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Master of Health Science - Physician Assistant (PA)

Program

The Drexel University Physician Assistant Program provides graduates with a Master of Health Science degree. Students are also awarded a certificate of completion after successful completion of the program, which enables them to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE).

The physician assistant (PA) is a primary health care provider who, when graduated from an accredited program and national certified and state-licensed, is eligible to practice medicine with the legal supervision of a physician.

PAs perform many duties including, but not limited to, physical examinations, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, ordering and interpretation of lab tests, assist in surgery, perform procedures, perform hospital rounds, prescribe medicines and provide patient education.

The primary goal of the PA Program is to develop graduates who are competent, caring physician assistants, possessing the skills of life-long learning needed to incorporate new knowledge and methods into their practices and to adapt to a changing medical environment. 

The mission of this program is to:

  • Educate qualified primary care physician assistants
  • Improve health care delivery in rural and urban medically under served areas
  • Promote the physician assistant profession

Click to View the Student Handbook for 2016-2017

MHS - PA: Technical Standards

COMPLIANCE

The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that is required for all PA students. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

Admission Requirements

EFFECTIVE WITH THE 2017-2018 ADMISSIONS CYCLE, ALL APPLICATIONS MUST BE VERIFIED BY CASPA BY SEPTEMBER 1ST.

EFFECTIVE WITH THE 2017-2018 APPLICATION CYCLE (OPEN MID-APRIL – SEPTEMBER 1, 2017), ALL PREREQUISITE COURSEWORK MUST BE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED BY THE END OF THE FALL SEMESTER PRIOR TO MATRICULATION.

Degree:
If you do not have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution by the end of the spring semester prior to fall matriculation, 90 specific credit hours (135 quarter credit hours) are required. The list of courses can be found under "Prerequisite Course Information" below.

A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale from all colleges and universities attended is required for the following three (3) categories: non-science courses, science courses, and combined overall courses. Applications will not be reviewed unless the applicant has attained these minimum requirements at time of application as calculated by CASPA.

Standardized Tests:
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required or considered.

Transcripts:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended sent directly to CASPA.
  • Non-United States-based educational institutional transcripts must be evaluated by an approved agency (see the listing of acceptable agencies on the CASPA website). Evaluation fees are the responsibility of the applicant. Evaluations must be sent directly to CASPA.

Prerequisites:
Meet the technical standards for admission, progression, and graduation from the Physician Assistant Program. Each applicant is expected to review completely the "MHS-PA:Technical Standards" PDF at the top of this tab. Individuals unable to meet these technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, are counseled to pursue alternate careers.

Students must not receive a grade lower than a "B-" in any single prerequisite course.

Prerequisite Course Information

General Prerequisite Course Information

  • Applicants may apply with some prerequisite coursework yet to be completed.  In this case, applicants must indicate all courses that are either in progress or that will be taken in the appropriate section of the CASPA applicationApplications that do not list all prerequisite coursework (either as completed, in progress, or planned) will not be reviewed.
  • The deadline for completing all prerequisite courses is the end of the fall academic term prior to expected matriculation to the PA program.
  • Applicants may have no more than two (2) remaining prerequisite courses in progress during the fall academic term prior to expected matriculation.
  • The applicant having, at the time of initial application, prerequisite coursework either in progress or planned for completion no later than the end of the fall academic term prior to expected matriculation, may only be offered provisional acceptance.  Full acceptance to the program will be offered after documentation by official transcript of successful completion of all in-progress or planned prerequisite coursework has been received by the Physician Assistant Program. Failure to provide official documentation by the deadline provided at the offer of provisional acceptance will result in the rescission of the provisional acceptance.
  • Prerequisite coursework not completed by the end of the academic term as indicated will disqualify applicants from further consideration for admission.
  • Courses may be completed online, provided that they are offered through an accredited college or university and the applicant receives college credit and a letter grade for the course(s).
  • All prerequisite courses must have a grade of B- or higher documented on official transcripts in order to be accepted. 
  • Prerequisite coursework may also be satisfied by Advanced Placement (AP) credit or College Level Equivalency Program (CLEP) examination achievement.  Information is available online at: http://www.collegeboard.com.
  • There is no “expiration date” for completed coursework, but applicants are very strongly encouraged to complete Human Anatomy and Physiology within 3 – 5 years of application.

Applicants are categorized as:

Degreed: Those who already hold baccalaureate or graduate degrees from regionally accredited educational institutions at the time of initial application. Any Degreed Applicant missing significant prescribed courses should defer applying until prerequisite coursework is complete.

Pending-Degree-Completion: Those who anticipate receiving their baccalaureate degrees no later than the end of the spring academic term prior to their anticipated matriculation in the PA Program. The provisional acceptance for a Pending-Degree-Completion Applicant who does not document the official awarding of an anticipated baccalaureate degree by the end of the spring academic term prior to anticipated matriculation will be rescinded, unless the applicant can demonstrate full compliance with all the prerequisite coursework requirements of a Non-Degreed Applicant by the end of the spring academic term prior to anticipated matriculation.

Non-Degreed: Those who do not hold an undergraduate degree but have accumulated at least 90 semester credit hours (or 135 quarter credit hours) of acceptable transfer credits at the time of application. Non-Degreed Applicants accepted into the PA Program will matriculate for the Master of Health Science degree, and are eligible for a Bachelor of Science degree after completing the didactic year curriculum. The provisional acceptance for a Non-Degreed Applicant who does not document on official transcripts the successful completion of all missing prerequisite or elective coursework by the end of the spring academic term prior to expected matriculation will be rescinded.

