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Physician Assistant Program

Admissions Requirements

  1. A baccalaureate degree in any discipline from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) such as the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, North Central Association, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. 
  2. A minimum, cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  3. A minimum of 500 hours of health-related experience - Work experience as a nurse, nurse's aide, corpsman, medical laboratory technologist, respiratory therapist, emergency medical technician, counselor in health care setting or direct patient care experience obtained as a result of clinical training in the health professions, volunteer direct patient care experiences and shadowing may also be used towards meeting this requirement - Non-clinical experiences completed in a hospital setting such as candy stripers or any other such experiences cannot be applied towards meeting the requirement for the minimum health-related experience.
  4. A minimum of 250 hours non-clinical volunteer work (Community Service). Acceptable experiences must be socially responsible and towards meeting human needs. The SUNY Downstate Medical Center PA program reserves the right to reject experiences deemed to be of little value towards fulfilling this requirement, regardless of where such experiences are completed. Below is a very partial list of organizations that provide the opportunity for meaningful volunteer/community service.
  5. Three letters of recommendation - at least one from a clinician (Physician Assistant, MD, or Nurse Practitioner etc...). There is no added benefit to sending more than three letters.
  6. Online courses will not be accepted towards fulfillment of the core prerequisite science courses and the required laboratory components shall be completed in college laboratory settings (wet labs).   
  7. A grade of “C+” is the acceptable bare minimum in the following prerequisite courses. Competitive applicants are those who have earned a "B+" or higher grades in their prerequisite science courses.
Subject Credits
Anatomy & Physiology 1 with labs and
Anatomy & Physiology 2 with labs (Must be designated for Science Majors)
General Biology 1 with labs and
General Biology 2 with labs (Must be designated for Science Majors)
General Chemistry 1 with labs and
General Chemistry 2 with labs (Must be designated for Science Majors)
Microbiology (not Bacteriology) with labs (Must be designated for Science Majors) 3
Mathematics (not Remedial Math nor Statistics) 3
General Psychology 3
Abnormal Psychology or
Life Span Psychology *
English 6
Humanities or Social Science courses ** 6

One upper division science course ***

(Research science courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement)


* More than one course may be required to fulfill the Life Span Psychology pre-requisite requirement.

** Preferably writing intensive courses. Applicants may be required to submit a course description.

*** Upper division science courses are generally physical/life science courses numbered 300 level or higher. They require prerequisite course work or are designated as such by the institution. They are generally completed at 4 year colleges/universities (at a junior or senior level). Applicants will need to consult with the Registrar’s Office at their home school to be sure the course is at an upper division level. Applicants may be required to submit proof of the upper-division status of the course.

Note: Upper division science courses completed at community colleges will be accepted, but applicants will be required to submit proof of the upper-division status of the course.

  1. Recommended Additional Courses
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Genetics
    • Biochemistry
    • Embryology
    • Histology
    • Pathophysiology
    • Pharmacology
    • Nutrition
    • Or other upper-division biology courses at the 300–400 level
    • Statistics

Competitive applicants have completed at least Four (4) of the above recommended courses.

PLEASE NOTE: All prerequisite science courses should have been completed within the past eight (8) years of the date expected entry into the program. Any exceptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the faculty of the Physician Assistant Program