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Admissions Process

  • Program Admission Requirements

    Fall 2021 and Beyond Admission Cycle

    CASPA Opens May 1
    Application completed to CASPA November 1
    Supplemental UMES Graduate School Application and supporting documents Upon acceptance to the Program
    Interview selected candidates November – February
    Admission decision No later than March 15
    Classes Start End of August

    Application Requirements

    The Department will admit qualified candidates to matriculate through the MMS-PAS curriculum of study. Applicants from Health Personnel Shortage Areas (HPSA) https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/shortage-area/hpsa-find or Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/P) https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/shortage-area/mua-find and groups and/or racial/ ethnic populations underrepresented within the physician assistant profession are encouraged to apply and will receive preference. The UMES PA Program Admissions Committee selects students for admission. Applicants must meet the following minimum criteria for consideration for admission into the MMS-PAS Program:

    1. A Bachelor’s degree from US institutions of higher education accredited by a regional accrediting association or the degree equivalent in another country with a 3.0 GPA on a scale of 4.0 from the institution. Students must have completed or be in the final stages of completing a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college/university or appropriate international institution. Students may apply while their degree is in progress; however, degree completion is required prior to the November 1st deadline. Official final transcripts documenting degree completion should be sent to PADept@umes.edu as soon as possible after degree completion.

    2. As a policy, UMES Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program does not round-up any grades, including our own course examination scores and course GPAs. This also applies to prospective applicant cumulative science and prerequisite GPAs. However, if your cumulative undergraduate total GPA is below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and specifically only for the cumulative overall undergraduate GPA, we are mindful that some students do poorly in their freshman year but then excel in their remaining undergraduate years. The UMES PA Program views this as a sign of academic and emotional maturity. If you are such a student, and only once your application has been completed and verified by CASPA, you may email our Program Management Specialist at PADept@umes.edu and request that the Program reevaluate your transcripts. If approved, the Program may then recalculate your overall GPA based on your Junior and Senior course grades at a 4-year regionally accredited college or university. Courses completed at a community college and courses taken alone (i.e., not with a full semester course load) will not be included in this recalculation. It is important to understand that this is done on a case-by-case basis and the program decision regarding permitting the recalculation and the results of the recalculation are final and not open to consideration for appeal. Regardless of the outcome, all applicants must still have a cumulative science grade point average of 3.0 or higher as noted above.  Please see our waiver request here. Students requesting this exception may be asked to provide more information related to the reasons for academic performance.

    3. Applicants with a Bachelor’s degree earned outside of the US must send their transcripts to one of the member organizations associated with the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (https://www.naces.org/members) for translation. Then submit the results to CASPA, and complete all Medical Core prerequisite courses (see below) in the United States. No exceptions will be made.

    4. Applicants who are not U.S. citizens are required to submit official test scores for either Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) https://www.ets.org/toefl or Pearsons Test of English (PTE) https://pearsonpte.com/ or the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS) https://www.ielts.org/en-us . The following are the minimum scores for admission consideration:
      a. TOEFL: 250 computer-based or 100 Internet-based, 
      b. PTE: overall score of 68
      c. IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0, with no individual band score below 6.0.

    1. All applicants must successfully complete the following Medical Core prerequisite courses with a grade of “C” or higher (within the Bachelor’s degree or through coursework at a regionally accredited US institution of higher education). 

    Medical Core Prerequisite Courses and Credit Hours are listed in the chart below:

    Coursework Semester credit hours
    Medical Terminology 1
    Biology with Lab 4
    Microbiology 3
    Organic Chemistry I with Lab 4
    Inorganic Chemistry/Biochemistry with Lab 4
    Human Anatomy/Anatomy & Physiology I 3 - 4
    Human Physiology/Anatomy & Physiology II 3 - 4
    Psychology (Birth through Old Age/Across the Lifespan) 3


    1. Prerequisite science courses are to be completed within six years prior to the date of admission.

    2. A waiver of the six-year requirement, or grade requirement, for a prerequisite course may be requested by the applicant if 1) there is a continuous employment history that would demonstrate knowledge of the course content, or 2) the applicant has a B grade or better, within the last six years, in a more advanced course in the same subject. Knowledge-based testing does not satisfy any of the prerequisites. Waivers will not be considered until the application has been verified by CASPA. Please see our waiver request here. The waiver should be submitted to PADept@umes.edu. The waiver must be approved by Program Director. 

