2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
    Sep 24, 2018  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physician Assistant Studies

Program Accreditation* Post-Acceptance Requirements
PA Program Learning Outcomes Technical Standards
Curriculum Outline Graduation Requirements
Admissions Adverse Academic and Professional Actions

Program Accreditation

The Physician Assistant Program at Charleston Southern University has applied for Accreditation - Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The PA Program at Charleston Southern anticipates matriculating its first class in January 2018, pending achieving Accreditation - Provisional status at the September 2017 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status for a new PA program that, at the time of its initial accreditation review, demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards.

In the event that ARC-PA withholds accreditation, the Charleston Southern University PA Program will not admit students in January 2018. The University will provide a refund to those individuals accepted to the program who paid their program deposit. CASPA application fees cannot be refunded to applicants by the CSU PA Program or by CASPA.

*The Physician Assistant Program at Charleston Southern University is also pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

PA Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Charleston Southern University Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program is to educate compassionate and highly motivated individuals in a Christian environment who excel in providing patient-centered care, practicing as an inter-professional team, serving as leaders in their communities, and advancing the PA profession.

PA Program Goals 

  • Recruit diverse and highly-capable students to the program.
  • Deliver an outstanding curriculum that prepares students to provide patient-centered medical care upon graduation.
  • Foster a healthy and supportive Christian learning environment that prepares students appropriately to transition from student to clinician.
  • Engage faculty and students in opportunities for service, leadership, and scholarly activities in the school, our community and the profession.

PA Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Charleston Southern University MMSPAS Program, graduating students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding for the medical, behavioral and social knowledge necessary to evaluate and manage patients across all ages and patient populations in both primary care and specialty settings.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to elicit an accurate medical history on patient and to perform a detailed physical exam relevant to the medical history.
  3. Demonstrate an ability to formulate a differential diagnosis relevant to the findings in the history and physical exam.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to recommend appropriate diagnostic studies to assist in the evaluation and treatment of the patient.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to develop and implement an appropriate therapeutic management plan, either pharmacological or non-pharmacological, based on the patient’s medical history, physical exam and diagnostic study findings.
  6. Demonstrate an ability to make informed decisions about the care of patients consistent with up-to-date scientific evidence and sound clinical judgment.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to deliver accurate patient education that encompasses verbal, non-verbal and written forms of information to the patient and their care team that considers disease prevention and health awareness.
  8. Demonstrate the ability to perform clinical procedures common to primary care to include:  venipuncture, intravenous access, joint injections and aspirations, wound management, laceration repair, casting and splinting, strep screening, urinalysis, catheterization, performing pelvic exams, and radiographic, pulmonary function test, and EKG interpretation.
  9. Demonstrate excellent communication skills with patients, their care teams, and other members of the healthcare team that adapts to the needs of that person as necessary.
  10. Demonstrate professionalism with high ethical principles, sensitivity, and responsiveness to all patients, their care teams, and members of the healthcare team.

Curriculum Outline

Physician Assistant Studies (99 hours)  

