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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 undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  3. You must submit three (3) letters of recommendation. SUNY Downstate Medical Center has moved toward exclusive use of electronic recommendation submissions. Letters should be written by: a current/former College Science Professor and the other from a clinician (Physician Assistant, MD, Nurse practitioner, or other Health Care Professionals e.g. Physician Assistant, Physical Therapist, and Occupational Therapist). Please visit the application instructions to learn more about the letters of recommendation requirement.
  4. A minimum of 500 hours of health-related experience — Health care experience should be obtained in the United States over a period of time in a hospital or clinical setting in which you interact with patients, physicians or other health care professionals such as: nurse, nurse's aide, corpsman, medical laboratory technologist, respiratory therapist, emergency medical technician, counselor. Volunteer direct patient care experiences and shadowing may also be used towards meeting this requirement. Activities 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. As part of the letters of recommendation, applicants should include a letter from their site supervisor describing their responsibilities, length of the activity, hours devoted to the activity and how they function in their role.
  5. A minimum of 250 hours of non-clinical volunteer work (Community Service)  Non-clinical community activities should not be completed in a clinical setting nor should it involve interaction with patients, physicians or any members of the health care profession regardless of the duties performed. Community services should be completed over a period of time. Our definition of non-clinical community service is an altruistic activity that is not paid or remunerated in a tangible way, such as: working in a soup kitchen, working in a homeless shelter, tutoring disadvantaged children, etc. The activity must be deemed socially responsible and towards meeting human needs. As part of the letters of recommendation, applicants should include a letter from their site supervisor describing their leadership skills, responsibilities, length of the activity, hours devoted to the activity and how they function in their role.
    Note: 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 provides the opportunity for meaningful volunteer/community service:
  6. Online courses will not be accepted towards the fulfillment of the core prerequisite science courses.
  7. A grade of “C+” is the acceptable minimum in the following prerequisite courses. Competitive applicants are those who have earned a "B+" or higher grades in the prerequisite science courses with labs.
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) 3–4

* More than one course may be required to fulfill the Life Span Psychology pre-requisite requirement. Course must cover from birth to aging.

** 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 the junior or senior year 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. Upper division science courses completed at community colleges will be accepted. However, applicants may 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
    • Or other upper-division biology courses at the 300—400 level
    • Statistics

Competitive applicants have completed more than 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.