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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 Drexel's Pathways to Health Professions Accelerated BS/MHS program, 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

 

02/17/17

Each year during Homecoming Weekend, the Drexel University Alumni Association celebrates the achievements and contributions of its graduates by presenting awards in five categories: Alumni Entrepreneurship, Service to the Community, Service to Profession, Special Distinction and the Harriet E. Worrell Society award, in honor of the creator of the Alumni Association. Each year, a large number of qualified nominations makes the selection process very competitive. However, the Honors and Awards Committee of the Board of Governors takes pride in reviewing all of the personal and professional achievements carefully. 
 
The Service to the Community Award is presented to a Drexel alum “who, through voluntary or paid work, has significantly contributed to civic and/or community life.” This year’s recipient was CNHP alumna Johanna Berrigan, PA-C, `97. She was nominated by Patrick Auth, PhD, clinical professor and department chair of the physician assistant program.
 
Berrigan began as a physician assistant student at Drexel in 1994. Her commitment to community service was already apparent then. As a member of the Wilbur W. Oaks Student Society, she volunteered in many community activities such as blood pressure screenings, health fairs and feeding the homeless. 
 
After graduating from Drexel in 1997, Berrigan co-founded The House of Grace Catholic Worker Community and Catholic Worker Free Clinic, which provide hospitality to former homeless people, as well as health care, dental care and advocacy for homeless, uninsured and underinsured people of the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia.  
 
In addition to The House of Grace, Berrigan also co-founded the House of Health Kay Lasante Education and Outreach Prevention Care in Port au Prince, Haiti. Since its inception in 2004, it has grown into a full service health clinic that serves 40 patients a day. Kay Lasante provides a plethora of services, including primary care, emergency services and pharmacy. It also provides crucial community and health care education. The increased access to care it provides has improved the health of the community and saved hundreds of lives in Haiti.  
 
The Service to the Community Award is not a first for Berrigan. She also received the Physician Assistant Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants in 1999.  
 
The Alumni Association encourages all members of the alumni and university community to participate in the awards process by sharing the achievements of fellow alumni, colleagues and friends with the Honors and Awards Committee. Nominations for any award may be submitted throughout the year, and will be held for future consideration. For more information, please contact Lauren Villanueva at lmr24@drexel.edu.

02/16/17

On January 11, US News and World Report published their 2017 Best Jobs list and 52 of the top 100 are in health care. Nurse practitioner and physician assistant are number two and three on that list with no surprise as the demand for more skilled health care professionals skyrockets. Susannah Snider, personal finance editor at U.S. News said in a press release about the jobs list, "Health care jobs often require a human element, so they can't be exported or entirely replaced by robots – at least not yet.
 
“Continued growth in the health care sector, low unemployment rates and high salaries make these jobs especially desirable. Plus, individuals can pursue a range of health care positions that require varying levels of skill and education," furthered Snider. While the opportunities for PAs and NPs expand practically every specialty — orthopedics, endocrinology, cardiology, pediatrics — a reported 80% of nurse practitioners choose primary care whereas a study from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) states physician assistants tend to practice outside of primary care. 
 
Regardless of the position a person chooses, it’s all good news for CNHP. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics cited nurse practitioner and physician assistant among the fastest growing occupations with 35% and 30% growth respectively. This expansion can be attributed to a few factors including a move to patient-centered care models and an aging population. But another reason is the expansion of coverage for an additional 20 million people through Affordable Care Act. “The ACA recognized physician assistants as an essential part of the solution to the primary care shortage by formally acknowledging them as one of the three primary care health providers,” said Patrick Auth, PhD, MS, PA-C, CNHP clinical professor and department chair. “They also committed to expanding the number of PAs by providing financial support for scholarships and loan forgiveness programs, as well as by funding the training of 600 new PAs,” he continued.
 