Didactic Year



Course Number

Course Name

Credit Hours



MPAS 500  

Human Anatomy and Lab


1 and 2

MPAS 510  

The Path to Becoming a PA I



MPAS 520  

Clinical Medicine I


MPAS 530  

Basic Sciences I


MPAS 540  

Patient Assessment and Diagnostic Methods I


MPAS 550  

Pharmacology I


MPAS 560  

Problem-Based Learning I


Total Semester Hours




MPAS 521  

Clinical Medicine II


MPAS 531  

Basic Sciences II


MPAS 541  

Patient Assessment Diagnostic Methods II


MPAS 551  

Pharmacology II


MPAS 511  

Becoming a PA II


MPAS 561  

Problem-Based Learning II


Total Semester Hours




MPAS 522  

Clinical Medicine III


MPAS 532  

Basic Sciences III


MPAS 542  

Patient Assessment and Diagnostic Methods III


MPAS 552  

Pharmacology III


MPAS 512  

Becoming a PA III


MPAS 562  

Problem-Based Leaning III


MPAS 570  

Fundamentals of Pediatrics



MPAS 580  

Clinical Year Prep


MPAS 600  

The Graduate Project I


Total Semester Hours


Total Didactic Year Hours




Clinical Year

Course Number

Course Name

Credit Hours

MPAS 610  

Family Medicine


MPAS 620  

Internal Medicine


MPAS 630  

Emergency Medicine


MPAS 640  

Surgery Rotation


MPAS 650  



MPAS 660  



MPAS 670  

Women’s Health


MPAS 680 


Elective 1 Rotation


MPAS 690  

Elective 2 Rotation


MPAS 601  

The Graduate Project II


Total Clinical Year Hours





CASPA Participation

The Charleston Southern University Physician Assistant Program utilizes the Centralized Application Process for Physician Assistants (CASPA) for application processing.  The application opens late April and closes September 1st. All applications and supporting documents must be submitted directly to CASPA. It is the responsibility of the applicant to confirm that all application materials have been submitted to and received by CASPA. The PA Program and University are not responsible for notifying applicants of incomplete applications. All required materials must be received by the specified deadlines. We will only consider verified CASPA applications, so applications should be submitted before the deadline. No exceptions will be made.

The PA Program’s Admission Coordinator will be the link between the PA Program, CASPA and the student candidates. It is not the responsibility of the Admission Coordinator to answer questions specific to CASPA’s website and application process. 

Minimum Application Requirements

In order to apply to the Charleston Southern University PA Program,  all applicants must meet the following prerequisite requirements for the program.

Baccalaureate Degree with Official Transcripts

A bachelor’s degree must be completed from a regionally accredited institution or an equivalent from a foreign institution. All official transcripts must be received by CASPA for the application to be considered complete. The degree can be from any field of study, provided that all prerequisite coursework requirements are met. CSU requires that all official transcripts be submitted, including foreign, study abroad and overseas US transcripts. All foreign transcripts are to be submitted to a U.S.-based evaluation service for a U.S. equivalency report. The equivalency report will then need to be submitted directly to CASPA from the evaluation service. Please reference the CASPA website for a list of suggested evaluation services and detailed instructions on how to submit study abroad, US overseas and foreign transcripts. Transcripts sent directly to the University will not be accepted.  

Minimum Cumulative and Science Grade Point Averages (GPA)

The minimum requirement for both cumulative and science GPAs is 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). 

The GPA is determined by CASPA calculations.

Graduate Records Exam (GRE)

The GRE is required for application to the program. No other test scores will be accepted in place of the GRE.  All applicants must take the GRE no exceptions will be made.  The applicant must have taken the GRE within 5 years of the first day of the month in which the CASPA applications opens. Scores are to be submitted through CASPA. GRE scores submitted directly to the University will not be accepted. A cumulative (verbal and quantitative) score of 300 is recommended to be competitive.

 Prerequisite Course Work

Students may submit the course name, description and syllabi of course work they believe meet the program requirements to the program. The Admissions Coordinator will determine whether or not it meets the requirements for the program for review. The Admission Coordinator will receive advisement from faculty and PD when determining if a course meets the requirement.

Below outlines the minimum prerequisite coursework requirements to apply to the program:

  • All prerequisite coursework must be completed at the time of CASPA application submission. The Program does not permit any outstanding prerequisites. 
  • Prerequisite coursework must have been completed within the past seven years.
  • Prerequisite coursework may be completed at a two-year or four-year regionally accredited institution.   
  • All prerequisite coursework must be awarded a letter or numeric grade. Pass/fail grading is only accepted for the Medical Terminology Course.   
  • All prerequisite coursework must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher. “C-“or 1.7 on CASPA 4.0 GPA scale will not be accepted.    
  • Survey courses, advanced placement (AP) credit, CLEP, exam credits, competency testing or work experience are not acceptable to satisfy prerequisite requirements. 

