Location: Potsdam Delivery Method: Onsite

Our mission is to educate physician assistants to become highly skilled and compassionate healthcare providers.

The program takes an interdisciplinary approach with an emphasis on patient-centered care. As a graduate, you can become a leader in the healthcare community, continuously striving for excellence in your professional endeavors while compassionately providing for the healthcare needs of those you serve.

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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


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

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General Admission Requirements

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) and attached to the application. Documents should be submitted to CASPA several weeks prior to the deadline date to ensure all items arrive on time. A rolling acceptance policy is being used, so applicants may hear from the program prior to the March 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. Applicants who are invited to submit a supplemental application will sign a statement in that application that these standards can be met.

Here is how the process works:

  • Submit your application to the Clarkson University program through CASPA, ensuring that all prerequisites are met. Prerequisite courses must be completed or in progress at the time of application.
  • You will be notified when the Clarkson PA Studies program receives your CASPA application.
  • Your application will be reviewed for completeness within 30 days.
  • If it is not complete, you will be notified and your application process will cease until corrections or additions are made or the application is closed.
  • Complete CASPA applications will be reviewed by the admissions coordinator.
  • Once reviewed by the admissions coordinator, the application will be either closed (and proceed no further) or recommended for the Clarkson PA Studies supplemental application. Applicants will be informed of the decision in a timely manner once received.
  • Qualified applicants will receive an email with instructions to complete the supplemental application.
  • Applicants will then submit their supplemental application (with a $50 fee) within 30 days or notify the program that they no longer wish to be considered. If the supplemental application is not received within 30 days, the application will be closed.
  • Once received and processed, the supplemental and CASPA applications will be reviewed by the admissions committee.
  • The admissions committee will then invite qualified applicants for an interview. Applicants who complete the supplemental application are not guaranteed an interview.
  • Depending on the timing of the application and the interview schedule, applicants may be invited for interviews between February and June.

Following each interview session, applicants will be a) accepted, b) placed on an “active” list for future consideration or c) informed that they have not been selected. The decision of which applicants are accepted is made by the admissions committee. Applicants who are accepted will then have 30 days to pay a deposit of $1,000 to hold their seat in the program. The deposit is credited toward the first semester tuition. Failure to pay the deposit may result in forfeiture of that acceptance.

A 160-point rubric is used to score applicants for acceptance. Five bonus points are granted to Clarkson University students, graduates and military veterans. The program defines veterans as those who have served in the military under honorable conditions. The rubric score total is then used to guide the admissions decisions of the faculty, but may not determine the outcome. The admissions committee discusses each candidate in detail, including relevant information from each interview session. Following that discussion, the decision is made on whether an applicant is selected, placed on the active list or not selected.

The Clarkson University PA Studies program has an articulation agreement with St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. and SUNY Plattsburgh in Plattsburgh, N.Y. Similar to the Clarkson University Pre-PA Plan, this agreement allows St. Lawrence and SUNY Plattsburgh undergraduate students who have met specific criteria to compete for two interview seats reserved for them in the interview cycle. The seats are returned to the open applicant pool if not utilized.


  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college/university within the United States or Canada
  • Anatomy & Physiology I + Anatomy and Physiology II or Anatomy + Physiology- minimum 6 credit hours  
  • 1 semesters of Biology -minimum 3 hours total
  • 1 semester Microbiology- minimum 3 credit hours
  • 1 semester Genetics - minimum 3 credit hours
  • 2 semesters of Chemistry  - minimum 6 credit hours
  • 1 semester of Humanities/Social Sciences -minimum 3 credit hours
  • 1 semester Statistics - minimum 3 credit hours
  • 1 semester Psychology - minimum 3 credit hours

Grades less than 2.0/C are not accepted for any prerequisite (C minus not accepted). GPA for the pre-requisite courses listed above must be 3.0 or higher. Also, GPA for science pre-requisite courses must be a 3.0 or higher and cumulative GPA must be 3.0 or higher. Prerequisite courses must be complete or in progress at the time of application. All prerequisite coursework must be completed at an accredited institution within the United States or Canada. Advanced Placement (AP) credit is not accepted for the required prerequisite courses

