Studying to be a top physician assistant (PA) is a demanding educational experience that leads to an outstanding 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 upstate New York 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.

Request Info Apply Now Contact the PA Dept.

What Makes Our Physician Assistant Program Unique?

Pance Exam 100% pass rate Badge 2021

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).

Physician Assistant Program Achieves 100 Percent Exam Pass Rate

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

Physician Assistant Studies Program Admissions

Each January, a new class of 30 students is admitted to the Clarkson University Physician Assistant Studies Program. The Admissions Committee selects those candidates who show the most promise of becoming an outstanding Physician Assistant by fulfilling the mission and goals of the Clarkson University PA Program. We enroll intelligent, mature and highly motivated students from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds who have the potential to become leaders in our profession. 

We review each application individually on its own merit and admission decisions are based on the evaluation of an applicant's academic record, personal statements, previous healthcare/hands-on patient care experience, GRE score, letters of reference, CASPer score and a formal interview. Only applicants formally interviewed by the Clarkson University PA Program Admissions Committee will be considered for admission into the program.  

All applicants who wish to apply will need to complete an application via the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) for verification. The application needs to be submitted and verified by CASPA by March 1, 2023. 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. A rolling acceptance policy is being used, so applicants may hear from the program after the January deadline.  

Contact Us

Any questions regarding the admissions process, please contact us:  
Clarkson University Physician Assistant Studies Program-Admissions Department 
Graduate Admissions Coordinator: Morgan Beldock
Phone: 315-268-6418

Admission Requirements & Prerequisites 
How to Apply & Admission Process 
Technical Standards 
Tuition & Costs 


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. The MS in Physician Assistant Studies degree program consists of 82 credit hours divided into three phases that span 28 consecutive months.

Best PA Program Graphic
Physician Assistant Studies MS Curriculum

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 entry-level master’s degree program consists of 82 credit hours divided into three phases that span 28 consecutive months.

  • The didactic phase is the preclinical year and spans 13 months.
  • The clinical phase consists of 14 months of supervised clinical education and coursework.
  • The summative phase consists of one month and consists of evaluation and preparation for the future as a graduated physician assistant.

The curriculum is structured so that courses from semester two build on courses in semester one, etc. Therefore, opportunities for transfer of credit into the PA Studies curriculum or advanced placement are not available.

Supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs) are distributed among nine clinical field experiences. These experiences form the basis of the clinical and socialization processes for adaptation to the roles and functions of a physician assistant. A separate five-week elective is designed for student research.


Length of Program

Students must complete the program in 28 months unless granted a leave of absence for health or personal reasons. Any student that requests and is granted a leave of absence must complete the program in 40 months (28 month program plus one year).

Program Sequence and Advanced Standing

Students are expected to complete the designated professional curriculum in the sequence specified. Each semester’s coursework is considered a prerequisite to the next semester.

  1. Students may not enter the program with advanced standing.
  2. Students are required to successfully complete, in sequence, all course work as full-time students.
  3. There is no opportunity to progress into an advanced semester.
  4. There is no opportunity to change the order of pre-clinical course work.
  5. Elective courses are limited to the clinical year.

Students are expected to complete each semester on time as a cohort. Student progression will be a function of successfully passing all required courses in a semester and maintaining a 3.0 GPA. In the didactic phase of the program, any course failure after attempts at remediation will result in dismissal from the program. In the clinical phase, one rotation may be failed, but the student can undergo remediation and repeat that rotation once only. In that instance, the student’s education may continue five more weeks. In the summative phase, the student must pass both the physical assessment exam and the comprehensive written final to pass PA610 and to be recommended for graduation. If after remediation, students cannot successfully pass either or both exams, they will not be recommended for graduation and will be released from the program.

Degree Requirements

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the PA Studies program and earn the MS in PA Studies degree, candidates must

  • achieve a grade of C or better for all courses in the program
  • achieve a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or better at program completion
  • successfully pass a multi-station Objective Structured Clinical Examination/history and physical skills assessment with an acceptable score or after remediation
  • successfully pass the comprehensive written final exam with an acceptable score or after remediation
  • be recommended for graduation by the program chair and Clarkson University faculty
  • have paid all debts to the school and be in good standing

Academic Performance Standards

Standards of acceptable performance (cognitive and psychomotor) for courses are communicated to students in writing via the syllabus and orally reviewed at the introduction of the course.

A student must achieve and maintain the required 3.0 semester GPA to remain in good academic standing and graduate from the PA Studies program.

The policy of 3.0 or better in a graduate professional program has been adopted to better ensure student’s preparation for future sequential coursework. Students will be given feedback at the completion of each exam.

Performance in didactic courses is commonly assessed by written exams, oral presentations and/or research papers, as well as final written (cognitive) exams. In designated courses, psychomotor performance may be assessed by target skill competency exams and small group exercises.

During the didactic phase of the program, grades for cognitive performances will be recorded as a raw score and a percentage. At the end of each course, the percentage scores will be converted to a grade, A through F, for each of the core PA courses. Grades of D are not utilized.

Performance in the clinical phase of the program is assessed using a combination of targeted behavioral, psychomotor and clinical competencies relative to the supervised practice objectives and opportunities and, when indicated, by the syllabus for the SCPEs, grand rounds presentations and written cognitive exams.

To remain in good academic standing, all students must maintain a minimum semester GPA of 3.0 and receive a C or better in all courses (an F grade in any course may result in academic dismissal from the program).

Additionally, students may not progress to the clinical year of the program with a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0 at the end of the third semester of the program.

Faculty will meet formally at the end of each semester to discuss students' academic progress; students will be notified in writing about the results of their individual progress. Each bi-weekly faculty meeting will include an agenda item on student progress. Additionally, the department will notify Student Achievement Services to comply with the university policy on satisfactory academic progress.

Undergraduate Physician Assistant Programs

For high school students who already know they're interested in a career as a Physician Assistant, Clarkson offers two programs: direct entry, in which students apply for admission into both an undergraduate bachelor's degree program and the MS in Physician Assistant Studies at the same time, and the pre-physician assistant professional advising track.

Learn more about Physician Assistant undergraduate program options

Program Accreditation & PANCE Pass Rates


The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Clarkson University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Clarkson University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the 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. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2025. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Department of Physician Assistant Studies 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

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