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Admissions & Application Process | Tuition & Fees

Prerequisites, Admissions, & Tuition

Physician Assistant Studies (MS)

Physician Assistants (PAs) are health care providers who practice medicine with physician supervision. They are highly sought after members of the health care team who provide diagnostic and therapeutic patient care. The Physician Assistant Studies (MS) program is a full-time, 24-month graduate program that provides an opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

Prerequisites

Both academic work and hands-on patient care experience must be completed prior to applying to the program.  Admissions requirements and procedures are reviewed and revised annually.  Updates are generally made on our web page in late-April.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to review the most current information prior to applying.

The Program reserves the right on a case by case basis to interview and accept individuals whose GPAs and patient care experience hours are outside the defined ranges of those stated as prerequisites if the Admissions Committee considers that these individuals demonstrate potential.

Due to the high volume of requests, we are unable to pre-review transcripts prior to your actually applying to the program.  However, we can answer general questions about the program that are not addressed on our website.  You can call us at 617.373.3195 or email at paprogram@neu.edu.  Please note that during the height of the application cycle (September through December), we may not be able to respond to your emails until after the start of the new year.

The GRE is not required. The program does not have a code number.

Academics

The following academic work must be completed prior to applying by the September 1 deadline. Please review the FAQ section on course prerequisites for additional guidelines and explanations.

Bachelor’s degree in any major from a regionally accredited institution

  • overall GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale as calculated on the CASPA application
  • science GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale as calculated on the CASPA application
  • See FAQ section on Application Evaluation for additional information

2 semesters of biology lecture plus 1 biology lab

  • lectures and labs must be taken at a regionally accredited 4-year institution only.
  • Courses taken at a 2-year community college will not fulfill biology prerequisites.
  • biology lecture courses may be taken in-class or online
  • biology lab course must be taken in-class only
  • must be designated as pre-med level courses by school offering them
  • combined biology lecture and lab courses must be 4-credit courses. Courses worth only 3 credits generally do not include a lab component.
  • must be taken within 7 years of applying to the program
  • grades of solid B or better required in both lecture and lab components
  • course content may include cellular and organismic biology, genetics, and/or evolutionary process. Any combination of 2 biology lecture courses is acceptable including, but not limited to, general biology, genetics, microbiology, immunology, pathophysiology, infectious disease, cell biology, etc.

2 semesters of chemistry lecture plus 1 chemistry lab

  • lectures and labs must be taken at a regionally accredited 4-year institution only. Courses taken at a 2-year community college will not fulfill chemistry prerequisites.
  • chemistry lecture courses may be taken in-class or online
  • chemistry lab course must be taken in-class only
  • must be designated as pre-med level courses by school offering them
  • combined chemistry lecture and lab courses must be at least 4-credit courses. Courses worth only 3 credits generally do not include a lab component.
  • must be taken within 7 years of applying to the program
  • grades of solid B or better required in both lecture and lab components
  • any combination of 2 chemistry lecture courses is acceptable including, but not limited to, general chemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry

Anatomy and physiology that cover the entire body from head to toe including all body systems

  • may be taken in-class or online at either a regionally accredited 2-year or 4-year institution. See FAQ section on Prerequisites for additional information.
  • must be taken within 5 years of applying to the program
  • grades of solid B or better required in both courses
  • most commonly offered as A&P 1 plus A&P 2 or 1 semester of anatomy plus 1 semester of physiology. Course content must be covered in sufficient depth in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the body. A 1-semester A&P course is not adequate.
  • a lab is not required
  • human, vertebrate, and animal A&P are all acceptable

1 course in statistics

  • may be taken in-class or online at either a regionally accredited 2-year or 4-year institution
  • no time limitation requirement
  • grade of solid B or better required
  • topics covered should include hypothesis testing, probability theory, chi square, multiple regression, T tests, Z tests, ANOVAS, correlations, means, medians, modes, etc. as well as how to select and apply the appropriate statistical test, analyze the data, and interpret the results

A laptop computer is required in order to take online exams in class.

For a brief summary of course prerequisites click here.

