Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

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The Master in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) prepares graduates with intelligence, sound judgment, intellectual honesty, appropriate interpersonal skills, and critical thinking skills. The graduate will be capable of medical patient assessment and developing a plan of action for addressing health concerns.

The professional curriculum for PA education includes basic medical, behavioral, and social sciences, introduction to clinical medicine and, supervised clinical practice, and health policy and professional practice issues.
  • Why UTRGV?

    • Ranked #79 among 300+ national universities by Washington Monthly in 2018
    • Accredited, cutting edge degree program
    • Experienced, dedicated faculty
    • Affordable tuition (ranked #1 in net price among natinal universities by Washington Monthly in 2018 and #3 most affordable university in America 2018 by BestValueSchools.com)
    • Demonstrated student success in research, professional certification and career advancement
  • Admission Requirements

    STEP 1

    • Submit a UTRGV Graduate Application at www.utrgv.edu/gradapply. The university application fee of $50 ($100 for International Applicants) can be paid online by credit card or electronic check (in the online application). All application fees are nonrefundable.

    STEP 2

    • Online application to the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)  https://caspa.liaisoncas.com
    • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or a recognized international equivalent.
    • Minimum undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on last 30 hours of course work
    • The following items are required and can be submitted through CASPA:

    o  Official transcripts from each institution attended.

    o  Submission of a personal statement through CASPA

    o  Submission of three letters of recommendation through CASPA

    o  Documentation of a minimum of 50 hours of shadowing.

    o GRE General Test. GRE test scores are valid for 5 years. A waiver of the GRE requirement will be granted to applicants who show proof of completing a graduate degree (master’s or doctoral).

    • Completion of the following prerequisite coursework (with a GPA of 3.0 or better):

    O   General Biology I and General Biology II

    O   Genetics

    O   Anatomy & Physiology I, and Anatomy & Physiology II

    O   Microbiology

    O   General Chemistry I and General Chemistry II

    O   Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry

    O   General Psychology or Abnormal Psychology

    O   Statistics

    • Applicants must submit both a CASPA application and UTRGV application for consideration.
    • Cleared Criminal Background Check (For more information on this requirement, contact the College of Health Affairs Dean's Office.)

    Additional requirements for domestic applicants who attended foreign universities:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years. For additional information, visit the Additional Documents for Domestic Applicants who Attend Foreign Universities section of our website.
    • Certified English translation of educational records.

    Additional requirements for international applicants:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. For additional information, visit the English Proficiency Exam section of our website.
    • Certified English translation of educational records.
    • Financial   Documentation  showing sufficient funds to cover all expenses (living and academic) for the first year of study. For additional information, visit the Financial Documentation section of our website.
    • Immigration  documents, including a current copy of your valid passport. For additional information, visit the Immigration Documents section of our website.

    UPDATE ON INTERNATIONAL ADMISSIONS FROM U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:

    • SEVP regulations prohibit the issuance of a Form I-20 based on conditional admission, effective July 13, 2016. University officials can only issue a Form I-20 when students have met all standards for admission for the program of study listed on the Form I-20. These standards for admission include any English proficiency requirements.

    Document Submission Procedures

    You must submit your required documents including transcripts to CASPA.The Graduate College staff will retrieve your documents from CASPA including: transcripts, personal statement, letters of recommendation,resume, documentation of shadowing, and completion of prerequisite coursework.

    NOTE: Students who are admitted to the PA program will be required to have official  transcripts sent  to  UTRGV after notification  of admission  which usually occurs in Mid-Spring.

    Additional Documents

    If after submitting your CASPA application, you realize you need to submit additional documents, you may upload them in your UTRGV application.

    (Note do not upload documents that have already been submitted to CASPA).

