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Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to the Program

About the Program

What GPA do I need to apply to the program? What GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores do I need to apply the program? When should I take the GRE?
The minimum undergraduate Cumulative GPA, Prerequisite GPA, and Prerequisite Math and Science GPA must all be 3.0 or above to apply to the program. You should aim for a 50th percentile score or higher to ensure that you are competitive. Candidates should take the GRE before August of the year in which they are applying. The MUSC GRE code is 5407. For additional information regarding the GRE, please visit the ETS-GRE website
Click here to see the Qualifications and Demographics of PA Students at Admission.

Do I need a degree before I enter the program?
No, a bachelor degree is not required before entering the program. The 91 hours of prerequisite courses listed here are what is required of all applicants.

Do all the prerequisites need to be completed before I apply to the physician assistant program, or before I enter the PA program?
You do not have to complete all courses prior to application; however, all prerequisites must be completed prior to entering the program. You can have no more than 16 hours of prequisites outstanding when you apply to the program. See the form, "Plans for Remaining Academic Year," in the application supplemental forms section online. List courses currently in progress and ones you plan to complete prior to admission into the program.

How long are prerequisite courses good for?
It is preferred that prerequisite coursework in Science, Math, and Behavioral Science have been completed within the past 10 years. Coursework in these areas not taken within 10 years may not be deemed acceptable by the Program. Please contact the PA admissions specialist, LaTanya Thornhill, in the Office of Enrollment Management at for specific questions or waiver requests.

Can I take some of the prerequisites at MUSC?
No, MUSC does not offer prerequisite courses. We accept prerequisite courses taken at any 2 or 4-year school, as long as it is regionally accredited. All prerequisite course work must be completed before matriculating into the program.

What is your policy on retaking prerequisite courses?
ourses can only be applied towards the prerequisite requirement if a grade of "C" or higher was earned. If you would like to retake a prerequisite course, we do offer a "Forgiveness Policy" concerning the 91 hours. It you make a higher grade the second time taking a course, the second grade will be reflected in the Prerequisite GPA. However, both grades will be reflected in your Cumulative GPA.

How many courses of Anatomy and Physiology must I take before entering the program?
We require four semester hours of Anatomy and four semester hours of Physiology, or eight semester hours of combined Anatomy and Physiology I and II. Labs must be included in these two courses.

Is direct patient care experience required before applying to the program? I know my grades aren't the best, but I have a lot of clinical experience. Does that count for something?
e MUSC PA program does not have a requirement of direct patient care hours before applying to the program. We accept hours received by shadowing, volunteering, or work experience. We find that our students with patient care experience understand the language of medicine and have a greater understanding of the patient/provider relationship. However, studies have shown that a history of scholastic weakness can never be overcome by experience alone. Hence, we consider experience AFTER assuring ourselves that one has superior academic credentials.

How competitive is the program?
We received approximately 800 applications for the May 2013 start of the program and we accepted a class of 67 students. Please note, we are not on CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistants). The application is open starting July 1st of each year at the Office of Enrollment Management website. We do not have a Rolling Admissions Cycle, so all application material must be submitted to OEM between July 1st and October 1st.

Does the PA program have an acceptance quote for in-state versus out-of-state applicants?
We enroll a mixture of in-state and out-of-state students and strive to admit students with diverse backgrounds and unique life experiences.

Are scholarships available?
Yes, scholarships may be available to all currently enrolled students. Each semester, the Office of Student Life will email students on which scholarships are being offered and the process for applying. We have scholarships that may be open to all CHP students or may be program specific.

When does the program start and end?
The program begins at the end of May each year, and lasts for 7 semesters or approximately 27 months. The first 4 semesters (15 months) students are in the didactic period at MUSC. The last 3 semesters (12 months) students are out on 9 separate clinical clerkships.
Clerkships include rotations in mental health, women’s health, internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, general surgery, primary care elective and a clerkship elective of the student’s choosing. 

Is it possible to work while in the program?
It is highly discouraged from having a job while in the PA program. Some students choose to work part-time (starting after their first semester) as a work-study on MUSC's campus if quailified through the Financial Aid Office. There are no online courses offered in the program. Students are in Charleston taking courses 5 days a week the first 15 months and then are working full-time in their clinical clerkships the last 12 months of the program.

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