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Entry-Level Master’s Physician Assistant

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Whether prescribing medication for a child who is sick with the flu or assisting a surgeon who is repairing a broken leg, physician assistants are highly sought-after members of the medical community. They can be found working in every health care setting, from private practice to large hospitals.

Program Overview

A student wearing a lab coat holds an oxygen mask on a mannequin.

Life-saving skills

Kyle Liang, MHS ’19, provides oxygen to stabilize a patient mannequin in the Simulation Suite.

As a PA, you may perform a wide range of duties, such as suturing wounds, developing treatment plans and assisting in surgery. You’ll prescribe medications, educate your patients and interpret medical tests. You’ll learn what a day in the life of a PA entails through first-hand experience in a wide variety of specialties and clinical settings.

We take you through four years of preprofessional undergraduate training and a 27-month professional component that leads to your master of health science degree. Our program is nationally recognized with almost all of our graduates securing their first-choice jobs within months of graduation.

Not only will the professional component of your training give you experience in core areas of medicine, but you’ll have an opportunity to designate a wish list for two elective rotations. This may include further experience in a core rotation, such as emergency medicine, surgery, or pediatrics, or placement in a specialty practice of interest to you.

Curriculum and Requirements

Entry-Level Master’s Physician Assistant Curriculum

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterCredits
BIO 101
& 101L
General Biology I
and General Biology I Lab
EN 101 Introduction to Academic Reading and Writing 3
MA 141 Calculus of a Single Variable 3
CHE 110
& 110L
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Lab
FYS 101 First-Year Seminar 3
Spring Semester
BIO 102
& 102L
General Biology II
and General Biology Lab II
EN 102 Academic Writing and Research 3
UC Disciplinary Inquiry (Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences) 3
CHE 111
& 111L
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Lab
PY 104 Physician Assistant Seminar I - Orientation to the Profession 1
Summer Semester
Patient Contact Hours  
Second Year
Fall Semester
BIO 211
& 211L
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab I
CHE 210
& 210L
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry I Lab
PHY 110
& 110L
General Physics I
and General Physics I Lab
PY 388
& 388L
Clinical Training I
and Clinical Training I Lab 1
Spring Semester
BIO 212
& 212L
Human Anatomy and Physiology II
and Human Anatomy and Physiology II Lab
CHE 211
& 211L
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry II Lab
PY 397 Pre-Health Professions Clinical Affiliation 3
PY 389
& 389L
Clinical Training II
and Clinical Training II Lab 1
HSC 202 Medical Terminology 2
Summer Semester
Patient Contact Hours  
Third Year
Fall Semester
BMS 318 Pathophysiology 3
BMS 370
& 370L
General Microbiology
and General Microbiology Lab
BIO/BMS Core science elective 3-4
UC Disciplinary Inquiry (Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences) 3
UC Disciplinary Inquiry (Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences) 3
Spring Semester
BMS 200 Biology and Experience of Human Aging 3
CHE 315
& 315L
Biochemistry I
and Biochemistry Lab I 2
BIO/BMS Core science elective 3-4
BIO/BMS/HSC Science elective 3-4
UC Personal Inquiry 1 (Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences) 3
Summer Semester
Patient Contact Hours  
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
PY 400 Pre-Physician Assistant Clerkship 3
PY 401 Introduction to Clinical Problem Solving 3
BIO/BMS Core science elective 3-4
UC Personal Inquiry 1 (Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences) 3
UC Personal Inquiry 2 (Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences) 3
Spring Semester
PY 204 Physician Assistant Seminar II - The Interdisciplinary Team 1
BMS 332 Histology 4
BIO/BMS/HSC Science elective 3-4
UC Personal Inquiry 2 (Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences) 3
QU 420 Integrative Capstone 3
 Total Credits124-129

If student has current EMT licensure on admission to the program, two additional science electives are taken instead of PY 388 and PY 389


 CHE 315L (Biochemistry Lab) is optional. Students who are pursuing a minor in chemistry are required to complete CHE 315L.

Total number of credits required for completion of the preprofessional component = 123

Students who have earned advanced placement credit or other college credit in an introductory-level science course are encouraged to still take BIO 101/BIO 102 and CHE 110/CHE 111 at Quinnipiac. Students opting out of those courses are required to take the equivalent number of hours at a higher level in the same area of course work. Students with AP credits in nonscience courses may elect to take only 14 credits in the fall semester of the first year.

