Physician Assistant Studies (Master of Science)Offered by: Physician Assistant Studies
The Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies program at SRU prepares students for a rewarding career in a high-demand area of health care, Physician Assistant (PA). PA's are trained and licensed to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses, and provide treatment. The recent, unprecedented growth in the PA profession, is reflected in the increasing demand for advanced-practice healthcare providers. SRU’s innovative PA Program prepares students to enter one of the fastest growing professions in the nation by offering an interactive curriculum during the first year of study and unique clinical experiences during the second year.
SRU's Physician Assistant Studies 24-month program offers an innovative and robust learning experience in the classroom and in the clinic. Faculty provide multimodal instruction, leveraging innovative teaching methods including: on-campus course delivery; team instruction; interprofessional collaborative outreach in unique learning environments; and hands-on patient experience leveraging technology with simulation and standardized patients. Our academically and professionally qualified faculty, clinicians, and experts provide a strong foundation in evidence-based practice and direct patient care/client management across the lifespan from disease prevention/wellness through palliative/end of life care.
Unique to SRU's Physician Assistant Program is the emphasis on special populations and healthcare disparities that is intentionally interwoven throughout the didactic and clinical curriculum, providing graduates with the requisite knowledge and cultural sensitivity to effectively treat patients from diverse backgrounds. The program not only offers a minimal time from matriculation to graduation but it allows the students to develop the reasoning ability and resilience that can set them apart from their peers. SRU’s PA program graduates will be prepared to become competent and compassionate advanced practice health care providers, with the resilience to adapt to the ever-changing medical profession, to meet the needs of the region.
SRU's Physician Assistant Studies program offers the following highlights:
- SRU's PA program is one of the most affordable in western Pennsylvania. Graduates' starting salaries can be more than the cost of their educational investment.
- Job Security
- US News and World Report ranked physician assistant as #2 in the Best Health Care Jobs of 2020 and #3 in 100 Best Jobs.
- The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates the PA Profession will grow 31% between 2019 and 2029.
- Faculty Expertise
- In addition to years of clinical practice experience, the faculty have training and teaching experience to be effective PA educators.
- At SRU, the PA Program faculty are engaged in scholarship, research, and professional development.
- Practical, Hands-on, and Simulated Experience*
- Learn through innovative and active learning modalities in a facility designed to serve the unique needs of PA education students.
- Students will participate in interactive lectures, live standardized patient exams and technological simulation including but not limited to: simulation labs, SIM Man, standardized patient examinations, and cadaver labs.
*Learning activities are subject to change at the discretion of the Program Director and Principal Faculty to best meet the needs of the students and discipline.
- Clinical Rotations
- Students will rotate through ten clinical rotations during their clinical year including:
- Required Rotation Disciplines - family medicine, emergency medicine, internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, women's health (including prenatal & gynecologic care), and behavioral and mental health care.
- Special Populations & Elective Rotation Opportunities - In addition to the required rotation disciplines students have the opportunity to explore other specialties during the special population and elective rotations.
- Students will rotate through ten clinical rotations during their clinical year including:
Admission to the PA Program
To apply to the SRU’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, complete the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application. Applications will be accepted from May 1 to December 1. Your CASPA application must be e-submitted, completed and verified by December 1, 2023.
The cohort of 2026 will begin classes on May 28, 2024.
- A minimum of a baccalaureate degree or completion of the first three years of the Pre-Physician Assistant SRU 3+2.
- A minimum CASPA calculated GPA of at least 3.25 on a 4.0 scale at the time of application and (if admitted) a final program calculated GPA to matriculate into the program for the following areas:
- Cumulative GPA - 3.25
- Prerequisite GPA - 3.25
- Science GPA - 3.25 (for a complete list of biology and chemistry courses included in the GPA, please view the list here)
- Official transcripts from any college/university where credits have been earned at the time of application and (if admitted) prior to matriculation into the program.
- Successful completion of the following prerequisites (a grade of "C" or better is required for all prerequisite courses – courses marked with + must have been taken within the last five years):
- General Biology with lab (3-4 credits)
- A&P I with lab (3-4 credits)+
- A&P II with lab (3-4 credits)+
- Medical Microbiology or Microbiology with lab (3-4 credits)
- Genetics (3-4 credits, lab recommended, but not required)
- Highly Recommended: one upper-level biology or biochemistry course with or without lab in addition to the required biology courses listed above.
- General Chemistry I with lab (3-4 credits)
- General Chemistry II with lab (3-4 credits)
- Organic Chemistry I (3-4 credits, lab recommended but not required)
- Inferential statistics course (3 credits, any statistics course with inferential statistics embedded)
- Psychology course (3 credits, introductory, developmental, or abnormal psychology)
- College writing or composition course (3 credits)
- College literature course (3 credits)
- Medical Terminology (at least 1 credit)+
- If you are a non-native English speaker, regardless of citizenship, the Medical Terminology course must have been taught in English.
