Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA)

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The Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) program at the University of Michigan-Flint aims to cultivate exemplary physician assistant practitioners, leaders, and advocates for the profession and public health through best practices in teaching, learning, and service to our diverse local community and beyond.

With exceptional classroom, laboratory, and clinical training, The UM-Flint PA program arms you with strong medical knowledge and experience to sit for national certification and state licensure. As a graduate of the Master of Science in Physician Assistant program, you are well-prepared to provide evidence-based patient care as an integral member of the interprofessional health care team.


Why Choose UM-Flint’s Physician Assistant Program?

The World-Class U-M PA Program

The University of Michigan has a storied history of outstanding health care degrees. From Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor to the Doctor of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Occupational Therapy in Flint, our programs are among the nation’s best in preparing successful physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and other health care leaders. The Physician Assistant program on the Flint campus continues that reputation by employing leading faculty, utilizing state-of-the-art laboratory space, and offering highly sought-after quality clinical experiences.

Exemplary Clinical Rotations

Students in the MS in Physician Assistant program delve into many different types of clinical opportunities. Clinical rotations take place throughout Michigan Medicine, UM health affiliates, Genesee County hospital systems, and Hamilton Community Health Center, among others with options for specialty clinical rotations. Through robust clinical training, students improve their competencies in patient care, practice-based learning, communication, and more.


Physician Assistant—A Top Career

Earning a master’s degree in Physician Assistant is an entry-level requirement for those who want to pursue a meaningful career as a Physician Assistant. PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal health care provider.

The PA profession is currently ranked #1 in Best Health Care Jobs by U.S. News & World Report, and the PA program is a Top 10 Best Master’s Degree by Forbes. Given our aging population, the projected retirements of our health care workforce, and the number of currently uninsured and underinsured individuals, the demand for competent physician assistants is rising.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of PAs will increase 31 percent through 2029, significantly faster than the average employment growth rate. In addition to the surge in demand, physician assistants can make a competitive median salary of $115,390 per year.

$115,390 median annual wage for physician assistants Source: bls.gov

MS in Physician Assistant Program Curriculum

The Master of Science in Physician Assistant program employs a comprehensive 103-credit curriculum to instill students’ medical knowledge and clinical skills through didactic and clinical phases. Cohorts of up to 50 students begin each January.

Over 28 months, students attend on-campus and online courses and experience a variety of clinical rotations. The first 16 months are didactic instruction-lecture and laboratory format with clinical immersions. The final 12 months are primarily clinical rotations with some online and on-campus requirements.

Emphasizing hands-on training and interdisciplinary learning, the PA program curriculum is strengthened by collaborations within and across UM partnerships such as the
School of Dentistry and PTHeart, the UM-Flint pro-bono interprofessional student health clinic.

See the detailed Master of Science in Physician Assistant program curriculum.

Clinical Arrangements

Students may suggest clinical sites and preceptors but are not required to provide or solicit sites for their clinical rotations. The UM-Flint PA program provides all clinical year students with clinical sites and preceptors that meet program requirements.

MS in Physician Assistant/MBA Dual Degree Option

The Master of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA) /Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is designed for ambitious PA students and graduates interested in Business and Health Administration. This dual program complements the MSPA program with business knowledge and skills to improve the effectiveness and operational success of health care organizations and to promote entrepreneurial initiatives of PA professionals in finding business solutions to everyday issues they observe during their practice.

The degrees are independent, and the PA program must be completed first, to be followed by the completion of the MBA program. Each degree is awarded when completed with specific credits accepted for the MBA degree after the MSPA degree is awarded.

Accreditation

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the University of Michigan-Flint Physician Assistant Program sponsored by the University of Michigan-Flint.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website.

More information on accreditation is available at arc-pa.org/accreditation/, or at: Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc., 12000 Findley Road, Suite 150, Johns Creek, GA 30097, (770) 476-1224.

PA Program Admission Requirements – No GRE Required

Applicants to the Master of Science in Physician Assistant program need to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Completed a bachelor’s degree, in any field of study, prior to the PA program’s January start date. 
  • Bachelor’s degree completed in the U.S. must be from a regionally accredited institution.
  • If the bachelor’s degree was completed at a non-US institution, applicants must obtain a course-by-course evaluation of their transcripts by World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE). The evaluation must be completed and uploaded to the CASPA application by the CASPA submission deadline date and must include at least the cumulative grade point average and degree earned.
  • Minimum 3.0 CASPA-calculated overall cumulative undergraduate grade point average

Beginning with the 2021-2022 application cycle the Physician Assistant program is pleased to announce the program no longer requires the GRE General Test for admission.

