Health Sciences for Physician Assistants

Overview

The Weill Cornell Medicine Physician Assistant Studies (MSHS PA) Program is a twenty-seven-month intensive course of study which begins annually in mid-January.  It is comprised of three phases: a classroom and technical skills development pre-clinical phase, a preceptor guided clinical phase, and a research phase culminating in the development of a thesis and oral defense.

The twenty-seven-month curriculum is conducted under the auspices of Weill Cornell Medicine. The PA Program is registered and accredited (see Accreditation section below) by the Accreditation Review Committee for Physician Assistant Education, Inc. (www.arc-pa.org). Upon successful completion of the program, Cornell University grants a Master's of Science degree in Health Sciences for Physician Assistants and graduates are then eligible to take the National Certifying Board Examination administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (www.nccpa.net).

In its earliest model, the program began at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in 1973 as a Surgical Assistant (SA) Program for the purpose of training qualified individuals to assist in the care of the surgical patient. While our surgical curricular content remains strong, primary care training is paramount to all students, preparing them for practice in any field of healthcare delivery. As a result, our students are prepared to participate in direct patient care as integral members of any medical or surgical healthcare team.

In order to graduate, students must satisfactorily complete all program curriculum components.  

For more information about the PA profession please visit www.aapa.org, www.paeaonline.org.

Accreditation

At its March 2023 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Weill Cornell Medicine Graduate School of Medical Sciences on Accreditation-Probation status until its next review in March 2025

Probation accreditation is a temporary accreditation status initially of not less than two years. However, that period may be extended by the ARC-PA for up to an additional two years if the ARC-PA finds that the program is making substantial progress toward meeting all applicable standards but requires additional time to come into full compliance. Probation accreditation status is granted, at the sole discretion of the ARC- PA, when a program holding an accreditation status of Accreditation - Provisional or Accreditation - Continued does not, in the judgment of the ARC-PA, 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 is subject to 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 https://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-weill-cornell/

Accreditation FAQs

Answers to common questions about our accreditation status are available on this page.

Mission Statement

The principal mission of the Weill Cornell Graduate School MSHS Physician Assistant Program is to educate highly competent, compassionate, and culturally sensitive physician assistants drawn from diverse backgrounds and experiences, who will be capable of practicing and excelling in varied clinical and academic settings.

The MSHS PA Program offers a rigorous and thorough foundation in generalist medicine and primary care education, striving for a balanced curriculum that provides students with fundamental principles of clinical practice along with training in general surgery and the surgical subspecialties.

Consistent with the mission of its sponsoring institution, the MSHS PA Program offers a course of study to advance the art and science of medicine, thereby contributing to the betterment of health care at both national and community levels and to the PA Profession through clinical practice, research and other scholarly endeavors.

Educational Philosophy

The Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences is committed to providing an environment that fosters mutual respect, the values of professionalism, ethics, and humanism in the practice of medicine as a physician assistant. The environment thus created will be conducive to learning the importance of the professional duties each student is about to assume. Of paramount importance is to understand the individuality and importance of each person the students will come in contact with throughout both training and practice, taking into account the value of human diversity. This includes patients, colleagues, fellow students, and above all self.

Each student will be expected to perform at the best of his or her abilities. This requires that faculty, students and administrative and support staff treat each other with civility without limiting appropriate teaching techniques and styles that advance and stimulate the educational environment in order to foster critical thinking and encourage professional leadership. Students will be presented with sufficient information to develop a medical knowledge base and the skills required to refine and expand the knowledge base throughout a professional career, sharpen and hone clinical skills, and comport oneself as a professional in all situations.

Program Goals

The following specific educational goals have been established for the Physician Assistant Program.

  1. The Program will enroll highly qualified students that successfully complete the curriculum and graduate from the program.
  2. The Program will foster on-time graduation rates, supporting students throughout the pre-clinical and clinical phases of their PA education with comprehensive academic and professional evaluation and intervention as required.
  3. Program graduates will possess the medical knowledge that is required to begin to practice as a Physician Assistant.   
  4. The Program will facilitate mastery of technical skills in students nearing program completion, including patient assessment techniques (history taking, physical examination skills) and basic diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (phlebotomy, intravenous access, injections, etc.)

Outcomes for Program Goals

The WCM Physician Assistant Program has been effective in meeting its stated program goals, as measured by the benchmarks defined and reported below.

 

1: The Program will enroll highly qualified students that successfully complete the curriculum and graduate from the program.

Established benchmark:  A five-year (2019-2023) rolling total graduation rate (including on-time graduation + short term deceleration + long term deceleration) of 97% or greater.  This benchmark was chosen because while the Program is committed to each student’s successful completion of the curriculum, this cannot be achieved in every cohort due to student concerns that may arise, such as health and personal or family issues. In addition, this is consistent with the national graduation rate for PA programs of 97%. Physician Assistant Education Association, By the Numbers: Program Report 36: Data from the 2021 Program Survey, Washington, DC: PAEA; 2023 DOI: 10.17538/PR36.2021

Rationale: Weill Cornell Medicine is a prestigious institution with a decades-long history of educating outstanding healthcare providers. The Program seeks to enroll students that can meet the rigorous academic expectations of physician assistant education, achieve learning outcomes, and complete their professional education summative assessments to fulfill the Program’s stated mission of graduating physician assistants who will be capable of practicing in any area of healthcare delivery.  The Program dedicates its resources to assist all matriculants to successfully complete the program, even if short- or long-term deceleration may be required. 

Actual Outcome:  Benchmark met. There has been a 100% overall PA student graduation rate over the most recent 5-year period for which complete data are available (2019-2023).

 

2. The Program will foster on-time graduation rates, supporting students throughout the pre-clinical and clinical phases of their PA education with comprehensive academic and professional evaluation and intervention as required. 

Established benchmark: On-time graduation rates of originally matriculated class will be 94% which is consistent with national data. Physician Assistant Education Association, By the Numbers: Program Report 36: Data from the 2021 Program Survey, Washington, DC: PAEA; 2023 DOI: 10.17538/PR36.2021

Rationale:  Not every enrolled student is able to progress from matriculation to graduation with the class to which they were originally admitted.  Many challenges may occur, including illness, personal and family events, and academic concerns. The PA Program makes every effort to keep students on schedule to complete the program with their original cohort, through tutoring and academic support, mentorship programs, and well-being activities.  This goal helps fulfill the stated mission of providing a rigorous and thorough foundation in generalist medicine and primary care education, striving for a balanced curriculum that provides students with fundamental principles of clinical practice along with training in general surgery and the surgical subspecialties.  The Program dedicates its resources to promoting the on-time program completion for as many students as possible.

Actual Outcome: Benchmark met. For the past five graduating classes (2019-2023), 98% of Weill Cornell PA students have graduated with the cohort in which they were originally admitted.

 

3: Program graduates will possess the medical knowledge that is required to begin to practice as a Physician Assistant.  

Established benchmark: First-time PANCE pass rate (averaged over the past 5 years) of 94%, defined to meet the national first-time PANCE pass rate (averaged over the past 5 years 2019 - 2023) of 93%. (“Five Year Pass Rates for Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination [PANCE)]”, NCCPA website,  https://www.nccpa.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/PANCEPassRates.pdf.  Accessed July 9, 2023)

Rationale: Weill Cornell Medicine has a longstanding history of successfully educating physician assistants. We monitor and develop our curriculum on an ongoing basis to provide students with the fund of medical knowledge that is necessary to pass the PA National Certifying Examination and begin their professional careers.  This helps to fulfill the stated mission of producing highly competent physician assistants, who are well prepared to begin the practice of medicine in any clinical setting they choose. 

Actual Outcome: Benchmark met. The Weill Cornell Medicine PA Program first-time PANCE pass rate is 94% for the most recent 5-year period for which complete data are available (2019-2023), which exceeds the most recent 5-year period national average of 93%.

 

4. The Program will facilitate mastery of technical skills in students nearing program completion, including patient assessment techniques (history taking, physical examination skills) and basic diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (phlebotomy, intravenous access, injections, etc.)

Established benchmark: 95% of program graduates will pass the PA Program Summative Final Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and Summative Technical Skills Examination without the need for significant remediation allowing for an on-time graduation. This benchmark level was established recognizing that occasionally, a student may face academic, personal, or other challenges at the time of testing that may not allow optimum demonstration of their knowledge and skills. 

Rationale: As a graduation requirement, all students are required to pass a Summative Evaluation which includes diagnosis and treatment of standardized patients and demonstration of proper technique in hands-on technical skills. The Program is committed to educating students in common technical skills that will be needed as they begin a professional career in any specialty.  As they evaluate a student’s ability and confidence level in performing procedures, and assess their interactions with standardized patients, these Summative Assessments are designed to fulfill the stated mission of producing highly competent, compassionate, and culturally sensitive physician assistants.

Actual Outcome: Benchmark met. For the class of 2023, 100% of the cohort passed the Technical Skills Summative Examination and Final OSCE and graduated on-time.

Competencies For The New Graduate

1. Knowledge of Practice
Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to acute, chronic, urgent, and emergent patient-centered care of all persons across the lifespan. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

1.1 Demonstrate critical thinking in all clinical encounters.
1.2 Apply principles of epidemiology, anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and biochemistry to identify health problems, risk factors, diagnostic and treatment resources, and disease prevention/health promotion strategies for all persons across the lifespan.
1.3 Acknowledge and address social determinants that affect access to high-quality healthcare.
1.4 Utilize technological advancements that safely manage patient information, promote patient-centered delivery of care, and increase access to healthcare.

2. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
Demonstrate effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, patient- identified family or proxies, and health professionals. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

2.1 Establish trusted therapeutic relationships with patients and patient-identified family or proxies to ensure needs and goals are met through the delivery of person-centered care.
2.2 Recognize the cultural norms, needs, influences, and socioeconomic, environmental, and other population-level determinants to optimize communication with clinicians, patients, and other stakeholders.
2.3 Communicate effectively, equitably, and respectfully to elicit, share, and document accurate information necessary to the delivery of high-quality care and services that are responsive to the needs of diverse populations.
2.4 Demonstrate emotional intelligence, resilience, adaptability, honesty, and compassion in all interactions and conversations, including discussions pertaining to sensitive topics.
2.5 Recognize communication barriers and demonstrate the application of effective interpersonal, oral, written, and adjunctive means of addressing communication needs.
2.6 Clearly communicate risks and benefits of treatment plans and informed consent, adjusting to patient communication needs when necessary.

3. Person-Centered Care (3A & 3B)
Provide person-centered care that includes patient- and setting-specific evaluation. Ensure healthcare management that is evidence-based, supports patient safety, and advances health equity. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

3A) CLINICAL and TECHNICAL SKILLS

3A.1 Create a non-judgmental, trusting environment in all clinician-patient interactions.
3A.2 Gather accurate patient-centered history and physical examination data in support of holistic patient care.
3A.3 Elicit and acknowledge environmental and cultural influences affecting patient life-stories and healthcare realities.
3A.4 Perform, in a safe manner, core technical procedures common in PA medical and surgical practices, including but not limited to simple suturing, IV placement, Foley catheter placement, ABG procurement, phlebotomy, and intramuscular/intradermal/subcutaneous injections.

3B) CLINICAL REASONING and PROBLEM SOLVING

3B.1 Interpret patient-specific data collected from laboratory, imaging studies and procedures based on patient information and preferences, current scientific evidence, and clinical judgment to make informed patient-centered care decisions.
3B.2 Recognize and gather appropriate diagnostic test results, formulate a differential diagnosis and counsel/educate/empower patients and caregivers, enabling shared decision-making and patient-care collaboration.
3B.3 Apply principles of biomedical and clinical sciences to clinical problem-solving and other evidence-based general practice skills.

