MHSA – Admission & Graduation Requirements

Prerequisite Admission Criteria

Admission to the VCOM-Bluefield University Master of Health Science in Anesthesia Program requires that the following criteria are met. Prospective students are selected by the Admissions Committee which considers the overall qualities of all applicants and gives the highest consideration to applicants who:

  • Are residents of the Southeast United States
  • Demonstrate alignment with program mission and values
  • Have an excellent academic record
  • Have prior healthcare experience
  • Provide qualified and compelling personal references
  • Have served in the United States military
  • Hail originally from rural or underserved areas
  • Have experience with volunteerism and/or mission work


Admission Requirements

Application Procedure

The program participates in the Centralized Application Service for Anesthesiologist Assistants (CASAA) for the receipt and processing of all applications. However, CASAA takes no part in the selection of our students. CASAA application packets may be obtained from the CASAA website.

Once the CASAA application has been received by Bluefield University, a supplemental application will be made available online. Your complete application must be received no later than January 1st, 2023, in order to be considered for admission to the June 2023 entering class. Once we receive the completed application, all materials listed below, and the application fee, your file will be reviewed by the admissions counselor. Applicants will not be considered for a possible interview until all these requirements have been received. On the application portal, we ask applicants about a range of demographic, personality, and interest topics. Applicants are encouraged to not “over-think” the answers to these questions as the dual intent of the survey is to provide a richer holistic view of the applicant and to aid the program in future service to students.

