Physician Assistant Studies, MSPAS

Admission Standards

An applicant must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university located within the United States.  Undergraduate coursework should include:

Requirements Credit Hours
Human Anatomy and Physiology-Lecture 6
Human Anatomy and Physiology-Lab 2
Genetics 3
General Chemistry-Lecture 6
General Chemistry-Lab 2
Organic Chemistry-Lecture and Lab 4
Microbiology 3
Introductory Psychology or higher 3
Statistics 3
Medical Terminology (or can be certificate) 1

Admission is determined by the PA Program Admissions Committee which consists of the PA Program Director, Medical Director and program faculty.  Criteria examined include an appraisal of courses taken, grades achieved, letters of recommendation, scores on the GRE and the applicant’s personal narrative.  Preference is given to SC residents, USC alumni and US veterans.

An overall prerequisite GPA of 3.00 or better is required for consideration of admittance.  GRE scores of 300 or higher are considered competitive for program admittance.

Application Information

Inquiries concerning admission and requests for printed program information should be directed to:

University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia
Physician Assistant Program
Columbia, SC  29208
Telephone: 803-216-3950

Curriculum (114 Hours)

The Master's Degree Program for Physician Assistants is a 27-month medical model curricular plan (7 semesters) with 114 total credit hours. The 27-month curricular plan includes a strong basic science foundation in physiology, human gross anatomy and genetics with a systems-based instructional approach to clinical medicine which includes instruction in the pathophysiology of diseases, ordering and interpretation and of diagnostic studies, as well as pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment options. The final 12 months of the program consists of clinical training under experienced preceptors. The required practicums are derived from those used for training medical students in these venues, with a strong focus on primary care training. There are also many elements associated with professional development for PAs and interprofessional interactions, as well as understanding population health, quality care, and using evidenced-based practices. Some of the foundational content will be taught with other health professional (graduate or medical) students to forge interprofessional team concepts. Many of the courses involve hands-on preparation for clinical practice, including clinical skills training and training in new technologies using the USCSOM Simulation Center and Ultrasound Institute.

PA Program Core Courses

Include the following:

Course Title Credits
PHPH 701Physiology for Health Sciences6
BMSC 740Human Anatomy for Health Sciences6
BMSC 742Summative Experience for Physician Assistants1
BMSC 743Clinical Immersion for PAs2
BMSC 744Interprofessional Seminar for Health Professionals1
BMSC 745Medical Interviewing2
BMSC 746Physical Diagnosis6
BMSC 747Diagnostic Testing2
BMSC 748Surgery and Emergency Medicine2
BMSC 749Clinical Medicine-Across the Lifespan2
BMSC 751Behavioral Health2
BMSC 752Medical Law and Ethics2
BMSC 753Physician Assistant Professional Practice1
BMSC 755Medical Genetics and Laboratory Diagnostics2
BMSC 756Advancing Medical Practice through Research3
BMSC 758Internal Medicine4
BMSC 759Women's Health4
BMSC 760Pediatrics4
BMSC 761Behavioral Medicine4
BMSC 762General Surgery4
BMSC 763Emergency Medicine4
BMSC 764Orthopedics4
BMSC 765Practicum Elective (take twice for total of 8 credits)8
BMSC 766PA Clinical Medicine and Therapeutics I7
BMSC 767PA Clinical Medicine and Therapeutics II6
BMSC 768PA Clinical Medicine and Therapeutics III6
BMSC 769PA Clinical Medicine and Therapeutics IV7
BMSC 770Clinical Skills Lab3
BMSC 781Family Medicine PA Program Practicum4
BMSC 782Family Medicine PA Program Practicum 24
BMSC 783Physician Assistant Capstone Portfolio1
Total Credit Hours114