Physician Assistant

Physician Assistant Studies

A developing 28-month PA program culminating in a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree.

Program Overview

Assumption University is currently in the process of developing a master’s level PA Program in our School of Health Professions. We anticipate enrolling the first cohort in January of 2025.

The 28-month Physician Assistant program will prepare its graduates, throughout the 12-month didactic and 16-month clinical phases of the program, to enter the health care field with the education and skills required to provide compassionate and highly competent care to every patient they serve. Your Assumption PA education will highlight the empathetic component of health care. The understanding that each patient is an individual to be cared for, and not just a disease, is fundamental to our mission.

The Important Role of a PA

PAs are medical professionals who collaborate with physicians as part of the health care team. They conduct physical examinations, diagnose, and treat illness and injury, order and interpret lab and diagnostic tests, perform medical procedures, assist in surgery, provide education and counseling, and make rounds on patients in hospitals and nursing homes.  All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow PAs to practice medicine and prescribe medications.  PAs work collaboratively with physician team members in all medical specialties.

Graduate Virtual Information Sessions

Physician Assistant Studies Program Contact

Kayla M. Cetrone, Ph.D.

Director of Admissions, Assessment, & Academic Success, PA Studies, Assistant Professor of Practice, School of Health Professions


  • The mission of the PA Program at Assumption University emphasizes the value and dignity of human life, compassion, and empathy, embodying the principles of Catholic social teaching, preparing our graduates to provide exceptional, ethical, patient-centered care with a focus on life-long learning, leadership, and service to individuals, families, and diverse communities. Our educational environment fosters the development of confident, competent graduates who practice medical care in a collaborative environment.

  • The Assumption University PA Program strives to imbue our graduates with the clinical knowledge and reasoning needed to practice high-quality medicine while serving a diverse population through its emphasis on compassion, empathy, and treating the whole person.  Assumption University PA students will honor the value and dignity of human life through community service, compassion, and ethical principles as they enter meaningful careers in healthcare.

    We envision our students to be leaders, significantly impacting their communities in their roles as healthcare professionals.  We aim to be distinguished as a premier PA Program in the region, recognized for exceptional PAs in the community.  Through the recruitment of a highly qualified pool of applicants that reflect the diversity of the community, we anticipate matriculating and graduating exceptional PA student cohorts.

    1. Admit students who have demonstrated concern for the value and dignity of human life as well as ethical, compassionate, and empathetic patient care.
    2. Graduate students who provide exceptional patient care by applying a high level of medical knowledge, clinical reasoning, and professionalism during patient encounters.
    3. Through a comprehensive and supportive educational experience, prepare students to pass the PANCE and enter clinical practice.
    4. Provide an educational environment that fosters life-long learning.
    5. Increase access to healthcare in underserved communities by providing patient care opportunities for students throughout their educational experience.
    6. Encourage leadership, scholarship, and professional development.

    The effectiveness of the Program in meeting its Goals will be published promptly after the graduation of the inaugural class in 2027.

    ARC-PA Standard A3.12b

  • Admissions Overview and Deadlines

    Our PA Program mission, vision, and goals reflect our commitment to caring for the whole patient.  We aim to help decrease healthcare disparities and increase healthcare access to currently underserved populations.  We intend to admit and enroll future PAs who have demonstrated commitment to this philosophy.

    Assumption University strives to form graduate students who are known for critical intelligence, thoughtful citizenship, ethical principles, and compassionate service.  Assumption University favors diversity and welcomes all.

    The process for admission to the Assumption University PA Program is highly competitive.  Candidates are holistically evaluated on many factors, including overall GPA, prerequisite GPA, direct patient care experiences, alignment with our mission, vision, and goals, employment history, community service/enrichment, leadership, philanthropy, professionalism, volunteerism, awards, honors, quality and content of essays, the supplemental application, and letters of recommendation.

    Admission Practices Favoring Individuals or Groups

    The Assumption University PA Program will extend a guaranteed interview to any applicant who has earned a degree from Assumption University and meets all admissions requirements. An interview does not guarantee admission to the PA Program.  All applicants must meet the same admissions requirements, including academic standards, education requirements, and clinical experience.