Acceptable Core Science Electives

Select three of the following courses:
BMS 310Neuroanatomy3
BMS 320Pharmacology3
BMS 325Toxicology3
BMS 330Endocrinology3
BMS 372
& 372L
Pathogenic Microbiology
and Pathogenic Microbiology Lab
BMS 375
& 375L
and Immunology Lab
or HSC 375 Immunology
BIO 350Cardiovascular Physiology3

Additional Science Electives

Select two courses from core science electives OR from the following:
BIO 282
& 282L
and Genetics Lab
or BIO 471 Molecular Genetics
BIO 298Research Methods in Biology3
or BMS 278 Research and Technology
BIO 317
& 317L
Developmental Biology
and Developmental Biology Lab
BIO 328
& 328L
Human Clinical Parasitology
and Human Clinical Parasitology Lab
BIO 329Neurobiology3
BIO 346
& 346L
Cell Physiology
and Cell Physiology Lab
BIO 365Cancer Biology3
BIO 382
& 382L
Human Genetics
and Human Genetics Lab
BMS 276Drug Development3
BMS 378Vaccines and Vaccine-Preventable Diseases3
BMS 470Virology4
BMS 473Infections of Leisure3
or BMS 474 Power of Plagues
BMS 475Special Topics in Microbiology4
BMS 482Independent Study in Microbiology 12-4
BMS 498Independent Study in Biomedical Sciences I 12-4
BMS 499Independent Study in Biomedical Sciences II 12-4
BMS 525Vaccines and Vaccine Preventable Diseases 13
BMS 595Transplantation Immunology 13
HSC 220Health Care Essentials: Structure, Policy and Professionalism3
HSC 225Writing in the Health Professions3
HSC 262Nutrition in Health and Illness3
HSC 270Pillars of Public Health: Saving the World on a Population Level3
HSC 315Bioethical Issues in the 21st Century3
HSC 322Health Care Law (LE 322)3
HSC 498 Independent Study in Health Sciences
HSC 499Independent Study in Health Sciences II2-4

With permission. Students who complete an independent study course for 2 credits must also complete a 4-credit science elective course in order to have at least 6 credits of science electives.

Acceptable UC Social Sciences (Disciplinary Inquiry/Personal Inquiry 1)

PS 101Introduction to Psychology3
PS 232The Concept of Personality and Its Development3
PS 261Social Psychology3
PS 262Psychology of Women (WS 262)3
PS 272Abnormal Psychology3
SO 101Introduction to Sociology3
SO 280Illness and Disability3

Acceptable UC Elective (Personal Inquiry 2)

BMS 200Biology and Experience of Human Aging3

MHS Physician Assistant Program of Study

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Summer SemesterCredits
PY 501 Human Physiology 4
PY 503 Principles of Interviewing 3
PY 507 Principles of Electrocardiography 1
PY 508 Diagnostic Methods I 2
PY 515 Clinical Pathology 3
PY 517 Human Anatomy 4
Fall Semester
PY 502 Physical Diagnosis 4
PY 505 Clinical Pharmacology I 2
PY 506 Principles of Internal Medicine 6
PY 514 Diagnostic Methods II 1
PY 572 Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 4
Spring Semester
PY 504 History, Roles and Responsibilities of the PA 1
PY 509 Principles of Obstetrics and Gynecology 3
PY 510 Principles of Pediatrics 3
PY 511 Principles of Surgery and Emergency Medicine 4
PY 512 Psychosocial Issues in Health Care 2
PY 513 Behavioral Medicine 3
PY 516 Clinical Pharmacology II 2
Second Year
Summer Semester
PY 526 Principles of Epidemiology 3
PY 536 Biostatistics 3
PY 546 Ethics in Health Care Delivery 3
PY 650 Medical Writing Workshop/Journal Club 1
Clinical Rotations  
PY 611 Clinical Residency I 3
PY 612 Clinical Residency II 3
PY 613 Clinical Residency III 3
PY 614 Clinical Residency IV 3
PY 615 Clinical Residency V 3
PY 616 Clinical Residency VI 3
PY 617 Clinical Residency VII 3
PY 618 Clinical Residency VIII 3
PY 619 Clinical Residency IX 3
Third Year
Summer Semester
PY 608 Graduate Seminar 3
PY 676 Comprehensive Examination 2
PY 648 Ethics/Health Care Delivery II 1
 Total Credits95

In addition to the intensive classroom study during the first year, students are introduced to the clinical application of their training by being paired with a graduate physician assistant or physician one half day a week. This is designed to facilitate application of the skills and knowledge acquired in the classroom setting to the care of the patient.