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed millions of Americans to have access to insurance to pay for the cost of their health care. That meant hospitals and providers reduced their cost of indigent care.  While these figures have presented a hopeful outlook on what new health care reform may mean, one recent report has portrayed a potentially much different outcome.
 
The study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund revealed repealing the ACA, likely starting with the insurance premium tax credits and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility would result in a doubling in the number of uninsured Americans while having widespread economic and employment impacts. In 2019, the study predicts a loss of 2.6 million jobs nation-wide, primarily in the private sector, with around a third of them in the health care industry. Pennsylvania could see around 137,000 jobs lost. 
 
Elizabeth W. Gonzalez, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, associate professor and department chair of the doctoral nursing program and Kymberlee Montgomery, DrNP, CRNP-BC, CNE ’09, associate clinical professor and department chair of the nurse practitioner program, both suggest that it is too early to tell what any real impact will be to healthcare or employment. “The ACA also lowered Medicare spending by allowing people to enter into share savings plans with accountable care organizations where providers are reimbursed based on the quality, not the quantity, of their services,” Gonzalez said. “This emphasis on quality has resulted in significant savings, lower cost of health care for seniors, individuals with disabilities, low income families, and children. The ACA encourages a focus on the patient experience and this has led to some wonderful innovations because clinicians are being paid to focus on ways to enhance the quality of the care they provide patients,” she added. 
 
“The Affordable Care Act introduced patients to the role of the nurse practitioner. Patients were forced to see us for primary care — nurse practitioners provided care at a lower cost,” stated Montgomery. “Now patients want to see us because of the level of care we provided.” There are just so many unknowns where the ACA is concerned. While the current administration seems determined to repeal the law, they haven’t yet put forth a replacement that will provide affordable healthcare for those who would undoubtedly lose what they currently have. It’s uncertain whether a new law might be proposed that would guarantee that no jobs created under the ACA are lost or if patient outcomes will decline.” But both Gonzalez and Montgomery feel that advanced practice nursing will continue to be a cost effective way to deliver outstanding clinical services. While it’s tough to speculate, Montgomery thinks opportunities for nurse practitioners will continue to grow regardless. “Who knows, it might make it better for the nurse practitioner especially because we provide high-quality, comprehensive care at lower costs,” she said.

By: Roberta Perry and Kinzey Lynch `17

 

01/24/17

On Friday, December 9, 2016, 73 graduates of the Physician Assistant Class of 2016 celebrated their completion of the PA Program. Drexel’s nationally recognized PA program was established in 1971 and is one of the oldest in the country.
 
A large piece of the program’s mission is to serve the underserved, making community service and civic engagement part of its DNA. Students know, right from their first interview as a prospective student, that they will be expected to get involved with the community. 
 
This class, like all graduating classes, took that part of the mission very seriously and performed a number of civic engagement activities lead by class presidents Michael Rigatti and Alyssa Muething. Those included two medical mission trips to Haiti and a variety of involvement ranging from health education presentations and screenings for the City of Philadelphia Golden Senior Health Fair, Love Run Half Marathon EXPO Fundraiser for PA Olympics, the City of Philadelphia’s Veterans Resource Fair, Kidney Action Day, 10th Annual Jazz on the Avenue, Philly Restart, and St. John's Hospice, Puentes Hacia el Futuro Middle School, Belmont Academy Charter School, Atria Senior Living, Cook Wissahickon Elementary  School, Mercy Vocational High School, and Allen M. Stearne Elementary School.
 
Twelve student papers were submitted to publications including the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Journal of Physician Assistant Education and The Clinical Advisor. Advance Magazine for NPs and PAs accepted Christina Dias’ paper titled “Improving Screening Rates for Intimate Partner Violence in Pregnancy: A Three-pronged Approach.”
 
In addition, six student posters were accepted and shown at the 2016 Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistant Conference featuring topics from “The Inclusion of EKGs in Pre-participation Athletic Screenings” to “Misconceptions of the Bull’s Eye, Erythema Migrans.”
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