Admission to the Harding University Physician Assistant Program is highly competitive. All applications are carefully reviewed by the Program Admissions Committee and evaluated for completion of required coursework as well as characteristics that show promise of successful completion of the program and professional achievement.
Because admission information is updated regularly, applicants should verify current requirements on the program website. The most current admission information will always be posted at this site.
Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test after January 1, 2009. No minimum score required. GRE scores should support your academic grades and demonstrate the ability to take standardized test. The GRE is required for all applicants. See below under Required GRE for more details.
Possess a bachelor's degree which was completed at a regionally accredited institution in the United States prior to matriculation into the program. We do not specify the degree area. Coursework must include, at a minimum, the required prerequisite courses listed below.
CREDITS (semester hours)
General Chemistry I & II with labs
Organic Chemistry OR Biochemistry (no lab)
Microbiology with lab
Human anatomy with lab1
Human physiology with lab1
College Algebra OR Calculus OR Statistics2
General OR Developmental Psychology (lifespan in scope)
Upper level biology in University setting4
To view acceptable Harding Courses pdf
Introductory or Survey courses are not acceptable
1A combined full year of Anatomy and Physiology I and II with labs will meet this requirment. Do not mix Anatomy and Physiology I and II with stand alone Anatomy or Physiology courses.
2Business Statistics is not accepted.
3Psychology electives must be similar to the following list and be completed in the psychology department: Development psychology (does not have to be life span), Physiology psychology, Abnormal psychology, or Cognitive neuroscience.
4Upper level Biology courses must be completed in a University setting and be similar to the following list: Cell biology, Immunology, Virology, Pathophysiology, Genetics, and Pharmacology. Courses should be mammalian or vertebrate based and be within the core sciences departments. Epidemiology and Biochemistry will not be accepted to meet the upper level biology requirement.
To view the science department course descriptions go to: Course descriptions
The PA program is not able to do general evaluation of transcripts. Please check with your academic advisor first, then your college registrar before writing to the PA program for clarification. College catalog descriptions should answer most questions about course acceptability. If an applicant contacts the PA program about a particular course, the applicant must submit a copy of the college catalog course description and the web address of the course catalog. The may be asked to also submit a course syllabus. All Program decisions are final.
All applicants who meet the minimum requirements will be considered for an interview regardless of their major area of study. A broad base of study in areas such as humanities, sociology and religion is encouraged accompanied by strong academic performances in the biological sciences beyond the prerequisites. The Program is seeking applicants who are well prepared for the rigors of the academic curriculum and the clinical training of the program.
Submission of a completed application does not guarantee an interview, selection or admission into the Physician Assistant Program.
Health Care experience IS required for admission. It is strongly recommended that there be at least 100 hours of health care experiences completed prior to submission of the CASPA application. We do not accept updates of this information throughout the application cycle.
It is believed that such experience is an accurate indicator of an individual's desire and commitment to engage in health care service. This experience should be sufficient to recognize the physical and psychological demands of dealing with patients and to appreciate the challenges of being a healthcare professional.
When the program is reviewing this work, consideration is given to the following:
Examples of Health Care Experience:
Shadowing: To gain sufficient insight in the physician assistant health care role, observing (shadowing) a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or physician providing direct patient care is highly advised and will be considered as health care experience.
The average length of medical experience of the last 6 classes may be viewed: See Medical Experience at BOTTOM of the FAQ.
Applications are available through CASPA (Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants) at CASPA.
The application cycle for 2014/15 will open on April 16, 2014. Helpful suggestions can be found on: CASPA facebook page.
You should immediately receive an email from CASPA (email@example.com) when you open your account. If you do not - find out why, check your spam and make changes accordingly as needed. This will save you many missed emails from PA programs.
It is suggested that you do NOT use a .edu address as the educational institution may spam block emails.
By November 1, 2014 (midnight Eastern standard time: ex: 11 PM CST = 12 PM EST) your status must be changed from In Progress to Complete/Not Verified and CASPA must mark it as having been received:
ADDITIONAL APPLICATION SUGGESTIONS (pdf) have been prepared to help answer questions/concerns about the application process.
Check the application status on CASPA. For more information on status, check the FAQs under My Application Status. It is the applicant's responsibility to check the status often to ensure that CASPA has received and processed the information in a timely manner. CASPA has provided a YouTube site to help with Coursework Entry.
This is an extremely busy time for CASPA and transcripts and reference letters often take longer to be posted as received by CASPA than anticipated. Do not anticipate CASPA posting your transcripts or references on the same day or next day as when they are received.
Selected applicants who meet or exceed the minimum academic requirements will be reviewed by the Program to determine who has a demonstrated academic record of performance which is predictive of academic success as a PA. These applicants will receive a Supplemental Application (SA) sent (via e-mail) from the Program. The SA and a $25 fee are both submitted directly to the program.
All applicants will hear from us after their application has had a transcript review.
No application will be considered if transcripts and/or reference letters are posted as received by CASPA after November 1st.
Submission of a completed application packet does not guarantee an interview, selection or admission into the Physician Assistant Program. You do not need to file an undergraduate application to Harding University to be considered for admission.
We will begin the interview process as applications are received from CASPA. Interviews will be offered to qualified applicants prior to the application deadline and student positions will be offered on a rolling admissions basis. Early application is strongly encouraged. Some student positions will remain available through the last interview date.