    The Assumption University PA Program will extend a guaranteed interview to any applicant who is currently serving on active duty in, or is an honorably discharged veteran of, the Uniformed Services of the United States and meets all admissions requirements.  An interview does not guarantee admission to the PA Program.  All applicants must meet the same admissions requirements, including academic standards, education requirements, and clinical experience.

    The Uniformed Services of the United States include:

    During the initial development of the Assumption University PA Program, Assumption University undergraduates were offered the opportunity to apply to a “dual degree” program and, if specific requirements were met, were guaranteed admission to the Assumption University PA Program.  Students currently enrolled in the “dual degree” program may matriculate, provided they meet all PA Program admission requirements; this will reduce the number of available seats in the first cohort.  Admission to the “dual degree” program was discontinued in 2020.

    ARC-PA Standard A3.13a

    Application Process

    All applications to the Assumption University PA Program will be submitted through the Assumption University website.

    All students must have a completed bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.  The degree must be conferred on or before the November 1 deadline of the current year’s application cycle.

    Additionally, a supplemental application must be completed.  The program places great significance on the fit of a student with our mission, vision, and goals.  The supplemental application specifically addresses this fit and will be weighed heavily in determining acceptance to the program.  Applicants must submit an application fee.

    The Assumption PA Program utilizes a rolling admissions process.  There may be a competitive advantage to submitting an early application.

    The PA Program application deadline for completed and verified applications is November 1, 2024.

    Applications must be verified by 11:59 PM ET on the deadline date.  Applications can only be verified once all payments, transcripts, and letters of evaluation have been received.  To ensure your application is verified on time, it is recommended that you complete and submit your application at least four weeks before the deadline.

    All admission requirements must be met by the application deadline for a candidate to be considered for matriculation in January 2025 (Class of 2027).

    ARC-PA Standards A3.13b and A3.13d


    All applicants are required to complete the entire application available through the Assumption University website, which includes a Personal Statement and PA Program Supplemental Application.

    The Personal Statement should demonstrate the applicant’s understanding of the PA profession, reasons and motivation to become a PA, quality of writing, and self-awareness.

    The Supplemental Application should include discussion related to the applicant’s alignment with the Assumption University PA Program mission, vision, and goals, including community service and interpretation of diversity. Applicant responses should demonstrate quality of writing and knowledge/experience of the PA profession. All questions within the Supplemental Application must be answered.

    Academic Requirements

    • A minimum overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The program cannot consider any applicant with an overall GPA of less than 3.0.
    • A minimum prerequisite GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The program cannot consider any applicant with a pre-requisite GPA of less than 3.0.
    • Students for whom English is not their primary language or who have not completed a degree at a US Academic Institution must take the online Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT Exam and receive a minimum score of 100. The TOEFL must be completed within two (2) years of application submission.

    ARC-PA Standard A3.13d


    Applicants must have completed the following prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of C in each course and an overall GPA of 3.0 for all prerequisite coursework:

    • Biology with Lab (8 semester hours)
    • Chemistry with Lab (8 semester hours)
    • Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, or Cell-Molecular Biology (must have one of these courses, Biochemistry encouraged) (3 semester hours)
    • Human Anatomy with Lab (4 semester hours)
    • Human Physiology with Lab (4 semester hours)
    • Microbiology (lab encouraged) (3 semester hours)
    • Psychology (3 semester hours)
    • Statistics (3 semester hours)

    The PA Program Director of Admissions, Assessment, & Academic Success (DAAAS) will verify each course and determine if it meets the program requirements. Applicants are encouraged to e-mail copies of course syllabi to the DAAAS to verify if courses meet the prerequisite.

    Courses and credits do not expire and will be accepted regardless of when they were taken. The program does recommend that applicants re-take Anatomy & Physiology, if it was taken more than 10 years ago.