Please note that one semester credit hour (SCH) is equivalent to .67 quarter credit hour (QCH).

Prerequisite Coursework Required for Degreed and Pending Degree Applicants:
*Please note that all numbers listed are the minimum semester credits hours (SCH)
;  no grades lower than “B-“ will be accepted.

  • Psychology (3-4 SCH): One course in General/Introductory, Developmental, or Abnormal Psychology
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology with Labs (8 SCH): Regardless of the number of credits, the requirement is the complete study of the anatomy and physiology of all the major human bodily systems. Typically, this requires either two semester-long or three quarter-long courses with laboratory components to accomplish. Alternatively, a complete course in human anatomy with lab and a complete course in human physiology may satisfy the requirement provided that together the two courses also constitute the complete study of the anatomy and physiology of all the major human bodily systems.
    • Exercise Physiology does not satisfy this requirement.
    • It is strongly recommended that anatomy and physiology coursework be completed within three to five years of application.
  • General Biology with Labs (8 SCH): Regardless of the number of credits, the course sequence must constitute a complete general study of a collegiate, year-long, survey course of biology. Typically, this requires either two semester-long courses or three quarter-long courses to accomplish.
  • General Chemistry with Lab (4 SCH): At least one course in general, inorganic college-level chemistry
  • General or Medical Microbiology - Preferably with Lab (3-4 SCH): Regardless of the number of credits, the course or course sequence must provide collective study of all the major constituent organisms included in general microbiology.
    • Individual courses in bacteriology, virology, mycology, or parasitology do not satisfy this requirement.
  • General or Medical Genetics - Preferably with Lab (3-4 SCH): One course
  • Medical Terminology (1-3 SCH): This must be a course dedicated to medical terminology. A course containing medical terminology as only one component/unit/module of the course curriculum will not satisfy this requirement.

Prerequisite Coursework Required for Non-Degreed Applicants:
* Please note that all numbers listed are the minimum semester credits hours (SCH);  no grades lower than “B-“ will be accepted.

  • Psychology (3-4 SCH): One course in General/Introductory, Developmental, or Abnormal Psychology
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology with Labs (8 SMC): Regardless of the number of credits, the requirement is the complete study of the anatomy and physiology of all the major human bodily systems. Typically, this requires either two semester-long or three quarter-long courses with laboratory components to accomplish. Alternatively, a complete course in human anatomy with lab and a complete course in human physiology may satisfy the requirement provided that together the two courses also constitute the complete study of the anatomy and physiology of all the major human bodily systems.
    • Exercise Physiology does not satisfy this requirement.
    • It is strongly recommended that anatomy and physiology coursework be completed within three to five years of application.
  • General Biology with Labs (8 SCH): Regardless of the number of credits, the course sequence must constitute a complete general study of a collegiate, year-long, survey course of biology. Typically, this requires either two semester-long courses or three quarter-long courses to accomplish.
  • General Chemistry with Labs (8 SMC): Two courses in general, inorganic college-level chemistry
  • General or Medical Microbiology - Preferably with Lab (3-4 SCH): Regardless of the number of credits, the course or course sequence must provide collective study of all the major constituent organisms included in general microbiology.
    • Individual courses in bacteriology, virology, mycology, or parasitology do not satisfy this requirement.
  • General or Medical Genetics - Preferably with Lab (3-4 SCH): One course
  • Medical Terminology (1-3 SCH): This must be a course dedicated to medical terminology. A course containing medical terminology as only one component/unit/module of the course curriculum will not satisfy this requirement.

Additional Required Coursework for Non-Degreed Applicants:
*Non-degreed applicants must not receive a grade lower than a "C" (2.0) in any single required course listed below.

  • English composition and literature (6 SCH): Courses in standard, college-level English or one or more composition (writing) and English literature courses
  • Mathematics (3 SCH): College Algebra, Pre-calculus, Calculus, or Statistics
  • Computer Science Applications (3 SCH) (word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database)
  • Additional Social Sciences (6 SCH) - See list below
  • Additional Humanities (6 SCH) - See list below.

Additional Required Elective Coursework for Non-Degreed Applicants:
*Non-degreed applicants must not receive a grade lower than a "C" (2.0) in any single required course listed below.

  • Must be sufficient to bring the total of all transfer credits to at least 90 semester hours (or 135 quarter credit hours)

Additional electives may be taken from the following disciplines:

  • Natural Sciences (e.g. chemistry, biology, physics)
  • Social Sciences (e.g. sociology, history, political science, economics, anthropology, additional psychology)
  • Humanities (e.g. ethics, medical ethics, critical thinking, logic, philosophy, religion, foreign languages, art history, music history, speech communications, American Sign Language, additional English courses)
  • College-level Mathematics (non-remedial): (e.g. college algebra, precalculus, calculus, statistics, probabilities)
  • Computer Science (e.g. applications, programming, theory)

For those seeking suggestions for additional elective courses to take, the following is offered for the applicant’s consideration and planning.

Strongly recommended electives include:

  • Abnormal psychology
  • Biochemistry
  • Critical thinking
  • Death and dying
  • Developmental psychology
  • Embryology
  • Ethics/ Ethics in Medicine (Health Care) and Methodology
  • Foreign languages
  • Introduction to Pharmacology
  • Logic
  • Nutrition
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pathophysiology
  • Advanced Anatomy
  • Philosophy
  • Public Speaking/Speech
  • Research Design
  • Sociology
  • Statistics

Submission of False or Inaccurate Information:
Any intentional or unintentional falsification, misrepresentation, or omission of any required application materials or supporting documentation, either to CASPA or the Drexel University Hahnemann Physician Assistant Program, may result in termination of the processing of the offender’s application, the revocation of any offer of acceptance tendered, or dismissal from the PA Program if discovered after matriculation.



