The education of a physician assistant (PA) is very rigorous and is likely the most demanding educational experience of your life, leading to a rewarding career.

Our department offers a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree in a 28 consecutive month curriculum. Accredited by the ARC-PA, we graduate high quality and compassionate PAs to successfully pass their certification exam to serve their patients and communities with pride.

If you are ready for that challenge and seek to serve others, we welcome your interest. We invite you to schedule an appointment to visit and discuss your potential as a Clarkson PA student. Each fall we host an open house for the public to meet potential incoming first year students.

What is a Physician Assistant?

Physician assistants (PAs) are health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. PAs perform a comprehensive range of medical duties, from basic primary care to high-technology specialty procedures. PAs often act as first or second assistants in major surgery and provide pre- and postoperative care.

In some rural areas where physicians are in short supply, PAs serve as the primary providers of health care, conferring with their supervising physicians and other medical professionals as needed and as required by law. PAs can be found in virtually every medical and surgical specialty.

The PA's responsibilities depend on the type of practice, his or her experience, the working relationship with physicians and other health care providers, and state laws. There are approximately 83,600 practicing PAs in the United States. The average salary exceeds $100,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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What Makes Clarkson's Physician Assistant Program Unique?

Our faculty has a variety of clinical backgrounds as do the local health care providers we utilize for rotations and guest speaking. We utilize clinical sites in St. Lawrence and surrounding counties as well as distant sites. This means you will get clinical experience in a variety of healthcare settings while serving diverse populations. Our small class sizes mean you receive personal instruction from our faculty.

The PA profession continues to be an important part of the coordination required in improving healthcare in the U.S. The U.S. government and multiple other publications continually produce articles and reports that demonstrate the value of PAs and the continuing need for more physician assistants in the future. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Physician Assistants are in the top 10 fastest growing occupations. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Physician Assistants).

Kylie Broughal
"I chose to attend Clarkson because I like the small class size and the focus on learning and providing medical care to the local community. Without a doubt, I've gained essential experience and insights here that will help me be understanding and compassionate and grow into the kind of provider I want to be."

Kylie Broughal, MS Physician Assistant Studies

Admission and Costs

Admission and Prerequisites

A complete application requires that the application is electronically submitted and all transcripts, payments and at least three letters of reference have been received by the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) for verification. It is highly recommended that all documents be submitted to CASPA several weeks prior to the deadline date to ensure all items arrive on time. The application needs to be submitted and verified by CASPA by the January deadline in order to be considered for review. A rolling acceptance policy is being used, so applicants may hear from the program prior to the January deadline. The class size will be a maximum of 30 students.

The prerequisites for admission are listed in this section. Be sure that you meet the Clarkson program prerequisites before submitting your CASPA application. This includes your score on the GRE. Please review the technical standards for the program as well. Applicants who are invited to submit a supplemental application will sign a statement in that application that these standards can be met.

How the Admission Process Works Prerequisites

Tuition and Costs


Tuition (per semester) $15,441
Student Facility Usage Fee (per semester) $450
Estimated Book Costs (the majority in the first semester) $1000
Lab Fees ~$200
Student Academy of the AAPA $75
Equipment (stethoscope, otoscope, ophthalmoscope) variable
Travel and living expenses variable



MS in Physician Assistant Studies

The PA Studies program at Clarkson University is a professional degree program intended to prepare students academically and professionally for responsibilities and services as physician assistants. This degree program consists of 82 credit hours divided into three phases that span 28 consecutive months.

Physician Assistant Studies MS Curriculum

Technical Standards

The abilities and skills which candidates and students must possess in order to complete the education and training associated with Physician Assistant education are referred to as "Technical Standards." These same abilities and skills are essential for clinical practice as a Physician Assistant. The Technical Standards listed below reflect five categorical areas: observation, communication, critical reasoning (intellectual), motor and sensory, and behavioral/social and represent minimum competence levels. Students must attest that they meet these Technical Standards prior to or at the time of matriculation to the Clarkson University Department of PA Studies. Students found to be in violation of Technical Standards are at risk for dismissal from the program. Each standard is defined below and is followed by examples of indicators of minimum competence in that area. Reasonable accommodation for persons with documented disabilities will be considered on an individual basis, but a candidate must be able to perform in an independent manner. 

Candidates will be required to certify that they have read and understand the Technical Standards of the Department of PA Studies at Clarkson University and attest that they have no condition - as noted above - that would interfere, inhibit, compromise or distract from their participation in the program.

Learn More about our Technical Standards

Pre-Physician Assistant Program

About Our Pre-Physician Assistant Program

High school seniors who apply to Clarkson University for undergraduate studies are eligible to apply for the Pre-Physician Assistant plan as part of their application. Applicants must demonstrate scholarship in math and science and a representative SAT/ACT score. Participation in health-related courses and activities is encouraged.

The Pre-Physician Assistant plan is not a major or minor. Students must declare a major in an area of interest, but will be required to take the 10 prerequisite courses for the Physician Assistant program as part of their degree. At least three prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the second year. Patient care hours must be acquired during the first two years as well. At least 100 hours of the 500-hour total is required by this time. 
Student advising will be done by the department of the declared major with input from the health science advisor and the physician assistant advisor when needed. Pre-Physician Assistant students will be expected to participate in physician assistant program activities when possible.

What Do I Need to be in Clarkson's Pre-Physician Assistant Program?

Clarkson students must achieve and maintain a GPA of at least 3.25 throughout their undergraduate years. No grade less than B is acceptable for prerequisite courses. Students must also be free of any disciplinary problems. At the end of the second undergraduate year, students will meet with the physician assistant faculty to determine their continuation in the pre-physician assistant plan. They must continue to acquire patient care hours and finish prerequisite courses while maintaining the above-mentioned GPA.

During their senior year, students must still formally apply through the centralized process (CASPA). Ten of the available seats in each cohort will be held for Clarkson University Pre-Physician Assistant students. Each student that successfully completes the prerequisites of the Pre-Physician Assistant plan will be granted an interview and then compete for the available seats with other pre-physician assistant applicants. Applicants that are not Clarkson Pre-Physician Assistant students will compete for the remaining seats with hundreds of other applicants. Successful candidates will be accepted for the cohort beginning the following January.

Program Accreditation & PANCE Pass Rates


The program has been granted continuing accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) as of March 2015. The program has also been registered by the New York State Education Department. Graduation from an accredited program is a licensing requirement of states and credentialing requirement of healthcare systems.

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Physician Assistant Program


Mission and Goals

The mission of the Clarkson University Department of Physician Assistant Studies is to prepare exceptional, highly skilled clinicians who actively demonstrate the University's core values of teamwork, caring, integrity, diversity, service, growth and diligence while compassionately providing for the healthcare needs of their communities. 

Program Goals:

1. Produce highly skilled and compassionate health care providers licensed to practice medicine as part of a healthcare team.

2. Establish student competence in medical and evidence-based research through scholarly activity.

3. Develop in students the professionalism, medical knowledge, and clinical skills needed to provide comprehensive care to diverse populations in a variety of clinical settings.

4. Instill in students the core values of Clarkson University, while fostering a commitment to community service. 

Mission and Goals Measurements

What's your purpose? Achieve it here.