Fall 2020 Plan and Information
COVID-19 Updates and Information

Admission Requirements, Process and Timeline

 

Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant Studies

Application Timeline

Summer 2021 Admission Cycle

CASPA opens

Anticipated April 30, 2020

Application completed and e-submitted to CASPA*

No later than November 1, 2020

Supporting application materials due to CASPA and verified application

November 1, 2020 (CASPA verification deadline)

Interview top candidates

June - December (January interviews may be held if the cohort has not been filled)

Acceptance invitation to those selected

Rolling admission - final acceptance decisions no later than February 2021.

Commitment response due

Two weeks after admissions letter is received

Classes start

May 2021

Admission Requirements 

Phase I (Academic Requirements)

The FSU Physician Assistant Program is open to applicants who have earned, or will earn, by the end of the spring semester prior to summer semester entry, a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.  Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or higher, at the time of application and before matriculation into the program. All science prerequisites must be completed for letter grade with at least a grade of C or higher at the time of application. You may have only one non-science prerequisite outstanding at the time of Application but this grade must be submitted before final admission.  Therefore, students are encouraged to complete all prerequisites by the end of the summer prior to the year of matriculation.

The following requirements must be met unless otherwise noted in order to be considered a qualified candidate to be moved to the interview phase of the application process.  Please note that not all qualified candidates will be extended an interview. Candidates will be invited for interviews on a rolling basis. Admission will also be determined on a rolling basis with a final admission decision deadline of no later than February. 

  • Completed CASPA application received and verified by the deadline date of November 1.  A complete application includes all letters of recommendation, health care experience information, short essay, personal statement, test scores and all official transcripts confirming science prerequisite courses have been completed and graded by the time of application, please note that only one non-science required prerequisite can be outstanding at the time of application.  FSU will accept no additional transcripts after the application submission for science prerequisites or repeated courses. 

  • An earned bachelor’s degree with an overall cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 as calculated on the CAPSA application. If the GPA is not calculated as a 3.0 or higher by CASPA, students will not be considered.  GPA will not be rounded up. (students can be considered if the student is completing only one non-science prerequisite).   Official transcripts should be sent directly to CASPA ( please note that if official transcripts are not available, CASPA will be accepting unofficial transcripts for this reason).  Transfer credits included on a transcript must include grades if earned; if not, transcripts from the original school indicating grades must be submitted. All repeated course grades are counted in the CASPA GPA calculation. For information on how CASPA calculates GPAs, please go to their FrequentlyAsked Questions on the Web page at https://portal.caspaonline.org/caspaHelpPages/frequently-asked-questions/

As a policy, FSU Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies program does not round-up any GPA. This also applies to prospective applicant prerequisite GPAs. However, if your cumulative undergraduate total GPA is below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and specifically only for the cumulative overall undergraduate GPA, we are mindful that some students do poorly in their freshman year but then excel in their remaining undergraduate years. Here in the PA Program, we view this as a sign of academic and emotional maturity. If you are such a student, and only once your application has been completed and verified by CASPA, you may email  Vichuda Wachs (vwachs @frostburg.edu) and request that the program reevaluate your transcripts. The program may then recalculate your overall GPA based on your Junior and Senior course grades at a 4-year regionally accredited college or university. Courses completed at a community college and courses taken alone (i.e., not with a full semester course load) will not be included in this recalculation. It is important to understand that this is done on a case-by-case basis and the program decision regarding permitting the recalculation and the results of the recalculation are final and not open to consideration for appeal. Regardless of the outcome, all applicants must still have a cumulative prerequisite grade point average of 3.0 or higher as noted above.  Students requesting this exception may be asked to provide more information related to the reasons for academic performance.

Prerequisites:

Please note: Due to COVID-19, P/F grades will be accepted for prerequisite courses only if the institution did not provide the student with a choice for graded option.  Students with P/F grades may also be required to gain a letter from their school/professor indicating the final earned grade. Also note, online courses and labs for spring 2020 semester will be accepted.

