Physician Assistant Studies FAQ's
- What are some highlights of the program?
The Sacred Heart University PA Studies program will emphasize inter-professional education with other health professions programs such as physical therapy, nursing, and occupational therapy. Experienced PA educators will provide a student-centered learning environment with small class sizes.
- What are features of the curriculum?
The trimester-based program will provide a 12 month didactic phase with an integrated organ-based learning design. Some courses will be offered in a hybrid format. There is a focus on primary care and population health and wellness.
- What are some features of the clinical phase?
A 15 month clinical phase is planned as ten 5-week rotations, with 2,000 hours of experience in Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Primary Care/Family Medicine, and others including Orthopedics, Women’s Health, Emergency Medicine, Behavioral Health, and one elective.
- What is the program’s accreditation status?
The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Sacred Heart University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Sacred Heart University. 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.
- What is the length of the program and when does it begin each year?
The program is 27 months and begins once a year in late August.
- Where is the program located?
The program is located in the Tandent Center, in Stamford, CT- just 40 miles from NYC.
- Is the program full-time?
Yes, the program is only offered full-time and it is not advisable to work while enrolled.
- What is holistic admissions?
Holistic admissions, adopted by the PA program, is a process by which applicants’ cognitive skills, such as GPA, are balanced with non-cognitive variables including but not limited to commitment to service, cultural sensitivity, empathy, capacity for growth, emotional resilience, strength of character, and interpersonal skills (Witzburg & Sondheimer, 2013). This approach encourages diversity and the equitable evaluation of well-rounded applicants.
Witzburg, R. A., & Sondheimer, H. M. (2013). Holistic review: Shaping the medical profession one applicant at a time. New England Journal of Medicine, 368, 1565-1567.
- How do I apply?
Please submit the application including required documents through CASPA.
- What are the required application materials?
Please submit all official transcripts from any college attended, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement through CASPA.
- Is there a supplemental application?
The required supplemental application questions are included as part of the CASPA application.
- Who should write my three letters of recommendations?
Applicants must submit at least one letter from an academic source and one from a work supervisor.
- When is the deadline?
The deadline to have a complete CASPA application is October 1. Please ensure all degree and prerequisite requirements are completed by the deadline.
- What if my prerequisites and/or bachelor’s degree are in progress?
The bachelor’s degree and prerequisites must be completed and candidates must meet the minimum GPA requirements by the October 1 deadline for consideration in this upcoming application cycle.
- When do interviews begin?
Interviews will begin in November.
- Does everyone who meets the requirements receive an interview?
No, since admission will be very competitive, interviews will be by invitation only. Applicants with an earned bachelor’s or master’s degree from Sacred Heart University or a current Stamford Health employee who meet all minimum requirements and technical standards will be granted an in-person interview.
- How many students will matriculate into the next class?
There will be 34 students in the Fall of 2017 class.
- What are the GPA requirements?
The most competitive applicants will have a minimum of a 3.0 overall GPA and 3.0 prerequisite GPA.
- What are the prerequisite courses?
The prerequisite courses below must be completed with a C or better from an accredited school prior to the October 1 deadline. Courses can be completed at an accredited community college or online, as long as all labs are completed in a classroom.
16 semester units of Biological Science courses*, which must include:
- Microbiology with lab (4 credits)
- Human Anatomy with lab (4 credits)
- Human Physiology with lab (4 credits)
- Upper Division College Level Biological Science with lab (4 credits)
- Examples of acceptable coursework: Cell Biology, Human Genetics, Immunology, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology and Pathology
One of each of the following:
- Organic Chemistry with lab or Biochemistry with lab (Biochemistry preferred) (4 credits)
- Statistics (Biostatistics preferred) (3 credits)
- General Psychology (3 credits)
Advanced Placement (AP) credits will be accepted for psychology and statistics.
The following are highly recommended but not required:
- Human Genetics
- Abnormal Psychology
- Is the GRE required?
No, the GRE is not required.
- What is the requirement for direct patient care hours?
A minimum of 1000 hours of verifiable, paid, hands-on (direct) patient care experience in the U.S. Healthcare system. Healthcare experience will be evaluated based on the type of work and the level of patient interaction. Highly competitive applicants will have greater than 2000 hours of verifiable, paid, hands-on (direct) patient care experience in the U.S. Healthcare system.
- What constitutes direct patient care?
Health care experiences will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are dependent upon the quality of patient interaction. Preferred clinical experiences include, but are not limited to:
- Back Office Medical Assistant (MA)
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Patient Care Assistant (PCA)
- Emergency Department Technician
- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN/LVN)
- Medical/ER Scribe
- Military medic or corpsman
- Physical Therapy Aide
- Radiology Technician
- Respiratory Therapist
- Is shadowing required?
While good experience, shadowing is not required.
- How do I apply as an international student?
All applicants, including graduates from foreign institutions, must hold either U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residence status at the time of application. Applicants with pending citizenship or temporary residency will not be considered. Applicants educated outside the U.S. must utilize a transcript evaluation service to verify their degree and course work. The academic record must show credits and grades equivalent to those given by U.S. institutions of higher learning. Scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are required if the applicant is from a non-English speaking country.
- Do you accept transfer credit or advanced standing for foreign trained or other health care professionals?
No, transfer credit or advanced standing is not accepted. All students are expected to complete all didactic and clinical elements of the PA Studies program.
- Is financial aid available?
Yes, Sacred Heart offers competitive loan packages through the FAFSA application. For more information, please visit the Financial Assistance site. Students can apply for a scholarship or loan repayment through the National Health Service Corps.
- How does the program support veteran applicants?
Additional consideration will be given to applicants with verifiable military direct patient care experience. Sacred Heart participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.
- Who do I contact with additional questions?
For more information, contact Margo Sheehan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-365-4731.
- What is the tuition?
View our tuition and fees page for more information on program estimated costs.