Physician Assistant Program


Frequently Asked Questions


Is the LSUHSC-New Orleans Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program accredited?

Yes. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Physician Assistant Program - New Orleans sponsored by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center- New Orleans.  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remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards.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 2027. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

What degree is awarded by the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program?

The LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program will award the Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree.


General Questions

Must I apply through CASPA?

Applicants MUST submit all application materials through the centralized application service for Physician Assistant Programs (CASPA). CASPA will open April 26, 2018 and close August 1. 2018. The LSU HSC NO MPAS Program will only accept applications submitted and verified by CASPA on or before August 1, 2018.

Must I have a bachelor’s degree to enter the program?

Yes, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited United States university or college is required. All science prerequisite courses must have been taken with the past ten years.

I already have a bachelor's degree. Do I still need to complete all the prerequisites?

Yes, all applicants regardless of undergraduate degree or major must complete all prerequisites before entering the PA program.

Does the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program give preference to any major?

No, the program does not give preference to any major. The most common majors are in the biological sciences.

Are there any standardized tests required for admission?

Yes, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. Please see the GRE website for complete details. The TOEFL is required for non-native speakers of English. The GRE must have been taken within the past five years. do not accept the MCAT.

How many applicants were there this past year?

In the Fall 2016 application cycle, we received over 450 applications.

How many students are accepted?

The ARC-PA allows the program to accept 30 students per year.

Do you have a distance learning option for the Program?

There is no distance learning option for the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program.

May I enroll in the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program on a part-time basis?

No. The rigorous and faced-paced nature of the LSUHSC-NO MPAS program curriculum does not allow time for the student to work during the program or take courses part-time.

Does the program accept transfer students?

No. All students accepted into the Master of Physician Assistant Studies curriculum must participate in the competitive admissions process. The program does not admit transfer students from other PA programs.

What do I need if I am an international applicant?

Please refer to the LSUHSC-New Orleans General Catalog for specific information.

Does the program require me to own a laptop computer?

Yes, enrolled students are required to own a laptop computer. This allows students to access exams and other important materials from secure sites. If accepted for matriculation, further information will be provided regarding the specifications required. Students are NOT required to purchase a laptop through the School of Allied Health Professions.

Is a supplemental application required?

No supplemental application is required.

If I am accepted into the program, when do classes begin?

Classes begin in the Spring of each year.

What is the wait list?

When the class is selected, an alternate group of applicants is also selected. Applicants from this list may be called upon to fill a vacancy if a selected applicant decides not to accept a position in the class. Alternates may be selected up to the first day of class in January.

Will being an alternate one year mean I have an advantage in the application pool the following year?

No. Each year the applicants are evaluated against each other. Being an alternate in one year does not give applicants an advantage in subsequent years.

What are the minimum overall GPA, minimum Science GPA and minimum GRE scores required of accepted students?

The minimum required overall GPA is 3.0, on a 4.0 scale. The minimum Science GPA is a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The Program recommends applicants have a minimum score of 153 (old score 500) on the verbal and 144 (old score 500) on the quantitative, and 3.5 on the analytical writing components of the GRE General Test to be competitive with others in the overall applicants pool.  GRE Prep Guide. The GRE exam must be taken and scores submitted to the CASPA website with the application.


Can I work while I am in the PA Program?

Working while enrolled in PA program courses (including the clinical portion) is not recommended or allowed due to the heavy schedule and workload. It is difficult to juggle class time, study time, and personal time. The student must stay focused to be successful.

What is the length of the curriculum?

The program curriculum will begin in January and complete 29 months later in May.

What does the curriculum consist of?

Please refer to the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Student Handbook for current degree plans.

Is a capstone required?

Yes. Students must complete PYAS 6578 Capstone Project in order to meet graduation requirements.

Can I substitute other classes for the ones published as prerequisites (e.g. organic chemistry for biochemistry)?

Our pre-requisites are in place to ensure that students enter the program well prepared for the challenging curriculum that we provide; therefore, we do not accept any substitutions for our pre-requisite classes and we do not waive any classes.  (Organic chemistry would not satisfy the general chemistry requirement).

Do you accept transfer credits or advanced standing?

Regardless of previous education or work experience, all students are required to complete the entire physician assistant curriculum. No advanced placement, transfer credit, or credit for experiential learning will be granted.


Academic and Experience Prerequisites

Do I need to have completed all of the prerequisite courses before I apply?

No. All prerequisite courses MUST be completed prior to enrollment.

How many courses may be outstanding during the application process?

The program recommends that only two (2) non-science pre-requisite courses be in progress at the time of application. All courses must be complete prior to matriculation.

Is there an expiration date for the science prerequisite courses?