Each applicant will be individually assessed on essential attributes such as:

  • academic excellence
  • altruism and advocacy
  • written and verbal communication skills 
  • creation and discovery/critical thinking 
  • desire to learn and dedication to practice as a PA, integrity, honesty, and ethics 
  • leadership potential, resilience and adaptability social/interpersonal skills and teamwork, 
  • technical standards adherence and on their unique potential to contribute to the educational experience 
  • future potential to serve under-served population of patients, 
  • future potential to serve under-served medical specialties, 
  • leadership experience, life experiences, clinical experience,
  • educational background, and socioeconomic status at the PA Program and the PA profession

Attributes are considered essential to the practice of medicine as a PA and therefore are required of all students admitted to the UM-Flint PA program. Unique potential relates to the unique and valued, but not required, characteristics that an applicant may possess, which would enhance their potential to contribute to the educational experience and diversity, broadly defined, of the PA program and to the PA profession.

PA Program Prerequisite Courses

  • All prerequisite coursework must be undergraduate courses and grades must be a “C” (2.0) or higher. Due to the unique situation created by COVID-19, many institutions are allowing students to choose a Pass/No Pass option in lieu of a letter grade. UM-Flint Physician Assistant program requires all applicants to receive letter grades in all of their prerequisites courses. The Pass/No Pass option will not be accepted.  
  • Minimum combined prerequisite course GPA of 3.0 or higher is required.
  • All coursework fulfilling prerequisite requirements must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or higher to be considered for admission to the program.
  • All prerequisite coursework must be completed at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college, with courses completed, grades earned, and documentation uploaded to the CASPA application by the CASPA application submission deadline date.
  • Graduate-level courses will not be considered as fulfilling prerequisite courses.
  • In-person and online coursework is acceptable.
  • Courses for which credit was awarded by examination and/or advanced placement credit are not applied toward any of the prerequisite course requirements.
  • Prerequisite courses will not substitute for more advanced applied content within the professional component of the program. 
  • Science prerequisite courses (human anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and microbiology) must be taken within seven years from the date of the application submission. If any science courses were completed greater than seven years prior to the time of the application submission:
    • A seven year Prerequisite Science Course Waiver Request must be obtained prior to the following deadline dates: 
      • Early Decision –August 16
      • Regular Decision – January 15

Please use the UM-Flint course prerequisites for equivalency comparison to ensure courses will satisfy requirements. Specifically approved UM-Flint PA prerequisite approvals can be found here.

  • Human Anatomy: one lecture course
  • Human Physiology: two lecture courses, at least one course must be 300/3000 level or higher
  • Chemistry: two lecture courses, one course must be either an organic or biochemistry course
  • Microbiology: one lecture/lab course, must include lab (lecture and lab may be combined or separate)
  • Developmental Psychology: one lecture course
  • Statistics: one lecture course
  • Medical Terminology: one lecture course

Application Deadlines

Winter 2023 Admission Cycle: July 1, 2021 – March 1, 2022

The UM-Flint PA Program students begin in the winter semester, January 2023. Applicants must have a completed Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) on or before the deadline date of March 1. A complete date is given when an application is e-submitted and at least two letters of reference, all official transcripts, and payments received by CASPA and attached to the application. Documents should be sent six weeks prior to the deadline date to ensure items arrive on time.

Early Decision

  • CASPA application due/UM-Flint supplemental fee due – September 1, 2021
  • CASPA verified date – September 17, 2021
  • CASPER taken by – August 22, 2021
  • Waivers requested by – August 16, 2021

Regular Decision

  • CASPA application due/UM-Flint supplemental fee due – March 1, 2022
  • CASPA verified date – March 15, 2022
  • CASPER taken by – February 17, 2022
  • Waivers requested by – January 15, 2022

How to Apply to UM-Flint’s PA Program?

The UM-Flint PA Program holistically evaluates candidates for admission across a range of attributes necessary for successful development into skilled, compassionate PAs who are aligned with the mission of the PA program.

The University of Michigan-Flint’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant program requires applicants to submit the following documents to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) and UM-Flint by March 1st.

Submit the following to CASPA:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended in the United States
  • Signed UM-Flint Technical Standards Attestation Form
  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution completed prior to the January start date with a minimum CASPA-calculated overall cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0. The undergraduate degree may be in any field of study.
  • All prerequisite coursework must be completed before a student submits the CASPA application. 
  • If the bachelor’s degree was completed at a non-US institution, applicants must obtain a course-by-course evaluation of their transcripts by World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE). The evaluation must be completed and uploaded to the CASPA application by the CASPA submission deadline date and must include at least the cumulative grade point average and degree earned.
  • Applicants may request that their last 60 undergraduate credit hours be used to calculate the cumulative GPA. To request a waiver complete the Physician Assistant Admissions Waiver Request Form by January 15 (for those seeking regular admission; early decision must be sent by August 16, 2021), and include the rationale for the request. Only undergraduate coursework will be used in the calculation. No graduate coursework will be used to calculate the cumulative GPA. If undergraduate courses were taken after graduation, these courses may be included in the last 60 credit total. If a last 60 credit hour waiver is granted, it is applicable to one application cycle only, as waivers do not roll over from one cycle to another. 
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • Letters of recommendation should be from persons who can attest to your potential as a PA, preferably from health professionals and/or college professors.
    • Recommendation letters from family members or friends will not be accepted.
    • One letter of recommendation should be from a supervisor who confirms the health care experience hours submitted.
  • Personal statement
  • Health Care Experience: 500 hours of hands-on direct patient care.
    • Examples of accepted experience.
    • Paid health care experience is preferred due to the level of responsibility and duties afforded in these positions. Volunteer health care experience may be considered, but paid, supervised health care experience is strongly encouraged.
    • One letter of recommendation from a health care experience supervisor to confirm hours submitted.
    • Hours must be completed before submission to CASPA and should occur within two years prior to application submission.
    • Due to the competitive nature of PA admissions, earning additional health-related hours is advised. When evaluating hands-on health care hours, we consider the use of medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiologic concepts in the work experience.
    • Health clinician shadowing and hours gained through student clinical experiences are not accepted toward the Health Care Experience hour requirement.

Submit the following directly to UM-Flint:

  • $55 UM-Flint Supplemental Application Fee (paid online).
    • This is submitted after you have a CASPA id number. 
  • CASPer Test
    • Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer)
    • Complete the American Professional Health Sciences (CSP10101) on the Altus website
    • The test is only valid for one admission cycle
    • Please direct any inquiries on the test to support@altus.as
    • Scores are sent directly to the Office of Graduate Programs, not to CASPA
  • If English is not your native language: Applicants can meet English proficiency either by taking the TOEFL or earning a baccalaureate degree from the United States, Canada, or Great Britain. 
    • Official and valid Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores are required of all applicants whose first language is not English and/or do not have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited United States institution, or a baccalaureate degree from Canada or Great Britain. This is required regardless of the official language of the country of origin or the predominant language of attended educational institutions. 
    • A minimum total TOEFL internet-based testing score of 94, with a speaking score of 26 is required. TOEFL scores are only valid for two years from the test date. Scores must be sent directly from the testing agency to the University of Michigan-Flint. Official TOEFL score reports must be submitted and received by the MSPA application deadline. You should allow at least four weeks for scores to be received from the date of the test. Any scores received after the application deadline will not be validated for the current admission cycle.
  • International students must submit additional documentation. This program is an on-campus program. Admitted students are eligible to obtain a student visa (F visa). International students cannot complete this program online in their home country.

The application process includes an on-campus personal interview; qualifying applicants will receive an invitation to interview.

Physician Assistant Technical Standards

All applicants must meet the Physician Assistant Technical Standards in order to be admitted to and retained in the UM-Flint PA program. The Technical Standards are required for admission and must be maintained throughout student progression through the PA program. The Technical Standards are essential and necessary to practice and function as a PA and go beyond academic requirements for admission. These include physical, behavioral, and cognitive abilities needed to complete the PA education curriculum and competently perform as a PA upon graduation.

The Technical Standards for the UM-Flint PA program ensure that enrolled students have the ability to demonstrate academic mastery, competency when performing clinical skills, and ability to communicate clinical information with sound physical and mental capacities.

Learn More about the Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Program

Apply to the University of Michigan-Flint’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant program to pursue your dream of becoming a responsible and compassionate health care provider. If you want to learn more about the Physician Assistant program, submit a request information form!