CSU follows CASPA GPA calculation and coursework reporting policies. Applicants should refer to the CASPA website for detailed information on course grade reporting and GPA calculations. 


Minimum Hours

 Human Anatomy with Lab*


 Human Physiology with Lab*


 Microbiology with Lab


 Organic Chemistry OR Biochemistry Lecture with Lab  


 Two Upper Level Biology Courses**




 Medical Terminology






* Combined Anatomy & Physiology (A&P) courses are acceptable. The courses must be equal to 8 semester credit hours of lecture and lab.  A&P lecture courses without corresponding labs are not acceptable. The A&P courses are to be “Human” and other A&P coursework will not meet prerequisite requirements. 

** Upper level courses are considered 300- or 400-level courses and may be designated by the university as “UL” or “U.” (Suggested courses include: genetics, embryology, immunology, histology, molecular or cell biology)

Health Care Experience

A minimum of 1,000 hours of direct patient care experience is required and must be completed at the time of CASPA application submission

Acceptable means of experience:


  • Shadowing of Medical Provider (PA, NP, MD or DO)
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Paramedic
  • Military Medic
  • Clinical Specialist
  • Corpsman
  • Surgical Technician
  • Radiological Technician
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Phlebotomist
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Scribe
  • Nursing (CNA, LPN, RN, MSN)
  • Medical Assistant
  • Certified Physical/Occupational Therapist
  • PT/OT Assistant
  • Medical Interpreter
  • Dietician
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Chiropractor
  • Acupuncturist
  • Massage Therapist
  • Dental Hygienist/Assisting
  • Medical Research Assistant

Unacceptable forms of patient care experience include:

  • Veterinarian Assistant
  • Receptionist for Physician’s Office
  • Administrator or Business Manager for Physician’s Office
  • Aesthetician
  • Inpatient Patient Transport or Orderly
  • Fitness Trainer
  • Medical Transcriptionist
  • Life Guard
  • Nanny or Babysitter

Foreign Applications

The program requires international applicants or those who have foreign transcripts to complete the 26 semester prerequisite credit hours at a regionally accredited U.S. institution prior to applying to the program. Additionally, the Test of English as a Foreign Language must be taken by those whose native language is not English. 

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

For applicants whose native language is not English, TOEFL scores are required. Only the internet-based testing is accepted and must be submitted through CASPA.  A minimum total score of 94 on the exam and minimum scores on the following sections are required: 

Reading:         22

Listening:        22

Speaking:        26

Writing:           24

Total:              94

Recommendation Letters

Two letters of recommendation are required for the application to be considered complete. Letters that the applicant has waived the right to review the letter will be more favorably considered. One letter must be from a medical provider (PA, NP, MD, DO) whom you know in a professional capacity. Letters cannot be from a family member or friend. We recommend that you choose references that have known you in a professional setting for at least six months.   

Applicant Screening

The program will strictly adhere to the established application screening scoring system, which will be used to determine which candidates are interviewed for the 25 possible positions in the program.  The scoring system evaluates candidates based upon cognitive and non-cognitive factors.  These factors will all be extracted from the CASPA application, as the program does not have a supplemental application.  Application screening forms will be completed by admissions coordinator, with oversight from program faculty and Program Director.  A minimum of two people will review each applicant screening form to verify accuracy.

The CSU PA Program values fair admission practices, evaluating applicants prior to interviews using the following criteria. Applicant requirements are reviewed, scored, and converted to a percentage value (total points earned divided by the maximum potential). The Admissions Committee with review all applicants meeting minimum requirements and either (1) invite to interview, (2) put on hold, or (3)deny an interview.

Special Consideration

Special consideration will be given to CSU alumni and military veterans as well as for applicant qualities such as foreign language proficiency, medical training or certifications, advanced degrees, leadership, and volunteerism. An interview is not guaranteed for those applicants who meet the special considerations.


An invitation to interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

Interview invitations are extended to the most competitive applicants for admissions. Applicants who are invited for the interview portion of the selection process must participate in the on-campus interview to be considered for a position in the program. Due to the nature of the interviews, we are not able to accommodate other forms of distance communications.