Advanced placement (AP) or international baccalaureate (IB) credits from high school do not fulfill any of our course prerequisites. For applicants who received college credits for high school biology and chemistry AP courses, upper level biology and chemistry taken in college may be substituted. Statistics must be taken in college even if college credit was given for high school statistics. Non-credit college courses are not accepted to fulfill any prerequisites. Advanced placement will not be awarded to any applicant to the Physician Assistant Program, regardless of prior education or experience.

Biology and chemistry courses need to be the “hard core” science courses that are considered by the school offering them to be pre-med or science major courses. Courses labeled “for non-science majors” are not appropriate.

For applicants who have taken introductory biology and introductory chemistry lecture courses more than 7 years ago, upper level courses may be substituted rather than repeating those basic level courses. However, the upper level courses must have been taken at a regionally accredited 4-year institution within 7 years of applying to the program. Any combination (general or upper level) of 2 semesters of biology lectures plus 2 semesters of chemistry lectures will fulfill the prerequisites. Examples of upper level biology-related courses include, but are not limited to, genetics, immunology, infectious disease, pathophysiology, cell biology, microbiology, etc. Examples of upper level chemistry-related courses include biochemistry, organic chemistry, and inorganic chemistry.

As long as you have taken college biology and chemistry labs and earned grades of solid B or better, it is not necessary to take additional lab courses even if the labs are older than 7 years. Only the biology and chemistry lectures need to be within 7 years of applying.

There are no substitutes for anatomy and physiology. If your A&P courses are more than 5 years old at the time of application, you would need to repeat them and ensure that the entire body and all systems are covered.

Statistics courses offered by various departments (math, biology, psychology, etc.) are acceptable. Calculus cannot be used to satisfy the statistics prerequisite.

Grades of solid B or better are required in all prerequisite courses. ” B-minus” grades or Pass/Fail grades do not fulfill any the prerequisites.

Hands-on Patient Care Experience

Hands-on patient care experience should be completed prior to applying by the September 1 deadline. Please review the FAQ section on hands-on patient care experience for additional guidelines and explanations.

  • evidence of significant direct hands-on patient care experience is required in order for applicants to have a basic understanding of and comfort with patient care as well as a minimum level of clinical maturity. Strongest preference will be given to applicants who have approximately 2000 hours of hands-on patient care experience prior to applying to the program. Applicants with less than 2000 hours may also be given consideration depending upon the strength of their entire application.
  • hands-on patient care involves working one-on-one with patients and doing procedures that require touching patients yourself including, but not limited to:
    • taking vital signs
    • drawing blood
    • doing EKGs
    • changing bandages and dressings
    • casting and splinting
    • removing sutures and staples
    • bathing and toileting
  • partial list of hands-on patient care positions includes, but is not limited to (for a more comprehensive list of both acceptable and unacceptable positions, click here):
    • certified nursing assistant
    • medical/clinical assistant
    • ER tech
    • EMT doing more than patient transfer
    • physical therapy assistant
    • paramedic
    • nurse
    • physical therapist
    • respiratory therapist
    • medical corpsman
  • full-time paid employment done after completing your bachelor’s degree is most competitive, although part-time equivalencies will be considered if they total approximately 2000 hours.
  • all students accepted into the program are required to document their immunizations (i.e., measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, varicella, Td, and PPD) prior to the start of the program.
    Massachusetts CORI checks are required for all students.  Some rotation sites require additional criminal background checks.
  • a laptop computer is required in order to take online exams in class.
  • access to a car or alternative transportation is necessary in order to travel to clinical sites.
International Applicants

For applicants who have earned degrees outside of the United States, the following prerequisites must be completed prior to applying:

  • completion of all the required science courses (see list of specific courses under “Academics” above ) at a regionally accredited institution in the United States, even if these courses were previously taken in your native country
  • TOEFL score within the previous 2 years of at least 100 (internet-based) to demonstrate proficiency in English
  • a certified degree and course-by-course evaluation of foreign transcripts to ascertain equivalences to United States educational standards. Suggested evaluation services include:

World Education Services
Bowling Green Station, PO Box 5087
New York, NY 10274
Phone: 212.966.6311
Website: www.wes.org

Center for Educational Documentation
P.O. Box 170116
Boston, MA 02117
Phone: 617.338.7171
Website: www.cedevaluations.com

Successful completion of the ECFMG or USMLE cannot be substituted in lieu of taking all of the prerequisite courses in the United States. Advanced standing credit will not be given for courses taken elsewhere. All students accepted into the program must successfully complete the entire 2-year curriculum regardless of previous education and degrees.

