How do you calculate my GPA?
GPA is calculated by CASPA. The cumulative GPA includes all courses. The science GPA is calculated using only Biology, Chemistry and Physics. If you repeated a course, the average will be taken, not the highest and not the most recent. For specifics on CASPA's calculations, please contact their customer service.
Do you accept Pass/Fail courses?
We accept pass/fail coursework ONLY if it was mandated by your institution because of COVID-19 for the 2020-2021 cycle only. Applicants must submit additional documentation from their institution on school letterhead or authorized registrar email. The PA Program strongly encourages students to take the letter grade, especially for all prerequisite courses, if applicants have an option. This will be reviewed on an individual basis.
Can I apply before I finish my bachelors degree?
You may apply while completing your bachelor's degree as long as all courses are finished and posted to transcript by the end of the summer semester (August) prior to January matriculation.
Do I have to have a bachelor's degree in a science field (biology, chemistry, etc?)
Applicants may apply who have either a BS or BA, with preference toward the BS. You do not have to have a specific major; however, all required prerequisites must be satisfied with a C or better. Please review our required prerequisite courses prior to applying to the program.
Do you accept degrees from universities outside the United States and US Territories?
Graduates from foreign institutions must have their degree and courses verified by the World Education Service (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE). This can be ordered through your CASPA Application.
Can I submit my MCAT score with my application?
MCAT scores are neither required nor accepted.
Do you require the GRE?
Do you accept physicians trained outside the US who have not yet completed USMLE examinations?
Regardless of whether an applicant completed some or all of a medical degree, no preferential treatment or skipping courses is allowed. Students accepted to the PA Program must be part of the cohort, attending, completing, and passing all courses in their entirety. They then take the national certifying exam (PANCE) to become a certified Physician Assistant. We do not accept Advanced Placement or transfer requests.
Once I graduate from the PA Program, can I practice in the continental US or just in Puerto Rico?
Upon successful completion of the PA Program students are eligible to take the national certifying exam (PANCE) and may then get a license to practice in any of the 50 US States and Territories; Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam.
I already have a medical degree. Can I just take the PANCE and become a Physician Assistant?
Even if you have earned a medical degree, you must still graduate from an accredited PA program and pass the certifying exam (PANCE). https://www.nccpa.net/pance-eligibility
Can I apply before I finish a required prerequisite course?
You may apply while completing prerequisite coursework as long as all courses are finished and posted to transcript by the end of the summer semester (August) prior to January matriculation.
Do you accept coursework older than 10 years?
All science prerequisite courses must be completed within 10 years of matriculation.
Does SJB require a supplementary application?
Is TOEFL required?
Applicants whose native language is not English, or who did not attend college in the US or US Territories or English-speaking countries must demonstrate proficiency in English by submitting the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination with a score of at least 560 (paper-based), 220 (computer-based) or 83 (Internet-based).
What counts as patient care hours?
SJB PA Program recognizes that students with direct patient care experience have a variety of backgrounds. We require a minimum of 200 hours’ direct patient care experience in the medical field prior to submitting your application. Most applicants have been Medical Assistants, scribes, Scrub Techs, EMTs, CNAs, or phlebotomists. Mission work, shadowing, and volunteer work are also considered.
Due to COVID-19 related obstacles, the following adjustments will be made to our admissions requirements provided that all other academic and GPA requirements are met: Applications will be accepted and processed without completed Direct Patient Care experience hours with the understanding that these hours will be completed as soon as permissible and may be required in the event of acceptance if circumstances allow. We will accept virtual shadowing hours.
How many letters of recommendation do I need?
The SJB PA Program accepts three letters of recommendation with at least one from a Medical Doctor or Physician Assistant. It is highly recommended one letter be from a supervisor (from either paid or volunteer work) or a college professor.
What is the deadline for the CASPA Application?
All applicants must submit their CASPA Application online by 11:59pm EST by October 1.
Will I be subject to a criminal background check?
All accepted applicants must consent, submit to and satisfactorily complete a Criminal Background Check (CBC) as a condition of matriculation into SJBSM. Enrollment will not be final until the completion of the CBC with results deemed acceptable. All expenses associated with the CBC are the responsibility of the applicant. Students who do not consent, refuse to give information or give misleading or false information will be refused admission. CBC's reflect all prior convictions, guilty pleas, city ordinance citations (such as public intoxication), illegal possession(s) including possession of alcohol under the legal age, payments of fines (including those for traffic violations), and in some cases, prior records thought to have been expunged. Note that in some states, common traffic violations can be considered misdemeanors.
When are interviews scheduled?
July through October
When will I be notified if I am selected for admission to the program?
We have rolling admissions and will notify all interviewees by December 1st.
How many applicants are accepted each year?
There will be 35 students accepted annually for year 1 and 2 and 45 for each year after.
Do I need to be in Puerto Rico to interview?
Interview cycle interviews will likely be virtual, and you do not need to be physically present in Puerto Rico.
Does my college algebra course qualify as pre-calculus?
A pre-calculus course definition depends on the Institution or College where the applicant received their education. We encourage the applicant to research this with their Institution prior to applying. If their college algebra course was/is defined by that Institution as a pre-calculus course and was/is the prerequisite for calculus, then we will be able to accept it as a pre-calculus course requirement. If the college algebra course is listed as a prerequisite to pre-calculus, this it will not be accepted as satisfying the requirement. Access the Institution's website or contact the Math Department and review a list of their offered math courses to clarify. The applicant will need to apply for an appeal to accept their math credits at please refer to the appeals section on the admissions webpage for more information. A specified course description will need to be included. Acceptance of this course and further application review is at the discretion of the Admissions Committee and does not guarantee an invitation to interview.
How much Spanish do I need to speak and understand?
While English is spoken in Puerto Rico, Spanish predominates as the national language, therefore it is a requirement to be bilingual. All textbooks, exams and most lectures are delivered in English, while the clinical experiences will be in Spanish and English. Except for elective rotations in the US mainland, clinical encounters and experiences will be in Spanish. Having Spanish language proficiency with attention to medical Spanish is integral to patient history taking, conducting the physical exam as well as providing patient and family education.
When does the program begin?
- A new cohort begins the PA Program each January.
What is the cost of the program?
- Please see Tuition and Fees link.
Can I be in the program part-time?
- PA school is rigorous and is a full-time commitment for 28 months.
Can I work during PA school?
- We highly recommend the student not work while enrolled in the PA Program.
Is housing available?
- Housing is not provided by the university.
Do you offer any scholarships?
- Financial aid is available by completing FAFSA for the upcoming school year cycle for the year matriculation begins.
Do you have a dress code?
- Please see Student Manual for professional dress requirements.
Is attendance required?
- Yes, we have mandatory attendance policy and a full-time student commitment.
Do you have a cadaver lab?
- Prosected cadavers, 3D Anatomy and virtual dissection platform (Anatomage table) are used.
How many rotations can I do outside of Puerto Rico?
- Two off-island rotations are allowed, one elective during the clinical year and another during the culminating semester.