Physician Assistant Studies (PA Program), M.S.P.A.S.

Make a positive impact in health care and in your community as a Physician Assistant

As a valuable member of a health care team, you can be part of a collaborative approach to patient-centered care that enhances treatment plans and can improve outcomes.

Take the first step toward a career as a physician assistant, ranked the No. 4 overall best job and No. 2 Best Health Care Job by U.S. News & World Report 2023 rankings, and pursue the best program for the job, Physician Assistant Studies.

Our 28-month, coeducational program, which enrolled its inaugural cohort in Jan. 2017, will provide you with a solid foundation and prepare you with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in a changing and evolving health care environment.

Admission Process & Upcoming 2023/24 Application Cycle

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Read the PA Studies updated Accreditation statement here.

Program Facts

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Program Outcomes

  • Graduate highly competent PA’s prepared to enter clinical practice upon graduation
  • Cultivate a spiritually enriched learning environment
  • Provide a learning atmosphere imbued with intellectual rigor
  • Emulate the values that result in the formation of ethical physician assistant graduates
  • Prepare graduates who are collaborative members of the health care team, and provide patient-centered care in an inter-professional context
  • Develop an atmosphere that exemplifies the highest level of professional Integrity
  • Foster the development of the skills required for life-long learning, scholarly inquiry, and professional development
  • Promote an appreciation for social responsibility that is inherent to PA practice
  • Model and encourage the importance and the value of service to the profession and society

Career Opportunities in: private physicians offices, clinics, hospital inpatient, emergency departments, mental health facilities, federal agencies, nursing homes, and more.


  • Unique modular curriculum
    • Proven record for success
    • USJ offers the only program of its kind in the region
    • Students study one course at a time, mastering the subject material
    • The knowledge and critical thinking skills developed during the didactic curriculum will prepare students to excel during the clinical phase
    • The cohort model fosters a student-centered, supportive environment
  • A brand new 11,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility on our main campus in West Hartford, Conn.
  • Faculty who are experts in their field

I hope that we all leave here today with the confidence to pursue our passions and be great at what we love. As we step forth into ‘the real world,’ don’t forget to lift up the people around you whenever you can.

– Kylie Hoang M’19 Remarks on the Inaugural Physician Assistant Studies Class Graduation

PA Student Spotlight

Julia Piwowarski is a second-year student at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) PA Program in West Hartford, Connecticut. She has served as the Student Academy Representative (SAR) of her student society, volunteers as a member of the USJ Academic Integrity Board, and is currently serving her second term on the student delegation to the AAPA House of Delegates. Her experience on the 2019-2020 delegation motivated her to remain involved and further direct her focus on issues she is most passionate about, such as diversity and inclusion, LGBTQ health, and Optimal Team Practice.

Piwowarski’s primary goals are to encourage student involvement in AAPA, advocate for diversity within the PA profession, and, most importantly, emphasize ethical, evidence-based decisions in all settings to provide exceptional care to patients and increase access to care for underserved populations. Read Julia’s full bio here.

Student Academy of AAPA – Interview

PA students have the option to choose elective rotations during their clinical year. HOD Student Delegate and Advocacy & Policy Committee member Julia Piwowarski shares her experience during her Interventional Radiology rotation: “I was lucky enough to have my elective clinical rotation in Interventional Radiology. It was not my top choice, but after having the experience, I think it is a specialty that many students should consider when choosing an elective rotation for multiple reasons. PA autonomy and the privileges to perform certain procedures vary from state to state and institution to institution, but the majority of PAs in Interventional Radiology have the autonomy to do impressive procedures, with an attending physician nearby to consult if needed. I had hands-on learning with ultrasound-guided, computed-tomography-guided, and fluoroscopy-guided procedures, gaining exposure to interpreting images during and after. Under supervision, I gained experience performing thoracentesis, paracentesis, lumbar puncture, bone marrow biopsies, chest tube placement, and many other procedures, all guided by an imaging modality. It is recommended that you have a few years of experience in general surgery prior to applying for a job in IR (with good reason), but taking part in an IR rotation as a PA student not only aided me in understanding procedures better but also showed me the continuous growth in the PA profession.”

