5-Year Physician Assistant Program Admission
The five-year BSHS/MSPA program is an accelerated program. The program consists of three years of undergraduate study and two years of graduate study.
The master of science in physician assistant studies program (MSPA) is the graduate portion of the program and is a two-year professional program divided into a 12-month didactic phase followed by a 12-month clinical education phase in the form of supervised clinical practice experiences. This program is an extension of the three-year Valparaiso University undergraduate bachelor of science in health science (BSHS) program and serves as the culminating phase of the five-year physician assistant program (3+2) model.
The MSPA program has a limited number of direct-entry seats, and admission to the program is competitive. The program uses a rolling admission process, thus applicants who apply early and submit their deposit will receive preference.
Admission to the physician assistant program at the freshman level requires the following:
- Successful completion of four years of lab science in high school (biology, chemistry, anatomy/physiology, and physics recommended)
- Successful completion of pre-calculus
- Cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher*
*Preference is given to students who demonstrate higher achievement in these areas and class rank.
It is highly recommended that students begin shadowing and observing a physician assistant while in high school to become more familiar with the profession. The local state physician assistant society or academy is the best way to connect to practicing PAs from the area.
The Valparaiso University PA program does not participate in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).
Students who submit results of AP examinations are eligible to receive credit for the undergraduate BSHS degree in accordance with the table published in the General Catalog, “Advanced Placement Program” section.
The accredited, graduate phase of the five-year PA program (MSPA) does not accept transfer students nor grant early entry.
Direct Admit Pathway. Qualified students entering as a first semester freshman will be admitted directly to the BSHS/MSPA five-year program after meeting the following requirement:
- Successfully complete the BSHS degree program requirements.
Non-Direct Admit Pathway. Students who were not admitted into the PA program via the direct admit pathway will be considered for admission to the PA program if they have met the BSHS degree program progression criteria and have successfully completed the BSHS degree, pending available seats.
For the undergraduate BSHS progression criteria, please refer to the University General Catalog here.
Preference is given to students who demonstrate higher achievement in GPA (overall, science, and health science), maturity, leadership, quality of field experience courses, understanding of PA concept and program mission, commitment to a career in healthcare, and service to others.
The Valparaiso University physician assistant program is a rigorous curriculum in which students acquire the general knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors required for the practice of medicine. The Valparaiso University physician assistant program considers it essential for all physician assistant graduates to have the ability to function in a variety of clinical situations and to provide a wide spectrum of patient care. Essential Functional Eligibility Requirements (Technical Standards) are defined as the attributes considered necessary for students to complete their education and training and subsequently enter clinical practice. An individual must be able to independently demonstrate capabilities to meet these minimum standards, with or without reasonable accommodations, for successful completion of degree requirements. Reasonable accommodation will be offered for persons with disabilities in conjunction with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Specific Essential Functional Eligibility Requirements have been adopted for admission, promotion, and graduation from the PA program.
Students must possess the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data. They must have functional use of the senses of vision, hearing, equilibrium, and taste. Their exteroceptor (touch, pain, and temperature) and proprioceptor (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis, and vibratory) senses must be sufficiently intact to enable the student to carry out all the activities required to complete the functions described in the Technical Skills document.
Students who are applying to the College of Nursing and Health Professions will be required to complete supervised clinical practice experiences to fulfill the requirements of their field of study and degree. The vast majority of hospital systems, hospitals, clinics, and medical offices require students to submit documentation of a completed vaccination series (including COVID-19) to meet their requirements to enter their facilities and attend a clinical practice experience. This policy is mandated by the clinical site.
Furthermore, students who contract COVID-19 will have to adhere to CDC guidelines requiring a quarantine period removing them from the clinical setting. This may result in the student being unable to meet the minimum hour requirements needed for successful completion of the clinical course.
The student accepts all responsibility that, if there are no clinical sites available for an unvaccinated student (including COVID-19), their graduation may be delayed until a clinical site is available. If no sites are available in a reasonable timeframe, the student would not meet the requirements for successful completion of the clinical course and degree. The student assumes all financial responsibility for their decision.