The program will use a rolling admissions process, with interviews spanning from June to September.    The interviewees will be notified of an admissions decision within one month of the interview.  The decision will be one of the following: accepted to the program, placed on a waiting list, or declined. With this approach, it is possible for the program to fill all available seats prior to September 1stapplication deadline.  Once the cohort is full, remaining applicants will be evaluated for an alternate list.

Interview Process

Applicants who qualify for an interview may be invited to the next available scheduled interview date.

The program will utilize the multiple mini interview approach with stations to include role-play scenarios, behavioral interviews and an essay writing station.

Post-Acceptance Requirements

Once accepted in the PA Program at CSU applicants must complete the following conditions:

Accept a Seat in the Program

For the accepted applicant, the program requires a response within two weeks of the offer.  A $1000 non-refundable payment to the CSU Office of Enrollment Services (OES) is required to reserve the seat in the program at the time the offer is accepted.  The payment is to be sent to: 

Office of Enrollment Services

The Hunter Center

9200 University Blvd.

Charleston SC  29406

The Admissions Committee understands the importance of timely decisions and will notify all applicants of their final status. In turn, if an applicant commits to another program, we request the professional courtesy of notifying the CSU PA Program so that other candidates may be considered.

In the event that ARC-PA withholds accreditation, the Charleston Southern University PA Program will not admit students in January 2018. The University will provide a refund to those individuals accepted to the program who paid their program deposit. CASPA application fees cannot be refunded to applicants by the CSU PA Program or by CASPA.

Matriculation Requirements

Failure to comply with the following requirements may delay entry into the program or prevent the student from progressing in the program.

Complete the following prerequisites one month prior to matriculation in the program.

  1. Proof of Health Insurance – This health insurance policy must remain active throughout the student’s involvement in the PA Program.
  2. Submit all Official Transcripts from Colleges and Universities to the PA Program Admissions Office.
  3. Technical Standards Attestation Form
    1. Observation
    2. Communication
    3. Motor
    4. Cognitive
    5. Behavioral

Immunization Records:

  1. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR): Documentation of a 2-dose vaccine series administered according to guidelines or documented positive titer is acceptable as proof of immunization.  
  2. Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis: Documentation of a primary series. All students must get a one-time dose of TDaP prior to matriculation if they have not already had one. Students should have a Td booster every 10 years.
  3. Varicella (Chicken Pox): Documentation of a 2-dose vaccine series administered on schedule. Note: History of previous infection is not sufficient evidence of immunity. In these cases, titer validating current immunity must be included.
  4. Hepatitis B: Documentation of a 3-dose vaccine series administered on schedule.  The series must be started within 30 days of matriculation.  Following completion of the Hepatitis B series, a positive titer must be completed prior to patient contact.  Non-converters may require additional immunization per the CDC guidelines.
  5. TB Skin (PPD) Test:  All students must have baseline tuberculosis screening in the form of a tuberculosis skin test (TST) or Quantiferon testing (if applicable) performed in accordance with CDC guidelines within one year of matriculation and again before beginning the clinical phase. Additionally, certain clinical sites may have more stringent requirements. If any TB testing is positive, evaluation (and treatment if indicated) must be completed in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  6. Influenza: An annual influenza immunization is required each year at the start of flu season, defined by the CDC, while enrolled in the program.


  1. Background Check
  2. Urine Drug Screen
  3. Release form for Immunizations & Background Check Information

All PA students are required to submit the above requirements to and verified by Certiphi: immunizations and health insurance must remain current while attending the PA Program at CSU.

Technical Standards

The Charleston Southern University PA Program requires that all of our PA students meet technical standards for matriculation, continuation in and graduation from the program.

Students who are accepted to the program and believe they require accommodations should review the requirements and procedures for special accommodations on the CSU Disability Services website.