References:
Two letters of recommendation are required to be submitted as part of the official CASPA application.  Additional letters of recommendation are encouraged by the program.

Preferred references are from individuals who have been in a supervisory capacity over the applicant or academic instructors who have personal knowledge of the applicant. Submissions of references from friends, relatives, personal physicians, or instructors who do not possess a personal, supervisory knowledge of the applicants are discouraged.

Personal Statement/ Essay:
A personal statement recorded as part of the CASPA application.

Interview/Portfolio:
Personal interview may be required

CV/Resume:
Required.

Licenses:
N/A

Clinical Work/Volunteer Experience:
A minimum of 500 hours of clearly documented volunteer/paid direct hands-on patient contact accrued by the time of application and recorded as part of the official CASPA application.  Ensure that all hours are accurately reported. Applicants may list the same position in multiple sections in order to account for multiple experiences (patient contact, related health care, research, shadowing, etc.) accrued in the same position as long as each hour is not reported in more than one experience category.

The Drexel Physician Assistant Program gives preference to applicants who have demonstrated significant community or volunteer service (a minimum of 100 hours recorded on the CASPA application). All types of community service and volunteer activities will be considered. If volunteer hours are accrued through patient care activities, these hours will be accepted for both patient contact hours and volunteer hours.

The Physician Assistant Program does not grant advanced standing for coursework similar to that contained in its curriculum when completed at other educational institutions. 

Patient Contact
A minimum of 500 hours of clearly documented volunteer/paid direct hands-on patient contact accrued by the time of application and recorded as part of the official CASPA application is required. The following constitute patient contact:

  • Athletic Trainer (Certified or Student)
  • Cardiovascular Perfusionist
  • Medical Corpsman
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dietician
  • Caregiver
  • ED Technician
  • ED Scribe
  • EMT/Paramedic
  • Exercise Physiologist (cardiac rehab)
  • Foreign Medical Graduate – Physician
  • Home Health Care Aide
  • Phlebotomist
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Health Tech/MH/MR
  • Medical Research with Patient Contact
  • Midwife
  • Nurse
  • Nursing Assistant
  • Orderly-Patient Transport
  • Orthopedics Technician
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physical Therapist Assistant/Aide
  • Radiologic Technologist
  • X-Ray Technician
  • Ultrasound Technician
  • By-Pass Technician
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Surgical Technician/OR Technician
  • Veterinary Technician

Please note that administrative work performed in a health care setting will not satisfy the required 500 hours of direct patient contact, but should be recorded under the “Related Health Care Experience” section of the CASPA application. This would include positions such as medical receptionist, unit clerk, etc.

Pharmacy technician and shadowing are not considered direct patient contact.

This is not an exhaustive list of patient contact experiences. If you have questions about a role or position not listed, please contact the Drexel PA Program at paadmissions@drexel.edu

International Students:
International applicants, as well as immigrants to the United States and U.S. permanent residents whose native language is not English and who have not received a bachelor's degree in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, must show proficiency in English speaking as well as listening, writing and reading. American citizens born on U.S. military bases abroad may be waived from the TOEFL requirement after providing documentation of this status. Otherwise, applicants must meet one of the following requirements: 

If you take the TOEFLiBT exam, you must have: 

  • a minimum combined score for listening, writing, and reading sections of 79 plus a speaking section score of 26 or higher.
  • a minimum score of 550 or higher and a Test of Spoken English score (TSE) of 55 or higher.

Pre-Professional Options at Drexel University
While the PA program does accept students via the Accelerated Dual-Degree BS/MHS Option, students enrolled in this program are not guaranteed admissions into the Drexel PA program. Applicants from this program must meet the same academic, patient contact and volunteer hours requirements as the general applicant pool. They must also complete a successful interview.

Tuition and Fee Rates
  • Please visit the Tuition and Fee Rates page for tuition information. Please follow the link for tuition and fees for the current school year, then choose Graduate Programs link. Our fees will be on the drop down under "College of Nursing and Health Professions Programs".
  • Additional PA Program Fee Estimates can be found here (PDF).
  • Tuition Refund Policy.

Application Link (if outside organization):
Apply online at www.caspaonline.org

Curriculum

Progression Requirements

Progression to the Clinical Year:

Students must:

  • Successfully complete all didactic phase courses.
  • Demonstrate professional conduct.
  • Achieve a passing grade on the didactic comprehensive examination. 

Graduation Requirements for the Physician Assistant Program:

To graduate students must:

  • Successfully complete all required courses, rotations and preceptorships.
  • Demonstrate professional conduct.
  • Students may not earn a grade less than a “B” in each course in the curriculum.
  • Maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
  • Meet all financial obligations to the university.
  • Achieve a passing grade on the a passing grade on the Didactic Comprehensive Examination, Summative Examination and the Objective Standardized Clinical Examination.

Commitment:

The program is intensely challenging, both intellectually and physically; it requires stamina as well as personal and financial sacrifice on the part of the students. The program demands a high degree of integrity, self-sufficiency, motivation, self-discipline, and highly developed study skills.

Clinical Skills:

Among the most important of all practitioner skills is the ability to effectively gather cogent information from patients, primarily through medical history taking and physical examination. Physical examination skills are taught early in the curriculum in laboratory sections where students learn those examination skills first by practicing on each other as partners prior to attempting examinations on actual patients. Students have long appreciated the advantages of reducing potential anxiety with practicing these new, psychomotor skills under close supervision of experienced, professional instructors, and the ability to both give and receive immediate feedback from the student-partner team afforded by this controlled, private, and “safe” practice setting.

