group of pharmacy students in lab

Physician Assistant, Master of Science

Clinical Health Professions


To apply to St. John's University’s Physician Assistant program you must fill out an application with CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistant Programs). Click here to apply.

St. John’s University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers a graduate program leading to a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Physician Assistant. Listed by Money Magazine as one of the “top 10 jobs in America” Physician Assistants (PA’s) are in high demand. These health professionals are licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician. The PA profession is expected to experience a 37% job growth rate in the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Offered by our College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the M.S. Degree in Physician Assistant program is a rigorous course of study, combining didactic and laboratory based academic instruction with clinical training at leading New York-area hospitals, medical centers and private medical practices.

The 84-credit graduate program incorporates two essential components: classroom/laboratory-based learning at the University and clinical training at various practice sites in NYC and beyond. The first two years integrate medical, behavioral and social sciences to develop a comprehensive approach to patient care. The third-year of the program is dedicated to clinical training, providing supervised, hands-on training by physicians and physician assistants at affiliated sites.

St. John’s PA Program History 

St. John’s University is Catholic, Vincentian, Metropolitan and Global. It is committed to the pursuit of academic excellence, religious values, ethics, professionalism and human experience.

Challenged by the belief that health care is a basic human right and driven by a similar mission, St. John’s University PA Program developed an educational program that would reach those most in need—“the poor, alienated and the aged.”
Conscious that culturally responsive healthcare is necessary to practice in diverse neighborhoods we strive to provide exceptional educational opportunities to men and women of varied races and socioeconomic backgrounds, so that our institution might continue its tradition of working as a partner with members of the local community. In this way, we will empower professionals to return to their own neighborhoods to promote preventive medicine and deliver affordable, high quality primary care.
Committed to excellence in education, we will collaborate with institutions of higher learning. By combining institutional expertise, the clinical and academic arms of the health care profession might further unite to embrace and support those individuals seeking to become Physician Assistants.

Confident that we have the resources and the resolve, we seek to create an educational program where individuals might learn the art of healing and use their gifts to promote a vision of health care that encompasses not only the treatment of disease, but also the avoidance of illness through education and the promotion of healthy life styles.  Thus, St. John’s PA program will continue its tradition of developing caring and committed health care professionals dedicated to the alleviation of suffering in our midst.

Mission Statement

The St. John’s University Physician Assistant program utilizes a student-centered approach to provide learners with the necessary academic, clinical, professional and interpersonal skills to function competently, confidently, compassionately and efficiently as primary care practitioners. Students are sensitized to the diversity of health care needs and the impact of socioeconomic factors on healthcare, to promote non-discrimination and inspire graduates to provide high quality, cost-effective, compassionate and accessible care to underserved patients in urban communities.

Program Goals and Success

1.1 Demonstrate acquisition of a science and math knowledge based.

1.2 Demonstrate a core knowledge of biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care and demonstrate an investigatory and analytical approach to clinical situation.

1.3 Explain the PA profession including history, definition, scope of practice, laws and its place in the health care system.

1.4 Demonstrate patient care across the life span, to include an understanding of human anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, patient presentation, patient management, surgical principles, and health promotion and disease prevention and be able to explain the pathology of disease, the essential nature, the causes and the development of abnormal conditions


2.1 Demonstrate a knowledge of professional responsibility

2.2 Explain the attributes of respect for self and others and the concepts of privilege, confidentiality, and informed patient consent

2.3 Demonstrate a commitment to patient welfare

2.4 Communicate and exchange information within a meaningful context and with appropriate delivery encompassing verbal, non-verbal and cohesive, written exchange of information, using appropriate medical terminology and anatomical landmarks in an organized, and grammatically

2.5 Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, families, physicians, professional associates, and the health care system

3.1 Perform age-appropriate patient assessment, evaluation, and management

3.2 Demonstrate health care that is effective, patient centered, timely, efficient, and equitable for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of wellness

3.3 Demonstrate professionalism through a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse patient population, and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements

3.4 Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively with other health care professionals and administrative personnel

Aggregate Data Goals 

View Aggregate Data Goals (PDF) here.

The PA Program requires the following minimum requirements for eligibility for admissions:

  • Completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  • Minimum overall GPA and cumulative math/science GPA of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0)
  • Completion within 5 years of the following pre-requisites:
  • General Biology with lab (2 semesters or 8 credits)
  • General Chemistry with lab (2 semesters or 8 credits)
  • Microbiology (no lab required) (1 semester)
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology with lab (2 semesters)
  • Organic Chemistry with labs (2 semesters)-program will consider a Biochemistry with lab course as substitute for one Organic Chemistry course)
  • Behavioral Science courses (6 credits) (ie: psychology, sociology)
  • Calculus (3 credits)-(program will consider pre-calculus PLUS a statistics course)
  • English composition course (1 semester)
  • TOEFL exam for those who attended college in a non-English-speaking country (min score 550-paper-based; 230-computer-based; or 88-internet-based)

Applicants must submit the appropriate documentations to be considered for admission including: official transcripts, three letters of recommendation from professionals (academic or occupational – one must be from a healthcare professional) and a personal statement (500 word minimum) describing why the applicant wishes to become a physician assistant. A personal interview is required but not guaranteed. No advanced placement or credit for experiential learning will be considered. Relevant healthcare experience is strongly recommended.

