Physician Assistant Studies

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The purpose of the Physician Assistant (PA) program is to create and maintain an educational environment that promotes critical thinking as well as clinical knowledge and skills necessary to exercise sound medical decision-making and to provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services to patients across the lifespan, in diverse settings. The program also strives to develop compassionate, professional and ethically-minded clinicians.

While PA practice is primarily centered on patient care, PAs will also be prepared to take on educational, research and administrative roles as well. As such, PA students must have an understanding of biostatistics, research methodology and other research principals.

School of Health Professions
Physician Assistant (PA)
Program Contacts
  • Point of Contact: PA Program
  • Phone: (225) 526-1650
  • Email:

Quick Facts

  • 28 months of continuous full-time study
  • 4 didactic (classroom) semesters and 3 clinical semesters (2000 hours)
  • Master of Medical Science (MMS) degree is awarded
  • Application cycle opens annually in April
  • Application deadline August 1
  • Personal interview required
  • January start

What is a Physician Assistant?

A Physician Assistant (PA) is a nationally certified and state licensed medical professional. PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and the uniformed services.

The United States is currently facing a shortage of health care professionals, and PAs are needed to fill the void. From 2014 to 2024, it is projected that the PA field will grow at a rate of 30 percent, which translates into 28,700 new jobs PAs. Currently this PA profession is ranked as the #3 in the best 100 jobs in the nation per US News and World Report.

PA Program Mission

Guided by the tradition of compassionate health care exemplified by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, the Physician Assistant Program will develop graduates who will provide evidence based, patient centered medical care in diverse settings, and who are committed to serving all God’s people.


Applicants to the PA program must complete an application specific to the program through CASPA. Applications must be in verification status by August 1 for a January start. Enrollment is limited to 30 students and admission is via a competitive selection process.


Information on student attrition can be found here.

Length of Program

The program is a 28-month continuous program. The program consists of 108 credit hours (68 of those hours are in the didactic phase and 40 of those hours are in the clinical phase). Due to the intensity of the program, it is recommended that students do not work while enrolled in this program.

Application Information

Applications for the PA program must be submitted through Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Applications must be received and in verified status by CASPA by the published August 1 deadline. To submit an application, please click here.

Transfer of College Credits

All credits for the Master of Medical Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies must be earned at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. The PA program will not accept credit hours earned from other PA programs, graduate programs or medical schools.


*Total Costs for the Physician Assistant Program

SemesterCredit HoursTuition/FeesCourse FeesTotal

*Tuition costs do not include textbooks or any additional costs associated with this program.

Additional Program Costs

Document TitleTypeFile Size
Document Title: Physician Assistant Program Student Supply ListType: pdfFile Size: 460.219 KBDownload

Financial Assistance

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University has financial aid counselors available to assist students with the financial aid process. All students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form available at Once enrolled, students are eligible for a number of scholarship awards offered by professional PA organizations.

Program Goals

Please click the blue links below to see how the program is meeting its goals.

  1. The first time pass rate for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) will be at or above the national average
  2. 100% of the program's graduates will be employed within 1 year of graduation
  3. PA graduates will serve diverse patient populations in a variety of clinical settings/specialties
  4. Students and Faculty will participate in at least 250 community service hours per academic year
  5. At least 15% of graduates from the program will remain engaged in the program in a meaningful way

Program Level Student Learning Outcomes

The PA program strives to educate future PAs to be competent, compassionate, professional life-long learners of medicine. As such, the program has identified seven program learning outcomes (PLO) as well as forty-five associated entry level PA competency measures (COMP). The learning outcomes and competencies were developed based on standards published by the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants, the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Physician Assistant Education Association.

As such, upon completion of the program, the entry-level PA graduate will successfully demonstrate the knowledge, skills and professional attributes defined by the program learning outcomes (PLO) and associated competencies (COMP).

Technical Standards

Physician assistants must have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to render a wide spectrum of patient care services in a broad variety of clinical situations. Consequently, it is essential that in its admission process, the Physician Assistant Program assesses an applicant’s physical and emotional capabilities as well as his/her scholastic accomplishments and academic potential in order to assure that the applicant can meet the full demands of the Program’s curriculum and graduate as a skilled and effective healthcare provider. In making this assessment, the Program must consider the applicant’s current physical and emotional status, any cumulative or progressive disability, and any drug-induced impairment that may pose obstacles to the safe application of his/her knowledge and skills to the provision of quality care or prevent effective interaction with patients.

