Apr 21, 2018  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)

Program Revised, effective Fall 2014

Eastern Michigan University’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program is a two-year graduate professional program consisting of 100 semester credit hours that emphasizes basic medicine and clinical methods. The program will prepare its graduates to be certified and licensed to practice as extenders to the practicing physician. The aim of the program is to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to respond positively to the challenges and opportunities of future trends in health care delivery. Learning methodologies include lecture, role playing, use of simulated patients, independent research, and case-based problem solving. Much of the teaching format will follow the principles of problem-based learning (PBL), which involves diagnosing and treating patient problems using clinical reasoning and research strategies under faculty supervision.In PBL, learners are progressively given more and more responsibility for their own education and become increasingly independent of the instructor for their education. Problem-based learning produces independent learners who can continue to learn on their own in life and in their chosen careers. The responsibility of the instructor in PBL is to provide the educational materials and guidance that facilitate learning.

The focus of the program is on higher order learning that will prepare the PA students for critical thinking, ethical decision making and the synthesis and judgment of problems based on the biopsychosocial model. The PA student will need to be insightful and aware of their own professional role and limitations, as well as the needs, styles and values of patients, and those of other health professionals. PA students are considered “life-long learners” of the art and science of medicine, as well as active learners who ask questions, uncover meaning and make decisions.

The program is divided into a didactic year and a clinical year. The didactic year consists of 15 courses that focus on clinical medicine, patient assessment, pharmacotherapy, pathophysiology, and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. These courses are organized around specific areas of medicine. Courses taken by students during a semester synchronously focus on disorders of the same body system. For example, disorders of the Ear, Nose and Throat are discussed across virtually all courses at the same time. The Clinical Year for the EMU PA student consists of 3 semesters with course delivery primarily via supervised clinical practice experiences (clinical rotations) with clinical preceptors and patient interaction. There are 9 clinical rotations of 4 weeks in duration, which can be taken in any order. The clinical preceptorship is 6 weeks in duration and occurs after successful completion of all 9 clinical rotations. The clinical preceptorship is in primary care medicine, primarily family or internal medicine.

Graduates of the program earn a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. Each student must complete all 100 credits to graduate.

Advisor Information:

Jay Peterson, MSBS, PA-C

222A Rackham
(734) 487-2842

Admission Requirements

The PA Program Admission Requirements were developed to be straightforward and attainable for prospective applicants. They are intended to serve as a guide for those interested in applying to the PA Program.

These are the minimum requirements for an application to be reviewed and evaluated by the EMU PA Program Admission Committee. All admission requirements must be met for an applicant to have a chance at being admitted. Simply meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee progression to the on-campus interview stage of the admissions process.


The PA Program requires a completed Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) Application and an EMU PA Program Supplemental Application. The PA Program will not accept applications through any other means and does not accept the standard EMU Graduate School Application. Applications are available mid-April and must be completed by September 1 prior to the year an applicant seeks entry to the program.

CASPA - By September 1, all of the following must be received by CASPA:

  • Application must be completed and submitted
  • Appropriate application fee paid to CASPA
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts for all colleges/universities attended
  • GRE score report

For further information about a “complete” CASPA application, visit the CASPA webpage. CASPA applications that are not completed by September 1 will not be considered.

EMU PA Program Supplemental Application - This takes the place of the standard EMU Graduate School Application and is designed to provide a shorter and more straightforward process for the applicant. Standard EMU Graduate School applications are not accepted. The EMU PA Program Supplemental Application must include all required information along with necessary details for all pre-admission courses (including those in process or planned). Only courses listed on the EMU PA Program Supplemental Application will be evaluated for the pre-admission course requirements. Please note that the Eastern Michigan University Supplemental Application includes an application fee, payable by credit card. Each candidate should only submit the EMU PA Program Supplemental Application one time. The EMU PA Program Supplemental Application and fee must be completed and submitted by September 1. An application with incomplete information or not completed by September 1 will not be considered.

Bachelor Degree

A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university or appropriate international institution must be completed prior to matriculation. Candidates may apply while their degree is in progress, but degree completion, demonstrated by transcript evaluation, is necessary prior to matriculation into the PA Program.

Grade Point Average

A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required at the time of application. This GPA can be attained by any one of the following: cumulative undergraduate, a completed graduate or an overall GPA. These GPAs are calculated by CASPA. A cumulative undergraduate GPA includes all college courses taken prior to receiving a bachelor degree and undergraduate courses taken after receiving a bachelor degree (such as pre-admission courses). The overall GPA includes all undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate courses (not doctoral). It is the expectation that the average successful applicant has a GPA much higher than 3.0.

Pre-Admission Courses

All of the following pre-admission courses must be completed and fulfill all associated requirements prior to matriculation into the EMU PA Program. Visit the EMU PA Program Pre-Admissions Courses webpage for more detailed information, including deadlines for completion of courses.