Yes. All science prerequisites must be completed within ten (10) years of the application deadline.

What is considered direct patient care experience?

Patient care that is ‘hands-on’ in nature. Successful applicants have worked as one of the following: emergency medical technician, licensed vocational nurse, medical assistant (back office), medical scribe, medical technologist, military medical corpsman, nursing assistant, paramedic, psychiatric technician, radiologic technician, respiratory therapist, chiropractor, registered nurse, etc.

Is volunteer experience required?

The LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program is dedicated to the advancement of physician assistant education, and emphasizes service to the medically underserved. Volunteering in both health-related and non-health related settings is very highly recommended.

Must I shadow a PA?

Shadowing a PA is very highly recommended. This experience not only gives the applicant an insight into the profession on an intimate level, but also affords the applicant an opportunity to see if she or he is a ‘good-fit’ for the profession.

Letters of recommendation

We accept three letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation must be sent through the CASPA portal only and must not be from family members. Letters of recommendation should come from doctors shadowed, current and/or former professors, current and/or former employers; and one must be from a PA.

Can I substitute other classes for the ones published as prerequisites (e.g. organic chemistry for biochemistry)?

Our pre-requisites are in place to ensure that students enter the program well prepared for the challenging curriculum that we provide; therefore, we do not accept any substitutions for our pre-requisite classes. Entering the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program without this background knowledge puts the student at a disadvantage.

What upper level biology courses will meet the pre-requisite requirement?

The upper level biology courses must be a 3000 or 4000 level course that is related to the application and use in a medical curriculum.  Courses such as Ecology and Herpetology will not be accepted.

If accepted in the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program, can I select any of my own rotations during my clinical year?

No. The program's Clinical Coordinator schedules the core clinical curriculum. Students have two electives

Can I transfer into the program and/or transfer credits?

No. The program does not offer advanced standing or accept graduate transfer credits. All students must complete the entire series of academic courses and clinical rotations. Prerequisite courses such as microbiology, anatomy, chemistry, etc. are not actually transferred into the program, but rather necessary to be eligible for admission consideration.

If I am accepted into the Physician Assistant Program, may I defer my acceptance to the following year?

No. The Physician Assistant Program is unable to defer admissions.

Do I need a lab with all the classes that have labs listed as a requirement?

Yes. The labs that are required are important hands on learning experiences in preparing you for professional training. Lab classes can often be taken alone if you have already had the associated course.

If I am accepted into the program, when do classes begin?

Classes begin in the Spring of each year.

Where will I do my clinical rotations?

Clinical rotations are determined by the clinical coordinator

Is there a fee for “guaranteeing” my position in the program?


What does it mean, “Pre-requisite courses must be for science majors.”

Although you are not required to have a science major or degree, pre-requisite science courses must be from the science curriculum at your university or college. Be cautious about completing science courses unique to a particular subject/major as they will not be accepted.

Are on-line classes accepted?

Pre-requisites can be taken from any regionally accredited college or university. On-line or distance science courses are NOT accepted. In addition, no distance lab courses will be accepted.

We do not accept online science courses of any kind.

Do you have counseling regarding pre-requisite courses?

No.  If you are unsure about prerequisite courses, review the list of prerequisites on this site. These are the official requirements and may differ from what your campus advisor tells you or what may be printed in your college's catalog. The Information Sessions provide answers to any questions potential applicants have regarding the program including prerequisite course questions. These sessions explain the application process. If you are unable to attend an Information Session and have questions regarding prerequisite courses that were not answered by reading the website, you may email the LSUHSC-NO Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program for further clarification. LSUHSC-NO does not have a graduate counselor to assist in these matters.

Do I have to take my prerequisite courses in the LSU System?

No. You may take the prerequisite courses at any regionally accredited college or university in the United States. Please contact us if you have taken coursework outside of the United States and wish it to apply towards the prerequisites.

How is the Cumulative Grade Point Average calculated? How is it calculated for repeated courses?

Please review the CASPA website for questions regarding GPA calculation. The LSUHSC-NO Master of Physician Assistant Program relies on the CASPA GPA calculations. All courses, including those repeated, are included.


Application Process

Applicants MUST submit all application materials through the centralized application service for Physician Assistant Programs (CASPA). CASPA will receive, and review all applications. After all materials are reviewed and verified, CASPA will forward those completed applications to the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program. These verified applications are screened by the by faculty members of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program. Stage one, eliminates from further consideration those applicants that fail to meet the stated minimum course prerequisites, overall GPA, science GPA, and combined GRE scores or fail to submit required documents by the published deadline. Next, MPAS Program faculty screen and rank all eligible candidates against pre-determined criteria. The ten criteria used for screening applications are reviewed by program faculty on an annual basis with proposed changes discussed during an annual meeting. The final stage involves face-to-face interviews with MPAS Program faculty.

