Applying to the MS in Physician Assistant Studies Program

What the program looks for in an applicant:

The MUSC PAS program aims to recruit applicants who embody our mission to graduate highly competent physician assistants who are compassionate, demonstrate cultural humility, and are attuned to the primary health care needs of the people of South Carolina and beyond.

To carry out our mission, the MUSC PAS program uses a holistic review of applications and considers the unique qualities that each applicant brings to the class. The program strives to matriculate individuals who have a variety of backgrounds and experiences. The program evaluate all applicants prior to interviews based on several factors. Please refer to the percentage breakdown of the pre-interview evaluation score below. Evaluation of each applicant includes:


Cognitive Component:

The cognitive component is worth 70% of the pre-interview score and includes both the overall and science GPAs. The cognitive score is calculated as follows:

  1. Cumulative GPA (40% of cognitive score)

  2. Overall Science GPA (60% of cognitive score)

Non-Cognitive Component:

The non-cognitive scoring components are worth 30% of the pre-interview score. The non-cognitive score is based on information provided by the applicant in the MUSC application and includes the following factors:

  1. Letters of recommendation

  2. Personal statement

  3. Leadership experience

  4. Extracurricular activities

  5. Shadowing hours

  6. Patient care experience hours (competitive applicants have >1000 hours)

  7. Health care experience hours

  8. Research Experience

  9. Military service

  10. Volunteer activities

  11. Bilingual

  12. 1st generation college student

  13. Attended a high school with a low percentage of seniors receiving a diploma

  14. Being from a family that needed food stamps, Medicaid, or public housing

The program is committed to recruiting applicants with ties to the state of South Carolina. In addition to the above evaluation, the program will award an extra 1% each (for a maximum of 3%) to the applicant's score based on the following criteria:

  1. South Carolina Resident

  2. One parent living in South Carolina

  3. Attending a South Carolina High School

Post Interview:

Each cohort has 97 students. The program's goal is to accept a class of 67 in-state students, and 30 out-of-state students. The program ranks applicants based on the above factors and invite the top 192 applicants to interview (comprised of 70% in-state interviews, and 30% out-of-state interviews). Pre-interview factors are 75% of the applicant’s final score, and 25% of the applicant’s final score is determined by their interview.

Interview Day:

The program will conduct in-person interviews for 2023. The interview format will be a “Multiple Mini Interview.” The applicant will have the opportunity to meet faculty, staff, and current students, with a 30-minute campus tour. Applicants can expect a half-day commitment in Charleston, SC for interviews.

The program does not have rolling admissions and all applicants will be reviewed at the same time after the September 1 application deadline. Applicant review will take place after all interviews are complete, with an aim to send an offer of acceptance, waitlist, or denial by November to December. Applicants on the waitlist could be offered a spot anytime up to the first day of classes. An offer of acceptance will be sent via email followed by a phone call.

Admission Requirements

Beginning the 2022 admission cycle, the program will no longer require any standardized test for admission, including the GRE and PA-CAT.

  • Completion of a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university by the time of matriculation. A minimum cumulative GPA* and prerequisite course GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required for consideration. *Note: this program calculates cumulative GPA without forgiveness. All courses will be counted. If you took a course more than once, all grades would be counted.
  • Complete 34 hours of prerequisite coursework at a regionally accredited college or university. A minimum of 30 hours must be completed by the application deadline. The remaining four (4) hours must be completed by matriculation. In-person and online courses are accepted. (See course list below).

  • Three references from individuals who know you and your abilities. Ideally, the references should come from a healthcare provider, science professor and/or someone who has seen the applicant interact with patients.

  • Complete an application through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).

  • Complete the MUSC application.

  • Submit a resume and personal statement explaining why you are interested in being a physician assistant via CASPA

  • Patient care hours are not required but recommended. Competitive applicants have 1000 hours or more. View our FAQs for what qualifies as patient care hours.

  • Meet the Technical Standards required for enrollment. The MUSC Division of Physician Assistant Studies will consider for admission and/or continuation any applicant who meets its academic and nonacademic criteria and who demonstrates the ability to perform skills and meet the Technical Standards listed below, with or without reasonable accommodations, consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you have any questions about this document or whether you meet the standards as described above, please contact the MUSC Office of EEO and University Accessibility Services.

Note: There will be no waivers or exceptions to any admissions requirements or prerequisite courses.

Prerequisite Courses

  Semester Hours
Statistics or Biostatistics 3
Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry* 3
General Chemistry - includes lab 8
Biology - includes lab 4
Human Anatomy - includes lab* 4
Human Physiology - includes lab* 4
Microbiology - includes lab 4
Medical Terminology + 
Psychology +

Total 34
  • *Combined Anatomy and Physiology courses are accepted; however, you MUST take Anatomy and Physiology I and II to fulfill the separate Anatomy and Physiology requirements, including labs.

