- Physician Assistant Studies – MS-PAS
- Mission, Vision and Values
- Diversity Statement
- Program Goals, Competencies, and Learning Outcomes
- MS-PAS Information Sessions
- Technical Standards
- Program Description and Curriculum
- Tuition and Fees
- Program Policies and Attrition Data
- Faculty and Staff
- NCCPA PANCE Pass Rates
- MS-PAS Handbooks
- Physician Assistant Studies – MS-PAS
MS-PAS Admissions Overview
Pfeiffer University offers a 27-month Physician Assistant (PA) program that awards a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MS-PAS) degree.
The full-time program starts a new cohort each January, with classes held in person at the university’s new state-of-the-art Center of Health Sciences (CHS) facility in Albemarle, North Carolina. Our mission is to provide an inclusive learning environment for students from diverse backgrounds, with an emphasis on rural medicine, that graduates physician assistants who will deliver exceptional healthcare as servant leaders.
- All applicants must apply through CASPA. The 2023-2024 application cycle opens on July 1, 2023.
- The deadline for your completed application is November 1, 2023.
- Please note that CASPA considers an application to be COMPLETE when all items including fees, transcripts, letters of recommendation and other required items are submitted with the application. Applicants requiring further assistance with CASPA should contact customer service at 617-612-2080 or by email at email@example.com.
- Pfeiffer University does not require a supplemental application.
- Qualified candidates are eligible to be invited for an on-campus interview.
- Pfeiffer University has a rolling admissions process.
- All applicants will receive email notification regarding their status.
The admissions process is highly selective. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an interview or acceptance. Most competitive applicants meet or exceed the minimum requirements.
- Baccalaureate Degree from a regionally accredited College or University.
- Recommended Overall Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher.
- Recommended Prerequisite Grade Point Average of 3.2 or higher.
- Minimum of 500 hours of Direct Patient Care Experience
- Minimum of 24 hours of Shadowing a Physician Assistant
- Letters of Recommendation
- Personal Statement
- CASPer®Test Score
- Performance during the interview
Applicants are considered for an on-campus interview based on the strength of their CASPA application in meeting or exceeding the Pfeiffer University MS-PAS program requirements as compared against the applicant pool.
- Program faculty will lead interview teams that can include but not limited to program faculty, admissions committee members, health care providers and Pfeiffer University Center for Health Sciences faculty.
- Notification of an interview will be sent to the applicant’s email submitted on the CASPA system.
- An interview is required for admission.
- All applicants should understand that acceptance into a physician assistant program is an extremely competitive process. An interview does not constitute or guarantee acceptance.
Interview day will include all of the following activities:
- Individual interview
- Campus tour of the Center for Health Sciences
- Q & A with current students
Interviewed applicants will be notified by email of the Admissions Committee decision shortly after the interview.
Conditional acceptance is contingent on:
Each applicant accepted into the program must pay non-refundable $1000 seat/orientation fee. Seat deposits are not refundable. Upon acceptance and receipt of seat/orientation fee, the following conditions must be met and completed by the stated deadlines to matriculate into the program.
- Background Check
- Drug Screen
- Immunization History/Verification
- Physician Examination
- HIPPA/OSHA Certification
- Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification
- Technical Standards
- All students who have been offered conditional acceptance must complete a criminal background check prior to matriculation. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure safety and maintain high quality care of patients and the community.
- All matriculated students must complete a second criminal background check upon completion of the didactic phase of the program.
- Additional criminal background checks remain at the discretion of affiliated hospitals or clinics and/or the Pfeiffer University MS-PAS program.
- A student may be prevented from progressing in the program’s didactic phase, being promoted to the clinical phase of the program or being recommended for graduation if the results of the criminal background check prohibits a student from rotating in affiliated hospitals or clinics. Therefore, the Pfeiffer University MS-PAS program reserves the right to withdraw offers of conditional acceptance if criminal or other negative legal histories are uncovered during the background check.
- The Pfeiffer University MS-PAS program encourages candidates to verify with the State licensing board in which the wish to practice determining whether their background may be a barrier to future licensing. North Carolina State Laws on Physician Assistant Licensure and Practice
Required Drug Screen
- All students who have been offered conditional acceptance must successfully pass an initial chain of custody drug screen. The purpose of this requirement is to promote the health, safety, and productivity of students and those in their care.
- All matriculated students must complete and successfully pass a second chain of custody drug screen upon completion of the didactic phase prior to entering the clinical phase of the program.
- Additional chain of custody drug screens and “for cause” testing for any student suspected of being under the influence of unlawful drugs or alcohol during their course of study remains at the discretion of affiliated hospitals or clinics and/or the Pfeiffer University MS-PAS program.
- A student may be prevented from progressing in the program’s didactic phase, being promoted to the clinical phase of the program, or being recommended for graduation if the student fails a chain of custody drug screen. Therefore, the Pfeiffer University MS-PAS program reserves the right to withdraw offers of conditional acceptance if the candidate fails the initial chain of custody drug screen.
Required Physical Examinations and Immunizations
- A comprehensive physical examination by a licensed medical provider must be completed indicating that the conditionally accepted applicant is free of infectious disease and has been medically cleared for admission.
- The Student Health Packet includes instructions and the following forms:
- Medical History
- Physical Examination
- Immunization Verification*
- Chain of Custody Drug screen
- Presentation of a valid CPR for Healthcare Providers certification
- All applicants must meet the program’s Technical Standards.
