Preparation for Careers in Today’s Rapidly Changing Medical Environment
Arcadia’s Physician Assistant (PA) program provides students from across the country with the foundation for professional growth through personal attention, quality instruction, diverse clinical experience, and a commitment to excellence. To that end, the program continues to enjoy an overall exceptional pass rate on the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) board examinations, with a five-year first-time taker average pass rate for the program of 99%.
The program produces graduates well-equipped to deliver high-quality, cost-effective health care in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, physicians' offices, and other community settings. Arcadia’s program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission of Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
The Arcadia University Physician Assistant Experience
The PA Program is in the Department of Medical Science, in the College of Health Sciences which includes the departments of Physical Therapy and Public Health
One program withtwo campuses: Glenside, Pa., and Christiana, Del.
Option for Dual Degrees of Master of Medical Science—Physician Assistant and Master of Public Health (M.M.S., M.P.H.) at Glenside Campus
Technologically advanced 3D anatomy visualization tables for anatomy and physiology education that complements the protected human cadaver experience
Clinical simulation experiences including standardized patients, training models, and multiple clinical skills and procedures training opportunities throughout the two years
Advanced technology to enhance the educational experience including video capture lecture for synchronous and asynchronous learning and electronic note service to promote a collaborative learning environment
Eleven second-year program-secured clinical rotations consisting of seven required rotations (one of which is repeated) and three elective rotations
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Arcadia University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Arcadia 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remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards.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 March 2028. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed when you can click on the "document" on the ARC-PA website.
The Arcadia University Physician Assistant Program graduates students who may sit for licensure in all 50 states.
We are facing an unprecedented and challenging time in academia. Arcadia University has offered the student-centered approach of adopting a revised pass/fail grading policy for the Spring 2020 semester. The Physician Assistant Program recognizes that many undergraduate institutions from across the country have adopted this policy as well. Please note that a passing grade for any prerequisite course taken this semester will meet guidelines for admissions criteria. This will include guidelines for our assured admission pathways.
Please note that we will NOT accept Pass/Fail for any prerequisite courses required to enter the Program that have been taken after the spring semester of 2020. This applies to both the assured admissions pathway AND the regular applicant pool. If a student chooses the option of Pass/Fail for a prerequisite course after this time they will need to take it over so that we may see the final grade and factor that into their GPA. Please contact admissions with any questions.
Prerequisites for Admission
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a recommended GPA of 3.0 or better. The prerequisites listed below must have been completed within the previous ten years. The program does not allow students to waive courses, nor does it accept students with advanced standing.
Biological Sciences—five courses to include Anatomy, Physiology, and Microbiology. Biochemistry is recommended.
Chemistry—three courses to include at least one semester of Organic Chemistry.
Applying for Admission
All applications are processed by the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA, www.caspaonline.org).
Students are automatically considered for merit scholarships and graduate assistantships based on their academic records upon applying for admission to the program. More information.
Minimum Technical Standards for Admissions, Continuation, and Graduation
Technical standards are defined as the attributes considered necessary for students to complete their education and training and subsequently enter clinical practice. These standards are prerequisites for entrance to, continuation within, and graduation from the Arcadia University Physician Assistant program. They are also prerequisites to licensure by various state professional boards. Reasonable accommodation will be offered for persons with disabilities in conjunction with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. View standards.
Enrolled Student Profile
Class of 2023
Total number of applications: 3349
Total number enrolled: 104
Average Overall GPA: 3.66
Average Science GPA: 3.60
Average GRE: 313 verbal and quantitative combined, 4.4 analytical
Average patient care hours: 1,868
*Approximately 95% of admitted students have GPAs that fall within this range. Applicants with exceptional clinical experience, defined as working three years or longer as a health professional (i.e. RN, PT, OT, Pharmacist) with a GPA outside of this range are also encouraged to apply.
Arcadia University has articulation agreements with the University of Delaware and West Chester University. Interested students should contact Arcadia's Enrollment Management office for details.
The first three semesters of the program consist of didactic and laboratory coursework in the basic and clinical sciences, including a 12-week anatomy course with a prosected cadaver experience. First-year students are introduced into clinical settings as part of the Medical Interview and Counseling course in the summer semester and these encounters continue into the clinical year. At the conclusion of the didactic year, students complete their core competency examinations, receive training in clinical procedures and participate in standardized patient simulation experiences. During the clinical year, in addition to coursework, students participate in supervised clinical experiences, standardized patient simulation experiences and return to campus periodically for exams and professional development days.
This is a 24-month program. At the discretion of the program director, students in the clinical phase may take up to a three-month leave of absence only. All degree requirements must be completed within 27 months.
