1. Can I apply with pending prerequisites?
Applicants may apply to the program with pending prerequisites. If accepted to the program, prerequisites must be completed to matriculate. The deadline to complete prerequisite courses is the last day of August of the application year.
2. Is there an expiration date on courses/degrees?
There is no expiration date for prerequisite courses. For questions about whether your specific courses satisfy our prerequisite requirements, please review this detailed prerequisite rubric. If you still have questions after reviewing the prerequisite rubric, please contact an enrollment advisor at PittPAHybrid@shrs.pitt.edu for additional information.
3. Am I required to move to Pittsburgh to complete the program?
Students are welcome to move to Pittsburgh to complete the program, however, it is not required. Students who live in Pittsburgh will not have access to, or be able to attend, any on campus program labs or lectures.
4. Does the program accept online courses?
Any pre-requisite coursework completed by an accredited college or university will be accepted, including online courses.
5. What counts as Patient Care Experience (PCE)?
A minimum of 500 hours of direct, “hands-on,” patient care experience is required by the application deadline. Eligible experiences include work as an RN, EMT, paramedic, medical assistant, physical therapy, or occupational therapy assistant. Contact an enrollment advisor at PittPAHybrid@shrs.pitt.edu for more examples.
6. Does the program require the GRE?
The GRE General Test or any other standardized tests are not required for admission to the program.
7. Does the program require shadowing or volunteer hours?
The program does not require shadowing or volunteer hours to apply. Please see FAQ about Patient Care Experience hours (PCE) below.
8. Will the program accept transfer credits?
The program does not currently accept transfer credits. Advanced placement, defined as a waiver of required coursework included in the PA curriculum for applicants to the program and/or a waiver of required coursework included in the PA curriculum for currently enrolled students in the program which results in the student advancing in the curriculum without completing required curricular components at the University of Pittsburgh, is not an option in this program.
9. Can I work during the program?
Acceptance into the University of Pittsburgh PA Studies Hybrid Program requires a full-time commitment. It is an intense and rigorous program that can be demanding. The Program strongly discourages students from holding an outside job during the didactic and clinical years. Students are not required to work for the Program or permitted to serve as the primary instructor for any component of the curriculum. Students must not substitute for or function as instructional faculty and clinical or administrative staff. Students are not permitted to substitute as clinical or administrative staff during the supervised clinical practice experiences. Employment is not an acceptable excuse for class absence, missed or late assignments, or poor performance.
10. How many students are in each cohort?
Our cohort class size is currently comprised of up to 100 students.
11. What is the average GPA for accepted students?
Each cohort is individual and as such the average GPA for accepted students varies. Qualified applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. They should have a "Cumulative Undergraduate" GPA of 3.0 (based on 4.0) in all undergraduate- and post-baccalaureate-level coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.0 (based on 4.0) in the prerequisite science courses. Exceptions may be made for candidates who present compelling evidence of success in graduate coursework, including successful completion of a graduate-level program.
12. What resources are offered for a hybrid student at Pitt?
The Program, Department, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and the University of Pittsburgh offer a wide variety of student resources such student advising, online library access, IT troubleshooting, Human Resources, Accessibility Services, SHRS Affinity Groups, and more. Please visit the links below for more information:
Financial Aid: https://financialaid.pitt.edu/
Office for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Digital Accessibility Services www.diversity.pitt.edu
Campus Resources: https://www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/cc/resources/campus-resources/
13. Can I have my transcript evaluated prior to applying?
Applicants are encouraged to discuss transcript concerns with their enrollment advisor prior to submitting their application to CASPA. All transcript evaluations will take place within CASPA. The program will reach out to an applicant if there are any concerns related to transcript requirements.
