University of Holy Cross

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies



The UHCPA program participates in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). The online application deadline is March 1, 2020. The fee is based on the number of programs to which an applicant applies. All candidates must submit official transcripts from regionally accredited universities or colleges directly to CASPA. Transcripts should not be sent to UHC. For questions about completing the online application, please contact CASPA at

Admission Requirements

1. Completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
a. All coursework must be completed prior to June 1st of the year entering the PA Program.
2. Preferred cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0
3. Preferred natural science GPA of 3.0
4. Completion of required prerequisite coursework with a “C” grade or better.
5. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) completed within the last 5 years from the application deadline with verbal, quantitative and analytical writing scores. A combination of scores from separate exam dates may not be utilized. Official GRE scores must be sent directly to CASPA.
6. Direct Patient Care experience minimum of 500 hours required.
7. Shadowing a Physician Assistant minimum of 40 hours required.
8. Three letters of recommendation:
a. One MUST be from a Physician Assistant;
b. One from any of the following medical providers (MD, DO, PA, NP);
c. One from either a university/college professor or another letter from a medical provider.
9. Personal narrative included in CASPA
10. (BLS) Basic Life Support for the Healthcare Professional certification (One year remaining at time of enrollment)
11. Applicants must meet the PA Program’s technical standards in order to be considered for admission into the program.
12. Background check and drug screen (for individuals accepted into the program)
13. Immunization Requirements and Health Screening (for individuals accepted into the program)
14. Seat Deposit of $ 750 (for individuals accepted into the program)

Required Prerequisite Coursework Min Course Crs
Upper Level Biology 6 - 8
Chemistry I & II with Lab 8
Human Anatomy with Lab 4
Human Physiology 3
Microbiology with lab 4
Biochemistry I 3
Organic Chemistry I 3
General Psychology 3
Genetics 3
Statistics 3
Medical Terminology 1


Additional Considerations
1. All prerequisite coursework must be obtained from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S.
2. All prerequisite coursework must be completed prior to matriculation.
3. Applicants with more than three (3) outstanding prerequisites cannot be considered for admission.
4. Online courses are only acceptable for Psychology, Genetics, Statistics, and Medical Terminology.
5. Microbiology with lab, Human Anatomy with lab, Physiology, and Genetics courses must be taken in the last 10 years.
6. Human Anatomy with lab course and Physiology course may be taken as Human Anatomy & Physiology 1 with lab course and Human Anatomy & Physiology 2 with lab course.

Advanced Placement/Transfer Credit
1. Program does not accept Advanced Placement (AP)credit, prerequisite course work graded as Pass/Fail or credit obtained by CLEP Examination.
2. Program does not accept transfer students from other PA programs or medical schools.
3. Program does not accept any type of transfer credit.
4. Program does not allow advanced placement in the program.

Preference for Specific Applicants

1. Program gives preference to the following applicants:
● Louisiana residents
● Honorably discharged veterans with a medical military occupational specialty

2. PA Program gives preference to applicants graduating from the following universities/colleges:

● Grambling State University

● Dillard University

● University of Holy Cross

Any applicant applying to the PA Program from these three universities who meet the admission requirements will be offered an interview.

Some Acceptable Forms of Direct Patient Care

▪ Athletic Trainer

▪ Physical/Occupational Therapist

▪ Chiropractor

▪ Dental Hygienist/Assistant

▪ Dietician

▪ EEG/Neurodiagnostic Technologist

▪ ECG Technologist

▪ Emergency Medical Technician

▪ Medical Assistant

▪ Military Medic (Other Military Medical)

▪ Nursing (CNA, LPN, RN, MSN)

▪ Paramedic

▪ Pharmacist

▪ Pharmacy Technician

▪ Phlebotomist

▪ PT/OT Assistant

▪ Radiologic Technologist

▪ Respiratory Therapist

▪ Medical Scribe

▪ Surgical Technician

▪ Physician

▪ Veterinarian

▪ Dentist

(The DPC experience does not have to be paid or full-time experience. Volunteer hours may count towards this requirement.) Admissions Process and Selection

1. Admission to UHC’s PA Program is a competitive process, and it looks for well-rounded candidates.|
2. The PA Program has a rolling admission process and will review applications as they become completed in CASPA and schedule on-campus interviews throughout the fall and spring.
3. Successful candidates will be invited for an on-campus interview.
4. The program will consider all admission criteria when selecting applicants.
5. Candidates with higher cumulative/science GPAs and more direct patient care hours will score higher in the admissions process.

Letter of Recommendations
1. Letters should not be obtained from a family friend or relative.
2. Letters from medical providers should be obtained from MD, PA, DO, or NP’s ONLY.

Background Check and Drug Screen
1. Any applicant offered a seat in the program will be required to complete a background check and drug screen through a vendor designated by the program in the spring prior to enrollment.
2. Official acceptance of the student applicant will be contingent on successful completion of the background check and drug screen.
3. Adverse results on a background check will be considered on an individual basis and may result in an inability to matriculate into the program. Individual admission decisions will be finalized when results of the criminal background check are deemed satisfactory.
4. Applicants are responsible for costs in obtaining the background check and drug screen.
5. Additional background checks and drug screens may be required by clinical sites during the clinical phase of the program. Enrolled students are responsible for costs in obtaining the additional background checks and drug screens (estimated cost $50 to $55 each).