    ARC-PA Standard A3.13b

    Patient Care Experience

    • All applicants must have at least fifteen hundred (1,500) hours of documented direct patient care experience.
    • Direct patient care experience must be completed in a setting where there is contact with a medical supervisor or medical control (working with or for a physician, PA, or other healthcare providers). The following (non-exhaustive) list includes acceptable types of direct patient care experiences:
      1. Emergency Medical Technicians (at any level)
      2. Military Medics, Corpsmen, and Health Services Technicians
      3. Registered Nurses
      4. Medical Assistants
      5. Nursing Assistants or LPNs
      6. Emergency Room Technicians
      7. Respiratory Therapists
      8. Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, or Physical Therapy Assistants
      9. Surgical Technicians
      10. Medical Scribes

    The program reserves the right to verify all documented experiences.

    • The following experiences should be documented as health care experience and are typically not considered direct patient care experience:
    1. Home Health Aide
    2. Pharmacy Technician
    3. Dental Technician, Dental Hygienist, Dental Assistant
    4. Personal Care Attendant

    Any applicant who has any questions regarding whether their particular work experience qualifies as direct patient care should contact the PA program as soon as possible, and the program will review the details of the applicant’s own experience.

    ARC-PA Standard A3.13b

    Letters of Recommendation

    The program requires at least three (3) letters of recommendation. Ideal letters of recommendation will be provided by PAs or physicians. Other letters that the program places in high regard are those written by immediate supervisors from clinical positions, science professors, and pre-health advisors. The program will not consider personal letters, letters from family or relatives (even if they are PAs, physicians, or other healthcare providers), or letters from individuals who have only a cursory knowledge of the candidate.

    Letters should address the following characteristics:

    • Ability to succeed as a PA student
    • Future potential as a PA
    • Professional characteristics

    Additionally, the program will request the contact information (name, relationship to applicant, e-mail address, and telephone number) of a personal reference. This can be a friend, roommate, co-worker, or another individual who can attest to the character, reliability, and social interaction of the applicant. Applicants may not use an individual who has written a letter of recommendation. This may not be a family member or relative of the applicant.

    Standardized Test Scores

    The program does not require standardized aptitude test scores (GRE, MCAT, PACat) to apply to the PA Program.

    Curriculum Vitae

    Applicants must submit a current CV during the application process. The CV must be complete and contain all education and work experience. The program considers employment history, community service/enrichment, personal achievements, and leadership roles.

    Transfer Credit & Advanced Placement

    The Assumption University PA Program does not accept any Advanced Placement (AP) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) coursework to fulfill prerequisite requirements. All prerequisite coursework must be completed at a regionally accredited college or university.

    The PA Program does not provide advanced placement in the PA Program based on any coursework completed before matriculation in the Assumption University PA Program, including coursework completed previously in any PA program or medical school. The required prerequisite courses do not substitute for any courses in the Program’s curriculum. 

    ARC-PA Standard A3.13c

    Adherence to PA Program Admission Policies and Procedures

    The program must follow its published guidelines in the admission process and may not make exceptions to the published standards.

    The program reserves the right to confirm all information submitted as part of the application. Submitting false information is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.


    The PA Program Director of Admissions, Assessment, and Academic Success (DAAAS) will review all verified applications to ensure that the application is complete and that all admission requirements have been met.

    The PA Program utilizes a rolling admissions process. There may be a competitive advantage to submitting an early application.

    The DAAAS will randomly assign each qualified application to two Admissions Committee members for an in-depth review of the following:

    • Academic Performance (overall undergraduate GPA, prerequisite undergraduate GPA)
    • Personal Statement (understanding of the PA profession, reasons and motivation to become a PA, quality of writing, self-awareness)
    • Supplemental Application (alignment with Assumption University PA Program mission, vision, and goals, including community service and interpretation of diversity, knowledge/experience of PA profession, quality of writing)
    • Patient Care Experience (hours, setting, type of patient care, role and responsibilities)
    • Letters of Recommendation (reference scores, ability to succeed as a PA student, future potential as a PA, professional characteristics)
    • Curriculum Vitae (employment history [which may include but is not limited to direct patient care, other healthcare, and research], community service/enrichment [including philanthropy, volunteerism], personal achievement [including awards, honors], leadership roles)

    Members of the Admissions Committee will review and assign point values to the above categories on the PA Program admissions rubric based on the submitted applications.

