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PA student checking blood pressure


Academic Requirements

Competition for entry into Physician Assistant Programs is very intense. Applicants must meet the general requirements for entry into a Graduate Program at Christian Brothers University as well as the standards for admission to the Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program. The admissions committee of the PA Program bases all decisions upon the prospective student’s overall and science grade point averages (2.8 GPA minimum is required), the personal interview, GRE score, knowledge of the profession, healthcare experience, and the applicant’s letters of reference (letters from an M.D., P.A. and/or former teachers are preferred). Prerequisite requirements include graduation from an accredited college or university with a baccalaureate degree including successful completion of academic coursework in:

  • Anatomy with lab (four semester hours)
  • Physiology with lab (four semester hours, or combined Anatomy/Physiology with lab eight semester hours)
  • General Chemistry with lab (eight semester hours)
  • General Biology with lab (eight semester hours)
  • Genetics with lab (four semester hours)
  • Organic Chemistry with lab or Biochemistry with lab (4 hours required, 8 hours are recommended)
  • Microbiology with lab (four semester hours)
  • General Psychology (three semester hours)
  • Medical Terminology (complete course)

Academic exposure to the following courses will enhance the potential success of a candidate for entry into the program:

  • Statistics or Biostatistics
  • Advanced or Abnormal Psychology
  • Cell Biology or Histology
  • Embryology
  • Epidemiology or Pathogenic Bacteriology
  • Human Sexuality
  • Physics
  • Technical Writing
  • Advanced Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis

A personal statement and résumé are also required as part of your application documents.

Technical Standards for Admission

The CBU Physician Assistant Program seeks candidates who will be able to serve the needs of the community by becoming skilled and effective Physician Assistants. Matriculated students in the Program must demonstrate the academic ability and technical skills necessary to acquire the knowledge and abilities of a Physician Assistant in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. Candidates for admission must possess technical abilities in the following areas:

  • Observation and visual integration: Candidates must be able to observe demonstrations, visual presentations, lectures, laboratory studies and microbiologic specimens, and experiments in the basic medical and clinical setting. In addition, they must be able to accurately observe a patient both close at hand and at a distance thereby necessitating the use of visual, olfactory, and tactile senses. Visual capabilities are necessary for proper evaluation and treatment integration including the assessment of symmetry, range of motion, and tissue texture changes.

  • Communication: Candidates must exhibit the ability to speak, hear, and observe patients to gather pertinent data including perceived nonverbal communications and be able describe their observations (including activity and function, mood, and posture).

  • Motor and sensory: Applicants must have adequate gross and fine motor function and coordination to elicit information from patients via auscultation, palpation, and percussion, and to use appropriate diagnostic testing techniques and instrumentation to complete movements made to provide routine and emergent medical care. Examples include, but are not limited to the performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, advanced cardiac life support, administering intravenous medications, suturing of simple and complex wounds, treatment of respiratory distress or bleeding, and routine obstetric and gynecologic care, as well as assisting in surgery. Tactile skills, visual acuity, and motor skills must allow for the candidate to tolerate physically taxing workloads.

  • Intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities: Successful applicants will have exhibited skills in problem solving, and critical thinking, measurement, calculation, comprehension of three dimensional relationships, and structural spatial relations consistent with medical practice. Candidates must be able to assimilate and learn large amounts of complex, technically detailed information and to synthesize and apply concepts arising from it to create diagnostic and therapeutic plans.

  • Behavioral and social attributes: Candidates and matriculated students will need to exhibit an ongoing level of emotional health to allow them to optimally utilize intellectual, cognitive, and reasoning judgment required of medical professionals. Interpersonal skills including compassion, empathy, sensitivity, and the ability to quickly establish a rapport with others must be noted. Honesty and integrity must be exhibited in all facets of the candidates’ background and affiliation with the Program. Candidates must be able to accept constructive criticism and respond via appropriate behavior modification.

  • General health: Strength, mobility, and endurance will be required in various facets of the program. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically demanding workloads, nontraditional work schedules, noisy environments, and long hours all the while maintaining composure, and emotional stability. Therefore, candidates must be of generally good health with sufficient total body strength, range of motion, and cardiovascular endurance to perform adequately the tasks instructed within and assessed in the Program.

Candidates admitted to the Program are required to certify in writing that they understand and meet the above standards. If a candidate does not feel they may be able to meet the technical standards should contact the Dean of Students in the Office of Student Life. The Program will attempt, to the best of its ability, to develop mechanisms by which otherwise qualified candidates for admission can be accommodated; however, the integrity of the curriculum and the need to provide optimal patient care must be maintained in order to ensure that all parts of the Program Curriculum be delivered to all matriculated Program students. The Program requires students to meet standards to ensure that its graduates possess a certain level of cognitive and technical skill. Students must be capable of successfully completing the entire CBU PA Program curriculum upon which they will achieve a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies.

Applicants should be aware that completion of all prerequisites does not guarantee an interview for or acceptance into the CBU PA Program. The PA Program does not provide advanced standing or transfer of academic credit from other Physician Assistant programs. The application deadline is July 1st and the application materials deadline is July 31st. A background check and drug screen are also required prior to admission.

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