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South University, Tampa, Physician Assistant. Theory in every textbook. Practice in every classroom.

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Theory in every textbook. Practice in every classroom.

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A school with a proud past and a promising future

Established in 1899, South University is a private, nonprofit institution with a long history of driving student success. 

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Question: Is South University Accredited?

Answer: Yes. South University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404.679.4500 for questions about the accreditation of South University.

Question: Is the South University, Tampa Physician Assistant Program accredited?

Answer: Yes. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation Continued to the South University, Tampa Physician Assistant Program sponsored by South University, Tampa, Florida. Continued accreditation is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA standards. Continued 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remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the standards.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 comprehensive review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2027.

Question: What are the technical standards required for admission?

Master of Science Physician Assistant Program Technical Standards

In order to ensure that patients receive the best medical care possible, the faculty of the South University Physician Assistant program has identified certain skills and professional behaviors that are essential for successful progression of physician assistant students in the program. A student must possess skills and behaviors at a level of capability to perform a variety of duties required of a physician assistant as a health care professional.

Students with disabilities who can perform these skills and successfully execute professional behavior either unassisted, with dependable use of assistive devices, or by employing other reasonable accommodations are eligible to apply for enrollment in the program. Minimum performance standards include critical thinking, communication skills, observation skills, motor skills, and interpersonal abilities. Interested parties may contact the Physician Assistant Program office for additional information about South University performance standards. These skills and behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • Critical Thinking: All students must possess the intellectual, ethical, physical and emotional capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty. The ability to solve problems, a skill that is critical to the practice of medicine, requires the intellectual abilities of measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Candidates for the program must be able to perform demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences.
  • Communication Skills: A candidate should also be able to speak, to hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and to perceive nonverbal communications. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written forms.
  • Observation Skills: Candidates must be able to observe a patient accurately, both at a distance and close at hand. This ability requires the functional use of vision and somatic sensation.
  • Motor Skills: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic techniques. A candidate should be able to execute movements reasonably required to move from area to area, maneuver in small places, calibrate and use large and small equipment, position and move patients, and provide patients with general care and emergency treatment.
  • Interpersonal Abilities: A candidate for the Physician Assistant program must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities required for the diagnosis and care of patients and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients, families and colleagues.

Question: What degree is offered by the PA Program?

Answer: The South University, Tampa, Physician Assistant program awards graduates the Master of Science degree. Graduates are eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) offered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).Those who successfully pass the certifying examination are eligible to practice in all 50 states.

* South University does not guarantee third-party certification/licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to South University.

Question: How many students are accepted into each cohort?

Answer: The program accepts approximately 48 students in each cohort.

Question: Does the PA program participate in Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)?

Answer: Yes. To apply to the South University, Tampa PA Program go to: CASPA

Question: What is the deadline to apply to the program?

Answer: The application cycle begins in mid-April and ends on August 1st of each year.

Question: When does the program start each year?

Answer: The program begins each year in early January. A one-week orientation precedes the formal start of classes.

Question: Do you have more than one start date?

Answer: No. The Program only matriculates one class per year in January.

Question: What is the cost of the PA Program?

Answer: View current tuition and fees estimates for the Physician Assistant program at South University, Tampa here.

Question: Is there a supplemental application?

Answer: No.

Question: Does the program require a bachelor’s degree?

Answer: Yes. Students must have earned their bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution prior to matriculation at the program.

Question: Does the PA program require a specific undergrad major?

Answer: While most incoming students have earned their bachelor’s degrees in a science or health care field, it is not required. Strong preparation in natural sciences is highly valued. The number of courses, the level of those courses, and performance are important considerations. Applicants should demonstrate their ability to handle social science and humanities as well. If an applicant does not possess a science or health care related degree, it is strongly encouraged that they attempt to get as much clinical experience as possible.

Question: What prerequisites are required by the PA program?

Answer: Prerequisite science courses (with labs) must be completed at a U.S.-accredited U.S.-based college or university. Prerequisite courses must include the following:

  • Human Anatomy 1 course1
  • Human Physiology 1 course1, 2
  • General Biology 2 courses2, 3
  • General Chemistry 2 courses2, 3
  • Biochemistry -or-
  • Organic Chemistry 1 course2
  • Microbiology 1 course2, 4

Prerequisite coursework which is obtained from a four-year college or university and which is designed for science majors is considered more competitive.

In general, prerequisite coursework inclusive of titles such as Essentials of, Survey of, or Introductory to, unless specifically designed for science majors are considered less competitive.

1Human Anatomy and Physiology may be taken as standalone courses or as part of a sequence. In the event that the courses are taken as part of a sequence, only a completed sequence of A and P I and II will be accepted.

2Basic science courses should be those for science majors. Only courses (excluding general biology and biochemistry) with an associated lab will be given credit for fulfilling prerequisite requirements. In the event that a laboratory is not offered with a prerequisite course, applicants may request the lab requirement for that course be waived.

3 Labs recommended but not required for general biology courses.

4 Microbiology course must be 200/2000 level courses or higher.

Question: Can I apply if I have outstanding prerequisite courses?

Answer: Yes. However, students submitting an application with greater than two outstanding prerequisite courses will not be considered for admission.

Answer: No. No prerequisites for admission are waived on the basis of prior healthcare/life experience.

Question: Do you accept prerequisites besides those specified?

Answer: In general, prerequisites cannot be substituted. Exceptions to the prerequisite requirements will be considered only in very rare instances and must be approved by the admissions committee.

