Pre-Physician Assistant 

A 4+2 program leading to a Master of Medical Science (Physician Assistant) degree

physician assistant student

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, physicians’ 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 BiologyChemistry 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.

The 24-month graduate portion of the program combines classroom instruction with extensive clinical experience in a variety of medical specialties. The overall emphases during these two years are primary health-care delivery and the role of the physician assistant as a valuable member of the health-care team. Transfer students also are eligible for assured admission to the Physician Assistant graduate program.

Students are strongly urged to work closely with the advisers from their chosen majors. They also take prerequisite courses for graduate-level professional work. Upon completion of their junior year, students apply to the Physician Assistant program through CASPA, the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants. 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 Admission to the M.M.S. Degree (Physician Assistant)

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

  1. Students must have completed the following prerequisite courses. Students may have only one prerequisite course that is not completed by the end of the fall semester of their senior year.
    • 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.
  2. Students must have a minimum 3.4 overall GPA in prerequisite courses taken at Arcadia and elsewhere. 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.
  3. Students must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). A minimum score of greater than or equal to 147 for quantitative reasoning and greater than or equal to 158 for verbal reasoning.This test should be taken by the time of application submission.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 also are considered for automatic admission provided that they meet all the criteria for freshmen as well as the following:

  1. 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.
  2. Students must earn a bachelor’s degree from Arcadia University.
  3. Students must take five of the prerequisite science courses at Arcadia University.
  4. 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 automatic admission to the master’s program can still apply. 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.

Adviser: Donna Agnew, Assistant Professor, PA-C, MSPAS

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