Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant

Admissions Committee

The intent of the MMSPA Admissions Committee is to identify and select those applicants who demonstrate the ability to fulfill the purpose of the UMKC MMSPA program.  The MMSPA Admissions Committee must establish appropriate policies and procedures with regards to the selection of students for the MMSPA program.  The admissions policies of the Admissions Committee must guarantee a competitive review process, the individual review of applicants, and an open assessment of what the applicant may potentially contribute to the PA program and healthcare community.  This process must be applied equally and consistently to all applicants.

The admissions process should provide a holistic review of all applicants who meet the minimum requirements for admission.  This review should focus on academic achievements and ability, but should also provide an open review of other talents and experiences that relate to potential success as a physician assistant.  It is necessary for the Committee to review applicants in terms of their potential academic success in the MMSPA program, but also in terms of their potential contribution to the greater healthcare community and to the learning experiences of others around them.

With a limited number of seats available in the incoming class, the Admissions Committee faces the challenge of selecting future physician assistants from numerous applicants with strong combinations of academic performance, aptitudes and abilities.  This challenge necessitates clear intentions from the Committee.

Residency:  The students who enter the MMSPA program shall be selected from three residency categories: Missouri resident, Kansas resident, and non-resident.  Resident students are those who are bona fide residents of the State of Missouri according to the residency rules of the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri.  While out-of-state students are welcome to apply to UMKC’s PA Program, preference and priority consideration is given to in-state students from the state of Missouri as well as to students from the state of Kansas.*

Eligibility:  Only students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. are eligible to be considered for admission to the MMSPA program.

Competitive Review:  All applicants to the MMSPA program who meet the minimum requirements for admission are considered equally in the admissions process.  All applications are initially pre-screened by the School of Medicine Office of Admissions.  All applications are screened by the MMSPA Program Director, as well as by two members of the  MMSPA Admissions Committee. Applications are screened within the appropriate applicant pool (resident or non-resident), and the screening process determines which students will be offered the opportunity to interview.

Once interviews are complete, all interviewed applicants are reviewed equally by members of the Admissions Committee.  The Admissions Committee considers each applicant individually within the appropriate applicant pool (resident or non-resident), and all applicants are reviewed under the same criteria and expectations.  Both the screening and selection process are competitive.

The selection process for the MMSPA program provides individual review of applicants in both the screening and selection process, competitive review of all applicants and a holistic review of applications once an applicant has met the minimum requirements for admission.  The School of Medicine does not adhere to any quotas when considering and selecting students for any of its programs.

The Holistic Process:  The MMSPA program utilizes a holistic review process, a process that is a flexible and individualized way of assessing applicants.*  Balanced consideration will be given to the experiences, attributes and metrics as defined by the MMSPA Admissions Committee in alignment with the strategic plan and goals of the program and the School of Medicine.  The experiences, attributes and metrics will be considered in combination with how a student might contribute to the program and to the profession.

The holistic review process utilized by the MMSPA program is defined by several key concepts:**

  1. The criteria for selecting students are broadly based, but linked to the School of Medicine and MMSPA program’s mission and goals, specifically promoting diversity as an essential element to achieving a vibrant health science learning community.
  2. A balance of experiences, attributes and metrics is used to evaluate applicants in order to create a diverse applicant pool, interview pool and student body. The use of experiences, attributes and metrics is applied consistently to all applicants when making admissions decisions.
  3. In addition to the review of experiences, attributes and metrics, the MMSPA Admissions Committee gives individualized consideration to how each applicant might impact the PA community and the profession.
  4. Metrics of diversity, such as race, ethnicity, or geographic origin, are factors that influence admissions decisions only when aligned with the strategic plan and mission of the School of Medicine and the MMSPA program and only when considered among the broader mix of experiences, attributes and metrics.***

The review and selection process executed by the Admissions Committee evaluates both cognitive and non-cognitive variables.  Cognitive variables, such as grade point average, performance in pre-requisite courses and standardized test scores, are essential in selecting students.  However, while such cognitive variables are factors in considering applicants, no academic accomplishment of whatever superiority constitutes an entitlement of admission to the MMSPA program.

Although cognitive variables are considered, it is also important to consider other non-cognitive variables such as passion for medicine, civic or community volunteer experience and maturity.  MMSPA applicants are evaluated holistically using the following application components:

Cumulative college/university grade point average
Pre-requisite grade point average
Standardized test score (MCAT or GRE)
Personal statement
Activities, leadership or other experiences
Health experiences/Investigation of the PA profession
Letters of recommendation
Results of the interview process (if applicable)

Policy Review:  The admissions policies of the MMSPA program must be reviewed annually by the MMSPA Admissions Committee to ensure fair, equal and consistent evaluation of applicants.  Regardless of policy changes, the admissions and selection process must remain competitive with individualized and flexible review of applicants.

A Statement of Diversity

The MMSPA program intends to admit a class of students who can contribute to the diversity of the UMKC School of Medicine, the PA program, as well as to the PA profession and community.  The School of Medicine believes that diversity among peers during education prepares students to effectively deliver health care within diverse communities upon graduation.

The Admissions Committee intends to foster diversity through the selection of candidates for admission to the MMSPA program.  This will include, but not be limited to, admitting students from different racial and ethnic origins, socioeconomic backgrounds, rural and urban communities, academic backgrounds, as well as students who can contribute to the experience of PA education through different personal experiences such as overcoming hardship, serving in the military, demonstrating extensive involvement within the community, possessing multilingual abilities and/or exhibiting different life experiences that may contribute to achieving diversity.

Equal access to the School of Medicine will be offered to all candidates regardless of race, sex, religious persuasion, sexual orientation, or national origin, provided they meet the other criteria expressed in the statement of intent.  The School of Medicine does not employ a quota system when reviewing and admitting applicants.  All applicants are reviewed individually and holistically.

*Out of state tuition, costs, and fees still apply.

**Definition and concepts taken from:  Association of American Medical Colleges:  Holistic Review Project, 2011.

***Under federal law and as permitted by the State of Missouri and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.