Frequently Asked Questions

When does the program start?

A new class of 65 students begins each September (usually the day after Labor Day).

How long will it take to complete the PA Program?

The Daemen College Physician Assistant Program, accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, is three years (33 months) in length. For students admitted as freshmen to the College with a reserved seat in the PA Program, it will take four additional semesters, at a minimum, to complete all prerequisites before beginning the PA Program. Therefore, the combined BS in Health Science and MS in Physician Assistant Studies will require at least five years. Co-requisite course requirements preclude part-time study.

How competitive is admission into the program?

The College has one PA Program, but offers two degree tracks: BS/MS and MS. The combined class size is 65 students.

The College first offers reserved seats in the PA Program to students accepted as freshmen.  These students must complete four semesters of prerequisite coursework and meet academic eligibility standards before advancing to the PA Program.  Seats in the PA Program left unfilled are then offered to graduate students. We estimate that approximately 20 to 25 seats will be available for the 2012-2013 cycle.

In the last admission cycle, we received approximately 150 freshmen and 900 graduate applications. Most successful applicants had credentials far in excess of the minimum requirements.

Due to the high number of graduate applicants, the Admissions Committee generally only offers 50 interviews to the most qualified applicants based on a comprehensive review of the file. However, all Daemen College Alumni, Veterans and Active Duty Service Members who meet the minimum GPA requirements will be granted an interview.

What are the admission requirements for graduate students?

For the three-year MS Degree:

  • Baccalaureate Degree
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or better (average of accepted students generally > 3.5)
  • Math and Science Prerequisite GPA of 3.0 or better (average of accepted students generally > 3.4). The following prerequisite courses are used to calculate the math/science GPA:
  • 8 credits of Biology with lab (e.g., Zoology, Botany, General Biology I and II, A & P I and II)
  • 12 credits of Chemistry, including at least 4 credits of Organic Chemistry/Biochemistry with lab
  • 4 credits of Microbiology with lab
  • 4 credits of Anatomy, generally 300 level coursework or higher
  • 4 credits of Physiology, generally 300 level coursework or higher
  • 3 credits of Calculus
  • Additional requirements include 9 credits of Psychology and Sociology
  • 120 hours of direct patient contact experience
  • We do not require the GRE

Science coursework completed more than 10 years ago, unless directly related to an occupation, must be repeated. Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete at least 8 credits of 300 level or higher science coursework within 12 months of entering the physician assistant program.

What are the admission requirements for freshmen?

For the combined five-year BS in Health Science and MS in Physician Assistant Studies Degree:

To be accepted to the College and offered a reserved seat for the PA Program:

  • The comprehensive evaluation of freshmen applicants includes Grade Point Average (GPA), standardized test scores (SAT/ACT), rank in class, New York State Regents Examination Scores, letters of recommendation, personal essay, and review of high school transcripts. It is expected that all successful freshmen applicants will have a record of academic performance that clearly demonstrates strong math and science preparation. Most successful applicants have a SAT score >1100 (avg. 1150), GPA > 94% (minimum 90%), and rank in class in the top 25%.  It is preferred that students will have embarked on a challenging high school curriculum that included Advanced Placement (AP) or college credit coursework.
  • Faculty interview required. Students must demonstrate knowledge of the profession and possess superior interpersonal communication skills.

Upon acceptance to the College, students must complete the following prerequisites and meet published academic requirements to be eligible to matriculate in the Physician Assistant Program:

  • A minimum grade of C in all required courses. A maximum of three course repeats is allowed.
  • Achieve a minimum math and science prerequisite GPA of 3.0. The 35 credits are the same as those required of applicants to the graduate degree. The coursework includes:
  • 8 credits of Biology (BIO 109 and 110)
  • 12 credits of Chemistry (CHE 110, CHE 111, and BCH 317)
  • 4 credits of Microbiology (BIO 315)
  • 4 credits of Anatomy(BIO 330)
  • 4 credits of Physiology (BIO 340)
  • 3 credits of Calculus (MTH 144). Depending on previous math preparation, a student may be required to complete additional lower level math courses (MTH 124 and/or MTH 134)
  • All outstanding math and science coursework must be completed in residency at Daemen College once matriculated
  • 9 credits of Psychology and Sociology and 3 credits of Advanced Composition for Health Professionals
  • 120 hours of direct patient contact experience

Do all prerequisites need to be completed at the time of application to the graduate program?

