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FAQ

PROGRAM QUESTIONS

What degree does Hofstra offer? 
Applicants who enter as graduate students obtain a Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 28 months.  Applicants who enter as freshman dual-degree pre-physician assistant students obtain a dual Bachelor/Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 5 ½ years.
Do you accept freshman students?
Yes, we have a freshman dual-degree student program.  Students must complete an admission application using a Hofstra University application or Common Application.  Students are only admitted during the fall semester of their freshman year. 
Do you accept transfer students into the direct entry program?
No, Hofstra’s PA program does not accept transfer students.  Students can enter the PA Program in either of two ways: by acceptance into the freshman dual-degree student program starting in the fall freshman year or as a Post-Baccalaureate professional phase student.
What type of Bachelor’s degree is required to be eligible for the graduate degree program?
As long as all prerequisite courses are completed, students who complete a Bachelor’s degree in any area of major are eligible.  However, we recommend majoring in science and or health related coursework such as biology, chemistry, and biochemistry. An intense course load prior to entering a physician assistant program is suggested. The program also prefers that the applicant takes coursework at no more than three institutions to demonstrate continuity and commitment to a program or institution.
Is the program accredited?
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Hofstra University Department of Physician Assistant Studies Program sponsored by Hofstra 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remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards.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 September 2026. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.
How long is the program?
The graduate program is 28 months of full-time coursework that includes summers. There is a freshman dual-degree program that is 5 ½ years in length.
When does the program begin?
The graduate level academic year begins in the fall corresponding to Hofstra’s fall semester.
How many students are admitted into the professional phase of the PA Program each year?
Fifty students enter the professional phase of the program each year.
Are there clinical experiences during the first year of PA school?
During the fall and spring semester of the first (didactic) year, students complete a full history and physical examination on admitted patients at a local hospital.  This allows students to apply didactic coursework clinically and begin developing critical thinking skills.  During the second (clinical) year of PA school, all students complete 8 clinical clerkships (internships).
Do you have a cadaver lab? 
Yes, we utilize a state of the art cadaver lab housed in Hofstra’s Medical School.  A practical, clinical approach to teaching the class is used further fostering real-life application.  Hofstra’s cadaver lab also contains a significant amount of pathological (diseased) specimens from which students can gain additional knowledge.
Where are some of your rotation sites during the clinical year?
Our goal is to provide students with diverse clinical experiences that will provide students with strong clinical skills.  Thus, the program secured clerkship sites on Long Island, throughout the boroughs of New York City and many outside of the local area as well. Some of our sites include, but are not limited to: Winthrop University Hospital, Maimonides Medical Center, Coney Island Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Lenox Hill Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as well as a number of private practices and clinics.
Do Hofstra University undergraduate students get preferential seating in the PA Program?
Graduates of Hofstra University do not receive preferential seating in the PA Program.  A maximum of 35 seats are held for students entering the PA Program through the freshman dual-degree route. 
Why should I choose the Hofstra University Physician Assistant Program?
  • Hofstra University is centrally located on Long Island allowing easy, quick access to areas of interest such as New York City and beaches.
  • The location allows for a diverse, well rounded clinical clerkship experience  allowing students access to many learning environments.
  • Hofstra’s PA Program incorporates a unique clinically focused cadaver lab.
  • In partnership with the Northwell Center for Learning and Innovation, Hofstra’s PA program integrated simulation experiences into the curriculum that emulate true to real life experiences, further expanding student skills and knowledge.
  • The use of MedU cases, an innovative compilation of computer-assisted clinical educational program, provide a unique opportunity to utilize technology and case-based learning.
  • Improving student preparation for the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) examination, virtually all the multiple-choice examinations are completed utilizing a computer-based platform modeling the PANCE exam.
  • The program has consistently achieved high pass rates on the PANCE while maintaining low attrition (dismissal from the program) rates.  
  • Hofstra’s beautiful campus grounds allow for an exciting yet tranquil environment conducive to learning and formulating new friendships.
  • The curriculum at Hofstra is designed to meet the needs of applicants coming from different stages of their academic career.  Applicants can apply as a freshman or as a graduate student.
  • The distinctive curriculum is designed to augment the educational experience with emphasis on life-long learning and a team-approach to medicine.
  • The highly dedicated, skilled, and passionate faculty and staff focused on achieving student success.

ADMISSION PROCESS

What is the admission process like at Hofstra?
The graduate program application process begins when the program receives fully completed and verified applications and then these applications are reviewed. We encourage students to apply as soon as possible as completed applications are reviewed as they are received. Once applications are reviewed and are found to meet program requirements, some are selected for interview and admission decisions are determined.  Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee an interview as the applicant pool is often robust. 