  • A minimum average of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 in required pre-requisite courses as calculated by CASPA.
  •  Completion of Prerequisite Courses: All science prerequisites must be completed at the time of application. All but one non-science prerequisite must be completed no later than May 15 prior to matriculation. Please also note that all prerequisite courses must have been taken within the previous ten years with the exception of Anatomy and Physiology and Microbiology which must be taken within the last 5 years. Applicants who have remained clinically active in the health care arena or content specific field may request consideration of waiver of the time limitation.   
    • Anatomy and Physiology I and II with lab (8 credits) (must be completed within 5 years of application. Waiver may be considered if evidence of using content)
    • Microbiology (3-4 credits)  (must be completed within 5 years of application)
    • Medical Terminology (1-3 credits, course must be a graded course. P/F grade will not be accepted)
    • Chemistry with lab (4 credits)  may be completed as AP courses in high school with score of 4 or 5 on AP exam; also blended General Chemistry courses will be considered depending on course description
    • Biochemistry with lab (4 credits) or Organic Chemistry with lab (4 credits). Biochemistry preferred. This should not be entry level course and should be upper level.
    • Abnormal Psychology or Developmental Psychology (3 credits)
    • Statistics - may be completed as AP courses in high school with score of 4 or 5 on AP exam
    • Recommended but not required – Genetics, Physics

All courses must be completed at a regionally accredited college or university

Any courses completed at an institution using a quarter credit system, must be converted to semester credit hours using the following formula: one semester credit hour is equivalent to .67 quarter credit hours; 1 quarter credit hour/1.5=.67 credit hours.

  • Completion of the GRE (CODE 4798)

Send GRE from ETS directly to CASPA using code (4798). Do not send scores directly to FSU. MCAT tests will be accepted in lieu of GRE.  GRE scores must be current within five years of the date of application and received by the application deadline. Existing master’s degree or higher will waive the GRE requirement. MCAT test scores can be accepted in lieu of the GRE test scores. There is no minimum score required; however, a score in the 40th percentile or higher in both the quantitative and the verbal portion of the GRE is competitive.

Please note: Students who were taking the GRE test for the first time in March or April 2020 can apply and will have their application considered without GRE pending.  ETS is currently offering an at home GRE test option in response to COVID-19.  Students are encouraged to complete the at home test and send scores as soon as possible. GRE test scores will be required before final admission.  Students having obstacles in taking the at home GRE test should contact the PA program to discuss options.

Phase II (Other Requirements)

Frostburg performs a holistic review of each student’s application. However, students must meet the minimum GPA and prerequisite requirements outlined above to be moved to review. The program does not allow students to waive courses, nor does it admit students with advanced standing. However in some cases, students who have withdrawn or who have been dismissed from the program may be readmitted with advanced standing.

Increasingly, clinical facilities require that students seeking placements undergo various criminal background checks, child abuse clearances, and/or drug screens prior to placements. Therefore, students should be prepared to participate in these screenings. Applicants who are unable to pass these clearances may be denied admission into the program.

  • Health Care Experience Hours (minimum of 500 hours of paid employment or volunteer hours). These hours must be completed by the time of application. Patient Contact Experience must be reported on the CASPA application and may be randomly checked for verification of hours. Patient Contact Experience cannot be updated once the CASPA application has been completed.  It is strongly recommended that these contact hours also include 8 hours of shadowing a Physician Assistant. The experience hours can be paid, volunteer or shadowing a PA, NP or MD as well. Examples of the most useful direct patient contact hours include CNA, EMT, Scribe, Medical Assistant, Respiratory Therapist, Radiology Technician, Military Medical Corpsman, Paramedic, RN and shadowing a PA, MD or NP. Other health care experience is equally acceptable as long as the clinical experience is hands-on in nature. It is important that the PA applicant is familiar with the medical care environment and the role of a PA, and have exposure to a patient care environment.  Paid or volunteer experience is acceptable. This information is required to be entered into the CASPA application. Hours should be documented by a supervisor but official documentation does not need to be provided as part of the application but may be requested by the Program as part of the admission process.
  • Service /Leadership Hours or Related volunteer experience. While service/volunteer experience is not a requirement, this information is helpful in providing more information about the applicant and is considered in our holistic review process.
  • Submission of 3 letters of recommendation (Acceptable references include: MD, DO, PA, or NP , academic advisor or faculty member able to verify your potential for academic success, and individuals (professional or academic) who can attest to your commitment to leadership and service). It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all three letters of recommendation are received by CASPA or the application will be considered incomplete and ineligible for consideration.

    • Please note: Due to COVID-19, FSU realizes that it may be more difficult to get letters of recommendation.  Therefore, your application will be reviewed with two letters for the 2021 application cycle.  Please note that our application will ask for three letters and we recommend that you request three letters to assure you are able to meet the requirement of 2 letters for review.
  • Short Essay Response – embedded within CASPA application

  • Personal Statement - embedded within CASPA application

  • Technical Standards - Along with other Program prerequisites, all candidates must be able to independently, with or without reasonable accommodation, meet our Program specific technical standards of general and specific abilities and behavioral and social attributes, and continue to meet these standards throughout the entirety of their program. The technical standards have been developed in consideration of the demands of didactic and clinical training in graduate health sciences and clinical practice as a physician assistant. 