    The DAAAS will compile all applications based on the final scores on the rubric and invite the most competitive applicants to interview. Only those applicants selected for an interview can be considered for admission to the PA program.

    Interview Day

    The interview day will consist of:

    • A detailed overview of the program presented by the Program Director
    • A tour of the campus and PA Program facility
    • A question-and-answer session with current students (for future cohorts)
    • Four short interviews with faculty
    • A written essay
    • An exit survey regarding the admission process and the interview day

    At the completion of the interview day, the Admissions Committee will meet and discuss all candidates who were in attendance and will take one of the following actions regarding the candidate: accept, place on the active waitlist, or decline. Each applicant will be notified of the Admissions Committee decision.


    Students who accept a seat in the PA Program must submit a $1,000 non-refundable deposit. This deposit will be applied to the first term tuition. Payment terms will be conveyed to the student upon notification of acceptance to the PA program.

    Once matriculated, students will be registered for all first-term coursework.


    Accepted students may not defer matriculation to the program. Students who decline acceptance during the current application cycle will lose their seat in the PA program and would have to re-apply in a future cycle should they later wish to attend the PA program.

    ARC-PA Standard A3.14

  • Term One

    • PAS 510: Physical Diagnosis (2 Credits)
    • PAS 511: Applied Lab Medicine (1 Credit)
    • PAS 512: Pharmacology (4 Credits)
    • PAS 513: Physiology & Pathophysiology (4 Credits)
    • PAS 514: Research Methods in Medicine (1 Credit)
    • PAS 515: Medical Genetics (1 Credit)
    • PAS 516: Principles of Practice Management & Leadership One (1 Credit)
    • PAS 517: Psychiatry (2 Credits)

    Term Two

    • PAS 520: Medicine One (5 Credits)
    • PAS 521: Medicine Two (5 Credits)
    • PAS 522: Clinical Decision Making I (2 Credits)
    • PAS 523: Orthopedic Surgery (5 Credits)
    • PAS 524: Human Gross Anatomy (5 Credits)

    Term Three

    • PAS 530: Medicine Three (6 Credits)
    • PAS 531: Medicine Four (5 Credits)
    • PAS 532: Diagnostic Studies (1 Credit)
    • PAS 533: Electrocardiography (4 Credits)
    • PAS 534: Clinical Procedures & Clinical Decision Making II (4 Credits)
    • PAS 535: Legal, Ethical, and Religious Aspects of Healthcare (1 Credit)
    • PAS 536: Public Health and Preventative Medicine (2 Credits)
    • PAS 537: Professional Practice One (1 Credit)

    Term Four

    • PAS 540: Medicine Five (5 Credits)
    • PAS 541: Medicine Six (3 Credits)
    • PAS 542: Pediatrics (4 Credits)
    • PAS 543: Emergency Medicine (4 Credits)
    • PAS 544: Surgery (5 Credits)
    • PAS 545: Clinical Decision Making III (4 Credits)
    • PAS 546: Principles of Practice Management & Leadership Two (1 Credit)
    • PAS 547: Professional Practice Two (1 Credit)

    Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPEs)

    • PAS 600: Readiness for Practice & Diagnostic Imaging (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)
    • PAS 610: Family Medicine SCPE (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)
    • PAS 611: Inpatient Medicine SCPE (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)
    • PAS 612: General Surgery SCPE (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)
    • PAS 613: Pediatrics SCPE (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)
    • PAS 614: Obstetrics and Gynecology SCPE (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)
    • PAS 615: Psychiatry SCPE (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)
    • PAS 616: Emergency Medicine SCPE (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)
    • PAS 617: Orthopedic Surgery SCPE (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)
    • PAS 618: Dermatology SCPE (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)
    • PAS 619: Ophthalmology & Otolaryngology (EENT) SCPE (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)
    • PAS 620: Elective One SCPE (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)
    • PAS 621: Elective Two SCPE (Five Weeks) (4 Credits)