Freshman direct entry applicants should contact the Undergraduate Admissions department for application status questions.
What applicant information does the program look at in the screening process?
The program utilizes a holistic admission process.  During the pre-interview screening process, specific points are applied to the following items:
  • Overall GPA
  • Science GPA
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Professional preparation (prior healthcare related and/or volunteer experience
  • Personal Statement
  • The number of schools an individual attended - points are assigned for a lower number
  • The number of withdrawals, incompletes, and/or C's - points are assigned for a lower number
  • The number of upper level science courses, not including prerequisites, an individual achieved a B or better in - points are assigned a higher number
  • Three or more science courses taken in one semester
I have applied to the PA Program and would like to know the status of my application.
Applicants should check the status of their application via the CASPA portal regularly.  Due to privacy issues and inability to verify individuals by phone, Hofstra staff and faculty will not provide status information over the phone.  If you received an email stating your application was obtained by Hofstra, then your application is under review.  As your status changes, and as the Admissions Committee makes decisions, you will be notified via email. 

 Freshman direct entry applicants should contact the Undergraduate Admissions department for application status questions.
I would like to update my application information with a current transcript or other documentation.
We ask that you hold onto this until it is requested or you are invited for an interview.
What is the deadline for submitting an application?
Admission to the graduate program is on a rolling basis beginning in April of the preceding year.  The deadline for submitting an application through www.caspaonline.org is October 1st for entrance into the next fall cohort.  Applicants must have their application verified by CASPA (GPA calcuated) by the deadline date.  Applications must be completed (e-submitted, payment received, transcripts received, and two letters received) at least four weeks in advance of the deadline to ensure the application is verified by CASPA on time. 
Application to the freshman direct entry program is on a rolling basis and a Hofstra University application or Common Application must be completed.
The application deadline has passed, can I still apply?
No, once the admissions to the graduate program application deadline passes, students will  not have the ability to submit an application.    Application to the freshman direct entry program is on a rolling basis and a Hofstra University application must be completed.
Do you require the GREs? 
No, Hofstra’s PA Program does not require the GRE.
I am a foreign medical graduate. What do I need to apply?
Your foreign transcript must be evaluated by World Education Services and submitted to CASPA.  Please see CASPA for specific questions.  TOEFL examination scores are required in some circumstances.
I received an interview, but was not accepted to the program. What can I do to strengthen myself if I reapply?
When a student is not accepted to the program following an interview, it is helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
  • Did I have a good understanding of the PA profession and sufficiently express this to the interviewers?
  • Did I shadow a PA and was my shadowing experience robust enough to give me a good idea of the role and scope of practice of a PA?
  • Did I express myself well to the interviewers or do I need to improve my communication skills?
  • Did I present myself in a professional manner?

Answering these questions honestly and working to improve some of these areas may be very beneficial if you decide to reapply to the program. Shadowing additional PAs to gain increased knowledge about the profession, or enlisting an interview coach can be helpful.

PREREQUISITES

Do I have to have all my prerequisites completed before I can apply?
No, we recommend applying as early as possible but with no more than two outstanding courses (including those in progress or planned).  Freshman direct entry applicants will complete all prerequisites as part of the undergraduate curriculum.
Does Anatomy and Physiology I and II count for the Human Anatomy and Physiology pre-requisite?
Yes, as long as the total credits for both courses equal 8 credits.  Human Anatomy and Physiology courses that count toward the Biology major at the college or university you are attending are strongly recommend.  Freshman direct entry applicants will complete Anatomy and Physiology I and II as part of the undergraduate curriculum.  Taking Anatomy and Physiology I alone does not satisfy the prerequisite requirements.
May I take Comparative Anatomy to satisfy the Human Anatomy prerequisite?
No. Although taking a Comparative Anatomy course would augment your application, Human Anatomy is required.
May I take another Statistics course other than Biostatistics?
Yes.  For example, Statistics of Psychology or Sociology often satisfy the prerequisite. 
Will taking more upper level science courses enhance my application?
Yes. Weight is given to applicants who have taken more than one upper level science course within a semester and have received a grade of B or better in those courses.
I’m not sure if a course will satisfy a prerequisite, what should I do?
Please send the course syllabus and the name of the college/university to paprogram{at}hofstra.edu.  If you are unable to get a copy of the course syllabus, then you must provide the following information in order for the course to be properly evaluated: course name, course number, course description, course credits and college/university name.  Once the course is evaluated you will be contacted. 
Do the pre-requisites need to be taken within a certain number of years?
Yes, the following four courses must be taken within five years of the start of the PA curriculum:
  • Biochemistry or Organic Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Human Physiology
  • Human Anatomy (or A&P I & II in place of both Anatomy and Physiology).
Is there advanced placement in the PA professional phase?
No, all students completing the professional phase of the program must complete all course work. 
Can prior work experience be applied to PA Program coursework?
Although prior work experience in a health care related field will likely enhance your application and weight is given to applicants with prior medical experience, credit is not given for previous work experience.
I am a medical professional and my prerequisites are past the five year requirement, do I still need to retake these courses?
Yes.  This policy was put in place to ensure that important basic concepts can be easily recalled.
Can one prerequisite course satisfy two prerequisite courses? 
No, each course can only be applied one.