Current and ongoing hands-on patient care experience is needed in order to be a competitive applicant. While the Admissions Committee may consider experience gained in your home country, hands-on patient care experience in the United States is also required.

Required Technical Standards

A candidate for the Physician Assistant Program must have abilities and skills in:

  • observation
  • communication
  • sensory and motor coordination and function
  • intellectual-conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities
  • behavioral and social attributes

Observation
Candidates and students must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in experiments in the basic sciences, and must observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand, noting both nonverbal and verbal signals. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities.

Communication
Candidates and students must be able to: speak intelligibly, hear sufficiently, and observe patients closely in order to elicit and transmit information; describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and perceive nonverbal communications communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing skills. Candidates and students must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written English with all members of the health care team. Students must demonstrate reading skills at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements, provide clinical care for patients, and complete appropriate medical records, documents, and plans according to protocol in a thorough and timely manner.

Sensory and Motor Coordination and Function
Candidates and students are required to possess motor skills sufficient to: directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other basic diagnostic procedures; and execute motor movements reasonably required to provide basic medical care, such as airway management, placement of catheters, application of sufficient pressure to control bleeding, simple obstetrical maneuvers, etc. These actions require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Candidates and students must be able to: independently access and interpret medical histories or files; identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data; provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses and prescribed medications and therapy; recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans is essential. Good judgment in patient assessment and diagnostic and therapeutic planning is essential. Students must be able to communicate their knowledge to others when appropriate.

Behavioral and Social Attributes
Candidates and students must possess the ability to: use their intellectual capacity, exercise good judgment, and promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients under potentially stressful and/or emergency circumstances; develop empathic, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients; adapt to changing environments and learn in the face of uncertainties that are inherent in the practice of medicine; use supervision appropriately and act independently when indicated. Compassion, integrity, ethical standards, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational process.

Admissions and Application Process

A class of 40 students is admitted once each year. The application deadline is September 1 of the year prior to planned matriculation. The Program begins in late August.

We do not have early decision or rolling admissions. Early application submission does not guarantee early review of your application. All applications (CASPA and Supplemental) will be fully reviewed and equally considered as long as both are complete and are submitted by the September 1 deadline and we receive the verified CASPA application by November 1.

Please note that due to the high volume of requests during the height of the application cycle (September through December), we may be unable to answer individual emails regarding application status. All formal status notifications will be sent out by the end of December at the latest. During this period, we also may be unable to respond to emails requesting general information about prerequisites. These will be answered starting in January at the conclusion of the application cycle.

Decisions of the Admissions Committee are based on the applicant’s discerned ability to project genuine concern for the well-being of patients and families, as well as demonstrated academic ability to master the content of the program. Meeting the minimum prerequisites does not guarantee you will be interviewed or admitted into the program. Applicants are evaluated initially on their:

  • academic records including overall and science GPAs
  • specific science grades
  • personal statements
  • hands-on patient care experience
  • medically-related references

Northeastern University’s Physician Assistant program does not award or grant advanced placement or course credit to any admitted students regardless of previous education or work experience.  While Northeastern University’s Physician Assistant Program is committed to the education of students from diverse backgrounds, all applicants must still meet the Program’s rigorous criteria and are not given any priority in admission (admissions decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, genetics, nationality, veteran’s status, disability or age).

