Frequently Asked Questions

Applicant Process and Pre-Requisite Requirements

  What is the best advice you could share with an applicant?
Apply as early as possible! Applicants can have pending pre-requisites when submitting their application. Within CASPA, there are specific questions where the applicant can highlight what is pending and elaborate on their plan-of-action to fulfill any outstanding requirements before the deadline. Consider attending one of our information sessions where current students and faculty are available for Q&As. Register at www.msj.edu/gradinfo
  When does the application cycle open and close each year?
Our application cycle opens in CASPA at the end of April each year and closes on October 1st.
  How much does it cost to apply?
CASPA charges $179 for the first program you apply to and $55 for each additional program. CASPA does offer a fee waiver program for more details please visit CASPA Fees and Fee Waivers . 
  When do you interview applicants?
We conduct interviews throughout the summer and fall.
  Are there special preferences given to certain candidates during the admissions process?
Yes, a list of preferences can be found at https://www.msj.edu/academics/graduateprograms/physician-assistant-program/pa-admission-requirements/index.html. We also highly value other non-academic attributes such as leadership, volunteerism, diversity of life experiences, success in overcoming adversity, those that are underrepresented medical minorities, First Generation College or economically disadvantaged.
  Can I submit my application if I still have some prerequisites in progress?
Yes! Applicants are often offered an interview with incomplete or in progress prerequisite course work. We prefer applicants to have no more than three prerequisite courses outstanding during the semester prior to starting the program. Applicants must have all prerequisite course work completed by December before matriculation (starting the program in Jan).
  Can I apply to the program before I graduate with my undergraduate degree?
Yes, you may apply. Please explain in your application your plan to meet all our requirements prior to matriculation.
  What is the minimum grade for a pre-requisite course that will be accepted?
All pre-requisite courses need to be completed with a grade of C minus or higher.
  How do you calculate GPAs? How many times can I re-take a course?
We evaluate the cumulative and science GPA of every applicant. GPA’s will be recalculated to represent the highest grade in every course retaken. There is no limit on how many times a candidate may retake a course.
  Do you accept AP credit or CLEP credit for pre-requisite courses?
Yes, we do accept AP credit and CLEP credit. These credits are not included in our cumulative GPA calculation.
  How old can a pre-requisite course be?
Pre-requisite course work has to have been completed within 10 years of matriculation (at the start of the Program in Jan), except for Anatomy & Physiology I and II with lab, which needs to be completed within 5 years of matriculation. The five (5) year requirement for Anatomy and Physiology is to ensure that the knowledge of the applicants is fairly recent. The PA Program is a very intense and condensed curriculum and we expect students to enter the program with a solid foundational background. This is to increase student success in the program and reduce attrition.
  Can I substitute an upper level abnormal psychology course for the Developmental Psychology course?
No, but you may satisfy this pre-requisite by taking a CLEP test. Please visit their website at https://clep.collegeboard.org/. This requires you to correctly answer 50 out of 90 questions to pass.
  Does the Mount accept online laboratory course work?
The program may accept online and hybrid courses from regionally accredited institutions, pending review of the syllabus by the Admissions Committee to assure the material delivered is comparable to a similar class delivered in a traditional classroom format. It is highly recommended that the Anatomy and Physiology labs be hands-on in a classroom environment.
  Can direct patient care hours gained while completing my academic degree or certification in healthcare count towards the required 500 hours?
Yes, hours gained as part of an educational program can be used towards the required 500 hours of direct patient care, as long as those hours can be verified and appropriate documentation is submitted. Other ways of gaining the required hours of direct patient care experience is through volunteer or paid activities.
  What type of direct patient care is acceptable to fulfill the 500 hours of health care experience (direct patient care)?
We will accept nurse aide, nursing assistant, medical assistant, EMT, medical scribe, pharmacy technician, PT aide and paramedic experience etc. Please contact us for further clarification, if needed.
  Do I have to complete all 500 hours of direct patient care hours before submitting my application?
No, an applicant may still be gaining their health care hours when they submit their application. Within the application, one should clearly specify how they intend to complete this pre-requisite by the deadline of October 1st. Please note candidates with significant prior health-care experience are given preference.
  Do you accept virtual shadowing hours?
The program will accept up to 20 virtual shadowing hours. It is highly recommended that the virtual shadowing experience involve one-on-one interaction with a practicing PA to discuss the profession, responsibilities and day-to-day activities. This must be documented on the program’s shadowing form available on the program website.
  Do I have to complete all my PA shadowing hours before applying to the program?
No, an applicant may still be in the process of completing their required shadowing hours when they submit their application. Within the application candidates should clearly specify how they intend to complete this pre-requisite before the deadline of October 1st. Please note applicants with higher number of hours shadowing a physician assistant are given preference.
  Can I submit additional information to CASPA after my application is verified?
CASPA does not notify the PA program when an application is updated after verification. We recommend contacting our admissions office about any additional supportive documents that have been submitted to CASPA.
  Do you require community service hours?
No, but we value candidates who do embody the ideals of service that match our mission and vision for the program. Candidates are encouraged to document and describe those hours of service within the CASPA application.
  Can I apply to the program if I have been dismissed or withdrew from another health professions program?
Applicants who have been dismissed from, or discontinued their participation in, a health professional program due to any academic deficiency or non-academic policy violation(s) will NOT be considered for admission. If there are other life circumstances that led to withdrawal or non-completion of the degree; the Admissions committee will consider this on a case-by-case basis.
  Do you require Medical Terminology as a pre-requisite?
No, medical terminology is included in the program curriculum. Students will not obtain advanced standing in the program if they have previously completed a Medical Terminology course.
  Does MSJ have a secondary application?
No, but we do have some additional questions within the CASPA application. There is no additional cost.
  Do you accept International Applicants?

