Jun 24, 2019  
2017-2018 University Catalog 
2017-2018 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physician Assistant Studies, MS

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Physician Assistant Studies Program: Admission Requirements

Admission to the PA program is competitive and student selection is based on various factors, such as overall strength of academic performance, type and quality of prior health care experience, including experience working with or shadowing PAs, and interpersonal communication skills.

The program is rigorous and academic preparedness will be assessed based on general and science course grade point average, prerequisite course work grade point average, coursework completed prior to application, and performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Requirements for admission into the PA program include the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university prior to matriculation into the program.
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required each, for both the Total GPA and Science GPA is required.  GPAs greater than 3.3 each for total and science is considered competitive; GPAs greater than 3.5 each for total and science is considered highly competitive.  
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores taken within five years prior to application submission.  A minimal combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 1,000, or 302 in the new scoring system, is required for interview and admission consideration.  
    • A combined score of 1,200 and above, or 309 in the new scoring system, is considered competitive; a combined score of 1,290, or 314 in the new scoring system, and above is highly competitive.
    • The score must be attained at a single seating of the exam.  If you take the GRE more than once, batched and partial scores are not accepted.
    • Original copies of your GRE scores must be sent directly to Rush University.  The PA Program GRE code is: 0962.
  • Documented hands-on, direct patient contact experience in a health care setting, accrued within seven years of application submission.   Experience working with or shadowing PAs is required.  A minimum of 1000 hours direct patient contact experience is required at the time of application submission.  Having above 1,500 hours is competitive, and having 2,500 hours and above is considered highly competitive.
  • A completed application submitted to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).  
    • A supplemental application, and $40 fee, is required only if you are invited to interview at the program.   Information regarding this will be provided with an interview invitation.
  • An on campus interview with members of the PA program faculty and admissions committee
  • All applicants must meet the minimum requirements to perform the essential functions of a PA.  See the Technical Standards sheet for more information.  
  • Admission is contingent upon successful completion of a health assessment, criminal background check, and drug screening processes prior to matriculation.  Information regarding this requirement is discussed during interviews.
  • Applicants with coursework or a bachelor’s degree conferred outside of the United States must submit a course equivalence evaluation by either World Education Services (WES) or Education Credentials Evaluators (ECE)
  • TOEFL scores, if English is not your native language.
  • Attendance in the program is on a full-time basis only. Students entering the PA program must complete the cur¬riculum in its entirety. No advanced standing or transfer credits will be awarded, regardless of previous professional or academic experience.
  • The PA program admits students into the class on a rolling admission basis. This means that at each interview session, offers are made to fill seats in the class. Under a rolling admissions process, it is possible to fill all the seats in the class before interviews are done. It is to the applicant’s advantage to submit all application materials as early as possible.
  • Due to the competitive nature of the application process, meeting posted admission criteria to the program does not guarantee an interview offer for the program.


Additional Factors for Admissions Consideration

Rush University and the PA Program are committed creating a class environment that mirrors our diverse community, and that supports access and inclusion among our students.  While all candidates must meet posted minimum admissions criteria, candidates with any of the following factors indicated on their CASPA application are given additional consideration towards admission to the program, to be reviewed on a case by case basis:

  • Military veterans
  • Persons from an underrepresented minority group in the healthcare sciences
  • Persons from economically disadvantaged backgrounds
  • First person to attend a higher education training program


Completing My Application to the Rush University PA Program

The application cycle is open from April 27 to October 1 of each year.  

Applications must be submitted online via CASPA at: https://portal.caspaonline.org/ CASPA application requires:

  • Submission of official transcripts for all college course work completed
  • Three letters of recommendation.  It is preferred that at least one of the letters be from a PA, physician, or other health care provider who is familiar with the PA profession.
  • A personal statement
  • Payment of an application fee as outlined by CASPA


Physician Assistant Studies Program: Required Prerequisites

The following courses must be completed prior to matriculation into the program. Advanced placement or CLEP courses are not accepted towards meeting prerequisite course requirements.

Candidates must have at least four of the required courses completed at the time of application submission.

Course grades of C or better are mandatory for all prerequisite courses. Courses with grades of B or better are considered competitive for admission consideration.

  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
    • OR a two-course sequence combined Human Anatomy & Physiology course
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology (with Lab preferred but not required)
  • Psychology or equivalent course work in the behavioral sciences
  • Statistics

It is strongly recommended that all courses be taken within seven years prior to application to the program.