    The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
    The Graduate College
    Marialice Shary Shivers Bldg. 1.158
    1201 W. University Drive
    Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

     
    *Please Note: If you are a graduate of UTPA, UTB/TSC, or UTRGV you do not need to request an official transcript to be sent to the Graduate College.
  • Program Contact

    Program Coordinator: Mr. Frank Ambriz

    E-Mail: frank.ambriz@utrgv.edu 

    Office: Edinburg Campus, HABE 2145

    Phone: (956) 665-7049

  • Deadlines

    Fall 2019 Spring Summer I Summer II
    Application Deadline: September 1 N/A N/A N/A
     
    *The Fall 2020 application will be open on APRIL 2019.
  • Course Requirements

     
    Required Courses
    Didactic Phase 48
    CLSC 5227: Clinical Laboratory Methods* 2
    PHAS 5101: Studies in the Physician Assistant Profession 1
    PHAS 5109: Medical Physiology & Pathophysiology III 1
    PHAS 5112: Health Policy and Health Management 1
    PHAS 5114: Research and Statistical Methods in Healthcare 1
    PHAS 5116: Electrocardiography Seminar 1
    PHAS 5117: Evidence‐Based Medicine and Research Design 1
    PHAS 5118: Legal and Ethical Issues in Health Care 1
    PHAS 5137: Preventative Medicine and Community Healthv 1
    PHAS 5201: Medical Human Anatomy & Radiology I 2
    PHAS 5202: Medical Human Anatomy & Radiology II 2
    PHAS 5230: Pharmacology III 2
    PHAS 5262: Clinical Clerkship* 2
    PHAS 5306: Medical Physiology and Pathophysiology I 3
    PHAS 5307: Medical Physiology and Pathophysiology II 3
    PHAS 5326: Patient Encounter I 3
    PHAS 5327: Patient Encounter II 3
    PHAS 5328: Pharmacology I 3
    PHAS 5329: Pharmacology II 3
    PHAS 5401: Clinical Medicine I 4
    PHAS 5402: Clinical Medicine II 4
    PHAS 5403: Clinical Medicine III 4
     
    Clinical Phase 36
    PHAS 6101: Special Topics (taken 4 times) 4
    PHAS 6431: Pediatric Rotation 4
    PHAS 6433: Obstetrics and Gynecology Rotation 4
    PHAS 6435: Surgery Rotation I 4
    PHAS 6440: Medicine Rotation I 4
    PHAS 6441: Medicine Rotation II 4
    PHAS 6442: Emergency Medicine 4
    PHAS 6443: Clinical Elective 4
    PHAS 6444: Psychiatry Rotation 4
     
    Capstone Phase 16
    PHAS 7204: Capstone Research Experience 2
    PHAS 7205: Capstone Review 2
    PHAS 7401: Capstone Clinical Track I 4
    PHAS 7402: Capstone Clinical Track II 4
    PHAS 7403: Capstone Clinical Track III 4
     
    *Course with Laboratory Component
     
    Capstone Requirement
    Oral Comprehensive Exam
    Written Comprehensive Exam
    Evidence Based Medicine Research Paper
     
    Total graduate hours for degree: 100

    Course Descriptions:

    CLSC 5227: Clinical Laboratory Methods               [1‐3]

    Lecture and laboratory course that introduces the student to the medical laboratory. Emphasizes appropriate laboratory studies for specific disease, normal laboratory values and procedures for obtaining samples. Students are given the opportunity to perform routine lab studies.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5101: Studies in the Physician Assistant Profession               [1‐0]

    Examines the history and concept of the physician assistant profession. Discusses issues that arerelevant to professional and legal practice. Discussion of future trends in the profession is also included.

    PHAS 5109: Medical Physiology and Pathophysiology III               [1‐0]

    coursework involving the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This course is a continuation of PHAS 5308, Medical Physiology and Pathophysiology II.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5112: Health Policy and Health Management               [1‐0]

    This course will survey the U.S. health care delivery system and review the economic and policy issues that face our system. Particular focus will be on those issues that directly affect the practicing physician assistant. The student will undertake an in‐depth review of managed care, reimbursement and other economic/financial issues and policies.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5114: Research and Statistical Methods in Healthcare               [1‐0]

    Philosophy and principles of research process with emphasis on scientific methods of inquiry. Topics include epidemiology and its relevance to clinical practice, types of research designs, sampling, measurements, data collection and analysis. Students will have the opportunity evaluate current literature from the medical journals in the light of research design and data collection.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5116: Electrocardiography Seminar               [1‐0]

