Jul 14, 2020  
2018-2019 Academic Catalog 
2018-2019 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physician Assistant, M.S.

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Program Description

The Physician Assistant program prepares graduates to become licensed medical clinicians who practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician. Admission to the program is a selective process and will matriculate 25 new students to begin a 27-month intensive program of study. The curriculum consists of 107 graduate-level credit hours of instruction in a faith-based environment of scientific and medical evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of the ill and injured patient. Clinical internships will be conducted in a variety of medical specialties including primary care, surgery, OB/GYN, emergency medicine, and psychiatry.

Students who are accepted and enrolled in the Physician Assistant program agree to abide by the policies of AHU as well as the program as outlined in the Student Handbook - Physician Assistant Program.

Admission Requirements

Application Requirements

  1. Submit an application to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). This is a web-based central application and can be accessed at www.caspaonline.org.
  2. Provide evidence of an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Applicants who have not completed their degree by the time of application must do so by the completion of winter trimester of the matriculation year into the PA program.
  3. Present a minimum undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Official transcripts of all college course work should be forwarded to CASPA per instructions on their website. Transcripts from non-USA institutions must be evaluated by World Education Services (WES, P.O. Box 5087, New York, N.Y. 10274-5087, 212-966-6311, info@wes.org, www.wes.org)
  4. Must have completed and present results of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Results older than 5 years will not be accepted. Applicants who have an earned graduate level degree from a regionally accredited institution, Masters or Doctoral, regardless of major, are exempt from this requirement.
  5. Applicants must have completed at least 85 undergraduate semester credit hours total at the time of application. A minimum 40 credits of the natural sciences are required (Anatomy and Physiology I and II and Microbiology should be current within 7 years of program matriculation). All credits will be calculated based on the semester credit hour system.

Science prerequisites (all must include a lab component):

Organic Chemistry I, II                  8 credits

Anatomy and Physiology I, II        8 credits

General Microbiology                    4 credits

TOTAL                                          20 credits

Anatomy and Physiology I & II and General Microbiology should be current within 7 years of matriculation.


Other prerequisite courses:

Medical Terminology                      2 credits

General Psychology                      3 credits

Elementary Statistics                     3 credits

TOTAL                                           8 credits

  1. It is strongly recommended that applicants present evidence of a minimum 1 year (2000 hours) of direct patient care experience, including exposure to the PA role. Quality and quantity of patient care hours will be considered on a per applicant basis. Inclusion of an up-to-date resume with the application is encouraged to demonstrate depth and breadth of experience.
  2. Three letters of recommendation. At least one from a practicing physician assistant or physician. No more than one letter from a professor. Letters of reference cannot be from a personal friend or relative.

Applicants will provide a professional essay through CASPA of 1-2 pages in length. Applicants should outline their reasons for choosing to become a physician assistant, experiences or interactions they have had with a physician assistant, reasons for choosing to attend a faith-based institution, and why they have specifically chosen AHU. 

International applicants must demonstrate English proficiency in one of the following:

  • By achieving a score or 213 or higher on the computer-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or 550 or higher on the written TOEFL, and show appropriate evidence of temporary or permanent U.S. residency, in addition to meeting the general education requirements.
  • Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction in the United States


Interviews are offered by invitation only. Applicants will be contacted via phone or letter to arrange an interview date. Interviews are conducted from November through December. Every applicant who wishes to be accepted to the program must complete the interview process. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an invitation for an interview.

Student Selection

The admissions committee will evaluate the cumulative data collected, as well as consider the strength of the interview with regards to the applicant’s firm and clear commitment to the profession and the mission of the University and the program. Due to the competitive nature of the admission process, applicants are reminded that meeting the minimum standards does not guarantee admission into the program.

Admitted Student Requirements

Health Insurance

All students who will participate in a clinical environment are required to carry health insurance upon admission into the program, and they must maintain this insurance for the duration of the program.


Applicants who are accepted into the Physician Assistant program must present proof of the following prior to enrollment in the program and must submit annual proof of immunization thereafter.

  • Yearly verification of tuberculosis screening test. If positive, refer to the guidelines provided in the AHU Student Handbook - Communicable Disease Policy.
  • Updated verification of the following vaccinations or immunity titer including:
  • Hepatitis B+ (3 vaccine series)
  • Influenza (annually)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella (adequate titer, 2 vaccines, laboratory proof, letter from diagnosing physician, or medical record history of having chickenpox)
  • Tetanus/Diptheria/Pertussis (Tdap required)
  • Meningococcal vaccine
  • Polio
  • Completed and signed AHU Physical Examination Form within three months prior to the start of the program.
  • Certification in Basic Cardiac Life Support for Healthcare Providers provided by the American Heart Association. (Note: This certification must be kept current throughout the program duration.)

