient care experience, and who demonstrates the emotional intelligence and maturity required for a successful interview. We believe that these attributes facilitate success within our PA program and lead to success as a practicing Physician Assistant.