Jun 16, 2024  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physician Assistant Studies

Program Accreditation Admissions
PA Program Learning Outcomes Post-Acceptance Requirements
Curriculum Outline Graduation Requirements

Program Accreditation

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation - Provisional status to the Charleston Southern University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Charleston Southern University.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

The Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program is approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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 program, clinical education phase students will have acquired the knowledge, interpersonal skills, clinical reasoning and problem solving abilities, clinical and technical skills, and professional behaviors required for entry into PA practice:


  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 make informed decisions about the care of patients consistent with up-to-date scientific evidence and sound clinical judgment.

Interpersonal Skills

  1. Demonstrate an ability to elicit an accurate medical history on patients.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to deliver accurate patient education that encompasses verbal, non-verbal and written forms of information to the patient, their family, and their care team that considers disease prevention and health awareness.
  3. 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.

Clinical Reasoning and Problem Solving Abilities

  1. Demonstrate an ability to formulate a differential diagnosis relevant to the findings in the history and physical exam.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to recommend appropriate diagnostic studies to assist in the evaluation and treatment of the patient.
  3. 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.

Clinical and Technical Skills

  1. Demonstrate the ability to perform a detailed physical exam relevant to the medical history.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to perform clinical procedures common to primary care including but not limited to:  venipuncture, intravenous access, joint injections and aspirations, wound management, laceration repair, casting and splinting, strep screening, urinalysis, catheterization, performing pelvic exams, and interpretation of radiographic images, pulmonary function tests, and EKGs.

Professional Behaviors

  1. 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 MPAS 590  

Diagnostic Sciences I



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. 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. Transcripts sent directly to the University will not be accepted.

Minimum Cumulative and Science Grade Point Averages (GPA)

The minimum requirement for both cumulative GPA and science GPA is 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). CSU follows CASPA GPA calculation and coursework reporting policies. Please see CASPA website for detailed information on course grade reporting and GPA calculations.

Graduate Records Exam (GRE)

The GRE is required for all applicants applying to the program. No other test scores will be accepted in place of the GRE. The GRE must be taken after April 1, 2014. Scores are to be submitted through CASPA. GRE scores submitted directly to the University will not be accepted. GRE Code is 2179.

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:

  • Applicants may apply with 2 work in progress prerequisites provided they complete each with a B (3.0) or higher before September 1st. Official transcripts must be received at University by October 1st or a selected candidate will relinquish their seat.
  • Prerequisite coursework must have been completed within the past seven (7) years at a two-year or four-year regionally accredited institution.   
  • All prerequisite coursework must be awarded a letter or numeric grade and completed with a grade of “C” or higher. “C-“ or 1.7 on CASPA 4.0 GPA scale will not be accepted, with the exception of work in progress classes as noted above. 
  • Survey courses, courses labeled ‘introductory’ at a 100- or 200- level,  advanced placement (AP) credit, CLEP, exam credits, competency testing or work experience are not acceptable to satisfy prerequisite requirements. 
  • The program will accept online labs to satisfy prerequisite requirements for admission.

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:

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

Unacceptable forms of patient care experience include:

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

Foreign Applications

A bachelor’s degree must be completed from a regionally accredited institution or an equivalent from a foreign institution. 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. 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. Transcripts sent directly to the University will not be accepted.  Additionally, the Test of English as a Foreign Language must be taken by those whose native language is not English. Please note the score requirement is different than the University’s Graduate School requirement.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

For international 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

Three 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. Two letters must be from a healthcare setting and one of these must include a medical provider (PA, NP, MD, DO). 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.    

Special Consideration

CSU is a Christian university, which prides itself on a diverse student body.  The university supports its alumni and will take into consideration any CSU graduates who apply to the program. The university is a Yellow Ribbon Program participant and welcomes veterans to apply to the PA Program. Strong academic aptitude, as demonstrated by GPA, GRE, advanced degrees, and additional medical certifications or training, will be favored in the admissions selection process. Additional consideration will be given to students who demonstrate foreign language proficiency. In addition, the PA Program is looking for prospective students who are well-rounded and have demonstrated leadership abilities and a commitment to community service.

Selection Process

The PA Program uses a rolling admissions process. The Admissions Committee will evaluate completed verified CASPA applications based upon GPAs (cumulative, prerequisite, and science), GRE, healthcare experience, and personal and professional characteristics. Based upon these factors, the Admissions Committee will invite qualified individuals for on-campus interviews. These interviews will be conducted using a multiple mini interview approach.

Interviewees will be notified of the admissions decision within one month of the interview. During each applicant review process, applicants will be placed in one of three categories: Accept, Waitlist*, and Decline. 

