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questions about MUSC

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Hi all,


I'm trying to decide between MUSC and another PA program that has accepted me. I have a few very specific questions about MUSC, and I was hoping someone on here might be able to answer them for me...thanks for any help/advice!


For the required rotations, do students have any choice at all in where they go or are the rotations completely chosen for them/how are they assigned?


What does a "primary care elective" rotation mean? Can that be any specialty or what does it limit you to? (the website is kind of confusing on this). Also in the course description page the website talks about a 2 week subspecialty elective but this is not mentioned in the curriculum overview page. So how does that work? I thought you only get one elective rotation at MUSC (the primary care elective).


How often do students do international rotations? And is that limited to only your elective rotation or can you use one of your required rotations for an international rotation?


What's a good estimate for how much you spend on the program/living expenses? I'm an out of state applicant, and I'm trying to figure this out because the website doesn't give the best breakdown for tuition especially regarding the clinical year...like does the clinical year count as 3 semesters (so 7 semesters total in tuition for the program)?


Is it relatively easy to live without a car during the didactic phase if you live downtown?


Thanks so much for any advice or responses!! This is going to be a really tough call for me, so any input from current students would be awesome :)

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I'll do my best to answer. I haven't yet started the program, but I asked about rotations during my interview, and I know some people who are currenlty in the program.


1. The clinical coordinators setup the rotations, which could be anywhere in the state. I got the feeling that you don't have much choice and could end up in a different place every five weeks, unless you have extenuating circumstances, e.g. you are a parent.


2. I don't know enough about this.


3. I asked about international rotations. There is one site setup in Germany on a military base for Trauma. I think you can setup your own international rotations for any of the specialties, but the school will not pay for it. The school does pay for living expenses within SC during the clinical years as most sites are affiliated with SC-AHEC.


4. There is a detailed budget sheet that the office of financial aid gave out at one of the information sessions. I think it was around 800-1300/month for housing, 300/mo for food and 200 for utilities, if I'm not mistaken. One of the first year students mentioned she would be ending her lease in May to prepare for the constant moving that is associate with the clinical year.


5. I think its easy to live downtown without a car. I work at MUSC, and grew up in Charleston. Many people bike/walk to the campus.


hope it helped.

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For a breakdown of the total cost, go to this website http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/em/financialmanagement/chpbudget.html It has the estimated budget for year 1, 2, and 3 (3 being the first summer semester I believe). When I added the three up it comes out to be around $131,000 for in-state. I'm not sure how a state-school added up to be so much but the financial aid advisor told me the amounts listed are only estimates and represent the maximums the students may need for each year. It still seems to be excessively expensive though.


As far as clinical rotation sites, I think the majority are in SC with AHEC housing and I believe the students can put in their preferences, but I'm not sure. I know two students who have worked in their home towns so I'm assuming they requested that.


I think you would be able to live downtown with a bike, but the cost of living I believe is much more expensive downtown rather than James Island or West Ashley? Look here http://padmapper.com/ for the difference in cost in different areas.


Other factors to consider would be to look at their PANCE pass rates. I believe MUSC over the past 5 years has a 94% pass rate. Also, what exam schedule do you prefer? MUSC goes by the block exam schedule but other programs differ from that.


Hope this helps some!

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thanks so much, you guys have definitely been very helpful. That website showing the total costs was kind of scary though...$154,830 for an out of state student. Ouch!!! My own estimates were still about $120ish all things considered. but it's Charleston! so hard to make a decision...if only school were free :(

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  • 1 month later...

Hi! I am a current student in MUSC's PA program. I'll try to answer your questions the best I can.


So for rotations you do have some say in where you go. You are allowed to do 2 out of state rotations at a list of already accepted places or you can set up one on your own. For the other ones that are in state you fill out a preference form of where you would like to be. Then it is kind of luck of the draw. Military/Parents/Married people get preference for rotations in Charleston.


The primary care elective we were told that is really isn't an elective. It is another primary care rotation like internal medicine or family practice I believe(I'm not 100% sure on this one). All I remember is them telling us is that it's not really an elective and it won't be ob/gyn or peds b/c they don't have an abundance of preceptors for those two.


Your final rotation is a 4 week elective. It is in a specialty that you pick that you would most likely want a job in (orthopedics/neuro/anything other than your rotations that you have already completed unless you loved one of them and would like to complete another.) They told us that it is hopefully where you want to get a job. This rotation can also be out of state.


International rotations can be done. There are A LOT of medical mission trips that can be completed during your breaks if you don't want to use one of your out of state rotations up. They had someone come in and talk to us about a rotation they did in Tanzania. It looked amazing. They can also help you set one up someplace else. There are a lot of options. These rotations you can choose what they fulfill (I believe). So the international rotation could fulfill your internal medicine/family medicine.


So I am an out of state student. Clinical year is broken down just like the semesters. You get pretty much the same breaks as the didactic year. I am assuming they cost the same, however if you are an out of state student during clinical year and do not have family/friends in SC that you could live with during the clinical year the state will provide housing for you at no cost. So basically if you get a lease during your didactic year you would not need to get a lease for the clinical year if you don't mind living at a hotel during the time you need to come back for a test (every other rotation) or find a sublet if you have a rotation in Charleston for the 5 weeks.


I also live downtown and it is really convenient. You don't have to worry about traffic getting to class or leaving, which can be pretty bad depending on the time. Also it is good to live downtown b/c you are conveniently close to the cadaver lab/library/class. I do have my car downtown, I don't drive to class, but I think it would be difficult to live downtown w/out a car just because you wouldn't be able to enjoy the beaches and go to regular stores to go shopping if you needed something that King street does not offer. Living downtown saves you a lot on gas and parking!


Hope this helps. If you have any more questions feel free to message me.


Good luck w/your decision!

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