Jul 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Physician Assistant Studies, M.P.A.S.

Morsani College of Medicine  
Department Physician Assistant Program 
Spring: April - (Contact department for exact date)

The goal of the USF PA Major is to prepare its graduates to deliver high-quality, evidence-based, patient-centered health care. This is accomplished through a robust, systems-based curriculum. The major (delivered over 24 continuous months) begins with a rigorous 12-month phase in basic and medical sciences. Educational methodologies include traditional lecture, clinical simulation, team-based problem solving, and hands-on laboratory learning experiences – often delivered with students from other USF health students. The 12-month clinical phase follows and students engage in approximately 2300 hours of supervised clinical practice experiences. Students will participate in the following five week, core clinical clerkships: Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Women’s Health, Behavioral and Mental Health, and two elective clerkships. Upon successful completion of the two-year curriculum, the student is awarded the Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree. The graduate is then eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA). 

Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards. Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. 

The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2031. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy. 

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at: http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-university-of-south-florida/

Admission Information

All applicants to the USF MCOM PA major must apply through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).  Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

Degree, GPA and GRE

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited College or University.  Baccalaureate degrees must be completed by the end of fall semester priot to matriculation (this means you must have graduated or be eligible to graduate no later than the end of December, or earlier)
  • Baccalaureate Degree and prerequisite coursework taken outside of the U.S. is not accepted (regardless if made equivalent by a U.S. institution).
  • Prerequisite coursework must be taken at a U.S. regionally accredited College or University.
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.00 and Science GPA of 3.00 to be considered
  • Meeting the minimum GPA requirements does not guarantee an interview or admission.  See the Application Process page for Interview Selection Process.
  • USF PA Program utilizes the GPA’s as calculated by CASPA.  We do not recalculate GPA’s.  For information regarding CASPA’s GPA calculation, please contact CASPA.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Test is required– official scores are required and must be from tests taken within the past five years.
  • GRE Scores are to be sent directly to CASPA. The Univ South Florida PA Prgm CASPA GRE code 8854. (DO NOT use USF institution code of 5828).
  • GRE scores are due in your application no later than the program’s application deadline date.  Check the Application Timeline page for this date.
  • Transfer credit or Admission with Advanced Standing from another PA major is not accepted. All curriculum requirements for the major are required for graduation and must be completed at the USF PA major.

Prerequisites Coursework

  • CLEP (College Level Examination Program), AP (Advanced Placement), IB (International Baccalaureate), ACE Credit (American Council on Education), and AICE (Advanced International Certificate of Education) course credit may not be used or substituted to meet prerequisite requirements.
  • Prerequisite coursework must be completed at an accredited College or University.
  • Prerequisite coursework must be completed by the end of the fall semester prior to matriculation.
  • The courses listed below are required for consideration and admission into the USF PA program:
    • Microbiology with laboratory - 1 Semester (or semester hour equivalent)
    • *Organic Chemistry with laboratory - 1 Semester (or semester hour equivalent)
    • Organic Chemistry II OR Biochemistry – 1 Semester (or semester hour equivalent)
    • Human Anatomy and Physiology with laboratory - 2 Semesters (or semester hour equivalent)
    • Statistics - 1 Semester (or semester hour equivalent)
    • Medical Terminology - 1 Semester (or an online certificate course)

          Note:*Chemistry laboratory can be taken with either Organic Chemistry I, Organic Chemistry II or Biochemistry. Laboratories may be part of the main course or can be taken separately.

  • Dual enrollment course credits from an accredited college or university are acceptable for prerequisites.
  • Courses designed for non-science majors will not be accepted.
  • Transfer credit or Admission with Advanced Standing from another PA, MD, or other graduate program is not accepted. All program curriculum requirements are required for graduation and must be completed at the USF PA program.
  • Veterans are encouraged to apply, and as all other applicants, must meet all the prerequisites for admissions. Veterans with questions regarding prerequisite course work should contact the PA program. Please provide a copy the Joint Services Transcript with course descriptions to determine if the course in question satisfies the prescribed prerequisite. USF MCOM has an account with JST to receive transcripts.

Experience in Healthcare Setting

  • A minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care experience in a health care setting must be completed prior to application.
  • Hands-on patient care experiences may come from a variety of places. The extent to which an applicant is actually involved in patient care will be weighed based on the description of the applicant’s duties during those hours. The title of a position is not as important as the duties the applicant performed in terms of patient contact and interaction with the patients and other healthcare providers (physicians, PAs, nurses, etc.)
  • Example as of direct patient care experiences may include, but are not limited to EMT, paramedic, medical assistant, scribe, patient care tech, nurse, surgical tech, athletic trainer, physical therapy aide, etc.
  • Applicants will submit verifiable information regarding their health care experiences on CASPA.
  • Shadowing experiences are not accepted as direct patient care.

Letters of Recommendation

  • Three letters of recommendation are required.
  • Letters should be from Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Research Mentors, Professors, Volunteer Coordinators/Supervisors who had direct interaction with the applicant and can attest to his/her qualities, strengthens and suitability for a career as a Physician Assistant.
    • One letter of a recommendation must be from someone who supervised the applicant in a clinical setting.
    • Letters should not be from a peer or family member.


  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident Alien
    • Permanent Resident Alien must possess a valid Green Card at the time of application. Documentation will be required.
  • In State or Out of State for tuition purposes

Curriculum Requirements:

Total minimum hours required: 90 hours post-baccalaureate

  • Core Requirements - 89 Credit Hours
  • Comprehensive Exam (Capstone Research Project) - 1 Credit Hour

Core Requirements (89 Credit Hours)

Comprehensive Exam

The Capstone Research Project serves in lieu of the Comprehensive Exam.


Capstone Research Project (1 Credit Hour)

The major culminates in a required capstone research project. The goal of the capstone research project is to develop competency in the critical appraisal of research and the application of the best evidence to patient care, health policy, and advocacy; ultimately resulting in improved patient outcomes.


This major does not require a thesis.


Upon graduation, the MPAS graduate will be eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).