*Student immunization requirements are based on the Centers for Disease Control Recommended Vaccines for Healthcare Workers.
Failure to comply with these requirements will result in withdrawal of the conditional acceptance offer.
Due to continued challenges faced by students due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program would like to address the following concerns.
The program will accept pass/fail grades for the following prerequisite courses.
- Medical Terminology
Please note that pass/fail coursework will not factor into the GPA calculations. All GPAs will be calculated by CASPA.
Direct Patient Care/Shadowing Hours
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all applications will be considered regardless of clinical hours completed at the time of application. Proper documentation of those completed direct patient care and shadowing hours is still required for this process. Click here to complete the form.
Please note this consideration is only acceptable for the 2023-2024 application cycle.
PA-CAT Standardized Test
The PA-CAT is not required for the 2023-2024 application cycle.
The deadline for your completed application is November 1, 2023.
There are no changes currently. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis starting Fall 2023.
If you have any questions regarding these updates or the application process, please contact our Admissions Support Coordinator, Deidra Harwood, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pfeiffer University students and alumni who meet or exceed program requirements will be granted an interview.
- Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited College of University prior to matriculation. A minimum overall GPA of 3.0 is recommended.
- Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended are required and must be sent to CASPA for review and verification.
The following GPA is recommended:
- Overall GPA of 3.0 (calculated by CASPA)
- Prerequisite GPA of 3.2 (calculated by CASPA)
The PA-CAT is not required for the 2023-2024 application cycle.
- The following are REQUIRED courses and MUST be completed from a regionally accredited institution. A prerequisite GPA of 3.2 or higher is recommended.
- Please note that all prerequisite coursework must be completed prior to matriculation.
|Anatomy and Physiology||2 semesters|
|Microbiology with Lab||1 semester|
|Organic Chemistry with Lab||1 semester|
|Medical Terminology||1 semester or CE credit|
- Requisite coursework MUST have been completed no more than 7 years prior to matriculation. We strongly recommend that applicants refresh any prerequisite course older than 5 years.
- One course cannot be used to satisfy multiple prerequisites.
- Experiential learning is not substituted for prerequisite coursework.
- Online courses and labs from regionally accredited institutions are accepted.
North Carolina Community College Equivalents
Please use the chart below to plan your prerequisite pathway.
|Course||Pfeiffer University Equivalent||NC Community College Equivalent|
|Anatomy and Physiology||EXSC 265 and EXSC 266||BIO 168 and BIO 169|
|Microbiology with Lab||BIOL 300||BIO 275|
|Organic Chemistry with Lab||CHEM 110N (Nursing Only), CHEM 221 or CHEM 222||CHM 251 or CHM 252|
|Genetics||BIOL 304||BIO 250|
|Biochemistry||BIOL 351||CHM 271|
|Psychology||PSYC 202S||PSY 150|
|Statistics||PSYC 222M or MATH 441||MAT 152|
|Medical Terminology||EXSC 302||MED 121|
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all applications will be considered regardless of clinical hours completed at the time of application. Proper documentation of those completed direct patient care and shadowing hours is still required for this process.
- Applicants are expected to have in-depth, hands on, direct patient care experiences in a healthcare setting.
- A minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care experience in a healthcare setting must be completed prior to application. 24 of the 500 hours must be shadowing a physician assistant.
Click here for Direct Patient Care Experience/Shadowing form. This form should be completed and included in your CASPA application.
- Examples of direct patient care experiences in a healthcare setting may include but are not limited to: EMT, Paramedic, Medical Assistant, Nurse, Surgical Technician, Athletic Trainer, Physical Therapy Aide, and Military Medical Corpsman.
- Unfortunately, we are not able to assist students and applicants in obtaining their healthcare-related experiences.
If you have a question regarding your patient care or shadowing experience, please email Deidra Harwood at email@example.com
- Three letters of recommendation are required and should be submitted through the CASPA application.
- Letters should be from physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, research mentors, professors or volunteer coordinators/supervisors who had direct interaction with the applicant and can attest to his/her qualities, strengths and suitability for a career as a physician assistant.
- References from friends, family members and relatives are not appropriate and will not be accepted.
- A Personal Statement is an admissions requirement and must be complete in your CASPA application.
To best evaluate personal characteristics such as communication, ethics, and empathy; the program is requiring all applicants to complete the CASPer ® test. This is an online “situational judgment test” designed to evaluate non-cognitive skills. For more information regarding the CASPer ® test, dates and fees please visit: takealtus.com. The applicant is responsible for the CASPer ® test fees.
- All degree prerequisite coursework must be completed in the United States regardless if the applicant has completed them in in another country.
- Foreign graduates must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The program will not allow applicant to substitute an English course or certificate in place of TOEFL scores. Pfeiffer University requires TOFEL scores of 550 PBT, 213 CBT and 80 IBT.
- Foreign graduates must meet program requirements, selection factors and follow the sample application process through CASPA.
- Applicants must meet the Pfeiffer University MS-PAS Program Technical Standards.
- The program does not accept advanced placement (AP) credit from high school for prerequisite coursework.
- The program does not grant advanced placement in the program based on previous educational experiences.
- Transfer credit or admission with advanced standing from another PA program is not accepted.
- All of the curricular components of the program are required for graduation and must be completed.