Physician Assistant Studies (MHS)

Degree Requirements

The Program

  • Degree Earned: Master of Health Science
  • Length of Program: 27 months
  • Matriculation Date: Annually in mid-May
  • Class Type: On-site, no online classes
  • Curriculum: 121 Credit Hours

Advanced Placement, Deceleration, Dismissal

The program does not offer advanced placement. Students can request a deferment after acceptance into the program, but it will only be allowed for a one year time. Transfer credits or credit for experiential learning cannot be substituted for any course in the program, and no transfer credit is accepted from other PA programs. Students who receive more than 8 credits of “C” in courses will be dismissed from the program. In addition, any grade below a C will result in academic dismissal from the program, and withdrawal from any course will automatically result in dismissal from the program.

Clinical Rotations

The program attempts for every student to have a well-rounded clinical experience, as best achieved through a variety of clinical sites. To maximize one’s learning, students will rotate through academic health centers, military institutions, and rural facilities in Mobile, Pensacola, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Rural rotations in Primary Care and Pediatrics are required. The program considers any rotation within 75 miles as commutable. Remediation of a student may result in delayed graduation.


Program policies strictly prohibit the program, its academic and clinical affiliates, and preceptors from employing any PA students, or utilizing them in lieu of administrative office or clinical staff while attending the program. PA students are also strongly discouraged from accepting any other employment while attending the program. Employment while in the program has the potential to negatively impact the student's rigorous PA training curriculum.

Measures of Success

Please visit our website for information about the program's success at


Mandatory remediation will be required of any clinical or didactic student who meets the grounds for remediation. The student's progress will be subsequently monitored and future remediation will be arranged as needed. Successful completion of remediation is defined for the didactic and clinical student per policy. See Student Progress Committee Policies and Procedures.


The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the University of South Alabama Physician Assistant Program sponsored by the University of South Alabama. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2024. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession

Graduates are expected to demonstrate the highest level of professionalism, be able to provide excellent comprehensive patient care, and have the highest level of medical knowledge and communication skills as outlined at

Matriculation Requirements

  1. Acknowledgment of acceptance by deadline on notification by submission of a signed Statement of Intent Form and a nonrefundable $500 matriculation deposit which will be applied toward the first semester's tuition to guarantee a seat in the class, to be received no later than the deadline stated in acceptance letter.
  2. Completion of outstanding required prerequisite coursework with a grade of "C" or higher one semester prior to matriculation into the program. Failure to make a grade of "C" or higher in any required prerequisite course, or failure to complete all prerequisite courses one semester prior to matriculation into the program, will result in nullification of acceptance into the PA program. Updated transcripts will be required.
  3. Submission to criminal background checks and urine drug screens before matriculation and prior to beginning clinical rotations. The fees are the student's responsibility. Failure to submit to and satisfactorily pass both screenings can result in dismissal from the program.
  4. Completion of immunizations, titers, and a physical exam upon acceptance and prior to entering clinical rotations. The fees are the student's responsibility.
  5. Maintenance of the American Heart Association Healthcare Providers BLS Certification throughout the program. The fees are the student's responsibility.
  6. Maintenance of approved health insurance throughout the program. The fees are the student's responsibility.
  7. Understanding of and the ability to adhere to the Technical Standards for Physician Assistants as stated. (See below.)

Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) Pass Rates

Please visit our website at

Program Completion Requirements

The program consists of preclinical and clinical components. The preclinical component is designed to provide a solid foundation for the clinical component. During the clinical component, the student refines the medical knowledge and clinical skills needed for professional practice.

Successful completion of the program requires that the student be able to:

  1. Complete 121 hours of graduate coursework consisting of 73 credit hours of didactic coursework and 48 credit hours of clinical coursework.
  2. Obtain an accurate and detailed patient history.
  3. Perform complete and focused physical examinations
  4. Establish working and differential diagnosis
  5. Order and interpret diagnostic evaluations to include: laboratory tests (blood, urine, spinal fluids, cultures), imaging studies (plain film radiography, radiographic contrast studies, ultrasound studies, computerized tomography studies, MRI studies & electrocardiogram.
  6. Develop and manage a treatment plan.
  7. Record patient data:
    1. Written notes and charting, and
    2. Electronic medical record.
  8. Order and/or administer therapeutic medications
    1. in hospitals and clinics and
    2. via written or electronic prescription.
  9. Perform therapeutic medical interventions and procedures.
  10. Council and educate patients regarding medical, therapeutic, and behavioral problems.
  11. Interact with patients and the medical community in a professional manner.
  12. Make appropriate referrals.

Technical Standards

Students in the USA Physician Assistant program must be able to fulfill the program's Technical Standards, which include General, Observational, Communication, Motor, Critical Thinking, and Interpersonal abilities as well as possessing certain Behavioral and Social Attributes. To evaluate whether you meet the criteria, please visit our website at for details.

Minimum Requirements for Admission

Applicants who wish to apply to the USA PA program must meet the following minimum requirements. Please note that admission to the USA PA program is very competitive and accepted students typically exceed the minimum requirements.

