Feb 25, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Physician Assistant, M.M.S.

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About the Program

The PA program is in the Department of Medical Science, in the College of Health Sciences. The College of Health Sciences also includes the departments of Physical Therapy and Public Health.


The mission of the Arcadia University Physician Assistant (PA) Program is to graduate compassionate and highly qualified graduate medical professionals who are patient-centered and lifelong learners. We are committed to diversity, global awareness, and investment in preparing our students to excel in professionalism, leadership, and service. 


At its June 2023 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the Arcadia University Physician Assistant Studies Program sponsored by Arcadia University on Accreditation-Probation status until its next review in June 2025.

Probation accreditation is a temporary accreditation status initially of not less than two years. However, that period may be extended by the ARC-PA for up to an additional two years if the ARC-PA finds that the program is making substantial progress toward meeting all applicable standards but requires additional time to come into full compliance. Probation accreditation status is granted, at the sole discretion of the ARC-PA, when a program holding an accreditation status of Accreditation – Provisional or Accreditation – Continued does not, in the judgment of the ARC-PA, meet the Standards or when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.

Once placed on probation, a program that fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and is subject to having its accreditation withdrawn.

Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the Program Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at https://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-arcadia-university/.


The first three semesters of the program consist of didactic and laboratory coursework in the basic and clinical sciences, and human gross anatomy.  First-year students are introduced to standardized patients as part of the Medical Interview and Counseling course in the summer semester and in the fall and spring semesters as part of the Physical Diagnosis courses. At the conclusion of the didactic year, students complete their core competency examinations, receive training in clinical procedures and participate in standardized patient simulation experiences.

During the clinical year, in addition to completing 11 four-week supervised clinical practical experiences, students return to campus for call back weeks every three months to participate in assessments, formative and summative standardized patient simulation experiences and small group activities to facilitate critical thinking and reflection as part of an integrative learning process. 

The 11 supervised clinical practical experiences consist of seven core rotations in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Behavioral Medicine, Internal Medicine, Women’s Health, Pediatrics, and Surgery. In addition, there is a Core Elective where students spend an additional four weeks in one of the seven core disciplines in preparation for the clinical year. Students also complete 12 weeks of clinical electives as three distinct supervised clinical practical experiences. During clinical rotations, PA faculty members perform site visits to address any issues with student performance or clinical site learning experiences.

Two Campuses

The Arcadia University Department of Medical Science opened a campus in Christiana, Delaware in the fall of 2006. The Christiana Campus is located in an executive center in the growing Newark area and provides an adult learning environment. The campus is immediately adjacent to the Christiana Hospital and the Christiana campus students are granted access to the University of Delaware library and athletic facilities. The campus includes classrooms and laboratory spaces, a Student Center, offices and meeting rooms.

The Glenside campus is the historic home of Arcadia University and serves both undergraduate and graduate students. The Physician Assistant program is located in Brubaker Hall, which offers dedicated classrooms, laboratory space, offices and a student resource room. Students at the Glenside campus have access to student services on the campus, including the Landman Library. The PA program faculty are based primarily at one respective campus, but the faculty share teaching and course responsibilities at both campuses.

Both campuses follow the same curriculum and share lecturers. Combined, the two campuses offer the resources and advantages of a large program with the personal attention of smaller classes. Students come to Arcadia to pursue their careers as Physician Assistants of distinction.

Academic Policies and Procedures

A student accepted into the Physician Assistant program is expected to abide by the regulations set forth by Arcadia University and the written policies of the Physician Assistant program. For a discussion of the general academic policies and procedures for graduate students, see the Academic Policies section in this catalog and the Student Handbook. The policies of the Physician Assistant program are published in the Physician Assistant Policies and Guidelines Handbook, revised annually and provided to students at orientation.

To remain in good academic standing, students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.70 in each semester. Failure to meet this standard for two consecutive semesters will result in the student being dismissed from the program.

All courses in the Physician Assistant curriculum are required and are sequential, and students must receive a minimum grade of “C” in courses before progressing in the program. If a grade lower than a “C” is earned in a course, it is considered a failing grade and the student will be dismissed from the program.

In order to progress to the clinical phase of the program, the student must have no course grades below “C” and a minimum GPA of 2.70 (“B–”). The student also must successfully complete the core competency examination, and obtain permission of the Physician Assistant program. If this minimum GPA requirement has not been met by the end of the didactic phase, students will not be allowed to enter the Clinical Phase and will be dismissed from the program. The student also must meet all compliance issues, which include immunizations and physical examination, criminal background checks and drug screening.

In the second year of the program, the student must continue to maintain a minimum 2.70 cumulative GPA. In addition, students must pass a comprehensive written and practical exam. Students who fail one clinical rotation may be allowed to repeat the clinical rotation and must meet all academic requirements, and receive Department permission before continuing into the next clinical affiliation. Permission to continue is dependent upon the cause of the unsatisfactory performance and is determined by the program in consultation with clinical preceptors, the clinical coordinators, the program director and the student. Failure of an additional clinical rotation experience will result in the student being dismissed from the program. Students who must repeat a rotation will be billed at the prevailing credit fee.

Students who withdraw or are dismissed from the program and who want to re-enter must apply for readmission within six months of departure. Permission to do so will be determined by the Department of Medical Science PA Academic Review Committee after careful, deliberate consideration. Based upon a review of their performance, those students may be readmitted with the possibility of advanced standing.

Student Work Policy: Due to the intensity of the PA programs, students are discouraged from outside employment while enrolled in the PA program. Employment during this program makes it difficult to have time for social activities, hobbies and recreational activities, and rest. Students are prohibited from applying compensated clinical experience toward academic credit.

Additionally, students may not provide services within a preceptor’s practice apart from those rendered as part of the clinical year of the program. Students are not permitted to have clerical or teaching responsibilities within the PA program. Students may not receive compensation for any work performed within the preceptor’s site or practice.

Academic and Clinical Facilities

This program utilizes the extensive academic facilities of Arcadia University and has specialized audio-visual computer-based instructional materials, physical examination equipment and facilities for the first-year didactic and workshop activities clinical skills training and standardized patient encounters are conducted on campus and at The University of Pennsylvania’s simulation center.

Supervised clinical practical experiences take place in hospitals, clinics and physician practices both local and distant to campus. The program has approximately 400 clinical affiliations with hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices both domestically and internationally.

Degree Requirements (116 credits)

The Master of Medical Science degree is awarded after completion of the following requirements:

  1. The program’s curriculum with a minimum GPA of 2.70 maintained throughout the program.
  2. All courses and clinical rotations with a grade of “C” or higher.
  3. Successful completion of core competency exams, comprehensive written and practical exams.
  4. Meet technical standards for admission, continuation and graduation. (Technical standards are available at www.arcadia.edu/pa.)

Clinical Year (48 credits)

(Summer, Fall, Spring)

Clinical Rotation Fields

Choose from the following:

  • Cardiology
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Dermatology
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Infectious Disease
  • International Rotations
  • Neonatology
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Pediatric Subspecialties
  • Public Health
  • Radiology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Rheumatology
  • Trauma Surgery
  • Other medical and surgical subspecialties may be arranged at the discretion of the program.

With approval of the program, students may suggest as many as three of their own rotation sites. These external rotations will be arranged by the Program to ensure that the experience meets all clinical rotation objectives.

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