Approval for accommodations is granted by CSU Disability Services only. Students may contact the office at 843-863-7159. Students who have been approved to receive accommodations must contact the course coordinator during office hours to discuss the accommodations approved by CSU Disability Services.

The following Technical Standards are necessary for acceptance to and continuation in the program:

A. Observation

The student must possess the ability to accurately perceive information through sensory input in the educational and patient care settings. Visual (near and distance), auditory, tactile and olfactory senses are used to assess the patient and disease processes.  Additionally, the ability to observe non-verbal cues such as posture and body language is needed for diagnostic information and healthy patient-provider interactions.

Multiple instructional methods are used throughout the program and the student must be able to learn from all of the following: auditory instruction, written materials and visual aids, hands-on kinesthetic learning and demonstrations, microscopic and diagnostic images, and physical examination.

B. Communication

Accurate, timely and professional communication is essential in all aspects of health care.  The student must be able to speak clearly, effectively and compassionately in all interactions.  The student must be able to hear and understand spoken English language and listen for more subtle sounds on physical examination. 

The student must be able to use hand-written and electronic methods to complete assignments in a timely manner, accurately and sensitively document patient encounters and communicate with the health care team and any other relevant parties.

C. Motor

Intact gross and fine motor functions, sensation and equilibrium are necessary for PA curriculum completion and for patient care.  The student must be able to execute coordinated movements in order to manipulate medical equipment and instrumentation and to perform medical procedures.  One must be able to conduct a physical exam using palpation, percussion and auscultation, while being able to assist with patient movements and transfers. 

D. Cognitive

The intellectual ability to assimilate large amounts of complex information is necessary for successful completion of the PA Program.  A PA must be able to extract and synthesize significant information from the medical history, physical exam and diagnostic testing to formulate diagnoses and care plans.  Problem-solving skills within time constraints, given written, verbal and visual information are essential for program success.  Additionally, one must be able to comprehend and retain information learned from the educational process, medical literature, clinical experience and continuing medical education to deliver quality patient care.   Critical thinking by using knowledge and reasoning to complete tasks, as well as to analyze, implement, assess and reassess patient information and care plans is also required.

E. Behavioral

The program expects that all students will conduct themselves in a professional, compassionate and emotionally mature manner.  Professional dress, language and actions are expected of the PA student.  The student is to be respectful to others, including but not limited to other classmates, instructors and staff, health care team members, as well as patients and family members.

The emotionally mature student can accept criticism and respond by modifying behaviors.  One must exercise sound judgment and integrity in all situations and be able to tolerate stress in the educational and clinical settings.  The student will also be able to engage in appropriate physical contact with the patient during the physical examination and exhibit sensitivity to the personal nature of these interactions by using a caring bedside manner.

The successful practice of medicine requires one to be adaptable, flexible and compassionate towards people from all backgrounds and belief systems.  The student will develop appropriate interpersonal relationships with others and strive to engage, motivate and educate patients as part of the comprehensive treatment plan.  

The PA student will demonstrate safe, ethical, and legal professional practice and abide by program and University policies.  It is important to recognize one’s own personal and professional limitations and seek assistance when needed.

Advanced Placement

Advanced placement is defined as a waiver of required coursework in the program curriculum.  The CSU PA Program does not accept any advanced placement under any circumstances and no course waivers will be provided for pre-admission experiential learning or credit transfers from another university in lieu of completing the required curriculum.   The program’s curriculum presents all of the medical and clinical science content that students are expected to acquire in order to achieve the program’s Student Learning Outcomes. Each student must attend the program full-time and complete mandatory course requirements.

Progression Requirements

Given the sequential nature of the curriculum, students are expected to complete each semester on time as a cohort.

  1. Progression will be a function of successfully passing all required course work in a semester, and the coursework for the semester will serve as the prerequisite requirements for the following semester.
  2. A final course grade of “C” or higher signifies a passing grade for that course.  Students are expected to maintain a GPA of 3.0 with no professional or behavioral issues for progression to the next semester.
  3. At the conclusion of each semester, the Student Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee reviews academic and professional performance for each student.  The committee will identify and notify students who are not able to progress to the next semester prior to the start of the following semester.
  4. In the event that a student is remediating a course or course component, they may progress to the next semester at the discretion of the Student Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee.
  5. In order for students to progress from didactic year into the clinical year they must be recommended by the Student Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee.

