Students with a strong desire to become a physician assistant have the opportunity to apply to the dual degree program. This innovative program affords high-achieving students the opportunity to gain entry into this very competitive profession. This program (BS/MS) allows the student to earn a BS in Biology from the College of Arts and Sciences, and a Master of Science - Physician Assistant (MS) from the School of Health and Medical Sciences in six years instead of the usual seven.
All students in the dual-degree program must fulfill the core requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, the departmental requirements for a degree in Biology and the requirements for the Physician Assistant degree. An adviser will assist students in planning their course of study to complete the program within the six-year time span. The combined B.S./ M.S.P.A. program is unique because it accepts students for enrollment in the entire program. Students who maintain the required GPA as an undergraduate are guaranteed admission into the final three years of professional studies. Due to a limit on the number of PA students in each entering freshman class, admission into the program is extremely selective.
Students who maintain the required GPA of 3.2 overall and 3.2 in selected courses (A&P I and II, Microbiology, Chemistry I and II, Calculus I, General Biology I and II, and Psychology - with no grade less than “C” in prerequisite courses) during each academic semester and complete the course requirements within the Department of Biological Sciences will enter the professional phase of the program after their junior year. Students enrolled in an undergraduate dual degree program must declare their intent to continue matriculation in their major no later than August 15 prior to their junior year. Eligible students seeking to transfer into any SHMS dual degree program will be considered on a space-available basis.
At the end of the sophomore year, students must achieve an overall and prerequisite GPA of 3.0. At the end of the junior year, students must achieve an overall and prerequisite GPA of 3.2. At this point, with a 3.2 overall and prerequisite GPA, students maintain their guaranteed seats and move directly into the graduate program.
If a student fails to meet that requirement at the end of the sophomore year, he/she loses the guaranteed seat in the dual degree program. Instead the student can close out the baccalaureate degree in Biology and apply to the graduate PA program as an outside student with no guaranteed seat.
If a student fails to meet that requirement at the end of the junior
year, he/she loses the guaranteed seat in the dual degree program.
Instead the student can close out the baccalaureate degree in Biology
and apply to the graduate PA program as an outside student with no
Prior to entering the professional phase of the program, students are also required to spend a minimum of 100 hours observing or working in a clinical environment. The goal of this experience is for the student to develop insight into the complexity of the clinician-patient relationship. Students may meet this requirement in a variety of ways. In the past, students have worked in paid positions as medical aids or emergency medical technicians. Other students have met this requirement by volunteering in a clinic or hospital. The volunteer work can be satisfied at any time prior to admission into the fourth year.
Following successful completion of the senior year coursework the student is awarded the Bachelor of Science Degree. Two additional years of coursework and clinical rotations are required to complete the Master of Science - Physician Assistant degree.
Dr. Gerald Ruscingno
Director of Health Professions
College of Arts and Sciences
B.S. Program Website
alternate e-mail address: Ruscinge@shu.edu
Professor Chris Hanifin, PA-C, MS
Department of Physician Assistant
School of Health and Medical Science
M.S. Program Website