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Matt McQuillan

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M.S. in Physician Assistant

Building a Strong Foundation in Sciences and Offering Hands-On Clinical Experiences

Special Considerations Admissions during COVID-19 Pandemic are listed on FAQ tab.

Physician Assistants are nationally certified medical professionals who practice on health care teams. PAs are state-licensed to provide patient care and can prescribe medications in all 50 states. At Rutgers, our program builds a strong educational foundation in sciences, including anatomy, physiology, microbiology, genetics, and pathology, in preparation for immersion into hands-on clinical experiences.

A virtual cadaver is helping Physician Assistant students deepen their understanding of anatomy and clinical medicine. The ability to undo mistakes, which can’t be done on a real cadaver, allows the PA students to explore without fear.

Three Degree Options for M.S. in Physician Assistant:

  • Master of Science – for those already holding a bachelor degree
  • Articulated Bachelor of Arts/Master of Science or Bachelor of Science/Master of Science – a 3+3 program offered in affiliation with 10 college partners
  • Master of Science/Master of Public Health Dual Degree – a 4-year, dual degree program for students already accepted to the PA program.

We are committed to to diversity through  holistic admissions process and have intensified recruitment efforts to enroll more underrepresented groups.

Learn how our program has been working to attract candidates from different racial, ethnic, sexual, and economic backgrounds. A story in Rutgers Today highlights what brings candidates from different backgrounds to Rutgers.

Best Grad School USNews

  • The PA program inconsistently named as a Top Graduate Program by US News & World Report, ranking 16 out of 154 schools nationwide in the most recent survey in 2015, and 7 out of 73 PA Programs in the Journal of Physician Assistant Education in 2010.
  • 98% first-time pass rate on the PA National Certifying Examination (PANCE) from 2013-2017, with class performance above the mean in all areas
  • Innovative curriculum delivers small group learning, simulation, medical Spanish option, and international rotation option
  • Students engage with the underserved through the HOPE (Health Outreach Patient Experience) Clinic, working side-by-side with faculty and other students providing needed primary care while participating in a service learning initiative
  • Unique PA Faculty Practice in orthopedics and neurosurgery provides students with clinical training opportunities with PA Faculty preceptors in these specialties.
  • Commitment to diversity through our holistic admissions process and with intensified recruitment efforts to enroll more underrepresented groups
  • One of few PA Programs to offer both full time and part time options.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Rutgers University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Rutgers University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2026. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

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

Rutgers University PA Program ARC-PA Student Attrition Table

Data on our outstanding pass rates can be found here. We are extremely proud of our class of 2020 for achieving a 100 percent first-time pass rate.

Where are our alumni now?
You can find our alumni working in various specialties including dermatology, cardiology, critical care, emergency medicine, family medicine, gastroenterology, hematology/oncology, internal medicine, neurology, occupational medicine, pediatrics, physical medicine/rehabilitation, various surgical sub-specialties, and more.

Many of our graduates continue to live and work in New Jersey, but we also have alumni who represent our program in various other states
including California, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

Mission Statement:

The Rutgers University Physician Assistant Program enhances the delivery of humanistic patient care and advances the PA profession through a dynamic blend of educational programs, research, and service. Carefully crafted curricula and thoughtful mentorship of students develops collaborative, caring, and competent healthcare providers.


The Rutgers University Physician Assistant Program aspires to be recognized as a leader in education and health care delivery, achieved through dedication to educational excellence, interprofessional collaboration, innovative practice models, and community engagement.

In order to meet our mission and achieve our vision, the Rutgers University Physician Assistant Program emphasizes the following values:

  • Excellence in teaching
  • Service to the community
  • Inclusion and diversity
  • Academic and professional integrity
  • Adaptability and responsiveness
  1. Provide broad-based, high-quality education to graduate PAs who are well-prepared for work in a variety of settings
  • The intense curriculum includes 122 credits across three years, with a full year of clinically-focused basic science preparation.
  • Clinical rotations are offered in nine disciplines: Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Emergency Medicine, Intensive Care Medicine, Psychiatry, Ambulatory/Family Medicine, and a Medical Sub-specialty. In addition, students choose two electives.
  • Graduates of the Program work in all types of settings including: inpatient units, emergency departments, rural health clinics, federally qualified health centers, community health centers, freestanding surgical centers, solo physician practices, single specialty physician practices and multi-specialty physician practices.
  • The Class of 2017 achieved a 100% first-time pass rate on the PANCE as compared with the National First Time Taker Pass Rate of 96%. As a cohort, the 2017 student performance exceeded the national average in all areas of the exam.
  1. Foster humanistic care with an emphasis on beneficence.
  • The Program includes a threaded humanities curriculum, including opportunities for self-reflection throughout the entire three years.
  • For the Class of 2017, 95% of the graduates surveyed agreed that the program prepared them well to practice humanistic care with an emphasis on beneficence.
  • Clinical sites are now evaluated by students on the ability to develop skills in providing humanistic care.
  1. Promote a culture of diversity
  • The student body includes a diverse mix of individuals from across the country representing various ethnic and racial groups. The following  indicates the percentages of people of color:
    • Class of 2017: 33%
    • Class of 2018: 29%
    • Class of 2019: 38%
    • Class of 2020: 45%
    • Class of 2021: 47%
  • The Program continues to focus recruitment efforts on identifying applicants from underrepresented groups.
  1. Foster the value of service to the community and the profession
  • Students are required to participate in a wide range of community service activities and many surpass the minimum requirements.
  • Program faculty have a long history of serving the profession in various capacities on the local, state, and national level
  1. Advance interprofessional education and practice
  • Students participate in several IPE events hosted by the PA Program and other schools within Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Students have rated these experiences as highly valuable.
  • Students participate in interprofessional education and practice at a local clinic beginning in the first year of the Program.
  1. Cultivate a foundation of lifelong learning
  • Introduction to Scientific Inquiry, Applied Clinical Research, and evidence based medicine requirements prepare students for evaluating the medical literature.
  • The PA Program Research Day highlights the work performed by students and provides an opportunity for dissemination of their scholarly work.

