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Physician Assistant (MS)

Mission Statement

The York College Physician Assistant program seeks to recruit and educate students from the diverse surrounding communities to become highly competent, compassionate, and culturally aware providers of excellent medical care to underserved urban areas. Incorporated in our mission is a priority on increasing access to medical professional education for racial and ethnic minorities, financially disadvantaged students, and first-generation college graduates. Our program is committed to providing strong supports so that we may also expect high performance from our students.

Major Program Goals/Competencies

Graduates of the York PA Program will:

  1. Possess a broad and thorough understanding of current and evolving basic science and medical knowledge sufficient to assess, diagnose, and manage their patients (under the supervision of a physician)

  2. Be expert communicators with patients and family members regarding their health concerns in a culturally competent manner

  3. Deliver high quality age-appropriate and patient-centered medical, surgical, and wellness care

  4. Display a high degree of professionalism in their encounters with patients, colleagues, and the community

  5. Engage in regular self-assessment regarding their own clinical practices and knowledge base in order to continually improve their patient care

  6. Employ available evidence based medicine, public health information, and other sources regarding systems-based practice in order to provide optimal patient care

  7. Adhere to all licensure and maintenance requirements

Career Description

The Physician Assistant (PA) is a health professional licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Physician assistants are qualified by graduation from an accredited physician assistant training program and by certification of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Within the collaborative physician/PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision-making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. The clinical role of physician assistants includes primary and specialty care in medical and surgical settings working in both rural and urban areas. Physician Assistant practice is centered on patient care and may include educational, research and administrative activities. The PA elicits medical histories, performs complete physical examinations, performs and interprets various diagnostic tests and formulates diagnosis and treatment plans. The physician assistant functions within the scope of practice of the supervising physician and within the level of experience and training achieved. An important component of PA practice is patient counseling and patient education. Physician assistants practice in varied settings, including private medical offices, hospitals, clinics and community health centers. Physician assistants practicing in New York State may write prescriptions for medications, including certain classes of controlled substances. Physician assistants provide services in various medical and surgical disciplines including, but not limited to: family practice, pediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, geriatrics, orthopedics, psychiatry and emergency medicine. The physician assistant role requires the application of intelligence, compassion, sound judgment, critical reasoning, dedication to patients, and good interpersonal skills.

Accreditation and Credentials

  1. The ARC-PA has granted Continued Accreditation to the Physician Assistant Program sponsored by York College/CUNY. Continued accreditation is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards. Continued Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next comprehensive review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2018.

  2. The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies is conferred when the Physician Assistant Program requirements are fulfilled, including successful completion of all Physician Assistant Major Discipline requirements.

  3. Certification: Upon completion of all requirements and approval by the PA program, the graduate is permitted to sit for the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants examination.

  4. Licensure: Upon completion of all requirements, the graduate is permitted to apply to New York State for limited permit licensure as a physician assistant. The PA can apply for a full license upon taking and passing the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) examination.

Requirements for Admission

Step 1: Determine Eligibility for Application

  1. Completion of a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher

  2. Information Sessions - Current York students and transfer students are strongly encouraged to attend an information session. Contact the program's admissions coordinator for more information on scheduled information sessions.

  3. No grade below a "C" in any prerequisite course will be considered.

  4. Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 minimum in all of the following 3 categories:

Science Prerequisites
One Year of General Biology with Laboratory (Bio 201, 202)
One Year of Human Anatomy and Physiology with Laboratory (Bio 234, 235)
One Semester of Microbiology (Bio 265)
One Year of General Chemistry with Laboratory (Chem 108, 109, 111, 112)
One Semester of Biochemistry (Chem 412 or Bio 412)

Total Combined Prerequisite Courses
All Science Prerequisites listed above
One Semester Statistics (Math 111)
One Year of Behavioral Science (Soc 101, Psy 102, or Anth 101)

Overall Cumulative GPA
All College Level Work including Post-Baccalureate, Graduate and Professional Programs

5. Students whose Cumulative GPA is less than 3.0, but whose science prerequisite GPA is above 3.0 and have consistently higher grades in most recent coursework may still be considered for admission. These students may submit a written petition the Admissions Committee to be considered for admission, sent directly to the PA program offices.

6. The Human Anatomy and Physiology courses must have been taken within the previous 5 years from the date of enrollment. Other science prerequisite courses (Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Microbiology) taken more than 10 years ago will not be accepted. Statistics courses taken more than 10 years ago will not be accepted and must be repeated. As an alternative to repeating the General Biology OR General Chemistry courses, applicants may demonstrate adequate content knowledge by successful completion of the CLEP (College Level Equivalency Placement) Exam.
7. All prerequisite coursework should be completed at the time of application with the exception of any coursework needed for completion of the baccalaureate degree, any one science prerequisite course or Statistics, and any behavioral science coursework.
8. Completion of at least 500 hours of experience in a direct patient health care environment. Completion of 400 hours at time of application and documentation of at least 500 hours is required at time of enrollment. Clerical work is not considered health care experience. The program does not provide volunteer sites. Acceptable experience includes volunteer work or employment in hospitals, clinics, private offices or extended healthcare facilities. A separate letter on letterhead must be submitted at the time of application as proof of health care experience.

