FAQ

We've compiled a list of common questions and answers about the graduate physician assistant program. This includes questions about general admissions, academic and experience prerequisites, the application process, admission decisions, competitive applicant profile, program/curriculum and general information. Please review the full list before making inquiries to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

General Admission Questions
Do you offer a bachelor's/baccalaureate degree program?
Can I transfer into the program and/or transfer credits?
What credentials will I have upon completion of the program?
What is the approximate cost of the PA program?

Academic + Experience Prerequisites
What are the admission requirements?
Is Anatomy & Physiology I enough to meet your requirement?
What satisfies the three semester college-level mathematics requirements?
What if my prerequisites don't include a lab?
If I have prerequisites in progress, can I still apply?
Is there a time expiration on prerequisites?
Where can I take my prerequisite courses?
Can foreign graduates apply to the program?
What classifies as direct patient care experience?
If I am still an undergraduate, how do I get 2,000 hours of direct patient care experience?
Are the recommended 2,000 hours counted at time of application or time of enrollment?
If I have only 1,000 hours can I still apply?
Do volunteer (unskilled/unpaid) hours count?

Application Process
How do I apply?
What is the application deadline?
Do you require a supplemental application in addition to CASPA?
What is the application processing timeline with CASPA?
How do I check the status of my application?
Are GRE scores required and will it help to submit them?
How are GPA/QPA's determined?

Admission Decisions
When are interviews held and does everyone get interviewed?
When can I expect to receive an admission decision?

Competitive Applicant Profile
How competitive is the program?
What is your competitive applicant profile?
What type of academic background and/or degree is likely to enhance my potential for success in the program?

Program + Curriculum Questions
How is the curriculum organized?
Are there clinical experiences during the first year?
What can I expect in terms of clinical rotations?
If I am accepted at Quinnipiac, can I select any of my own rotations during the clinical year?
Where are the clinical rotations?
What are employment opportunities like for physician assistants?
How are employment opportunities for Quinnipiac physician assistants?
Technical standards for the program?
What are your NCCPA board passage rates?
What are some of the strengths unique aspects of the Quinnipiac PA program?

General Information
What is the approximate cost of the program?
What options exist for financing the program?
Will I be able to work full-time while I am in the program?
Do you give preference to Connecticut residents in the application process?
How can I find a PA to shadow?
Is on-campus housing available?
Can you recommend other resources to consider?

Questions Not Answered
Can I meet/speak with someone regarding admission?


General Admission Questions

Do you offer a bachelor's/baccalaureate degree program?
The PA program is a 27-month full-time graduate program culminating in a master of health science physician assistant. The University offers an entry-level master's physician assistant program (ELMPA). Students must be accepted into this program during their senior year of high school and enter the highly competitive program as freshman. Students earn a bachelor's degree in health science studies and then continue on to complete the graduate PA program. ELMPA does not accept transfer students.

Can I transfer into the program and/or transfer credits?
No. The program does not offer advanced standing or accept graduate transfer credits. All students must complete the entire series of academic courses and clinical rotations. Prerequisite courses such as microbiology, anatomy, chemistry, etc. are not actually transferred into the program, but rather necessary to be eligible for admission consideration.

What credentials will I have upon completion of the program?
Upon completion of the program, students earn a MHS (Master of Health Science) degree and a certificate of completion as a physician assistant. Graduates of the PA program are eligible for certification as a clinical PA.

What is the approximate cost of the PA program?
Tuition at the graduate level is based on a per credit hour tuition rate and a per credit clinical rate.  For estimated costs of the program using the 2013-2014 academic year tuition rates ($895 per didactic/course credit and $830 per clinical credit) are as follows:

Summer/Fall Total $31,883 - $30,430 for tuition & $1,453 for fees (not including medical insurance)
Spring/Summer Total $24,443 - $23,580 for tuition & $863 for fees
Fall/Spring Total $14,990 - $14,940 for tuition & $50 for fees (not including medical insurance)
Summer Total $13,675 - $13,425 for tuition & $250 for fees

Physician Assistant Program - Estimated Tuition & Fees Based on 2013-14 Tuition Rates
Didactic/Course Per Credit $895   Clinical Per Credit $830
Award Period - Summer/Fall Spring/Summer Fall/Spring Summer
Tuition $30,430 Tuition $23,580 Tuition $14,940 Tuition $13,425
Fees* $1,453 Fees $863 Fees* $50 Fees $250
Total $31,883 Total $24,443 Total $14,990 Total $13,675
*Does not include medical insurance

The QU PA program follows the refund policy of the Bursar’s office.