14. Am I required to have the COVID 19 vaccine?
The University of Pittsburgh has a policy that requires you to receive and upload proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Information regarding the requirement, and the ability to submit an exemption to be reviewed by Human Resources, can be found in the link below. The Department of PA Studies cannot grant any exceptions. All exemptions must be submitted, reviewed, and approved by the University. Further information on the vaccine requirement and information on filing an exemption, should you choose, can be found here:
Additionally, please note the following is on the PA Studies Hybrid Program website under the Clinical Preceptors tab, and should be considered when deciding on vaccination or filing an exemption:
If you need assistance with understanding the exemption process, completing forms, uploading documents or have other questions, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
15. How can I improve my GPA from my undergrad to be more of a competitive applicant?
We recommend students retake courses they received lower grades in, especially if they are a pre-requisite course, to improve their GPA from their undergraduate degree. Our list of pre-requisite courses can be found here:
16. What do I do about health insurance during the program?
Health insurance coverage is required while enrolled in the Physician Assistant Studies program and is available for students and their families through the University. Insurance packages will only be available to students beginning December. If you plan on purchasing insurance through the University, it is okay to wait until December 1 to enroll/submit documentation on EXXAT. More information is available here: Student Health Insurance Information
Didactic Year FAQs
1. How many hours a week will I have to dedicate to the program?
Most students will need to spend on average 40-55 hours per week of dedicated time to the program for student success.
2. Are classes in the first year synchronous, asynchronous, or both?
Students will have synchronous classes via a virtual platform from 10-4 ET Monday – Friday. Asynchronous work will be completed outside of these time requirements and may include things such as prep work for an upcoming class, group work, assignments, and studying. Students should allot approximately 25-30 hours per week for asynchronous work.
3. What time(s) will the live classes take place during the week?
Synchronous class sessions at mandatory and occur virtually. They will take place from 10-4 ET Monday through Friday.
4. Will I receive the same degree as the residential PAS program student?
Yes, you will receive a Master of Science degree in both the residential and hybrid PAS programs.
5. Does the program offer scholarships?
Students have a variety of options to fund their tuition. Some of the most frequently used funding options are included below, but we encourage you to consult with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid when determining the best options available.
Pitt2Pitt Program: The Pitt2Pitt program can help graduating University of Pittsburgh seniors or alumni complete a Pitt master’s degree or certificate program. Graduating seniors and recent alumni from all Pitt campuses are eligible to apply for $2,500 or $5,000 scholarships. Contact an enrollment advisor at PittPAHybrid@shrs.pitt.edu for additional information.
Other Scholarships: We recommend the FastWeb scholarship search site for external scholarships.
Loans: The Federal government provides loan options for graduate students, even if they do not qualify for need-based financial aid. The Pitt Financial Aid Office works with two types of U.S. federal government loans:
- Federal Direct Loans: This is generally the lowest cost loan available, for up to $20,500 every academic year. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, take at least six credits per semester and submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to qualify. Pitt’s school code for the FAFSA is 008815. We recommend checking out Frank’s FAFSA Application Platform to help.
- Federal Graduate PLUS Loans: If you need to borrow more, then a Graduate PLUS loan can generally cover the remainder. You will need to submit the application for the Federal Direct loan prior to applying for the PLUS.
- If federal loans are unavailable or insufficient, we can help you explore private or alternative education loans. Unlike federal loans, private loans do not require a FAFSA to apply. Private loans are not based on need and approval is generally based on creditworthiness and ability to repay. Some students may need to apply with a credit-worthy co-signer. Interest rates, grace periods, repayment options and fees are determined by the lender and can vary considerably from lender to lender; generally, they charge higher rates than Federal loans.
Clinical Year FAQs
1. Are the clinical rotations full-time?
Clinical rotations are full-time obligations that on average will require 40 hours per week of student attendance. Additionally, students may have associated homework, patient logging, and prep work during each rotation.
2. When am I able to see the clinical sites list?
Fully vetted clinical sites are in our clinical year management system, Exxat. All students will receive access to Exxat prior to matriculation each year.
3. What if there is not a clinical site in my area?
Students are not required to find their own preceptors or clinical sites. Students can work with a program assigned placement specialist to find rotation sites in their preferred area. The placement specialist and clinical team will do their best to ensure students have clinical site options in their preferred area. The clinical team cannot guarantee they will be able to obtain any clinical sites in students preferred area(s).
1. Does the program provide housing during the immersive experiences?
The program does not provide housing during the immersion experiences. A list of hotels nearby and short-term rentals will be made available.
2. How often do I have to come to campus?
Students will be required to come to campus three times during their two-year enrollment. They will attend two separate five-day immersion experiences during term one and term three. They will have one three-day immersion experience at the end of term six.