Scheduling:

During the didactic (primarily classroom) phase of the curriculum, most classes will be scheduled during the daytime hours; however, it may be necessary to schedule some classes during evening hours. All students are required to attend all classes as scheduled and to subordinate any personal commitments (i.e., employment or family responsibilities) to the training schedule.

In the clinical phase of training, students will be learning in diverse clinical settings with varying daily and weekly schedules that may involve daytime, evening, or weekend hours. Students must give priority commitment to assigned schedules at clinical sites.

Classroom Instruction:

Training begins with four quarters of didactic education, which integrates patient interaction beginning with the first quarter.

Clinical Practice

Among the most important of all practitioner skills is the ability to effectively gather cogent information from patients, primarily through medical history taking and physical examination. Physical examination skills are taught early in the curriculum in laboratory sections where students learn those examination skills first by practicing on each other as partners prior to attempting examinations on actual patients.

Students have long appreciated the advantages of reducing “student-actual patient anxiety,” practicing these new, psychomotor skills under close supervision of experienced, professional instructors, and the ability to both give and receive immediate feedback from the student-partner team afforded by this controlled, private, and “safe” practice setting.

Clinical Training:

The clinical training phase consists of six (6), five-credit, five-week clinical rotations in medicine, surgery, women’s health, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and behavioral health, assigned in varying order in locations across the United States. The final portion of the clinical training phase curriculum consists of two (2), 10-credit, quarter-long, primary care practica (preceptorships). During these practica, each student is assigned to primary care sites for individualized clinical training with physician preceptors.

These sites are located in a variety of locations, from rural to urban areas and private clinical practices to large hospital settings. Students may expect to gain exposures in each of these settings in order to obtain the best clinical medicine experience and training.

Training sites during the clinical year are provided by the program and are located throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. Students are welcome to identify and assist in the development of up to two clinical rotation sites and/or one 10-week primary care practicum site. (These sites must have PA Program approval.)

Students are required to relocate during the clinical phase and are responsible for all associated financial costs, including transportation and living expenses.

Accreditation

Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools: Drexel University is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education representing the highest level of recognition awarded to colleges and universities.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Drexel University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Drexel University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

 

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be 2025. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Goals and Outcomes

  • Maintain PANCE pass rate above the national average.
    • Since 2010, Drexel University Physician Assistant Program PANCE pass rate has exceeded the national average.
       
  • Provide all students with a clinical experience in an underserved area.
    • 100% of the physician assistant students from the Class of 2015 had a clinical experience in a rural and/or urban underserved area.
    • 39% of the currently matriculated students come from ethnically under-represented, or economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.
    • 12.5% of the PA Class of 2014 spent at least 50% of their time in medically underserved areas.*
  • Provide all students with a service learning activity in an underserved area.
    • Since 2012, 100% of students have conducted health education presentations in urban medically underserved areas.
  • Strive for 30% of graduates employed in primary care.
    • 70.8% of 2014 graduates practice in primary care setting.*
  • Strive for 75% of the DUPAP faculty represented in leadership positions at the college, university, state or national levels to promote the physician assistant profession.  
    • 94% of the DUPAP faculty represented in leadership positions at the college, university, state or national levels to promote the physician assistant profession.
    • 48 presentations by PA Faculty and/or PA Program professional staff to promote the physician assistant profession in 2015/2016.
    • Positions held by faculty to promote the physician assistant profession:
    • Ambassadors for the National Health Service Corps – (3) faculty.
    • Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, site visitors (2) faculty.
    • Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistant, A Difficult Diagnosis, Section Editor.
    • Diversity Committee, Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistant Society, committee member.
    • Region 4 Representatives, Greater Philadelphia Region, Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistant, (2) committee members.
    • Scientific Board of the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness, member
    • Health Ministries Committee, member.
    • Faculty Loan Repayment Program, awardee, Health and Resources Services Administration.
    • Ellen Feld, MD, Fellow of the American College of Physicians.
    • Distinguished Fellows of the American Academy of Physician Assistants:  Patrick Auth, PhD PA-C, Geraldine Buck, DrPH, PA-C, Gretchen Fox, MMS, PA-C,  Julie Kinzel, MEd, PA-C,  Nina, Multak, PhD, PA-C.
    • Positions held by students to promote the physician assistant profession in 2016/17:
    • Representative to the Assembly of Representatives, American Academy of Physician Assistants.
    • Representative to the House of Delegates, American Academy of physician Assistants.

*Based on 24 graduate surveys returned from the PA Class of 2014

Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination Five Year First Time Taker Summary Report - PDF Download

Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination Exam Performance Summary Report - PDF Download

Application Process

All application materials are to be submitted directly to the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). You may apply online at http://www.caspaonline.org.

Applications made directly to the Office of Enrollment Management (Admissions) of Drexel University will not be processed.

All applicants must complete the CASPA application process no later than September 1st of the year prior to expected date of matriculation. This includes e-submitting the application, the receipt by CASPA of all transcripts, reference forms, and other supporting documentation such as foreign transcript evaluations and TOEFL scores, and verification of the application by CASPA. Applications remaining unverified by CASPA for any reason after the September 1st deadline will not be processed. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early to avoid delays in processing and to facilitate the transmission of verified CASPA applications to the PA Program in a timely fashion.