    Steps To Apply

    1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. or Canadian college or university (or its equivalent)
    2. Documentation of each of the prerequisites listed below must have been completed at an accredited U.S. or Canadian institution of higher learning. Applicants may apply while still compiling prerequisite work, but all academic requirements must be completed satisfactorily before matriculation. (Substitutions are NOT permitted and survey courses for non-science majors are NOT acceptable.)
      (For those courses that have been repeated, the highest grade will be recognized.)The prerequisites listed below must be completed within 5 years of the application deadline. Applicants must submit official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework for review by the Admissions Committee. All materials must be received by the January 1st deadline.
      (Clinician applicants having worked for five (5) or more years in an accepted healthcare provider role may be exempted from the time since conferral requirement, at the Program’s discretion.)
      1. Biochemistry – one (1) semester
        One semester of biochemistry is required. An advanced course in this subject is preferred and would meet the requirement but is not mandatory.
        (Bioengineering courses will not satisfy this requirement)
      2. Human Anatomy – one (1) semester
        One semester of human anatomy is required. An advanced course in this subject is preferred and would meet the requirement but is not mandatory.
        (Courses in vertebrate embryology and developmental anatomy will not satisfy this requirement)
      3. Human Physiology – one (1) semester
        One semester of human physiology is required. An advanced course in this subject is preferred and would meet the requirement but is not mandatory.
        Courses in mammalian physiology and embryology will not satisfy this requirement.
      4. Statistics – one (1) semester
        One semester of an advanced course in statistics for analytics or the life sciences; usually this is an applied statistics course and/or a statistics course with a calculus prerequisite. (Introductory or 100 level courses will not satisfy this requirement)
      5. English with Expository or Creative Writing – one (1) semester
        One semester of an introductory English course with a writing component, creative or technical writing.
      6. Biology – one (1) year
        One full year of biology course sequence with a lab that stresses general concepts. (Bioengineering, micro- or molecular biology, cellular biology, genetics, and/or histology will not satisfy this requirement)
      7. Chemistry – one (1) year
        One-year course sequence in general chemistry with lab
      8. Organic Chemistry with Lab – one (1) year
        One-year course sequence in organic chemistry with lab
      9. Physics – one (1) year
        One-year course sequence in general physics with lab.
    3. Standardized Test Scores: MCAT scores or other graduate-level standardized test scores are not required for admission. We request that applicants report previous MCAT and/or GRE scores for research purposes
    4. Wonderlic Test of Cognitive Agility: Each applicant to the MHSA Program will complete an online cognitive agility examination prior to being invited for an interview. This assessment will specifically measure an applicant’s fit for the CAA profession and provide validated and highly reliable information that can help the Program make better selection decisions and student development plans. This tool will help the Program select the right candidates, develop their professional skills, and will maximize the likelihood of success for every student by quantifying several different aspects of a candidate’s fit for the program. The test must have been taken within three (3) months of the application deadline.
    5. Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s prior academic performance, potential, character, work habits, and suitability for graduate study leading into a career in clinical practice
    6. Personal Statement: Applicants will submit a short (no more than one page) personal statement.  While the topic of the personal statement is determined solely by the applicant, it is highly encouraged that it reveals insight and introspection, displays proper grammar and syntax, is interesting and engaging, and illustrates the applicant’s passion for, and dedication to, patient care and the Anesthesiologist Assistant profession
    7. Interviews: Personal interviews are offered to the most qualified applicants to assess interpersonal and communication skills, maturity, integrity, altruistic attitude, and commitment to a CAA career. Candidates participate in interviews with members of the Admission Committee, which is comprised of faculty and staff members of the MHSc Program, clinician preceptors, student body leadership, and University administrators. Interviews are prescheduled and occur in October – December preceding matriculation and will be conducted at the Auburn and Gainesville campuses. At the Program’s discretion, a video-conferenced interview may be accommodated under special circumstances
      (All travel and lodging costs associated with the interview process are the responsibility of the applicant.)
    8. Important Notes:
      1. Students wishing to enter the Master of Health Science in Anesthesia Program should be aware that a prior felony conviction might restrict an individual’s ability to obtain professional licensure or employment
      2. Acceptance into the MHSA program or its completion does not imply or guarantee that a student will be able to obtain such licensure or employment.
    9. Foreign Graduate Admission: Prerequisite coursework, degrees, or certifications obtained outside the United States or Canada are not considered necessarily equivalent in design or content. As such, academic credit conferred from a foreign institution will be evaluated on an individual applicant basis and acceptance of such will remain at the discretion of the Admissions Committee. Applicants with foreign undergraduate, graduate, or advanced degrees who would like to apply to the Master of Health Science in Anesthesia Program must meet the academic requirements listed above. Graduates of foreign institutions where English is not the primary language of instruction must present transcripts showing at least 18 semester hours of study from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States. Of these 18 semester hours: 3 hours must be in English Composition, English Literature, and Public Speaking (courses do not include ESOL). The remaining nine semester hours can be any course of the applicant’s choosing (excluding physical education). In addition, international students must submit:
      1. Standardized of English language ability
        1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet (iBT): 85 / Computer (CBT): 223 / Paper (PBT): 565
        2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – minimum score of 6.5
    10. Credit Conversion Policy: Bluefield University and VCOM use a semester system; however, the institutions do accept quarter credit hours. Quarter credit hours are worth 2/3 of 1 semester hour. Quarter credit hours may be rounded to the nearest whole number at the discretion of the Admissions Committee with consideration given to the course work and grade earned.
    11. Shadowing Experience: A clinical shadowing experience is highly recommended, but not required for admission to the MHSA program. During such, the applicant would be assigned to one anesthesia provider for the day in order to observe their work in the operating room setting. Shadowing provides the student an excellent opportunity to learn what an anesthesia provider does on a daily basis and to gain clinical experience.
      (The MHSA program does not coordinate or guarantee the availability of shadowing experiences, and applicants must make accommodations themselves if they wish to participate)
    12. Photograph: Applicants are required to submit a headshot photo with their application. This photograph will be used as a point of reference and form of identification throughout the interview process. It is suggested that this photograph is of the student from the shoulders up, in professional business attire, high-resolution, and against a neutral and un-patterned backdrop.
      (If an applicant is unable to provide a photograph that meets the criteria above and is invited for an interview, a photograph will be taken of the applicant at the time of his/her interview.)


    Graduation Requirements

    In order to be eligible for a degree from the Master of Health Sciences in Anesthesia program, it is required that all students shall complete each of the following objectives:

    1. Successful completion of all academic courses and requirements for the degree
    2. Satisfactory completion of the program of study required for the degree
    3. Satisfactory clinical performance as determined by the Program and Clinical faculty
    4. Satisfactory discharge of all financial obligations to the University
    5. Attend in person the rehearsal and commencement program at which time the degree is conferred.
    6. Received recommendation for granting of the degree Master of Health Science in Anesthesia from the Program Director, Medical Directors and approval by the Dean.
    7. Special requirements:
      1. Participation in a minimum of 2,000 clinical hours of direct patient
      2. Participation in a minimum of 650 anesthetics
      3. Successfully pass the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA) Certification exam.
      4. Passing score on all Comprehensive Competency Examinations (CCEs)


    Ready To Apply?

    Do I only apply once?

    • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

    Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

    • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

    Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

    • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

    How long is a semester?

    • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

    Is there an orientation?

    • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

    Where can I find a course description?

    Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

    • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

    Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

    • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

    Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

    • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

    Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

    • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

    How do transferring credits work?

    • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

    Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

    • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

    Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

    • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231


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