    This seminar covers implementation and interpretation of electrocardiograms (ECG). The ECG interpretation section provides students with a systematic method of interpreting a 12‐lead ECG with respect to rate, rhythm and blocks, electrical axis determination, hypertrophy, ischemia, injury, infarction, and miscellaneous drug, electrolyte, disease, and pacemaker effects. In addition, students will be required to successfully complete an Advanced Cardiac Life Support (A.C.L.S.) training course.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5117: Evidence‐Based Medicine and Research Design               [1‐0]

    This course introduces students to the concepts of evidence based medicine and medical research design, while stressing the examination of evidence from clinical research as a basis for clinical decision-making. Physician assistant students learn how to construct well‐built clinical questions based on patient problems and to perform medical literature searching strategies that yield optimal results. Methods for critically appraising the medical literature are emphasized throughout the course, as well as strategies for keeping up with new medical findings beyond physician assistant school. Basic techniques of medical writing are also discussed in relationship to the physician assistant student’s development of a Master’s project upon graduation.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5118: Legal and Ethical Issues in Health Care               [1‐0]

    Explores medical jurisprudence and licensing. Students will be introduced to the dynamics of the legal system, moral problems in health care, and the impact of both on professional and institutional interactions with patients. Students will be given opportunity to demonstrate 1) an understanding of ethical principles and legal factors which impinge upon health care, 2) the ability to apply ethical and legal concepts to the analysis of the roles and responsibilities of the health professional.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5137: Preventative Medicine and Community Health               [1‐0]

    Examines the bio‐demographics of disease in the United States. Emphasis is on prevention from the perspective of the primary health care provider. Encourages community involvement. Discussions focused on prevention of disease. Special attention is given to the local medical practices and beliefs of the Rio Grande Valley and Texas‐Mexico border region. Guest lectures include topics in rural and indigent health, community outreach, communicable disease awareness and prevention, sexual health, and folk and alternative medicine.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5201: Medical Human Anatomy and Radiology I               [1‐3]

    This course is the first in a two‐course series. It provides students with a comprehensive and advanced review of gross anatomy using a regional systematic approach to the human body. Basic and advanced radiographic interpretation is correlated with anatomical structure. Lecture and laboratory components of this course emphasize the clinical relevance of each area considered. Human cadavers and computerassisted learning modules are utilized in the laboratory setting. Clinical correlations support concurrent modular coursework involving the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5202: Medical Human Anatomy and Radiology II               [1‐3]

    This course is the second in a two‐course series. Clinical correlations support concurrent modular coursework involving the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This course is a continuation of PHAS 5201, Medical Human Anatomy and Radiology I.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5230: Pharmacology III               [1‐3]

    This course is the third in a three‐course series. Clinical correlations support concurrent modular coursework involving the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This course is a continuation of PHAS 5329, Pharmacology II.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5262: Clinical Clerkship               [1‐3]

    This course covers the indications, contraindications, step‐by‐step procedures, and potential complications of multiple hands‐on skills that are commonly performed by physician assistants in clinical practice. Examples include: phlebotomy, injections, IV therapy, urethral and nasogastric catheterization, pulmonary function testing, suturing, casting and splinting, various ENT procedures, and use of various types of monitoring devices and restraints. Students will have an opportunity to scrub, gown, and glove in an operating room environment. This course also covers documenting in the medical record.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5306: Medical Physiology and Pathophysiology I               [3‐0]

    Examines the history and concept of the physician assistant profession. Discusses issues that arerelevant to professional and legal practice. Discussion of future trends in the profession is also included.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5307: Medical Physiology and Pathophysiology II               [3‐0]

    This course is the second in a three‐course series. Clinical correlations support concurrent modular coursework involving the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This course is a continuation of PHAS 5306, Medical Physiology and Pathophysiology I.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5326: Patient Encounter I               [2‐3]

    This course is the first in a two‐course series. It provides students with an introduction to medical history‐taking and physical examination. Emphasis is placed on the normal adult patient. A patientcentered philosophy of health communication is used as a framework for obtaining the medical history. Physical examination of the patient is approached using a systematic model. Basic principles of documentation and presentation of subjective and objective findings in professional healthcare settings is introduced. The laboratory setting employs clinical scenarios, case studies, simulated patients, and role‐play situations as opportunities to practice the application of skills and techniques. Incremental course content builds a foundation for the development of clinical reasoning skills necessary to formulate differential diagnoses. Students are assessed using written, verbal, and practical exercises.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5327: Patient Encounter II               [2‐3]