Question: Does the PA program accept AP or CLEP credit?

Answer: The South University Physician Assistant program accepts credit for Advanced Placement (AP) courses. AP courses taken and successfully completed will be counted as one course credit toward completion of the respective prerequisite subject. Grades earned in AP courses are not used in calculation of the applicants overall or prerequisite GPA. The South University Physician Assistant program does not accept College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credit for any prerequisite requirements.

Question: Should I send official transcripts to the PA office?

No. The South University, Tampa PA program is a CASPA-participating program. Official transcripts should be sent to CASPA at the time of application. However, if there are outstanding prerequisite courses at the time of application, official transcripts of that coursework should be sent to the program upon completion.

Question: Is healthcare experience required?

Answer: South University strongly encourages applicants to participate in patient centered clinical experience prior to application and matriculation. The experience of working with patients is valuable to anyone considering a career as a Physician Assistant . While it is advantageous that entering students have some direct patient contact, it is the policy of the South University Physician Assistant program not to prescribe a minimum number of patient contact hours or fields in which the experience must be gained. Experience is considered in the application review process of each individual applicant. Significant health care experience is valued in considering the admission qualifications of any given applicant.

Question: Where can I obtain patient care experience?

Answer: Many applicants begin working in the health care field in the summer between high school and college. By working in health care each summer through their undergraduate education they accrue hours. Potential entry-level positions (paid and unpaid) include Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), paramedic, phlebotomist, nursing aide, home health care aide, and volunteers for community mental health or family planning agencies.

Patient centered clinical experience and shadowing are strongly recommended.

Question: Do you require the GRE?

Answer: Yes. Applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test. Submit your official GRE scores to CASPA. The GRE code for our program is 0454.

Question: Can I apply if I have not taken the GRE?

Answer: Yes. However, applications will NOT be reviewed if official GRE scores are not yet received and verified by CASPA. Please use GRE code 0454 to report your official scores through CASPA. Mailed copies from ETS are no longer accepted. Official scores must be reported to South University through CASPA by August 1st.

Question: What are competitive GRE scores for applicants?

Answer: The GRE scores are assessed in conjunction with the applicant’s complete profile. The South University, Tampa Physician Assistant program does not set a minimum acceptable score for the GRE but looks at scores at or above the 50th percentile as more competitive. Additional explanation on the meaning of the GRE scores can be found here.

Question: Should I send my official GRE scores to the PA office?

Answer: No. GRE scores are sent to South University, Tampa by CASPA.

Question: What is the GRE code for South University, Tampa?

Answer: The South University GRE code is 0454. There is no specific program code for the GRE.

Question: Will interviews be conducted for applicants?

Answer: Yes. The program conducts on-campus interviews for students whose applications are deemed by the admissions committee to be the most competitive. The applicant will undergo three separate interviews that will each be 15 minutes in length. Additionally, there are writing exercises that will be conducted throughout the day.

Question: Do you give preference to Florida state residents?

Answer: Admission preference is not given to residents of Florida. Tuition for all students is the same.

Question: Must I have a criminal background check prior to entry?

Answer: Yes. Upon acceptance, each student is required to purchase a criminal background check. The background checks are at the expense of the student and are performed by a third party agency. Finding of any prior criminal activity may terminate the student’s acceptance into the South University Physician Assistant program.

Question: Does the PA program offer part-time or online courses?

Answer: Our program does not offer a part-time option or online courses.

Question: Can I transfer into the program?

Answer: No. Every student accepted to our program must apply for admission as specified.

Question: What are the TOEFL Guidelines?

Answer: Students for whom English is a second language must submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum paper-based score of 600, TOEFL no longer administers the computer based test or TOEFL Internet (iBT) based score of 80.

Question: What is the average GPA for entering students?

Answer: Average Cumulative GPA for entering students is 3.4 and Science GPA is 3.4

Question: Where do students do clinical rotations?

Answer: Our students rotate in busy clinics, private physician offices, teaching hospitals, large institutions, and military hospitals and clinics. Rotations exist in small Florida towns and metropolitan cities. We send our students out to underserved areas and many rural areas of Florida, and into our own underserved urban clinics here in the Tampa Bay region. Our students are offered a wide variety of experiences and locations for their clinical rotations, thus rounding out the application of knowledge and skills to actual patient care.

Question: How are clinical rotations assigned?

Answer: The Clinical Director assigns rotations to each student. Academic and professional performance while in the program and prior clinical experience are taken into consideration in all placements.

Question: Is housing available?

Answer: South University, Tampa does not have any on-campus housing. Most students find rental apartments and housing available in the surrounding area through realtors and relocation services.

Question: Where can I get more information about financial aid?

Answer: Our Financial Aid officers, who are very knowledgeable in this area make every attempt to assist students seeking financial aid, can be reached at 813.393.3800. You can also find information about student loans here.

Question: What is the South University, Tampa’s FAFSA School Code?

Answer: The school code for South University – Tampa is 013039-08.

Question: Will I be able to work while being a student?

Answer: Working while attending the Program is not recommended. Due to the intensive nature of the Physician Assistant Program curriculum and study hours involved in the didactic phase (the first 15 months), most students do not work. During clinical rotations, students find that their patient management responsibilities and time required preparing for rounds and attending conferences do not allow them to work. In no case are students allowed to work more than 15 hours per week. Chat Live
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We make the application process as smooth as possible so you can start earning your degree right away. Visit our Applying page for application instructions.

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