M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies

Physician assistants (PAs) provide medical care to patients under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. In practice, PAs perform a large percentage of the same care patients receive when they visit a doctor, including taking histories, performing physical exams, ordering labs and diagnostic studies, making initial diagnoses and formulating treatment plans, prescribing medication, performing procedures, and assisting in surgery. PAs may specialize in any area of medicine or surgery and enjoy lateral mobility, meaning that they may move from specialty to specialty without additional formal training.

LIU Brooklyn's Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program was the first in the region to be approved by the New York State Education Department. Successful completion of the program enables the candidate to register as a physician assistant and to sit for the National Certifying Examination administered by the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

The program is a member of the Physician Assistant Education Association and is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)(

The M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies is an intense, 28-month professional program that prepares health practitioners to work in a wide variety of clinical settings. Physician assistants take medical histories and perform physical examinations, select and interpret diagnostic tests and manage the health problems of patients under the supervision of a physician.

During the didactic year, medical courses are augmented with weekly clinical experiences. During the clinical year, students are assigned to clinical rotations for fifteen months on a full-time basis, returning to the program once every five weeks.

After meeting all Campus and degree requirements, the Master of Science degree is conferred upon the candidate. This enables the candidate to register as a physician assistant and to sit for the National Certifying Examination administered by the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

The highest ethical and professional standards are expected to be upheld throughout the physician assistant course of study. The program is challenging and requires dedication, a high ethical standard, and professionalism in addition to intelligence, skill and medical knowledge.


The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued to the Physician Assistant program sponsored by Long Island 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 2023. 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

Graduation Rate - Physician Assistant Studies, M.S.


Graduated Classes

Class of 2021

Class of 2020

Class of 2019

Maximum entering class size (as approved by ARC-PA)




Entering class size








* Attrition rate




**Graduation rate




*Attrition rate calculation: Number of students who attritted from cohort divided by the entering class size.​

**Graduation rate: Number of cohort graduates divided by the entering class size.​


The Division of Physician Assistant Studies supports Long Island University’s mission through the education of men and women of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds in the art and science of medicine in order that they may become competent, compassionate, high quality healthcare providers.  

Goals and Outcomes

Goal 1: Medical Knowledge: The LIU PA Program strives to prepare students and graduates to be knowledgeable, clinically competent providers of high quality medical and surgical care via the completion of a rigorous 28-month curriculum.

  • Graduates are expected to meet or exceed the national mean first time pass rate on the PANCE.
  • Students and graduates from each cohort are expected to be eligible for academic scholarship and professional excellence recognition via induction into national honor societies.
  • Clinical preceptors of second year students are expected to score clinical year PA students as above average or excellent in regards to their medical fund of knowledge and critical thinking skills.

Goal 1 Outcomes:

  • The PA Studies PANCE first time test taker report may be viewed via the link posted to the PA Studies website page.
  • LIU PA Studies inducts graduates and faculty into Pi Alpha, the prestigious national honor society for Physician Assistants annually.
  • LIU inducts deserving PA students into Alpha Eta, the prestigious national honor society of Allied Health Professionals annually.
  • LIU PA students won NYSSPA (New York State Society of PAs) student scholarship awards in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
  • A student from LIU PA Studies’ class of 2013 was one of only 13 students in the nation to win a Scholarship of Excellence Award from the prestigious Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP).
  • Clinical Clerkship Preceptor evaluations of LIU PA students over the past 5 years have consistently rated LIU PA clinical year students’ factual knowledge and problem solving/critical thinking as above average to excellent.

Goal 2: Community service: The LIU PA Program encourages PA students to serve the community and to embrace compassionate service as a fundamental cornerstone of Physician Assistant practice.

Goal 2 Outcomes: PA Students participate in community service activities voluntarily. Examples of such activities include:

  • Bi-annually, the didactic and clinical year classes join together to organize food drives to serve the hungry in New York City’s most indigent neighborhoods.
  • Students in the classes of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 have participated in the annual Breast Cancer Walk, Juvenile Diabetes Mellitus Walk, and HIV/AIDS walk.
  • PA Students volunteered with Habitat for Humanity NYC rebuilding homes for families in need.
  • PA Students hold annual toy drives during the winter holiday season.
  • PA Students held Winter Coat drives in 2017 and 2018.
  • PA students and faculty have participated in the PA Foundation’s Communities that Care fundraisers. In 2015, the LIU PA Program earned Gold Recognition status for their efforts.
  • PA students organized Bone Marrow Donor registry drives in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and registered over 70 new donors.
  • PA students annually participate in Relay for Life, a cancer fundraising event that helps communities across the globe fight back against cancer.

