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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Physician Assistant Program

Master of Science (MS) Program

2017 MS Group

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 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.

Pass Rates

Review the Five Year Pass Rate For All Test Takers 2016-2020 and the Student Attrition Rate 2018 - 2020


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

Program Goals and Outcomes

Important information can be found in SUNY DSHU PA PROGRAM GOALS AND OUTCOMES 2016-2022  


At its September 2019 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center Physician Assistant Program sponsored by the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center on Accreditation-Probation status until its next review in September 2021.

Probation Language
In order to more accurately reflect the processes of the Commission’s decisions related to probationary status, at its March 2020 meeting, the Commission voted to make changes to the probationary status language.  The new language now reads as follows with changes highlighted:

Accreditation - Probation Accreditation - Probation accreditation is a temporary status of accreditation, up to two years, granted when a program holding an accreditation status of Accreditation - Provisional or Accreditation - Continued does not meet the Standards or when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened. Once placed on probation, a program that fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and/or risk having its accreditation withdrawn.

Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the Program Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at: