Physician Assistant Admissions Information
How to Apply
We will begin accepting applications for the 2023 cycle via the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) in June 2022. Application deadline is January 15, 2023.
*CASPA will collect and summarize all of the applicant's data - application form, transcripts, 3-5 letters of recommendation, and personal statement). Early application is highly recommended.
You must meet the following requirements to be considered for admission to the physician assistant program:
- Minimum 3.00 overall and science GPA required, however 3.20 overall AND science GPA are preferred. Applicants with lower than a 3.20 overall or science GPA may not be considered for an interview.
- Grades for prerequisite coursework must be “C” or better.
- 350 hours of direct patient contact experience.
- Shadowing is not required at this time — Candidates are encouraged to shadow a physician assistant, but there is no minimum requirement of shadowing hours.
- Three letters of recommendation requirements:
a. One letter from a science professor with whom you completed undergraduate coursework
b. One letter from a supervisor or manager, preferably from the supervisor or manager of your direct patient care experience
c. One letter from someone of the applicant’s choice
- **If any courses, degree completion or healthcare experience hours are in progress at the time of application, they must be completed by matriculation. Documentation will need to be submitted as requested by the program. Students with more than 3 required prerequisite courses that are outstanding or incomplete at the time of application are encouraged to apply in the next year's admission cycle. Applicants with less than 350 hours of patient care experience or missing letters of recommendation may not be considered for an interview.
- Interviews are by invitation only and are granted on a rolling basis.
International students: Please refer to Saint Joseph’s admissions page for international students for additional admissions information and requirements.
Meeting the minimum recommended requirements does not guarantee an interview or acceptance into the program.
Prerequisite courses must be completed within 10 years of matriculation (Fall 2013- Present). All prerequisite coursework must be completed at a regionally accredited college or university with a grade of "C" or better. Online courses and labs will be accepted. All prerequisite coursework must be completed before matriculation into the program.
All prerequisites must be completed before matriculation.; If you have 3 or more prerequisites incomplete or outstanding at the time of your application, it is recommended that you apply in the next year’s admission cycle. All grades need to be reflected on your transcript at the time of submission, otherwise, your application will be flagged as “does not meet minimum requirements.” Priority will be given to applicants with all prerequisites completed. Applicants will be denied if they do not meet the minimum admission requirements.
- General Biology I + II with lab (8 credits)
- General Chemistry I + II with lab (8 credits)
- Organic Chemistry with lab or Biochemistry with lab (4 credits)
- Microbiology with lab (4 credits)
- Statistics (3 credits)
- Psychology (3 credits)
- Human Anatomy and Physiology I + II with lab (8 credits)
- Medical Terminology (1 credit)
Under no circumstances will a student be given credit towards courses in the PA Program.
Direct Patient Contact Hours
A minimum of 350 hours of volunteer or paid direct, hands-on patient contact hours must be documented as part of the CASPA application. The following qualify as patient contact:
- Athletic trainer (certified or student)
- Cardiac bypass technician
- Cardiovascular perfusionist
- Dental Assistant
- Dental Hygienist
- Certified Nursing Assistant
- Clinical Nutritionist
- Clinical Research Assistant with direct in-person patient contact
- Community Health Worker with direct patient contact
- Emergency Department Technician
- EKG Technician
- Exercise Physiologist (cardiac rehab)
- Foreign Medical Graduate (physician)
- Health Care-Related Technician
- Home Health Care Aide (not housework or personal assistant)
- Laboratory Assistant with direct patient contact
- Medical Assistant
- Medical Corpsman
- Medical Scribe
- Military Medic
- Nurse (RN or LPN)
- Nurse Midwife
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nursing Assistant
- Occupational Therapist
- Occupational Therapy Aide
- Orthopedic Technician
- Physical Therapist
- Physical Therapy Aide
- Radiographer/Radiologic Technologist
- Respiratory Therapist
- Speech Therapist
- Surgical Technician (OR Tech)
- Ultrasound Technician
Fair Practices In Admissions
Along with the University, the PA Program strives to create a safe and welcoming environment that embraces differences Saint Joseph’s University recognizes that a diverse campus community is essential to enriching intellectual exchanges and enhancing cultural understanding, and as such, values equality of opportunity, mutual respect and diversity. The University does not discriminate in admission, employment or administration of its programs on the basis of gender, age, disability, race, religion, creed, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or in violation of federal, state and local laws or executive orders. Applicants who are first-generation college students, economically disadvantaged, and/or from populations that are underrepresented in medicine are encouraged to apply.
Applications from students who meet minimum requirements will be reviewed, but meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee an interview or acceptance to the program. Saint Joseph’s PA program reserves the right to update or revise, without notice, admissions criteria and procedures and to make exceptions to admissions policies when it is deemed appropriate.
Special consideration will be given for academic excellence, outstanding patient care experience, community service activities, socioeconomically disadvantaged status, first-generation college graduates and groups underrepresented in medicine, active military, veterans and students in the peace corps.
Technical Standards & Diversity Policy
The following are the technical standards that apply to all clinical training students in Saint Joseph’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program.
Technical standards are the non-academic admission criteria that are essential to participation in the University’s programs. These standards are categorized into the following areas:  communication;  cognition;  behavioral/professionalism; and  psychomotor skills. Applicants and students must have and maintain the ability to perform or meet these essential tasks, skills and standards with or without reasonable accommodations. By applying to and accepting admission to Saint Joseph’s University, you acknowledge that you have read and understand the Technical Standards and believe that you have the ability to meet them, with or without reasonable accommodations.
Saint Joseph’s University recognizes that a diverse campus community is essential to enriching intellectual exchanges and enhancing cultural understanding. The University values equality of opportunity, mutual respect, and an appreciation of diversity. As part of this commitment, the University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities.1 The University is not required to waive these essential standards, because that would be a fundamental alteration of the nature of these programs. Please refer to the Disability Services Policy for more information.
Students with disabilities who believe they require an accommodation(s) to either meet these Technical Standards, to fully access the admissions process, and/or to participate in and benefit from the program curriculum and other programs and services of Saint Joseph’s University, are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Disability Services or 610-660-1774 to participate in a confidential consultation. Accommodations are not retroactive; therefore, students are encouraged to contact the SDS as early as possible to allow for adequate time to consider and implement any approved accommodations.
Students must be able to:
- Communicate professionally, effectively, and sensitively with all patients, faculty, staff, classmates, and all members of the health care team, both in person and in written form, that reflect professional values and those of the University.
- Retain, recall, and deliver information in an efficient and timely manner.
- Accurately share and record information from patients’ records, through history taking, and through communications with the healthcare team.
- Participate in class discussions/group projects/practice labs for the purpose of delivery and receipt of scientific/medical information.
- Identify and describe changes in affect, including facial expression, mood, emotions, activity, and posture, of others in the classroom and clinic, and respond appropriately.
- Communicate effectively with all patients, faculty, staff, classmates, and all members of the health care team from varied social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds, regardless of their sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, culture, race, ethnicity, country of origin, political views, socioeconomic status, religion, beliefs, or disability.
- Explain to other health care professionals, patients, and/or caregivers the reason(s) for treatment, preventative measures, disease process, monitoring plans, and need for referral.
- Demonstrate sensitivity, honesty, and compassion in all conversations, including challenging discussions about death, end of life, adverse events, bad news, disclosure of errors, and other sensitive topics.
Students must be able to:
- Analyze, interpret, and integrate information during patient examinations and throughout patient management to make clinical decisions.
- Retrieve, recall, retain, and apply medical, scientific, and professional information and literature in the classroom and in clinical experiences.
- Utilize effective clinical judgment and problem-solving skills to address difficulties in a timely manner within all learning environments.
- Multi-task, prioritize, and perform tasks in an accurate, logical, and sequential manner.
- Accurately perform scientific measurements and calculations in clinical environments.
- Demonstrate the ability to learn effectively through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction, remote learning, asynchronous learning, small group discussions, laboratory experiences, individual study, and preparation and presentation of written and oral reports.
- Acknowledge limitations of knowledge and/or performance in order to obtain appropriate support and provide optimal patient care.
Students must be able to:
- Exercise professional judgment to maintain patient safety and well-being.
- Display professional and ethical behavior, including, but not limited to, punctuality, dependability, organization, and responsibility.
- Self-manage to adapt to rapidly changing environments.
- Respond promptly and professionally to stressful situations.
- Demonstrate responsiveness to patient needs that supersedes self-interest.
- Show accountability to patients, society, and the PA profession.
- Demonstrate cultural humility and responsiveness by working with all patients, faculty, staff, classmates, and all members of the health care team regardless of their sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, culture, race, ethnicity, country of origin, political views, socioeconomic status, religion, beliefs, or disability.
- Show commitment to ethical principles pertaining to provision or withholding of care, confidentiality, patient autonomy, informed consent, business practices, and compliance with relevant laws, policies, and regulations.
- Demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning and education of students and other health care professionals.
- Demonstrate commitment to personal wellness and self-care that supports the provision of quality patient care.
- Display integrity, empathy, interpersonal skills, motivation, compassion, and concern for others.
- Self-reflect, be receptive to feedback, and modify behavior to improve skills, patient-client relationships, and patient/client outcomes.
- Establish and maintain mature, sensitive, effective relationships with all patients, students, faculty, staff, preceptors/supervisors, and other professionals under all circumstances and regardless of their sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, culture, race, ethnicity, country of origin, political views, socioeconomic status, religion, beliefs, or disability.
- Demonstrate appropriate assertiveness, delegate responsibilities, and function as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team.
- Identify and take responsibility for one’s own actions and decisions, inclusive of seeking supervision and/or consultation in a timely manner.
- Demonstrate respect for differences in cultures, experiences, identities, values, and ethics among others.
- Recognize and respond appropriately and in a timely manner to potentially unsafe, unsecure, or hazardous situations, including those that are life-threatening.
- Respect the confidential relationship between healthcare practitioner and patient and not violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or other applicable confidentiality obligations.
