University Of Alabama At Birmingham Pa Program

University Of Alabama At Birmingham Pa Program

Physician Assistant (PA) degree program is adding options for students to better prepare them for workforce needs. Currently, all graduates from the SPA program can be employed in any setting; however, the program has a history of adding additional courses and clinical rotations in surgery, allowing students to be better prepared for surgical subspecialty when they graduate. Now the students will have the option to obtain additional clinical rotations in trauma or primary care.

“We see the future and vision of the Affordable Care Act to develop medical homes which will require all team members to have training in all aspects of healthcare especially primary care,” said Patricia Jennings, DrPH, PA-C, director of the SPA program.

By 2020, the Association of American Medical Colleges projects the U.S. will be short 45,000 primary care doctors, especially in rural areas. The PA program is partnering up with small communities in Alabama, Mississippi and Montana with the prospect to help fill the physician gap.

“Several preceptor facilities and physicians are offering housing to these students during their four-month rotation,” said Jennings. “We want these communities to invest in our students in the hopes they will come back to that area when they graduate.”

Students are required to complete 12 months of clinical rotation. Students who choose the primary care option will still have a surgery rotation, but the rotations will be cut from five to two. All students are required to complete a one-month rotation in emergency medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, inpatient medicine, outpatient medicine and psychiatry. Students will then choose one of the three options to continue their four-month rotation. Starting in January, the 56 members of the Class of 2014 will be the first to use this option.

Meanwhile, Jennings is trying to expand the locations for student rotations. UAB Hospital is the location for the trauma option and surgery options are located throughout Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

“We need former graduates to open their doors to become a preceptor for our students, or they could open their homes to allow our students to stay with them during their rotation,” said Jennings. “This is one way to give back to their institution that doesn’t involve money.”

The UAB PA program knows that our students and graduates are the strength of our program. The diversity of our students’  backgrounds and regional diversity enhance the richness of the experience at UAB. Focusing on academics and clinical rotations is only a part of the education experience. Community service, increasing the PA visibility (locally, regionally and nationally), professional involvement and participation in the SAAAPA Challenge Bowl and student organizations are also very important. See what our students and alumni are doing.


Application Deadlines:

August 1st for application complete and e-submitted to CASPA
August 7th for the UAB Supplemental application

Admission Requirements:

  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited college/university
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores from the Verbal, Quantitative and Analytic sections or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Applicants with advanced degrees whose GRE scores are older than 5 years (i.e. the time limit that ETS will send scores) can request the PA program to consider dated scores if the applicant can provide documentation of their GRE scores directly from the institution they attended. The documentation should be sent directly from the student’s graduate degree institution to the PA Admissions office prior to the August 1st deadline for application evaluation. Please note that recent GRE scores often make applicants with an advanced degree more competitive than applicants with an advanced degree that do not have recent GRE scores. Furthermore, as with all applicants, the UAB admissions review committee could still determine that the applicant should retake the GRE and reapply the next application cycle.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0)
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 in natural science courses
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in the program prerequisite courses, with a minimum grade of C in each
  • The following prerequisites: All prerequisite courses must be completed at a regionally accredited institution in the United States
    • 8 semester hours of biology for majors
    • 3-4 semester hours of microbiology (lab preferred)
    • 3-4 semester hours of human anatomy
    • 3-4 semester hours human physiology
    • 8-9 semester hours of general chemistry (labs preferred)
    • 3-4 semester hours of statistics
    • 6 semester hours of psychology (general; developmental or abnormal

All applicants with 9 or fewer semester hours of prerequisite courses to complete on Jan 1st of the year of admission will be considered for admission. All prerequisite courses must be completed before the program begins in the fall semester.

  • Technical ability to complete the program (see Essential Requirements and Technical Standards)
  • Interview with faculty
  • Medical clearance: UAB physician assistant students must be medically cleared for enrollment. Detailed information is available via UAB Student Health Services
  • Undergo a criminal background check and consent to drug testing

Credit for Prior Learning or Experience

Credit is not offered for prior experiential learning or prior course work (the Program does not offer advanced placement). Furthermore, credit is not offered for courses provided by another physician assistant program. No student may omit or waive any of the required clinical year rotations.

Applicants are evaluated on the following criteria:

Academics – Overall GPA, Science GPA, Prerequisite Grades and GRE or MCAT Scores.
Clinical Experience – Experience in health care settings, such as providing direct patient care, surgical experience, shadowing and /or other health care experience, is considered by the admissions committee.
Personal statement – Applicants are evaluated on the quality of their personal statement.
Letters of support – Three (3) letters of support are reviewed and considered.

The PA Program is committed to recruiting and matriculating minority and disadvantaged students for careers as physician assistants.

Listed below are the midrange scores of students admitted into the program. These scores are provided so that applicants can assess their competitiveness. *(Please click on image to enlarge.)

PA Admit Summary02 01 17 936x296

Prior Experience of Students Admitted to the UAB Physician Assistant Program

Prior StudentsAdmittedUAB

Application Procedure:

This program participates in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Please consult for more information regarding specific CASPA application requirements, procedures and fees. The CASPA application needs to be completed by August 1 the year prior to admission. Applicants should send all application materials directly to CASPA. Applicants should use GRE Code 0570 when sending GRE scores to CASPA. CASPA will verify the application information and send completed applications to the program.

After completing the CASPA application the applicant should complete the UAB PA Supplemental Application. Following the program’s receipt of the CASPA application, official GRE scores, and UAB SPA Supplemental Application, the UAB PA Program will review the packet.

Completed applications are reviewed by members of the admissions committee. Interviews are held in October – January. Admissions decisions are finalized in February. Students who are accepted to the Physician Assistant program will need to complete the UAB Graduate School application.

Admissions Timeline

      • August 1st of the year prior to matriculation: Last day to take the GRE
      • August 1st e-Submit the CASPA application
      • August 7th Deadline for the UAB PA Supplemental Application.
      • October 1st Deadline for application to be completed and verified by CASPA
      • September – October: Application review
      • November – December: Interviews
      • February admissions decisions finalized
      • February – March: Admitted students complete the UAB Graduate School Application
      • April – August: Complete orientation requirements

Fees Related to Admissions:

  • CASPA Application fee.
  • UAB PA Supplemental Application fee.
  • UAB Graduate School Application fee.
  • UAB PA Deposit $300.00: for those accepted into the program. The deposit is applied towards tuition in the first semester of the program. The deposit is non-refundable and will be forfeited by the applicant in the event that he/she does not enroll and attend the UAB PA program.
  • Other expenses to anticipate:
    • GRE or MCAT preparation and examination.
    • The cost of sending transcripts to CASPA and UAB.

Refund Policy


Student Handbook 2015 – 2017

Essential Functions:

In order to ensure that patients receive the best medical care possible, the faculty of the UAB PA program has identified certain skills and professional behaviors that are required for successful completion of the program. These skills and behaviors are required to perform a variety of activities within the curriculum and also to function clinically as a physician assistant. Therefore, all students in the PA Program must be able to demonstrate these skills and professional behaviors, including students with disabilities when reasonable accommodations are made by the program.

Minimum Technical (Performance) Standards

Required PA Competencies

Contact Us
General Information:  205-975-4CDS (205-975-4237)
Admissions Information:  205-934-3209


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