  1. Completion of a Baccalaureate degree in any field from a U.S. regionally accredited institution prior to the starting date of the program is required.
  2. A Minimum overall GPA, science GPA and last 60 hours GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale as calculated by CASPA (includes post-baccalaureate undergraduate work and graduate work from U.S. regionally accredited institutions). Higher GPAs improve the application. 
  3. Completion of prerequisite course work completed with a grade of "C" or higher from a U.S. regionally accredited institution. These courses must be completed successfully one semester prior to matriculation, failure to do so will result in the student losing their seat in the program. Unless specified, prerequisite courses should be one semester of at least 3 credit hours. Higher course grades improve the application. Prerequisite required courses are:
    General Biology plus lab (4 credits). General Chemistry I and II plus lab (8 credits). Human Anatomy and Human Physiology OR Anatomy and Physiology I and II. Microbiology. Organic Chemistry. Mathematics (College Algebra minimum). Statistics. General Psychology. Medical Terminology (1 credit). For guidelines on courses accepted, please visit
  4. Completion of the General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within the past five (5) years. We require a minimum score of 145 in both the Verbal and Quantitative sections and completion of the Analytical Writing section in one test date. Higher GRE scores improve the application. 
  5. Completion of at least 100 hours direct patient care experience is required. Applicants will document these hours on their CASPA application. Please see the website ( for definitions, details, and examples. Higher numbers of direct patient care hours improve the application. 
  6. Submission of at least three (3) reference letters, one of which must be from a Physician Assistant (PA), Medical Doctor (MD), or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) submitted to CASPA by the October 1st deadline. Reference letters sent directly to our office will not be accepted.
  7. Submission of completed and verified application materials by October 1st. The program will not review applications that are incomplete, received after the deadline, or do not meet the minimum standards. Please see the website for details

Application and Admission Information

Please see our website for more detailed information:

Applicants are selected based on a holistic evaluation. Many factors are taken into consideration:

  • GPAs (overall GPA, science GPA, last 60-hour GPA, both undergraduate and graduate level work).
  • GRE scores (quantitative, verbal, and analytical writing sections)
  • Direct Patient Care/Health Care Certifications/PA Shadowing Experience
  • Community Service/Volunteerism
  • Additional completion of upper-level science coursework completed with a grade of "C" or higher in Immunology, Genetics, Biochemistry, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology.
  • Background and Experience (Alabama and service area resident, leadership, volunteerism)
  • Rural/Underserved (Childhood residence in rural county as defined by HRSA rural grant Qualifier)
  • Additional Degree or Training: additional degree (Master's or Doctorate), current health training certifications or registrations, e.g., EMT, CNA, CMA.
  • Military Service: includes all branches of service.
  • Disadvantaged Background:
    • Economically and/or environmentally disadvantaged, as defined by HRSA and detailed on the CASPA application. Higher scores in these categories improve the application. 
  • Please see the website for more details,

Residency Preference

Preference is shown to Alabama residents; however, highly qualified Service Area and out-of-state applicants whose academics and experiences indicate that they may be a success in both the program and the PA profession will be given consideration. Non-residents will be required to pay the non-resident tuition and fees as set by the University. For information on residency please contact the Office of the Registrar at


The applicant will attend one interview session to be held in the fall prior to matriculation the following May. Notification of applicant status may be emailed at any time during the interview cycle until the class positions are filled.

Graduation Plan

(121 Total Hours)

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
PA 510 Clinical Medicine I 4
PA 510L CM I Lab 1
PA 511 Human Gross Anatomy 5
PA 512 Physiology 6
PA 514 Intro to Infectious Disease 1
PA 516 Physician Assistant Issues I 2
PA 520 Clinical Medicine II 6
PA 520L CM II Lab 1
PA 521 Pathophysiology I 4
PA 522 Pharmacology I 4
PA 523 Diag Data and Interp I 2
PA 526 Physician Assistant Issues II 2
PA 530 Clinical Medicine III 6
PA 530L CM III Lab 1
PA 531 Pathophysiology II 4
PA 532 Pharmacology II 4
PA 533 Diag Data & Interp II 2
Second Year
PA 536 Physician Assistant Issues III 2
PA 540 Clinical Medicine IV 7
PA 540L CM IV Lab 1
PA 541 Pathophysiology III 3
PA 542 Pharmacology III 3
PA 544 Diagn Data and Interp III 2
PA 501 Clinical Preceptorship I 4
PA 502 Clinical Preceptorship II 4
PA 503 Clinical Preceptorship III 4
PA 504 Clinical Preceptorship IV 4
PA 505 Clinical Preceptorship V 4
PA 506 Clinical Preceptorship VI 4
PA 507 Clinical Preceptorship VII 4
PA 508 Clinical Preceptorship VIII 4
Third Year
PA 509 Clinical Preceptorship IX 4
PA 517 Clinical Preceptorship X 4
PA 518 Clinical Preceptorship XI 4
PA 595 Summative Evaluation 4
 Total Hours121