The Program Director, the Admissions Committee and the Medical Director will review all materials and recommend one of the following:

•Acceptance (for those who have completed all prerequisites and are highly recommended for admission)

•Conditional acceptance (for those who need to complete prerequisites)

•Wait list (applicants who meet the minimum requirement and who may be offered acceptance if the best qualified candidates do not fill all available seats)

•Non-admission (applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements or who are not competitive within the applicant pool)

Each of the following qualities are viewed as essential to support the development of a physician assistant. When evaluating an applicant's readiness to matriculate in the PA Program, members of the admissions committee consider closely all information available with particular attention to the following elements:

•Quality and degree of difficulty of courses taken in undergraduate school

•Science and overall grade point average

•Scores received on the Graduate Record Examination

•Responses to questions contained in the application

•References from advisors, professors, and employers

•Leadership experience

•Community service experience

•Communication skills

•Interest in the problems of people


•Personal integrity

•Motivation for a career in health care

•Recommendations of faculty interviewers


Competitive Applicant Profile

What is the profile of the successful applicant to the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program?

The successful applicant to the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program will have a combination of life, educational and work experience that shows a commitment to patient care, an understanding of the PA profession and the ability to perform in a demanding academic and professional setting. Competition is strong for entry into this program.

Eighty (80) hours of healthcare experience is recommended, more hours are highly recommended. This experience may be either paid or volunteer and should include exposure to mid-level practitioners. Applicants may gain valuable information from the material they have access to as Associate Members of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Past educational performance, while not necessarily indicative of current abilities, can predict performance in the program. Every attempt should be made to enhance overall and science course GPA prior to application. The first year is extremely demanding and the applicant will benefit by taking courses that simulate this type of education.

In addition, candidates should also have a solid knowledge of the PA role and shadowing PA's is highly recommended.

How competitive is the program?

Admission for the 30 spots available each year is highly competitive. Meeting or exceeding the requirements does not guarantee admission.

What type of academic background and/or degree is likely to enhance my potential for success in the program?

We receive applicants from a variety of academic majors, degrees and backgrounds. This is welcomed as the program values diversity. Regardless of specific major or degree, the key is that applicants must complete at least the minimum admission prerequisites (both academic and clinical) to be considered for admission. View the list of admission requirements.

How many open positions are available in the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program?

The ARC-PA allows the LSUHSC - NO MPAS Program to admit 30 students annually.

How to become a more competitive candidate


Tuition, Financial Aid and Housing

Is there financial aid available?

Yes. Please review this information at:

How much does it cost to attend the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program?

Please consult the most current LSUHSC-NO General Catalog for information regarding costs. You can expect the following ESTIMATED costs:

Tuition, Fees, and other costs are subject to frequent change.

Please see the link Additional Fees

Is there on-campus housing?

Yes. Please review this information at:


Admitted Applicant Profile

Statistics from the previous matriculating students


Will the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program be having any information sessions?

We host information sessions two to three times per year. The dates and times of the information sessions are posted on this website, under Information Sessions. You must RSVP for these sessions. Please follow this link:

Is it possible to have a personal meeting with someone in Admissions of the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program?

We are not able to accommodate individuals with a personal meeting due to the volume of requests. We are more than happy to field any questions you may have over email at

International Medical Graduates

I am an International Medical Graduate (IMG). Do I still have to complete the requirements?

Yes. All of the requirements must be met by everyone, including International Medical Graduates (IMGs).
Admission Requirements/ Prerequisites
Prior to matriculation, the applicant must have earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university. Applicants must have a minimum OVERALL GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale minimum AND an OVERALL SCIENCE GPA of 3.0 at the time of application.
Also, please note that there is no test which IMGs can take to challenge the LSUHSC-NO MPAS program, obtain a PA license or become nationally certified as a PA. Courses previously taken in medical school cannot be substituted for courses to be taken in the LSUHSC-NO MPAS Program.

I am an International Medical Graduate. Can I work as a PA in Louisiana without attending PA school?

No. An IMG cannot work as a PA in Louisiana without attending and graduating from an ARC-PA accredited PA program and without passing the national NCCPA/PANCE boards for PAs.


PANCE Results

The Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) will be taken by the first cohort of physician assistant students in the spring of 2015. Class average of the PANCE scores for the graduating class will be posted here:

Many clinical sites and state licensing boards are very adamant about their “no misdemeanor” provisions. Programs must guard the integrity of the profession and the public whom they serve. It would be unethical to allow someone to enter a program and then be ineligible for licensure.