    This course is the second in a two‐course series. It extends students' basic knowledge of history‐taking and physical examination to more complex levels of understanding and application. Emphasis is placed on special populations and the abnormal patient with patient‐centered and systematic frameworks. Patient education is introduced as an important part of health literacy and patient empowerment. Implications of culture, religion, adversity, and difficult situations on both subjective and objective data collection from the patient are discussed. Students continue to develop more advanced levels of clinical reasoning by applying concepts to real patients in clinical assignments followed by documenting, presenting, and practicing clinical decision‐making in an apprentice format. The laboratory setting employs clinical scenarios, case studies, simulated patients, and role‐play situations as opportunities to practice the application of skills and techniques. Students are assessed using written, verbal, and practical exercises. This course is a continuation of PHAS 5326, Patient Encounter I.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5328: Pharmacology I               [3‐0]

    pharmacology. Included are the principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, the mechanisms of action, toxicities and interactions of specific drugs and drug groups, and an introduction to medical therapeutics. The physiologic basis and clinical characteristics of disease states relative to pharmacologic therapy will also be discussed. The objective of the course is to lay cognitive foundation in pharmacology and therapeutics that can be refined and applied in clinic practice. Promotes the ability to recognize untoward side effects of medications. Enables the student to calculate dosages, write prescriptions, discuss pharmacokinetics, and determine the appropriate medication for a particular disease. Emphasis is placed on pharmacotherapeutics of disease.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5329: Pharmacology II               [3‐0]

    This course is the second in a three‐course series. Clinical correlations support concurrent modular coursework involving the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This course is a continuation of PHAS 5328, Pharmacology I.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5401: Clinical Medicine I               [4‐0]

    This is the first of three didactic clinical medicine courses. The course will concentrate on the etiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatment, management and prevention of disease across the human life span; organized into an organ system modular approach. The course will also provide opportunity for students to demonstrate, in preparation for the major clinical year, the ability to work collaboratively, to apply their knowledge and solve clinical problems. Instructional methods include lectures to provide the core knowledge, case‐based small group discussions, team‐based learning exercises, and independent readings. The course structure and content is closely related and aligned to the concurrent courses in the curriculum. Problem solving and medical decision‐making skills will be emphasized.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5402: Clinical Medicine II               [4‐0]

    This is the second of three didactic clinical medicine courses. This course is a continuation of PHAS 5401, Clinical Medicine I.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 5403: Clinical Medicine III               [4‐0]

    This is the third of three didactic clinical medicine courses. This course is a continuation of PHAS 5402, Clinical Medicine II.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 6101: Special Topics               [1‐0]

    This seminar course is delivered in alignment with all clinical rotations during the clinical phase semesters. Seminars focus on supplemental material and may include hands‐on learning, workshops, distinguished speakers, etc. Topics will change every semester. The course must be repeated four times for credit.

    Prerequisite: Admission into the Physician Assistant Studies Program.

    PHAS 6431: Pediatric Rotation               [1‐0]

    This is a four‐week general pediatric rotation that gives the student the opportunity to 1) elicit and record a complete pediatric history; 2) perform a complete examination; 3) formulate a management plan for common pediatric problems; 4) perform selected screening, diagnostic and treatment procedures as directed by the assigned preceptor; 5) advise and educate patients and their parents or guardians regarding optimal health of the child; and 6) monitor pediatric milestones.

    Prerequisite:Successful completion of the didactic PHAS professional curriculum.

    PHAS 6433: Obstetrics and Gynecology Rotation               [0‐0‐4]

    This is a four‐week obstetrics and gynecology rotation that gives the student the opportunity to: 1) elicit, organize, record and present a complete data base on an obstetric or gynecologic patient; 2) assist the physician effectively in procedures unique to the discipline; 3) advise the obstetric patient in pre and post‐natal care; 4) instruct patients on matters of common gynecological problems.

    Prerequisite:Successful completion of the didactic PHAS professional curriculum.