Once an applicant e-submits the application to CASPA, it is the applicant’s responsibility to track the status of his/her application from the time of submission through to the “verified” status. Please refer to CASPA’s FAQ (https://portal.caspaonline.org/caspaHelpPages/frequently-asked-questions/) for information regarding tracking the receipt of transcripts and references, the GPA calculation process, and the mailing of your application to the programs you selected.

Once your application has reached “verified” status, Drexel has received it electronically. Please do not contact Drexel for a status update until at least four weeks from the verified date. This will give Drexel time to begin processing your application.

If you need to update your contact information during the application process, please do so by updating the information in your online CASPA application.
NOTE: If you wish to update your coursework after you have e-submitted your application, you may do so via the Academic Update feature on the CASPA website any time after your application has been verified. Please see the FAQ on the CASPA website for more information (https://portal.caspaonline.org/caspaHelpPages/frequently-asked-questions/). Please do not submit additional transcripts to the PA program unless they are specifically requested by program staff.

NOTE: If you wish to update your patient contact experience, you may do so at the interview should you be selected for one. Your application will be evaluated based on the completed coursework, patient contact hours, and references that you submit at the time of application. If you are concerned that your completed coursework and/or your patient contact hours at time of application are insufficient, you are advised to consider applying in a future admissions cycle after completing additional coursework and/or accruing additional direct patient contact hours. Please do not email, mail, or call the PA program with updates to your application unless you are responding to an inquiry from program staff.

Drexel’s Review Process
Drexel utilizes a rolling admissions process. Final decisions regarding applicant selection will be made upon conclusion of the interview process. It may be in an applicant’s best interests to apply early in the admissions cycle.

Once Drexel receives a verified application, it is screened by admissions personnel to ensure that the minimum GPA requirements have been met, the prerequisite coursework has either been completed or is listed as in progress or to be completed by the deadline, the minimum numbers of direct patient contact hours have been accrued, and the application was verified by the September 1st deadline.

Applications that meet these criteria are then assigned to faculty members to be screened for interview. In addition to a thorough review of all supporting documents, candidates are evaluated for their ability to handle the high demands of training, commitment to people-oriented service, and familiarity with the physician assistant's role and the PA profession. After review, the most promising applicants are invited for a personal interview.

Applicants who have been selected for interview will be notified via email and invited in for an interview session. Interview sessions are held July through February, and Drexel invites 20 – 25 applicants per session. Interview days run from approximately 9 am to 5 pm and include an onsite writing sample, presentations about the program and financial aid, a tour of the campus, lunch with the program director, interaction with current students, and an interview with a pair of faculty members.

Applicants who either do not meet the minimum criteria or who are reviewed but not selected to interview will be notified via a letter from the Office of Graduate Admissions of Drexel University.

Drexel’s Decision Process
Drexel accepts approximately 75 students per year. Applicants are reviewed following the interview sessions, and some are offered early acceptance. We do not fill the entire class until interviews have concluded. All decisions should be made by the end of April. Accepted applicants will receive a phone call from the Director of Admissions notifying them of their status, followed by an acceptance packet from the Office of Graduate Admissions. Applicants placed on the wait list will receive an email notifying them of their status, along with a request to confirm that they accept their position on the wait list. Nonaccepted applicants will be notified via a letter from the Office of Graduate Admissions of Drexel University.

Accepted Applicants
If an accepted applicant has earned a baccalaureate degree and completed all nine (9) prerequisite courses as documented on the CASPA application, or does not possess a baccalaureate degree but has documented completion of all prerequisite course and a minimum of 90 semester hours of credit on the CASPA application, he/she will be accepted non-provisionally.

If an accepted applicant has prerequisite coursework outstanding, and/or is a pending-degree applicant, he/she will be accepted provisionally. Official transcripts documenting the completion of outstanding prerequisite coursework and/or the awarding of a baccalaureate degree must be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions by the end of the spring academic term prior to matriculation. If all prerequisite coursework has been satisfied and/ or a baccalaureate degree awarded, the acceptance will become non-provisional.

Accepted applicants must return all paperwork as detailed in the acceptance packet, as well as a $500.00 non-refundable deposit, within 15 days of receipt of the acceptance packet in order to secure their place in the new incoming class.

Accepted applicants must also send official transcripts from every college or university attended directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions. CASPA does not provide Drexel University with official transcripts. All transcripts must be received by the end of the spring academic term prior to matriculation. The only exception is coursework and/or degrees awarded in the spring term prior to matriculation. Transcripts reflecting this coursework and/or degree awarded must be submitted as soon as they are available.

Additional requirements to be completed prior to matriculation will be communicated to accepted applicants via email during the spring and summer terms prior to matriculation.

The PA program follows the Drexel University academic calendar for quarter programs. The academic calendar can be found here: http://www.drexel.edu/provost/calendars/. Please note that the PA program holds a mandatory orientation during the week prior to the start of the fall term.

Keep the PA Program Updated!

Between the offer of acceptance and the orientation activities and the start of classes in September, much of the communication from the PA Program to incoming students occurs through e-mail and by telephone; therefore, the applicant is strongly encouraged to promptly notify the PA Program of any changes to e-mail or mailing addresses and telephone numbers. The PA Program cannot be responsible for failures of important communications due to outdated or incorrect contact information provided by the applicant.

