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Physician Assistant (BS+MS), 4.5-Year

D'Youville Physician Assistant students in a clinical skills lab

Become a licensed physician assistant in only four and a half years with our combined BS+MS physician assistant program.



Physician assistants are nationally certified and state-licensed medical professionals who practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. PAs' responsibilities include, but are not limited to: conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting laboratory and radiological tests, counseling on preventive health care measures, and assisting in surgery. PAs can write prescriptions in all 50 states, in the majority of the U.S. territories, and in the uniformed services. Within the physician-PA team, physician assistants’ specific duties depend on the setting in which they work, their specialty, and their level of experience.

At D'Youville, you can become a physician assistant in just four and a half years after entering our ARC-PA-accredited combined bachelors/masters program. You'll benefit from direct entry to the department, which means there's no need to re-apply for upper-level program studies. You'll graduate six months faster than at other programs because, during your clinical rotation phase, you'll be taking graduate courses in the evenings, online, or during scheduled breaks.

Why Choose D'Youville?

  • Studies show that teamwork across clinical specialties improves patient outcomes. D'Youville's unique interdisciplinary education lab offers the opportunity for you to practice teamwork while treating "patients" (played by actors) with a team of healthcare students from 7 other healthcare majors at DYC - all under the supervision of a skilled instructor.
  • In 2015, 97% of D'Youville Physician Assistant students who were first-time test takers, successfully passed the PANCE exams. Our graduates report a 95% job placement rate -- within six months of graduation, in their medical fields of their choice.
  • Our close-knit faculty and staff help you complete an extensive 18-month clinical training program that includes ten core rotations and two elective rotations. Individualized rotations are offered in diverse areas of practice.
  • D'Youville has developed relationships with a diverse set of clinical fieldwork sites in a wide array of settings, facilities, and treatment protocols. 



When you apply for admission at D’Youville, we’ll automatically consider you for our merit scholarships. Undergraduate scholarships can cover as much as 50% of your tuition, and there is no need to fill out a separate application! Transfer students can qualify for scholarships, as well. Unlike other schools, maintaining your scholarship is easier at D'Youville, because we use realistic GPA requirements to determine your eligibility each year. 

Check out the chart below to see if you qualify:
Scholarship GPA / SAT (M & EBRW)* / or ACT Tuition Waiver Amount Dorm GPA required to retain scholarship
Honors 88/1170 /or 24 50% off 25% off 2.75
Distinction 80/1080 /or 21 25% off  50% off 2.5 
Achievement 80/980 /or 19 $3,000    2.25
Transfer 3.5 $5,000  


Transfer 3.0 $4,000  


Transfer 2.75 $3,500   2.5
Dillon 93/1360 /or 29 100% off  25%  2.75
Buffalo Say Yes No GPA minimum requirement/1080 /or 21 100% off   2.75
Alumni Kinship   $300-$2,000   Must reapply each year. Only open to relatives of D'Youville alumni.

*Scores are based on the new SAT score format which went into effect in March 2016.
⁺D'Youville only requires that you submit the results from one test.

More information can be found on our scholarships page.

An occupational therapy student participating in the Interdisciplinary Education Lab.


Physician Assistant students at D'Youville learn to work as part of a collaborative healthcare team through Interprofessional Education Labs.

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Course Requirements for the Major

In the specific area of concentration

Course Number Course Name Credits
PA 335 Pharmacology I 3
PA 336 Pharmacology II 3
PA 303 Clinical Medicine I 5
PA 304 Clinical Medicine II 5
PA 305 Behavioral Medicine 2
PA 309 Clinical Laboratory Medicine I 2
PA 310 Clinical Laboratory Medicine II 2
PA 311 Clinical Skills 3
PA 312/312 L Physical Diagnosis I & Lab 2
PA 313/313 L  Physical Diagnosis II & Lab 2
PA 401B Internal Medicine 3
PA 401C Family Medicine 3
PA 402 General Surgery 3
PA 403 General Pediatrics 5
PA 404 Obstetrics and Gynecology 3
PA 405 Psychiatry 3
PA 406 Emergency Medicine 3
PA 407 Geriatrics (2 wks) 1
PA 408 Orthopedics 3
PA 500 Professional Issues 1
PA 501 Elective I 3
PA 502 Elective II/td> 3
PA 503 Primary Care 6
PA 504 Graduate Seminar I 1
PA 505 Graduate Seminar II 1
PA 603 Applied Research Methods 3
PA 604 Applied Project Seminar I 3
PA 605 Applied Project Seminar II 3