Since participating in CASPA, we have received an increasing number of applications each year.  Last year there were close to 1000 CASPA applications.  We interview approximately 150 candidates who best meet the prerequistes and show greatest potential.  Interviews are conducted from mid-October through mid-December.  Applicants selected for personal interviews will be notified via email between September and mid-December.  The low-stress, 2-day interview process provides applicants the opportunity to:

  • attend a class
  • meet with program leadership for an overview of the program and discussion of the financial aid process
  • meet in small groups with first and second year PA students as well as have lunch with first year PA students
  • meet with a program graduate to discuss what the professional life of PAs is like and how well the program prepared them for the work
  • tour the Behrakis Health Sciences Center clinical lab
  • interview one-on-one with 3 members of the program faculty and leadership

The class matriculating in August 2014 has been selected.  The Northeastern Supplemental Application for the class entering August 2015 will be available by the end of April, 2014.

Two applications are required in order to apply to the program:

  1. CASPA Application
  2. Northeastern Supplemental Application

It is VERY important to review the FAQ section of our web site before completing your application.

CASPA Application:

Northeastern University’s PA Program is a participant in CASPA (Centralized Application Service for PAs). CASPA allows you to apply to multiple participating programs, verifies your application for accuracy, processes the application, and forwards it to your designated PA programs. The deadline for submission to CASPA for the Northeastern University PA Program is September 1 of the year prior to planned matriculation.

The CASPA application  for matriculation in August 2015 can be accessed starting in mid-April 2014. Be sure to read through all of the CASPA information before you begin the application process and print out a copy of your completed application to save for your own records. Questions about the CASPA application should be discussed directly with CASPA customer service at 617-612-2080.  We are unable to answer questions about CASPA’s policies and procedures.

All required material must be received by CASPA before it can be sent to your designated PA programs. It is your responsibility to make sure that CASPA receives all material in a timely manner. CASPA will not accept applications for the Northeastern University Physician Assistant Program after September 1. The program will not receive your CASPA application for at least 2-4 weeks after you submit it to CASPA in order for it to be verified.  We will notify you via email when we have received your CASPA application.

In order to be considered, the program must receive your CASPA application from CASPA by November 1.  This means submitting the CASPA application as well as all required supporting documentation (transcripts and letters of recommendation) to CASPA in enough time (but no later than September 1) to allow for the material to be verified and forwarded to the program prior to November 1.  Keep in mind that during the peak period just prior to and after our September 1 deadline, it can take over 6 weeks for CASPA to verify and send everything to us. CASPA applications received by the program after November 1 will not be considered even if we have already received your Northeastern Supplemental Application.

CASPA does not send original documents to any program. If you are accepted into the program, you will have to arrange to have all official college and university transcripts sent directly to the Northeastern PA Program prior to matriculation.

NEU PA Program Supplemental Application:

A Supplemental Application is also required of all applicants to the Northeastern University PA Program. Our Supplemental Application and all supporting materials must also be received by the program by the same deadline of September 1.  The Supplemental Application is updated annually.  Be sure to use the most recent version for the year in which you plan to matriculate.

The Northeastern University Supplemental Application for the class entering in August 2015 is available here. The Supplemental Application should be completed online, printed out, and mailed directly to the PA Program along with the required supporting materials in one envelope to:

Physician Assistant Program
Northeastern University
202 Robinson Hall
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Please note, we do not send you the Supplemental Application once we receive your CASPA application.  It is your responsibility to access the Supplemental Application from our web page even if you have not yet received an acknowledgement from us that we received your CASPA application.

Your Supplemental Application must include the following:

  • fully completed application form with your signature and the date on both pages
  • one-page single-spaced personal essay that is different from the CASPA essay (see Section B on Supplemental Application for details)
  • curriculum vitae including your educational and employment history since high school as well as scholarly activities such as publications and presentations
  • $75 Supplemental Application fee made payable to Northeastern University in the form of a personal check or money order only. We are unable to accept cash or credit card payments. The $75 fee is waived if you are a current Northeastern senior in a bachelor’s degree program or an alumnus/a who received a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern.
  • if you have not already submitted 2 clinically-related references as part of the total of the 3 references in your CASPA application, you must include with the Supplemental Application 1 additional personal reference that is clinically-related from an individual with whom you have worked in a clinical environment. He/she should comment on your clinical background including an assessment of your clinical performance, the type of hands-on duties you perform, and your ability to relate to patients and others on the health care team. This reference should be from a clinical colleague who did not already submit a reference with the CASPA application. The reference must be submitted in an envelope with the evaluator’s signature written across the sealed flap and mailed to you. It should then be included in the package you mail to the program. References from shadowing experiences are not the type of clinically-related references we require as you are observing rather than actually performing hands-on activities yourself.