Tips from the Drexel PA Program Admissions Staff

  • Complete the prerequisite courses before you apply; at most have only one or two outstanding.
  • If anatomy and physiology courses were completed more than three to five years prior to time of application, it is strongly recommended that applicants enroll in either refresher or advanced coursework in anatomy and physiology to demonstrate current competence in the subject matter.
  • Be sure to list this in progress or planned anatomy and physiology coursework on your CASPA application.
  • Quantity and quality of direct patient contact does matter, and so does the breadth of experience you potentially bring to the PA program through your healthcare related experience and general life experience.
  • Research the profession thoroughly.
  • Shadow PAs in a variety of medical settings.
  • A strong foundation in the natural sciences will make it a bit easier to get through PA school – any PA school. Don’t just complete the prerequisite coursework. Acquire as strong a knowledge base as possible before starting PA school by picking up as many of the recommended electives as possible.

Drexel University reserves the right to revise, without notice, admissions standards and procedures, as it deems necessary. The Drexel University Physician Assistant Program reserves the right to make exceptions to admission policies at the programs’ discretion.

News & Events

 

07/05/17

 
Producing a commencement ceremony honoring all our graduates is a huge undertaking, months in the making and includes many, many volunteers, but it pales in comparison to the work the College of Nursing and Health Professions graduates did to earn their seat at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts on June 12, 2017. Drexel University Provost Brian Blake, PhD welcomed our graduates and all who taught, nurtured and supported them along the way including their family and friends who made up their greatest support network. He commented about CNHP graduates having a higher level of capacity for knowledge, innovation and most importantly, for service to others. That theme, so deeply embedded in the curriculum of all the programs in the College, was highlighted in the speeches given by student speaker Kimberly Allen and Sueann Navarez-Brown and David Baiada, who delivered the commencement address.
 
Allen stated how humbling it is to be part of a person’s most difficult and vulnerable moments and how important it is to empower patients or clients to make the choices that matter the most to them. “Drexel’s programs have educated us to promote social justice and healthcare equality as we serve our clients in the various wellness/health pathways,” she articulated. She acknowledged that it is necessary to be skilled to be able to perform, but that it is far more important to choose to be present in each and every moment while with clients, to choose to be in service of others. 
 
Navarez-Brown, in her speech, noted that both faculty and classmates assisted each other in becoming the best they each could be by providing outstanding support and encouragement. However, sometimes it did require a gentle and loving push. Benefitting from the confidence professors and fellow students had in each other, she concluded that they are skilled and determined, able to learn from failure and equipped with a sense of service and success.
 
Nowhere is service to others better explained than in the keynote speech delivered by David Baiada. Baiada is the incoming CEO of BAYADA Home HealthCare, a company that brings vital services into homes across 23 states, India, Germany, South Korea and Ireland. Their staff of 50,000 nurses, home health aides, therapists, medical social workers and other healthcare professionals live the mission, vision and beliefs — the BAYADA Way — while caring for their patients. They put their clients first. They value their employees and they believe in building relationships based on trust, compassion, honesty and service. Baiada told a story of a client he called Mr. Jones who he visited in his West Philadelphia apartment.
 
Mr. Jones is an elderly man who, because of cerebral palsy, relies on his electric wheelchair as his lifeline to the outside world. When Baiada arrived for a visit, Mr. Jones took a while to answer the door as his wheelchair was inoperable and he was forced to drag himself with the use of his walker. Baiada carried him back into his apartment and helped him get situated all the while Mr. Jones, clearly agitated, ranted about his frustration. In order for him to safely stay independent and in his home, he uses BAYADA for his Medicaid-funded home health services. When his aide Mary arrived, who is completely in tune with his needs and anxieties, Mr. Jones was finally able to calm down. Mr. Jones is someone who represents so many of the BAYADA clients who struggle day-to-day living because of disease or illness and Mary represents the thousands of people who bring their clients comfort and compassion and facilitate a better quality of life for them.
 
The collaboration and coordination of care people have come to expect from BAYADA is most successfully achieved through interprofessional work. And Baiada noted that that kind of practice is purposely taught and demonstrated at CNHP because it is what is needed when dedicated to serving others. He learned many lessons over his career at kitchen tables in apartments like Mr. Jones’, but Baiada chose three to share with graduates.
  1. Listen closely, show empathy and respond to the needs of others. Helping others starts with a willingness to listen, connect, and tune in.  Your perception of their goals and needs might be biased or distorted by your own preferences, Making the most meaningful impact is dependent on your willingness to take the time to sit at the proverbial kitchen table and listen. 
  2. Set specific goals and work hard and efficiently to achieve them.There is no more powerful force than a clear goal.  You all are here because you set a goal to get your degree, and now as you look ahead, what will your next goal be?  I challenge you to think big, write it down, think about it often.  You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish once you put it out there. 
  3. Be creative, flexible and determined. Reaching your goals will not come easy.  Like the patients and clients we care for, ups and downs are inevitable.  But I always find that those that are willing to think differently, adapt to change with an unrelenting determination will inevitably overcome almost any obstacle. 
Compassion, excellence and reliability are elements of The BAYADA Way and they are also what so many have learned as students in the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

Provost Blake, before introducing Susan Smith, PhD, interim dean, affirmed that the world needs those who received their diplomas that day citing that the long-term health and prosperity as a society depends on how graduates use their education.

Smith thanked graduates for the privilege of learning from them, mentoring them and working alongside them for as long as they had been at Drexel. She acknowledged University administrators and Stephen Sheller, a prominent Philadelphia attorney and Drexel University trustee. Smith thanked both Sheller and his wife Sandra, a creative arts therapies and couple and family therapy alumna, for their support of the College and the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University before presenting him with a gift for his service as a trustee.
 
Honoring accomplishment and excellence continued as exceptional academic achievement was recognized. Students designated Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude, as well as Pennoni Honors College students and the recipient of the Harold W. Pote “Behind Every Graduate” Award where acknowledged before the specific award winners were announced.
 