Admission Requirements

Minimum Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for admissions, all applicants to the PA program must:

  1. Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited, U.S. college or university or equivalent prior to the time of matriculation (with exception of applicant's from the university's 3+2 Accelerated Pathway to Physician Assistant Studies program)
  2. Meet the following GPA minimums:
    • Cumulative Undergraduate:3.0
    • FranU Pre-Requisites: 3.0
    • Cumulative Undergraduate Science: 3.0
  3. Complete all pre-requisite courses within 7 years of application:
    • Anatomy and Anatomy Lab for science or pre-health professions majors (2000 level or above)
    • Physiology for science or pre-health professions majors (2000 level or above; a combined anatomy and physiology I and II with labs are acceptable alternatives)
    • General Microbiology
    • Organic Chemistry I (no lab required)
    • Organic Chemistry II (2000 level or higher, no lab required) or Biochemistry (3000 level or higher, no lab required)
    • General Psychology or other related psychology course (3 credit hours)
    • Statistics
    • Genetics
    • Medical Terminology (certificate or other courses acceptable)
    • Please note:
      • Applicants must make a minimum grade of C or higher in all pre-requisite coursework; B or higher in all pre-requisite coursework is preferred.
      • "Survey" courses generally do not meet admissions criteria and must be reviewed by the PA admissions committee for approval.
      • Repeated coursework negatively impacts the applicant.
      • No Graduate, medical school or other transfer credit will be awarded as advanced placement/PA program credit;
      • While the program will not waive any pre-requisite requirements, in some circumstances, the PA admissions committee may allow substitutions for equivalent or more rigorous previous graduate, medical school course work or professional experience(s) as satisfying pre-requisite requirements ONLY. This may apply to pre-requisite courses taken beyond 7 years ago as well. Applicants requesting such substitutions should email to request a copy of the pre-requisite substitution form. The form must be completed by the applicant and submitted to the admissions committee for consideration. Applicants should include detailed descriptions of course work, professional experiences, a copy of the undergraduate transcript, and any additional materials as requested by the committee. The committee will evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis and all decisions made will be final.
        • Example: A currently practicing licensed clinical social worker applies to the program. The applicant holds an undergraduate degree in psychology (2008) and a master's of social work (2011). She has conducted clinical research with several peer-reviewed publications. In this circumstance, the admissions committee will accept her Psychology 101 course taken in 2005 and her master's level Biostatistics course (taken in 2010) as satisfying the pre-requisites because she has demonstrated evidence of continued knowledge and skills in those particular areas, despite the age of the courses.
  4. Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE):
    • Achieve a minimum of a combined 290 on the verbal reasoning and quantitative sections.
    • Achieve a minimum of 3.5 on the analytic writing section.
    • GRE scores must be submitted directly to CASPA (FranU CASPA GRE code: 7348).
    • The GRE can be taken at home at this link.
  5. Submit three letters of recommendation;
    • Letters should be from individuals who know the applicant well; Former professors, employers, healthcare/professional colleagues are good choices.
    • Recommenders should consider, and attest to the applicant's academic success, work ethic, maturity, professionalism, interest in the healthcare field, etc.
    • Letters must be submitted directly from the recommender through the CASPA portal (not mailed or emailed to program faculty or university administration).
    • While it may be tempting to ask "high-profile" community members to provide a letter of recommendation, these are not generally helpful unless the above criteria is met; no extra consideration is provided for such letters.

6. Submit a personal statement summarizing why the individual desires to be a Physician Assistant and what they feel they can contribute to the profession.

7. Complete a third-party situational judgment assessment (Casper). The Casper assessment helps the program evaluate behavioral attributes necessary to succeed as a PA student. Applicants are responsible for scheduling their Casper test from available test dates (vary by application cycle) and are responsible for the testing fee. Applicants must complete the Casper assessment each year they apply by the due date published in the program's CASPA portal. Failure to complete the Casper assessment prior to the published deadline will result in ineligibility for an interview. Instructions and tips for taking the Casper assessment can be found here: Welcome to TakeAltus - TakeAltus.

8. Attend a personal interview; After the initial application review, qualified applicants will be further screened via personal interview.

9. Meet and maintain all Technical Standards in order to be enrolled in, and progress through, the PA program; Technical Standards are posted on the web page.

Additional Admissions Considerations

The PA program strives to transform enrolled students into competent entry level PAs as well as mission-centered servant leaders. As such, other factors such as diversity, maturity, professionalism, compassion and service to community are also important criteria for acceptance.

Therefore, in addition to excellence in academics, the admissions committee weighs other individual factors when considering each applicant, including:

  1. Applicants from the University’s 3+2 Accelerated Pathway to Physician Assistant Studies; 3+2 students must meet all minimum admissions requirements as outlined above
  2. Hands-on patient care experience
  3. Licensed healthcare worker
  4. Shadowing one or more PAs
  5. Military service
  6. Work/professional experience
  7. Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University graduate
  8. Applicants from medically underserved areas
  9. Mission work/community service
  10. Graduates from Catholic universities

In general, the higher the GPA and greater number of additional admissions considerations, the more competitive the applicant.

The following table should give the applicant guidance as to how competitive he/she is in comparison to prior PA classes. The competitive candidate has a “B” or better in all defined pre-requisite course work. Repeated attempts at pre-requisite coursework will be noted and weaken candidate’s overall application packet.