*Waitlist: These candidates will be notified within one month of completing the interview. Each candidate on this list will be reviewed during each subsequent interview selection process. At that time their status will be updated to one of the following: admit now, continue waitlist or declined.


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 communication. Interviewees will be notified of their status within one month of the interview. The decision will be one of the following: accepted to the program, placed on the waitlist or declined. The program uses a rolling admissions process and with this approach, it is possible for the program to fill all available seats prior to September 1st application deadline.

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. Instructions for payment will be provided with the acceptance letter. 

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.

Candidates offered a position will be required to complete the following prior to enrollment:
      1. Official Transcripts from all College and Universities for any work in progress courses by October 1.
      2. Proof of Health Insurance
      3. Technical Standards Attestation
      4. Immunization Records (See website for additional information about immunizations)
      5. Background Check
      6. Urine Drug Screen
      7. Release Form for Immunizations and Background Check Information

Detailed instructions on how to complete the above requirements will be communicated to candidates.

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. Progression will be a function of successfully passing all required course work in a unit, and the coursework for the unit will serve as the prerequisite requirement for the following unit.

  1. If a student earns a “C” in any course, he or she will be placed on academic probation and allowed to progress in the program at the discretion of the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee.
  2. A student must achieve a semester GPA of 3.0. If he or she fails to achieve a semester GPA of 3.0, he or she will be placed on academic probation and allowed to progress in the program at the discretion of the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee. Earning two semesters with a semester GPA of less than 3.00 may result in academic dismissal from the program.
  3. If a student earns one final course grade below “C” during the clinical year, he or she will be placed on academic probation and allowed to progress in the program at the discretion of the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee. However, this may result in a delay of graduation.
  4. 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.
  5. In the event that a student is remediating a course or course component, they may progress to the next unit at the discretion of the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee.
  6. If a student receives a disciplinary action per the professionalism policy, this will be reviewed at the end of each unit by the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee who will determine if the student should be placed on academic probation and allowed to progress in the program.
  7. In order for a student to progress from the didactic year into the clinical year, he or she must be recommended by the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee.

A student may appeal a progression decision by written documentation to the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee.

Graduation Requirements

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:

  1. Successfully complete all coursework according to Program defined academic standards.
  2. Achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at program completion.
  3. Successfully pass all components of the Summative Evaluation at the end of the clinical year demonstrating all Student Learning Outcomes have been achieved.
  4. Be in good professional standing with the program.
  5. Complete the CSU graduation application process.
  6. 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.

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.

Academic Probation

Academic probation is formal recognition of substandard performance in the program. It serves as an encouragement towards satisfactory performance, an official means to communicate the gravity of a student’s academic situation, and a means of identifying students at risk of being dismissed from the program for failing to meet learning objectives, course outcomes, or program standards. Students may be placed on academic probation as determined by the progression requirements above.

If a student has been placed on academic probation by the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee, the Director of Didactic Education will present the student with a letter indicating that they have been formally placed on academic probation. A copy of this letter will be sent to the CSU Registrar’s office, the Program Director, and the student’s academic advisor. As a result of being placed on Academic Probation:

  1. The Director of Didactic Education, the student’s academic advisor, and the student will meet where formal documentation will be entered into the student’s records noting status, expected outcomes, any revised remediation plans, expected timelines, and clearly established consequences for failing to remediate probationary discrepancies.
  2. The student must meet with their academic advisor weekly to monitor progress.
  3. The student must follow the steps outlined in the “Formal Remediation” section of this policy as applicable to the circumstance of the academic probation.
  4. Academic probation may be disclosed in any final verifications of training, employment letters, and any letters of reference from the CSU PA Program.
  5. The student’s involvement in extracurricular activities and campus events will have to be approved by their academic advisor.

A student may be removed from academic probation at the discretion of the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee under the following circumstances:

  1. The student successfully remediates coursework and raises their cumulative GPA above a 3.00, and/or
  2. The student successfully completes the following grading period without earning any grades below a “B” while maintaining a cumulative GPA above 3.00, and/or
  3. The student successfully remediates, demonstrating significant improvement, any professionalism discrepancies or substandard performance.

In the event a student is removed from academic probation, the Director of Didactic Education will present the student with a letter of formal notification that he or she has been removed from academic probation status. A copy of this letter will be sent to the CSU Registrar’s office, the Program Director, and the student’s academic advisor.

Should a student not satisfactorily improve through informal or formal remediation, or through academic probation, they will be referred to the Academic and Professionalism Progress Committee for consideration of dismissal from the program in accordance with the progression requirements established in this policy.