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Academic and Experience Prerequisites

What are the admission requirements?
The admission requirements include completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or a nationally recognized institution as well as academic and clinical prerequisites. View a complete list of admission requirements.

Is Anatomy & Physiology I enough to meet your requirement?
No. To complete the six to eight required credits in anatomy and physiology, students must take either one semester of human anatomy and one semester of human physiology (with labs) or two semesters of combined anatomy and physiology (i.e., A & P I and II)

What satisfies the three semester college-level mathematics requirements?
This can be accomplished by taking any ONE of the following courses: college-level algebra, statistics, pre-calculus or calculus.

What if my prerequisites don't include a lab?
Prerequisite courses in biology and chemistry require a lab. Classes without a lab will not be considered for admission.

If I have prerequisites in progress, can I still apply?
Applicants who have one to two prerequisites pending in the summer/fall can be considered for admission, provided that all prerequisite coursework is completed by December. Spring courses are too late. If this is the case, please make sure to list the pending course(s) on the CASPA application and have a final transcript sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions upon completion of the course.

Is there a time expiration on prerequisites?
We do not have a time expiration on the completion of a bachelor degree or prerequisite courses. Our policy is "the more current your human sciences and hands-on experience, the better." So for some applicants it may be wise to retake certain prerequisite courses, but we don't have a set time expiration.

Where can I take my prerequisite courses?
Prerequisite courses can be completed at any regionally accredited college or university, including community colleges. Online courses are also accepted if from an accredited college or university and include a lab. For those interested in online courses, a good option to consider is UNE, accessible at www.une.edu.

Can foreign graduates apply to the program?
Foreign graduates must complete all course prerequisites from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States to be considered for admission. Significant U.S. direct patient care experience is also required.

What classifies as direct patient care experience?
We accept a wide range of direct patient care experience: EMT, CNA, patient care technician/patient care assistant, medical assistant, PT aide, pharmacy technician, phlebotomist, etc. to name a few. It doesn't have to be paid to count as direct patient care, but the more intensive and hands-on the better. A key to getting direct patient care experience is to gain a skill or certification as this enables you to work directly with patients.

If I am still an undergraduate, how do I get 2,000 hours of direct patient care experience?
We recommend candidates to have significant direct patient care experience. This is often difficult to obtain while enrolled as a full-time undergraduate. Therefore, many of our candidates wait to apply until they have had an opportunity to gain more direct patient care hours. However, as an undergraduate you can begin looking into options for obtaining a certification and/or direct patient contact, whether while in school or over the summer.

Are the recommended 2,000 hours counted at time of application or time of enrollment?
Hours are counted based on those documented at the time of application. Unfortunately, we are not able to count hours that a candidate intends to do. However, we recognize that this is a long admission cycle. Applicants are welcome to submit a supplement to the Office of Graduate Admissions informing us of additional hours worked since application submission to CASPA.

If I have only 1,000 hours can I still apply?
Significant direct patient care experience is recommended prior to admission. The more direct patient care experience that one has, the greater the ability to understand abstract concepts in clinical medicine. The average of our incoming students is 2,000 hours, but there is clearly a range within this as some candidates have more and others a bit less.

Do volunteer (unskilled/unpaid) hours count?
It doesn't have to be paid experience to count as direct patient care. A good example of this is a volunteer EMT position, which is direct patient care and unpaid. However, volunteer work that is primarily observation is a great way to "get your foot in the door" at a health care setting but it is not direct patient care. A key is to look into receiving a certification or a skill, as the more hands-on and intensive the patient care experience the better.

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Application Process

How do I apply?
Quinnipiac participates in CASPA, the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants. This is a Web-based centralized application process which allows a candidate to apply to multiple PA programs. CASPA will verify your application for accuracy, electronically process it, and send your materials to the programs you designate.

What is the application deadline?
Quinnipiac's application deadline for submission (not specifically receipt at Quinnipiac) is Sept. 1. However, we encourage applicants to apply early to allow ample time for CASPA to verify and send your application to us.

Do you require a supplemental application in addition to CASPA?
No, a supplemental application is NOT required. However, if you believe that supplemental information is pertinent to your candidacy, you are welcome to submit it. Supplemental information may be received via mail (Quinnipiac University, Office of Graduate Admissions N1-HSC, 275 Mt. Carmel Ave., Hamden, CT, 06518-1940), e-mail (graduate@quinnipiac.edu), or fax (203-582-3443).