Requirements for Graduation

Upon successful completion of the 27-month Quinnipiac University Physician Assistant program, students are granted a Master of Health Science and a certificate of completion as a physician assistant. Students must meet all of the following requirements in 27 months:

  1. Satisfactory completion of the PA curriculum requirements (including academic, clinical, medical writing, clinical logging, professionalism and community service requirements).
  2. Satisfactory completion of the PA program core competencies and essential learning outcomes.
  3. Satisfactory completion of all PA course requirements.
  4. Satisfactory completion of the capstone comprehensive examination.
  5. A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0/4.0.

Additional course details
Explore descriptions, schedule and instructor information using the Course Finder tool.

Admissions Requirements

Candidates applying for admission to the entry-level master’s physician assistant program are required to have: a minimum of three years of high school mathematics including geometry, algebra and precalculus; one year of biology; one year of chemistry and one year of physics. In addition, advanced electives in the biological sciences are recommended. Related health care experience is highly desirable.

Prospective candidates must also satisfy the admission requirements of Quinnipiac. Transfer students are not admitted to the entry-level master’s physician assistant program. Admission into the pre-professional component of the program does not guarantee admission into the professional component of the program.

The program offers the qualified pre-physician assistant student the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in the physician assistant program at Quinnipiac. The program is divided into a four-year pre-professional component and a 27-month professional component. Following successful completion of the pre-professional component, students receive a bachelor of science in health science studies.

The pre-professional component provides students with a well-rounded education and a strong focus in biological and health science studies. This very structured and organized undergraduate program not only prepares students for the rigors of the professional component of the program, but also introduces students to the role and responsibilities of physician assistants. The program addresses the need for medical experience by providing students with emergency medical technician (EMT) training as well as extensive time shadowing and mentoring with practicing physician assistants. EMT ride time and shadowing experiences take place at off-campus sites, generally within 50 miles of the Mount Carmel Campus. Students are responsible for transportation to and from all off-campus sites. In addition, students must meet specific program health requirements for participation in the shadowing experiences. Program costs associated with the preclinical affiliations and EMT course, including uniform, parking, certification exam, health requirements documentation, background check and additional program fees are the responsibility of the student.

Program Requirements
Initial evaluation of the pre-physician assistant student by the Review and Evaluation Committee takes place at the end of the spring semester of the second year. To continue in the program, students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a minimum cumulative science GPA of 3.0. Following the initial evaluation, students are evaluated after completion of each semester. Failure to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a minimum cumulative science GPA of 3.0 results in dismissal from the program. In addition, a minimum GPA (both cumulative and science) is required for participation in preclinical affiliations.

By the fourth year, students are required to have accumulated at least 1,000 hours of documented direct patient contact through summer paid and/or volunteer experiences (e.g., certified nurse’s aide, phlebotomy technician, emergency room technician). While patient contact hours must be pre-approved by program faculty, students are responsible for making their own arrangements to obtain these clinical hours.

Technical Standards
All students entering the graduate physician assistant program at Quinnipiac University must be able to meet the established abilities and expectations of the graduate PA program technical standards, which can be found on the program's website. Upon admission to the ELMPA program, students are required to review and verify that they understand the technical standards requirement. Prior to participation in the preclinical experiences, the student's primary care provider must verify, based on a complete history and physical examination, that the student meets the technical standards of the graduate PA program. In the event that a student is unable to fulfill these technical standards, he/she may not be able to participate in preclinical affiliations and may not be able to progress to the graduate PA program.

Background Checks
Students should be aware that certain preclinical sites may require a criminal background check before a student is placed in the clinic or intern site. The University has procedures to assist students in obtaining such a background check. The cost of the background check is the responsibility of each individual student. All students are required to have a new or updated background check upon progression to the graduate physician assistant program.

Requirements for Progression to the Graduate Physician Assistant Program
In order for a student in the entry-level master's physician assistant program to progress to the graduate physician assistant program at Quinnipiac University, the student must successfully complete all requirements to obtain a BS degree in health science studies, including all prerequisite courses for PA program admission. Students progressing to the professional phase of the program may not have any course failures or grades of incomplete, and no outstanding academic integrity or professionalism issues at the time of progression. In addition, students must meet the established requirements for direct patient contact hours and EMT certification. Prior to beginning the physician assistant program, students meet with a faculty member from the Department of Physician Assistant Studies for a final academic review. The student must meet all  academic, curricular, professional, health and immunization, background check and technical standards requirements of the PA program to matriculate into the program.

Important Dates:

September 1: Deadline for completed CASPA

December 31: Deadline for academic pre-requisite completion.