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Physician Assistant (MS)


Master of Science

The Master of Science degree in the Physician Assistant field prepares medical professionals to assist the primary care physician with all medical and patient care responsibilities within the health care system. The program provides opportunities for those first entering a health care profession and those seeking career mobility within the health care field.

The curriculum builds on the clinical and academic competencies acquired through the bachelor's degree. An emphasis is placed on the natural and behavioral sciences and work experience. Course work specific to the Physician Assistant program is combined with graduate courses in health promotion/disease prevention, health care policy, and methodology in medical research.

The first year of the program is didactic course work in the medical and social sciences with related educational experiences to address the physical, interpersonal and psychosocial needs of patients. Classes are scheduled in summer sessions as well as regular fall and winter semesters.

During the second year, students acquire clinical expertise through a broad range of intensive clinical rotations, community health education and health projects with medically underserved communities. Clinical work is scheduled in summer sessions as well as in the regular fall and winter semesters. Each student completes the course of study with a preceptorship in primary care medicine.

A three-year course of study is available. This program track is designed for health professionals and others who wish to earn the master's degree while continuing employment or other obligations. Students in this track divide the didactic course work over a two-year period rather than one. The clinical year is completed in the same manner as the traditional two-year program.

The master of science degree is conferred at the completion of the program requirements. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national certifying exam administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

The Physician Assistant Program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), holds membership in the Physician Assistant Education Association, and is host to a student chapter of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

  • Application deadline: January 15 via CASPA, the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants.
  • Application fee: Per CASPA.
  • CASPA applications require completion of the Detroit Mercy PA program supplemental application.

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    The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the University of Detroit Mercy Physician Assistant Program sponsored by the University of Detroit Mercy.  Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

    Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards.  The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be June 2029.  The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

    Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)
    12000 Findley Road, Suite 150
    Johns Creek, GA 30097


    Admissions Requirements

    Admissions Criteria

    Admission requirements for the Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant studies include:

    • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited U.S. college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0.
    • Submission of all official transcripts for college/university education.
    • Official Graduate Record Examination general aptitude scores with a minimum score of 900 combined on the old GRE scale, and 291 on the new GRE scale.
    • Completion of the prerequisite courses within the six years prior to application with a minimum grade point average of 3.0/4.0. Prerequisites must be completed by application deadline.
    • Evidence of problem solving ability and communication skills as well as understanding of and commitment to the PA role, as demonstrated on the PA application and in candidate interviews.
    • 1000 hours of health care or helping care experience with increasing levels of responsibility, leadership and evidence of community service.
    • Two recommendations; Professional recommendations from individuals who can evaluate the applicant's work, not someone "shadowed", and if possible (but not required), at least one from a practicing physician assistant or a physician familiar with the role and responsibilities of the physician assistant.
    • A personal interview with the members of the Physician Assistant Graduate Admissions Committee. Personal interviews are by invitation and the class is selected only from among those interviewed.

    Academic Policies and Requirements

    To remain in good academic standing and to graduate from the program, a student must maintain a 3.0 GPA. All courses in the PA curriculum must be passed with a B- or better. Students are expected to maintain a mature, professional attitude consistent with that of an effective health care practitioner.

    The performance record of each student is reviewed at the end of each semester. Any student who fails to maintain these standards may not be permitted to progress in the program.

    The program may be completed in two or three years. The maximum amount of time to complete the course of study is three years unless approval is granted by the department due to extenuating circumstances.


    Curriculum Plan

    Didactic Phase

    Fall Semester

    • BIO 5430* Advanced Human Anatomy (2 credits)
    • BIO 5450* Advanced Human Anatomy Lab (2 credits)
    • HLH 5900* Advanced Pathophysiology (3 credits)
    • PAS 5100 Patient Evaluation Practicum I (3 credits)
    • PAS 5240 Clinical Medicine I (3 credits)
    • PAS 5360 Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures I (1 credits)

    Total: 14 credits

    Winter Semester

    • HLH 5300* Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics I (2 credits)
    • HLH 5500* Research Methods in Health Care (3 credits)
    • HLH 5700* Health Care Delivery and Policy Issues (3 credits)
    • PAS 5200 Patient Evaluation Practicum II (3 credits)
    • PAS 5250 Clinical Medicine II (3 credits)
    • PAS 5370 Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures II (1 credits)

    Total: 15 credits

    Summer Semester

    • HLH 5310*Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics II (2 credits)
    • HLH 5320* Health Promotion and Risk Reduction (3 credits)
    • PAS 5260 Clinical Medicine III (3 credits)
    • PAS 5300 Patient Evaluation Practicum III (3 credits)
    • PAS 5380 Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures III (1 credits)

    Total: 12 credits

    Clinical Phase

    Fall Semester

    • PAS 5800 Clinical Rotation I (8 credits)
    • PAS 5870 Physician Assistant Seminar I (1 credits)

    Total: 9 credits

    Winter Semester

    • PAS 5810 Clinical Rotation II (8 credits)
    • PAS 5880 Physician Assistant Seminar II (1 credits)

    Total: 9 credits

    Summer Semester

    • PAS 5820 Clinical Rotation III (8 credits)
    • PAS 5890 Physician Assistant Seminar III (1 credits)

    Total: 9 credits

    Grand Total 68 credits

    * Taken the first year of the three-year track.


