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Frequently Asked Questions


What if I have taken courses that are not listed on the prerequisite course list?

If you have questions, contact the Admissions Department or the Program office. We will be happy to answer your questions.


Can I still apply to the program if I don't have a bachelor's degree?

Yes, but you must meet all the required prerequisites, including completing a bachelor's degree before matriculating into the program if accepted. No prerequisite courses can be taken while in the professional phase of the program. 


Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)?

In an effort to reduce obstacles to the application process, we have elected to remove the GRE as a requirement. 


What is the admissions process?

LMU-SMS's Physician Assistant Program is a participant of CASPA. You can apply to CASPA in April when they begin accepting application materials. Completed applications are reviewed as they are received. Applicants are notified as soon as possible regarding interview selection. After interviews, we will notify applicants regarding admissions decisions within four to six weeks. 


Do I need to have a background check prior to attending LMU-SMS?

Yes, all students accepted into the PA Program must have a background check before being fully accepted into the program. 


Will I need a drug screen before admission to the PA Program?

You must have a "URINE 10 PANEL" drug screen if accepted into the PA Program. Hospital sites during clinical rotation may also require the same panel. Students will be responsible for obtaining and paying for the drug screen(s). 


When do you interview applicants, and who is allowed to interview?

Only applicants who are selected by the admissions staff and committee are offered interviews. Interviews are offered to begin in September to selected applicants on designated dates. It is important to note that only applicants with complete files will be considered for an interview. For more information about the admission criteria and process, visit the PA Harrogate Admissions


What does it mean if I am put on the alternate list?

Candidates not initially offered acceptance into the LMU-SMS PA Program may be placed on the alternate list. The Admissions Committee reviews the application of candidates placed on the alternate list at regular intervals throughout the admissions cycle and reconsiders an offer of acceptance into the LMU-SMS PA Program. These candidates will be notified of final acceptance offers prior to the matriculation of the cohort they interviewed with. 


Is shadowing a PA or other health professional useful before applying to the program?

Shadowing involves observing a PA or other health professional and offers the applicant a chance to increase their understanding of the role of the PA and of the health care profession. Applicants are required to have a minimum of 40 hours of verifiable direct shadowing of a Physician Assistant, with at least 20 of those hours spent directly shadowing a Physician Assistant in a primary care setting (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, or Emergency/Urgent Care Medicine). 


Will I be able to work while a student in the program?

The PA program strongly discourages working while attending the program. The PA program is an intensive didactic and clinical education program that involves an average of at least 40 to 50 hours per week, in addition to study, laboratory, and other activities. Most students find they cannot be academically successful in the program if they attempt to work. During the clinical year, students are not allowed to work due to the number of hours required in the clinical setting, including on-call. Students are not allowed to be substituted for staff at any time during their training. 


Is housing available?
Campus housing is available to PA students. Housing is also available in the community. Students will be responsible for their own housing during clinical rotations.


Is financial aid available?
After an applicant is accepted, financial aid information will be provided. For more information, visit Student Financial Services.


Can I visit LMU to see the program?

Yes, we periodically conduct program information sessions. Feel free to call us to find out the schedule for these sessions, which will include information about curriculum, admissions, a facility tour, and a chance to interact with faculty. 


Am I able to attend the program part-time?

No, the PA Program is full-time and has 27 continuous months. 


Do you have an orientation for new students?

Yes, we conduct a new student orientation at the beginning of the program for those students who have been accepted into the program. 


What part of the application is most important for admissions decisions?

All parts of the completed application are given consideration. The admissions committee looks at cumulative and science grade point averages, reference letters, responses to questions in the application, and the interview evaluation report. The Admissions Committee also evaluates the applicant's desire to become a physician assistant, evidence of academic potential, motivation, personal maturity, self-assurance, and good interpersonal skills. 


Can I apply if I haven't completed all the prerequisite courses?

Yes, provided you will have successfully completed all the prerequisite courses with a grade of "C" or higher by the end of the semester or term preceding your anticipated matriculation if accepted. Applicants must provide documentation of the plan to complete prerequisite courses if/when invited for an interview. 


Do you accept transfer credits toward the PA program?

No, we do not accept transfer academic credits or experiential learning credits for the PA program. No advanced placement is granted. All students must complete the entire 27-month Master's degree program. 


Where are the clinical education sites?

Numerous sites for clinical education are available throughout Tennessee and Kentucky. The program also has established core sites in Florida and Texas. Students can expect to travel to one or more of these core sites during their clinical year. Students are responsible for their lodging, transportation, and meals. 


Will I have any input into where my clinical rotations will be?

Students are assigned to clinical rotation sites by the Director of Clinical Education. Students will have input into this process, but ultimately, the Director of Clinical Education will place the student where they will obtain the best experience based on their level of skill and knowledge. With program approval, students will be able to select their elective rotation sites. 


How do I contact the Admissions Office?

LMU-SMS PA Admissions Office
800.325.0900, ext. 6691 (toll-free)
423.869.6691 (direct)