Graduation Requirements

  1. In order to graduate from the Charleston Southern University Physician Assistant Program and be awarded a Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies, a student must:
  2. Successfully complete all coursework according to Program defined academic standards.
  3. Achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at program completion.
  4. Successfully pass all components of the Summative Evaluation at the end of the clinical year demonstrating all Student Learning Outcomes have been achieved.
  5. Be in good professional standing with the program.
  6. Complete the CSU graduation application process.
  7. Complete payment of tuition, program fees, graduation fees and outstanding university fees or library charges.

It is the responsibility of the student to make sure all degree requirements have been met to qualify for graduation. Graduating students must apply for their degree at the start of their final semester through the Registrar’s Office.

Remediation Policy

The goal of remediation is to ensure that deficiencies in knowledge or skills demonstrated by poor examination performance are acknowledged and addressed promptly.

Remediation During the Didactic Year

  1. Didactic Year course grades will be determined using the following grading scale and will be comprised of a combination of examinations, quizzes, assignments, and professionalism assessments.
    1. Grades will be assigned based on the following percentages: A (92-100%); B+ (89-91%) B (80-89.9%); C (70-79.9%); F (<70%).
  2. There will be no extra credit offered to receive a higher score than originally achieved on the examination.
  3. A grade <75% demonstrates concern about the mastery of content for the exam, and the student will be required to participate in a remediation plan to be considered for continuation in the program.
  4. All remediation work must be completed within 3 weeks of the failed examination.
  5. The grade on the remediation examination may be improved through the remediation process by up to a maximum of 15 points or an examination grade of 75%, whichever comes first.
  6. The remediation process follows 4 steps which include:
  1. Meeting with Course Director to review the failed examination and identify areas of weakness and deficiencies in content.
  2. The Course Director will consult with the Director of Didactic Education to develop a remediation plan of study with the student which may include, but is not limited to, the following:
    1. Reading assignments
    2. Review of lecture materials
    3. Individual focused faculty led tutoring
    4. Referral to an approved outside PA review course program as available
  3. The Course Director must evaluate the student’s proficiency once remediation is completed. This could be but is not limited to the following:
    1. Oral question/Answer session
    2. Written exam
    3. Written paper
    4. Written responses to selected examination questions
  4. The Course Director will complete the Remediation Summary Form which outlines the remediation process and outcome of the remediation effort.  This documentation will become part of the student’s official file.  The Course Director will also notify the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee of the remediation efforts and outcomes.

Remediation During the Clinical Year

  1. Clinical rotation grades are comprised of Patient Encounter Logging, Formative Preceptor Evaluations, Formative Mid-Rotation Quizzes, End of Rotation Examinations, and Preceptor Evaluations.
  2. Remediation processes for the clinical year mirrors the didactic phase policies with the following exceptions:
  1. The Director of Clinical Education will be the responsible person for meeting with the student who earns <75% on any of the above evaluation tools to determine areas of weakness and a remediation plan according to the same process identified for the didactic year.
  2. Students earning <75% on 2 evaluation items (as listed above) in a single clinical rotation will fail that course and will have to repeat the course either during an elective rotation or after the completion of the students clinical year thus delaying graduation, if an elective is not available.
  3. Students will not be allowed to remediate preceptor evaluations or patient encounter logging for an increase in grade.  
  4. Students are permitted to remediate a maximum of 1 rotation.  If a student fails a second rotation, they will be dismissed from the program.

Remediation for the Summative Phase:

  1. Student must receive a grade of >75% on both their written and practical summative evaluations.  Students receiving a grade of <75% on these examinations must remediate and successfully pass these examinations in order to graduate from the program.  
  2. The grade on the final examination may be improved through the remediation process by up to a maximum of 15 points or an examination grade of 75%, whichever comes first.
  3. The students will have two additional attempts to successfully pass the summative evaluations.  These should be completed within 2 weeks of the posting of the initial grade for the examination. The timing of remediation for this process may delay graduation.