4. Interprofessional Collaboration
Demonstrate the ability to engage with a variety of other healthcare professionals in a manner that optimizes safe, effective, patient- and population-centered care. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

4.1 Work effectively with other health professionals to provide collaborative, patient-centered care while maintaining a climate of mutual respect, dignity, diversity, ethical integrity, and trust.
4.2 Communicate effectively with other professionals to establish and enhance interprofessional team dynamics, striving to improve patient outcomes.
4.3 Identify how healthcare professionals can collaborate and integrate clinical care and public health initiatives to optimize patient care delivery.
4.4 Recognize when to refer patients to other disciplines to ensure they receive optimal care.

5. Professionalism and Ethics
Demonstrate a commitment to practicing medicine in ethically and legally appropriate ways, and emphasizing professional maturity and accountability for delivering safe and high-quality care to patients and populations. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

5.1 Adhere to established standards of care in the role of the PA in the healthcare team.
5.2 Demonstrate compassion, confidentiality, flexibility, civility, and respect when adapting to practice changes or during the delivery of team-based patient-centered care.
5.3 Demonstrate respect and responsiveness to patients, the PA program, and the profession.
5.4 Demonstrate cultural humility and responsiveness to a diverse professional and patient population, including, but not limited to, diversity in sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, culture, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, and abilities.
5.5 Demonstrate individual accountability and the ability to recognize personal limitations, admit mistakes and errors, accept constructive feedback, and commit to a path of lifelong learning and improvement.
5.6 Demonstrate commitment to personal wellness and self-care.
5.7 Implement leadership practices and principles.
5.8 Exhibit an understanding of the regulatory environment, and the laws and regulations regarding professional practice.

6. Practice-based Learning and Quality Improvement
Critical analysis of one’s own practice experience, evolving medical knowledge and commitment to lifelong learning and practice improvement. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

6.1 Access and interpret current and credible sources of medical information.
6.2 Exhibit self-awareness to identify strengths, address weaknesses, and recognize limits in knowledge and expertise.
6.3 Implement new knowledge, guidelines, standards, technologies, or services that have been demonstrated to positively affect patient outcomes.
6.4 Identify improvement goals and perform learning activities that address gaps in knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
6.5 Recognize the impact of evidence-based information and quality assurance initiatives in the holistic approach to patient-centered team-based care.

7. Society and Population Health
Recognize and understand the influences of the ecosystem of person, family, population, environment, and policy on the health of patients and integrate knowledge of these determinants of health into patient care decisions. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

7.1 Recognize the influence of genetic, socioeconomic, environmental, and other determinants on the provision of healthcare for an individual and a community.
7.2 Recognize different types of healthcare access systems and insurance coverage including Medicare and Medicaid as payors.
7.3 Demonstrate awareness, accountability, responsibility, and leadership in patient advocacy by addressing barriers to healthcare.

Graduate Performance on the National Certifying Examination

All graduates of the Weill Cornell Graduate School MSHS Physician Assistant Program are eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). The following is the pass rate for first-time takers:

2019 - 97%
2020 - 89%
2021 - 93%
2022 - 94%
2023 – 97%

PDF icon NCCPA Performance Program Report 2024

Tuition and Fees

The tuition for the most recently enrolled class is $36,934 for each of the three (3) "academic" years. Students are eligible for financial aid for each phase. Students also pay a graduation fee. Please note that this tuition cost is set for the current academic year and is subject to change.

If a student has pending financial aid, finance charges are waived and tuition will be deducted as the disbursement of loan money arrives.

For more information, please visit https://studentservices.weill.cornell.edu/student-accounting/tuition-fees-program.

Loan & Scholarship Programs

Your financial aid package will tell you what types of education loan programs you are eligible to accept. If you have remaining "unmet need," you may need private or alternative loan programs to cover all your expenses.

Approximately 90% of our students are recipients of financial aid, Federal Direct Loan Program and/or Alternative Education Loans. There are scholarships available through the various PA organizations and state agencies. In addition we maintain listings within the department regarding alternative scholarship programs available to our students. Veterans of the Armed Forces may also be eligible for benefits under the G.I. Bill.

Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans are available with certain terms and limits. Please refer to the Financial Aid Handbook along the left margin of this page for details.