Step 2: Submit Application and Supporting Documents to CASPA

  1. PA Program Application via CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistants) The York College PA Program's application can be found on CASPA's website Please follow all instructions and upload all necessary documents listed below to CASPA's website.

  2. Current Resume

  3. Official Transcripts: All applicants must upload all official transcripts from all colleges attended to CASPA's website.

  4. Three Reference Letters (3 separate sources): Preferred sources include professors, health care professionals, and employers. Please upload original letters presented on professional letterheads Reference letters uploaded to CASPA must contain a contact number of the reference source.

  5. Personal Statement. Please follow the instructions on the CASPA website.

  6. Documentation of Health Care Experience: This should be a separate letter from any of the reference letters. 500 Hours are required (at least 400 hours to apply and at least 500 for admission into the program). A letter from the human resources department, a supervisor, health professional being shadowed, or an administrator will suffice, but it must be on a letterhead of the organization or individual, clearly state hours and tasks performed, and must provide a contact number. Acceptable experience includes volunteer work or employment in hospitals, clinics, private offices or extended healthcare facilities. Shadowing of a MD or PA is preferred. Clerical work is not an acceptable form of health care

  7. Personal Interview: All applications are scored and ranked. Students attending CUNY colleges, York College students and Veterans receive additional points in the scoring process. Selected applicants will be invited for a personal interview. Meeting minimum admission requirements and being invited for an interview does not guarantee acceptance, admission is competitive. York College and the Physician Assistant Program faculty are committed to equal opportunity for all applicants meeting admission requirements.

Notice to Students on Criminal Background Checks and Drug Testing

Current laws generally permit a state licensing board or agency to deny a license to practice if the applicant has been convicted of a felony or other specified crime. Like many state licensing boards, the Office of the Professions of the New York State Education Department requires that a criminal background check be conducted prior to granting a license.

The Department of Health Professions at York College does not require a criminal background check for admission to our degree programs, but the Department's educational requirements include placement at one or more hospitals or other off-campus clinical training sites, and these sites frequently require a student to undergo a criminal background check before the student can be placed for clinical training.

If, based upon the results of a criminal background check, the site determines that a student's participation in its clinical training program would not be in the best interest of the site, the site may deny that student admission to the training program. Even if the student has already begun the placement when the results are received, the site may elect to dismiss the student, regardless of the student's performance while in the training program. Each clinical training site that requires a criminal background check sets its own standards and procedures, and you may be asked by the site to pay the cost of the background check. You may also have to complete more than one criminal background check during the course of the program at York College depending on the number of sites where you are placed and the requirements of each site.

Some clinical rotation sites may also require that students submit to a drug test as a condition of their participation. Students will be responsible for the cost of this testing. Refusal to have a test may result in an inability to complete the rotation and possibly the professional program.

Please note that if a clinical training site determines that you may not take part in its training program based on the results of a criminal background check or drug test (or due to refusal to submit to a drug test), you may be unable to complete your course requirements and to continue in the professional program. It is important for you to consider this before you enroll in a program offered by the Department of Health Professions at York College, as York College has no obligation to refund your tuition or fees or to otherwise accommodate you in the event you are ineligible to complete your course requirements based on the results of a criminal background check, or if you are denied a license to practice.

Outside Employment Policy

Applicants to the Physician Assistant Program must assess their ability to pay tuition, equipment expenses, book expenses, travel expenses and other living expenses for themselves and their dependents for the full two years of the program. The program is rigorous, and outside employment is strongly discouraged while attending the PA Program.

Requirements for Graduation

1. Successful completion of all courses and clinical rotations listed in specific sequence:

Didactic Phase

Fall Semester (#1)


Introduction to ePortfolio/Orientation (Hybrid)



Physical Diagnosis I



Clinical Anatomy



Applied Medical Sciences



Interviewing and Counseling



PA Profession



Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (Hybrid)



Biomedical Ethics


Total Semester Credits/Hours


Winter Semester (#2)


Public Health (Hybrid)



Health Policy (Hybrid)


Total Semester Credits/Hours


Spring Semester (#3)


Pharmacology I



Physical Diagnosis II









Clinical Medicine I



Evidence Based Medicine and Health Informatics (Hybrid)





Total Semester Credits/Hours


Summer Semester (#4)


Diagnostic Studies



Pharmacology II






Clinical Correlation Seminar I



Clinical Medicine II


Total Semester Credits/Hours


Fall Semester (#5)


Primary Care



Clinical Medicine III



Pharmacology III






Clinical Correlation Seminar II



Emergency Medicine



Clinical Skills


Total Semester Credits/Hours


Clinical Phase - Winter, Spring, Fall Semesters (#6,7,8,9)


PA - Portfolio I (Online)



PA - Portfolio II (Online)



PA - Portfolio III (Online)



Surgery Clinical Rotation



Internal Medicine Clinical Rotation



Pediatric Medicine Clinical Rotation



Emergency Medicine Clinical Rotation



Long Term Care Clinical Rotation



Psychiatry Clinical Rotation



Obstetrics/Gynecology Clinical Rotation



Ambulatory Care Clinical Rotation



Family Practice Clinical Rotation


Total Clinical Year Credits


Total Professional Phase Credits


2. Good academic and professional behavior standing as defined in the Physician Assistant student handbooks and continually reviewed by the Physician Assistant Program's Academic Standing Committee.
3. Successful completion of written and practical summative examinations.