Choice of two of the following

Course Number Course Name Credits
PA 509 Neuroanatomy 3
PA 511 Medical Microbiology 3
PA 512 Alternative Medicine 3
PA 606 Medical Epidemiology 3
Total 6

In other academic areas required for the major

Course Number Course Name Credits
BIO 107/107L Human Anatomy & Physiology/Lab 4
BIO 108/108L Human Anatomy & Physiology/Lab 4
BIO 208/208L Microbiology 4
*BIO 339 Human Gross Anatomy 6
*BIO 303 Biochemistry 3
*BIO 307 Pathophysiology 3
CHE 101/101L General Chemistry I 4
CHE 102-102L General Chemistry II 4
CHE 219/219L Organic Chemistry 4
MAT 123 Introduction to Applied Statistics 4
PHI/RS 214 Challenges of Death 3
PHI/RS 312 Bioethics Seminar 3
PSY 203 Developmental Psychology 3
HSM 203 Medical Terminology 1

*These courses must be taken at D'Youville College. No transfer credit will be given for courses completed over 18 months prior to beginning the professional phase courses.


Requirement Credits
Major 86
Major requirements in other academic areas 50
Remaining core requirements 39
TOTAL (B.S./M.S.) 175



Physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision and your D’Youville training will prepare you to work with physicians in all clinical disciplines. Nationally, physician assistants are employed in both primary and non-primary care specialties.   


Physician assistants are nationally certified and state-licensed medical professionals who practice medicine under the supervision of a physician.   PAs responsibilities include but are not limited to conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting laboratory and radiological tests, counseling on preventive health care measures, and assisting in surgery.  PAs can write prescriptions in all 50 states, the majority of the U.S. territories and the uniformed services.  Within the physician-PA team, physician assistants’ specific duties depend on the setting in which they work, their specialty, and their level of experience.

Your role as a practicing physical therapist will be to help your patients regain strength and function, improve mobility, relieve their pain, and prevent or limit the scope or impact of physical disabilities on their lives and their health.

The training you receive at D’Youville will prepare you to work with physicians in all clinical disciplines in a wide variety of clinical environments. In fact, because physician assistants are in such high demand, many discover they can take their pick of clinical placements, allowing for substantial career flexibility and mobility.


While many of our graduates go into clinical practice, others enter advanced academic programs in order to pursue careers in research and teaching in both private and public organizations. These students typically pursue post-professional degrees such as doctor of science (D.Sc.), doctor of education (EdD), or doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. If you choose to pursue this path you can rest assured that the rigorous academic, research, and clinical work you’ll complete in our PA program will provide you with a solid foundation for advanced study and practice.

Graduates who want to take their education one step further can also enter specialized residency programs that provide intensive training in specialties such as surgery, emergency medicine, pediatrics, and rural health. With the demand for physician assistants growing at such a rapid pace and showing no signs of slowing down — the opportunities for well trained, motivated, forward-thinking physician assistants like our graduates are limitless.

career outlook

Changing demographics and the expansion of the healthcare system in the United States have created a strong demand for healthcare professionals, and physician assistants are one of the groups in greatest demand.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that jobs for physician assistants will increase 38% through 2022, an increase the BLS calls "much faster than average." This kind of growth hasn’t gone unnoticed by experts in the healthcare industry: US News places physician assistant in the top 10 of their "Top 36 Health Care Jobs of 2015," declares physician assistant to be the 2nd fastest growing job in healthcare (2015), and places physician assistants high in their list of the "10 Fastest Growing Allied Health Careers." (2015).

