Jun 14, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog This is not the most recent catalog version; be sure you are viewing the appropriate catalog year.

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)

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Revised Program | Fall 2017

Eastern Michigan University’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program is a two-year graduate professional program consisting of 103 semester credit hours that emphasizes basic medicine and clinical methods. The program will prepare its graduates to be certified and licensed to practice as physician assistants under the supervision of a 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 traditional lecture, problem-based learning, small group projects, role playing, use of simulated patients, case-based problem solving and hands-on work in the patient simulation lab.

The focus of the program is on higher order learning that will prepare PA students for critical thinking, ethical decision making and the synthesis and judgment of problems based on the biopsychosocial model. PA students will need to be insightful and aware of their own professional roles and limitations, as well as the needs, styles, and values of patients, and those of other health professionals. They should aspire to be 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 combined lecture and problem-based learning didactic year and a clinical year. The didactic year consists of 18 courses that focus on clinical medicine, patient assessment, pharmacotherapy, pathophysiology, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and simulation exercises. These courses will be organized around specific areas of medicine. For example, the courses taken by students during their first semester will focus on Dermatology, Psychiatric Medicine, Ear, Nose and Throat, Ophthalmology, and Pulmonology. Second-semester courses will focus on Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Hematology, Nephrology, and Urology. The third-semester courses will focus on Endocrinology, Neurology, Orthopedics and Rheumatology, and Women’s Health. 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. In preparation for clinical rotations, students will complete an intensive 3-week Introduction to the Clinical Year course. There will be 9 clinical rotations, each of 4 weeks in duration, which will be taken in any order. All students will complete rotations in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatric Medicine, and Emergency Medicine. Each student will also complete two elective rotations. The clinical preceptorship will be 6 weeks in duration and will occur after successful completion of all 9 clinical rotations.

Graduates of the program will earn a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. Each student must complete all 103 credits to graduate.

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.


Students must apply to both the EMU Graduate School and CASPA

The PA Program requires a completed Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) Application and an EMU Graduate Application. The PA Program will not accept applications through any other means. 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 reference
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended

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.

Please note that the EMU Graduate Application includes an application fee, payable by credit card. The EMU Graduate 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 as evaluated by Educational Perspectives 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 undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4 point scale is required at the time of application. 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). It is the expectation that the average successful applicant has a GPA much higher than 3.0. Although graduate work will be considered in the evaluation of a prospective student’s application, GPA for admission will be based solely on undergraduate course work.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) 

The GRE revised General Test or GRE General Test is required and plays a significant role in applicant evaluation. Scores must be available prior to CASPA application submission. You must self-report your GRE score on your CASPA application and have official scores sent to the EMU PA Program. The EMU PA Program’s GRE Institution Code is 3646. Please note that this code differs from the code used for other EMU programs. 

There is no minimum GRE score necessary for admission. The GRE will only send official score reports from the most recent five years. For GRE tests taken more than five years ago, individual/personal score reports or copies of official score reports may be accepted by the EMU PA Program; please contact the PA Program for more information. 

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.

  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • General Chemistry with Lab
  • Organic Chemistry with Lab or Biochemistry with Lab
  • Microbiology with Lab
  • Developmental/Lifespan Psychology
  • Statistics

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. We recommend applicants obtain references from individuals who are qualified to evaluate their intellectual abilities, interpersonal skills and ability to meet the demands of a functioning physician assistant student and professional. Examples of those who commonly supply letters of reference include: health care professionals (physicians, PAs, nurses, etc.), employment supervisors, science instructors or other college professors, 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

Clinical experience is preferred but not required for applicants. Preference will be given to candidates with direct patient care experiences, particularly those working as nurses or corpsmen with 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. Clinical hours logged must be completed prior to application; Clinical Experience / Health Care Hours obtained after submitting the CASPA application may not be used. Clinical Experience / Health Care hours obtained outside of the United States health care system will not be considered.

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 (any college/university courses) obtained outside the United States. All applicants to the PA Program must submit an evaluation of all non-U.S. baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate 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 and EMU by the application deadline. This evaluation will provide a U.S.-equivalent Grade Point Average (GPA) and be used in conjunction with coursework completed within the US to determine the applicant’s GPA and eligibility for PA Program admission

Please visit the EMU Educational Perspectives webpage 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. 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: emich.edu/pa or call 734.487.2843

School Information

Health Promotion and Human Performance, College of Health and Human Services

Christopher Herman, Ph.D. | Director | 319J Porter | 734.487.2815 | cherman2@emich.edu

Contact Information

Please consult the program’s detailed website and sign up for an Information Session (details on dates are available on the website).

Degree Requirements: 103 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 (below), 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.

Students in this program are granted a waiver of the University requirement that “Graduate Students may not enroll in more than 15 hours for any semester.”

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.

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