Physician Assistant Studies Department
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Marist's PA program accredited?
Yes, the ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Marist College Physician Assistant Program. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program's ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.
How does the Provisional status affect the program, specifically graduates taking the PANCE?
All students matriculated in a program with provisional accreditation, pending successful completion of all program requirements, will be eligible to sit for the PANCE.
Which bachelor's degree is most beneficial?
Applicants come from a wide variety of academic majors, degrees, and backgrounds. Regardless of specific major or degree, there is a requirement that applicants must complete at least the minimum admission prerequisites (both academic and clinical) to be considered for admission.
Do you offer a bachelor's degree program?
No, our PA program is a 24-month, full-time graduate program culminating in a Master of Science-Physician Assistant Studies degree.
Can I transfer into the program and/or transfer credits?
No, the program does not offer advanced standing nor is transfer credit or credit for experiential learning accepted in lieu of PA courses.
Will I be able to work full-time while in the program?
Candidates are advised that due to the rigorous nature of the program, full-time work during matriculation is strongly discouraged.
What are the academic terms for the program?
The program is a full time, 24-month program to include 12 months of didactic studies and 12 months of clinical rotations.
If I attended a foreign school or earned my degree outside of the United States, can someone review my transcript prior to applying?
No, all transcripts must be submitted to an evaluation service for a course-by-course U.S. equivalency report. CASPA lists numerous evaluation services on their website, such as World Education Services, Inc.
What is the anticipated class size?
We began with 45 students in the first cohort starting in May 2016. We increased to 50 students in the second cohort, and to 60 in all cohorts thereafter.
If I am denied admission, can I reapply?
Yes. Applicants who are denied admission are welcome to reapply in the subsequent years. If an applicant reapplies, s/he must resubmit a CASPA application and pay any applicable fees again. Repeat applicants should highlight what they have done to improve their eligibility for the program since the previous application and are encouraged to submit at least one new or updated letter of recommendation.
Program and Curriculum:
Where is the program housed on campus?
The program is housed in the Science and Allied Health building. The PA program space consists of a dedicated classroom, a gross anatomy laboratory, a 10-bed skills laboratory, and a technologically advanced clinical simulation suite with a twin trauma bay and five traditional exam rooms. The assigned space also contains faculty and support offices, a student lounge, and a conference room.
Where will the clinical rotations be held?
With a few exceptions, all students will be placed on clinical rotations within a 50-60 mile radius of campus.
What are some of the strengths unique to the PA program?
The program was designed and is the culmination of a highly dedicated and experienced faculty and staff. It is housed in the Science and Allied Health building which includes a state-of-the-art simulation center and a traditional gross anatomy lab. The program is located in a thriving healthcare community which has openly welcomed our students.
Will alternatives to the prerequisite courses be accepted?
Applicants with concerns regarding course content should contact Graduate Admissions at 845-575-3484.
What if my prerequisites do not include a lab?
Prerequisite science courses require a lab.
If I have prerequisites still in progress can I still apply?
Yes, all prerequisites must be completed prior to the CASPA application cycle closing on January 15, 2019.
Is there a time expiration on prerequisites?
No; however, the most competitive applicants have completed the prerequisites within the last 10 years.
Where can I take my prerequisite courses?
Prerequisite courses can be completed at any regionally accredited college or university in the United States.
What is classified as direct patient care experience?
Direct patient care experience is qualified as functioning within a health-care team at the level to which you have been trained. This includes direct one-on-one care of patients and development of skills that include communication, trust building, and being comfortable working within a patient's personal space. We accept a wide range of direct patient care experience: radiology technician, respiratory therapist, cardiovascular therapist, paramedic, EMT, CNA, patient care technician/assistant, medical assistant, PT aide, and phlebotomist, to name a few. Shadowing and internships as part of school-based training does not qualify as direct care experience.
Do volunteer hours qualify?