Be sure to keep a copy of everything for your own records. You cannot submit the Supplemental Application to the program online. Emailed or faxed Supplemental Applications will not be accepted.  If you intend to mail your Supplemental Application within 2 weeks of the September 1 deadline, we strongly recommend that you send it via overnight mail to ensure that we receive it in time.

We recommend that you begin your CASPA application prior to completing the Supplemental Application as your CASPA ID number is required on the Supplemental Application. Once you have a CASPA ID number, you can complete the Supplemental Application and send it to us even if we have not yet received your CASPA application.  Both applications will be combined in a single file.  Your file cannot be reviewed until the program has received both your CASPA and Supplemental Applications. We will notify you via email when your Supplemental Application is received by the program.

The University requires that every student submit proof of a health and immunization evaluation prior to matriculation. In addition, most institutions and clinical sites require that students provide documentation of immunization status.  University Health and Counseling Services provide Immunization Clearance Forms.  Students are responsible for having the Student Health Form completed and returned to Health Services prior to matriculation so that the Clinical Clearance Form can be processed and available for clinical sites. Students are required to sign a release form that allows the Program to share immunization records with clinical sites. The Bouvé College of Health Sciences immunization requirements are consistent with current Centers for Disease Control recommendations for the immunization of Health Care Providers and can be found on the Northeastern website, here. In addition, students are required to obtain a current influenza vaccination annually in accordance with CDC recommendations for health care providers.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition for students beginning the program in the fall of 2014 is $11,497 per term, for a total of $34,491/year.

Additional required fees (for 2014-2015) include:

  • PA Supplemental Application Fee – $75
  • Student Center, Recreation, and Activities Fee – $323/year
  • Criminal Background Check – $30-$60/year, depending upon the number and type(s) necessary
  • International Graduate Student Fee – $250 (one time only, if applicable)
  • Student Health Insurance – $225-$2,384/year
  • Textbooks -$500-$700
  • Medical Equipment
    • Tuning Forks* – $17
    • Reflex Hammer* – $4
    • Metric Tape Measure* – $5
    • Stethoscope* – $147-$165
    • Diagnostic Set – $455-$565
    • Sphygmomanometer – $145
    • EKG Caliper – $6
    • Penlight (6 per pack) $11*
    • Medical Bag – $28
    • Medical Equipment Engraving – $12-20
    • Short White Jacket (2)* – $20 each
    • PA Program Patch (2)* – $5 each

*Required

There are also additional fees associated with parking on campus (daytime parking only is $420-$430 per term and overnight parking is $950 per term) and at some clinical rotation sites.

More details about the required graduate student fees.

By law, all students in Massachusetts are required to have health insurance. If a student does not elect to take the Northeastern University student health insurance plan ($2384 for the 2014-2015 academic year), evidence of other comparable health insurance coverage must be provided.  More information about the Northeastern University student health insurance plan can be found here.

Information about financial aid is available through The Office of Student Financial Services (617.373.5899).  There are several types of need-based financial aid in the form of government loans as well as a Northeasten loan available only for physician assistant students. Very limited part-time employment during the first year of the program is possible but is not feasible during the second year. There are no graduate assistantships or Double Husky Scholarships available for PA students.

Information about procedures regarding refunds of tuition and fees is available through The Office of Student Financial Services website.

Northeastern University participates in the federal government’s Yellow Ribbon Program for veterans.  Information about the program (including eligibility, benefits, and how to apply) can be accessed on university’s Yellow Ribbon website here.

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