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Physician Assistant Program

The Program

Master of Science

This twenty-seven month, full-time program is designed to provide the academic and clinical foundations for primary-care Physician Assistants; to foster the development of the attitudes, values, and behavior appropriate for professional health-care providers; and to prepare students to participate in a team approach to patient care. Emphasis is placed on student understanding of the role and responsibilities of Physician Assistants in the provision of quality health service, in the treatment and management of disease states, in meeting the health care needs of a richly diverse patient population and in fostering health promotion and disease prevention.

The program, which begins in late May or early June, offers a 27-month, upper-division professional course of study leading to the M.S. degree. The curriculum integrates the basic sciences, social sciences, medical sciences, and clinical experiences needed to provide a comprehensive introduction to the practice of medicine.

The four-semester didactic phase consists of lectures, laboratories, and practical and simulation experiences designed to provide students with the knowledge necessary to address patients in a clinical context. The clinical phase consists of ten supervised clerkships (clinical training experiences) at a broad range of clinical affiliates, designed to provide seniors with a valuable opportunity to develop and refine their professional clinical skills. Graduates of our Program are trained with a focus on Primary Care, but are qualified to practice medicine in different settings under the supervision of a licensed physician.

Physician Assistant graduates from Programs in New York State are required to successfully complete the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistant (NCCPA) initial certification examination, before becoming licensed and registered to practice medicine in the state. However, they may obtain a limited permit which allows Physician Assistants to practice temporarily prior to passing the Board exam.

Detailed information regarding the Physician Assistant Profession in New York State and licensure requirements may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Professions, Board of Medicine.

NCCPA is the only credentialing organization for Physician Assistants in the United States and is dedicated to assuring the public that certified Physician Assistants meet established standards of knowledge and clinical skills upon entry into practice and throughout their careers.

5 year NCCPA Performance Report PDF »

Detailed information about the National Certification Exam for Physician Assistants may be obtained by contacting the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).


Meeting Its Mission

The SUNY Downstate PA Program is committed to educating highly qualified, diverse Physician Assistants, interested in meeting the health care needs of Brooklyn and New York City residents. The PA faculty collectively possess close to 100 years of PA clinical experience and are national recognized as leaders in the field to PA education.


The Program offers a stimulating curriculum, utilizing innovative instructional methods designed to meet student need. Students enjoy rich clinical experiences in varied urban clinical settings. The program is recognized for its academic and clinical excellence and education of over 500 Physician Assistant graduates of diverse backgrounds, who are practicing in all medical disciplines and settings in Brooklyn as well as throughout New York City, New York State and the nation.


The program has been fully accredited since its inception (1992). It is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. and the next accreditation review is 2019. The program is also approved by the New York State Board of Higher Education and Board of Regents.