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MPAS Frequently Asked Questions

Admission

1. What is the deadline for applying?

The CASPA application process for the Trine MPAS admissions cycle opens in March/April and closes March/April of the next year. Please check the CASPA portal for exact dates. Applications may close before the cycle closes. One should apply early so all materials are entered by the application deadline. Rolling Admissions means that competitive, completed and verified applications will be considered as they are received.

2. Does Trine University’s MPAS Program require the GRE?

Yes, taken within the past 5 years. See competitive guidelines for target for the strongest applications.

3. What is your CASPA GRE code?

The CASPA GRE Designated Institution Code for Trine University is 7343.

4. What are your competitive guidelines?

Competitive applicants have:

  • The following GPA
    • 3.5 or above cumulative
    • 3.5 or above hard science
  • Relevant and rigorous science coursework earning a B or better
  • The following scores on the GRE General Test
    • 305 or above overall
    • 153 or above quantitative reasoning
    • 152 or above verbal reasoning
    • 4.0 or above analytical writing
  • Demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills during the invited interview

   See FAQ 10 for a list of subjects calculated in the hard science GPA and defined as other relevant coursework

5. What makes a competitive application?

Competitive applicants demonstrate the qualities essential to successful completion of the program and entry into the profession:

  • Well-qualified, exceeding standard requirements for admission
    See Admission Requirements and Competitive Guidelines
  • Well-prepared, academically equipped to successfully handle the demands of the program’s curriculum
    See Admission Requirements and Competitive Guidelines
  • Well-versed, demonstrating strong performance in coursework relevant to the program
    See Relevant Coursework (FAQ 7)
  • Well-matched, with academic and career goals aligned with program curriculum, teaching and learning goals and other “FIT” factors
    Assessing Program Fit (FAQ 22)
  • Well-suited, demonstrating an interest in and affinity for the planned field of study
    See Professional Discernment (FAQ 21)

6. How important is an individual’s GPA in getting an interview and how do I make myself more competitive?

While the Program’s holistic evaluation of applicants considers a number of criteria in making admission decisions (see Admission Requirements and Competitive Guidelines), a program-defined hard sciences GPA factors significantly in determining competitiveness and preparedness for entry into a Master of Physician Assistant Studies academically demanding program of study.

7. In addition to prerequisite coursework, what other courses can best prepare me to meet the rigor of a PA program?

The didactic phase includes a one-credit hour genetics course and three one-credit hour pharmacology courses. The curriculum connects clinical relevance to basic medical science content as part of the skill and knowledge built through additional coursework and clinical experiences. Thus, a strong foundation in hard sciences coursework would best prepare you for a graduate-level curriculum in physician assistant studies.

   For additional recommended coursework, see FAQ 10.

8. How do you define “rigorous” coursework?

Rigorous courses are those designed for science majors as opposed to lower-level survey courses. Coursework specifically designated for healthcare providers or premedical classes are preferable (when available) as these will better prepare you for the level of study in the MPAS Program.

If you have completed a course designed for non-science majors or designated as 100 level or survey, we require you upload a copy of the syllabi to the Documents section of CASPA for Admissions Committee review. We will contact you with a determination and recommendation, if deemed non-rigorous, to take a different course that meets requirements.

9. Can I apply if I have a course grade lower than a "C"?

You may apply but the Program will not accept prerequisite course grades lower than C. You must successfully repeat prerequisite courses at the same or higher level and credit hours. 

10. What coursework is included in the hard sciences GPA?

The GPA's include lecture and, where applicable, lab section grades for the following subjects:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Human Physiology
  • Bacteriology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular Biology
  • Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • Cellular Physiology
  • Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Hematology
  • Histology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Parasitology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology
  • Virology

 11. Does your program require a lab with the prerequisites?

Our program only requires a lab for anatomy. We do not require a lab for biochemistry, organic chemistry or microbiology.

12. Do you require a physical lab or would a virtual lab meet your requirements?

We recommend that all science courses with a required lab be taken in a physical, in person environment, rather than a virtual lab, although a virtual lab could meet our criteria as reviewed and determined by our Admissions Committee.

13. Do you take Advanced Placement or Dual Credit courses?

We accept Advanced Placement or dual credit courses toward the undergraduate degree and for statistics and psychology but not for the hard science prerequisites.

14. Some institutions offer Anatomy and Physiology as integrated courses while others offer these separately. Is there a preference for either of these options?

Our Program has no preference. Both options would meet the requirement as long as you have met the number of credit hours (6 or equivalent quarter hours), GPA minimum (C or better) and rigor.

15. Some of my prerequisite course names may not look like what you want but cover the required material. For example, I took vertebrate anatomy, mammalian physiology and/or comparative anatomy and physiology. What do I do?

Upload the supporting syllabi into the CASPA portal in the Documents section for our Admissions Committee to determine suitability to support your matching of these courses with our prerequisites.

16. Do I need to have completed all admission requirements prior to applying to your program? (e.g. prerequisites, GRE General Test, completion of bachelor's degree, etc.)

You may apply prior to completion of admission requirements. You must update outstanding requirements in CASPA as you fulfill them. The Committee may not consider an applicant for an interview until you have fulfilled 6 of 7 prerequisite courses. You must successfully complete all requirements before matriculation into the program in August. The GRE is not required for an interview but must be done before matriculation. Any acceptance offers are contingent upon this.

17. Can I substitute one prerequisite or relevant course for another; for example Organic Chemistry II with lab for Biochemistry or Molecular Biology for Microbiology?

No, we do not allow substitutions for prerequisites or relevant courses.

18. How do I list lab courses?

If your transcript lists labs separately, then list these separately on your application. Please record the lab as it appears on your transcript, with the title, prefix/number, amount of credits, and grade given. If your transcript combines lab/lecture courses into one class on a transcript, report these as one entry on your application noting in the course title this is combined lab and lecture course.

19. Can I petition to waive prerequisite course work?

No.

20. Do you prefer in or out of state applicants?

Our Program has no preference.

21. What does “discernment process into the PA profession” mean?

Consider what makes you a fit for the PA profession. Give specific examples such as health care experiences (personal or on the job), direct patient care, interactions with patients, job shadowing, etc.

22. How do you assess “fit with the program” when evaluating applicants?

The Program considers relevant information included in the application and shared in the interview sessions that answer the above question.

   Reference the Program Mission and Vision Statements: https://www.trine.edu/academics/majors-degrees/graduate/master-physician-assistant-studies/about.aspx

Applicants can assess “fit with the program” by considering what they expect and want from a graduate education in their discipline of choice in terms of skills and knowledge, connections (building a professional network), hand-on experience, diversity, professional and community service opportunities, and so on.

Additionally, applicants should prioritize what matters most about graduate school. Consider cost, length of study, curriculum alignment with learning goals, location, atmosphere, learning environment, variety and geographic distribution of clinical placements, and other important factors.

23. Can I apply with an infraction?

Infractions will be evaluated by the Admissions Committee on a case-by-case basis. Serious infractions may require additional documentation before a decision can be made.

24. Does experience in medical sales, scribing, or health care administration count towards your preference for direct patient care experience?

These positions have value for our required discernment into the PA profession, however we consider the related duties more as an observational experience. For any other experiences not listed above, think about your role with patient care. Do you interact with patients on a regular basis? What types of interactions occur (e.g. is it beyond observational)?

25. Does Trine University's MPAS Program support diversity?

Trine University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, disability, veteran status or age in the administration of any of its education programs, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic and other school-administered programs or in employment.

26. Does Trine University's MPAS Program accept international students?

Currently we do not accept international students except citizens or legal residents of Canada. 

27. If I earned a bachelor's degree from a non-US institution, would I meet requirements? 

No, we require a bachelor's degree from a US accredited institution. Individual courses may be taken abroad but will be subject to review by the Admissions Committee. 

28. Do I need to submit transcripts if I attended a non-U.S. institution of higher learning?

The Admissions Committee will evaluate individual prerequisite courses taken from a non-US institution (i.e. a semester abroad). You must submit complete official transcripts to Trine University including foreign transcripts. This may also require submission of reports from a foreign credential evaluation agency with the transcript/s.

29. If I attended a non-English speaking institution, are there any additional requirements?

For those who have met other prerequisite course requirements, we require the IELTS (6.5) or TOEFL (79) with minimum scores indicated in parentheses. Trine’s TOEFL institution code is 1811.

30. Can I visit your facilities?

You may contact pa@trine.edu to set up a tour. You will also have the opportunity to visit our facilities during admissions information sessions. Those seeking admission into Trine’s undergraduate direct entry pathway should work through the undergraduate admissions office for all admissions related questions, including visits to the facility. 

31. Do you have admissions interviews?

Yes. We hold interview sessions and applicants will be notified if they will be in-person or virtual. We offer seats in the program on a rolling basis with each interview session until the class is filled. Once we fill the class and wait list, interviews may end for the admission cycle.