ClassAverage Undergrad GPA (cumulative)Average GPA (pre-requisite)Average Science GPAAverage Volunteer HoursAverage PA Shadowing HoursDirect Patient Care HoursWork Experience Hours


























3 year mean3.53.63.5





Admissions Processes

Initial Application

  1. The CASPA application cycle typically opens annually during the last week of April.
  2. Applicants apply to the program using the CASPA portal; applicants can create a CASPA account at
  3. The applicant is responsible for all CASPA application fees.
  4. The applicant is responsible for ensuring all application materials are received prior to the application deadline in order to be verified by CASPA; The PA program will not track, or notify individual applicants of any missing items.
  5. Any additional unrequested application documents provided by the applicant will not be considered for admission or returned to the applicant.
  6. Applications must be received and in verified status by CASPA by the Program’s deadline of August 1 annually (exceptions to the deadline may be made on a case-by-case basis).
  7. Once an application has been verified by CASPA, the admissions committee will review to determine eligibility for an interview based on admissions criteria previously discussed.
Supplemental Application
  1. Applicants invited to interview will be forwarded a supplemental application for completion via email.
  2. The supplemental application must be completed and received by the admissions committee prior to the interview date.
  1. The admissions committee will begin interviews as soon as applications are verified in CASPA.
  2. Applicants will be notified of their invitation to interview via email.
  3. Failure to respond to the invitation by the RSVP date will result in forfeiture of interview and potential acceptance into the program.
  4. Interviews are non-traditional in format and are conducted in the Mini-Multiple Interview (MMI) style; Applicants will be assessed on:
    1. Professionalism/maturity
    2. Critical thinking
    3. Ethical decision making
    4. Communication skills
    5. Knowledge of the health care field and PA profession
  5. Applicants who will not be invited to interview will be sent notification after the admissions committee has reviewed their verified CASPA application.

    Note: An applicant's professional behaviors are assessed throughout the application cycle. There may be circumstances that arise outside of the interview or that cannot be easily identified/measured by the CASPA application. Concerning behaviors may include, but not limited to, failure to follow instructions, lack of punctuality, rudeness to faculty and staff, etc. Failure to exhibit professionalism may result in ineligibility for admission.


The PA program may accept up to 30 students per year.

There are a number of ways in which an applicant may be accepted:

  1. Regular Acceptance: Following personal interview and ranking by the admissions committee:
    • This applicant meets all admissions criteria, and will be notified of acceptance via email in September or October
    • Admission will be dependent upon the applicant’s acknowledgement of acceptance and intent to accept invitation
    • A deposit will be required to secure the applicant’s position in the class
    • This category also applies to all 3+2 Biology Applicants who are in good standing in their degree program and complete the personal interview
  2. Conditional Acceptance: This applicant meets all admissions criteria, but has not completed all undergraduate coursework at the time of application deadline:
    • A final transcript will be required prior to matriculation
    • If admissions criteria standards are not met, the applicant will forfeit his/her position
  3. Alternate List: A maximum of 45 applicants may be placed on an alternate or “waiting” list:
    • Alternates will be contacted via email of acceptance
    • While rare, alternates may be enrolled through the first week of classes (to start no later than the first day of the second week of classes, in alignment with the program's attendance policies).

All accepted students are required to submit a non-refundable deposit (credited toward first semester’s tuition) via the University's applicant portal.

Failure to respond to acceptance invitation by published RSVP date will result in forfeiture of seat in class.


Regional Accreditation

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Questions about accreditation of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

ARC-PA Accreditation

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. 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 September 2023. 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:


Resources for Current PA Students


Curriculum Notes:

Clinical Rotation Courses

PHAS 5771 Primary Care I
PHAS 5772 Primary Care II
PHAS 5773 Hospital Medicine
PHAS 5774 Medical Elective I
PHAS 5775 Medical Elective II
PHAS 5776 General Surgery
PHAS 5777 Musculoskeletal Medicine
PHAS 5778 Pediatrics
PHAS 5779 Emergency Medicine
PHAS 5780 Focused Topics: Behavioral Health/ Women's
PHAS 5781 Pediatrics Elective
PHAS 5782 Advanced Pediatrics Elective
PHAS 5783 Advanced Surgery Elective

Didactic Curriculum

There are 68 hours in the didactic (classroom) phase of the program. Classes may be taught online, face-to-face, or in a blended format. Face-to-face classes are taught on the FranU campus. There are currently no distant campuses.

Clinical Curriculum

The clinical phase is made up of 10 clinical rotations. Students may be assigned rotations in the Baton Rouge area, throughout Louisiana and/or in some cases, any of the 48 contiguous United States.

Clinical site selection and student placement are the responsibility of the program faculty. Prospective and enrolled students are not required to arrange clinical site placements for their rotations and are asked not to solicit clinical sites or clinical preceptors. Once admitted, if a student knows a clinician who wishes to become a clinical preceptor for the program, contact information should be forwarded to the Clinical Coordinator for consideration and vetting per program policies and procedures.