International applicants may apply; please note that pre-requisite courses need to be completed through a regionally accredited institution. All candidates need to have a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. All foreign transcripts from an institution in any country other than the United States must have a course by course evaluation, plus determination of letter grade equivalence. Either of the following agencies may be used for foreign transcript evaluation: World Education Services or Education Credentials Evaluators. TOEFL iBT Requirement is for international students or those students who did not attend a high school where English is the primary language. Information can be accessed at https://www.ets.org/toefl

A minimum score of 120 is required with at least a 26 in each of the following:
          Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing

GRE Questions

  Does the Mount’s PA Program have a minimum GRE requirement?
We do not have a minimum GRE requirement. To be a competitive applicant, it is recommended to have a combined score of 300 in the quantitative and verbal sections, and a 4.0 or greater on the writing section.
  How recent do my GRE scores have to be?
GRE scores have to be within 5 years of the application date.
  Where do we send our GRE scores?
GRE scores should be submitted through CASPA. MSJ’s school code is 7328.
  Are there any reduced cost options for the GRE?
GRE offers a Fee Reduction Program, please visit this website for further details. https://www.ets.org/gre/institutions/advising/fee_reduction?WT.ac=40361_owt33_180820 &WT.dcsvid=MjMyMzk5NjcwNDQ2S0
  How do you assess GRE Scores?
The MSJ PA program super-scores GRE results. The highest score from each section (quantitative, verbal, and written) are recorded after all attempts have been completed.
  Can I substitute the MCAT or PA-CAT for the GRE?
No, the MCAT or PA-CAT cannot substitute for the GRE.

Program Details

  What is the structure of MSJ’s PA program curriculum?
The curriculum is organ-system based.
  Does the Mount’s PA Program offer advanced standing?
The policy of the Mount St. Joseph PA program states there is no acceleration or advanced placement regardless of prior experience or degree.
  What is the length of the program?
Our program is 27 months, starting in January of each year with graduation occurring 27 months later in May.
  What is the structure of the program?
The students complete a 12-month didactic phase followed by 15-month clinical phase.
  Do you offer tours and information sessions about the program?
Yes! Please see our graduate admissions website for more details at: https://www.msj.edu/admission/visit-the-university/index.html
  Could I speak with some current students regarding the program?
Please join us at one of our information sessions, we always have current students available at each session for Q&As. Register at www.msj.edu/gradinfo.
  How many students are accepted into the PA Program?
The program is approved to accept up to 32 students in each cohort.
  Where will I complete my clinical rotations?
The program has availability for clinical rotations in several affiliated health networks in and around the Tri-State area. We also have individual agreements with many independent and smaller healthcare systems throughout Ohio and surrounding states. Most students will be required to travel outside Cincinnati for some of their required clinical experiences. The program does not provide housing or travel allowances, and students must be prepared to cover their transportation and living expenses during these clinical rotations.
  Will I as a student have to find my own clinical rotations?
No, students are NOT required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors. The program will place students on clinical rotations with qualified preceptors. Students are always welcome to make suggestions if they are interested in a particular location or specialty.
  Can I attend the program part-time?
There is no part-time option available.
  Can I work while in the PA program?
During the didactic phase, students are discouraged from working and prohibited from working during the clinical phase. Students must be available to follow the schedule of the assigned preceptor.
  Is there housing at the Mount for PA students?
There are a few options available on campus in the dorm. The program shares other local resources with our incoming cohort of students.
  Does the tuition differ for in-state vs out-of-state residents?
No, the tuition is the same for all students in the cohort.
  Does the program require a background check?
Yes, each individual offered admission is required to complete both a BCI and FBI background check.