Alternative Educational Loans Program Alternative Loans, also known as Private Loans, help bridge the gap between the actual cost of your education and the limited amount the government allows you to borrow in its program.

Alternative Educational Loans Program Alternative Loans, also known as Private Loans, help bridge the gap between the actual cost of your education and the limited amount the government allows you to borrow in its program.

Alternative student loans are independent of government regulation and can offer various terms for repayment, interest rates, and loan limits. The terms of these loans can vary from lender to lender and you are offered opportunity to choose the loan that fits your situation. The Weill Cornell Medical College has a list of preferred lenders.

Estimated Yearly Student Expenses Students enrolled in the MSHS PA Program and living at the college are not encouraged to bring an automobile to New York City because parking is expensive ($250-350/month) and students rarely have an opportunity to use their cars. While many clinical rotations do not require personal transportation, some do. This amount is calculated into the annual student budget. For students living "off campus" the anticipated yearly expenses are similar because the cost of parking, insuring and maintaining an automobile substitutes for the cost of room and board "on campus". STUDENT HOUSING IS NOT GUARANTEED. Dormitory housing is occasionally available for students of the MSHS PA Program. Once a student is accepted he or she will be provided with a housing application. Estimated expenses are based on off-campus housing.

For more information, please visit https://studentservices.weill.cornell.edu/financial-aid.

Applying For Aid

The federal FAFSA form is required for federal loan programs.

Applicant Advisory Sessions

Due to an overwhelming interest in the MSHS PA Program, there is significant competition for the limited number of seats each year (47). To help familiarize potential applicants with the MSHS PA Program, periodic Applicant Advisory Sessions are provided at the PA Program’s midtown location. This two-hour session includes information on the PA Profession, the MSHS PA Program, application requirements, an overview of the admissions process, and a tour of the MSHS PA Program facilities. Attendees may have an opportunity to meet current MSHS PA students and/or alumni as well. The schedule for this year's Applicant Advisory Sessions will be available soon.

Please contact MSHSPA@med.cornell.edu to reserve a seat. (Please include Subject line: Applicant Advisory Session) A confirmation email will be sent to you prior to the session. 

Applying to the MSHS PA Program is a three-step process: 1) Initial (CASPA) application, 2) Secondary Application and 3) Personal Interview.

  1. Initial application. Initial application must be made through CASPA (Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants). It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all materials arrive at CASPA in advance of the MSHS PA Program’s deadline date (see below). Completed CASPA applications are processed and verified by CASPA and applicant information is forwarded to the MSHS PA Program for review.
  2. Secondary application. The MSHS PA Program will evaluate the forwarded CASPA applications and send a secondary application to the most competitive applicants. The deadline date for returning the completed secondary application along with a non-refundable fee will be provided on the secondary application itself. Not all applicants will be sent a secondary application.
  3. Personal Interview. After review of the CASPA application and secondary application, the most competitive applicants will be invited for an interview at the MSHS PA Program offices and classroom. Not all applicants will be offered an interview.

Admission Requirements

The following are requirements for the 2024-2025 application cycle:

  • CASPA Application: An online CASPA application will be made available as early as April 27, 2024. Applicants must have completed and electronically submitted (“e-submitted” or an “e-submission”) an online CASPA application no later than September 1, 2024. NOTE: Any specific requirements that must be included with the e-submitted application are described below.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: All applicants must have earned a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree or equivalent no later than December 31, 2024. The applicant must self-report their degree information on their CASPA application before e-submission. Proof of degree conferral will be required prior to matriculation.
  • Prerequisite Coursework: The minimum course requirements include:
    • 2 (two) courses of Biology (each course must have a lab component);
    • 2 (two) courses of Chemistry (each course must have a lab component);
    • 1 (one) course of Microbiology (lab component strongly recommended)
    • 1 (one) course of Biochemistry (lab component strongly recommended)
    •  Anatomy and Physiology; (This requirement may be fulfilled by a combined “Anatomy & Physiology” course sequence OR a course in Anatomy AND a course in Physiology)
    • 1 (one) course of English Composition (or college-level equivalent- rhetoric or college writing course)

The applicant must self-report the above course information (i.e. courses in progress or anticipated coursework) on their CASPA application prior to e-submission. The MSHS PA Program may request applicants to provide transcripts that include these courses at any time. It is strongly suggested that all prerequisite course be completed prior to applying.