Professional licensure and certification requirements often vary from state to state. St. John’s University has not determined requirements for individual states beyond New York. If you reside or plan to reside outside New York you are strongly encouraged to contact the appropriate state licensing agency in that state to seek information and guidance before beginning the program.

The PA program does not give preference to any major nor provide preference to or favor any specified individuals or groups.


To earn their Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant, students complete 84 credits, including didactic and clinical requirements as outlined below.

Click here for course descriptions.

First Year
Fall Semester

PAS 102

 Statistics for Medical Practice



PHM 104

Pharmacology for the Physician Assistant I



PHS 104

Advanced Anatomy & Physiology I



PAE 101

Intro to the PA Profession and Ethics



PAS 103

Clinical Epidemiology







Spring Semester


           Organ Pathophysiology




          Pharmacology for the PA II



PHS 105

           Advanced Anatomy & Physiology II




PAS 284


         Comparative Effectiveness of Medical Treatment, Health &     

         Evidence Based Medicine




PAE 102

          Current Topics in PA Practice







Second Year
Fall Semester

PAE 201

Clinical Medicine I



PAE 202

Clinical Medicine 2



PAE 206

Comprehensive Health History & Physical Diagnosis



PAE 207

Medical Diagnostics







Spring Semester

PAE 203

Clinical Medicine 3



PAE 204

Clinical Medicine 4



PAE 205

Clinical Medicine 5



PAE 208

Emergency Medicine







Summer Semester

PAE 301

Clinical Rotation-Internal Medicine



PAE 302

Clinical Rotation- Primary Care I



PAE 303

Clinical Rotation- Primary Care 2



PAE 304

Clinical Rotation- General Surgery







Third Year

Fall Semester

PAE 305              Clinical Rotation-Emergency Medicine




PAE 306              Clinical Rotation- Women’s Health




PAE 307              Clinical Rotation- Long Term Care/Geriatrics








Spring Semester

PAE 308              Clinical Rotation-Orthopedics




PAE 309              Clinical Rotation- Pediatrics




PAE 310              Clinical Rotation- Elective








Senior Competencies (PAE 311-0 credit, spring only)

*Sequence of rotations will vary based on availability. Each rotation consists of 5-weeks of clinical experience. See course descriptions for PAE 300 courses. A complete overview of this program and others can be obtained from the online bulletin.

Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession
(originally adopted 2005; revised 2012)

The Physician Assistant (PA) profession defines the specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes required and provide educational experiences as needed in order for physician assistants to acquire and demonstrate these competencies.

Please see the link for the full list of the PA Program Competencies and (link provided below) for Core Competencies of New PA Graduate.


Drawing upon the outstanding academic resources of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at St. John's, the Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant prepares students for success in this growing field. By the time they graduate, students will achieve the following:

  • Mastery of the scientific and medical knowledge, as well as the rigorous clinical experience, needed for a career in clinical care.
  • Effective problem solving and critical reasoning skills in order to foster the development of positive attitudes, values and appropriate behavior.
  • Caring and competence needed to provide compassionate, effective health care to patients of all ages and ethnicities.
  • Knowledge of diagnosing illnesses and medications needed to treat those conditions. 

When they graduate, students in the program are awarded a Master of Science degree (MSPA).

Graduates are eligible to take the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistant (NCCPA)-administered Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) exam.

Additional Information

Program policies (for students-see Didactic Guidelines and Clinical Year Guidelines) apply to all students, principal faculty, and the program director regardless of location. (Standard A3.03).

Students are not required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors. (Standard A3.03).

Students are not permitted to work for the program (outside of peer tutoring/graduate assistantship through the College's Academic Success Center). (Standard A3.04).

Technical Standards

In addition to academic achievements, exam results, and recommendations, physician assistant students must possess the physical, emotional and behavioral capabilities requisite for the practice of medicine as a PA.

Physician Assistants must have the knowledge and skill to practice in a variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of care based on the patient’s needs. In order to successfully complete the PA clinical training program students must demonstrate proficiency in their academic and clinical education with regard to the competencies described below.


PA students must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe in the lecture hall, the laboratory, the outpatient setting, and at the patient’s bedside. Sensory skills adequate to perform a physical examination are required. This includes functional vision, hearing, smell, and tactile sensation.


