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About the Rutgers-UMDNJ Integration

The School of Health Related Professions was integrated to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, effective July 1, 2013. All programs will be continuing at current locations. Learn more about the Rutgers-UMDNJ Integration.


Scroll down and look to your right for the Program Supplemental Application link and information.


Physician Assistant Program

The Rutgers Physician Assistant Program, located on the campus of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, confers a Master of Science degree upon completion of three years of didactic and clinical education. We have been educating PAs since 1975, and are fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education of the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA).

There are two routes of entry into this program. Most students are admitted directly into the professional program after earning a baccalaureate degree and completing the required prerequisite courses. Another route of entry is for students who have not yet earned a baccalaureate degree. These students may be admitted into the articulated BA/MS program through one of our affiliated universities.

During the didactic phase of the Program, students study the basic sciences (anatomy, physiology, pathology, etc.) which provide a foundation for the clinical sciences (clinical medicine, physical diagnosis, etc.) During the clinical phase, we offer extensive training, including rotations in inpatient medicine, ambulatory care, surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, emergency medicine, psychiatry, intensive care medicine, and a medical sub-specialty (cardiology, gastroenterology, HIV/AIDS, or geriatrics). During the final semester, students may choose an elective rotation from a wide variety of disciplines such as cardiology, infectious disease, dermatology, gastroenterology, and surgical subspecialties or arrange a rotation at a site of their choosing either within the US or abroad.

We believe our three-year curriculum affords the best opportunity for educating a physician assistant. Our graduates consistently achieve high pass rates on the PA National Certifying  Examination (PANCE) with scores that place them in or above the 97th percentile nationwide.

Program Mission Statement

The mission of the UMDNJ PA Program is to prepare primary care physician assistants who will provide health care under the supervision of a physician in a variety of settings in order to meet the needs of the community.

Program Goals


  • To prepare graduates to assume the expanding roles and responsibilities expected of PAs in clinical practice
  • To assure that graduates understand the role and limitations of PA practice
  • To prepare graduates to provide humanistic health care with an emphasis on beneficence
  • To enable graduates to enhance their personal and professional growth by continuing their education through formal offerings and voluntary independent study
  • To foster the concept of a team approach to the practice of medicine


Program History
In January of 1975, the first class of physician assistant students entered the program which was founded by the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Rutgers Medical School (formerly known as the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School) (now known as Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Robert Wood Johnson Medical School) and Rutgers University-School of Arts and Sciences (formerly known as Livingston College)   The program was developed by individuals from both institutions as a result of information gathered from local physicians in NJ regarding their interest in hiring a PA. At that time PAs were not authorized to practice, but it was believed by the time the first class graduated in May of 1977, legislation would be enacted. No one knew that it would be 15 years before this would be true.

In the meantime, the School of Health Related Professions (SHRP) in Newark had opened its doors in 1976 and assumed responsibility for the PA program. However, the program remained in Piscataway because of its affiliation with the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School faculty who teach many of the first year basic science courses.

In 1978, Ruth Fixelle, a graduate of the class of that same year joined the faculty as clinical supervisor. She was the fourth faculty member to be added which included the Program Director, an Assistant Director, and one Clinical Coordinator. In 1981 she assumed the role of Program Director.

Under the leadership of Ruth Fixelle and Jill Reichman, who joined the faculty in 1981, improvements in the program began. These included the expansion of Histology and Cell Biology and Neuroanatomy to full semesters and the addition of other courses including Nutrition, Health Maintenance and Human Development, ECG Interpretation, Biochemistry, Problem Based Learning, Case Based Learning, and Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

During the subsequent years, graduates of the Program continued to find jobs outside of NJ. In 1992, after years of lobbying by the program faculty and other members of the New Jersey State Society of Physician Assistants, legislation was passed allowing for PA practice in New Jersey. Based on this fact, and the growing popularity and demand for PAs, UMDNJ decided to increase the class size. A new building was constructed on the grounds of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the program moved to its current home in January of 1993. In order to educate a larger class, the number of faculty was increased. Applications rose to an all-time high of approximately 900.

In 1997, the Program awarded its first Master’s degrees to its graduates with the degree conferred by UMDNJ-SHRP. Prior to that point, students were awarded a Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a Certificate of Completion from UMDNJ. The decision to convert was based on a number of factors. The education being provided was already at a graduate level with students in a B.S. program sitting side by side with medical students expected to perform at the same level. Additionally, over 75% of the students already had a bachelor's degree and were ineligible for financial aid if they had utilized this resource as an undergraduate.

The first articulated BA/MS Program was founded with Rutgers University in 1996. This program was instituted to provide students an alternate way of entering the profession and earning a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in six (6) years. The first individuals to complete this articulated program graduated in May, 1999. Today, the Program also has articulated BA/MS Programs with several other colleges and universities in New Jersey.

The Program now also offers a dual MS/MPH degree. This offering allows students to complete their PA Master’s degree along with an MPH from the Rutgers School of Public Health.

Over the years, student enrollment in the Program has continued to grow. Today, total enrollment is over one hundred students, with 14 faculty and a staff of four. The program continues to revise and update its curriculum to meet the demands of the profession. Recent enhancements include such things as requiring students to devote a portion of their time to community service and, with the addition of the Master’s projects to the curriculum, numerous student papers have been published in professional journals.

Please address comments or suggestions about this website to the MSPA-Piscataway webmaster or contact us by mail or phone:

Rutgers Physician Assistant Program
675 Hoes Lane West
Piscataway, NJ 08854
(732) 235-4445



Upcoming Events


2014 Board Review Conference
Rutgers - RWJMS
Early Registration: 
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Additional Information


PA News

About the Rutgers-UMDNJ Integration

Forbes names PA No. 1 Master's Degree...



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BA/MS (3+3) Applicants Only
Download Application
deadline: 6/1
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