Frequently Asked Questions | Physician Assistant Studies
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Frequently Asked Questions 
Physician Assistant Studies

Thank you for you interest in PCOM's Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant Studies program. Click the links below to view answers to frequently asked questions regarding the program, academic standards and the admissions process.

Physician assistants (PAs) are health professionals who practice medicine with supervision by licensed physicians.

  • PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in both rural and urban settings throughout the world.
  • PAs work in a variety of settings, including private practice, hospitals, nursing homes, student health services, and rural and urban clinics. Although their main focus is patient care, PAs may also perform educational, research and administrative activities.
  • PAs are qualified by graduation from an accredited physician assistant program and by certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
  • PAs can treat patients and write prescriptions when the physician is away from the practice.
  • PAs are trained to recognize when patients need the attention of a supervising physician, and they refer as needed.
  • PAs have demonstrated a commitment to their patients and a continued competence in delivering quality, humanistic health care.

For more information on the physician assistant profession, visit American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).

  • During the 26-month physician assistant program, students are prepared for their careers in clinical practice using a variety of learning strategies. During the 14-month didactic (classroom) phase, formal lectures, practical laboratory classes and information literacy are employed. In the 12-month clinical phase, students will rotate through a variety of clinical settings. Students will develop patient communication skills and advanced clinical problem-solving skills, in addition to acquiring technical proficiency in areas related to professional practice.
  • Graduates of our program will develop and implement clinical treatment plans in collaboration with their supervising physician. This program is highly intensive, most of it is provided by physicians and physician assistants in order to assure that patient care functions provided by our physician assistant graduates are of the highest quality.

PCOM offers six-week rotations in the following disciplines: emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, prenatal/gynecology, general surgery, pediatrics and behavioral medicine. In addition to those seven core rotations, we offer the opportunity to students to select their own four-week elective rotation. PCOM has established affiliations across the country with hospitals, clinics and private practices.

PCOM encourages and is proud of its diverse physician assistant class. The students vary in age, from students who are coming into the program directly from undergraduate studies to students that are pursuing second careers. Our students come prepared with a solid foundation in the biological, chemical and social sciences but have degrees ranging from bachelor's degrees in biology to master's degrees in public health. Our students and alumni represent many different states around the United States.

Our program involves an intensive course of didactic and clinical medical education. It is extremely difficult to work during the didactic and/or the clinical phase of the program due to the intensity of the coursework. During the clinical preceptorship year, most of our students will average 50 or more hours per week in clinical learning activities.

For students at our Philadelphia campus, the Meta Christy House provides convenient access to campus facilities. There are also a variety of housing options near campus. There is no on-campus housing at PCOM Georgia. 

There is a mandatory orientation that occurs a few days prior to the start of the academic year. Typically orientation is held in early June.

Cost of attendance figures are estimated and subject to change at any time without notice:

Information on tuition refund policies at PCOM can be found through the Bursar's Office Refund Policy page.

The Office of Admissions at PCOM hosts campus tours and open house events throughout the year as well as online information sessions.

PCOM's physician assistant studies program is offered at our main campus in Philadelphia, PA and at our Suwanee, GA campus.


The physician assistant program's rigorous curriculum contributes to our graduates' success. For additional details, view answers to frequently asked questions about our academic requirements.

A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for progression from the didactic phase to the clinical preceptorship phase.

Failure to achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 during the didactic or clinical phase could result in academic probation and the potential for dismissal from the program.

Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better to graduate.

All requirements for graduation must be completed within 4.5 calendar years from the first date of matriculation, regardless of whether any leave of absence was taken.

Any course failure makes the student liable for dismissal. In select situations, the student may be granted approval to remain enrolled in the program by completing a specially designed remediation program.

No, any course that is six (6) credit hours or more does not qualify for remediation and must be repeated at its next offering. This does not apply if the student has a previous course failure.

Students will have six (6) weeks from the first day of the next term to successfully complete remediation of the failed course.


Our admissions process is highly competitive. We seek to identify the most qualified applicants with the prerequisite academic background, a strong interest in the physician assistant profession, excellent interpersonal skills, and the maturity necessary for physician assistant education. View the answers to frequently asked admissions questions below for additional information.

Visit our admissions section for details regarding the application requirements for the physician assistant studies program. PCOM participates in the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Visit the CASPA site to submit your application:


The Office of Admissions will only accept an updated official transcript(s) during the admissions cycle. Candidates selected to interview may bring any update(s) they view would be beneficial to their application.

Only selected applicants are interviewed. Admission to the PCOM PA studies program is very competitive. Interviews are scheduled from September through February each application cycle.

Interviews for this program will be conducted virtually for the 2023-2024 application cycle.

Yes, but in order for a candidate to be admissible to PCOM's PA studies program, one must have a bachelor's degree completed prior to enrollment in the summer term (early June start).

Candidates complete the requirement in a variety of ways, some of which include: working as a certified nursing assistant, phlebotomist, LPN, EMT paramedic, etc. Many have experienced medicine overseas as volunteers in clinics. Any volunteer work or paid work in a clinical setting wherein candidates are either providing hands on care or witnessing care first hand can be acceptable, depending on the nature of the role. Shadowing experiences are counted and recommended.

Shadowing includes observing a PA in their daily clinical practice and offers the student the opportunity to understand the role and responsibility of a PA. The experience is extremely useful and should be obtained if possible. The experience should be documented and included in your application.

Please visit the physician assistant studies application requirements page for information regarding prerequisite coursework.

The wait list is utilized to fill seats that open after interviews have concluded in February. The wait list is not ranked or ordered. Typically, candidates are selected as seats become available from February until classes begin in June. After all expected candidates arrive for orientation in June, those not selected will be sent a final decision letter.

View the physician assistant studies application requirements page for deadlines and full details on applying to the physician assistant studies program at PCOM and PCOM Georgia.

CASPA allows candidates to apply beginning in mid-April for admission the following summer. There is no supplemental application. However, when applying to PCOM through CASPA, you will be required to complete PCOM-specific questions before submitting your application.

All required application materials, including the application fee (one fee per location), must be received by the Office of Admissions by the deadline in order to be considered for admission. Please review the application process section on the physician assistant studies application requirements page for additional details.

Yes. Applicants must obtain an undergraduate science and cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale (as calculated by CASPA). Every candidate for admission is reviewed on an individual basis and GPAs of admitted candidates vary. To view recent class statistics, visit the physician assistant studies application requirements page. Applicants with graduate degrees and/or more than five years of health care experience may be considered on an individual basis.

Yes. Candidates may not apply for admission in any other manner. If a candidate is reapplying for admission, he/she must apply through CASPA again and the old file will be married with the new one, once received in the Office of Admissions.