Frequently Asked Questions
For official entrance requirements, application instructions and more, please visit Applying to the Master in Physician Assistant Studies.
To apply, what type of academic degree is required?
All candidates are required to have completed their bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation.
Can I apply to the program even though I have not yet completed my bachelor’s degree?
Yes. Applicants can still be completing other courses leading to their bachelor’s degree, but completed and official, final transcripts must be received by May 31 of the year of matriculation.
What are the program prerequisites?
See Entrance Requirements page.
Can I apply to the program even though I still have to complete one or more prerequisites?
Yes; however, no more than three prerequisite courses may be pending as of December 31 of the calendar year prior to Fall entry into the program. All prerequisites must be completed by May 31 of the year of matriculation. See entrance requirements on the Admissions page.
My cumulative undergraduate courses, science courses and/or prerequisite courses GPA are just under 3.0. Can I still be accepted into the program?
The Program requires an overall GPA of at least 3.0 as defined by CASPA, and a Science GPA of at least 3.0 as defined by CASPA. See Entrance Requirements for more details.
Does the program waive any prerequisite requirements, award advanced standing, or waive any courses?
We are unable to waive any program prerequisites. Additionally, and like other PA programs, the program does not offer advanced standing and does not waive any course requirements, even if students have completed similar coursework at other institutions.
What type of health-care related experience is required?
All applicants need to have acquired a minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care experience by the time the CASPA application is submitted. This experience varies and can be acquired on a full- or part-time basis. Direct patient care experience requiring certification and providing monetary compensation is most competitive.
What type of volunteer experience is required?
Volunteer experience is not required, but it does make an application more competitive.
What makes an applicant more competitive for an interview invite and acceptance into the program?
How do students apply to the program?
We utilize our national organization’s Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). CASPA is an efficient web-based application service system that streamlines admission application processes and allows applicants to apply to multiple programs with a single application.
For the CASPA application, are specific letters of reference required?
Yes. Three professional letters of recommendation are required.
When will CASPA be open for accepting applications to the program?
Stephens College accepts applications starting in April. Submit the CASPA application by October 1.
When does the program begin interviewing students?
Our CASPA application cycle opens in April and ends in October. On-campus interviews take place between October and December.
When does each cohort start in the program?
Each cohort begins in August. The first day of class generally begins by the middle of August and is preceded by a mandatory orientation.
What will the average day be like?
A typical day begins at 8 am. Class begins promptly and consists of lectures, discussions and labs. Classes last 1-3 hours with multiple breaks. Between classes students enjoy snacks, rest and use this time study. Lunch is usually an hour. Afternoon classes begin at 1 p.m. and are usually finished by 4 p.m.
Is shadowing required?
The shadowing requirement has been waived for the 2021-2022 application cycle. We generally require 16 hours, at least 8 of which are with a PA.
How many students will be accepted each year?
Our classes are currently limited to a maximum of 30 students per cohort.
How does the Stephens College PA program promote student learning?
Here at Stephens College Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program, we take our jobs seriously. We promote student and faculty success and excellent patient care as our primary intentions. Most faculty have an “open door” policy for student interaction.
About the Program
Where is the Stephens College PA program located?
Our program is located in a state-of-the-art facility in Sampson Hall on the Stephens College campus at 1211 E Broadway, Columbia, MO 65215.
Is the program accredited?
Yes. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has grantedstatus to the sponsored by Stephens College. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.
How long is the program?
The Stephens College PA program includes a 27-month curriculum with both a didactic and clinical phase.
Does the program offer a part-time option?
The program does not offer a part-time option.
Does the College offer any scholarships to defray tuition costs?
As with many other graduate health science programs, Stephens College is presently unable to offer scholarships for our Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program. However, we encourage all students to explore the National Health Service Corps scholarship and loan repayment programs for physician assistant students.
What degree will be conferred upon graduation from the program?
Students will graduate with a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree.
Is attendance mandatory for classroom and lab activities?
Because professionalism, collaboration, and teamwork are integral to the PA profession, attendance and active participation in class are essential. Students must attend all scheduled sessions in the program. If the student does not submit assignments as directed, he or she may receive a failing grade at the end of the course. Students are expected to regularly participate as directed by the instructor. Instructors determine the participation and contribution policy for their classes. It is permissible to use participation and contribution as factors in determining a student's grade.
Are students permitted to work while attending the program?
It is the expectation of the administration and faculty of the Physician Assistant program that students will be fully dedicated to their education and training. Because of the time commitment required and the rigorous nature of the program, students should not expect to be employed during the program. If a student decides to work against this recommendation, the student must disclose their work arrangement to the program director. Work responsibilities will in no case be accepted as excuses for absence or failure to meet any program requirements. Failure to disclose employment will be considered a breach of the disclosure policy and thus, a professional ethical violation.
Students are not permitted to work for the Program. Students are not permitted to substitute or function as instruction faculty members. Furthermore, they are not permitted to substitute for clinical or administrative staff during the clinical phase.
Why does the program require a background check and drug screen?
A criminal background check is required to ensure patient safety and provide a safe educational environment.
What happens if I withdraw from PA school?
Except for a $100 administrative fee and $750 enrollment deposit, Stephens will refund all of the student’s comprehensive fees if he or she cancels his or her enrollment before the first day of the term. In the event that a student completely withdraws after the first day of classes but prior to 60% of the completion of the term, a proration of comprehensive fees is calculated based on the number of class days attended compared to the total number of class days in the term. Comprehensive fees are credited and financial aid is charged back in accordance with Federal regulations.