What is the application processing time-line with CASPA?
The process begins when application materials and payment are received. Quinnipiac will review completed applications, conduct interviews and make final admission decisions. Submitting materials early will ensure timely processing and help avoid delays. The average duration of time for CASPA to verify and process applications is four weeks, so please plan accordingly.

How do I check the status of my application?
It is the applicant's responsibility to check on the status of their CASPA application on a regular basis. This can be done by logging into the CASPA Web application and tracking the application status by program.

Are GRE scores required and will it help to submit them?
Scores from the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) are not required in the admission process. If you are applying to other PA programs that require the GRE, your scores will be listed on the CASPA application so admission committee members may see them. However, since the GRE is not required at Quinnipiac, the score does not factor into our admission decisions.

How are GPA/QPA's (Quality Point Averages) determined?
In reviewing applications, we do not recalculate grade point averages, but use the GPA calculated by CASPA. This GPA is summarized by academic year (freshmen through senior), post-baccalaureate and graduate and also includes an overall GPA and science GPA. Learn more about how CASPA calculates grade point averages.

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Admission Decisions

When are interviews held and does everyone get interviewed?
Top candidates are invited for on-campus interviews. These are typically held in the fall/early winter months (September - December). If invited, you will be assigned one of these dates. Invitations are typically sent at least two weeks prior to the interview date.

When can I expect to receive an admission decision?
Applicants are notified of an admission decision as early as October, following our first round of interviews and as late as February. Upon acceptance, a $500 non-refundable matriculation deposit is required to secure your spot in the program.


Competitive Applicant Profile

How competitive is the program?
Admission for the 54 spots available each year is highly competitive. For the 2009-2010 admission cycle, we received approximately 18 applications for every one spot. Meeting or exceeding the requirements does not guarantee admission.

What is your competitive applicant profile?
The strongest candidates typically have a strong academic background (average GPA of 3.4) as well as significant direct patient care experience (the average is 2,000 hours) as well as strong recommendations. In addition, candidates should also have a solid knowledge of the PA role and shadowing PA's is recommended.

What type of academic background and/or degree is likely to enhance my potential for success in the program?
We receive applicants come from a variety of academic majors, degrees and backgrounds. This is welcomed as the program values diversity. Regardless of specific major or degree, the key is that applicants must complete at least the minimum admission prerequisites (both academic and clinical) to be considered for admission. View the list of admission requirements.

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Program & Curriculum Questions

How is the curriculum organized?
The program begins with an intensive three-semester didactic phase of 12 months covering basic medical and clinical sciences. This is followed by 12 months of clinical rotations in medicine and surgery. The program concludes with an advanced didactic phase in the summer session consisting of courses in ethics, epidemiology, biostatistics, graduate seminar and a comprehensive exam. Learn more.

Are there clinical experiences during the first year?
During the first year, students are introduced to the clinical aspects of their training by being paired with a graduate physician assistant or physician one day a week. These pre-clinical clerkships enable students to strengthen their clinical skills (history, physical, written and oral presentations) and knowledge acquired in the classroom to the actual care of patients early in the program.

What can I expect in terms of clinical rotations?
Clinical rotations include seven core rotations of six weeks duration in the following areas: family practice/primary care, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics/gynecology, general surgery and emergency medicine. In addition, there are two four-week electives where students may choose to gain additional experience in one of the above areas or a sub-specialty of interest.

If I am accepted at Quinnipiac, can I select any of my own rotations during the clinical year?
The program determines the clinical placements for the seven core rotations. Students have the opportunity to designate a "wish list" for the two four-week elective rotations. This may include further experience in a core rotation, a sub-specialty of interest, and/or placement in a desired geographic area.

Where are the clinical rotations?
The six-week clinical residencies are done predominantly in Connecticut, with a limited number in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Placement is determined by PA program faculty that customizes rotations to best complement a student's academic and clinical experiences, expertise and personality. Each student will do rotations in health care institutions of various sizes, populations, settings and resources to ensure positive and diverse clinical experiences.

What are employment opportunities like for physician assistants?
Two sets of statistics help to emphasize the outstanding employment opportunities for physician assistants. The PA profession was ranked by CNN and Money magazine in May 2006 as one of the top five jobs in the country. In addition, in December 2007 the Bureau of Labor Statistics listed physician assistants as the 30th fastest growing profession in America with a predicted increase in jobs of 27 percent in this decade (2006-2016). (Total employment in the U.S. is only expected to grow 10 percent.)