    PHAS 6435: Surgery Rotation I               [0‐0‐4]

    This four‐week supervised clinical course provides the student with hands‐on experience in the operating room setting. Both pre‐operative and post‐operative assessment and care will be emphasized. The student will be assigned to a general surgeon in private practice, where, under supervision, he/she engages in a wide variety of activities in each phase of surgical intervention: pre‐operative, operative, and post‐operative recovery. The student is given opportunities to explore the basic considerations involved in the fluid, electrolyte, and nutritional management of the surgical patient, infections, wound healing, and wound care. Students participate in daily rounds, conferences, and serve on call.

    Prerequisite:Successful completion of the didactic PHAS professional curriculum.

    PHAS 6436: Surgery Rotation II               [0‐0‐4]

    This is a four‐week surgery rotation in orthopedics surgery. The rotation will focus on outpatient and inpatient care of common orthopedic problems. The student will gain competence in evaluating pre and post‐op patient care.

    Prerequisite:Successful completion of the didactic PHAS professional curriculum.

    PHAS 6440: Medicine Rotation I               [0‐0‐4]

    This is a four‐week general medicine rotation that gives the student the opportunity to: 1) elicit, organize, and record necessary data; 2) present data in a comprehensive or problem oriented fashion; 3) order or recommend appropriate laboratory, radiologic or other diagnostic studies; 4) formulate a management plan for a particular patient problem; 5) follow patient progress by record review and periodic examination; 6) assist the physician in appropriate procedures; 7) advise and educate the patient about health maintenance issues; and 8) understand and establish emergency medical care when necessary. Students will be exposed to a variety of patients and medical conditions, such as infectious diseases, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and psychiatric conditions.

    Prerequisite:Successful completion of the didactic PHAS professional curriculum.

    PHAS 6441: Medicine Rotation II               [0‐0‐4]

    This is a four‐week primary care medicine rotation that focuses on applying the knowledge gained in the Medicine I rotation and focuses in increasing the core competencies of medical knowledge, patient care, and practice based‐learning in the area of primary care.

    Prerequisite:Successful completion of the didactic PHAS professional curriculum.

    PHAS 6442: Emergency Medicine               [0‐0‐4]

    This is a four‐week rotation that allows the student to develop skills in managing patients in the emergency room setting. These skills include those necessary for appropriate triage, stabilization, and initial management of patients with traumatic injuries and illnesses, the management of the less life threatening problems that present to the emergency room, working with the pre‐hospital emergency medical service team, and making appropriate secondary referrals. Where possible, students participate in grand rounds, noon conferences and other clinically relevant didactic presentations. A set of cognitive objectives guides student reading in preparation for a written examination at the end of the rotation.

    Prerequisite:Successful completion of the didactic PHAS professional curriculum.

    PHAS 6443: Clinical Elective               [0‐0‐4]

    This four‐week elective rotation gives the student the opportunity to: 1) understand and manage complex problems in the particular discipline chosen; 2) understand how additional knowledge and skills can be beneficial in the primary care setting; 3) understand how to be a better server in a primary care setting. This course may include extended clinical care hours, emergency or hospital and community service as deemed appropriate by the assigned preceptor.

    Prerequisite:Successful completion of the didactic PHAS professional curriculum.

    PHAS 6444: Psychiatry Rotation               [0‐0‐4]

    This is a four‐week clinical rotation that gives the student the opportunity to understand, diagnose, and treat patients with psychiatric disorders. Students conduct diagnostic interviews and perform comprehensive mental status examinations. In addition, this rotation exposes the student to a teambased approach for patient care. They learn to work with multidisciplinary teams to provide psychiatric treatment in inpatient, consult/liaison, outpatient, and emergency room settings.

    Prerequisite:Successful completion of the didactic PHAS professional curriculum.

    PHAS 7204: Capstone Research Experience               [2‐0]

    This course is designed to enable graduate‐level physician assistant students to apply knowledge,concepts, and skills learned in previous education (PHAS 5117 ‐ Evidence‐Based Medicine and Medical Research Design). Physician Assistant students research and prepare a written paper on a topic of relevance to clinical medicine using the principles of evidence‐based medicine. Students utilize data gathered during PHAS 7401, 7402, and 7403 to plan, formulate, write and report their findings.