The Admissions Committee prefers (and recommends) that all course requirements be completed at the time of graduate application. However, the College may consider applications with one outstanding science/math course in progress. All 120 hours of patient contact must be completed at the time of application. Most successful applicants possess contact hours far in excess of the minimum.

Students accepted as freshmen at Daemen College and granted a reserved seat in the PA Program must complete all prerequisites before matriculation. It is recommended that all prerequisites be completed at least three months before the anticipated start date in September.

What can be considered “direct patient contact”?

The PA Program's definition of “direct patient contact” is fairly straightforward. It can be either paid or volunteer work, including shadowing, in which you were exposed to patients in one way or another. The goal of this prerequisite is to be assured that you have been exposed to both the good and the bad aspects of healthcare, and the PA profession remains something you choose to pursue. Direct patient care with advanced levels of responsibility are encouraged, recommended, and highly valued by the Admissions Committee.

How do I apply to Daemen College as a graduate student?

The Physician Assistant Department at Daemen College participates in an online application service called CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistants). You will visit www.caspaonline.org and begin an application electronically. All extraneous materials, i.e. reference letters, transcripts, will be sent directly to CASPA in Watertown, MA. CASPA acts almost as a collection agency; once CASPA has received your complete online application, your three letters of reference, and all of your official transcripts, they will then forward an application packet on to each school that you have designated as a recipient.

Please note that the CASPA application process is a lengthy one, and that an application will not be considered complete until all necessary materials are received by CASPA. Once an application is complete, it takes CASPA four to six weeks to process the application and send it to the designated schools. We highly recommend that you submit your application to CASPA by October 1 due to their high volume of applications and necessary processing time.

The submission deadline to CASPA for Daemen College is November 1st of each year. Any completed applications returned to Daemen College from CASPA after January 1 may not be considered for an interview by our Admissions Committee.

How do I apply to Daemen College as a freshman?

Traditional freshmen interested in the BS in Health Science and MS in Physician Assistant Studies must apply directly to the Admissions Office of the College. The PA Program does not accept transfer applications. Transfer applicants are encouraged to complete a BS or BA degree and then apply to the MS program.

What happens once I have completed my application?

Once CASPA or the Admissions Office has processed your application, it will be reviewed and considered for an interview. You should receive contact within a week of receiving your application, simply to let you know that your application was in fact received, and what stage of the process it is in. If you have satisfied all the necessary prerequisites, you will be placed in a pool of applicants to be considered for an interview. The PA Department traditionally conducts two sets of interviews. Freshmen applicants to the BS/MS program are interviewed beginning in October. Applicants to the MS program are interviewed in January and February.

Once you have completed an interview, the time frame for an admission decision varies greatly. Most successful applicants will be notified within two weeks. However, for applicants placed on the waiting list, a decision may come as late as August.

What does a typical schedule of classes look like within the PA Program?

Daemen College utilizes both core faculty and highly qualified clinicians (MD, DO, PA) from the local medical community to provide a rewarding, yet extremely rigorous PA education. Due to this fact, PA students do not follow a traditional 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. schedule. More often than not, the classes that the core faculty teach will be in the mornings and afternoons. Local clinicians offer courses in the afternoon and early evening. Schedules vary day to day, week to week, and semester to semester. However, the curriculum is highly synchronized and coordinated. For example, as students learn about myocardial infarctions in clinical medicine, they are introduced to echocardiograms, EKG's, cardiac pharmacology, and smoking cessation in other courses.

Is it acceptable to work while in the PA Program?

Some students have successfully been employed part-time while enrolled in the program. However, experience has shown employment during the first semester of the program and during the clinical phase very problematic. If employment is essential, please consult with your faculty advisor about scheduling issues. The PA Department Chair must be informed in writing of the student's work schedule each semester.

