PA Program: Frequently Asked Questions

pa program student group
How do students prepare for PANCE during the clinical year?

Students should be well prepared for the PANCE prior to graduation while completing the Marywood PA Program.  Students first are tested on every PANCE topic during their clinical year.  So students are continually studying for their boards.  Students also are provided with end of rotation day lectures on board related topics.  Students are given a Mock Boards exam during their clinical year along with the PACKRAT, a standardized testing tool, to help prepare for boards.  Students are allowed 1 week off during the clinical year to attend a board review conference of their choice.  Lastly, students are provided with a board review course on campus the week of graduation.

Does the program offer job placement services?

The program does not guarantee job placement.  Faculty do provide students with any emails/requests they receive for job placements.  Faculty also help students write a curriculum vitae and cover letter.  They provide lectures on contract negotiations and the interview process.  Students are also able to discuss job offers with PA faculty and review of their contracts.

Does the PA program provide housing at clinical sites?

The PA program does not provide housing at clinical sites but also does not send a student to a location where they do not have housing.  For example, if a student says they have housing in Virginia, they may be sent to rotations in Virginia in driving distance from their house.  A student that is not from Virginia would not be placed there and expected to find housing.  Many students keep local housing as they complete rotations near Marywood.

Can I select any of my own rotations during the clinical year?

Yes!  At Marywood, you have an individualized rotation experience.  Each student will be assigned a clinical advisor who will work with them on setting up their clinical rotations.  Students are able to make suggestions on rotations they would like to complete either locally or out of the area.  Although all of these accommodations are not guaranteed, most students are pleased with the input they have into their clinical experiences.

Where are the clinical rotations located?

The clinical rotations can be located anywhere across the United States.  Some students elect to stay "local" and are scheduled as rotation sites within a 1 hour drive from campus.  Other students like to complete rotations either near their home town or other geographical location to have a varied experience on how medicine in practiced.  We encourage students to spend at least 1 rotation out of the area so they get some diversity in the way medicine is practiced.

What type of financial assistance is available?

Most students receive a combination of loans, grants, and, in the case of our Pre-PA students, work-study.

What kind of support is available for students in the PA program?

We offer a Mentor-Mentee program that matches a Didactic year student with a Clinical year student, as a “mentor” to help guide a new student through the program.  Every student is also assigned a faculty advisor.  Advising meetings will occur at least once per semester, at which time the advisor and student will discuss their academic progress.    Professionalism assessments will also be performed once per semester, which allows students to perform a self-assessment of their professionalism and receive feedback from their advisor. 

What is a typical student schedule?

This is a full-time program, with no part-time option. During the first year, students will have classes Monday through Friday, generally from 8:00 a.m. to at least 5:00 p.m.  There may be one or two evening classes per semester as well. 

While on rotations during the second year, students will go to a new rotation site every five weeks and are expected to fulfill the hours required at different sites, including evenings, weekends, and on-call coverage.  A Marywood PA student will complete all of their rotations in 1 year.  Students will start in May and end in May prior to graduation from PA school.  Students will be scheduled in 10 - 5 week rotation blocks in various specialties.  Some specialties are required such as pediatrics, emergency medicine, and internal medicine.  Some rotations, such as the students clinical track choice and elective, are in specialties that the student can choose.

Will I be able to work full-time while I am going to PA school at Marywood?

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 year, most of our students will average 50 or more hours per week in clinical learning activities.

If I am chosen, is there an orientation program for new students?

There is a mandatory week-long orientation that occurs one week prior to the start of Summer classes in May.

How many students are in each cohort?

The PA program is accredited for a maximum of 60 students per cohort.  Approximately half of those students come from Marywood’s Pre-PA program. 

How can I find a PA to shadow?

We require candidates to shadow a PA for a minimum of 50 hours. We do not provide a shadowing service. If you don't already know a PA, you may consider asking a local health care provider, local medical office or area hospital to recommend a practicing PA. Just make sure to first obtain permission from the physician assistant and be aware that you may also need permission from the hospital or clinic, as there are strict patient privacy (HIPPA) issues involved.

What’s next if you’re offered a seat on the Wait List?
  1. Confirm if you want to be on the wait list.
  2. Those on the wait list can potentially be admitted into the program up until May.
  3. Continue with your current experiences and complete your prerequisite courses.
  4. Review the website and statistics on admitted students. Re-assess your application to find areas for potential improvement.  For example, maybe you had one or two low grades that lowered your overall and/or prerequisite GPA, or maybe you were not involved actively in community service, or merely forgot to include it on your application.
  5. Start your process of reapplying for the next admissions cycle. If this is the path you are committed to, then keep trying!
What should I expect if I get placed on the wait list?

The wait list is utilized to fill seats that open after interviews have concluded. Typically, candidates are selected as seats become available.  After all expected candidates arrive for orientation in May, those not selected will be sent a final decision letter.

When can I expect to receive an admission decision?

Applicants are notified of an admission decision within two weeks of their interview. Upon acceptance, a $500 non-refundable deposit is required to secure your spot in the program.

Do you accept Advanced Placement credits?

Yes, as long as your undergraduate institution granted AP credits and they are listed on your transcript.

Do my prerequisite courses need to be complete prior to applying?

No, however all applicants must have completed the prerequisite courses prior to matriculation into the program.  If you are granted admission, you will need to provide Marywood with your updated transcript and proof of degree completion (if applicable) prior to matriculating into the PA program.

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.

When does the program begin?

The Master of Physician Assistant Studies program is 24 months in duration and begins in May.

What is the deadline for application?

The Admissions Cycle opens in mid-April every year, and the deadline for admission is October 1st.  Any application that is received or incomplete after that date will not be reviewed and the applicant will be ineligible for consideration during that cycle.