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.

Apply Now Request Information Graduate Tuition

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 and Mission Statement

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.

Program Goals and Success

  • Train physician assistants who demonstrate clinical competency in the field with the ability to apply this effectively and appropriately to patient care.
    • Demonstrated by meeting or exceeding the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination national average; the current 2021 PANCE first time taker board pass rate is 84%
  • Educate physician assistants who demonstrate knowledge of biomedical sciences.
    • Demonstrated by meeting or exceeding the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination national average
    • Demonstrated by a minimum of 90% students receiving a 80% or higher on summative and formative evaluation of clinical research portfolios
    • Demonstrated by 90% students receiving a 80% or higher on clinical skills practical
  • Develop competence in oral and written communication skills.
    • Demonstrated by a minimum of  90% of students receiving “good or outstanding” on the following Clinical Preceptor Evaluation categories
      • Elicits an accurate and complete patient history
      • Communicate ideas and information effectively
      • Delivers complete and organized oral case presentations
      • Utilizes and accurately maintains medical records
      • Exhibits self confidence
  • Illustrate and apply ethical principles of a health care practitioner.
    • Demonstrated by a minimum of 90% of students receiving “good or outstanding” on the following Clinical Preceptor Evaluation categories
      • Maintains professional relations with staff
      • Recognizes own limitations
      • Acceptance of constructive criticism
      • Professional dress and appearance
      • Reliable and dependable
    • Demonstrated by 100% of students earning a minimum grade of 70% or better on a team-based ethics presentation and research paper

Vision Statement

The St. John’s University Physician Assistant program utilizes a student-centered approach to provide our learners with the necessary academic, clinical, professional and interpersonal skills to function competently, confidently, compassionately and efficiently as primary care practitioners. We aim to sensitize students to the diversity of healthcare 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. Our graduates will excel in the competencies and values required for leadership and service in a rapidly evolving global community. The St. John’s PA program faculty educators serve as role models to the student and their interactions with students influence the direction and growth of our learners. Many faculty members have practiced in underserved areas of the city.

Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant

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 sponsored by St. John’s 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 2023. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and the ARC-PA policy.

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website here. (PDF)


Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree. For more information about admission to this and other St. John’s graduate programs, please visit the Office of Graduate Admission.

The MSPA program accepts a maximum of 75 students every year. Admission into the program is contingent upon past academic performance, completion of a bachelor's degree within 5 years or completion of all program pre-requisites within 5 years of entrance to the program, an individual interview, excellent communication skills, and the ability to fulfill the technical standards of the program. Program policies state that students are not required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors.

Required pre-requisites for the program include:

  • Completed Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  • Minimum overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0
  • Minimum cumulative math/science GPA of 3.0
  • General Biology with lab – 2 semesters
  • General Chemistry with lab – 2 semesters
  • Organic Chemistry with lab– 2 semesters OR 1 semester of organic chemistry with lab AND one semester of biochemistry
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology with lab – 2 semesters
  • Microbiology
  • Behavioral Sciences – 6 credits
  • English composition
  • Calculus or higher level math
  • TOEFL for applicants who have not attended a post-secondary institution in which English was the language of instruction
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation

Direct patient-care experience is strongly recommended.

Deadlines for applications:

St. John’s University participates with CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistant programs) for all who are applying. A completed application is due by October 1 of the previous year prior to matriculation. Begin application here.

The optional COVID-19 essay on the CASPA application is an opportunity for applicants to discuss any hardships that they encountered during the pandemic.  We understand that this is a sensitive and private matter for many. Therefore, the COVID-19 essay is not required and if you choose not to submit the essay it will not impact your application to the M.S. Physician Assistant program at St. John’s University.

Applicants will also be required to submit a supplemental application to the Office of Graduate Admission. A link to the supplemental application will be provided at a later date. For further information contact: 

Office of Graduate Admission
[email protected]




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

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.

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

Download the full report (PDF)

ARC-PA Student Attrition 

 Class of 2019Class of 2020Class of 2021
Maximum entering class size (as approved by ARC-PA)   75   75  75
Entering class size   75   75  75
Graduates   58   66  72
*Attrition rate   23%   12%  4%
**Graduation rate   77%   88%  96%

*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.

For more information, please visit