When does the program accept applications?
The Program accepts applications through the CASPA system every year. The admissions cycles open on April 30. The deadline for CASPA applications to the WSU PA Program are August 1st. A supplemental application is also due at the same time. Final materials for pending prerequisites can be sent directly to the Program after that deadline, until matriculation. Applicants can refer to our CASPA program page for more information and the link to the supplemental application when the cycle opens, April 30.
What are the prerequisites for the program?
- A baccalaureate or graduate degree from an accredited institution with an overall GPA of 3.0
- A minimum of 500 hours of patient contact are required (such as EMT, scribe, paramedic, lab tech, volunteer, nurse's aide)
- All prerequisite courses below must be completed with a grade of "C" or better, resulting in a 3.0 or higher GPA
- One university/college-level statistics course
- One university/college-level ethics course
- One general psychology course
- 30 semester hours of biological, chemical and physical sciences, which must include Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II with lab, Microbiology, Genetics, and Biochemistry. The statistics, ethics, and psychology courses do not count toward the 30 semester credit hours.
- A personal statement
How are applications submitted to the program?
Applications will be submitted through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). An additional supplemental application is submitted through the University directly. The link to the supplemental application is listed on our Admissions Requirements page.
How can I make my application as competitive as possible?
In addition to having a strong GPA in the science courses, competitive applicants will have high-quality patient care experience.
What work experience will I need in order to satisfy the experience portion of the prerequisites?
Many different types of patient care experience (such as EMT, scribe, paramedic, lab tech, volunteer, nurse's aide) are accepted so long as they involve direct contact with patients. A breadth of experience with patient populations that spans all of the stages of life and types of settings is highly valued by the Program.
How long will the program be?
The program can be completed in twenty four months.
What will be the structure of the program?
The first year focuses on didactic studies, in which students complete coursework employing a systems approach and learn a variety of pedagogical techniques. The curriculum is full-time and very demanding. Following the successful completion of coursework, a competency-based course will be offered to assure the readiness of the student to enter clinical clerkships. The student will then progress to 12 months of clinical clerkships throughout the region and beyond. The clinical clerkships are in private medical offices, hospitals and medical centers in areas such as primary care, pediatrics, hospital medicine, surgery, and emergency medicine.
Where is the program in the accreditation process?
The Westfield State University Physician Assistant Studies program has been granted "Accreditation - Continued" status by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The full accreditation statement is:
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Westfield State University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Westfield State 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 March 2032. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.
The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-westfield-state-university/
Will there be information sessions?
We hold information sessions throughout the year, at Westfield State University and now virtually. You can RSVP to one of the dates by going to the main page of our Program. A link is provided there to RSVP. You can also follow our social media accounts for announcements.
Where are classes held for the PA program at Westfield State University?
Courses are held in the Dr. Nettie M. Stevens Science and Innovation Center as well as in our program classroom.
Where are the clinical clerkships be located for the program?
Clinical clerkships are located throughout Massachusetts and beyond. The clinical clerkships are in private medical offices, hospitals, and medical centers.
How long will classes be in the program?
During the didactic year, the program involves course work that will fill the entire day.
What credentials will I have upon completion of the Physician Assistant program at Westfield State University?
Upon completion of the Physician Assistant program, students are awarded a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Westfield State University.
What financial aid options are available for students in the program?
Students are able to make use of a variety of financial aid options through the Westfield State University College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE). You can contact Simone Backstedt for more information that is specific to financial aid for the PA Program.
Is university housing available to the students in the program?
Graduate students have the opportunity to use university housing, subject to availability. Students can contact the Associate Director of Housing, Dr. Joshua Hettrick.
Is there a GRE requirement for applicants to the program?
There is not a GRE requirement for applicants to the program.
Does the program require letters of recommendation for the applicants?
Yes. The program requires at least three letters of recommendation for the applicants. The letters should come from different aspects of their academic and professional career. For example, applicants can submit letters from a professional supervisor, clinical mentor, and a professor.
Does the program require a personal statement from the applicants?
Yes. The program requires a personal statement from the applicant.
Does the program have rolling admissions?
The WSU PA Program does not have rolling admissions. All applications will be reviewed prior to selecting who to invite to interview.
Does the program accept prerequisites taken at a community college or online?
The WSU PA Program accepts prerequisites taken at accredited institutions of higher education. These include courses taken at community colleges and accredited online programs. The courses must have credit hours. Certificates do not satisfy course prerequisites. Applicants may email the program to confirm that their specific course will be accepted. The email must include a copy of the course description and syllabi for the Admissions Committee to review.
What kind of documentation must applicants provide to verify patient contact hours?
Applicants must provide documentation from the HR or coordinator of the organization(s) from which they had the patient contact. This can be in the form of a letter detailing the hours and experience as well as a report generated by the organization.
Can applicants have outstanding prerequisites when they apply to the program?
Applicants may have up to two (2) prerequisites in progress when they apply through CASPA. Applicants must list their plan to complete the prerequisite(s) prior to matriculation. They will be required to submit a copy of their final transcript directly to the program. Applicants will not be able to matriculate without completion of all prerequisites.
What kind of course may be permitted to substitute for the ethics course prerequisite?
Applicants interested in substituting another course for the ethics prerequisite must email a copy of the desired course's description and syllabus. Acceptable courses must list dilemma and conflict processing and resolution in the objectives and outcomes. The Admissions Committee will review the description and syllabus. A response with approval or denial will be sent once a decision has been made.
When will the program hold interviews for the applicants?
The Admissions Committee will review all applications and select which applicants will be invited to interview here at Westfield State University. More information will be provided when candidates are invited to interview.