About the Program
The Master of Medical Science (Physician Assistant) degree is designed to produce graduates who will be well equipped to deliver high-quality, cost-effective primary health care in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, outpatient offices and community settings. The physician assistant is trained to take medical histories, perform physical examinations, order and interpret diagnostic tests, diagnose, and treat illness, determine treatment, and educate patients regarding their health and medical concerns.
This is a 4+2 program, with four years of undergraduate study and two years of graduate study in the Physician Assistant program. A student interested in becoming part of the Physician Assistant program must first earn a bachelor’s degree in a major such as Biology, Chemistry or Psychology that enables him or her to complete the prerequisite courses. Arcadia University undergraduates whose academic records and Graduate Record Examination scores meet the 4+2 entrance requirements are assured admission into the graduate program at the end of the senior year. Transfer students are also eligible for assured admission to the graduate program in Physician Assistant studies if all established criteria are met.
The 24-month graduate portion of the PA program combines classroom instruction with extensive clinical experience in a variety of medical specialties. The mission of the program is to train highly competent, globally aware physician assistants who are prepared to be life-long learners. The Program is committed to fostering excellence in patient care and promoting professionalism, leadership, cultural competency, scholarship, and service.
Students are strongly urged to work closely with the advisers from their chosen majors. They should take prerequisite courses that will prepare them for the graduate-level professional work that will be expected of them upon entering the PA program.
Upon completion of their junior year, students apply to the Physician Assistant program through CASPA, the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants. Given admissions occur on a rolling basis, it is recommended applicants apply early in the admissions cycle (by August 1). To maintain the ongoing quality of the Physician Assistant program, the University reserves the right to limit the enrollment in all its offerings.
Minimum Requirements for Assured Admission
Prerequisite courses must be taken through the appropriate department, e.g. Biology, Chemistry or Psychology.
Requirements for Students Who Begin Their Undergraduate Education at Arcadia University as Freshmen
- Students must have completed the following prerequisite courses:
- Biological Sciences: five courses in Biology to include at least Anatomy (Human or Comparative), Physiology and Microbiology. Biochemistry is recommended.
- Chemistry: three courses in Chemistry to include a minimum of one semester of Organic Chemistry.
- Psychology: one course in Psychology.
- Statistics: one course.
- NOTE: Students may have only one prerequisite course outstanding by the end of the fall semester of their senior year.
- Students must have a minimum 3.4 overall GPA and a minimum 3.4 overall GPA in prerequisite courses. A grade of “C” or better must be earned in each prerequisite course. (A grade of “C–” is unacceptable for prerequisite credit.) When calculating the prerequisite GPA, the University includes all courses in the various areas. Courses taken in prerequisite areas that were graded on a pass/fail basis will not be calculated into the prerequisite GPA.
- Students must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Minimum scores of greater than or equal to 147 for quantitative reasoning, greater than or equal to 158 for verbal reasoning, and greater than or equal to 4.5 analytic writing are required. This GRE needs to be taken by the time of application submission.
- Students must have knowledge of the profession through work or volunteer experience in a clinical setting. A minimum of 200 hours of patient care experience is required.
- Students must obtain three letters of recommendation. Ideally, one should be from a professor and one from a practicing licensed physician or physician assistant.
Requirements for Students Who Enter Arcadia University as Transfer Students
Transfer students are also considered for assured admission provided that they meet all the criteria for freshmen as well as the following:
- Students must complete a minimum of 15 credits per semester and no fewer than 64 credits over the last four semesters of work at Arcadia University, excluding summers.
- Students must earn a bachelor’s degree from Arcadia University.
- Students must take five of the prerequisite science courses at Arcadia University.
- Students must complete at Arcadia University: BI 206 Human Physiology or a 300-level Biology course with a lab (if Human Physiology is already completed).
Students whose credentials do not meet requirements for assured admission to the master’s program can still apply for admission into the PA program. They will, however, be considered in relation to other qualified candidates in the general applicant pool. Please be aware that transfer students may have difficulty meeting the assured admission requirements if they only attend Arcadia for a minimum of four semesters.