    Program Credit Hours by Term

    • Didactic Term One:  16 Credits
    • Didactic Term Two:  22 Credits
    • Didactic Term Three: 24 Credits
    • Didactic Term Four:  27 Credits
    • Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPEs):  52 Credits

    Total PA Program Credit Hours:  141 Credits

    ARC-PA Standard A3.12d & A3.12e

  • Click below to review all program required competencies:

    PA Program Required Competencies

    ARC-PA Standard 3.12g

  • All supervised clinical practice experiences, to include both clinical sites and preceptors, will be coordinated by the PA Program.  Students are not required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors.  Students may request a specific clinical site or preceptor, however, each site or preceptor must be approved by the Director of Clinical Education and must meet all of the requirements of the PA Program.

    ARC-PA Standard A3.03

  • The PA Program will publish its attrition information when the first cohort graduates in May of 2027.

    ARC-PA Standard A3.12i

  • The PA Program will publish the annual NCCPA PANCE Exam Performance Summary Report Last 5 Years provided by the NCCPA through its program portal when the first cohort graduates and completes their certification examinations, but no later than April 1, 2028.

    ARC-PA Standard A3.12c

  • Class of 2027 (matriculates in January 2025)

    • Tuition: $121,000
    • Fees: $11,453.70*
    • Estimated Total Tuition and Fees: $132,453.70

    *Fees are estimated and subject to change. A breakdown of estimated fees is provided in the PA Program Student Handbook in the section, “Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid.”

    PA Program Withdrawal and Tuition Refunds

    ARC-PA Standard A3.12f

  • For information regarding Financial Aid at Assumption University, please visit the Assumption University Graduate Financial Aid website.

  • Students must meet the technical standards of the Assumption University PA program with or without reasonable accommodations, consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act upon admission and continue to demonstrate them throughout their participation in the program. The use of a human intermediary to meet these technical standards means that a student’s judgment is guided by another person’s powers of observation and interpretation. Students are, therefore, not permitted to use such intermediaries in meeting the technical standards of the Assumption University PA program. Any student found in violation of technical standards is subject to dismissal.

    PA Program Technical Standards

    ARC-PA Standard A3.13e


  • PA Program Student Handbook

    Click the link above to view the PA Program Student Handbook, containing additional information, policies, and procedures regarding the Assumption University PA Program.

  • General Student Grievance Policy

    The following process should be used for complaints that fall outside the areas of academics, Title IX, harassment, and discrimination, which are addressed by separate policies within this Handbook. This grievance procedure must be preceded by a sincere attempt on the part of the complainant to resolve the issue informally with the individual(s) involved. If the student is not satisfied with the results of the informal discussion, the student may submit a signed, written complaint to the University Provost.

    The Grievance must include the following information:

    • Name, address, and contact information (email, phone number, etc.) of the student making the grievance complaint;
    • Information regarding the individual(s) the grievance complaint is about, including their name and title;
    • A detailed statement outlining all facts relating to the incident(s), including date, time, and location;
    • The names of any individual(s) who witnessed the incident or who may have pertinent information regarding the incident(s), if applicable;
    • Details regarding all steps taken to resolve the grievance;
    • A statement of the relief sought by the complainant; and
    • A list of all documents supporting the Grievance, which shall be attached to the Grievance

    Upon receipt of a Grievance, the University Provost shall review the Grievance. He/she shall request a written response from the individual(s) involved and immediately begin a full, fair, and impartial investigation into the Grievance. If needed, meetings will be scheduled individually or jointly with the student and the faculty/staff member/individual that is the subject of the complaint. Witnesses may be asked to provide a written statement or meet during the investigation. The investigation will be kept confidential to the extent possible. Upon completion of the investigation the University Provost will issue a decision regarding the Grievance. Both the student and faculty/staff member/individual will be notified in writing regarding the decision.

