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frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions  

Answers to many common questions about the Master of Science in Physician Assistant degree program can be found on the following webpages:

Answers to a select number of other frequently asked questions are below:


What are the required prerequisite courses?
Visit our Admission Requirements section to view required prerequisite courses.

Does my major area of study as an undergraduate matter?
In general, no. As long as the prerequisite courses (see above) are successfully completed, your major does not matter. While most of our students major in a science, students from a wide variety of educational backgrounds have succeeded in the program.

Can I apply if my prerequisite coursework is incomplete?
Yes. It is fairly common for an applicant to still be in the process of completing prerequisite coursework. All prerequisite coursework must be completed by the end of the spring semester prior to matriculation. Applicants who have completed all prerequisite coursework will generally have a more competitive application.

What if my prerequisite coursework did not include a laboratory component?
Science prerequisite coursework must be accompanied by a laboratory session. Coursework without a laboratory session will not meet prerequisite requirements.

What can I do if my prerequisite coursework is more than 10 years old?
To be considered for admission, coursework must have been completed within the last 10 years. Older coursework must be repeated.

Can I take an online course to meet a prerequisite requirement?
Online courses from an accredited institution are generally acceptable, provided they have a laboratory component where required in our prerequisites. If you have a question about a particular course or institution, please contact us before registering.

Are there GPA requirements?
For an application to move forward, the applicant must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.2 as well as a GPA of 3.2 in the prerequisite coursework.

What if my GPA is below 3.2?
It will be necessary for you to take additional coursework or repeat coursework until your GPA reaches the required level.

How can I complete the healthcare experience requirement?
Providing direct, hands-on patient care is the strongest healthcare experience. Visit our Admission Requirements section for examples of how to complete this requirement.

What is the admissions committee looking for?
Applicants must demonstrate they can perform at a high level while taking a heavy course load. Beyond that, the committee looks for unique skills, talents and abilities that will help the entire class to succeed.

Application Process

When does the admission process open?
Applications will be accepted from June 15 through December 15.

Does the program participate in CASPA?
No, the program does not participate in the CASPA application process. The link to the Seton Hall online application is available on our Admission Requirements page.

Do you maintain an admission wait list?
Yes. Students may be admitted from the wait list until the semester begins.

Can I transfer into the program or be admitted with advanced standing?
No. All students are required to complete all Seton Hall MSPA program coursework.

If I already have a medical degree, can I be admitted with advanced standing?
No. All students are required to complete all Seton Hall MSPA program coursework.

Do you allow part-time status?
No. At this time, all students take a full-time curriculum.

Is preference given to residents of New Jersey?
No. Seton Hall is a private institution. State of residence is not considered as part of the admission process.

How are applications evaluated?

When an application is received, it is screened to ensure it meets the minimum academic standards. If minimum academic standards are met, the admissions committee follows the evaluation process detailed on our Admission Requirements page.

Is an interview required?
Yes. All candidates being considered for admission will be invited to campus to interview. Meeting the minimum standards for admission does not guarantee that an applicant will be invited for an interview.


If I am accepted, what is the next step?
Accepted students must confirm their intent to attend and submit a deposit to hold their seat. The deposit is non-refundable and will be applied to your tuition.

When does the program begin?
The first year of the program begins in late August and follows Seton Hall's academic calendar.

What must I do to be medically cleared to begin class?
All incoming students must undergo a physical examination by a licensed healthcare provider. An up to date DTap vaccination (within five years) is required. Students undergo tuberculosis screening, most commonly with a PPD. Finally, students must demonstrate serologic immunity to measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and hepatitis B. Documentation must be submitted to the program using forms that will be supplied to the student prior to matriculation.

Are criminal background checks conducted?
Yes. All enrolled students undergo criminal background screening. Our clinical education faculty will inform you of this process. Please note that acceptance into a physician assistant program does not guarantee that a student will be eligible for state licensure. If there is anything in your background history that is of concern to you, please consult a qualified attorney.

Curriculum & Clinical Rotations

What is the schedule like?
The first year of the program begins in late August and ends in late May. Classes generally take place between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Once clinical rotations begin, a student's schedule is established by the clinical site and can vary widely. Students should expect to be at a clinical site at least 40 hours a week. Some outpatient rotations may have a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, while surgery rotations may require a 12-hour day with overnight and weekend call. During clinical rotations, students return to campus once a month for examinations, lectures and to meet with advisors.

How is the anatomy lab conducted?
Our anatomy instructor uses prosected cadavers as well as models and computer simulations to ensure that students achieve a well-rounded mastery of anatomy.

How are clinical rotations scheduled?

Our Directors of Clinical Education will work with you to develop your schedule. We have rotation sites throughout the area, but if you would like to rotate at a facility we are not currently affiliated with, we will attempt to make the necessary arrangements.

What are rotations like?
Students rotate through a wide variety of settings. In some settings, the student will participate as a member of a healthcare team that will include medical students, resident physicians and attending physicians. In other settings, students might work in a close one-on-one relationship with a physician assistant or physician. Exposure to diverse settings helps to provide a well-rounded educational experience.

What is the research component of the curriculum like?
Working with a small group of your classmates, you will develop a research question, design a study, collect and analyze data and report your findings. Throughout this process, students are supported by coursework in research methodology, epidemiology and biostatistics.

What are the advantages of a three-year program?
The length of our program allows for extensive clinical experiences. Students will complete a minimum of 64 weeks of clinical rotations, with the opportunity for additional experience if desired. The length of rotations also affords students some flexibility in planning time off and the opportunity to engage in a meaningful research project as noted above.

How does the program promote leadership?
It is our belief that every PA is called to be a leader. Some will become leaders at the national or local level, and some will be leaders in their practice and for their patients. Our faculty members have served in numerous roles in a variety of organizations at the local and national level. We are very aware that we are preparing the next generation of PA leaders, and we look forward to working with our students to see how they can use their talents to get involved.

How do students feel about the quality of education they receive?
Here is what some students have had to say:

"The best thing about this program is the demand for excellence in every aspect of our learning, from clinical rotations to test taking."

"The best thing about Seton Hall PA program is the intense medical and procedural training that parallels the training of medical students and some residents."

General Information

What is the program's accreditation status?
The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Physician Assistant Program. 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 2017. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Do you offer information sessions?
Physician assistant faculty members attend Graduate Open Houses held on campus during the Spring Semester. You are also free to contact us with any questions or to arrange a campus visit.

What degree is awarded at graduation?
Students earn a Master of Science degree upon successful completion of the program. After passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), physician assistants are issued NCCPA certification (National Commission on Certifying of Physician Assistants) and can use the PA-C designation until the certification expiration date (approximately two years).

Who can I speak to regarding financial aid?
The majority of students use financial aid to finance their education. Personnel from the Seton Hall Office of Financial Aid are available to assist with your questions. You will also find information here: Graduate Financial Aid Overview.

Can I work while enrolled in the program?
Training to become a physician assistant demands a full-time commitment. Due to the rigorous nature of the curriculum, it is recommended that students not engage in outside employment. If a student chooses to work during the academic year, the work schedule must not interfere with class performance or clinical rotation schedules.

When was the program founded?
Physician assistant education began at Seton Hall with a joint program with the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1995. Seton Hall was accredited as an independent program in 2001.
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