32. What will I do during admissions interviews?

Expect to spend about half of a day with us for an in-person interview or two hours for a virtual interview. You will receive an agenda on the day of the interview.

33. How do you handle re-applicants?

All reapplicants will be evaluated with the current applicant pool.

34. Do you have any suggestions for re-applicants?

Strengthen your application, if you have areas for improvement, then reapply as early as feasible. For those who did not receive an interview offer due to submitting your application late in the rolling admissions process, please reapply early.

35. Do you have a supplemental application?

No.

36. Are there extra fees to apply to the MPAS program in addition to CASPA?

There are no additional application fees specific to the Trine University MPAS Program.

37. Do you have a tuition deposit?

Trine University MPAS Program requires a two-part non-refundable tuition deposit of $1,000 with the first installment of $500 due at 2 weeks and the second installment of $500 due at 4 weeks from the official offer. The second deposit confirms your ongoing commitment to start the program. Should an applicant be offered a seat close to the program’s start date, the deposits will be due sooner. Requests for additional time for depositing can be directed to the Program Director for consideration.

38. Can you advise me on my chances of receiving an interview offer if I share my data prior to applying?

Given such a high volume of applicants each cycle, we do not evaluate data prior to submission of your CASPA application and its verification. We would instead direct you to FAQ on competitive guidelines (#4), improving your application (#39), and recommendations for self-reflection to determine the strength of your application (#40).

39. What can I do to improve my application to the Trine MPAS Program?

The MPAS Program Admissions Committee recommends a personal reflection process to identify areas of strength and areas of weakness while applying. An example could be retaking the GRE to earn a more competitive score, obtaining more healthcare experience/shadowing hours, and retaking courses to improve grades and GPAs.

40. How do I self-reflect to assess my application and candidacy strengths?

Do I meet all the requirements? (Refer to Admission Requirements.)

  • Do I exceed where possible?
  • Do I have the plus of direct patient care experience?
  • Am I prepared with rigorous science courses over survey courses?
  • Is my written communication top-notch?
  • Have I practiced general interview skills?

41. Would you consider classes taken a number of years ago as "old" or "outdated" and require updating? 

We recommend updating courses taken more than 7-10 years ago that include evolving medical sciences such as physiology, biochemistry, immunology or genetics as this foundation would better prepare you for success in the MPAS curriculum. Alternatively, if one applies these disciplines in their day to day jobs, work experience may suffice as a means of maintaining currency.

42. How do you make your admissions decisions?

Trine University follows a holistic admissions process, considering all components of the application and interview. Our Admissions Committee evaluates skills, experiences and attributes along with academic metrics. Applicants must meet all admission requirements and are evaluated on multiple data points including overall GPA, hard science GPA (see FAQ #10), last 55-60 credit hour GPA, overall GRE General Test score, and interview scores.

43. I’ve been asked to submit documents to the program to supplement my file, uploading these to the Documents section in CASPA. What tips do you have?

Label any file to include your last name, first name, and a description of the content such as: StudentSallyIvyLeague-Transcript.pdf

44. My CASPA application is complete. When will I hear from Trine?

You will receive an email acknowledging receipt of your verified application within 5 days and a follow-up email to inform you of your review status within a week. With rolling admissions, we will evaluate your application as long as we have seats and interview spots remaining. Please be aware that we cannot give updates on numbers of seats remaining at any time since the number changes constantly.

45. Can I transfer from another PA program?

No. We would consider you a new student required to complete the full MPAS curriculum of our Program.

46. How large do you anticipate your class will be?

We have 36 seats to fill. The Program will reserve, of the 36 available seats, up to 10 seats for students in the Trine University direct entry pathway and two seats for each institution with an articulation agreement with our program. 

47. What is the process for registering/enrolling?

Applicants invited to join the class will receive enrollment/registration information in late spring prior to the start of the fall semester.

Academics/Curriculum

1. What does your academic schedule for the program look like? 

The MPAS student start date matches the Trine University’s undergraduate fall schedule for the 4-semester didactic phase with the exception of a fall break. A didactic phase orientation will precede the start date. The Program’s 3-semester clinical phase will be continuous weeks beginning in January until graduation in December. The exact dates will be determined by the Program and given in advance of the clinical year.

2. Where will the MPAS Program classes be located?

Classes will take place at the Fort Wayne College of Health Professions - 1819 Carew Street, Fort Wayne, IN between the campuses of Parkview Randallia hospital and the VA hospital. Some of the inter-professional education events will be hosted at partnering institutions in Fort Wayne.