The Rutgers University Physician Assistant Program is committed to the ideals of excellence in fostering an enriching learning community of students, faculty and staff from a broad spectrum of nations, cultures, and historical perspectives.  Diversity is an integral component of the human experience, and encompasses but is not limited to issues of race, ethnicity, culture, social class, national origin, gender, age, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation.  Our goal is to create a consciousness of diversity reinforced with equity and excellence through our policies and practices at the Physician Assistant Program.

Rutgers PA Program Committee on Inclusion and Diversity (CID) distributes monthly emails to members of the program to highlight various cultural celebrations and educate peers on the significance of these days. CID hosts several events throughout the year, including an annual international potluck. Other events that the program has celebrated include Lunar New Year, Black History Month, Mardi Gras, Holi, and World Hijab Day. Check out our Facebook page (Rutgers Physician Assistant Program) to see pictures from our events!

Katie Wenzel, Class of 2021: Thank you for everything over the years. I chose Rutgers because I trusted the education I would receive here. The program was difficult, as any PA program is, but I never wavered in my belief that it would prepare me well for the PANCE and more importantly for being an excellent PA. I would choose Rutgers all over again when it’s all said and done.

Natalie Amato, Class of 2008:  “The Rutgers University PA program was an amazing educational career experience for me. As a career change, the faculty embraced my prior experiences and used them to prepare me as a PA.  They truly care about each student in program & make each experience unique.  As a successful Cardiothoracic Surgery PA since graduating the Rutgers University PA program, I can attest that the rigorous curriculum instilled the notion that being thorough & organized is the key to success! I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!”

Laine Butler, Class of 2016:  “Moving from California to New Jersey, it was important to me that I ended up at a PA school with a good reputation, successful graduates, and most importantly, welcoming and supportive faculty. And that is exactly what I’ve found here.”

 Phillip Carhart, Class of 2010:  “I am a graduate of the 2010 UMDNJ (Rutgers) PA program and I cannot recommend it enough to aspiring PAs. By the end of my three years there I felt over-prepared for the PANCE, and had an easy time passing it. The rotation sites include many top notch hospitals in New Jersey, with some of the highest educational and clinical standards (e.g. Morristown Medical Center). The reputation of the program also precedes your employment, as I was specifically scouted while still in PA school by a hospital and had a job before I graduated. The staff is excellent, and take a personal interest in your success and education, with regular advisor meetings and convenient office hours. Overall, this program more than prepared me for life as a PA, and if I ever had kids interested in being PAs I will send them here.”

Lisa Cohen, Class of 2012:  “I entered the PA program through the Rutgers BA/MS 3+3 Program – though very challenging, this was a great way to get on the fast track to an excellent PA education. I have nothing but good things to say about this program – the curriculum provided me with a great basis for an entry level job in primary care.  From day 1 the faculty are great about creating unity between classmates as well as students and faculty, fostering a supportive learning environment.”

Eric Covert, Class of 2017:  “Something we heard early on was to put our faith in the program’s experience and to “trust the process”. That was a hard pill to swallow as there are moments, in any PA program I suspect, where you feel overwhelmed. But placing faith in the hands of faculty, some who have been working in PA education for decades, meant we could trust their expertise and follow in their footsteps towards a successful career as a PA.  Being a non-traditional student who had worked for nearly 10 years prior to PA school, I had to heavily weigh the 3-year format. I ultimately chose Rutgers for its longevity and outstanding reputation. I have been most impressed by the breadth of knowledge that we have covered throughout the program. Starting from the fundamentals of A&P and biochemistry, we have progressed to complex medical management plans and running simulated codes, all with careful guidance from accomplished faculty members. Without a doubt, Rutgers PA grads will be prepared to enter the workforce with a leg up on the competition and the three-year curriculum allowed for it.”

Ashley Day, Class of 2012:  “What attracted me to the UMDNJ/Rutgers PA program was the investment that the faculty and staff made into each individual student. The program is invested in making sure students succeed on a personal and professional level. I felt everyone in the program cared about helping me become the best PA I could be.”

Gabi DiMarco, Class of 2018:  “I chose Rutgers PA program because I felt confident that the strong background in science and medicine, exposure to reputable hospitals and excellent medical facilities and extended length of clinical rotations would best train me to treat patients and be a competent PA. However, it was not only the medical training, but the investment of the program and faculty in the personal development and enlightenment of their