Physician Assistant

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Admission to the physician assistant program is a highly selective and competitive process, seeking to enroll candidates with the strongest academic preparation and a diversity of backgrounds and achievements.

The admission committee carefully reviews the academic preparation and achievements of each candidate for admission. Selection is based on a combination of factors: academic performance (GPA and GRE), letters of recommendation, personal narrative, shadowing experience with physician assistants working in the field, life/work experiences and an on-campus interview with program faculty. Candidates bring degrees from all academic areas, but must have completed specific prerequisite courses and 40 PA shadowing hours.

In addition to these application criteria, preferences for selection include:

  • Candidates with direct patient care experience
  • Baldwin Wallace University alumni
  • Ohio residents

Applicants with degrees earned from foreign institutions must have their academic transcripts translated and verified by World Education Services (WES) as part of the CASPA application process.

Minimum cumulative GPA and science GPA must be at least 3.0. The average cumulative and science GPAs for candidates selected for admission to the 2015 PA cohort is 3.8.

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Shadowing Experience

PA Shadowing form >

Candidates are required to log at least 40 hours of shadowing experience with a practicing physician assistant in the U.S. Your shadowing may be completed with one PA or multiple PAs. Use a separate PA shadowing form for each PA you shadow.

The shadowing form(s) verifying the PA-C shadowing experience do not need to be submitted to the University until requested by the PA program office. Submission instructions are included at the bottom of the form. Although the verification is not required at time of CASPA submission, we encourage you to have the form completed at the time of your shadowing experience to avoid potential backtracking in the future.

Prerequisite Courses

The prerequisite courses listed are minimum requirements. Additional biology and chemistry courses are recommended. Candidates must have completed one semester of each of these prerequisite courses, with a grade of C or better in each course, prior to enrollment in the physician assistant program. Minimum cumulative GPA and science GPA must be at least 3.0. All prerequisites do not need to be completed at time of CASPA application, but must be successfully completed before students enroll in the program.

Prerequisite CoursesBW Course Equivalencies
Biology I with labBIO 121
Biology II with labBIO 122
Anatomy and physiology I with labBIO 203 or Human Gross Anatomy with lab - BIO 330
Anatomy and physiology II with labBIO 204 or Human Physiology with lab - BIO 333
Microbiology with labBIO 212
General chemistry I with labCHM 111
General chemistry II with labCHM 112/115
Organic chemistry I with labCHM 251/255
Introductory psychologyPSY 100
English compositionENG 131
Statistics or biostatisticsHPE 209, MTH 105, MTH 108, PSY 278
Medical terminologyHPE 206

All prerequisite coursework must be obtained from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S.
BW courses have been listed next to each prerequisite in the box below. Candidates can reference these courses in the BW online course catalog to identify an equivalent course at other regionally accredited colleges/universities.

Seven year time limit
All prerequisite courses are to be completed within the last seven years, and candidates must have a working knowledge of these courses.

Anatomy and physiology 1 and 2
Not all schools offer A&P as a combined two-course sequence with labs. One semester of human anatomy with lab and one semester of human physiology with lab may be substituted for the two combined anatomy and physiology courses with labs. BW Course Equivalencies for such courses are BIO 330 (Gross Anatomy) and BIO 333 (Human Physiology).

Retaking prerequisites
If a student has retaken courses for a better grade, both the original and retaken grade will be included in the GPA calculation, and the better grade will be noted.

AP courses
Advanced Placement (AP) courses may satisfy prerequisite coursework only after evaluation by the admission committee, once a student applies through CASPA.

No previous credit replaces or transfers into the PA curriculum.
No previous coursework will transfer to replace courses in the PA program. There will be no advanced standing permitted in the PA program.

Additional courses in biology and chemistry are recommended.
Additional suggested coursework may include: biochemistry, genetics, immunology, histology, embryology, endocrinology, epidemiology, neuroscience, pathophysiology, virology, developmental/abnormal psychology, college algebra.

Technical Standards for the Physician Assistant Program

In keeping with the goals of the PA program, the highest priority is placed upon developing graduates who are competent, caring physician assistants possessing the skills of life-long learning needed to incorporate new knowledge and methods into their practices and to adapt to a changing medical environment. The faculty has determined that certain technical standards are requisite for admission, progression, and graduation from the PA program.

All candidates for the physician assistant program must be able to meet the following technical standards of observation; communication; motor; intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities; as well as essential behavioral and social attributes.

General Abilities

The student is expected to possess functional use of the senses of vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell so that data received by the senses may be integrated, analyzed, and synthesized in a consistent and accurate manner. A student must also possess the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, vibration, position equilibrium, and movement that are important to the student’s ability to gather significant information needed to effectively evaluate patients.

Observational Ability

The student must have sufficient capacity to accurately observe and participate in the lecture hall, the laboratory, and with patients at a distance and close at hand, including non-verbal and verbal signals, to assess health and illness alterations in the outpatient and inpatient clinical settings. Inherent in the observational process is the use of the senses to elicit information through procedures regularly required in physical examination, such as inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation.

Communication Ability

The student must communicate effectively verbally and non-verbally to elicit information; describe changes in mood, activity, posture; and perceive non-verbal communications from patients and others. Each student must have the ability to read and write, comprehend and speak the English language to facilitate communication with patients, their family members and other professionals in health care settings where written medical records, verbal presentations, and patient counseling and instruction are integral to effective medical practice and patient care. The student must communicate effectively verbally and in writing with instructors and other students in the classroom setting, as well.

Motor Ability

The student must be able to perform gross and fine motor movements with sufficient coordination needed to perform complete physical examinations utilizing the techniques of inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation, and other diagnostic maneuvers. A student must develop the psychomotor skills reasonably needed to perform or assist with procedures, treatments, administration of medication, management and operation of diagnostic and therapeutic medical equipment utilized in the general and emergent care of patients required in practice as a physician assistant. The student must be able to maintain consciousness and equilibrium; have sufficient levels of postural control, neuromuscular control,and eye-to-hand coordination; and to possess the physical and mental stamina to meet the demands associated with extended periods of sitting, standing, moving and physical exertion required for satisfactory performance in the clinical and classroom settings.

Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities

The student must be able to develop and refine problem-solving skills that are crucial to practice as a physician assistant. Problem solving involves the abilities to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures; to measure, calculate reason, analyze, and synthesize objective and subjective data; and to make decisions that reflect consistent and thoughtful deliberation and sound clinical judgment. A student must have the capacity to read and comprehend medical literature. Each student must demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature to formulate sound judgment in patient assessment and diagnostic and therapeutic planning.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, effective interpersonal skills and concern for others are personal attributes required of those in physician assistant practice. Personal comfort and acceptance of the role of a dependent practitioner functioning under supervision is essential for training and practice as a physician assistant. The student must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of the student’s intellectual abilities; the exercise of good judgment; the prompt completion of all responsibilities in the classroom setting, as well as those in the clinical setting attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients; and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and other members of the health care team. Each student must have the emotional stability required to exercise stable, sound judgment and to complete assessment and interventional activities. The ability to establish rapport and maintain sensitive, interpersonal relationships with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds is critical for practice as a physician assistant. The student must be able to tolerate physically taxing loads and still function effectively under stress; adapt to changing environments; display flexibility; graciously accept constructive criticism; manage difficult interpersonal relationships during training; and learn to function cooperatively and efficiently in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice.