Duke University PA Interview Questions

Advice & Insight From PA Application Specialists

General Interview Information

The Physician Assistant course at Duke is incredibly competitive, with 1780 applicants for only 77 acceptances. There are 90 places offered. The overall average GPA is 3.63 and the average science GPA is 3.57. Average patient contact hours are 3063. Prerequisite courses include one course from psychology, at least two semester-long courses of human anatomy and physiology, two courses with labs for biology, one course for microbiology, and one course for each of genetics, chemistry and medical terminology.

Interview Format for Physician Assistant Studies at Duke

Approximately 250 of the best applicants will be invited for personal interviews. You should expect to have two interviews, both one-on-one, with either faculty members, PA alumni, or other health professionals from Duke. There will also be a group exercise with other applicants.

Key Dates

All CASPA applications (the portal through which you must apply to Duke’s PA program) must be completed by September 1st at the latest. However, you ought to apply well in advance of this deadline. After your application has been received, you will be given instructions on how to complete the supplemental application – this must be submitted directly to Duke by October 1st. Candidates who have an interview are notified in writing of the decision made by the admission committee from ten days’ time after their interview until the first of March.

Sample & Recent Interview Questions

Expect to field both general questions, a scenario during your group interview, and specific questions on the nature of being a PA and healthcare in the US.

​Motivation and Insight into Physician Assistant Studies and Career

  • What does a Physician Assistant do? How does the role of a PA differ to that of a doctor?
  • When did you first become interested in being a physician assistant?
  • What do you think you will bring to Duke’s PA program?
  • Do you think that our program at Duke fits your learning style? Why/why not?
  • How does a physician associate’s role differ from a nurse practitioner’s? Why not become a nurse practitioner?
  • How long have PAs been practising in America?
  • How can we improve access to healthcare for the most disadvantaged in our society?
  • Do you think that PAs should be awarded a doctoral degree, like MDs and DOs?
  • What changes would you make to the healthcare system if you were to be provided with an unlimited budget?
  • Can you tell me what managed care is, and describe how it has affected physicians and PAs?
  • What in particular attracts you to our PA course, rather than any of the others across the US?
  • What is a dependent practitioner?
  • How do you expect the roles and responsibilities of physician assistants to change in the future?
  • Is it possible for a PA to work alone (independent of a physician)?
  • Can you explain this part of your application to us in detail?
  • Have you got a specific area of healthcare that you are interested in?
  • What do you think is the most important challenge facing US healthcare at the moment?
  • Have you got experience of working with severely injured patients, and of seeing patients in difficulty? How did you respond when you first had to deal with such a situation?
  • How do PAs fit into our current healthcare model?
  • Are you more interested in becoming a surgical PA or a medical PA? Why?
  • Tell us about COVID-19 and how it has affected the US healthcare system.
  • What do you think healthcare will look like in 50 years?
  • How are physician assistants regulated in the US?
  • Describe your shadowing experience to us. What stood out in particular?
  • Do you think that your shadowing has given you a fair insight into the life of a PA?
  • What were you impressed by during your shadowing?
  • What challenging situations have you seen during your shadowing?
  • Tell us about a charity or volunteering role that you have taken on.
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Learn the best interview strategies and practice with interview questions & model answers.

Ethical Dilemmas

  • Do you think it’s right for hospitals to charge for ambulance callouts? What if the fee from that callout can cover care for others?
  • Where do you stand on the topic of physician-assisted suicide?
  • Imagine that one of your coursemates has been cheating in order to pass the semester. How would you respond?
  • What would you do if one of the doctors in your team ignored their responsibilities and left those same responsibilities for you to deal with?
  • What would you do if you found out that a doctor was having a relationship with a patient on your ward?

Duke University PA Interview Questions

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