MSPA Program Frequently Asked Questions
*Note: All prerequisite coursework and bachelors degree must be completed by September 1.
**Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, and Medical Terminology prerequisites must be completed within 10 years of application.
Biology: 3-4 credit hrs
Any biology course in addition to Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology; must include lab
Human or Vertebrate Anatomy†‡: 3-4 credit hrs
Must include lab
Human or Vertebrate Physiology†‡: 3-4 credit hrs
Must include lab
Microbiology: 3-4 credit hrs
Must include lab
Chemistry: 3-4 credit hrs
Must include lab
Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry: 3-4 credit hrs
Psychology: 6 credit hrs
1 intro and 1 upper OR 2 upper-level psychology courses; abnormal and developmental psychology are preferred.
Statistics: 3 credit hrs
Can be from biology, mathematics, psychology, or business. NOTE – if a psychology course is used to meet this requirement, it cannot also be used for the psychology requirement.
Medical Terminology: 1-2 credit hrs
A medical terminology certificate could be used to fulfill the prerequisite requirement for this coursework.
†Beginning with the 2025-2026 application cycle, Vertebrate Anatomy will no longer meet prerequisite requirements (only Human Anatomy and Physiology with labs will fulfill the requirement.)
‡Can be combined A/P for 8 credits, but must include labs
Two semesters of Human Anatomy and Physiology with labs are required (4 credit hours each for a minimum of 8 credit hours combined, including labs).
To meet this requirement take Human Anatomy and Physiology 1 with lab PLUS Human Anatomy and Physiology 2 with lab –OR– take Human Anatomy with lab PLUS Human Physiology.
Human Anatomy and Physiology courses must cover all organ systems. Applied Anatomy and Physiology courses that do not, will not be recognized as fulfilling the prerequisite course requirement.
Mammalian and/or Vertebrate Anatomy, and Mammalian and/or Vertebrate Physiology courses may not replace the Human Anatomy and/or Human Physiology requirements. If you are unsure if a course will fulfill a prerequisite, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire.
*Human Anatomy and Physiology courses must be completed within 10 years of application.
There is no one major that is required as long as the prerequisite coursework has been successfully completed.
A minimum of 3.0 for your overall GPA is required, but we expect that most accepted students will surpass this minimum. In addition, all prerequisite courses must reflect a “C” or better to be accepted.
The GRE scores will be considered along with other admissions requirements. There is no published minimum score.
The MBU/MDCHS PA Program requires all applicants to complete an online Casper assessment. Casper is an online, open-response situational judgement test (SJT) that we use to compliment our other admissions criteria and hopefully enhance the fairness and objectivity of the admissions process. For further details, please see the Casper webpage.
27 months, 15 didactic and 12 clinical
No. Students may not waive any course within the PA Program curriculum. Furthermore, the PA Program does not provide advance standing.
Graduate programs in health sciences may allow up to six (6) graduate-level transfer credits with prior program director approval. Prior courses may be used to meet prerequisite requirements. There is no waiver of coursework or advanced standing granted in any program.
Chances vary depending on the number of applications each year. We anticipate a class size of 40 students. Applicants are encouraged to visit the Physician Assistant Education Association (www.paeaonline.org) for further information regarding PA program applicant demographics.
Due to our current accreditation status, we are not able to sponsor visas for international students at this time. Students that are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents are eligible to apply. MDCHS does consider coursework completed internationally, as long as the proper transcript evaluations (such as WES) are included with the application.
No. The program is cohort-based and matriculates every January. Any admitted student who cannot begin with their cohort will have their acceptance of an admissions offer withdrawn, lose their deposit, and have to reapply in a future admissions cycle.
Three references are required. References can be professionals who have observed you in a patient care environment, college professors, or prior employers. References from family members or friends are not accepted.
Due to the rigor of the Physician Assistant curriculum, students are strongly advised against employment while enrolled in the program. No time will be granted for students to seek or maintain employment. Employment, while enrolled in the program, may lead to poor academic performance and failure and should not be pursued. Further, students may not be employed by the program for any reason, including, but not limited to, clerical or other program work. Students may not be employed at clinical or shadowing sites in any capacity while enrolled in the program.
Physician Assistants are academically and clinically prepared to provide healthcare services with the direction and responsible supervision of a doctor of medicine or osteopathy. The physician-PA team relationship is fundamental to the PA profession and enhances the delivery of high-quality healthcare. Within the physician-PA relationship, PAs make clinical decisions and provide a broad range of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and health maintenance services. The clinical role of PAs includes primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practice settings. PA practice is centered on patient care and may include educational, research and administrative activities.
The role of the PA demands intelligence, sound judgement, intellectual honesty, appropriate interpersonal skills, and the capacity to react to emergencies in a calm and reasoned manner. An attitude of respect for self and others, adherence to the concepts of privilege and confidentiality in communicating with patients, and a commitment to the patient’s welfare are essential attributes of the graduate PA. The professional curriculum for PA education includes basic medical, behavioral and social sciences; introduction to clinical medicine and patient assessment; supervised clinical practice; and health policy and professional practice issues.
(Reprinted from ARC-PA, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. at https://www.arc-pa.com/about/about_pa.html)
PAs perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling and make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes. All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow PAs to practice and prescribe medications.
(Reprinted from AAPA, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, at https://www.aapa.org/the_pa_profession/what_is_a_pa.aspx)
The clinical year is 12 months in length where students participate in seven core and one elective rotation. Clinical rotation locations are scheduled and arranged by the PA program (DCE and CPA). At no time is the student (or their agents) required to solicit clinical sites or preceptors. Students may suggest potential opportunities when requested. These suggestions will be reviewed, evaluated, and potentially approved based on educational sufficiency and sustainability.
At no time may the student reach out to current or potential preceptors to arrange a rotation. Before the clinical year begins, students are asked to complete a wish list in rank order from the list of existing sites. A lottery system will be applied and then reviewed by the DCE and CPA. Every attempt is made to make this fair to all students. Circumstances arise which may necessitate a change in a student’s schedule with short notice. While these are rare, students are expected to be flexible and professional.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Mary Baldwin University/Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Mary Baldwin University. 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 March 2030. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.
“The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) is the accrediting agency that protects the interests of the public and PA profession by defining the standards for PA education and evaluating PA educational programs within the territorial United States to ensure their compliance with those standards” (www.arc-pa.org/about/).
As defined by ARC-PA on their website, www.arc-pa.org, accreditation of PA programs is an external review process that is administered by a non-government, voluntary organization. The organization grants recognition to institutions or specialized programs that meet established qualifications and educational standards. In order to ensure compliance with the standards, an initial evaluation is performed and is followed up with periodic evaluations. Accreditation also benefits society by providing reasonable assurance of quality educational preparation for professional licensure and practice.
The ARC-PA recognizes the following categories of accreditation:
- Accreditation – Provisional
- Accreditation – Continued
- Accreditation – Clinical Postgraduate Program
- Accreditation – Probation
- Accreditation – Administrative Probation
- Accreditation Withheld
- Accreditation Withdrawn
- Voluntary Inactive Status
For more details on each category go to Accreditation Types and Review Cycle.
You may find the PA refund policy in the academic catalog.
If you have any additional questions, you can contact the program director, Dr. Kent Diduch, at email@example.com