  1. Anatomy
  2. Physiology
  3. General Chemistry with Lab
  4. Organic Chemistry with Lab or Biochemistry with Lab
  5. Microbiology with Lab
  6. Developmental/Lifespan Psychology
  7. Statistics

Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) Scores

The GRE revised General Test or GRE General Test is required. There is no minimum GRE score necessary to be considered for admission. The GRE will only send official score reports from the most recent five years. For tests taken within the last five years, official score reports must be sent to CASPA. For GRE tests taken more than five years ago, individual/personal score reports or copies of official score reports must emailed, along with name and CASPA ID, to chhs_paprogram@emich.edu. Score reports sent to chhs_paprogram@emich.edu that are less than five years old will not be processed. GRE score reports must be received using the appropriate submission method by the application deadline.

Candidates selected for an on-campus interview will be required to provide appropriate GRE score documentation directly to EMU. In the event that appropriate score reports are not provided to EMU, the candidate will be removed from consideration for admission. The Eastern Michigan University GRE Institutional Code is 1201.

Letters of Reference

Two reference letters are necessary and up to three are accepted. There is no specific requirement regarding the credentials or background for the individuals who supply the letters of reference. However, a recommendation is to have references who are qualified to evaluate the applicant’s interpersonal skills and ability to meet the demands of a functioning physician assistant student and professional. Examples of those who are commonly supply letters of reference include: health care professionals (physicians, PAs, nurses, etc.), employment supervisor, science instructor or other college professor, or anyone qualified to evaluate the applicant’s potential for success as a graduate-level student and future physician assistant.

All letters of reference must be submitted through CASPA, in accordance with CASPA guidelines. CASPA will process an applicant’s application and deem it “complete” as long as two references are completed.

Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours

A minimum of 500 hours of clinical experience must be completed prior to application. Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours can occur in a volunteer or paid position in a wide range of health care settings. Visit Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours webpage for more information. Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours obtained after submitting the CASPA application may not be used.

Preference will be given to candidates with direct patient care experiences, particularly those that required specific training and/or licensure, higher levels of patient interaction and medical decision-making. Preference will also be given to candidates who have completed greater numbers of hours of experience.

Coursework Outside the US - International and Foreign Applicants

An international applicant is defined as a student who is either not a United States citizen or a student who has educational credentials (taken any college/university courses) from outside the United States. All applicants to the PA Program with non-U.S. post secondary educational credentials (taken any college/university courses) must submit an evaluation of all non-U.S. post-secondary education using Educational Perspectives (EP). EP is the only educational credential evaluation service that is accepted by EMU. A “Detailed” Report (course by course evaluation) is required and must be received by CASPA by the application deadline. This evaluation will be used to determine eligibility for admission to EMU, if the non-U.S. institution is recognized and provide a U.S.-equivalent Grade Point Average (GPA). A four-year bachelor’s degree from a Ministry of Education recognized or accredited institution is the minimum degree requirement for admission. Please visit the EMU EP webpage: http://www.edperspective.org/emich for details on how to submit the evaluation request and obtain an EP application form.

All applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL iBT examination. There are no exceptions. No other form of the TOEFL or other tests will be accepted. A minimum score of 95 on the TOEFL iBT is required for consideration for admission into the PA Program. Applicants must report their TOEFL scores on the CASPA application and an official TOEFL score report must be received by EMU by September 1.

All international applicants are expected to understand and meet all other eligibility requirements for admission to the PA Program and the Graduate School. For more information about the Graduate School requirements, please visit the International Student webpage. Applicants to the PA Program are not required to submit an EMU Graduate School Application and should refer to the PA Program Admissions Process page for application procedures. For questions about residency/visa or financial requirements, please contact the Office of International Admissions at international.admissions@emich.edu.

Technical Standards

All applicants must be aware of and are subject to the PA Program required Technical Standards. Open the Technical Standards pdf for detailed information.

Rules and Regulations

In addition to the above requirements, all PA Program students must agree to abide by the Rules and Regulations of the program. These can be found in the PA Program Student Handbook pdf.

Please keep in mind that the PA Curriculum is very rigorous. No advanced placement or advanced standing is granted and no transfer credit or credit for past work or other experiences are accepted.

Please visit the EMU PA Program website for more details: www.emich.edu/pa. EMU PA Program: 734-487-2843.

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies: 100 hours

Didactic Year: 55 hours

Clinical Year: 45 hours

The Clinical Year for the EMU PA student consists of 3 semesters with course delivery primarily via supervised clinical practice experiences (clinical rotations) with clinical preceptors and patient interaction and simulations. There will be 9 clinical rotations of 4 weeks in duration, which will be taken in any order. The clinical preceptorship will be 6 weeks in duration and will occur after successful completion of all 9 clinical rotations. The clinical preceptorship will be in primary care medicine, primarily family or internal medicine.

Summer Semester II: 13 hours

Fall Semester II: 17 hours

Winter Semester II: 15 hours


In order to complete the PA Program and graduate, a student must satisfactorily complete each course set forth in the Program’s curriculum outline (above) including satisfactory completion and defense of the Graduate Project, attain supervised clinical practice experience benchmarks and successful completion of the program Summative Evaluation. In addition, a student must be in good academic standing after completing the required curriculum and meet University guidelines.