Physician Assistant Entry-Level Masters Program
 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


  1. What is the deadline to apply to the program?
  2. What type of academic background and/or degree is likely to optimize my potential for success in your program?
  3. Can I apply with outstanding courses and/or health care experience?
  4. How many classes does the program accept each year? How many students?
  5. Do I need to meet all of the program’s admissions prerequisites or can some be waived on the basis of prior work experience in health care?
  6. Does the Stony Brook PA program offer a part-time option/distance learning courses?
  7. Why do you require health care experience as an admission prerequisite?
  8. Do you have any suggestions on how I can obtain the required 1000 hours of patient care experience?
  9. Can you connect me with a PA I can shadow?
  10. Can I waive/challenge out of program course requirements based on prior coursework or clinical experience?
  11. Do Stony Brook undergraduates get preferential admission to the program?
  12. Do I get to choose where I complete my clinical clerkships?
  13. What credentials will I have upon graduation from your program? Where can I practice?
  14. Can you provide me with information about on-campus and off-campus housing opportunities?
  15. Do you give preference to New York State residents?
  16. Where can I get information about financial aid?
  17. What about physician assistant program “ranking” systems?
  18. Can I transfer into your program?
  19. What are your guidelines on TOEFL?
  20. Do you have a placement service for graduates?
  21. Will I be able to work during the time I am a student?
  22. What are the employment and salary outlooks for PAs?
  23. Does the Stony Brook PA program require a deposit to secure admission?
  24. Do we require the GREs?
    Do we require a supplemental Application?
    Do we require a criminal background check?