Program Deposit

If accepted into the Physician Assistant program, the student is expected to pay a non-refundable deposit of $500 to reserve his or her place in the program. The applicant’s acceptance letter will contain a deposit amount and deadline indicating when the deposit must be received by the University. Once the student enrolls in the program, this deposit will be applied toward the student’s account. Students who have paid the deposit but decide not to, or become ineligible to enroll in the program for any reason, will forfeit the deposit. If the student is admitted to the program at a later date, he or she will be required to pay the full deposit amount again. The professional program deposit is not transferable to another department.


The Physician Assistant program is a continuous 27 month course of study. Students will be deemed to have achieved continuous satisfactory progress toward their degree when they:

  1. Complete all scheduled courses with a grade of 3.00 or better on a 4.00 grade point scale.
  2. Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or better in all PA program coursework.

Note: Students who anticipate an absence in excess of 5 consecutive class days should consider filing a “Life Event Withdrawal” request with the Program Director, if applicable. 


Any student who has failed the prescribed course of study or voluntarily withdrawn from the program may apply for reinstatement. The applicant will be required to submit a letter of intent to the Office of Enrollment Services as well as supporting documents and fees. Reapplication does not guarantee readmission into the program. 

Any student whom has been dismissed from the program due failure to meet criteria for successful academic progression, will be eligible for external remediation.  External remediation provides a student, who has been academically dismissed from the program, the opportunity to meet with program faculty to establish a customizable series of steps that, if successfully completed, should result in the student being positioned for favorable reconsideration for potential readmissionintothe program through the formal application process.


AdventHealth University will consider students for graduation with the degree of Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) when they have:

  1.  Met all general requirements for the MSPAS degree.
  2. Completed all required courses in the Physician Assistant curriculum with a grade of 3.00 or better and a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or better.
  3. Successfully completed all required courses (107 credit hours) in the Physician Assistant program curriculum within 40 months of matriculation into the program.
  4. Completed a Student Scholarly Project that has met or exceeds the standards of the University and the program.
  5. Participated in the University Colloquium as instructed by the program.


Program Sequence

The following curriculum is sequential and is expected to be taken in the order listed.

Total: 14 Credit Hours

Total: 16 Credit Hours

Total: 16 Credit Hours

Total: 17 Credit Hours

Year II - Trimester I

All course work performed during Year I must be completed with a minimum cumulative grade point average of “B” (3.00) in order to progress to Year II.

Total: 16 Credit Hours

Year II - Trimester II

All prerequisite course work must be completed with a minimum cumulative grade point average of “B” (3.00)

Total: 16 Credit Hours

Year II - Trimester III

All prerequisite course work must be completed with a minimum cumulative grade point average of “B” (3.00)

Total: 12 Credit Hours

Cumulative Credit Hours: 107

Clinical Rotation Descriptions

Supervised clinical practice is paramount, as it becomes the primary focus of program Year II. By the completion of the program, each student will have completed clinical rotations in primary care, internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, emergency medicine, general surgery, and behavioral health/psychiatry. In addition, students will have completed two clinical elective rotations in the medical field of their interest, appreciating numerous opportunities to care for patient populations in underserved areas. The ADU PA program Clinical Director assigns all students to their respective clinical rotations. Rotation assignment and order of focus or specialty is predicated on preceptor and/or clinical site availability.

Primary Care Clinical Rotation

This 4 week clinical rotation will focus on primary care medicine. This rotation may include family practice and rural healthcare settings. The student will learn about evaluation, diagnosis and therapeutic planning related to a variety of acute and chronic illnesses and injuries. Students will develop their skills in dealing with patients and patient education.

Internal Medicine Clinical Rotation

This 4 week clinical rotation focuses on the practice of internal medicine. Students will have the opportunity to deal with a variety of complex adult acute and chronic diseases and discover best practice methods for diagnosis and treatment of these issues.

Pediatric Clinical Rotation

This 4 week rotation will focus on pediatric patients. Students will learn about this specialty of medical practice and how to differentiate presentations in the pediatric population from those in an adult population.

Women’s Health Clinical Rotation

This 4 week clinical rotation exposes students to the practice of women’s health. Students will learn about evaluation and treatment of a variety of gynecologic and obstetrical problems as well as other issues which are specific to women.

Emergency Medicine Clinical Rotation

In this 4 week rotation, students will experience a wide variety of clinical presentations common in emergency medicine practice. Students will learn methods for determining critical versus noncritical presentations and methods of patient stabilization. Students will have the opportunity to apply many of the procedures and techniques learned in their medical procedures course.

General Surgery Clinical Rotation

This 4 week rotation introduces students to practical concepts and principles in surgery. The students will have the opportunity to interact with surgeons in a variety of surgical cases and to explore a range of surgical therapeutics.

Behavioral Health/Psychiatry Clinical Rotation

In this 4 week rotation, students will have the opportunity to participate in the evaluation and treatment of patients with a variety of behavioral and psychiatric conditions. Students will gain knowledge about the intricacies of psychiatric illness through active involvement in the diagnosis and management of patients.

Clinical Elective Rotation I

This 4 week rotation is structured to provide the student with clinical experience in the primary care area of personal interest. The program reserves the right to design an individualized curriculum for the student to provide enhancement of knowledge and to facilitate student performance at a higher level of supervised practice.

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