Prerequisites

Before applying to the Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) Physician Assistant Program, an applicant must meet the following requirements for Academic Courses, Direct Patient Care Experience, Tests, and Technical Standards.

Technical Standards

The Technical Standards of the Physician Assistant Program (non-academic prerequisites) define the essential functions that an applicant must be able to perform in order to be admitted to the PA Program, to progress satisfactorily, and to graduate. Essential functions refer to all non-academic criteria that are necessary to participate in the educational program. These include basic motor and communication skills, intellectual abilities, behavioral and social attributes, and other requirements.

In developing these criteria, the PA Program faculty affirm the following expectations of our admissions candidates:

* Observation: The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences. A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation. It is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of hearing and of smell.

* Communication: A candidate should be able to speak, to hear and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, families, peers, and faculty. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team.

* Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to execute motor activities reasonably required to provide general care, to perform diagnostic procedures and to provide emergency treatment to patients.

* Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, a critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Candidates and students must be able independently to access and interpret medical histories or files, identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data, provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses, and prescribed medications and therapy, and recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans is essential. Good judgment in patient assessment, diagnostic and therapeutic planning is crucial; students must be able to identify and communicate their knowledge to others when appropriate.

* Behavioral and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess the mental and emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to learn the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that should be assessed during the admissions and education process.

Additional Standards: 

* All students will undergo criminal background checks before matriculation into the program and prior to entering the clinical year of the curriculum.

* The above are considered minimum abilities required in the educational process of a physician assistant. Each person will be evaluated on an individual basis. Tufts University School of Medicine reaffirms its commitment to be flexible, innovative, and creative in trying to meet any special needs of students. The integrity of the curriculum must be maintained and those elements deemed essential to the education of a physician assistant must be required and completed.

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Physician Assistant Information Session Slides

View slides from our information sessions to learn more about the Physician Assistant Program.

Information Sessions

Information Sessions

Thursday, October 5 (4pm-6pm)

Upcoming sessions: look for information in January 2018.

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