ConnAPA Student Day

USJ was represented by 32 PA students at the 2022 Connecticut Academy of PAs Student Day event where USJ placed 2nd in the Challenge Bowl!

Outreach and Service

The PA Program had an impressive response to our 2021 Adopt-A-Family through the Salvation Army of Greater Hartford. As a faculty and staff we gathered gifts for one, four-person family, and the class of 2023 gathered gifts for one, six-person family. 

We had huge piles of gifts in the front of the PA Studies office and in the conference room and believe we got everything the families requested and more.  A full trunk (see attached picture) of gifts were delivered to the Salvation Army by PA faculty & staff and the Salvation Army had to load four carts to take in all of the gifts! 

The PA Program is looking forward to continue helping families on an annual basis!

November 2021- PA student, Valerie Fitton, would like to thank everyone for their generosity in supporting the “Purse Drive” for Mercy Shelter. Valerie donated over 60 purses, toiletries, and cosmetics to a local women’s shelter. Well done Valerie and to everyone who donated !

November 2020- USJ PA students, Caroline Seeberg and Brooke Soderberg, class of 2022, help those in need by organizing a Thanksgiving Food Drive for the West Hartford food pantry.

Donated food and goods were delivered by the PA Studies students to the United Way of West Central Connecticut for the Joy of Sharing Thanksgiving Food Drive! Thanks to the contributions from everyone at USJ and in the PA Program four large boxes of food and goods were donated for the holiday season.

For PA Week 2019 our 2021 students and five faculty members traveled to the TODAY Show in New York City for “PAs on the Plaza.” Each year on the first Monday of PA Week students from numerous PA programs descend on the TODAY Show. Check out some of our students helping with some filming for the show!

PA students volunteered for a second consecutive year with the Hartford County Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Light The Night Walk held at Bushnell Park in 2019. Funds raised to provide funding for research to find blood cancer cures and to ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients. In bringing light to the darkness of cancer through research and cures, hundreds of people at Bushnell Park carried lanterns to honor, celebrate or remember their friends and families who have been touched by cancer.

The PA Studies Program has collaborated with the Adopt-a-Park Program through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, to establish a long-term partnership with USJ PA students to care for, clean up and maintain a local state park. The Park and Recreation supervisor and volunteer manager are very excited to work with this dedicated group of students and program faculty and staff to take control of this project in order to help maintain Penwood State Park in Bloomfield, Conn. Students, faculty, and staff worked together recently cutting brush, pruning, raking, and clearing drainage ditches and culverts. The group looks forward to continuing their work to maintain the natural beauty of the park for all nature lovers to enjoy.

USJ PA students continued to volunteer with the Miracle League of CT in the Baseball Buddy, Adaptive Tumbling, and Adaptive Dance Programs. Students also participated again this year in helping to create an accessible neighborhood with local groups on the Miracle League Field in West Hartford for the Trick or Treat Halloween Event. More than 300 children with physical and or cognitive challenges along with their siblings enjoyed the Trick or Treat experience in a safe, accessible, and fun atmosphere.

Throughout PA Week, our students conducted a Pen & Pencil Fundraiser for the Right-to-Write Organization who provides new and used pens and pencils to children in developing countries where owning pens and pencils is a luxury. Basic instruments like pens and pencils help the children to succeed when pursuing an education. This year USJ PA students collected over 500 pens and pencils, and these items are being sent to Haiti where they will be distributed to children.

Other events throughout PA Week included “Wear your Favorite Scrubs Day,” students who wished to dress down in scrubs, donated money for their end of didactic year banquet. The week ended with a pizza party and cake lunch.

USJ News


    PA Studies Program
    Phone: 860.231.5420
    Email: [email protected]

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