Natural Sciences

Physician Assistant 3+2 program*

*Pending Accreditation - Provisional

Bachelor of Arts in Biology
Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies 

Mount Saint Mary College has applied for Accreditation - Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Mount Saint Mary College anticipates matriculating its first class in May 2016, pending achieving Accreditation - Provisional status at the September 2015 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Undergraduate component of the 3+2 Physician Assistant program (pending Accreditation-Provisional)

The Physician Assistant (PA) program is a 3 + 2 sequence. Students who complete the three-year undergraduate program and the first year of the graduate program will earn a bachelor’s degree in Biology. Successful completion of the entire graduate program will result in a master’s degree in Physician Assistant studies. 

Expected program sequence

Students who complete the 3-year undergraduate portion will earn credits toward the 4-year bachelor's degree in Biology.

If the student applies and is accepted into the Mount’s 2-year graduate program in PA Studies, and maintains the required grades, the student will earn a bachelor's degree in Biology in the first year of the master’s program, and a master's degree in PA Studies at the end of the second year.

Alternate scenarios

If the master’s program in PA Studies is not accredited by ARC-PA, the student will still have earned credits toward the 4-year bachelor's degree in Biology.

If the student changes his or her mind about applying to the program, or is not accepted into the master’s program in PA Studies, the student will still have earned credits toward the 4-year bachelor's degree in Biology.


The American Academy of Physician Assistants describes a PA as a healthcare professional who is trained and licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. A PA license allows one to perform any medical or surgical duties that are delegated to him/her by the physician. This usually involves working as part of a team in the big hospitals or being the only medical care provider in smaller, remote, and inner city clinics.

PA duties include preventing, maintaining, and treating human illness and injury. They provide a broad range of health care services that were traditionally performed by physicians. PAs routinely conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests. They may also counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, give medical orders, and write prescriptions.

Program Requirements

The PA program at Mount Saint Mary College seeks to admit highly qualified and motivated students. Acceptance into the program is competitive and enrolled students must meet prescribed standards to continue in the program.

In addition to the admission requirements, the PA program at Mount Saint Mary College has standards that must be met by the student to remain in the program. Admission to the graduate PA program is competitive and, while our undergraduate students are given preference, there is no guarantee of automatic enrollment in the program.


Upon completing the full 3+2 PA Studies program, students will:

  1. Function as competent, compassionate healthcare providers of medical services to the community;
  2. Critically assess the healthcare needs of a diverse society of patients, and determine the most effective clinical responses to those needs;
  3. Effectively communicate with other healthcare providers and with patients;
  4. Educate patients about healthcare in a supportive and encouraging manner;
  5. Practive collaborative medicine (under the direction of a physician) in an ethical, socially responsible, and professional manner.

Opportunities for Student Involvement

Beta-Beta-Beta (Tri-Beta) is the biological sciences honor society on campus. The Lambda Theta Chapter was the first Mount honor society, established in 1975. Active membership is open to Biology majors who have completed the first semester of their sophomore year and attained a cumulative average of 3.0 or greater in all courses in Biology. Associate membership is open to all students interested in the life sciences; students may join as freshmen. There is a one-time fee for this honor which makes one a permanent member of Tri-Beta and includes an honor cord to be worn at graduation. The society is one of many similar chapters at colleges and universities throughout the country and strives to stimulate scholarship, disseminate scientific information, promote biological research, and provide camaraderie. Members participate in field trips, lectures, and a variety of activities throughout the year.

Gamma Sigma Epsilon is the Chemistry honor society on campus. Students who have completed 16 credits in Chemistry with a B (3.0) average in their Chemistry courses are eligible to be inducted into Gamma Sigma Epsilon.

The American Chemical Society's student affiliate group is recognized as an official on-campus club and receives funding for their activities through student government. This student group sponsors trips, talks, community outreach activities, and participation in campus events. There is an annual fee to be an official student member of ACS, which includes a weekly chemical news magazine.

Alpha Chi is a national college honor society for full-time juniors and seniors of all disciplines. To be eligible, a student must rank in the highest 10% of the class.

Students may participate in the activities of Tri-Beta, GSE, and the ACS student affiliate group without officially joining any of these organizations, but joining will afford them the benefits of formal recognition of their participation.


Students may pursue undergraduate research as part of their major requirements Student have the opportunity to carry out an independent research project under the supervision of a member of the faculty. 

Students are also encouraged to apply for admission to summer research programs at the Mount (Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, S.U.R.E.) or to other colleges and universities throughout the country. In addition, the Career Center offers students information about co-op/internship opportunities for research experiences during the semester and the summer. This office assists students with resume development, interviewing skills, and completion of applications for various research programs.

Career Outlook

The 2008-2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts almost a 40 percent increase in employment for PAs in the next decade. New York State is second only to the state of California in the number of PAs statewide, and the NY Metro area has the highest concentration of PAs nationally. Advisors from the medical community agree that there will be increasing local and regional need and career opportunities for PAs. 

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