    The PA Master's Completion Program

    Course of Study

    The PA Master of Science Degree Completion Program at Detroit Mercy provides a stimulating and challenging opportunity for graduate physician assistants to obtain theory and practice-based education leading to the advanced degree. The minimum 30 credit hour program is designed to enable PAs employed full-time to complete the required didactic studies. An educational track in Administrative Leadership is offered.

    The curriculum draws from the knowledge and methods of basic and applied research in the areas of epidemiology, public health, health care administration, health care education and health policy. The multi-disciplinary faculty, curriculum and student population provides a learning environment which allows students to build on their undergraduate experiences and undertake advanced study.

    Graduates will demonstrate competence in scholarship and research and be prepared to deliver health care services more effectively in a variety of clinical, research, educational and administrative settings.

    Other Characteristics

    All required classes will be presented on weekends, evenings and/or online. Specific areas of study may require course work in the traditional settings. Students will meet, by arrangement, with faculty for completion of projects and/or thesis.

    Benefits to graduates will include acquisition of skills to address added responsibilities based on the PA's evolving role in the health care setting including current practice.

    The program will:

    • Provide bachelor-level PAs with the opportunity to advance themselves academically
    • Increase the quality of health care delivery, health promotion, and disease prevention services for residents in the community currently served by the PA.
    • Enhance the ability of the PA to function in a multidimensional role in the delivery of health care in service to the community and the profession.

    Students will complete master's level studies with:

    • Minimal time away from their present practice.
    • A knowledge of recent advances in medical practice.
    • Renewed commitment to the mission and goals of the profession.
    • A deepening of their comprehension and skills in:
      • Health education
      • Utilizing critical thinking and research skills in the process of lifelong learning.
      • Ethical problem solving abilities within a professional code of conduct.
      • Integrating advanced knowledge from the biological, behavioral and medical sciences.
      • Communicating with and coordinating information between all members of the health care team.
      • Accessing and contributing to the body of professional literature.

    Entry Requirements

    Applicants will be required to demonstrate successful completion of a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Candidates must also demonstrate successful completion of an accredited PA program. Admission consideration will be given to PA candidates who are not graduates of an accredited program but who have qualified for clinical practice privileges through experiential learning. These candidates must meet all other admission requirements.

    Applicants may be required to hold or be eligible to obtain a license to practice as a PA in Michigan. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all previously completed academic course work. Letters of recommendation are required, preferably one each from the director of the PA program where trained, current supervisor or a professional colleague. In addition, a personal interview with the admissions committee may also be required.

    Degree Requirements

    Health Professions Master's Degree Requirements: At least 30 credit hours. Eighteen credit hours must be completed "in residence" (i.e., not transfer) at the graduate level, of which approximately six credits may be a graduate project or thesis.

    Candidates may apply for advanced standing. This will consist of transfer credit not more than seven years old being applied toward the 30-hour degree requirement.

    Transfer credit

    Selected course work completed at other accredited institutions in the areas of public health, health education, health care administration, and profession-related areas will be considered for advanced standing. Such course work will be reviewed by a committee on a case-by-case basis and limited to 12 semester hours.

    Course Outline:

    CHP Core (15 credits):

    • HLH 5320 Health Promotion and Risk Reduction (3 credits)
    • HLH 5700 Health Care Delivery and Policy Issues (3 credits)
    • HLH 5500 Research Methods in Health Care (3 credits)
    • PYC 5030 Statistics (3 credits)

    Choose one of the following:

    Administrative Leadership Track (15 credits):

    • HSA 5000 Theory and Practice of Health Services Management (3 credits)
    • HSA 5090 Human Resources in Health Care Organizations (1.5 credits)
    • HSA 5060 Health Economics (3 credits)
    • HSA 5150 Leadership in Healthcare Organizations (1.5 credits)
    • HSA 5500 Information Systems for Health Services Administration (3 credits)

    Elective (choose one):

    • HSA 5050 Legal Aspects of Health Services Administration (3 credits)
    • HSA 5780 Quality Improvement in Health Care Organizations (3 credits)
    • Any other appropriate Graduate level HSA or MBA course (3 credits)

    Total: 30 credits


    The course work will be offered on weekends, evenings and/or online. Accelerated courses in three-weekend or seven-week sessions are also offered.


    Program Policy Manual

    The Student Handbook contains additional policies which apply to PA students.


    Program Contact Information

    Ms. Rahima Ahmed
    HP 115
    McNichols Campus
    Telephone: 313-993-2474
    Fax: 313-993-1271

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