Goal 3: Professionalism: Development of the PA Profession. The LIU PA Program strives to generate national and regional awareness, appreciation, and promotion of the value and key role of the physician assistant (PA) on the health care team. The LIU PA Program strives to engender a sense of pride in the profession, service to the profession, and leadership in its students and alumni.

Goal 3 Outcomes:

  • The LIU PA program won a President’s commendation award from NYSSPA for exemplary support of the PA profession in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
  • The LIU PA program has a 100% student membership rate in the New York State Society of Physician Assistants.
  • The LIU PA Program has a 100% student membership rate in the American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • The LIU PA Program participates annually in the “PAs on the Plaza” event. Students and faculty of LIU’s PA Program join other PAs and PA students in NYC at the Rockefeller Plaza based NBC Today Show to promote recognition of the PA profession.
  • LIU PA Students in the classes won NYSSPA student scholarship awards in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
  • PA students in the classes of 2013 and 2017 were elected as NYSSPA Student Directors.
  • LIU’s School of Health Professions hosts a High School Honors Institute during which high school students from across the nation spend a week at LIU and participate in educational exercises about the PA profession as well as simulation labs with an Interdisciplinary team including PA, RT, PT, OT, and Diagnostic Imaging faculty.
  • Graduates of the LIU PA Program hold leadership positions in professional organizations, entrepreneurship, and hospital settings. Examples of such LIU include:
    • David E. Mittman, PA-C, DFAAPA:   President, American Academy of Physician Assistants (2018-2019)
    • David E. Mittman, PA-C, DFAAPA: Editor-in Chief of Clinician1, the largest online community of PAs and NPs.
    • Dwayne A. Williams, PA-C, Best-selling author of PANCE review textbook: PANCE PREP PEARLS
    • Alex Tang, PA-C, NYSSPA Committee on Diversity Chair (2018-2019)
    • Gina Abdulahad, PA-C, NYSSPA Communications Committee Chair (2018-2019)
    • Colleen Kalmbach, former Director of Physician Assistant Services at New York-Presbyterian Hospital
    • Martin Morales, PA, MHA – Corporate Director, Physician Assistant Services, Northwell Health System

Goal 4: Interprofessional Education: Patient centered care: The LIU PA Program strives to educate students to successfully collaborate with colleagues and work in interdisciplinary teams in order to promote patient centered care and ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.

Goal 4 Outcomes:

  • Organized by a task force of faculty and administrators, the Interprofessional Learning Experience at LIU is designed to give students the opportunity to engage with other practice areas and gain an understanding of the roles, responsibilities, and ethical considerations of many different members of a health care team that contribute to the welfare of a patient. Twice annually, over 500 students and 60 faculty members from LIU Pharmacy, the School of Health Professions: PA, PT, OT, RT, etc., and the Harriet Rothkopf Heilbrunn School of Nursing at LIU Brooklyn participate in an Interprofessional Learning Experience, an interactive learning opportunity that is at the cutting edge of health care education.

This bi-annual event welcomes students from a broad scope of health care programs to work together on a model patient case scenario to generate and frame an interprofessional group discussion about ethics and practitioner roles in professional practice.

  • Student evaluations of IPE sessions have been overwhelmingly positive. 96% of PA students rate these activities as excellent learning experiences.
  • In the clinical year of study, students also have the opportunity to participate in an IPE assessment in a hospital-based setting using the simulation labs. Clinical year PA students have noted these experiences to be valuable and recognize the importance of IPE in providing high quality, error free, patient centered care.

Goal 5: Employment and career satisfaction of new graduates: The LIU PA Program’s goal is to find that new graduates have secured gainful employment within 8 months of graduation of the PA Program and are happy with their careers as Physician Assistants. To prepare graduates for entry into the workforce, students receive lectures on interview skills, CV and cover letter writing, and employment package expectations.

Goal 5 Outcomes:

  • 100% of the class of 2017 was employed or in the credentialing process within 8 months of graduation per graduate survey respondent results.
  • 100% of the class of 2016 was employed or in the credentialing process within 8 months of graduation per graduate survey respondent results.
  • 94% of the class of 2015 was employed or in the credentialing process within 8 months of graduation per graduate survey respondent results.