The clinical phase consists of eleven rotations. There are seven required rotations (one of which will be repeated) in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Behavioral Medicine, Internal Medicine, Women’s Health, Pediatrics, and Surgery. In addition, there are three clinical electives. Prospective and enrolled students are not required to solicit clinical sites or preceptors. Students are still allowed to suggest clinical sites or preceptors, as long as the program evaluates and approves those suggestions for educational suitability. All clinical preceptors and sites must meet the requirements of the program. Each student’s clinical year schedule is at the discretion of the program. Changes to rotation schedules are not made at student’s request.” Faculty members perform site visits while the students attend their supervised clinical practical experiences. Every 12 weeks, the students return to campus for exams and professional development experiences.
Master of Public Health Dual Degree Option
Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) prepares graduate Physician Assistants for leadership roles in meeting community healthcare needs. The M.P.H. program focuses on population health and includes the disciplines of epidemiology and biostatistics with an in-depth fieldwork thesis project oriented toward a student’s primary area of research interest. Students complete the coursework for the M.P.H. in the year prior to entering the PA program. More information.
Online Textbooks and Journals
All students enrolled in Arcadia University's PA program (both campuses) have access to an extensive array of online full-text medical journals and textbooks.
Students are required to bring their own laptop computer to all classes.
Arcadia University PA Admissions FAQs
When can I apply and what are your deadlines?
All applicants must apply through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) portal. The CASPA portal opens in late April. The application deadline is October 1 and admissions are on a rolling basis. Interviews will be conducted beginning in July and typically ending in November. Applying early in the admissions cycle is strongly recommended given the program’s rolling admission process.
Do you accept prerequisite courses from a community college?
Yes, as long as the institution is regionally accredited, prerequisite courses from a community college are accepted. Please note that some required courses may not be offered at two-year colleges due to the academic level of the curriculum.
Do you accept prerequisite courses taken online?
Some prerequisite courses may be taken online, however, they must be taken at a regionally accredited institution. Please note it is strongly recommended that science prerequisite courses be taken with a lab component.
Do you accept AP credits?
Yes, as long as your undergraduate institution granted AP credits and they are listed on your transcript.
What types of experiences do you accept as patient care hours?
Patient care experiences should involve direct contact with and care for patients in a medical setting. Examples of experiences that qualify as direct patient care include work as an EMT, CNA, PT aide, and home health aide. The goal is to gain exposure to, and experience in, direct patient care. There are many scenarios in which this can be accomplished.
Administrative and research experiences, although valuable, do not qualify as patient care experiences. Hours spent shadowing physicians and/or physician assistants (PAs) are recommended, but are not accepted as direct patient care hours. Hours of patient care experience gained as part of a degree or certificate training program are also not accepted as patient care experience hours. Some examples of direct patient care experiences include:
Physical Therapy Aide
Patient Care Technician
Clinical Care Technician
Clinical Medical Assistant
Personal Care Assistant
First Aid Responder
Do you accept multiple applications from one individual (for the two-year program - Glenside Pa., the two-year program - Christiana Del., and the dual degree program)?
Applicants interested in the two-year PA program, without a preference for either campus, are encouraged to apply to both campuses. We recommend that applicants with a campus preference apply only to their campus of choice. Each applicant who applies to both campuses will be considered for one campus at the discretion of the Arcadia Physician Assistant program after a holistic review of his/her application.
Applicants with a strong interest in public health who are considering the three-year dual degree program may choose to only apply to this program or may apply to the two-year program as well. Again, each applicant will be considered for one program at the discretion of the Arcadia Physician Assistant program after a holistic review of his/her application.
How many students attend the two-year PA program at each campus?
The program is accredited for 56 students at the Glenside campus and 49 students at the Christiana campus for a total enrollment of 105.
Is there a supplemental application?
I have not completed all of the prerequisite courses, can I apply with any in progress?
Yes. However, you may have no more than two prerequisite courses outstanding at the time of application if you are in the regular applicant pool. Arcadia University undergraduate students who are assured admission candidates may have no more than one prerequisite course outstanding at the time of application.
Biochemistry is listed under biological sciences as a recommended prerequisite. If I have five additional biological science courses, can this course be considered a chemistry prerequisite?
Yes, it can be.
Do I need a Bachelor’s degree prior to applying?
No, however, all applicants must have completed their bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation into the program. If you have completed most prerequisites and are in the process of finishing your bachelor’s degree you may apply and be granted conditional acceptance. Proof of your degree will be required prior to matriculation.
Can prerequisites be waived if I have extensive healthcare experience?
No. The stated prerequisites are required of all applicants.
Do you accept foreign applicants?
Arcadia welcomes applications from non-U.S. citizens. Official results with acceptable scores from the TOEFL IELTS, or Duolingo are required for all students for whom English is a second language, except for non-native speakers of English who hold degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand). A course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts by an independent evaluation service based in the United States also is required. It is strongly recommended that all science prerequisites be taken at an accredited U.S. institution. Individuals applying for admission to the PA program who have completed their education outside the United States or Canada are required to submit to CASPA a World Education Service (WES) foreign evaluation of their coursework taken outside of the United States or Canada. The scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to CASPA in electronic format and be no more than two years old.
Our faculty are nationally-known clinicians and educators.