Immunization Requirements and Health Screening
1. Applicants accepted into the program will be required to obtain a physical examination signed by a medical provider and the following immunizations.
• Immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella as indicated by documentation of 2 doses of live vaccine or positive titers, even if born before 1957
• Varicella (chicken pox) having had the disease, a positive titer or documentation of 2 doses of Varivax vaccine (one month apart) if the titer was negative
• Hepatitis B immunization series of three and an antibody titer
• Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Tdap) booster in the last ten years
• Primary series of three doses of polio immunizations
• 2 Step Mantoux PPD skin test (within the last 2 months) or two yearly consecutive negative PPD tests.
o QuantiFERON®–TB Gold In-Tube test (QFT-GIT) or T-SPOT® (T-Spot) are acceptable CDC-approved alternatives
o If PPD conversion has been documented or a person has a positive QFT-GIT or T-spot, a chest x-ray or a statement from the treating physician regarding evaluation for INH therapy is required
• Annual influenza vaccine
2. Applicants are responsible for costs of immunizations and health screening.

Student Employment Policy
The PA Program is an intensive full-time program with heavy academic demands and should be viewed as a full-time job. Employment, even part-time, while enrolled as a PA student in the didactic or clinical phase of the program is not feasible or permitted by the program. Concurrent enrollment in another educational program is also not permitted due to the academic demands placed on the students while enrolled in the program. PA students are not permitted to work as student workers for the PA Program while enrolled. PA students are also not permitted to function as faculty members and provide instruction in the program. PA students that have advanced training in specific areas may assist faculty members in the laboratory setting, but they are not permitted to grade proficiency tests in those areas.

Tuition Waiver Policy
While faculty and staff (and their spouses and dependents) are typically eligible for a tuition waiver for coursework at UHC after two years of employment, the Physician Assistant Program will not participate in this policy.

Travel to Clinical Experiences Policy
Students will be required to travel to clinical rotations during the clinical phase of the program and early patient experiences during the Didactic Phase of the program. Students are required to have transportation to these educational activities. Early didactic patient experiences will be located in New Orleans and the surrounding area. During the Clinical Phase of the program, clinical rotations will be located across the state of Louisiana and surrounding states. Students will be expected to have a mode of transportation to the clinical rotation sites. Students will be required to pay for housing outside of the New Orleans area during the clinical phase, but the PA Program will endeavor to assist students in finding housing.

Drug Testing Policy
The PA Program strives to provide a professional environment that is safe and drug-free for our students, faculty, staff and patients. The PA Program prohibits the possession, use, solicitation or sale of illicit substances or prescription medications by students. The program also prohibits students from being impaired or intoxicated by alcohol or prescription medication while on university premises or at clinical sites. To ensure drug-free educational and clinical experiences, all accepted applicants must consent to a drug screen prior to matriculation that will be conducted through Certified Background. During enrollment in the program students may also be required by the program to be randomly drug tested. In addition, clinical affiliates may require drug screening prior to accepting students for specific clinical rotations. Students must provide a notarized consent for this additional drug testing. Students who do not consent to pre-matriculation drug testing will not be permitted to enroll in the program. Students who refuse drug testing required by the program or clinical affiliates will be subject to disciplinary action which may lead to dismissal from the program. All costs associated with drug testing are the responsibility of the student. Initial and any repeat drug tests will cost $50 to $55.

Student Consent for Participation
PA students need to understand and acknowledge that participation in the Physical Assessment laboratories, clinical medicine laboratories and Simulation activities is required to complete the Master of Physician Assistant Studies Degree. For the Physical Assessment laboratory, each student will be paired off with a student partner to work with throughout the semester. Each student will be expected to practice physical examination skills on each other except for the male genitourinary/ rectal exam and the female gynecological and breast exam. These types of exams may be performed on standardized patients. Attire for the Physical Assessment laboratory will generally include shorts and t-shirts unless there is an exception due to religious restrictions. During several exams, female students will be expected to wear jog bras and male students will be expected to be shirtless under the provided patient gowns.

The majority of the clinical medicine procedural laboratory training will be conducted on simulated anatomical models/ mannequins. Initial injection and venipuncture training is also conducted on models but the PA Program also requires proficiency on human subjects before entering the Clinical Phase of the program. Simulation activities will also occur throughout the Didactic and Clinical Phase of the program and may involve performing simulated procedures on mannequins.

Student Attendance Policy
Students must keep the hours between 8 A.M. and 5 P.M. available during weekdays (Monday through Friday) to accommodate schedule changes and activities mandated by the PA Program. Students are required to attend all classes, laboratories, educational activities and patient experiences during the didactic phase of the program. During the clinical phase of the program, students must attend all end of rotation meetings on-campus and successfully complete the summative evaluation. Attendance is mandatory at all core and elective rotations which may include early mornings, evenings, nights, weekends and extended hours. Students will observe holidays that are observed by the clinical site. The clinical site schedule supersedes the University academic calendar. It is the responsibility of the students to be able to transport themselves in a timely manner to all clinical training sites to participate in educational training and patient care responsibilities.

Professionalism is an essential component of being a good medical provider. Professionalism is demonstrated through a foundation of clinical competence, communication skills, and ethical standards. Professionalism is not knowledge or something that you have; it is a behavior that must be demonstrated. Professionalism is something that must be practiced daily and become a way of life. As a PA student, there is a transition into becoming a medical provider, and professionalism is one of the most important elements. It encompasses appearance, attendance, punctuality, preparedness, personal responsibility, integrity, accepting criticism, respecting authority, positive attitude, teamwork, altruism, rapport with others, initiative, self-confidence, confidentiality, compassion, knowing limitations, and respecting diversity. The PA Program takes professionalism very seriously and students will be continuously assessed for modeling professional behavior.

Non-Discrimination Policy
Students are considered without regard to race, color, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status or disability status as a criterion in deciding against any individual in matters of admission, placement, transfer, hiring, dismissal, compensation, fringe benefits, training, tuition assistance, and other personnel or educationally-related actions.


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A Ministry of the Marianites of Holy Cross: Educating Hearts and Minds

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