    3. Applicants must submit Graduate Record Exam scores taken within the last five years. Official GRE score reports must be received by UMES no later than November 1st for an application to be considered for admission. The institution code for UMES is 5400.

    4. All applicants to the PA Program must apply through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). https://caspa.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login. Accepted applicants must also submit a supplemental application here.

    5. When completing the CASPA application particular attention should be given to the following:

      a. The applicant’s personal statement detailing their desire to become a physical assistant.

      b. Three (3) letters of recommendation addressing the applicant’s potential as a physician assistant. 

      c. One of the letters of recommendation must be from a practicing physician assistant with whom the applicant has had a minimum of 40 hours of first-hand observation or “shadowing” experience. Please complete this form and upload to CASPA. 

      d. Documentation of a minimum of 500 hours of paid experience involving direct patient care hours are required. It is recommended that students obtain direct patient care hours in different medical settings, e.g., hospice, assisted living facility, hospital, underserved areas/countries, etc. To obtain strong direct patient care experience, students are encouraged to obtain certification credentials, e.g., paramedic, nurse's aide, phlebotomist, medical assistant, radiologic technologist, EKG tech, EMT (I or Basic), LPN, dental hygienist, or clinical laboratorians/scientists (the student MUST be performing phlebotomy, assisting with bone marrow aspirations/biopsy and must have direct patient interaction, not just with their specimens), and behavioral health technician. All required direct patient care hours must be completed by the application deadline. (Hours must be completed by the November 1st deadline). Please complete this form and upload to CASPA.

    6. Applicants must have no history of drug abuse or conviction of a felony and must be able to pass a background and drug test. Background and drug tests must be performed prior to admission to the UMES PA Program, and prior to start of the clinical phase of the program.

    7.  Applicants must have no history of dismissal from another Physician Assistant program for academic or disciplinary reasons.

    8.  All applicants must be able to meet the program’s Technical Standards.

      Application Requirements are subject to change for the next application cycle (2022). Please continue to check back on this website for any changes or adjustments.

    Application Deadline

    All applications must be submitted to CASPA by November 1st for consideration for the following fall (next year’s) entering class. Incomplete CASPA applications will not be considered.

    Available Seats and Wait List (Alternates)

    1. The program will offer seats to 25 candidates.  Class size is determined by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

    2. A wait-list of qualified alternate candidates for admission to the program may be maintained to replace previously selected candidates who decline or do not matriculate.

    Interview and Admissions Criteria

    1. Applicants submitting a complete CASPA application prior to the November 1st deadline may be invited for an early interview. Otherwise, interviews of selected candidates will be conducted December through February.
    2. Using criteria developed by the UMES PA Program’s Admissions Committee, applicants will be invited to interview. Please note that not all qualified applicants will be invited for an interview.
    3. Criteria used by the interviewers in their evaluations of candidates include:
      a. Past academic performance, grades, grade point averages in undergraduate and required Medical Core courses, GRE scores, extracurricular activities, work experience, length and quality of healthcare experiences.
      b. Understanding of the history of the PA profession, the role and scope of physician assistant practice.
      c. Appearance, emotional and intellectual maturity demonstrated during interview including interpersonal skills, the ability clearly communicates and establish rapport with others.
      d. The competitive applicant should be aware of the uniqueness of a PA program at an HBCU, health disparities, be able to articulate an understanding of diversity, professionalism, cultural competency and have an interest or experience in serving in a medically underserved area.
      e. All accepted applicants must submit a supplemental application here.

    Acceptance Policy

    1. Admission decisions will be based on information contained in the candidate’s CASPA application and the result of candidate interviews.

    2. Admission decisions will be made no later than March 15th for the following Fall admission cycle. 

    3. Upon acceptance to the MMS-PAS Program, the candidate will be notified of acceptance and given two weeks to respond to their acceptance letter.

    4. A non-refundable acceptance fee of $1,500.00 must accompany the acceptance letter. On admission, this acceptance fee will be credited toward PA program fees.

    5. The program reserves the right to rescind acceptance of any candidate offered or seated into the program who has submitted incorrect or false information or documentation.