Students entering the physician assistant program are expected to meet certain technical standards and to continue to meet those standards during the program. Information about these technical standards may be found at
Progression and continuance in the physician assistant program are based not only on scholastic achievement, they are also based on professional performance and the ability to meet the requirements of the program. For greater detail about the program’s requirements and policies, please see the program’s student handbook available from the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.
Students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher to continue in and/or to graduate from the physician assistant program. In addition, students must obtain a minimum grade of “C” in all courses with the preﬁx PHA and must successfully complete all other requirements for a speciﬁc course as speciﬁed in that course’s syllabus.
During all phases of training, students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Appropriate behavior includes attributes such as:
- Ability to work effectively with peers and other members of the healthcare team Personal, academic and professional honesty and integrity
- Concern for privacy of the patient
- Understanding professional roles and limitations
- Consistent attendance and punctuality
Professional Performance Standards
Professional behavior and attitudes are an essential and required part of interaction with patients, peers, supervisors, other health professionals, and the general public. All physician assistant students are expected to maintain the highest standard of professional behavior possible and to comply with the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant developed by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (available at https://www.aapa.org/download/56983/) and those in the University of the Sciences Student Handbook (available at www.usciences.edu/studenthandbook/).
Requirements for Progression Within the Didactic Phase
- Remediation of any grade below a “C” on a written, physical, or combination examination may be required.
- Any course with the preﬁx PHA must be passed with a minimum grade of “C”
- Demonstration of required skills necessary for clinical practice as determined by the program
- Receiving a satisfactory rating from the Student Progress Committee by meeting all the academic and behavioral requirements
- Compliance with the policies of the university and the program
- Compliance with the behavioral standards and professional performance standards, and with the Standards of Conduct for the Physician Assistant Student (see the program’s student handbook available from the Department of Physician Assistant Studies)
Requirements for Progression Within the Clinical Phase
In addition to meeting the above Requirements for Promotion within the Didactic Phase, students must complete the following requirements in order to complete the physician assistant program.
- Satisfactory remediation for any grade below “C” in any examination
- Preceptor evaluations must be passed with a minimum grade of “C”
- Each course with the preﬁx PHA or rotation within a course must be passed with a minimum grade of “C” Satisfactory completion of basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) training
- Demonstration of required skills necessary for clinical practice
- Receiving a satisfactory rating from the Student Progress Committee by meeting all academic and behavioral requirements
- Compliance with university and program policies and standards
Faculty and staff of the physician assistant program will review all student records prior to graduation. Any outstanding ﬁnancial balance must be reconciled prior to graduation. Students must fulﬁll all department and University requirements before being awarded a diploma and must be eligible for the PANCE examination. Speciﬁc requirements include:
- Satisfactory completion of all courses in the curriculum with a grade of “C” or better A cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher throughout the program
- Satisfactory completion of all assignments
- Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive summative written examination
- Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive Objective Structures Clinical Evaluation (OSCE)
- Completion of the Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating and Assessment Tool (PACKRAT) examination
- Compliance with behavioral and professional performance standards
- Successful completion of comprehensive technical skills evaluation
Academic Program Probation
Any student whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 and/or who receives a grade below a “C” in any course with the preﬁx PHA will be placed on academic program probation. The Student Progress Committee, with approval of the program director, will review the student’s case and create a contract with the student setting forth the terms of probation.
The student may be allowed to repeat the failed course once, based on a schedule created by the Student Progress Committee. Repeating a course may cause a delay in starting clinical rotations and/or graduation. All didactic phase courses must be satisfactorily completed before the student is allowed to progress into the clinical phase.
Students who fail to meet the terms of the contract of probation within the designated time frame will be dismissed from the program. Students who do not achieve a grade of “C” or higher after repeating a course with the preﬁx PHA will be dismissed from the program. Students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher to continue and/or to graduate from the program.
Students may be placed on probation only once during the didactic phase or once during the clinical phase. If a student is eligible to be placed on academic program probation for a second time in either phase of the program, the student will be dismissed from the program.
Behavioral or Professional Program Probation
Students who fail to adhere to the required Behavioral Standards and Professional Performance Standards or whose behavior is disruptive or inappropriate for a medical professional will be required to appear before the Student Progress Committee. Students placed on probation for behavioral or professional reasons who fail to meet the terms of the contract of probation within the designated time frame will be dismissed from the program.
Contract of Program Probation
A contract with the student will set forth the terms and conditions of program probation. These terms and conditions may include, but are not limited to, speciﬁc academic and behavioral requirements, remedial sessions, and any other items deemed necessary by the Student Progress Committee and/or the University’s student conduct process to ensure program and University standards as well as the welfare of faculty, peers and, most importantly, patients. Terms may also include a psychological and/or medical evaluation and clearance in order to continue in the physician assistant program.
Removal from Program Probation
A student placed on program probation due to a cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 must acquire a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater by the end of the following semester. A student placed on program probation due to a grade of less than “C” in a course with the preﬁx PHA must retake the course according to the terms of the probation contract and must achieve a passing grade of “C” or higher in order to be removed from program probation. A student placed on program probation for academic and/or behavioral problems must fulﬁll ALL requirements of the contract of program probation within the designated time frame or the student will be dismissed from the physician assistant program.
Dismissal from the Program
Failure to meet conditions for removal from academic or behavioral/professional program probation or being eligible to be placed on program probation more than once while enrolled in the physician assistant program will result in dismissal from the program.
Students who are dismissed and who wish to be reinstated must petition the Student Progress Committee for readmission to the physician assistant program. In order to be reinstated the student must establish to the satisfaction of the Student Progress Committee that the unsatisfactory performance: 1) was due to extraordinary and non-recurring circumstances, AND 2) was not representative of the student’s academic ability and/or usual professional conduct. A student who is reinstated but who fails to satisfy the conditions of any program probation will automatically be dismissed from the program without further review or appeal within the physician assistant program.