The following prerequisite courses MUST BE taken within the past seven years prior to application to the program:

  • Human anatomy
  • Human physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology

Physician Assistant Studies Program Technical Standards

Rush University is committed to diversity and to attracting and educating students who will make the population of health care professionals representative of the national population.

Our core values - ICARE - Innovation, Collaboration, Accountability, Respect and Excellence translate into our work with all students, including those with disabilities. Rush actively collaborates with students to develop innovative ways to ensure accessibility and creates a respectful accountable culture through our confidential and specialized disability support. Rush is committed to excellence in accessibility; we encourage students with disabilities to disclose and seek accommodations.

The following technical functions are required of all students enrolled in the Physician Assistant Studies program:

Acquire information

  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences in courses such as lecture, group, and physical demonstrations.
  • Acquire information from written documents and computer systems (e.g., literature searches & data retrieval).
  • Identify information presented in accessible images from paper, slides, videos with audio description, and transparencies.
  • Identify information presented in images from paper, slides, videos, and transparencies.
  • Recognize and assess patient changes in mood, activity, cognition, verbal, and non-verbal communication.

Use and Interpret

  • Use and interpret information from assessment techniques/maneuvers. Use and interpret information related to physiologic phenomena generated from diagnostic tools.


  • Possess psychomotor skills necessary to provide or assist in holistic Physician Assistant Studies care and perform or assist with procedures and treatments.
  • Practice in a safe manner and appropriately provide Physician Assistant Studies care and assessment in emergencies and life support procedures and perform universal precautions against contamination.


  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families.
  • Communicate effectively with faculty, preceptors, and all members of the healthcare team during practicum and other learning experiences.
  • Accurately elicit information including a medical history and other information to adequately and effectively evaluate a population’s, client’s or patient’s condition.

Intellectual ability

  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize data related to diagnosis and treatment of patients and populations.
  • Exercise proper judgment and complete responsibilities in a timely and accurate manner according to the Physician Assistant Studies role.
  • Synthesize information, problem solve, and think critically to judge the most appropriate theory, assessment, or treatment strategy.


  • Maintain mature, sensitive, effective relationships with clients/patients, families, students, faculty, staff, preceptors and other professionals under all circumstances.
  • Exercise skills of diplomacy to advocate for patients in need.
  • Possess emotional stability to function under stress and adapt to rapidly changing environments inherent to the classroom and practice settings.


  • Demonstrate concern for others.
  • Integrity, accountability, interest, and motivation are necessary personal qualities.
  • Demonstrate intent and desire to follow the Rush University and Physician Assistant Studies Code of Ethics.

The technical standards delineated above must be met with or without accommodation. Students who, after review of the technical standards, determine that they require reasonable accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Student Disability Services to confidentially discuss their accommodations needs. Given the clinical nature of our programs time may be needed to implement the accommodations. Accommodations are never retroactive; therefore, timely requests are essential and encouraged. To learn more about accommodations at Rush University please contact:

Marie Ferro-Lusk, MBA, MSW, LSW
Manager, Office of Student Disability Services
Rush University
600 S. Paulina St. AAC 440
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-5237

Physician Assistant Studies Program: Curriculum

Phase I: Course Descriptions


  • PHA - 511 Human Anatomy Credit Hours: (5)
  • PHA - 512 History and Physical Examination Credit Hours: (2)
  • PHA - 513 Professionalism & Practice I Credit Hours: (2)
  • PHA - 514 Clinical Medicine I Credit Hours: (4)
  • PHA - 515 Diagnostic Methods Credit Hours: (1)

    *The 2017-18 Rush University catalog outlines the curriculum for Physician Assistant Studies students who begin their coursework in the 2018 summer term. Physician Assistant Studies students who began their program in the 2017 summer term are bound by the 2016-17 Rush University catalog. However, as a result of a calendar conversion, PA students starting in the 2017 summer term will follow their initial summer coursework curriculum (outlined directly below), while adhering to the new curriculum starting in the Phase I Fall term, as detailed in the curriculum that follows.


    Summer 2017 Term Curriculum

    PAS 511 – Human Anatomy (7 quarter credits)

    PAS 512 – History & Physical Examination (3 quarter credits)

    PAS 513 – PA Professionalism and Practice I (2 quarter credits)

    PAS 514 – Clinical Medicine I (5 quarter credits)

    PAS 515 – Diagnostic Methods (1 quarter credit)

Phase II Courses: Core Clinical Rotations Descriptions

Phase III Course Descriptions: Advanced Clinical Rotations

Total Semester Hours for Program: 132

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