Patient care experience does not have to be compensated. A good example of this is a volunteer EMS position, which is direct patient care but may not be compensated. Volunteer work that is primarily observation is a good way to become familiar with a healthcare environment, but it is not considered direct patient care.
If I am still an undergraduate, how do I get 500 hours of direct patient care experience?
It is required to have significant direct patient care experience. This is often difficult to obtain while enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student. Therefore, many students wait to apply until they have had an opportunity to gain more direct patient care hours. The average age of students in PA programs is 26. However, as an undergraduate, you can begin looking into options for obtaining training and patient care certification that allows you to accrue direct healthcare experience while in school or over vacation, summer, and other school breaks.
Are the 500 hours of healthcare experience required at the time of application?
A minimum of 500 hours of healthcare experience must be completed by the CASPA application cycle close date (January 15th).
Competitive Applicant Profile:
How competitive is it to gain acceptance into the program?
The selection process is highly competitive. All applications are welcome regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. Admissions is a holistic process, meaning applicants must be successful academically and possess superior communication skills, a high level of maturity, and an understanding of the current role of PAs in the healthcare environment. The strongest candidates typically have a strong academic background, as well as significant direct patient care experience and strong recommendations. Additionally, candidates should have a solid knowledge of the PA role.
What can I do to be more competitive?
Compare your prerequisite performance against demographics of successful applicants at other leading programs. In addition, develop a good understanding and passion for the role of the PA in the healthcare environment.
Should I retake courses in which I scored poorly?
It is recommended that all applicants strive to be as competitive as possible.
What are the characteristics of an ideal candidate?
The goal of the admissions process is to identify the applicants who are most likely to succeed in the PA curriculum, contribute to meeting the overall intent of the program's mission and to successfully practice as a physician assistant. An ideal candidate will have a strong work and moral ethic, in addition to knowledge of and a desire to enter into the PA profession. Successful applicants will have a mixture of achievements in life, work, and academics and will have a commitment to satisfying the tenets of a challenging career in medicine.
What is the application deadline?
Applications are accepted through CASPA beginning in mid-April and will close on January 15, 2019 for the fourth cohort starting in May 2019. Interviews will begin prior to the deadline.
Do you require a supplemental application in addition to CASPA?
Not at this time.
Are GRE or MCAT scores required?
Scores from the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) or MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) are required for completion of the CASPA application, and should be less than five (5) years old.
Are TOEFL scores required?
If the applicant is a high school graduate from a non-English speaking country, then TOEFL scores are required on the CASPA application.
Will I be notified if I am not selected for admission to the program?
Yes, both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified of their status as decisions are made.
How competitive is it to gain an interview?
Typically between 10-20% of applicants are invited for an interview. Selection for an interview is based on information contained in the CASPA application, including academic and personal achievements. Interviews are structured to evaluate a candidate's skills (e.g., interpersonal, communication, time management) and other professional characteristics including motivation for entry into the PA field.
Are there clinical experiences during the first year?
Students will augment their didactic curriculum through work with standardized patients and simulation modules, with the goal of enabling them to strengthen their clinical skills and knowledge acquired in the classroom.
What can I expect in terms of clinical rotations?
With a few exceptions, all students will be placed on clinical rotations within a 50-60 mile radius of campus. Clinical rotations include 7 core rotations of 5 weeks duration in the following areas: family medicine, internal medicine, general surgery, emergency medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN, and behavioral and mental health. In addition, there are two 5-week electives where students may choose to gain additional experience in one of the above areas or a sub-specialty of interest. The clinical rotations are done within an extensive network of clinical sites, which includes hospitals, medical centers, clinics, and extended-care facilities.
If accepted, can I select any of my own rotations during the clinical year?
No, the program determines the clinical placements for the core rotations. Students will have an opportunity to choose electives from an existing list of available sites. These electives can be chosen to augment existing core rotations or to pursue experiences in a sub-specialty of interest.
- Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA)
- American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)
- Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)
- National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)
- New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Professions, Medicine
- New York State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA)
- Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA)
The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Marist College Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Marist College.
Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.
Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.