- Educational Requirements - Additional Information
- Online courses are not accepted (with the exception of Medical Terminology). The PA program will review prerequisites that were to be scheduled face to face, but were converted online due to COVID-19 on a case by case basis.
- Hybrid courses will be reviewed on a case by case basis to determine if they meet our requirement for admission.
- AP/IB courses are only accepted for English prerequisite. Only scores of 3 and above will be accepted. (GPA will be calculated based on the following scale: AP Score 3=2.0; AP Score 4=3.0; AP Score 5=4.0). AP Scores must be sent directly to the program.
- All Anatomy and Physiology+ courses and Medical Terminology+ must be taken within the past 5 years. Courses are marked with a + to designate the 5-year requirement.
- Students enrolled in the PA 3+2 or 4+2 programs are allowed to take courses at other universities, according to University policy. However, the view is that it is best based on course content and preparation that the students take the courses at SRU.
- Case by case consideration by the program of a P/F or S grade in a course will be based upon receipt of a letter from the course instructor stating the letter grade.
- The program does not make exceptions for any prerequisite course or admission requirement based upon experience.
Service, Clinical Shadowing, & Health/Patient Care Experience
These must be completed prior to matriculation into the program, however it is strongly recommended that hours are completed prior to an interview.
- Completion of 100 hours or more of community service and/or service learning satisfied through any type of purposeful VOLUNTEER activity or event that benefits the community within the last five years.
- Completion of 50 hours or more of clinical shadowing within the last five years. Of these hours, at least 25 MUST be with two (2) or more PA-Cs and in at least two (2) different areas of medicine. The remaining clinical hours can be with a NP, MD, DO or PA-C.
- Completion of 300 hours or more of health care experience or patient care experience hours within the last five years. Please refer to CASPA website for the complete definition of which activities are included in these experiences.
Letters of Recommendation: Submit three letters of recommendation including one (1) from a former college/university instructor, one (1) from a supervisor of a required healthcare experience or patient care experience and one (1) character reference that can directly attest to the applicant's character.
- An essay detailing why the applicant wants to become a Physician Assistant.
(Essays have a 5000-character limit = approx. 625 words. Characters include spaces, carriage returns, numbers, letters, etc.)
- Completion of a successful interview.
- A candidate for the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree at SRU must demonstrate the ability to acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to complete the core educational requirements, defined in the Slippery Rock University Physician Assistant Program Technical Standards All students must meet the SRU PA Program Technical Standards with or without accommodation. These standards are not intended to deter any candidate from applying, for whom reasonable accommodation will allow for the successful completion of the program. Candidates and current students, who after review of the SRU PA Program Technical Standards, determine that he/she/they require accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Disability Services to confidentially discuss the needed accommodation.
- The ability to meet the SRU PA Program Technical Standards (with or without reasonable accommodation) is a requirement for admission, retention, promotion, and graduation.
Preference for Admission & Advanced Placement
- Preference is given to applicants who possess a higher cumulative GPA, science GPA, and prerequisite GPA. Preference is also given to SRU 3+2 students, SRU graduates, other PASSHE school graduates, and veterans.
- The program does not offer advanced placement.
- International applicants and applicants with international degrees must have their transcripts evaluated for degree and grade equivalency to that of a regionally accredited US institution (see International Admissions).
- Regardless of citizenship, degree, or experience, if you are a non-native English speaker, you are required to submit scores that show proficiency in the English language. SRU accepts several methods of English Proficiency (see International Admissions). If applicable, the English Proficiency requirement must be completed and score received by the application deadline.
Should you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Offers of Admission & Required Deposit - Applicants who are offered and accept admission will be required to submit a deposit of $500 within 2 weeks of notification of their acceptance to the program to hold a seat in the upcoming class.
- Note: All admission requirements must be completed prior to matriculation. For the cohort of 2026 (Admissions cycle May 1, 2023-December 1, 2023) all requirements and documents must be submitted by May 17, 2024.
- All admission requirements must be completed prior to matriculation. All documents and requirements must be submitted by May 17, 2024.
- Enrolled Students Immunization & Health Insurance - Students who matriculate into the program will be required to provide serologic immunity verification (titers) in accordance with CDC guidelines and maintain health insurance throughout the entirety of the program.
Note: The COVID-19 series is strongly recommended by the program. Clinical sites for clinical education experiences (didactic and clinical) may require that students are fully vaccinated according to the current CDC guidelines to participate in educational opportunities at the site. Students will not be permitted to participate in clinical education experiences and rotations if health paperwork, immunization records (including updates and specific clinical site requirements), and proof of health insurance are not completed for clinical experiences. This will result in delayed graduation.
- Enrolled Students Criminal Background Checks & Screening - Criminal background checks including fingerprinting, child abuse clearance and drug screening are required to matriculate into the program, participate at clinical sites, and progress through the program. Students are financially responsible for this process and this will be repeated annually or more frequently as required by clinical sites. Adverse results at any time can prevent a student from matriculating into the program, progressing through the program, or placement at clinical sites. Results including felony and misdemeanor convictions can limit the ability for clinical training experience, national certification or licensure.