The Admissions Committee reviews all completed applications. Applications will be reviewed, looking for traits of a competitive applicant who will be invited for an interview. These traits include but are not limited to:
Selected applicants will be asked to complete a supplemental application (There is a $25 supplemental application fee.) that is submitted directly to the program. We will send this via e-mail to selected applicants who meet or exceed our minimum academic requirements.
Competitive applicants will be invited to attend a personal interview that affords the faculty an opportunity to further review the applicant’s credentials. Applicants are expected to demonstrate maturity, personal initiative, an understanding of the Physician Assistant role and excellent communication skills. This meeting enables the applicants to become acquainted with the program’s facilities, faculty/staff and/or students.
All applicants will hear from the program by mid-January if they have not been invited for an interview.
All interviewed applicants will hear from the program by mid-March (if not sooner) on their status.
Applications are encouraged from those who can demonstrate a commitment to practice primary care in rural and urban medically underserved areas, or in foreign or domestic mission fields.
Scoring of competitive applicants at the time of the interview will be based on an objective tool that awards points in many different areas. These areas include all of the above mentioned plus communication skills, maturity level, and ability to answer questions asked during the interview process.
The dates that are planned for fall interviews are 9/5, 10/24, and 11/21. Spring 2015 dates 1/9, 2/6 and 2/20.
The interview day will be 1/2 day in length, consisting of a terminology test/time with current students (see study guide on this website), faculty interviews, and a small group activity.
Dates may be subject to change.
The number of applicants recommended for acceptance will be determined annually by the Physician Assistant Program admissions committee.
After interviews are completed, interviewees will be informed about their status in writing (email). Based upon a review of the applications and interview, the Admissions Committee may recommend one of the following:
All program decisions are final.
We have a flat rate tuition per semester that remains the same throughout each academic year (fall, spring, summer). Each August the cost may be adjusted by the University. This price will then remain the same for 3 semesters (fall, spring, and summer) and adjusted for the following academic year. We are a 7 semester program. We can only give an approximate cost for tuition only for the entire program at $75,000 for the entering class of 2014.
As a private institution, there is no difference in tuition costs for in-state/out-of-state students
The program will cover:
The student will be responsible for:
Fall 2014 Tuition
$10715/semester (1st semester will be less the $300 advance deposit already paid)
Criminal background check
*Books (if didactic year)
$2,000-3000.00/1 time expense
Books (if clinical year)
$500/1 time expense
Laptop & required software
$1000-1500.00/1 time expense
$700-1000.00/1 time expense
$28.00 annually (fall, spring, summer)
Spring 2015 Tuition
Summer 2015 Tuition
Fall 2015 Tuition
Tuition to be determined by Harding’s board for following 3 semesters. Will be known in late spring 2015.
* Requirements will be listed after acceptance into the program.
This does not include costs unrelated to tuition or university fees. Other student costs may include: room and board, car and insurance, health insurance, costs associated with clinical rotation such as travel, food, lodging (if required) and any other requirements of the clinical site. All of these are approximate costs and are subject to change.
Policies and procedures for withdrawals and refunds of tuition and for processing student grievances are published in the Graduate Catalog. Withdrawals and refund information is found under the Registration link and Student grievance information is found under the Academic Grievances link..
A Point of Reference
The "typical" Physician Assistant Student entering a U.S. program in 2004 was 27 years old, held a bachelor's degree, had a grade point average of 3.36, and had 37 months of health care experience prior to admission. (Source: Twentieth Annual Report on Physician Assistant Educational Programs in the United States, 2003-2004)
Some students may also be expected to submit to random drug testing required by clinical practice sites and/or the program. These additional costs would be the students' responsibility. Criminal background checks and drug screens are common pre-employment procedures
Applicants selected for admission to the program must provide evidence of good health, no communicable diseases and required immunizations and screenings prior to matriculation. Forms will be available to those accepted into the program. Immunizations and screening tests required are as follows:
This information is provided so that you may begin receiving any immunizations that you are now lacking. Complete information will be given after acceptance in the program. A form documenting evidence of good health and a PPD will be required before entering the clinical phase also.
The technical standards for admission to the Harding University Physician Assistant Program establish the expectations for proficiency in essential abilities necessary for students admitted to this program. This curriculum requires demonstrated aptitude in diverse skills and abilities related to observation, intellect, physical manipulation, communication and interpersonal skills. Therefore, the following abilities and characteristics must be possessed, with or without reasonable accommodation, by all students admitted in the program.
Candidates are urged to ask questions about the program’s technical standards for clarification and to determine whether they can meet the requirements with or without reasonable accommodations. Questions may be directed to the program director. Revealing a disability is voluntary; however, such disclosure is necessary before any accommodations may be made in the learning environment or in the program’s procedures. Information about disabilities is handled in a confidential manner. Reasonable accommodations will be made to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. These require program and institutional approval. Requests for accommodations must be submitted in writing to the program director, allowing sufficient time prior to matriculation for action on these requests. Candidates who feel that they may not meet the technical standards are encouraged to contact the program director to discuss and identify what accommodations, if any, can be made by Harding University so that the candidate might be able to meet the standards.
Harding is required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, as amended, not to discriminate of the basis of gender in its admission policies, treatment of students, employment practices or educational programs except as required by religious tenets of the churches of Christ. Harding has a nondiscrimination policy available upon request in the offices of Student Services and Human Resources. Inquiries concerning the application of federal and state laws or regulations may be referred to the Office of Human Resources, Box 12257, Searcy, AR 72149-2257: telephone (501) 279-4380. The person to ensure compliance with the nondiscrimination policy and discrimination laws and regulations is the chief financial officer of the University.