  • Harold W. Pote “Behind Every Graduate” Award – Donald Little of Pennsbury High School
  • College-level Outstanding Promise Award – Kendra Ray, PhD (Creative Arts Therapies) and Anniliese Marie Kummerle, MS in Human Nutrition
  • Teaching Assistant Excellence Award and Outstanding Civic Engagement – Leah Tsui, MS in Human Nutrition and Jessica Liu, MS in Human Nutrition
  • Outstanding Civic Engagement – Corinne L. Ellis, MS in Human Nutrition
  • Dean’s Award – Anne E. Woolley, BSN
  • Achievement Award – John Ghee, MHS
  • Community Service Award – Kevin Carrasquillo, BS in Nutrition and Foods
  • Clinical Service Award – Nahidah R. Rahman, BS in Health Sciences
  • Social Justice Research Award – Mariya Kesselman, MA in Art Therapy and Counseling
 
Graduates names were announced by Yasmine Awais, Beth Leonberg, Virginia Wilson, and Drs. Theresa Campo, Nancy Gerber, Stella Lucia Volpe and Linda Wilson with Dr. Michael Bruneau and Lauren Karch assisted with distribution of the scrolls.
 
Doctoral graduates earning degrees in Couple and Family Therapy, Creative Arts Therapies, Nursing, Health Science in Rehabilitation Sciences, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences were hooded by their supervising professors first. Then graduates earning Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling, Master of Arts in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling, Master of Arts in Music Therapy and Counseling, Master of Family Therapy, Master of Health Administration, Master of Health Science (Physician Assistant), Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Master of Science in Nursing (Advance Practice and Nurse Practitioner) were escorted to the stage. They were followed by the graduates who earned Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling, Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration, Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Foods. Once all graduated has been announced, an alumna for the classes of `90, `92 and `99 greeted the newest alumni — a long-standing tradition – to the more than 25,000 CNHP alumni.
 
To conclude a week of celebrations, CNHP participated in the University-wide commencement ceremony at Citizens Bank Park in the evening of June 13. All schools and colleges had the opportunity to hear the inspiring words of John Maeda — the global head of Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic, the parent company of Jetpack, WooCommerce, Longreads, WordPress.com and more. The night was capped off by a exciting display of fireworks sending Drexel’s newest alumni out in to the world to leave their marks for the betterment of society.
 
 

06/03/17

Revisiting our mission — To impact health and wellness through basic and translational scholarly works created by interprofessional teams investigating complex healthcare issues — we see that the service these men and women have given to Drexel, to the College of Nursing and Health Professions and to our students directly contributed to achieving that goal daily. 
 
We thank these individuals for sharing their talent, intellect and energy toward changing the way we delivery healthcare — with compassion and precision and with the expertise of all our faculty and staff behind it.
 
52 Years of Service
Vincent Zarro, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Chinatown Clinic and Dornsife Center Wellness HUB
 
41 Years of Service
David Flood, PhD, BA
Professor, Health Services Administration
 
40 Years of Service
R. Peter Meyer, PhD, BS
Associate Professor, Health Sciences
 
39 Years of Service
Alan Haroian, PhD, BA
Associate Professor, Health Sciences

36 Years of Service
Michael C. Kennedy, PhD, MS, BA
Professor and Associate Dean, Undergraduate Health Professions

32 Years of Service
Geraldine Buck, DrPH, MHS, PA-C, DFAAPA
Associate Teaching Professor and Director, Physician Assistant Post-Professional Master's Program Physician Assistant
 
29 Years of Service
Rita O'Donnell
Program Coordinator, Health Sciences
 
Gloria Turchi
Administrative Assistant, Dean's Office
 
Ronald Comer, DSW, MA, BA
Associate Professor and Associate Director, Behavioral Health Counseling
 
Janet Stern
Academic Assistant Director, Physician Assistant
 
24 Years of Service
Ellen Schelly Hill, MMT, BC-DMT, NCC, LPC
Associate Clinical Professor and Director, Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling, Creative Arts Therapies

26 Years of Service
Margo Orlin, PT, PhD
Associate Professor, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences
 
21 Years of Service
Gloria Donnelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCPP
Professor and Dean Emerita
 
Priscilla Killian, MSN, RN, CPNP
Assistant Clinical Professor
 
Patricia Gerrity, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor and Associate Dean for Community Programs
Founder and Director, Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University
 
20 Years of Service
Elizabeth Gonzalez, PhD, PMHCNS-BC
Associate Professor and Department Chair of Doctoral Nursing Program
 
Patricia Rubertone, PT, MSW, EdD
Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of Experiential Learning, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences

17 Years of Service
Diane Lewis
Administrative Coordinator, Physician Assistant

13 Years of Service
Cheryl Portwood, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CNE
Assistant Clinical Professor, Division of Graduate Nursing Advanced Role MSN Department
 
Susan Smith, PT, PhD
Interim Dean
 
12 Years of Service
Robin Young
CICSP Clinical Lab Coordinator

11 Years of Service
Michelle Sahl, PhD, Med, MBA, MBE
Associate Teaching Professor, Health Services Administration

10 Years of Service
Joseph Rubertone, PhD, MPT
Associate Clinical Professor, Health Sciences and Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences

06/03/17

Dr. Dana Kemery has been selected to receive a Medallion Award at Rowan University in honor of her dissertation work. She will receive this honor at a special ceremony that is part of Rowan's upcoming graduation.
 