    Prerequisite:Completion of both Didactic and Clinical Year courses.

    PHAS 7205: Capstone Review               [2‐0]

    This seminar course is designed to assess the cumulative didactic and clinical knowledge base developed throughout the entire PHAS curriculum. Performance on standardized examinations is used in conjunction with both formative and summative benchmarks to analyze readiness for graduation and professional clinical practice. Analysis of performance and synthesis of action plans to improve performance are stressed. Students must successfully complete the simulated PANCE examination in order to be certified to take the national PANCE examination.

    Prerequisite:Completion of both Didactic and Clinical Year courses.

    PHAS 7401: Capstone Clinical Track I               [4‐0]

    This course is the first in a three‐course series. This is an advanced clinical course designed to both augment and update the existing clinical skills and knowledge of the graduating Physician Assistant student. Application of physician assistant core competencies to clinical practice in the selected clinical track is examined.

    Prerequisite:Completion of both Didactic and Clinical Year courses or with permission from the department.

    PHAS 7402: Capstone Clinical Track II               [4‐0]

    This course is the second in a three‐course series. This is an advanced clinical course designed to both augment and update the existing clinical skills and knowledge of the graduating Physician Assistant student. Application of physician assistant core competencies to clinical practice in the selected clinical track is examined. This course is a continuation of PHAS 7401 – Capstone Clinical Track I.

    Prerequisite:Completion of both Didactic and Clinical Year courses or with permission from the department.

    PHAS 7403: Capstone Clinical Track III               [4‐0]

    This course is the third in a three‐course series. This is an advanced clinical course designed to both augment and update the existing clinical skills and knowledge of the graduating Physician Assistant student. Application of physician assistant core competencies to clinical practice in the selected clinical track is examined. This course is a continuation of PHAS 7402 – Capstone Clinical Track II.

    Prerequisite:Completion of both Didactic and Clinical Year courses or with permission from the department.

  • MPAS FAQ’s

    For more information, please visit the PA program webpage.
  • CASPA FAQ's

    1. CASPA

    Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application https://caspa.liaisoncas.com

    2. Shadowing Experience

    A minimum 50 hours of shadowing experience are required and MUST be documented on the CASPA application experience section. Shadowing is accepted from MD/DO, PA or NP providers only.

    Shadowing accomplished as an extracurricular activity is preferred. Shadowing while on-the-job or as part of an educational requirement is not considered ideal.

    3. Required Prerequisite Coursework

    All prerequisites must be completed by the September 1 deadline. Prerequisites taken during the Fall or Spring semesters during or after the September 1 deadline will not be considered for interview or admission. All applicants who are accepted must have a completed Bachelor's degree, its equivalent or a higher degree upon matriculation to the Physician Assistant Department.

    Prior studies or degree work, work experience, fluency in Spanish, and residency in the underserved counties of South Texas may be helpful to all applicants. Although the prerequisite coursework may be accomplished at any accredited junior college, four-year college, or university, it is preferred that most, if not all, coursework be completed at a four-year college or university. Additional recommendations include Spanish coursework and medical terminology. A human focus is recommended for Anatomy & Physiology.

    Science Semester Credit Hours

    General Biology I

    3

    General Biology II

    3

    Genetics

    3

    General Chemistry I

    3

    General Chemistry II

    3

    Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry

    3

    Microbiology

    3

    Anatomy & Physiology I

    3

    Anatomy & Physiology II

    Math

    Statistics

    3



    3

    Humanities

    Introductory Psychology or Abnormal                                 



    3

    Total Prerequisite Requirements 33

    Note: Pass or Credit grades will not be accepted for any science prerequisite course. Credit by examination is accepted for Statistics and Psychology only. All prerequisite science courses must be taken for science majors. Science courses taken for non-science majors will not be accepted. Anatomy & Physiology with a HUMAN focus is preferred.

    Note to applicants with foreign coursework: Every applicant must meet ALL prerequisite requirements. No prerequisite course waivers or substitutions will be granted. If admitted, foreign medical graduates will not be given advanced placement standing for any Physician Assistant Department coursework. All matriculates must complete the entire professional curriculum.