There is no course expiration for the accepted pre-requisites 

  • GRE – with official results sent to Clarkson University (CASPA code 0285) 
    • We do not have a minimum accepted score for the GRE.  Competitive applicants to our program earn scores as listed below:
  • Verbal : 40th or higher percentile
  • Quantitative: 40th or high percentile
  • Analytical Writing : 4 or higher
  • A minimum of 500 hours of documented and verifiable patient care experience is to be completed by the time of matriculation. 100 hours must be completed at time of application and 300 hours must be complete by the March 1 deadline. Applicants with compensated hours of direct patient care will have an advantage. Patient care experience is considered by two factors, quality and quantity. A heavy emphasis is placed on the quality of the experience.  The program defines quality as hands on responsibility for the patient. Those that have not met the required hours by time of application must demonstrate a plan to obtain the remaining hours before classes begin if accepted into the program. Shadowing or observation is not accepted as patient care experience.
  • It is required that applicants spend at least one day shadowing/observing a clinically practicing Physician Assistant.  A separate (non-reference) Clarkson PA program form will be completed by the PA documenting the experience. Documentation will be required at time of interview. 
  • Students who studied extensively outside of North America will require formal evaluation of those transcripts by the World Education Service (WES).  Completion of TOEFL will be required for those for whom English is not the primary language.  This requirement may be waived if the applicant has a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college/university. All prerequisite coursework must be completed at an accreditation institution within the United States or Canada.

Simply meeting the prerequisites and submitting an application will not guarantee an interview or acceptance into the program. The admissions committee will decide applicants for interview and applicants selected for admissions.

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. 

Observation.  Candidates must have sufficient capacity to observe in the lecture hall, the laboratory, the outpatient setting and the patient's bedside.  Sensory skills to perform a physical examination are required.  Functional vision, hearing and tactile sensation are required to properly observe a patient's condition and to perform procedures regularly required during a physical examination such as inspection, auscultation and palpation.

Communication Candidates must be able to communicate effectively in both academic and health care settings.  Candidates must show evidence of effective written and verbal communication skills.  Candidates must be able to communicate with patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture and perceive nonverbal communications.  Candidates must be capable of completing, in a thorough and timely manner, appropriate medical records and documents and plans according to protocol.

Motor The ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures (e.g., palpation, auscultation) is required.  Candidates must have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to properly care for all patients.  Candidates must be able to move freely about patient care environments and must be able to move between settings such as clinics, classroom buildings, and hospitals. In addition, physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study is required.  Long periods of sitting, standing, or moving are required in classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences.

Intellectual Candidates must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize.  Problem solving, one of the critical skills demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Candidates must be able to read and understand medical literature.  In order to complete the Physician Assistant Studies program, candidates must be able to demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in medical problem-solving and patient care.

Behavioral and Social Attributes. Candidates must possess the emotional health and stability required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the prompt completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities.  The development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and other members of the healthcare team is essential.  The ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice, flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills and concern for others, are all required.  Candidates must be able to function effectively under stress and have the ability to accept constructive criticism and handle difficult interpersonal relationships during training.

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.

PANCE Pass Rates

NCCPA Examination results

Class nomenclature and the individuals included in each class are determined by PA
programs when assigning students to a particular class.

Class Graduation Year
Graduation year for the majority of the individuals in the specific class based on the
confirmed graduation date provided by the PA program.

Number of First Time Taker Pass Rate
Number of individuals from the class who have taken PANCE for the first time as of
the date the report was generated.

Program First Time Taker Pass Rate
Percent of the first time takers in the class who passed PANCE as of the date the
report was generated.

National First Time Taker Pass Rate for the Class Graduation Year
National percent of first time takers who passed PANCE in the calendar year
corresponding to the class graduation year. National pass rate data is not provided
until the full calendar year’s data is available.

Estimated Costs

Estimated program-related costs for the Clarkson PA Program based on rates for the 2018-2019 academic year

  • Tuition per semester - $15,441
  • Student Facility Usage Fee per semester - $450
  • Estimated Book Costs - $1000 (the majority of these expenses are in the first semester)
  • Lab Fees – approximately  $200

Other costs include medical equipment, clinic jackets, and housing and travel with clinical rotations. These expenses could run from $500 to $5,000 or more and vary widely depending on the location of clinical sites and to what extent students encounter additional expenses for secondary housing at these sites.

Students are also responsible for a number of expenses that are difficult to estimate due to variations in student’s schedules and their personal needs and tastes. These include primary housing, living expenses, personal health care insurance, recreation, etc. These expenses are not included in the estimate offered above.

Financial aid is available to qualified students. Information related to graduate financial aid is available on the https://www.clarkson.edu/student-administrative-services-sas/financial-aid and the refund policy.

Program Accreditation

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.

"Accreditation-Continued" is an accreditation status, granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with ARC-PA Standards. 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.

Contact Us

Noelle Dominy
Administrative Assistant for Physician Assistant Studies

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