Grading Policy

All credit-bearing Physician Assistant Program courses are graded with the following scale:

Letter Grade

Numerical Value

Quality Point Value


97.0 - 100



93.0 - 96.9



90.0 - 92.9



87.0 - 89.9



83.0 - 86.9



80.0 - 82.9



77.0 - 79.9



70.0 - 76.9



00.0 - 69.9


P Grade: Satisfactory completion, used only for courses specifically designated in syllabus under the "Grading Criteria" section as P/F.

INC Grade: A student who, because of extenuating circumstances or because of an incomplete clinical fieldwork component, has not taken the final examination and/or completed the work for the course and has a passing average may receive an INC grade. The student has up to 10 weeks in the subsequent semester to complete the work and have the grade resolved.

W Grade: Official withdrawal (without prejudice).

WU Grade: Unofficial withdrawal (counts as failure).

WA Grade: Administrative withdrawal.

Minimum GPA for Retention

Students enrolled in the MPAS program must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA (CUM GPA) of 3.0 to remain in the program. At the end of each semester the student's semester GPA (SGPA) and cumulative GPA are calculated. If a student's cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, the student is placed on Academic Probation for the subsequent semester. Probationary students have until the end of that semester to raise their cumulative GPA to above 3.0, failure to raise the GPA (or in the case that it would not be possible) will result in dismissal. A student may be dismissed from the program if SGPA falls below 3.0 for more than one non-consecutive semester.

Physician Assistant Program Affiliations

  • Queens Hospital Center, Jamaica, NY

  • St. Albans Veteran Administration Hospital, St. Albans, NY

  • New York Hospital Queens, Flushing, NY

  • Woodhull Hospital, Brooklyn, NY

  • Damian Family Practice, Queens and Bronx, NY

  • St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center, Roslyn, NY

  • Alan S. Detweiler, D.O., Far Rockaway, NY

  • The Holliswood Hospital, Holliswood, NY

  • Margaret Teitz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Jamaica, NY

  • Brookdale Hospital, Brooklyn, NY

  • Premiere Pediatrics of New York, Staten Island, NY

  • Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, NY

  • Long Island Jewish Medical Center, various locations

  • Morris Heights Health Medical Center, Bronx, NY

  • Emergency Medical Care, New York, NY

  • Dr. F. Santi DiFranco, Ozone Park, NY

  • Dr. Alain Sosa, Elmhurst, NY

  • Dr. Back Kim, Flushing, NY

  • Niaz Medical Services PC, Richmond Hill, NY

Technical Standards

The following technical standards for admission establish the mental and physical abilities students' need for successful completion of the Physician Assistant Program and eventual PA practice. York College offers a variety of services, activities and accommodations to students with disabilities, mainly through two offices - the Coordinator of Disability Services and the York Enrichment Services (Y.E.S.) for Students with Disabilities. All students admitted to the York College Physician Assistant Program are expected to be able to perform the listed tasks, with or without reasonable accommodations. Every effort will be made to provide reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities.

  • PA students must be able to analyze, assimilate and learn a large amount of information. Information from various disciplines and sources must be correlated and concepts applied to develop therapeutic plans and solve clinical problems in a timely fashion. The ability to extract valid, useful and relevant information from the medical literature is also required.

  • PA students must be able to observe in lecture, laboratory and clinical patient care settings. PA students must have adequate sensory skills to elicit medical histories and to perform complete physical examinations utilizing inspection, percussion, palpation and auscultation include adequate vision, hearing and tactile sensation.

  • PA students must be able to communicate with patients in a sensitive manner and also record and communicate patient information in a timely and effective manner to other members of the health care team.

  • PA students must have adequate neuromuscular control to perform therapeutic and diagnostic procedures (such as blood drawing, suturing, casting etc.), to respond to emergency situations and to move about various health care environments. The didactic phase of the program requires extended sitting, in contrast to the clinical phase which requires extended standing and moving about various clinical facilities.

  • PA students must be able to relate to and develop good professional rapport with other members of the health care team. PA students must also maintain composure during periods of stress and respond appropriately to emergency situations. Recognizing limitations, demonstrating concern for patients and exercising good judgment are also required attributes.

All students with a documented disability are encouraged to sign up in Room 1G02 (Tel. 262-2272) and take advantage of services provided by the Coordinator of Disability Services and the Y.E.S. program. These services include individual and group counseling; individual orientation and registration assistance; readers and interpreters; modified instruction and examination procedures; textbook loan program; assistance in use of adaptive equipment and technology and coordination of disability-related accommodations.

Questions about the program's technical standards may be directed to the program director or the Coordinator of Disability Services. All information regarding disabilities is handled in a confidential manner. All requests for accommodations are voluntary and must be made in writing prior to beginning coursework.