    Anti-Retaliation Statement. Retaliation of any kind against anyone filing a grievance is prohibited. Initiating a complaint will not affect a student’s grades, class selection, or any other matter pertaining to student status.

    Campus Resources Related to Title IX, Bias, Student Mistreatment, Harassment, and Grievances

    The University offers a number of other resources for grievances and conflict resolution. Students who are unsure of which category a grievance falls under should speak with their advisor.

    CARE Team Reporting Form (Concern for Safety of a Student)

    Clery Act Reporting Form (Reporting Criminal Activity)

    Incident Reporting Form (Code of Conduct Violations)

    Title IX Reporting Form (Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Harassment, Relationship Violence, and Stalking)

  • The Assumption University Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program has applied for Accreditation – Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The Assumption University Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program anticipates matriculating its first class in January 2025, pending achieving Accreditation – Provisional status at the September 2024 ARC-PA meeting.

    Accreditation – Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. If the Assumption University Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program is not granted accreditation, no students will be enrolled in the program, and any deposits paid will be refunded.

    ARC-PA Standard A3.12a


Christopher A. Ferreira, PA-C
Program Director, PA Studies Associate Professor of Practice, School of Health Professions
Wendy L. Buja, PA-C
Director of Didactic Education, PA Studies Associate Professor of Practice, School of Health Professions
Kayla M. Cetrone, Ph.D.
Director of Admissions, Assessment, & Academic Success, PA Studies Assistant Professor of Practice, School of Health Professions
Robert K. Ferguson, M.D.
Medical Director, PA Studies Associate Professor of Practice, School of Health Professions
Jeffery J. Giarnese, PA-C
Director of Clinical Education, PA Studies Assistant Professor of Practice, School of Health Professions

The New Catrambone Health Sciences Building

The new, 41,000 square foot Richard J. & Sophia Catrambone Health Sciences Building houses our developing PA Program.

Several classrooms are located on the ground floor of the Health Sciences building, including the 60-person lecture hall, featuring tiered seating and comprehensive audio-visual equipment.  All PA Program didactic lectures will be delivered in this classroom.

The third floor of the building houses the other features of our PA Program.  The PA Clinical Lab, which will be utilized for various program needs including our Physical Diagnosis, Clinical Procedures, and Clinical Decision Making courses, features eleven physical exam bays, complete with wall-mounted diagnostic equipment typical to a standard examination room.  The Lab also contains point-of-care lab testing equipment, seating and tables for work and discussion, ECG machines, slit lamps, portable ultrasound devices, and comprehensive audio-visual equipment.  Located adjacent to this Lab is a cardiovascular lab equipped for cardiac stress testing.

Adjacent to the PA Clinical Lab, the Medical Simulation Center consists of six specialized rooms for practical education components of our didactic curriculum.  There are four Examination Rooms, currently designated as pediatric, inpatient medicine, OB/GYN, and EENT settings, respectively.

There are two simulation rooms are set up as an Operating Room and Emergency Department room.  The OR includes an anesthesia setup and full array of surgical instruments.  The ED room contains a portable ultrasound machine and code cart.  Control rooms complete with one-way mirrors adjoin each of these two simulation rooms for use during active simulation cases.  The debriefing room within the lab/simulation center area is available for discussion following simulation cases.

Graduate Research Symposium

Assumption University Graduate School Annual Symposium showcases research, innovative projects, successful case study, and creative work of graduate students and recent alums from every graduate program. We offer all graduate students in every program an opportunity to present their excellent work on diverse topics.

Veterans at Assumption

Assumption University recognizes that servicemen and women have demonstrated great courage and made tremendous sacrifices in service to our nation and its people. The University has introduced a number of programs and services to assist veterans during the application process and while veterans are attending Assumption. We also have a lounge designated only for our veteran students. Assumption University is committed to maintaining recognition as a Military Friendly institution.  We strive to eliminate barriers to success for our Service Members, Veterans, and their qualified dependents.