3. Do I get to take classes with other health professions’ students?

The Trine University MPAS Program participates in the Fort Wayne Area Inter-professional Education Consortium (FWAIPEC) for Graduate Health Care, a consortium of graduate level medical education institutions representing programs with family medicine residents, medical students, physician assistant students, graduate level nursing students (nurse practitioners and Master of Science in Nursing), physical therapy students, occupational therapy students and pharmacy students. 

The consortium gathers 3 times a year as a collaborative effort to:

  • Introduce the students to the team concept of health care, strengthen patient outcomes and add value to the community
  • The opportunity for a multi-disciplinary approach to patient care and problem solving
  • The foundation to develop a healthy team approach to patient care
  • The opportunity for faculty from different institutions to collaborate

Collaborations beyond the basic FWAIPEC offerings round out IPE offerings. This curricular element occurs in the MPAS Program’s Clinical Application and Reflection Experience (CARE) course series.

4. Do you use cadavers to teach your anatomy?

The Trine MPAS Program values the cadaver experience as part of anatomy instruction. The students will primarily use prosected cadavers.

5. Explain a bit about the Team Based Learning strategy you have in the “CARE” curriculum.

The Program has designed a team-based learning (TBL) teaching strategy in the Clinical Application and Reflection Experience (CARE) courses in which small groups of students will work together on clinical cases to apply material learned in other areas of the curriculum. This strategy fosters critical clinical thinking skills

6. Where will I do my clinical experiences?

The MPAS Program has created local (Fort Wayne area) and distant partnerships for the clinical rotations and continues to expand its clinical affiliates.

7. Does your Program offer clinical rotations at international sites?

We do not offer international clinical rotations at this time. We may consider offering these in the future and are also open to the concept of a mission trip.

8. I see the program has affiliates for clinical rotation sites. Can students go elsewhere for clinical experiences?

The Program has a process for student initiated clinical experiences but we do not require students to furnish their own clinical rotation sites. The Program must investigate the site to ensure it meets our educational objectives and to secure the proper clinical affiliation agreement paperwork, etc. The Program cannot guarantee granting clinical wishes but will explore feasibility with the student.

9. Can I work while I am in the MPAS Program?

Due to the time intensive nature of the Program, we highly discourage employment.

10. Can I attend the MPAS Program part-time?

No. The MPAS Program is a full-time program.

11. How does your program help prepare me for the NCCPA Board Exam?

The MPAS curriculum serves as your foundation for NCCPA Board Examination preparation. The Program administers mock boards twice during the curriculum, near the end of the didactic and clinical phases, so you can monitor your progress and identify areas of strengths and areas to improve.

12. Does my MPAS degree allow me to practice as a PA?

Your degree enables you to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE) to earn your certification. You will also need to obtain your licensure. Completion of an accredited PA Program does not automatically guarantee that the individual can practice as a physician assistant.

Enrollment, Costs, and Logistics

1. What is the cost of the program? 

See MPAS Tuition and Fees.

2. Does Trine award scholarships for students enrolled in the MPAS Program?

No. We do not currently offer PA scholarships.

3. Does Trine provide housing for MPAS Program students?

Not at this time. Students will need to secure their own housing from one of the many options in the Fort Wayne area. During a clinical rotation outside of the area, plan for housing cost.

4. What are the requirements for financial aid at Trine?

See Financial Aid section. Direct all Financial Aid questions to the Office of Financial Aid located at the Trine campus in Angola, Indiana. Contact information:

Call: 260-665-4158 or 800-347-4878
Fax: 260-665-4511
Email: finaid@trine.edu
Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 am – 5 pm

5. Can you provide more information on the application for financial aid?

One must complete the FAFSA to apply for federal aid

  • We do not require students to have completed a FAFSA at the time admitted into any program
  • You have a large window to apply for aid as the FAFSA application period runs from October 1 through June 30 each year
  • You cannot use financial aid to pay seat deposits
  • You may add schools to the FAFSA after submitting it

6. What options do I have as a graduate student for financial aid?

You can apply for direct and Grad PLUS loans. See the links for further information including the maximum amount you can borrow. Though Trine University does not currently offer scholarships, you can find plenty of scholarship opportunities online that can help you pay for PA school.

Accreditation

1. What does it mean that Trine University is provisionally accredited?

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Trine University Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program sponsored by Trine University. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.