During the Nurse Anesthesia Program Class of 2017’s graduation program on May 4th, Joseph Rubertone, PhD, MPT, Associate Clinical Professor in Health Sciences and Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Departments was awarded the “Didactic Instructor of the Decade” by the graduating students.
 
The Physician Assistant Class of 2016 earned a 100% pass rate for first-time takers on the Physician Assistant Certification Examination.
 
Nihad Almasri, a Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences alumna was featured in the 40 Under 40 group this year. She is a BSN graduate and now working as a human rights advocate for the United Nations.
 
Nancy Gerber, PhD, Natalie Carlton and CAT PhD students traveled to the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry in Urbana, IL at the University of Illinois. Two of our first year PhD students, art therapist Jessica Drass and music therapist Ming Yuan Low, participated in all aspects of the conference and presented with Gerber and Carlton on a panel entitled "Translation in Arts Based Research: A Creative Arts Therapies Perspective."  The presentation was well received with lively conversation.  This annual international conference attracts scholars from 40 countries and delivers presentations on a variety of approaches to qualitative research including arts-based research, mixed methods research, ethnography and autoethnography, grounded theory and more. The conference is committed to a theme of social justice and political action using research to contribute to diminishing cultural disparities, oppression and prejudices. 
 
A CNHP clinical professor was among the recipients of a Provost Award for Outstanding Scholarly Productivity. Denise Wolf, MA, ATR-BC, LPC received the Adjunct Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence at this year’s Provost's Awards for Teaching, Scholarship and Professional Service.
 
 
 
Sponsored Research
 
Girijia Kaimal, EdD is the recipient if a 2017 Faculty Summer Research Award for a project titled Assessing the Feasibility of Virtual Reality-Based Art Therapy (VR-BAT). The proposed project is a mixed methods pilot research study that will examine the feasibility of virtual reality-based art therapy (VR-BAT) sessions by collecting qualitative and quantitative outcomes data on a range of tools including Tiltbrush (a digital painting tool used to create three-dimensional images in virtual reality (VR)).  Virtual reality therapies have been used in the past for reducing phobias and delusions but the applicability for creative arts therapies has not yet been examined. Art therapy is a mental health profession that offers patients/ clients non-verbal forms of self-expression as a means to learn about self and function more effectively in the world (www.arttherapy.org).  This would be the first study of its kind to examine the effectiveness of these creative virtual digital tools to enhance psychological health and well-being through creativity, interactivity, and problem solving in an immersive environment. The funds are to try feasibility of virtual reality technology for art therapy. The research team includes the research project team includes Natalie Carlton, PhD, Abby Dougherty , PhD and Arun Ramakrishnan, PhD.
 
Jerome Dugan, PhD and Layla Booshehri, PhD have been awarded an R03 grant from the National Institutes of Health for their project entitled Reducing Health Disparities Among Minority Households Through Improved Financial Decision Making: Evidence from Negative Income Transfers Generated by the Affordable Care Act. 
 
The investigators will examine the impact of recent health regulation on the economic security of households and the financial strategies households can utilize to reduce health disparities. Drs. Dugan and Booshehri are the co-PIs of the Health Economics Analytics Laboratory (HEAL), where they apply computational and data-driven techniques to address policy failures in the health and welfare systems.
 
 
Publication and Presentations
 
Work by Janell Mensinger, PhD have been accepted for publication and/or presentation. It includes:
 
Paper presentation titled Changing physical activity: The cost of weight stigma at the 5th Annual International Weight Stigma Conference, Prague, Czech Republic. (Mensinger, J.L., & Meadows, A. (June, 2017)).
 
Senior Health Science student Margaret Calamari was selected to presenting the research she and Mensinger are working on together at the 1st annual Week of Undergraduate Excellence (May 1-5, 2017). The title of the presentation: Exploring Mediating Mechanisms Relating Weight Status to Healthcare Avoidance
 
Mensinger, J.L., & Meadows, A. (2017). Internalized weight stigma mediates and moderates physical activity outcomes during a healthy living program for women with high BMI. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 30, 64-72. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2017.01.010
 
Hill C. R., Feltz, D. L., & Samendinger, S. (2017). The relationship between barrier self-efficacy and physical activity in adolescents: A meta-analytic review. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity. San Diego, USA.
 
Finley, M, Goodstadt, N, Soler, D, Somerville, K, Friedman, Z, Ebaugh, D. Reliability and validity of active and passive pectoralis minor muscle length measures. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy (2017,) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bjpt.2017.04.004.
 
Michael Bruneau Jr, PhD accepted an invitation to be an invited speaker for an “Exercise and Fitness in Obesity” symposium at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in Harrisburg, PA on November 3rd and 4th. He also accepted an invitation from the editor to write an editorial commentary entitled "Traditional vs. Nontraditional Risk Factor Assessment in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Case for Laser Doppler flowmetry?" that was published ahead of print for the May edition of the Journal of Hypertension.
 
Samendinger, S., Forlenza, S. T., Winn, B., Max, E.J., Kerr, N.L., Pfeiffer, K. A., & Feltz, D. L. (in review; Psychology of Sport & Exercise) Introductory Dialogue and Köhler Group Dynamics in Software-Generated Workout Partners.
 
The dissertation of Stephen Samendinger, PhD was nominated and an award application package was submitted this month for the J. Richard Hackman Award for the Dissertation that Most Significantly Advances the Study of Groups. The award sponsor organization is INGroup (Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research). The award recipient will be selected in May and is then recognized at the INGRoup conference this summer, and on the INGRoup website, receives a commemorative plaque, and receives complementary registration and an invitation to present their dissertation in a feature session at the 2018 INGRoup conference.
 

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