  • + Medical Terminology course cannot be a continuing education course (ex. certificate courses, Continuing Education Units (CEUs). You must receive a letter grade of C or higher for this course. 

  • + The Psychology prerequisite can be met by Introduction to Psychology or a higher-level psychology course.

  • *We do not accept combined organic and biochemistry. The course should solely be either organic chemistry or solely biochemistry. 

  • View Frequently Approved Prerequisites. To speak with an admissions specialist about your coursework or request an unofficial transcript evaluation, please call 843-792-2536 or email MUSC Office of Enrollment Management (OEM) offers unofficial transcript evaluations from March 1st to June 30th.
  • Courses can only be applied towards the prerequisite requirement if a grade of "C" or higher was earned. A prerequisite course may be retaken, and the highest grade will be used to calculate the prerequisite GPA. Note: both grades will be reflected in the cumulative GPA.

  • Prerequisite courses must be fulfilled by separate individual courses. 
  • Survey courses or courses for which a letter or number grade is not awarded (e.g., Pass/Fail, CLEP credit, AP credit, Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory, etc.) will not meet prerequisite requirements. Note: If your institution awarded ONLY P/F grading between January 1, 2020, and September 1, 2020, please contact for more information.
  • All prerequisite coursework MUST be completed within the 10 years prior to the application deadline. See our FAQs for more information.
  • We do not accept advanced placement, transfer of credit or credit for experiential learning. Applicants do not receive credit for previous coursework and/or experience.
  • Dual enrollment courses are accepted for prerequisite courses so long as the course appears on your college transcripts.

Application Process

  1. Complete the Centralized Application Service Physician Assistant (CASPA). Opens April 28, 2023. The following application items are submitted via CAPSA.
    • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended for all college credit courses.
    • Resume
    • Three References
    • Personal Statement
  2. Complete the MUSC application. Opens July 1.

Note: All above information must be received and verified on or before September 1 to be considered for admission to the program. Without all materials, applications will be incomplete. It is the applicant's responsibility to review the progress of his/her application by viewing the Application Progress Portal and ensure that all application materials (including official reference forms, and all official transcripts are received by the application deadline). Applicants are responsible for reviewing the progress of their CASPA application on the CASPA website.

Important Application Dates

April 28 CASPA Application Opens

July 1 MUSC Application Opens

Sep 1 Applications & Materials Due (CASPA must be verified)

September - November Interviews take place

November - December Admissions Offers Made

Late May Orientation & Classes Start

Interview Process and Program Acceptance

Only completed applications will be reviewed for consideration for an interview. Interviews are typically held between September and November of each year. The program aims to provide acceptance decisions (acceptance, waitlist or denial letters) by the beginning of November.

Due to the nature of our interview process, no alternate interview dates will be offered. Interviews may be conducted in-person on the MUSC campus or virtually.

If selected for an interview the applicant will be notified of the interview process as the dates approach.

International Students

MUSC’s PAS degree program only accepts applications from U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or those holding other valid nonimmigrant visa classifications that allow participation in lawful study while in the United States. We are unable to accept international students that require I-20 issuance.

*Review PA licensure requirements for your state here

Use of Marijuana and/or CBD Products

Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug and is illegal to purchase in South Carolina. Apart from a narrow and limited scope of codified/documented medical exceptions, it is illegal for individuals to use marijuana/tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in South Carolina. Although cannabidiol (CBD) products may be purchased and used in South Carolina, please be aware that CBD products may contain higher levels of THC than represented on packaging and use of CBD products can result in a positive drug screen for THC/marijuana. Be aware that current drug testing methods cannot accurately ascertain the origins of THC metabolites (i.e., whether from marijuana or CBD products). Your academic program has the authority to conduct random and/or scheduled drug testing; if your test result is reported as positive for THC metabolites (even if you only used a CBD product), your ability to be accepted into the program, progress in the program, and/or successfully complete the program may be negatively impacted.

Scholarship Eligibility

MUSC offers scholarships for which you may be eligible. Some are awarded based on academic achievement; others are awarded based on community service, for example. However, the majority of scholarships awarded at MUSC are based on financial need. This means those scholarships are only awarded to students who need some financial assistance to cover the cost of tuition and fees. If you would like to be considered for a financial need-based scholarship, you must have an up-to-date Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file. Make sure you list Medical University of South Carolina on your FAFSA form, along with MUSC’s code: 003438. We encourage you to submit the FAFSA as early as possible. It is recommended to submit the FAFSA in January if you plan to enroll in the Fall.


Important Application Dates

Start Term Application Type Available Deadline
Summer 2024 CASPA Application April 28, 2023 September 1, 2023
(including transcript verification)
Summer 2024 MUSC Application July 1, 2023 September 1, 2023