Question #1: What is the deadline to apply to the program?
Answer: October 1st for early decision with a deadline of December 1st for the program to receive your paper application from CASPA.  Please note this is not an esubmit deadline  This is for us to receive your application from CASPA.  CASPA can take up to 3-4 weeks from the time you e-submit until when you are sent to the program. 
Question #2: What type of academic background and/or degree is likely to optimize my potential for success in your program?
Answer: Strong preparation in biology, chemistry, and math (especially statistics) is highly valued. The number of courses, the level of those courses, and performance are important considerations. Applicants should demonstrate their ability to handle social science and humanities coursework in psychology, sociology and logic/critical thinking/ethics. Degrees in related majors will help to insure success in the program.
Question #3: Can I apply with outstanding courses and/or health care experience?
Answer: Yes. However, only one natural science course of the biology, chemistry, or math requirements may be outstanding at the time of application.You must document that you are enrolled to complete the outstanding biology, chemistry or math requirement. Five-hundred (500) hours of the 1000-hour health care experience requirement must be completed by the deadline of December 1st and you must document that you will complete the remaining 500 hours prior to starting the program. Preference for interview is shown to candidates who have completed all 1000 hours at the time of application.  Failure to complete any outstanding requirements will result in termination of the program’s offer of admission.
Question #4: How many classes does the program accept each year? How many students?
Answer: There is one entering class of 44 students each year. The starting date for each class is late June or early July of the year of admission.
Question #5: Do I need to meet all of the program’s admissions prerequisites or can some be waived on the basis of prior work experience in health care?
Answer: Prior health care experience will be applied to the program’s health care experience requirement. No other prerequisites for admission are waived on the basis of prior health care/life experience.
Question #6: Does the Stony Brook PA program offer a part-time option/distance learning courses?
Answer: Our program does not offer a part-time option or distance learning courses.
Question #7: Why do you require health care experience as an admission prerequisite?
Answer: The experience of working with patients is invaluable to anyone considering a career in medicine as a PA. It grounds your career choice in the realities of the profession and offers a unique perspective on how our health care system works. The reality is that whether or not a given PA program has a requirement for health care experience, this type of experience is valued in considering the admission qualifications of any given applicant.
Question #8: Do you have any suggestions on how I can obtain the required 1000 hours of patient care experience?
Answer: Many applicants begin working in the health care field in the summer between high school and college. By working in health care each summer through their undergraduate education they accrue the necessary hours. Potential entry-level positions (paid and unpaid) include EMT, phlebotomist, nursing aide, home health care aide, and volunteers for community mental health or family planning agencies.
Question #9: Can you connect me with a PA I can shadow?
Answer: Because of HIPPA regulations and patient privacy issues we do not make arrangements for PA shadowing. You may want to try to contact hospitals in your local area (some use their volunteer office to make such arrangements) to establish shadowing experiences or for help in meeting a PA.
Question #10: Can I waive/challenge out of program course requirement based on prior coursework or clinical experience?
Answer: There are a limited number of course waivers/challenge exams available and these are handled on a case-by-case basis. No student may waive out of the masters project or clinical clerkships on the basis of prior coursework or clinical experience.
Question #11: Do Stony Brook undergraduates get preferential admission to the program?
Answer: While the rigor of undergraduate education at Stony Brook is well recognized, all applicants to the program are given equal consideration with respect to admission to the program.
Question #12: Do I get to choose where I complete my clinical clerkships?
Answer: Students are offered a choice in selecting their clinical clerkship track and medical and pediatric preceptorships sites. Academic performance while in the program and prior clinical experience are taken into consideration in all placements.
Question #13: What credentials will I have upon graduation from your program? Where can I practice?
Answer: Students are granted a Master of Science (MS) degree upon graduation and are eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) offered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Graduates of the Stony Brook Physician Assistant Program who are certified by the NCCPA, i.e., pass the PANCE, are eligible to practice in all 50 states and other national or international jurisdictions that license/utilize PAs.
Question #14: Can you provide me with information about on-campus and off-campus housing opportunities?
Answer: The campus has a housing website that includes housing information. Students who are planning to live on-campus are strongly encouraged to live at the West Apartments which are brand new, observes "quiet life-style" rules, have single rooms, and are air conditioned. Married students may want to consider the Chapin Apartments which are directly across the street from University Hospital.
Question #15: Do you give preference to New York State residents?
Answer: Admission preference is not given to New York State residents. However, tuition for New York State residents is lower than that for that for out-of-state residents. Out-of-state tuition is very reasonable and cost effective in comparison to that of most other programs.
Question #16: Where can I get information about financial aid?
Answer: The Office of Student Services at Stony Brook University retains financial aid officers who are expert in this area and make every attempt to assist students seeking financial aid.
Question #17: What about physician assistant program “ranking” systems?
Answer: The Stony Brook PA program has been ranked 11th in the 2010 US News and World Report issue entitled America's Best Graduate Schools/Programs. This ranking system is based largely on the evaluation of peers at other graduate level Physician Assistant Programs. PA Program ranking based on objective, or a combination of subjective and objective, evaluation of PA programs does not exist. The exclusive use of any ranking, without doing the kind of intensive program exploration that insures that the match between a given applicant and a given program is optimal, cannot be responsibly recommended.
Question #18: Can I transfer into your program?
Answer: No. Every student accepted to our program must apply for admission through CASPA.
Question #19: What are your guidelines on TOEFL?
Answer: All applicants whose native or first language is not English must achieve at least a 550 paper-based or 213 computer-based score on the TOEFL within two years prior to the date of admission.
Question #20: Do you have a placement service for graduates?
Answer: Many Stony Brook students are offered employment during their clinical rotations. The program e-mails job opportunities to second year students and maintains a listing of job opportunities, a data base of all program graduates who often share information on job opportunities with the program, and a file on organizations that service the PA employment market.
Question #21: Will I be able to work during the time I am a student?
Answer: Most students find it impossible to work due to the intensive nature of the PA curriculum and the class and study hours involved in the first year. During clinical clerkships students note that their patient management responsibilities and the time required to prepare for rounds, conferences and presentations do not allow them to both work and attend the program.
Question #22: What are the employment and salary outlooks for PAs?
Answer: The employment outlook for PAs is positive. The US Department of Labor has identified the physician assistant profession as one of the 10 fastest growing occupations, 2002-12. Stony Brook PA graduates are highly rated and sought after by employers. For the past several years over 25% of each graduating class has had at least one job offer prior to graduation and over 90% of recent classes have been employed within 12 weeks of graduation. Salary information is available through the AAPA.
Question #23: Does the Stony Brook PA program require a deposit to secure admission?
Answer: Applicants who are accepted to graduate programs at Stony Brook University (including professional graduate programs like the PA Program) are not required to pay a deposit to secure their seat. As a matter of principle, our belief is that prospective students should not be financially pressured into making such an important decision without first being sure that the program match is right. Once a student has made a decision to accept our offer of admission it is expected that s/he will honor that commitment. Our goal is to insure that the process is fair to both those who have already been offered a seat and those who are on our alternate list.
Question #24: Do we require the GREs?
Answer: We do not require the GREs.



Question #25:  Do we require a supplemental application?

Answer:  Yes, we do require a supplemental application.  When the program receives your CASPA application, a supplemental application will be emailed to you.  You are then required to fill out the supplemental application, pay the $50.00 application fee and return it to the program to be considered a complete applicant.

 

Question #26: Do you require a criminal background check?

Answer:  All students who are offered seats and decide to attend the program must clear a criminal background check prior to the start of the program.  Information related to potential companies that can be utilized will be sent to you in the Spring prior to the start of the program.  You are responsible for working with that company and providing the program with the findings of the criminal background check.  Failure to provide this report to the program, or to not clear a criminal background check will result in the program recinding the offer of admission.  

Question #27:  What is your first taker PANCE performance in each of the last 5 years?


Answer: Our first taker PANCE rates are listed on the "Why Stony Brook?" page.


 
Health Sciences Center