100% of the classes of 2015-2017 were pleased with their decision to enter the PA profession per graduate survey respondent results.

Program Competencies

The program’s defined competencies are based on the Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession as developed jointly by the National Commission on Accreditation of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the Accreditation Review Commission for Education of the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).

Student success in achieving program competencies are monitored throughout all phases of the program. For example, but not limited to, the program’s faculty and clinical preceptors evaluation of students through a variety of assessment tools, including but not limited to multiple choice examinations, collaborative group projects, objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), reflection papers, and clinical performance evaluations.

Our graduates will demonstrate entry-level proficiency as PAs in the following program competencies:

Medical Knowledge

- Demonstrate core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care
- Demonstrate an investigative and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations
- Understand, evaluate, and apply the following to common emergent and non-emergent medical, surgical, and behavioral scenarios:

• History and physical findings and diagnostic studies to formulate differential diagnoses

• Management of general medical and surgical conditions to include pharmacologic and other treatment modalities

• Interventions for prevention of disease and health promotion/maintenance

Interpersonal and Communication Skills
- Demonstrate interpersonal and communication (verbal, nonverbal, written, and electronic) skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, patients’ families, physicians, professional associates, and other individuals within the health care system
- Accurately and adequately document information regarding care for medical, legal, quality, and financial purposes

Patient Care
- Obtain an accurate history and perform a comprehensive physical exam
- Perform medical and surgical procedures common to primary care
- Provide health care services and education aimed at disease prevention and health maintenance

- Demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements
- Demonstrate sensitivity to a diverse patient population by identifying the socio-cultural, familial, psychological, economic, environmental, and spiritual factors impacting health care and health care delivery; and responding to these factors by planning and advocating the appropriate course of action at both the individual and the community level

Practice-based Learning & Improvement
- Critically evaluate the medical literature in order to use current practice guidelines and apply the principles of evidence-based medicine to patient care

Systems-based Practice
- Provide advocacy and support to assist patients in obtaining quality care and in dealing with the complexities of health care delivery systems
- Demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger system of health care to provide patient care that balances quality and cost, while maintaining the primacy of the individual patient


Students may attend LIU Brooklyn on a part-time or full-time basis while completing their prerequisite courses. During this phase students are expected to:

Direct Care Experience

Complete a minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care experience by no later than at the time of matriculation to the Division of Physician Assistant Studies. Of these 500 hours, a minimum of 400 hours must be completed by the time of submission of CASPA application. Acceptable types of direct patient care experience include:

— Medical assistant
— Surgical technologist
— Licensed practical or registered nurse
— Dental assistant
— Dental hygienist
— Certified nursing assistant
— Home health aide
— Residential aide
— Emergency medical technician
— Paramedic
— Physical therapist
— Occupational therapist
— Physical therapy assistant
— Physical therapy aide
— Occupational therapy assistant
— Occupational therapy aide
— Respiratory therapist
— Perfusionist
— Electrocardiographic (EKG) technician
— Phlebotomist
— Ophthalmologic technician
— Volunteer work involving direct patient care
— Shadowing a physician, physician assistant or dentist
— Athletic Trainer
— Scribe


  • Obtain at least a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university no later than at the time of matriculation to the Division of Physician Assistant Studies.
  • Maintain a required grade-point average of 3.0 or above (overall and science) in courses taken at an accredited college or university.
  • Demonstrate acceptable academic performance.
  • Complete all prerequisite coursework, which includes the courses listed below.
  • All such courses must be taken at an accredited college or university. The student must receive a grade of no less than C. All prerequisite courses must be completed no later than at the time of matriculation to the Division of Physician Assistant Studies.
  • One year (two courses) of not less than 4 credits each in general biology, with laboratory;
  • One year (two courses) of not less than 4 credits each in general chemistry, with laboratory;
  • One semester (one course) of not less than 4 credits in human anatomy, with laboratory;
  • One semester (one course) of not less than 3 credits in human physiology, with or without laboratory;
  • One semester of microbiology (at least 3 credits);
  • One semester of statistics (at least 3 credits)

All prerequisite coursework must be college-level courses (AP courses will not be accepted). Any prerequisite courses listed above taken more than 10 years prior to matriculation will not be accepted.