  • Applicants will be screened and will move to the pre-qualified applicant stage. After a full review of pre-qualified applicants, students will be invited for an interview. Please note that not all pre-qualified candidates will be invited for an interview.

    • Please note: Due to COVID-19, the program is currently planning virtual interviews.

  • Those students who are invited to an interview will be asked to submit a supplemental application. Instructions for completing the supplemental application will be provided with your invitation for interview.

Foreign Medical Graduate and International Students

Please note that students seeking F1 Visa cannot be considered for this program.  Currently, FSU does not have SEVP approval for programs delivered at USM Hagerstown, the site where this program is delivered.

  • All foreign-educated applicants must have transcripts of all higher education institutions attended evaluated by World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) prior to submitting the CASPA application. All foreign transcripts must be evaluated (course-by-course with GPA evaluation is required) by one of these organizations listed above; no other evaluation services will be accepted. Please be advised that this process may take several months and must be submitted with the completed CASPA application by the application deadline.
  • The following prerequisite courses must be taken in the US. Anatomy and Physicology I and II, Biochemistry or Organic Chemistry, Microbiology, and Developmental Psychology.
  • English Fluency
    International students who have not graduated from an accredited college or university in the United States and whose native language is not English, must achieve satisfactory scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of 100 ibit or IELTs test 7.5. Scores must be current within two years from the time of application.

Phase III - Interview

Interviews are conducted by panels made up of PA faculty, university faculty at large, and university staff.  Current students, alumni, and community partners/health care providers may take part in some of the activities of the interview day but the final admission decisions will be the responsibility of the Admissions committee. Notification of interviews are sent to the email submitted on the CASPA application. The program will send interview notification at least two weeks prior to interview dates.

After application review, the FSU Program Admissions Committee will select applicants for an interview. Interviews will be offered on a rolling basis with all final admission decisions being completed by January prior to the summer of matriculation.  Not all qualified candidates are extended an interview. The Admissions Cycle Interview Dates are held monthly as follows:

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • January (pending open cohort seats)

Phase IV - Admission

Following the interview, faculty will use a holistic approach to determine which students will be offered admission to the program.  Students will be offered conditional admission pending completion of the following items before matriculation.

  • Completion of a satisfactory background check, comprehensive drug screen, and documentation of required immunizations prior to matriculation. The PA program requires students adhere to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Recommended Vaccines for Healthcare Workers. Documentation of the above will also be required prior to matriculation.  The PA program will provide detailed information on the required process to meet this requirement at the time of admission. Declining immunizations could impede clinical rotation requirements and therefore delay or prevent successful completion of the program.

*Contraindications to the above will be considered on a case-by-case basis, only with documentation from a medical provider, and must be discussed prior to matriculation. Personal/Religious reasons for declining immunizations will be considered on a case by case basis and must be discussed prior to matriculation. It is important to understand that participating in some clinical experiences may be prohibited from some institutions/practices without completion of immunization requirements.

  •  Please note that admitted students may also be required to complete a second drug screening and background check prior to the start of their clinical phase of the program.  Students are responsible for any associated costs.

  • Demonstration ability to meet the technical standards:

  • Students will be required to carry personal malpractice coverage. Information on this can be found at https://www.cmfgroup.com/professional-liability-insurance/physician-assistant-student-insurance/  Evidence of malpractice insurance will be required prior to entering the clinical phase of the program. Please note that this insurance is free to PA students.

  • Health Insurance is required for all students in the PA program and must be secured prior to the first day of class and continued throughout the program. Students are encouraged to check for competitive health insurance rates via the federal government’s official ACA website -(you may be eligible to enroll out of the typical enrollment period) - or the healthcare.org general health insurance marketplace website - or any other vendor.

In accordance with our mission to prepare PAs to live and work in rural and medically underserved areas, particularly those in western Maryland, the FSU Physician Assistant program provides preference to:

  1. Maryland Residents
  2. Students with a western Maryland Heritage (FSU alumni, resident of western Maryland regional area (100 mile radius of FSU), one or more parent is a resident of western Maryland regional area, graduate from high school or college/university other than FSU located in regional area
  3. Heritage of living in a rural or medically underserved area
  4. Veterans