MHSA – FAQ
About the Program
How can I get information about the MHSA Program?
- Website: www.bluefield.edu/anesthesiologist-assistant
- Phone: (334) 442-4202
- E-mail: [email protected]
Does the MHSA Program offer a part-time program of study?
- No, at this time the MHSA Program is designed exclusively for full-time study.
What is the typical class size?
- Each program location admits up to 35-40 students per year.
When does the program start?
- The program starts on the first Monday of June every year.
Will simulation be part of the program?
- Simulation will be integrated throughout your time in the program, beginning in the first block and continuing until graduation. During the initial components of the program, simulation sessions will focus on technical skill-building. The simulation experiences will progress over time to the management of normal and complex anesthesia cases, non-technical skill enhancement, and crisis management.
How will you help students maintain a positive work/life balance while in the program?
- Student health and wellness are at the forefront of our endeavors. While the curriculum is academically rigorous, both VCOM and Bluefield University provide tremendous resources to support the well-being of the student learner, including academic consulting, advisor relationships, peer counseling, and mental health services.
What are the Program’s admission criteria?
- Admission criteria can be found on the admission requirements page.
Do I have to take the MCAT?
- No, the MHSA Program does not require an entrance exam.
- Students are encouraged to submit score results from any MCAT, GRE, or other standardized graduate entrance exam they have taken, simply for research purposes.
Can I apply if I received a C in one of the prerequisite courses?
- Yes. You may retake the course and earn a grade of B- or above. We’ll use the higher grade to calculate your science GPA.
- For the strongest application, prerequisite courses in which C grades were received should be retaken. A grade of B- or above is required in all prerequisites. You can apply with a C; however, your application will be considered after those applications that meet the admission criteria.
Is a B- average in prerequisite courses okay? For instance, I received a C in organic chemistry I and an A in organic chemistry II.
- To remain competitive amongst applicants, a final grade of B- or above is necessary for every prerequisite course; if labs are graded separately then they should be completed with grades of B- or above as well.
Do my undergraduate classes fulfill prerequisites for the MHSA Program?
- Visit our Admissions Requirements for descriptions of appropriate prerequisite courses.
- Applicants are encouraged to discuss the admission criteria with an academic advisor at their college or university to determine the appropriate course(s).
- Rules of thumb: Prerequisites must be four-year college-level courses and must be for science majors (with the exception of English, calculus, and statistics)
- Survey, introductory, or remedial courses will generally not be accepted.
- Courses specific to a given major (e.g. nursing, engineering, etc.) are discouraged but will be evaluated amongst the applicant’s body of work and on an individual basis.
Do I have to complete all the prerequisite courses before I apply?
- No, provided you have a plan to complete them before starting the MHSA Program. A specific degree plan with all outstanding prerequisite coursework will need to be submitted with your application.
- You can be interviewed and admitted provisionally, dependent upon successful completion of all prerequisites with grades of B- or above.
- Official transcripts will be required at the end of each semester of study documenting completion of the prerequisites with grades of B- or above.
Can I take prerequisite courses at a community college?
- Yes, however, be sure to confirm that the courses you plan to take are at a four-year college level, are for science majors, and are what pre-medical students (i.e., biology or chemistry students) would take.
- NOTE: biochemistry and advanced statistics are typically not offered at an appropriate level at community colleges.
- One semester of a combined course in human anatomy and physiology with lab, completed with a B- or above, will fulfill both anatomy and physiology prerequisites. These are the only two prerequisites that may be fulfilled by a combined course.
I’ve attended multiple schools. Do you require all transcripts?
- Yes. We require all transcripts to be reported. We focus our evaluation on science grades across your academic experience. We recognize that students beginning college may have an adjustment period and grades may be lower earlier on – if you wish to explain a low score or provide context for an academic struggle you’ve overcome, please include that information in your personal statement.
Is there a limited number of interview spots?
- No. All qualified applicants meeting all admissions criteria will be offered an interview, and applicants will not be admitted without an interview. We conduct interviews in Auburn, Alabama and Gainsville, Georgia, and several regional locations throughout the year. While we highly encourage an in-person interview, on a case-by-case basis we will also consider a video-conferenced interview for applicants with conflicting obligations, from geographic locations of great distance, or financial constraints.
- Admission into any graduate program is granted on a competitive basis and students meeting minimum requirements may be denied admission based on factors such as program capacity or academic discretion.
When will you notify candidates of their acceptance?
- Applicants will be notified via phone call of their acceptance within 30 days of the interview. A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 to be applied to tuition and a signed letter of confirmation are required to hold the spot. If we are unable to reach you via phone or email after three attempts, we will move on to the next applicant and not hold a spot for you in the cohort.
I graduated more than 5 years ago. Does my coursework still count?
- There is a five-year time limit for all prerequisite coursework.
- The five-year time limit can only be waived for the prerequisite if you score if you score a 500 on the MCAT or a 300 or above on the GRE. A high score on the MCAT or GRE indicates that your knowledge of the coursework is still current, and we do not ask that you retake your older coursework.
- An outstanding MCAT or GRE score does NOT waive prerequisite courses – it merely waives the five-year time limit. All prerequisite courses must be completed regardless of MCAT or GRE score.
- Biochemistry, human anatomy with lab, and human physiology must be taken within five years of the application deadline, regardless of MCAT score.
- The five year time limit may be waived for those applicants with extensive clinical patient care experience at the discretion of the program.
Can previous health care or medical coursework transfer and/or replace any courses required by the Program?
- No. The curriculum is designed with a prescribed continuum and cadence that does not allow for opt-out or test-out of any subject matter. Though highly unusual, the MHSA Program may consider transfer credit from an equivalent level graduate program on a case-by-case basis and at the sole discretion of the Admissions Committee.
Does the MHSA Program give credit for previous clinical experience?
- No. Students must complete the entire MHSA Program curriculum in its entirety.
When is the application deadline?
- All Application materials must be postmarked by January 1 to be considered for admission to the following summer semester which begins the first Monday in June.
- The MHSA Program operates on a rolling admission cycle that opens for application on July 1st of the year preceding a cohort start date. As such, completed applications are considered by the Admissions Committee on a monthly basis throughout the admissions cycle from July through January, and any applications submitted after a cohort has been filled will not be considered for the upcoming cohort and will be rolled over to the next year.
Is there an early decision option if I’m sure I want to attend the VCOM-Bluefield Program?
- Yes. The Early Decision Admissions Track is an admissions option for those candidates who identify the VCOM-Bluefield MHSA program as their first choice for pursuing Anesthesiologist Assistant education. In order to be considered for the Early Decision Admissions Track, the candidate must meet all of the following requirements and agree to apply only to the VCOM-Bluefield MHSA Program until an early decision notification has been made. Please note the Early Decision Admissions Track requirements are in addition to the General Admissions requirements listed above. Requirements below:
- Minimum science and overall GPA of 3.5.
- Submit an application, transcripts from all institutions attended, and any MCAT/GRE scores directly through the Program website or the Centralized Application Service for Anesthesiologist Assistants (CASAA) by July 1st.
- Submit a letter of intent to the Director of Admissions indicating that the MHSA is your first choice for AA schools by July 1st and request review for Early Decision Admissions Track.
- Submit all Secondary Application materials including Secondary Application, application fee, letter of recommendation from a premedical advisor/science faculty member, and a letter of recommendation from an anesthesia provider by August 15th.
- Withhold all applications to other AA programs until early decisions are made by the MHSA Program.
- Applicants who are ranked highly on the hold or waitlist from the prior academic year may be offered an early decision for the next academic year without resubmission of all materials.