Students must be able to:

  • communicate with patients and others in both academic and healthcare settings
  • display effective writing, reading and verbal skills
  • perceive and describe changes in mood, activity, and posture
  • interpret non-verbal communication signals


Students should have sufficient motor function to:

  • diagnose patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers
  • execute movements with reasonable dexterity in order to provide general care and emergency care to patients, including but not limited to:
    • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
    • administration of intravenous medication
    • application of pressure to stop hemorrhage
    • opening of obstructed airways
    • suturing of simple wounds
    • performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers
    • negotiate patient care environments and must be able to move between settings, such as clinic, classroom building, and hospital
    • maintain sufficient physical stamina to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study. Long periods of sitting, standing, or moving are required in classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities

Students must be able to:

  • measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize problem-solving skills
  • interpret three dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of anatomy structures
  • critically read and interpret medical literature

In order to complete the Physician Assistant 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

Student must:

  • possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities
  • develop mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients, faculty and other members of the health care team
  • function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice and adapt to changing environments

A student must demonstrate the above competencies with or without reasonable accommodation. Whether or not a requested accommodation is reasonable will be determined on an individual basis.

Students enrolled in the Master of Science Degree Program in Physician Assistant benefit from outstanding academic, technological and professional resources.

St. Albert Hall features recently renovated, ultramodern science labs. In addition, Physician Assistant students gain hands-on experience at nearly 40 affiliated hospitals, clinics and private practices throughout metropolitan New York.

The Dr. Andrew J. Bartilucci Center is available to all students and faculty in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. More than 700 books are available on topics ranging from accreditation standards to world health, anatomy to pharmaceutics. Led by renowned experts, educational programs focus on contemporary healthcare issues. In addition, the Center provides outstanding placement opportunities, symposiums and seminars.

Students also gain an academic and professional edge by joining the this is going to change as we transition to Master’s degree-this association is for the undergraduate program BUT we will likely continue its existence with the MSPA program but call it the SAAAPA (Student Association of the American Academy of Physician Assistants) so you can call it this here..One of more than 180 student clubs and organizations at St. John's, the group holds meetings on issues such as fundraising events, job opportunities, and service-learning events.. Each class elects their SAAAPA class representatives.

Of course, Physician Assistant students also benefit from the outstanding resources all St. John's students enjoy. Campus facilities include high-tech classrooms, laboratories and our 1.7 million-volume Library. Our new D'Angelo Center is a five-story, 127,000-square-foot University and Student Center with classrooms, lecture halls, a Starbucks café and full-service food court.

Working while enrolled in the PA Program, even part-time, it is strongly discouraged due to the challenging nature of the curriculum. 


The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the St. John's University Physician Assistant Program. 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 date for the next validation review of the program by ARC-PA will be March 2023. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Graduate Performance on Certification Exam

ClassClass Graduation YearNumber of First Time TakersFirst Time Taker Pass RateNational First Time Taker Pass Rate for the Class Graduation Year% of Candidates Who Ultimately Passed PANCE
2021202170 (last undergrad. Cohort)73%93%84%
20222022 (1st Masters Cohort) 64100%Available in 2023Available in 2023


Download the full report (PDF)

ARC-PA Student Attrition 

 Class of 2020Class of 2021Class of 2022
Maximum entering class size (as approved by ARC-PA)   75  7575
Entering class size   75  75+3 (3 decelerated)75
Graduates   66  7165
*Attrition rate   12%  8%13%
**Graduation rate   88%  92%87%

*Attrition rate calculation:  Number of students who attritted from cohort divided by the entering class size.
 **Graduation rate:  Number of cohort graduates divided by the entering class size.

These data reflect undergraduate cohort-the first graduate level cohort data will be reported for Class of 2022.
Calculations used for graduation rate= #Graduates/#Entering class size 

Calculations used for attrition rate=Starting percentage (100%)-- Graduation rate.
Attrition rate includes health-related leave of absences and decelerated students who retook one course
and were admitted into next cohort as well as academic dismissals.

Unique Features and Qualities

  • State of the art technology incorporated into curriculum including a Simulation Lab, Anatomage (c)  Virtual Dissection Table for anatomy and other courses, and smart classrooms. 
  • One of the most culturally and religiously diverse universities in the nation. 
  • Abundant outstanding clinical experiences throughout the NY metro and Long Island areas

Career Outcomes


Professional licensure and certification requirements often vary from state to state. St. John’s University has not determined requirements for individual states beyond New York. If you reside or plan to reside outside New York you are strongly encouraged to contact the appropriate state licensing agency in that state to seek information and guidance before beginning the program.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of Physician Assistants is projected to grow 37 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job Outlook 

Student Safety

Public Safety will lock buildings as traffic diminishes and patrol buildings throughout the night to ensure the safety and security on campus.

Students, faculty, and staff are required to have their University StormCard with them at all times, and produce a valid SJU ID for access to computer facilities, University Center, Carnesecca Arena, Libraries, Residence Halls and St. Albert Hall and The Andrew J. Bartilucci Center on Queens campus; the gym, Campus Center and Library on Staten Island campus.

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