    I. Application Deadline (Traditional Master’s Program)

    Application Deadline is September 1st. All prerequisites must be completed (including FCSA evaluation or WES, transcripts showing conferred degree, translation of foreign educational records, and financial documentation) by the September 1 deadline. Prerequisites taken during the Fall or Spring semesters during or after the September 1 deadline will not be considered for interview or admission. Any application with pending documents by the deadline will not be considered for admission.

    II. The Admissions Process

    Meet minimum Graduate College requirements

    All applicants must first apply to the Graduate College online. Applicants meeting the minimum requirements for entry into the Graduate College will be forwarded to the Physician Assistant Department for further review.

    CASPA Application Review

    A. Applicants meeting the minimum requirements for entry into the Graduate College will considered for CASPA application review. CASPA applications for applicants not meeting Graduate College criteria will not be reviewed.

    B. The basis for inviting an applicant for interview is competitive. GPA’s > 3.0 in the sciences and last 30 hours also considered. Offers of invitation for interview consider the applicant’s academic performance represented by coursework, grades, and GPAs. In addition, application review includes, but is not limited to, consideration of non-academic qualifications listed below (listed in no particular order of preference or importance):

    I. Awards and Honors

    II. Health Care Experience

    III. Knowledge of and commitment to the PA profession

    IV. Leadership

    V. PA shadow time

    VI. Primary care/South Texas oriented

    VII. Research background

    VIII. Scholastic achievements

    IX. Service/volunteerism

    X. Work experience

    C.   Admissions Self-Appraisal Checklist.

    Interview

    Admissions interviews are granted by the PA program by invitation only. Applicants are selected for interviews based on a holistic evaluation of the entire application and supporting materials.

    The interview includes questions to assess the applicant’s knowledge of the PA profession, motivation and commitment, maturity, intellectual curiosity, interest patterns, interpersonal skills and academic history.

    Admissions Committee Decisions

    At the conclusion of all interviews, the admissions committee (comprised of PA program faculty) meets to review all applicants who were interviewed. The admissions committee will forward their selections to the program director and college dean. Once approved, those selected will be forwarded to the Graduate College for approval and official notification.

    III. Advanced Placement & Transfer Credit

    Advanced placement and waiver of courses in the professional curriculum are not available to applicants or enrolled students in the program. All students and applicants must complete the entire professional curriculum in residence at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley.

    The Physician Assistant Department does not admit students from other Physician Assistant Departments. All currently or formerly enrolled physician assistant students at other Physician Assistant Departments must participate in a competitive admissions process along with all other applicants.

    IV. Frequently Asked Questions

    Transcripts

    Where do I need to submit my transcripts?

    Official college transcripts are to be sent to CASPA.

    Do transcripts need to be sent by the Institutions?

    Transcripts must be sealed and sent directly from the institution to be considered official. Transcripts will be considered unofficial if they are hand delivered by the applicant or third party regardless if sealed by the institution. Failure to submit a complete/correct application and official transcripts from all institutions attended will result in one of the following: rejection of application, withdrawal of admission offer or disciplinary action including expulsion if the student is enrolled.

    How long will UTRGV keep my admission documents?

    Admission documents will remain on file for one year if the applicant does not attend the University.

    Online Application

    Do I need to submit recommendations to the Office of Graduate College?

    No. Recommendations are not required.

    Who can I contact if I need technical support?

    gradapps@utrgv.edu

    If I decide not to enroll, can I use my application again?

    Each application will be kept on file for one year. If a student decides to reapply within one year, they will not need to pay the application fee. If the student was accepted by a graduate program and is reapplying to the same graduate program, the student may use the shorter re- application form.

    Can I edit my Application if I have already submitted it?

    Please make sure that you have completed all sections of your application before hitting the submit button as it will then be downloaded for review by the graduate office. You may not edit your application once it has been submitted.

    V. Application Checklist

    General Requirements

    • Online application
    • Application fee
    • Official transcripts
    • Completed CASPA application with all supporting materials to CASPA
    • Shadowing Experience
    • Previous Coursework

    Requirements for International students or students whose native language is not English.

    • TOEFL or IELTS scores
    • Evaluation of educational records
    • English Translation of Educational Records
    • Financial Documentation
    • Current Immigration Documentation