Initial application to the Professional Phase of the program for transfer students should be made through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) by visiting CASPA will collect and summarize all of the applicant's data (application form, transcripts, and recommendations) which will be forwarded to the Physician Assistant Program. When all materials have been collected and reviewed, selected applicants will be invited for a personal interview. If the candidate is accepted to the program, a deposit of $500 is required to hold a seat in the incoming class.

The application to the Division of Physician Assistant Studies is evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. A cumulative grade-point average of 3.0.
  2. A cumulative science grade-point average of 3.0.
  3. A personal statement as to why the applicant wishes to become a physician assistant.
  4. Breadth and amount of patient care experience.
  5. Three satisfactory recommendations included in the CASPA application.
  6. Completion of course work and above criteria within a specified time limit.
  7. Completion of the GRE by CASPA APPLICATION DEADLINE (January 15). There is not currently a minimum score set by the Division of Physician Assistant Studies for this examination. Our GRE Code is 2369.
  8. A recommendation for acceptance from the Division of Physician Assistant Studies Admissions Committee, based upon all entities as described above.

All applications will be screened and reviewed. Some applicants are selected for personal interviews based on the strength of the written application. If an applicant is invited for a personal interview, the interview itself is evaluated on the criteria of satisfactory performance based on assessment of qualities such as interpersonal relations, concern for others, integrity, and an ability to communicate effectively and maturely.

The Division of Physician Assistant Studies does not offer advanced standing to any applicants, including those who have prior experience as a medical student or physician assistant student or who are foreign medical graduates. 

International Students

Applications are welcome from international graduate students who hold the equivalent of a four-year bachelor’s degree. All international and non-native applicants must take the TOEFL examination. The minimum total score accepted is 79 on the Internet-based test, 213 on the computer-based test, or 550 for the paper-based test. All international students who attended colleges and universities outside of the United States will need to submit a course-by-course evaluation of their transcript(s) by an accepted international credential evaluation agency.

The Division is accredited to have 42 students enrolled in the curriculum. Please apply online at My LIU. For more information on the admissions process, visit the Office of Admissions website.

Advanced Standing Policy

The Division of Physician Assistant Studies does not offer advanced standing to any applicants, including those who have prior experience as a medical student or physician assistant student or who are foreign medical graduates.

Technical Standards

Observation - The ability to observe is required for demonstrations, visual presentations in lectures and laboratories, laboratory evidence and microbiological cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathological states. A candidate must be able to observe patients accurately and completely, both closely and from a distance. Observation requires functional vision and somatic sensation and is enhanced by a sense of smell.

Communication - A candidate should be able to speak, hear and observe patients in order to elicit information, perceive non-verbal communications and describe changes in mood, activity and posture. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients through speech, and through reading and writing. Communication in oral and written form with the health care team must be effective and efficient.

Motor - A candidate should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation and percussion, as well as to carry out diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should have motor function sufficient to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Such skills require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and sensation.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities - Problem solving is a critical skill demanded of physician assistants; this skill requires all of these abilities. The candidate must also be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships as well as the spatial relationship of structures.

Behavioral and Social Attributes - A candidate must have sufficient emotional health to fully use his or her intellectual ability, to exercise good judgment, to complete all responsibilities, and to attend to the diagnosis and care of patients. A candidate must be able to develop mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and colleagues. A candidate must be able to tolerate physical and emotional stress and continue to function effectively. A candidate must possess qualities of adaptability, flexibility and be able to function in the face of uncertainty. He/she must have a high level of compassion for others, motivation to serve, integrity and a consciousness of social values. A candidate must possess sufficient interpersonal skills to interact positively with people from all levels of society, all ethnic backgrounds and all belief systems.

The administration of the Physician Assistant program recognizes its responsibility to present candidates who have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. The responsibility for these technical standards is primarily placed on the Physician Assistant Admissions Committee to select entering Physician Assistant students who will be the candidates for the degree.

Health Requirements

All students entering or re-entering the M.S. degree in Physician Assistant Studies must complete and submit a Health Examinations/Vaccinations form located in the Forms & Documents section of the University's Admissions website, as well as the Division’s health forms. The Division’s health forms will be sent along with the package of materials that is mailed out once a student is accepted into the program and sends in the deposit to hold the seat. Additional health forms are required for entry into the clinical year of the Division’s curriculum.