- Abide by the St. Joseph’s Code of Conduct, Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession (located in the student handbook and as developed by the PAEA, NCCPA, PAEA and adopted by the ARC-PA in 2021), and the professional standards of practice in accordance with the respective Oaths of Healthcare Professionals.
- Must not discriminate against classes or categories of patients in the delivery of health care. Such classes and categories include gender, color, creed, race, religion, age, ethnic or national origin, political beliefs, nature of illness, disability, socioeconomic status, physical stature, body size, gender identity, marital status, or sexual orientation.
Students must be able to:
- Elicit information from all patients (standardized or clinical) and fellow classmates by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers regardless of the person’s sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, culture, race, ethnicity, country of origin, political views, socioeconomic status, religion, beliefs, or disability.
- Have sufficient motor skills to provide general patient care and to provide emergency treatment for patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of a physician assistant are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medications, the application of pressure to arrest bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds and the performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers.
- Accurately measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize information
- Use knowledge of three-dimensional relationships and spatial relationships of structures to effectively make clinical decisions.
- Use technology to learn, study, take exams, record information, and convey information in a timely and efficient manner under all circumstances, places, times, and events.
- Possess sufficient psychomotor abilities and manual dexterity, or functional equivalent, to proficiently demonstrate all program-specific competencies, including, but not limited to:
1. Carrying out basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, wet mount, gram stain, etc.)
2. Executing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (phlebotomy, venipuncture, placement of catheters and tubes)
3. Reading ECG's and X-rays.
Diversity, the Physician Assistant Profession & Saint Joseph's PA Program
The Saint Joseph University’s Physician Assistant Program strives to create PAs who accurately reflect the population that they are graduating to serve. A diverse student body, faculty, and staff serves to enrich all our experiences, both as educators and as students. An important aspect to the policy is that higher-up University officials and the administration will support and carry out our diversity goals. The PA program will be actively involved in the University-level Diversity Task Force.
As a program, we understand that everyone is unique, and that differences serve to enrich all our lives. Race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, physical abilities, and religious beliefs, and others, all create an incredible, diverse society. We recognize the importance of diversity of health care providers to reflect the patient population and the role that awareness, respect, and understanding have on excellent patient care.
The plan to achieve our goals of increasing diversity not only involves steps to recruit a diverse pool of applicants, faculty, and staff; but also working to prepare regional high school and college students to become outstanding PA applicants, and to ensure their success once matriculated.
University Diversity Statement
Our understanding of diversity prevents any individual from being excluded from this community on the grounds of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, age, marital status or class.
Saint Joseph’s acknowledges the dignity of the individual and commits itself to promoting awareness of and sensitivity to human differences. We recognize that the contributions made by diverse groups serve to benefit the personal, academic, and professional growth of all members of the community. Viewed affirmatively, our commitment to diversity means:
- that, consistent with our mission, Saint Joseph’s University will actively seek to welcome and retain a diverse and inclusive community of students, staff, and faculty
- that, through our programs, policies, and curricula, we will foster interaction and understanding among all groups within our community,
- that we will make a special effort to enrich ourselves educationally by including at every level people from other nations and cultures.
Increasingly conscious of a more interdependent world, Saint Joseph’s remains dedicated to developing people for and with others.
PA Program Policy on Diversity
The Saint Joseph’s University Physician Assistant Program will work to enrich our experiences, and grow both personally and as a program, with the following steps:
Recruitment and retention of a diverse group of applicants
- Community outreach with high school students in the greater Philadelphia area
- Open house marketing to local high school students in the greater Philadelphia area
- Advising local high school students
- Inviting local high school students to explore science opportunities and foster excitement of the field
- University student clubs/organizations
Consideration for diversity in the application process during the screening process
- Underrepresented in Medicine
- First Generation College
- Economically Disadvantaged
- Military, Veteran, or Peace Corps
Recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty and staff
- University/HR involvement in marketing
- Cultural awareness training and education
- Involve, mentor, and consider former students for future academic roles after graduation
- Invite guest lecturers with diverse professional and personal backgrounds
- Advertise in minority PA chapters/ groups and other organizations that will diversify our pool of candidates.
- Embed Diversity Equity and Inclusion into organizational culture
Use our curriculum to create culturally aware PAs including learning objectives related to:
- Exploring personal implicit bias
- Racism in medicine
- Clinical bioethics
- Cultural awareness
- LGBTQIA health
- Health equity
- Health literacy
- Considerations for care of marginalized, underrepresented, and minority populations
- Respecting patient’s wishes
- Respecting cultural, religious, or spiritually-based decisions for health care
- Access to care
- Socioeconomics of health care
- Community resources
- Social determinants of health
- Physical determinants of health
- Interprofessional education events
Establish mission-oriented and community connections that support DEI:
- Formalize a DEI student run club
- Conduct community outreach educational events
- Provide health screening events to the regional community
- Perform student and faculty driven community service with local/regional affiliations, churches, groups, and other partnerships/organizations.
- Utilize PA week to provide community service opportunities and outreach
- Participate in Martin Luther King Day of Service events
- Build upon relationships with Highmark Wholecare and the Foundation of International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC)
- Encourage students to compete for NHS, LGBT PA Caucus, and other scholarship opportunities