Deceleration Policy

The CSU PA Program curriculum is designed to be delivered on a full-time basis to students in a cohort.  The program must be completed on a full-time basis and deceleration is not permitted.


Professional behavior is an important aspect of the Physician Assistant education. Students are expected to exhibit professional behavior at all times toward peers, CSU administration, faculty, staff, preceptors, all members of health care teams and patients in all interactions, both in-person and electronically. Your personal appearance and behavior are reflective of Charleston Southern University and your chosen profession as a physician assistant.

Student Attendance  

Consistent attendance, punctuality, and participation also reflect a student’s professionalism and are considered academic standards. Attendance is required for all program lectures, activities, and clinical rotations for the PA Program at Charleston Southern University.

Didactic Phase

Students are responsible for all class materials given, whether or not they are in attendance and for contacting the course directors to discuss make-up work, if applicable.

It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Course Instructor and Course Director of any known absences and receive prior approval when possible by filling out an Excused Absence Request Form. In the case of an unexpected absence due to illness or emergency, if the student cannot reach the Course Instructor or Course Director, the student must notify either the Director of Didactic Education or the PA administrative assistant.

The student must also complete the Excused Absence Request Form and send it to the Course Instructor and Course Director no later than two business days following an unanticipated absence. This request must also be approved and signed off by your Course Director prior to submission to the Director of Didactic Education. Documentation (i.e. doctor’s note, obituary) may be required to justify the absence(s), especially in the case of illness or emergency. Approval of excused absences is at the discretion of the Director Didactic Education.

Students are permitted one unexcused absence day in a 5 week unit and two unexcused absence days in a 12 week unit.

Clinical Phase

Students are expected to attend all supervised clinical rotations assigned by the program’s Director of Clinical Education and to be at their rotation/experience when scheduled.

Each rotation is 5 weeks in length and students are expected to be at their clinical site 37.5 hours per week on average. Students may be required by some clinical sites to engage in clinical or educational activities during the evenings and/or weekends.

Any student missing a clinical day must notify the Clinical Preceptor of the unexpected absence as soon as possible on the day of absence. They must also notify the Director of Clinical Education with 24 hours. Every effort should be made to make direct contact with the Clinical Preceptor and the Director of Clinical Education rather than leaving a voice mail or sending an email.

Students are required to complete the Excused Absence Request Form.  Students should not seek prior approval from the preceptor without prior approval by the Director of Clinical Education for an excused absence. This request must also be approved and signed off by your clinical preceptor prior to submission of the form to the Director of Clinical Education. Documentation (i.e. doctor’s note, obituary) may be required to justify the absence(s), especially in the case of illness or emergency. Approval of excused absences is at the discretion of the Director of Clinical Education.

Students are not permitted any unexcused absence days during their clinical year.


Absences or lateness due to unexpected medical and/or personal issues are unavoidable. Examples of an emergency or unexpected absence include personal illness, family emergency, or death in the immediate family. Family obligation, employment, travel and previous plans are not generally accepted as excused absences. Excused absences not addressed specifically in this policy are considered and granted on a case-by-case scenario by the Director of Didactic Education and/or the Director of Clinical Education and the Program Director. In all situations, students are responsible for completing an Excused Absence Request Form in a timely manner.

Absence and repeated tardiness to class and clinicals are considered unprofessional conduct and will be taken into consideration by the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee at the end of each unit. At any point in the semester the Instructor, Course Director, Director of Didactic Education, Director of Clinical Education and Program Director can choose to refer the student to the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee. Repeated tardiness, excessive absences and unreported absences may result in make-up days, failed or complete courses or rotations, a delay in completion of the program, or other disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the program.