Didactic Year Curriculum

Fall Semester

Course Credits
MS 500 Anatomy 3
MS 501 Physiology 1
MS 502A Pharmacology I
MS 504A Clinical Medicine I 4    
MS 503A Art & Science of Medicine I 2
MS 505 Psychosocial Aspects of Medicine 1
MS 506 Pathology 2

Spring Semester

Course Credits
MS 502B Pharmacology II 3
MS 503B Art & Science of Medicine II 2
MS 504B Clinical Medicine II
MS 507 Role Socialization 1
MS 508A Research Methods I
MS 509 Preventive Medicine 1
MS 510 Clinical Laboratory Science 1

Summer Semester

Course Credits
MS 504C Clinical Medicine III 3
MS 508B Research Methods II 1
MS 511 Introduction to Medical Literature 1
MS 512 Medical Informatics 1
MS 513 Surgery 2
MS 514 Emergency Medicine 1


Clinical Year Curriculum

Each clinical year student completes ten (10) clerkships of five (5) weeks in length. The faculty creates an individual rotation schedule for each clinical year student. The student must return to the LIU campus at the end of each clerkship for a two-day End-of-Rotation Meeting with the faculty.

Students must rotate in each of the following clerkships during the clinical year:

FALL, SPRING, SUMMER (3 courses per term)
Course Credits
MS 601 Internal Medicine 4
MS 602 Surgery 4
MS 603 Pediatrics
MS 604 Family Medicine
MS 605 Emergency Medicine 4
MS 606 Obstretrics & Gynecology 4
MS 607 Behavioral Medicine
MS 608 Internal Medicine Elective 4
MS 609 Surgical Elective 4
MS 610 Clinical Elective 4
FALL 2 (following the Clinical Year)
Course Credits
Remaining MS 601-610
MS 611 Clinical Seminar I 1
MS 612 Clinical Seminar II 1
MS 613 Clinical Seminar III 1
MS 614 Summative Evaluation 1
MS 615 Capstone Project 2

TOTAL: 46 Credits

Student Employment Policy

The LIU PA Program requires employed PA students to report their employment status and job title/responsibilities to the PA Program Director. 

PA Students will not be permitted to work for the LIU PA program in any capacity during their tenure as students in the PA Program.

Background Checks and Drug Testing

Many of our clinical/field experience affiliates now require the completion of criminal background checks and/or drug testing for employees, volunteers and students affiliated with the site. Therefore, students may be asked to undergo a criminal background check, and/or a drug screen. A criminal conviction and/or the use of illegal drugs may impede or bar your entry into your chosen field of study. Students desiring entrance into the School of Health Professions should be aware that our clinical/field affiliates can reject or remove a student from the site if a criminal record is discovered or if a drug test is positive. In the event that a student is rejected from a clinical/field site due to information contained in the criminal background check, or drug screen, you may be unable to complete a required clinical/field experience. If you are unable to complete program requirements, you may be advised to withdraw from the program.

In addition, students seeking entrance into health and human service professions should be aware that the presence of a criminal record can result in the refusal of licensing/certification/registration agencies to issue the credential needed to practice in that field of study. Prospective students are urged to contact the pertinent state and/or federal licensing board to inquire whether a criminal record will have an impact on your eligibility to obtain licensure or certification.


Tuition and Fees

LIU PA Students and prospective PA students are encouraged to visit the LIU website for details regarding tuition and fees as well as policies regarding tuition and fees at:

Faculty and Staff

Jenny Sena, DHSc, MS, PA-C | Program Director | Associate Professor |

Stephen DeRoux, MD | Medical Director |

Camille Kiefer, PA-C, RN | Director of Clinical Education |

Brittany O'Gara, MPAS, PA-C | Director of Admissions | Assistant Professor | 

Sherry Shaker, MS, PA-C | Assistant Professor |

Danielle Vitalo, MPAS, PA-C | Assistant Professor |

Marc Igdalsky, MS, PA-C | Assistant Professor |

Anette Blas, MS | Administrative Assistant |

Katherine Browne, BS | Administrative Assistant |

One of the Best Jobs in America

  • U.S. News & World Report ranked Physician Assistant as the No. 1 Best Health Care Job.
  • High ROI – At only 28-months of study and a median annual salary of $104,860 per year as per U.S. News & World Report, a master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies is one of the best values in education.
  • Clinical experience in a variety of practice environments during the PA graduate studies program opens doors to multiple specialties and health care careers.

Direct Patient Care Experience

During the Clinical Year students build the skills to become a highly competent and compassionate professional through ten full-time clinical rotations in different specialty areas including Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Behavioral Medicine and more.


School of Health Professions