Two students with stethoscopes practicing on SIM man in the PA facility in Harrisville PA

Become a Physician Assistant

Apply for SRU's New Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

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Two PA students practicing an arm examination

Affordability and Job Security

SRU's PA program is the most affordable in Western Pennsylvania

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PA faculty member instructing a student on a throat exam

Faculty Expertise

Our faculty have years of clinical experience and are trained as effective PA educators

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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. Recently, there has been an unprecedented growth in the PA profession secondary to the increasing need for healthcare providers. This innovative PA Program will prepare 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 experiences during the second year.

Description:

SRU's Physician Assistant Studies 24-month program is a combination of academic and clinical instruction, on-campus course delivery, team instruction, and collaborative outreach taught in unique learning environments. Academically and professionally qualified faculty, clinicians, and experts will provide a strong foundation in evidence-based practice, direct patient/client management, and prevention and wellness services that focus on the life cycle needs of the U.S. population.

The program provides an emphasis on special needs populations interwoven throughout academic and clinical years, which makes SRU's Physician Assistant Program unique. Graduates will be prepared to become competent, compassionate professionals with sound ethical values. SRU graduates will learn to adapt to the ever-changing medical profession, while having the opportunity to become employed as Advanced Practice Providers and filling the medical needs of the region.

Highlights:

SRU's Physician Assistant Studies program offers the following highlights:

  • Affordability - SRU's PA program is the most affordable in western Pennsylvania. Graduates' starting salaries can be more than the cost of their educational investment.
  • Job Security - According to the 2013 NCCPA report, 78.1% of recent graduates had multiple job offers and 52.3% had 3 or more job offers. In 2014, Forbes ranked a Master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies as the #1 degree for jobs. In 2015, Forbes ranked Physician Assistant as the most promising job.
  • Faculty Expertise - SRU's PA faculty not only have years of experience in the clinical setting, but also have training and experience to be effective PA educators. In addition, faculty are engaged in professional development.
  • Unique Curriculum - SRU's unique curriculum will expose students to clinical practice in the first year and train students to be competent in helping individuals with special populations.
  • Practical, Hands-on Experience - Learn through innovative and active learning modalities in a facility modeled to offer a top-notch PA education. Students will participate in interactive lectures and hands-on labs including rounds at the hospital, equestrian therapeutics, simulation labs, and cadaver labs.
  • Clinical Rotations - Students are trained as primary care providers with the ability to specialize in any area of medicine. All students will rotate through family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, women's health, emergency medicine, surgery, and behavioral medicine. In addition, students will have the opportunity to explore other specialties during an elective rotation.

Requirements:

To apply, complete the Online Application. Applications will be accepted from May 1 to December 1.

  1. A minimum of a baccalaureate degree or completion of the first three years of the Pre-Physician Assistant SRU 3+2 AND the following prerequisites:

    • Biology
      • 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 with lab (3-4 credits)
      • Highly Recommended: one upper-level biology or biochemistry course with or without lab in addition to the required biology courses listed above.
    • Chemistry
      • 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)
    • Math
      • Inferential statistics course (3 credits, any statistics course with inferential statistics embedded)
    • Psychology
      • Psychology course (3 credits, introductory, developmental, or abnormal psychology)
    • English
      • College writing or composition course (3 credits)
      • College literature course (3 credits)
    • Medical Terminology (at least 1 credit)+
  2. A grade of "C" or better will be required for all prerequisite biology and chemistry courses. 
  3. Official transcripts from any college/university where credits have been earned.
  4. 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 5 years). It is strongly recommended that hours are completed prior to an on-campus interview.
  5. Completion of 50 hours or more of clinical shadowing. Of these hours, at least 25 MUST be with more than one PA in more than one area of medicine.  The remaining clinical hours can be with a NP, MD, DO or PA.  It is strongly recommended that hours are completed prior to an on-campus interview.
  6. Completion of 100 hours or more of health care experience or patient care experience hours within the last 5 years. Please refer to CASPA website for complete definition of what is included in these experiences. It is strongly recommended that hours are completed prior to your on-campus interview.
  7. At least two letters of recommendation (one from a health care provider, particularly a Physician Assistant, highly recommended).
  8. An essay on why applicant wants to be a Physician Assistant (5000 character limit = approx. 625 words. Characters include spaces, carriage returns, numbers, letters, etc.)
  9. A minimum CASPA calculated GPA of at least 3.25 on a 4.0 scale for the following areas: Cumulative GPA - 3.25; Prerequisite GPA - 3.25; Science GPA - 3.25 (bio & chem courses only)
  10. Completion of a successful interview
  11. 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. 

*Preference is given to SRU 3+2 students, SRU graduates, other State System school graduates and veterans.

NOTE:  Online courses are not accepted (except Medical Terminology)
          AP/IB course only for English pre-requisite is acceptable

Applicants who are offered and accept admission will be required to submit a deposit of $500 within 2 weeks of notification to hold a seat in the upcoming class.

+ taken within the past 10 years

* At this time, Slippery Rock University's F-1 Program is unable to issue the appropriate non-immigrant documents to support enrollment in the Physician Assistant Studies (Master of Science) program. Until the institution receives approval from the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), we do not recommend that international students that wish to reside in the United States on an F-1 student visa apply for these programs. We apologize for the inconvenience and are actively working to add these programs. Should you have questions regarding the timeline for the approval process, please contact global.engagement@sru.edu

**Applicants whose first language is not English may be required to submit scores that show proficiency in the English language.

Accreditation Status and Licensure Information

At its March 2020 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the Slippery Rock University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Slippery Rock University on Accreditation-Probation status until its next review in March 2022.

Probation is a temporary status of accreditation conferred when a program does not meet the Standards and when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.

Once placed on probation, programs that still fail to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and/or risk having their accreditation withdrawn.

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

Megan M. Borger MSPAS PA-C
Program Director
Slippery Rock University
megan.borger@sru.edu 

Samantha Kelly
samantha.kelly@sru.edu
Director of Institutional Assessment and Accreditation 

Additional Information Regarding Accreditation Status

Based on the March 2020 review, the ARC-PA placed the Slippery Rock University PA Program on accreditation probation status. The Program and University administration have created and initiated a plan of action for addressing the concerns raised by the ARC-PA.  The PA Program and the University are implementing these measures.

The PA program will continue to provide high quality education as evidenced in the 94% first time test taker average since the inception of the program.

We would like to reassure our prospective and current students the program maintains accreditation, which allows students to:

  • apply for admission to the program
  • progress to program completion
  • sit for board examination (PANCE) upon successful program completion
  • apply for state licensing

Enrolling and graduating from a program on Accreditation-Probation means that you are still graduating from an ARC-PA accredited program.

Slippery Rock University is approved to offer programs that may lead to licensure/certification in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. SRU cannot confirm that the PA program meets the requirements for licensure/certification in any other state or commonwealth. If you are considering to enroll in the PA education program and be certified/licensed in a state other than Pennsylvania, please check the specific requirements for licensure in your state. if you are considering to work as a PA in other states that may require certification/licensure, you should first seek guidance on your state's requirements. For more information, please consult the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) on the specific state information.