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Entrance Requirements

pa-entrance_requirements

Requirements and Criteria

  1. Admission to the physician assistant program requires the applicant to: complete required prerequisite coursework/ admission requirements and successfully complete an on-campus interview process if invited.
  2. Admission to the UAMS PA Program is a highly selective and competitive process.  Selection is based on a combination of academic performance (GPAs and GRE), quality of direct patient care experience, letters of recommendation, personal narrative and performance during the interview.
  3. Bachelor’s degree completed prior to matriculation from a regionally accredited institution in the United States.
  4. A Cumulative Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.
  5. A Natural Science GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required..
  6. Graduate Record Examination (verbal, quantitative and analytical writing) is required.

Prerequisite Coursework

The following 44 credits are required for admission:

Area/Typical Course TitleMinimum Credits
General/Principles of Biology I and II with Lab*8 Credits
Human Anatomy with Lab**4 Credits
Human Physiology with Lab**4 Credits
Microbiology with Lab4 Credits
Medical Genetics/Genetics3 Credits
General Chemistry I and II with Lab8 Credits
Organic Chemistry I with lab4 Credits
General Psychology3 Credits
Abnormal Psychology***3 Credits
Biostatistics or Statistics3 Credits
TORAL44

*If General Biology II is unavailable at the educational institution of attendance, General Zoology with Laboratory or Cell Biology with Laboratory may be substituted.

**A combined full year Anatomy and Physiology I and II with laboratories will meet this requirement.

***Developmental Psychology will not substitute for Abnormal Psychology.

Only grades of C or higher are acceptable for all prerequisite coursework.

Survey courses do not meet the prerequisite requirements.  Online courses are permitted for prerequisite courses but not for the laboratory component of the course.

No transfer credits are accepted from other degree programs or physician assistant programs.  There is no advanced standing permitted in the PA program.  Required prerequisite course work graded as Pass/Fail or credit obtained by CLEP Examination or Advanced Placement (AP) will not be accepted.

All prerequisite course work must be obtained from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S.

Candidates may be conditionally accepted with up to two outstanding prerequisites remaining.  All coursework must be completed prior to matriculation with a grade of C or better.

Candidates may strengthen their application by completing additional courses such as:

  • Medical terminology
  • Sociology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Embryology
  • Immunology
  • Histology
  • Endocrinology
  • Bacteriology
  • Virology
  • Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Organic Chemistry II
  • Medical Ethics
  • Speech

Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology 7 Year Requirement
The UAMS Physician Assistant Program has specific pre-requisite courses that are required of all applicants entering into the program.  This requirement is to ensure that all applicants enter into the program with the same general background.  The seven (7) year requirement for anatomy, physiology and microbiology is to ensure that the knowledge of the applicants is fairly recent.  The PA Program is a very intense and condensed curriculum and expects the students to enter the program with a solid foundational background.  This is to ensure student success in the program and reduce attrition.  While work experience in specific areas will be an advantage to the applicant, it will not substitute for the required coursework.

Survey Courses and Online Courses

  1. Survey courses do not meet the prerequisite requirements.
  2. Online courses are permitted for pre-requisite courses but not for the laboratory component of the course.

Online Laboratory Pre-Requisite Courses
The UAMS Physician Assistant Program has a policy that we do not accept online laboratory courses for the pre-requisite course requirements.  This requirement is not because of concern for quality of the online lab courses.  This requirement is warranted because of the hands-on experience that we want applicants to obtain. The program expects applicants to enter the program with a proficiency in utilizing a microscope, handling a scalpel and acquiring the tactile skills and dexterity needed to perform clinical and lab procedures in the program.  Experience with dissection techniques and laboratory chemicals fosters the importance of understanding laboratory protocols, safety issues, and fosters an understanding of the unpleasant smells and environment that is a part of science and medicine.  For this reason the program does not accept online lab courses and does not grant exceptions to this requirement.  Pre-requisite courses that do not have a laboratory component may be taken online.

Advanced Placement/ Transfer Credits

  1. No transfer credits are accepted from other degree programs or physician assistant programs.
  2. There is no advanced standing permitted in the PA program.
  3. Required pre-requisite coursework graded as Pass/ Fail or credit obtained by CLEP Examination or Advance Placement (AP) will not be accepted.

Advanced Standing
The UAMS PA Program does not grant advance standing to any applicant admitted to the program.  No didactic or clinical phase courses will be waived and no transfer credit for any previous coursework will be permitted even though it may be similar or identical to coursework in the PA Program.  All courses in the curriculum are designated as required and must be completed by every student enrolled.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
The GRE must be completed within the last 5 years from the application deadline with verbal, quantitative and analytical writing scores. A combination of scores from separate exam dates may not be utilized.  Use Institution Code 0279 and Department code 0634.

Patient Care Hours
Clinical experience of 500 hours demonstrating direct patient care is required. The experience does not have to be paid or full-time experience.  Volunteer hours may count towards this requirement.  The following are some accepted categories of experience:

  • Athletic Trainer
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dietician
  • Emergency Room Technician
  • Home Health Aide
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Corpsman
  • Nursing Assistant/Aide
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Ophthalmology Technician
  • Paramedic/EMT
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Peace Corp Volunteer
  • Phlebotomist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physical Therapy Assistant
  • Radiology Technician
  • Registered Nurse
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Surgical Technology

* Direct patient care is defined as actively working with patients and having a direct influence of care on a specific patient.  Example activities include eliciting histories, taking vital signs, drawing blood, performing procedures, providing personal hygiene, etc.  While shadowing a PA or physician or scribing is highly recommended to gain a better understanding of the medical profession, they cannot count towards direct patient care.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required for the application.

  1. One from a physician or physician assistant.
  2. One from a university/ college professor.
  3. One from a supervisor.

English Proficiency Requirement

All applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English, are required to demonstrate fluency (speaking) and literacy (reading and writing). The primary means to document fluency and literacy is to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of 88 or greater on the Internet-based version with 18 or greater on each of the four subtest scores (listening, structure/writing, reading, and speaking), or 570 total score on the paper version with 55 or greater in each of the four subtest scores (listening, structure/writing, reading, and speaking) that constitute the total score.Students graduating from any international undergraduate program must also have an official transcript evaluated by either Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. or World Educations Services.  See International Applicants in the Admissions/Academic Information section of the College of Health Professions catalog.