In fact, because physician assistants are in such high demand, many discover they can take their pick of clinical field of practice, allowing for substantial career flexibility and mobility.  In addition, physician assistants earn generous salaries and benefits, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that the median salary for physician assistants in 2012 (the last year that figures were available) was $90,930 per year, almost twice the median salary for young adults with a master’s degree or higher as reported by the US Department of Education.

For more information about the job outlook for physical therapists, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.



The clinical rotation experience entails long hours of work and study for students, but it provides a safe, supervised clinical environment in which to hone individual clinical skills and help determine the area of medicine to pursue after graduation. Professional contacts made during the clinical year are an invaluable source for potential employment opportunities and job references.

D'Youville is proud to be able to offer an extremely wide range of clinical rotation opportunities to our students, some of which are above and beyond what other programs offer including a separate 4 week OB/GYN clinical rotation. D'Youville has hundreds of clinical affiliations with hospitals, physician groups, and HMOs allowing us to provide our students with an extremely diverse set of clinical settings to explore.


During your 18-month clinical phase you’ll rotate through a series of 12 clinicals in the following areas:

  • Internal Medicine (4 weeks)
  • Family Medicine (4 weeks)
  • General Surgery (4 weeks)
  • General Pediatrics (6 weeks)
  • Ob/Gyn (4 weeks)
  • Psychiatry (4 weeks)
  • Emergency Medicine (4 weeks)
  • Geriatrics (2 weeks)
  • Orthopedics (4 weeks)
  • Two (2) Electives (4 weeks ea.)
  • Primary Care Core (8 weeks)


During your clinical phase, you'll have a broad selection of locations available to you in Western New York. While some locations will require somewhat extensive day travel, your ability to have a quality experience during this period is our top priority.

Community Education Project

During your clinical phase, you'll have the opportunity to work with your preceptor to design and implement a community education project at a clinical site during your Primary Care Core rotation. You'll research topics important to the lives of the patients you'll serve at the primary care site, develop patient education materials related to the promotion of good health and disease prevention, and present the results of your project at the end of your clinical phase.

Many of our students find that this experience, one in which you'll find yourself using your creativity, knowledge, and skills to make a difference in the lives of your patients, to be the highlight of their clinical phase and an important springboard for understanding the role of physician assistants in promoting and supporting public health.

graduate research

Graduate Research

The graduate portion of the DYC Physician Assistant Program incorporates an original research project which involves direct research participation from proposal development through the point of dissemination of research results through poster presentation. The intent is to reinforce evidence-based approaches to health care delivery and give students practical experience and enhanced understanding of research to improve their ability to critically review research papers. Students will thoroughly examine their research topic and complete a review of the associated scientific literature to make certain that the proposal represents a unique investigation of a health-related topic and/or fills a gap in the literature.

Recent student projects/posters have been presented at national conferences, have won research awards at major professional  conferences,  and research abstracts have been published in professional journals such as  JAAPA. 

If you have an interest in pursuing a career in research, our unique Community Education Project provides a great way to gain the kind of experience vital to entering into a research career in the public or private sector.

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

Admission Criteria

Due to the limited number of available seats, the selection process for admission to the PA department is extremely competitive. We accept applications for admission from freshmen and transfer students. 

Qualified applicants are determined on the basis of several criteria:

  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Written application materials
  • Results of personal interview
  • Ability to master the rigorous academic content of the program
  • Emotional maturity and understanding of and motivation to enter the profession

Requirements: Incoming Freshmen

Admission to the Physician Assistant program is offered to a select group of students who meet the following criteria:

  • Combined SAT score of at least 1170 (Math & EBRW sections) or a composite ACT score of 24 or higher.
  • Rank in at least the upper fourth of his/her graduating class.
  • A minimum class average of 85 percent.
  • Three years of math, one year of Chemistry and one year of Biology. Math and science subjects must have a minimum grade of at least 83 (B-).
  • Provide official documentation of at least 80 hours of direct patient contact hours either through volunteer activities or employment activities.
  • Compliance with technical standards of the profession as noted in the application.
  • Submission of all required supplemental application materials postmarked by November 1

Requirements: Transfer Students

Admission to the Physician Assistant program is offered to a select group of transfer students who meet the following criteria:

  • A minimum overall and science GPA of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Earned grade of B- or better in all science courses (which can only be transferred in for direct credit to the program if they are less than six years old at the time of acceptance into the department).
  • At least 80 hours of direct patient interaction hours must be completed at the time of application either through volunteer activities or employment activities. A letter of reference from a supervisor of your direct patient interaction hours is required to be submitted in CASPA as official documentation verifying the completion of the requirement.
  • Compliance with technical standards of the profession as noted in the application.
  • Submission and verification of all required application materials submitted to CASPA by  November 1

Following review of application materials, select applicants are invited for an interview by PA department faculty and practicing physician assistants. Not all applicants who meet the minimum application requirements will be invited to campus for an interview. 

Technical Standards

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (Public Law 101-336) was established to empower qualified persons with disabilities to seek employment opportunities, transportation, and access to programs and services without fear of discrimination. The Physician Assistant Program at D'Youville College is prepared to make reasonable modifications to policies and practices in order to allow students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate and succeed in the academic program. No otherwise qualified person shall be excluded from participation, admission, matriculation, or denied benefits solely by reason of his or her disability. The Physician Assistant Program will not discriminate against qualified individuals but will expect applicants and students to meet certain minimum academic and technical standards. In carrying out their functions, the program will be guided by the technical standards set forth in this proposal.

The holder of a Physician Assistant Certificate must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. In order to carry out the activities described below, candidates for the PA certificate must be able to consistently, quickly, and accurately learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data. They must have functional use of the senses of vision, and hearing. Their exteroceptive (touch, pain, temperature) and proprioceptive (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis, and vibratory) senses must be sufficiently intact in the upper extremities to enable them to carry out all activities required for a complete PA education. Candidates must have motor function capabilities to meet the demands of PA education and the demands of total patient care.

A candidate for the PA certificate must have abilities, attributes, and skills in five major areas: 1) observation, 2) communication, 3) motor, 4) intellectual, including conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities, and 5) behavioral and social.

  1. Observation: Candidates and students must have sufficient vision and somatic sensation to be able to observe demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises in the basic sciences. They must be able to observe a patient accurately at close range and at a distance.
  2. Communication: Candidates and students should be able to speak, to hear and to observe patients in order to elicit information, examine patients, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. They must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. They must also be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the healthcare team.
  3. Motor: Candidates and students should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation and percussion, as well as carry out diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should have motor function sufficient to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Such skills require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and sensation.
  4. Intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of PAs, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
  5. Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates and students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. He/she must have a high level of compassion for others, motivation to serve, integrity, and consciousness of social values. A candidate must possess sufficient interpersonal skills to interact positively with people from all levels of society, all ethnic backgrounds, and all belief systems. Candidates and students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.

The D'Youville College Physician Assistant Program and its sponsoring institutions will attempt to develop creative ways of opening the Program to competitive, qualified individuals with disabilities. In doing so, however, the Program and sponsoring institutions must maintain the integrity of the curriculum and preserve those elements deemed essential to the education of a Physician Assistant. The Program and sponsoring institutions cannot compromise the health and safety of patients. It is inevitable that adherence to minimum requirements will disqualify some applicants and students, including some who have a disability. Exclusion of such an individual, however, does not constitute unlawful discrimination. An applicant or student who is unable to meet the minimum academic and technical standards is not qualified for the practice of the profession.



Frequently Asked Questions

Is shadowing a PA required for admission into the program?

No. However, it is very important that applicants understand the role and function of a physician assistant. Therefore, if shadowing would strengthen the applicant's knowledge in this light, it is encouraged. The program does not arrange shadowing experiences for applicants. Please note that shadowing a physician assistant will not count towards one’s direct patient care requirement.

What qualifies as direct patient care experience?

The 80 hours of direct patient care experience can be completed through paid employment or volunteer work, but the point of this requirement is to ensure that applicants have had exposure to patients, preferably in a clinical setting. This means that your activities should include one-on-one interactions with patients.

Acceptable direct patient care: Transporting patients, helping with meals, leading activity times.