  • Other Coursework: Courses in statistics, medical terminology and/or research methods are recommended.
  • Graduate Record Examination: All applicants are required to take the General GREAptitude Test (which must include: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing components) prior to e-submission. Applicants must request Educational Testing Service (www.ETS.org) to send official score reports to CASPA. These official scores must arrive at CASPA no later than September 1, 2024. Applications that post a GRE testing date after their CASPA-reported e-submission date will not be considered. (The Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences PA Program – CASPA Designated Institution Code is: 0479). The MSHS PA Program does not have a minimum GRE score requirement.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): All applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL examination. Application to take the TOEFL may be made directly to: Test of English as a Foreign Language, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151. The Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences Institution Code Number is 2119. Applicants must report having taken the TOEFL on their CASPA application prior to e-submission. Official TOEFL score reports should be sent to the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences (Code 2119) and received no later than September 1, 2024 for verification.
  • Computer Literacy: It is expected that all entering students possess a basic working knowledge of computer usage including applications for word processing, spreadsheet creation and presentation design (e.g. Microsoft® Word, Microsoft® Excel, and Microsoft® PowerPoint).
  • Grade Point Average: The MSHS PA Program expects its applicants to have maintained an undergraduate average of "B" or better. NOTE: The most recently admitted class had an average overall GPA of 3.7 and an average science GPA of 3.6.
  • Health Care Experience (HCE): All applicants are required to have a minimum of 500 hours of direct patient HCE prior to applying. These hours must be completed and accurately self-reported on their CASPA application prior to e-submission. These hours may be satisfied by either paid or volunteer experiences and require hands-on patient contact.
  • Shadowing: Shadowing of a physician assistant in a variety of clinical settings is strongly recommended.
  • Community Service: Community service reflects dedication to and support of one's community and is strongly recommended.
  • Letters of Reference: At least two (2) references/letters of recommendation are required as part of the initial CASPA application of which, one letter must be from a Physician or Physician Assistant and one letter must be of an academic type (i.e. from a prior instructor)Only letters of reference/recommendations that are included in the CASPA application before e-submission will be accepted to meet this requirement.
  • Transcript Evaluation (as necessary): All candidates that are foreign graduates are required to submit a complete transcript evaluation (to American college equivalency) to CASPA. The MSHS PA Program will not review any CASPA-generated applicant profiles until all foreign transcript evaluations have arrived at CASPA and are forwarded to the MSHS PA Program by September 1, 2024. Foreign transcripts may be evaluated by the following:

World Education Services, Inc
Fax: 212-739-6100
www.wes.org

  • Secondary PA Program Application and Interviews: CASPA applications that include all the requirements described above will be carefully reviewed. Applicant information considered during admissions decision-making includes additional/advanced coursework, evidence of science course rigor, healthcare experiences, life experiences, leadership opportunities, information from letters of reference, and extent of research and community service. After this review, competitive applicants will be offered a secondary application electronically which must be completed and returned to the PA Program with a non-refundable fee. Not all applicants will be offered a secondary application. After MSHS PA Program Admissions committee review of the returned secondary application, applicants that remain competitive will be invited for an interview at the MSHS PA Program.
  • All candidates accepted for admission must comply with Weill Cornell Graduate School and Master of Science in Health Sciences for Physician Assistants Program's Policies and Procedures* (See Student webpage for link.)
  • Advanced Standing: The MSHS PA Program does not grant advanced standing to applicants.
  • Technical Standards: All applicants must meet our technical standards as follows:

Technical Standards

All candidates for the Physician Assistant (PA) Certificate of Completion and Master of Science in Health Sciences degree must possess the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize data. They must have functional use of the senses of vision, hearing, equilibrium, and taste. Their exteroceptive (touch, pain, temperature) and proprioceptive (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis, and vibratory) senses must be sufficiently intact to enable them to carry out all activities required for a complete PA education. Candidates must have motor function capabilities to meet the demands of PA education and the demands of total patient care. All candidates for the Physician Assistant (PA) Certificate of Completion and Master of Science in Health Sciences degree must posses the following abilities and skills:

  • 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 at a distance and closely. This ability requires functional vision and somatic sensation and is enhanced by a sense of smell.
  • Communications: A candidate should be able to speak, hear, and observe patients in order to elicit information, perceive non-verbal communications, describe changes in mood, activity and posture. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients including not only speech but also 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 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 demand of PAs and this requires all these abilities. The candidate must also be able to comprehend three dimensional relationship and the spatial relationship of structures
  • Behavioral and Social Attributes: A candidate must have the emotional health, to fully use his/her intellectual ability, to exercise good judgment, complete all responsibilities, and 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 MSHS PA Program recognizes its responsibility to present candidates for the MSHS PA Program Master of Science in Health Sciences for Physician Assistants Degree and Certificate of Completion 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 MSHS PA Program admissions committee to select entering PA students who will be the candidates for the MSHS PA Program Master of Science in Health Sciences for Physician Assistants Degree and Certificate of Completion.

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended in 2008 defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. More information about Cornell's procedures for students with disabilities can be found at the Cornell University Office of Student Disability Services website, http://sds.cornell.edu/

Apply Online

Submit your application online at CASPA.

 

Student Handbook

View the student handbook for the Master of Science in Health Sciences for Physician Assistants program.

 

Contact Information

570 Lexington Avenue, 9th Floor
New York, New York 10022
Telephone: (646) 962-7277
Fax: (646) 962-1290
Email: MSHSPA@med.cornell.edu

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Leadership

Kelly Ragusa Porta, DMSc, PA-C
Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies Teaching in Medicine
Interim Program Director and Associate Program Director for Accreditation
ker2007@med.cornell.edu

Gerard J. Marciano, Ed.D., PA-C
Senior Advisor to The Program Director
Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies in Surgery (Education)
gjm2001@med.cornell.edu

Katherine A. Hajjar, M.D.
Medical Director
Brine Family Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
khajjar@med.cornell.edu

Sandip Kapur, M.D.
Surgical Director
Professor of Surgery (Transplantation)
sak2009@med.cornell.edu

Gary J. Bouchard, Ph.D., PA-C
Associate Director / Director of Research
Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies in Medicine (Education) - WCM
gjb2001@med.cornell.edu

William J. Ameres, M.S., PA-C
Director of Preclinical Education
Instructor of Physician Assistant Studies in Clinical Medicine - WCM
wja2001@med.cornell.edu

Maria E. Compte, M.D., MPH
Director of Assessment
Assistant Professor of Teaching in Medicine
mec2032@med.cornell.edu

David S. Reed, DrPH, PA-C, CHES
Director of Clinical Education
Instructor of Physician Assistant Studies in Clinical Surgery
dsr2006@med.cornell.edu

Shari LeFauve, M.S., PA-C
Instructor of Physician Assistant Studies in Medicine – WCM
sal2037@med.cornell.edu

Lisa Doron, M.S., PA-C
Instructor of Physician Assistant Studies in Medicine - WCM
lbg9001@med.cornell.edu

Carol Fiore, DMSc, PA-C, AT-C
Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies in Surgery
caf2015@med.cornell.edu

Aisha Khalid Khan, PA-C, DMSc
Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies in Surgery
akk4001@med.cornell.edu

 

Program Staff

Alexis Blount
Sr. Administrative Specialist
atc2002@med.cornell.edu

Ann Worrell
Program Specialist
amw7006@med.cornell.edu

Ashelin Quijije
Administrative Assistant
asq9002@med.cornell.edu

Amrishka Persad
Administrative Assistant
amp4008@med.cornell.edu

Numasetou Dukuray
Administrative Assistant
nud4001@med.cornell.edu

Godfrey David
Program Support Technician
gzd3001@med.cornell.edu

 

Courses and Required Curricular Components

View the courses and required curricular components for the Master of Science in Health Sciences for Physician Assistants program.