Inclement Weather

In the event of severe weather conditions, students should listen to local radio and television news for closing announcements. This information is also posted on the CSU website. The PA Program abides by University closing decisions made by CSU administrators. The BUC Alert System is also used to notify all students, faculty, and staff of University emergencies including weather related incidents.

Students in the clinical phase of the program should exercise reasonable judgment, especially in light of the fact that they may be a considerable geographic distance from campus with dramatically different circumstances. If the facility the student is assigned for the specific rotation is closed, the student will not report to that site for the day(s) closed and must notify the Director of Clinical Education of the business closing.

Examination Policy

Exams must be taken at the scheduled time, and any students who fail to follow this policy will be assigned a zero score. In the event of an excused absence (see Student Attendance), the student must notify the instructor immediately to request an alternate time to take the exam. All makeup exams must be taken within 5 days of the original exam date.

Adverse Academic and Professional Actions

Incomplete Grades

The temporary grade of “I” can only be awarded in cases where a student has completed and passed a majority of the work required for a course but, for reasons beyond the student’s control, cannot complete the entire course in the time frame of the term enrolled.

Incomplete grades are awarded at the discretion of the Course Director.  Incomplete grades should only be assigned when, in the Course Director’s judgment, it is feasible for the student to complete the coursework while not enrolled, and without attending additional class meetings to complete course requirements. The Course Director will determine the length of time a student has to complete the required course work, not exceeding 30 days.  An Incomplete will not be given as a substitute for a failing grade or because a student failed to complete assignments over the course of the academic term. To award a grade of “Incomplete” a Course Director completes a Request to Receive an Incomplete Course Grade form (found on MyCSU) and submits to the Office of the Registrar.

A grade of “I” will be factored into a student’s grade point average with hours carried and no quality points.  If the student fails to complete the required coursework in the time allotted, the grade will convert to an “F” and will be on the transcript permanently. Failing a course is grounds for program dismissal.

Academic Probation

Any student who fails to achieve the required 3.0 GPA for a given semester will be automatically placed on academic probation. Once a student is placed on academic probation, they must achieve a 3.0 or better in the following semester or they will risk academic dismissal from the program.  Students will be placed on Academic Probation at the end of the semester in which the above criteria were not met by the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee.

Program Dismissal

Students failing to achieve a semester GPA of 3.0 during any two semesters risks academic dismissal from the program.  Earning one final course grade below “C” during the didactic year or two final course grades below “C” during the clinical year of the program will result in academic dismissal from the program. Students found to be non-compliant with policies outlined in the PA Program Student Handbook risk being dismissed from the program. Dismissal from the program is determined by the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee.

Withdrawal by Request of the Student

Students may initiate a voluntary withdrawal from the program at any time.  It is a recommendation of the program that students meet with their academic advisor prior to initiating the withdrawal process.  To initiate the process, the student must supply the PA Program Director with a written letter of resignation.

To officially withdraw from CSU, a Withdrawal Form must be completed online. The form is found in the Student section of MyCSU under Forms. Students must first login using their student IDs and PIN. The Office of the Registrar will process the withdrawal and remove the student from any current and/or future enrollments when the appropriate paperwork is submitted. Students are responsible for appropriate tuition and fees according to the Tuition and Fees Policy, which can be found in the PA Program Student Handbook and the CSU PA  website. Note that all financial and University property obligations must be satisfied to prevent “holds” from being placed against the student’s academic records. Such holds normally prevent transcript requests from being processed, and can prevent future registration for classes.

CSU will request student input regarding reasons for withdrawal, including any problems that may have caused the withdrawal decision. This information is requested during the online withdrawal process. Students may be contacted as part of an effort to improve student services.

Due to the nature of the program, withdrawal from an individual course will not be permitted because it does not meet the Progression Requirements for the program as outlined above.

Withdrawal by Request of the University

Charleston Southern University reserves the right to require the withdrawal of a student whose conduct, general attitude, or influence is considered harmful to the University. Such administrative withdrawals or suspensions are handled through the Dean of Students’ Office.