Excellent direct patient care Participation in medical procedures, patient assessments, leading/assisting patients in therapy or daily activities such as dressing or eating, taking vitals, obtaining medical histories or previous work history as a paramedic, EMT, nurse or other healthcare provider.

Examples of activities that do NOT count as direct patient care include: Pharmacy Technician, shadowing/observing, any clerical work, making beds, restocking shelves, or any other type of work that does not involve talking with and actively engaging with patients, etc.

If you have additional questions about what constitutes direct patient care, feel free to contact the admissions office at 716-829-7600.

Will I improve my standing if I complete my bachelor's degree in XYZ major before applying?

Yes and no. While students do not get any "bonus points" for already having a bachelor's degree, a student who has a bachelor's degree in a science discipline such as Chemistry or Biology, has already proven that she/he is capable of handling a difficult science curriculum. A bachelor's degree in a non-science program, however, is given no extra merit over any other candidate. Whether or not a candidate has a bachelor's degree, the committee will be looking for the number of college level science courses a candidate has taken and whether or not she/he did well in these courses.

In short, a bachelor's degree will not necessarily improve a candidate's standing in the application pool, but completing several college level science courses with solid grades, may help improve a candidate's application profile.

Are there certain prerequisites I need to apply and be accepted to the program?

No there are no prerequisite courses, but most of our applicants have demonstrated academic achievement of a 3.0 or higher overall GPA as well as a strong foundation and in their science coursework. Applicants should review the admission criteria tab for further details.

If I submit an application to CASPA, will it be forwarded to the DYC Program?


Transfer Students

D'Youville is now accepting applications from transfer students to the physician assistant program using the CASPA application. Transfer students to the PA program should not complete the D'Youville College online application.

High School Students (First time Freshman)

High school (first time in college) students should submit their PA application via the D'Youville College online application.

If I meet the minimum academic requirements, am I guaranteed an interview and admission into the PA Department?

No. As applicants are accepted on a competitive, space available basis, not all applicants satisfying minimum academic requirements will be admitted into the program.

When will I find out if I'm being interviewed?

Completed applications are reviewed from (August-November 1). Invitations to the interview will be sent to the email address you used on your application, and a letter will also be sent to your mailing address. Interviews are conducted three times a year, typically in November and January.

What can I expect during the interview?

Expect to be on campus for a few hours. You will be introduced as a group to the PA faculty and staff by the Department Chair and asked to fill out a brief questionnaire that will be used with the rest of your application information during your interview. You will be given an opportunity to meet with the faculty, staff and many of our current students over coffee, either before or after your interview and will also have a chance to go on a tour of the campus with a current PA student.

Applicants are interviewed in groups of three with a panel of three interviewers. The interview panel is comprised of one or two of the PA Department faculty members and one or two community physician assistants. The three applicants are not competing against one another and the interview session is designed to be collegial and informative, rather than competitive.

When will I get a decision/What can I expect after the interview?

Most applicants are notified of the department’s decision within a few weeks after the final scheduled interview date. We will notify you in writing of the decision, and if offered admission, you will be notified of your placement in a class year and receive a transfer credit summary.

How long is the program for transfer students?

It varies for everyone, but a few things are typical; the full program is 4 ½ years and students graduate with a combined bachelors/masters degree. Transfer students are generally placed into the first two years of the program. Certain coursework must be taken at D'Youville prior to starting the didactic phase (these classes include biochemistry, pathophysiology & human gross anatomy & lab).

Can I transfer directly into the Didactic (third) year of the program?

The majority of students are required to complete core PA Department prerequisites at D'Youville College and therefore do not transfer directly to the Didactic phase from outside the college. Placement in any graduating class is dependent upon seat availability.

How will I know what credits will transfer?

Your official transfer credit statement and class year will be determined if you are offered admission to the PA program. An earned grade of B- or better in all science courses is required (courses will transfer if they are less than six years old at the time of acceptance into the department). You can get an idea of what courses may transfer by using our online course equivalency tool.

I've been accepted, now what?

Follow the steps to take our our Accepted Student page. 

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