Employment is not considered an appropriate rationale for "excused absences". The PA Program schedule and that of our clinical affiliates is always primary. A student may be removed from a supervised clinical experience, at the discretion of the Program Director or Director of Clinical Education, if patient safety or clinical performance is being jeopardized because a student is sleep-deprived or unable to prepare (e.g. read) for the day's cases.

How much control will I have over the scheduling of my supervised clinical experiences?

The PA Department has hundreds of affiliations with clinicians and facilities in Western New York (i.e greater Buffalo), as well as surrounding areas. If you have a specific request, or know of a specific clinician you would like to work with, the department will do its best to facilitate that request. Please keep in mind that the scheduling does lie in the hands of the PA Department, and without adequate information or notice from a requested site the Department will place you in an experience that best suits your situation. The majority of sites will be in Western New York with established clinicians and facilities. Travel to rural areas of New York that provide excellent clinical opportunities (and student housing) should be expected. The student is responsible for the cost of travel.

What is the cost of the three-year program?

Graduate students (i.e MS) pay per credit ($895). The three-year program consists of 104 total degree credits. The estimated cost for the program is $93,080 plus lab fees and health insurance. Graduate students are eligible for graduate financial aid packages (i.e. loans). No scholarships are awarded. Please be advised that the College's Board of Trustees reviews tuition fees annually and may elect to make incremental increases. (See our college catalog for tuition and fees). If advance standing is granted for Phi 321 Medical Ethics and NSC 310, tuition costs are reduced by 6 credits or approximately $5,160.

Undergraduate students (i.e. BS/MS) pay per semester for the first four semesters of the PA Program and per credit for the final clinical year (i.e. 38 credits). The estimated cost for the three-year program is $86,599 plus lab fees and health insurance.  BS/MS students are eligible for financial aid packages that typically include generous scholarships that begin as freshmen and continue until graduation. Please be advised that the College's Board of Trustees reviews tuition fees annually and may elect to make incremental increases. (See our college catalog for tuition and fees).  The estimated undergraduate cost of attendance noted above does not include the tuition and fees required to complete four semesters of prerequisite coursework during the freshman and sophomore years of attendance.

What is the structure of the three-year of the program?

Students in the BS/MS and MS degree tracks attend all classes together. There are four academic semesters of classroom and laboratory coursework and one year of supervised clinical experiences (40 weeks).

Didactic work includes:

  • Advanced Human Anatomy I and II
  • Clinical Microbiology and Immunology
  • Medical Informatics
  • Clinical Laboratory Medicine
  • Pathophysiology
  • Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine I and II
  • Physical Diagnosis I and II
  • Pharmacology I and II
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Medical Professional Issues
  • Cultural and Psychosocial Dynamics of Medicine
  • Clinical Pediatrics
  • Clinical Problem Solving
  • Surgery and Orthopedics
  • Geriatrics
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Research Methodology

Clerkships include:

  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Women's Health
  • Mental Health
  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Medicine
  • Electives
    • Examples include, but are not limited to: ENT Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Oncology, Cardiology, Critical Care, CT Surgery, HIV Medicine, Plastic Surgery, Sports Medicine, Rheumatology, Neurosurgery, Pain Management, Urgent Care, and Dermatology.

NOTE:  For students in the BS/MS track: Students enter the PA Program only after they successfully complete all prerequisite courses, acquire 120 hours of direct patient contact, and meet the math/science minimum GPA requirement of 3.0. (restrictions apply)

Can any of the PAS courses be transferred in from another institution?

All PAS courses must be taken at Daemen College. No advance standing is granted, with the exception of PHI 321 Medical Ethics and NSC 310 Biostatistics. Students may submit transcripts, course descriptions, and learning objectives to the PA Program Director for consideration of substitution.

Questions related to core curriculum requirements or math and science prerequisites should be directed to the Director of PA Graduate Services or a PA Department Academic Advisor. Restrictions do apply.

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