All students are required to remain in the cohort with whom they were admitted. Students are not given the option to drop into the class behind them in the case of academic difficulty. The only exception to this policy is if a student is required to take a leave of absence. Please see the tab titled "Leave of Absence" for more information.

A student may be granted a leave of absence only in the case of personal illness, family emergency or other circumstance beyond the student's control. Students are not given the option to drop into the class behind them in the case of academic difficulty. A request for leave must be made in writing to the program director. Once approved by the program director, all medical leaves will require a medical letter stating the student is under the care of a provider and must submit a new letter for return to the program. A leave taken without consent from the program director may result in dismissal from the program. Because the curriculum is "lock-step," a leave of absence is strongly discouraged in the didactic phase of the program. A student will be forced to wait until the following academic year to resume study. A leave of absence is only granted until the following academic year. A student must complete the professional phase of the Physician Assistant Studies program in 40 months including any leave of absence.

Prior to returning to the program, students must pass a comprehensive examination covering all material up to and including the point at which the student left the program. In the clinical year, a comprehensive examination must be passed if a leave extends for more than two clerkships.

A leave of absence will affect a student's full-time status and financial aid package. It is strongly suggested that a student consult a financial aid advisor when considering a leave of absence. Schedules of tuition reimbursement are published in the Hofstra University Bulletin each year. It is the student's responsibility should additional costs incur secondary to a leave of absence.

A leave of absence – or if for any reason a student's graduation is delayed – will likely affect the student's University graduation date, and therefore their ability to begin working. Although the NCCPA allows students to take the PANCE examination once program requirements are complete, the University does not issue a diploma until after the specified University graduation date for that year.

There is no advanced placement in the professional phase of the program. All components of the professional phase of the program must be completed by all students.

The program requires applicants to have minimum 50 documented hours of health care experience. Many types of experience will qualify, and the experience ideally includes direct observation of a practicing physician assistant (shadowing). The experience may be paid employment, such as working as a paramedic or EKG technician. The experience may be as a volunteer in a hospital or other healthcare facility.

Applicants who have accumulated more than the minimum hours of experience will have a stronger application, but the quality of the experience is also important. Shadowing a PA in clinical practice is one of the best ways to understand the physician assistant role in modern healthcare systems.

There is no advanced placement in the professional phase of the program, therefore, no credit for experiential learning in the professional phase.

The program strongly discourages any type of outside employment during studies. Program responsibilities are not negotiable and will not be altered due to student work obligations. Furthermore, working has been a chief cause for academic difficulty in past years.

Students who choose to volunteer or be paid employees during their physician assistant training cannot use their affiliation with the program in any aspect of that employment. Any activity undertaken by the student, independent of the program, is not covered by the liability insurance offered for clinical work associated with physician assistant training. Students are not permitted to perform clerical or administrative work for the program.

Students may not substitute for regular clinical or administrative staff during the clinical year. Should such a request be made of a student, it should be reported to the program director immediately. 

The program director must be notified in writing should a student decide to withdraw from the program. It is imperative that students review and follow Hofstra University withdrawal policies.

A physician assistant student must possess several abilities and skills. The use of a trained intermediary is not acceptable in many clinical situations in that it implies that a candidate’s judgment must be mediated by someone else’s power of selection and observation. Therefore, each student must be able to:

  • Observe a patient accurately, at a distance and close at hand, with or without standard medical instrumentation.
  • Acquire information from written documents and to visualize information as presented in images from paper, film, slides, or video.
  • Comprehend X-ray, EKG, and other graphic images with or without assistive devices.
  • Speak, hear, and observe patients by sight to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communication. 
  • Communicate effectively with patients and their families in both written and oral modalities.
  • Possess motor skills necessary to perform palpation, percussion, auscultation and other diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers, basic laboratory tests and emergency therapeutic procedures, including airway management, placement of intravenous catheters, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, application of pressure to control bleeding and suturing of wounds.
  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, synthesize, and comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand spatial relationships of structures according to standard medical care.
  • Exercise good judgment and complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients promptly. Develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients.
  • Tolerate physically taxing workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the practice of clinical medicine.


Where a candidate’s ability to observe or acquire information through sensory modalities is compromised, the candidate must demonstrate alternate means and/or abilities to acquire and demonstrate comprehension of essential information. Costs of necessary accommodations should be reasonable and will be properly borne by the college when not the responsibility of the student or otherwise funded.

Hofstra University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state and local requirements regarding applicants and students with disabilities. For general information about support services for students with disabilities, contact:

Julie A. Yindra
Student Access Services (SAS)
Suite 107 Mack Student Center
126 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549-1260
Phone: 516-463-7075

At no time are students required to provide or solicit their own clinical sites or preceptors.