How are employment opportunities for Quinnipiac physician assistants?
Looking specifically at Quinnipiac PA graduates, 88 percent of the Class of 2008 was employed in their first choice job within 16 weeks of graduation. The mean salary of Quinnipiac graduates is also significantly higher than the mean for new PA graduates nationwide. Quinnipiac graduates are employed all throughout the United States as our program has a strong reputation nationally. Graduates go into all areas of practice, with the largest percentages going into emergency medicine, primary care, surgery and internal medicine.

Technical standards for the program?
The physician assistant certificate/master of health science degree signifies that the holder is prepared to entry into the practice of medicine. Students in the Quinnipiac University Physician Assistant Program must possess ability, aptitude and skills in these areas: observation, communication, motor, intellectual, behavioral/social and physical demands. Read more information about our technical standards.

What are your NCCPA board passage rates?
Quinnipiac PA students consistently perform successfully on the PA national certifying exam (PANCE), with 2012 mean scores in the 93rd  percentile, significantly higher than the average score at the 50th percentile for all those tested. High PANCE pass rates (98.3 percent for all first time takers) with 98 to 100 percent pass-rate over the past five years. View a complete list of NCCPA rates.

What are some of the strengths unique aspects of the Quinnipiac PA program?
A number of our strengths can be summarized in the PA program mission statement that includes:

  • Professionalism- Promoting professional and ethical health care practices
  • Leadership - Developing future leaders within the profession and community
  • Community service - Instilling the importance of active community involvement
  • Cultural competence- Enhancing sensitivity to the social and cultural diversity in health care.

Another unique aspect of our program is the involvement of our faculty on the national level. In addition to being practicing physician assistants, the majority of Quinnipiac University PA program faculty members hold state and/or national leadership positions, including one currently serving as the AAPA chair of the Board of Directors/immediate past-president and one being an AAPA past president.

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General Information

What is the approximate cost of the program?
Tuition for graduate programs is based on a per credit-hour tuition rate and per credit clinical rate. For the 2013-2014 academic year, the tuition and fees (estimated direct costs to the University, not counting books, supplies, transportation, living expenses and miscellaneous items) for the 27-month program is approximately $82,375.

What options exist for financing the program?
We recognize that students may need to rely on a variety of resources to assist them in paying for their educational expenses. Subsequently, at Quinnipiac we offer a number of educational loan options, including federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans as well as private alternative loans. All PA applicants are also considered for a limited number of merit scholarship awards. No additional application is required. View additional resources regarding helping manage the cost of graduate education.

Will I be able to work full-time while I am in the program?
No. Given the full-time and intensive nature of the academic and clinical requirements, students are generally not able to work while enrolled in the program. The program requires a full-time commitment with day, night and weekend requirements. Those students desiring to work six to eight hours a week must meet with the program director for prior approval. View more information on the PA program work policy.

Do you give preference to Connecticut residents in the application process?
All applicants are considered equally in the admission process as we work to achieve a diverse class, balancing educational and career experiences and backgrounds. As a private institution, tuition is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students.

How can I find a PA to shadow?
We recommend candidates to have a solid knowledge of the PA role and to shadow a PA. We do not provide a shadowing service. If you don't already know a PA, you may consider asking a local health care provider, local medical office or area hospital to recommend a practicing PA. Just make sure to first obtain permission from the physician assistant and be aware that you may also need permission from the hospital or clinic, as there are strict patient privacy (HIPPA) issues involved.

Is on-campus housing available?
The Office of Residential Life keeps a listing of off-campus rental properties. For further information, please contact 203-582-8666 or e-mail residentiallife@quinnipiac.edu. The PA department also maintains a Blackboard site which helps incoming students find local Realtors, housing options and roommates.

Can you recommend other resources to consider?
A wonderful book for more information on the PA profession and preparing for it is "So You Want to be a Physician Assistant: Your Guide to a New Career," by Beth Grivett, PA-C.

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Questions Not Answered

Can I meet/speak with someone regarding admission?
Every semester we hold information sessions on our graduate programs. These are a wonderful way to learn more about graduate life in general at Quinnipiac and about the physician assistant program in particular. View more information or register for one of our upcoming sessions.

For additional information or questions not answered, please feel free to contact Kristin Parent, associate director of graduate health sciences admission, at 203-582-3639 or via e-mail at paadmissions@quinnipiac.edu.

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