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School of Medicine


Admission

Our program is training the next generation of physician assistants in South Carolina. Are you ready to join us and make an impact on the health of our state?

Our admissions process is extremely competitive—we accept 30 students from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants. This helps us ensure each student gets the attention and experience they need to excel in their career. 

 

Prerequisite Coursework

A baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by the Commission on Colleges of a Regional Accrediting Organization is required.  Your degree should be completed by December 31 the year prior to your matriculation and your coursework should be completed and reported to CASPA by December 15. You may not have more than two pending courses when you submit your application.

Required Course Required Credit Hours
Human Anatomy and Physiology – Lecture 6
Human Anatomy and Physiology – Lab

(We encourage you to take this within two years of applying to the program, however, it is not a requirement).

Genetics
General Chemistry  - Lecture
General Chemistry  - Lab
Organic Chemistry – Lecture and Lab
Biochemistry
Microbiology
Introductory Psychology or higher
Statistics
Medical Terminology 1
  • All prerequisite courses must have been taken within the last 7 years.
  • We do not accept online lab courses.
  • We encourage applicants to take human anatomy and physiology within 2 years of the program application date; however, this is not a requirement.
  • Courses can be taken at any regionally accredited institution, including community colleges. We will give preference to prerequisite courses taken at a four-year institution.
  • All courses must be assigned a letter grade. The only exception is medical terminology, which can be Pass/Fail.
  • Applicants must have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative and a 3.0 science GPA based on a 4.0 scale.

 

Patient Care

You must have at least 500 documented health care exposure hours completed by October 1 of the year before you matriculate. You can obtain these hours through paid, volunteer or shadowing experiences. We prefer that 100 of those hours are direct shadowing of a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner. We may have to verify these hours, so we recommend that you keep your own records. 

Acceptable forms of clinical experience
  • Shadowing of PA, NP, M.D./D.O.
  • Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic
  • Military Medic/Clinical Specialist
  • Corpsman
  • Surgical Technician
  • Radiological Technician
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Laboratory Technician with phlebotomy experience
  • Phlebotomist
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Scribe
  • Nursing (CNA, LPN, RN, CMA)
  • Certified Physical/Occupational Therapist
  • PT/OT Assistant
  • Home health with verification of job duties
  • Medical Interpreter
  • Dietician
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Respiratory Therapist
Unacceptable forms of clinical experience 
  • Veterinarian Assistant
  • Receptionist for physician's office
  • Administrator or Business Manager for physician’s office
  • Massage Therapist
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Aesthetician
  • Dental Hygienist/Assisting
  • Inpatient Patient Transport/Orderly
  • Health Fitness Specialist
  • Patient Sitter

  

Required Exams

GRE

You must take the GRE within 5 years of applying to our program and no later than the July prior to matriculation. We don't have a required score, but 300 or higher is considered competitive. You may take the exam several times to improve your score.  Applications will not be considered without a GRE score.

TOEFL

(for non-native English speakers)

If English is not your native language, you'll need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). You must take the Internet Based Test and send the scores directly from the Educational Testing Service to the PA program office. We require a total score of 93 and a speaking score of 26.  

 

Required Immunizations

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)

Documentation of two doses of MMR vaccine is required for students born after January 1, 1957. A copy of laboratory report(s) in English with evidence of immunity to Measles, Mumps and Rubella may be submitted in place of immunization records.

Hepatitis B

Students who have previously completed the Hepatitis B vaccine 3-part series should submit both their dose dates and a copy of a laboratory report(s) in English of a blood test (Hepatitis B surface antibody) to demonstrate immunity. Proof of immunity may be submitted alone for students who have been immunized for hepatitis B but do not have documentation. Students who have not yet completed the series should receive the first two (2) doses of the series and indicate these dose dates. Students may complete the third dose of the series and undergo serologic testing during their first semester at the Student Health Office; vaccine and titer fees apply.

Varicella

Students must present proof of immunity to Varicella (chicken pox) in one of two forms: (1) receipt of two doses of varicella immunization administered at least one month apart or (2) laboratory documentation of immunity to varicella. Students who have not previously been immunized and who do not have laboratory proof of immunity should complete the two-dose vaccination series.

Tetanus/TdAP

Students must provide documentation of receipt of one dose of TdaP (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) immunization within the past three years. The only exception to this requirement is for those who received the old tetanus/diphtheria (Td) immunization within the previous two years, as Td and TdaP immunization should be separated by at least two years.

Polio

Documentation of three doses of IPV or OPV is required. If vaccine records are not available there are two options: (1) proof of immunity by titer may be substituted by sending a copy of the lab results or (2) a polio waiver form may be signed and submitted to student health.

Tuberculosis Screening

Screening for tuberculosis exposure is a tuberculin skin test performed within the last three months prior to matriculation. Students with a previous history of a positive tuberculosis skin test must submit a completed TB Symptom Survey (available from the Student Health Office) and a chest x-ray report obtained within three years of entry. Skin testing is not necessary for these students.

Influenza

All applicants are required to have the influenza (flu) vaccine documented after October 1st of the year prior to matriculating due to the start date being during flu season.


Citizenship

As a matter of policy, the physician assistant program can accept applications only from those individuals who are currently citizens of the United States or who are permitted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to reside permanently in the United States.

No Exceptions: All admission requirements listed must be met for consideration. The USC School of Medicine PA Program does not allow exceptions.

Exemptions: Anyone with a vaccine exemption may be excluded from the University/College in the event of a Measles, Mumps, Rubella or Diphtheria outbreak in accordance with public health law.

Preferences for Admission
: SC Residents, USC alumni, US veterans

Advanced Placement
: We do not offer advanced placement in the PA Program.