GRADE POINT AVERAGE QUESTIONS

How are GPAs calculated?
Hofstra utilizes GPAs calculated by CASPA.
I do not meet the minimum GPA requirements of an overall and science GPA of 3.2. Should I apply to the PA Program?
Although we utilize a holistic approach to our admission process, the applicant pool is competitive and our GPA requirement is absolute.  Therefore, applicants whose GPA falls below our minimum requirement cannot be considered for admission.  If you are currently taking a course that may bring your GPA above the required minimum, please wait until completion of the course to submit your application. Freshman dual-degree applicants must maintain specific criteria to keep their seat in the professional phase of the program.
What are some suggestions for increasing my GPA?
Take a good look at your transcript. If there are courses for which you received AP credit in high school such as Biology or Chemistry, you may want to consider retaking these courses. Also, retaking coursework where you received a grade of C or C+ is also a good idea. In addition, if any of your science coursework was for non-majors, retake courses for majors. Lastly, taking additional upper level science courses may not only increase your GPA, but will strengthen your foundation when taking the difficult medical coursework in the PA program.
I retook a course that I did not do well in.  Will the first grade count towards my GPA?
Yes. CASPA includes all coursework taken when calculating your GPA.

HEALTH CARE EXPERIENCE

What activities constitute health care experience?
Health care experience must involve interaction with patients and can be obtained in a number of ways and may include either paid or volunteer positions. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
  • Volunteer in a hospital or outpatient medical office
  • Shadowing a physician assistant (strongly recommended)
  • Medical assistant
  • Patient care technician
  • Certified nursing assistant
  • Phlebotomist
  • Licensed practical nurse or registered nurse
  • Respiratory therapist
  • EMT or paramedic
  • Pharmacy technician
What documentation is required for health care experience? 
In addition to the list of activities documented on the CASPA application, a letter stating the hours completed and a brief description from the institution, on their letterhead, signed by an authority must be submitted before matriculation in to the PA Program. 
I am having difficulty finding a shadowing opportunity, what should I do? 
We strongly recommend shadowing a PA.   With privacy laws (HIPAA), it has become increasingly difficult to locate shadowing opportunities.  We suggest you contact the volunteer office at a local hospital and begin by volunteering.  While volunteering, you will not only have the opportunity to observe how a hospital is managed and take care of patients and their needs, you will also have the opportunity to talk with PAs and other health care professionals.  At that point, you may be able to identify a PA who will allow you to shadow them.  It may be a good idea to reach out to family, friends and your own health care provider to assist with identifying a PA to shadow.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Will I be able to work during PA school?
Like many PA schools, the curriculum is intense and class and clerkship hours are mandatory and variable.  Students are strongly advised not to work during PA school.  It is best to consider how you will obtain financial support before entering PA school.
What type of financial aid is available to help fund my education?
Students enrolled in the PA Program may apply for federal loan assistance, which is available in various forms. Specific information regarding financial aid can be obtained by contacting the Student Financial Services office.   Departmental scholarships are also awarded. We recommend searching for external funding that may be available. Some resources are listed below. 
  1. National Health Service Corps (NHSC):  https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/
  2. New York State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA): http://www.nysspa.org/
  3. American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA): http://www.aapa.org/your_pa_career/pa_students/resources/item.aspx?id=913#SCHOLARSHIPS_AND_TRAINEE_SHIPS
  4. PA Foundation: http://www.pa-foundation.org/
  5. United States Army: http://www.goarmy.com/amedd/allied-health/benefits.html
Are there housing opportunities?
Information about housing can be found at the Hofstra website or by calling the Office of Residential Life.  It is not uncommon to have student cohorts connect through social media and formulate living arrangements.
When is your next Open House?
For applicants interested in the Post-Baccalaureate program, please contact Graduate Admissions for the schedule. Office of Graduate Admissions: 1-866-GRADHOF or 1-516-463-4723.  For those interested in the freshman direct entry undergraduate program, please contact the Office of Admissions. Be sure to confirm that a representative from the PA Program will be in attendance.
If I have additional questions, what should I do? 
We strongly recommend you attend an Open House.  This will allow you the opportunity to meet with faculty, students, and explore Hofstra’s campus.  Reviewing the PA Program website in detail will also assist with answering many of your questions.  The next best way to obtain information is to email paprogram{at}hofstra.edu where a representative will be able to provide you with detailed information.  You may also call the main PA Program phone number at 516-463-4074.