Dec 04, 2023  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog This is not the most recent catalog version; be sure you are viewing the appropriate catalog year.

Physician Assistant Studies [M.S.]

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Department

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 a practicing physician’s supervision. The program aims to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to respond positively to the challenges and opportunities of future trends in healthcare delivery. Learning methodologies include traditional lecture, problem-based learning, small group projects, role-playing, use of standardized patients, case-based problem solving, and hands-on work in the patient simulation lab.

The program’s focus 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, and simulation exercises. These courses will be organized around specific areas of medicine. For example, students’ courses during their first semester will focus on Dermatology, Psychiatric Medicine, Ear, Nose and Throat, Ophthalmology, and Cardiology. Second-semester courses will focus on Pulmonology, 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 of 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 Introduction to the Clinical Year course. There will be 9 clinical rotations that 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 occur after the 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.

Program Admission

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. Merely meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee progression to the interview stage of the admissions process.


Applicants must meet the minimum Graduate School admission requirements (see Graduate Admissions or International Admissions) and complete a CASPA Application.

The PA Program requires a completed Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) Application​. The PA Program will not accept applications through any other means. The CASPA application cycle opens annually on September 1 and applications must be completed by January 15 of the year an applicant seeks entry to the program.

CASPA - By January 15, all of the following must be received by CASPA:

  • complete application 
  • All appropriate CASPA application fees 
  • Two letters of reference
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  • Official GRE scores

For further information about a “complete” CASPA application, visit the CASPA Applicant Help Center (

CASPA applications that are not completed by January 15 will not be considered.

Bachelor Degree

A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university or appropriate international institution (as evaluated by one of the four approved evaluation services) 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. CASPA calculates GPAs. A cumulative undergraduate GPA includes all college courses taken prior to and after receiving a bachelor’s degree. 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 coursework.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) 

The GRE revised General Test or GRE General Test is required and plays a significant role in applicant evaluation. CASPA must receive your official scores prior to January 15 for your application to be complete. The EMU PA Program’s GRE Institution Code is 3646. Please note that this code differs from the code used for other EMU programs. 

Because the Educational Testing Service will only send official score reports from the most recent five years, applicants must take the GRE test within five years of applying to the program. There is no minimum GRE score necessary for admission. 

Pre-Admission Courses

All of the following pre-admission courses must be completed within 10 years prior to September enrollment with a B- or better grade. Applicants must 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 completing 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 letters are required, and up to five are accepted. We recommend applicants obtain references from individuals who are qualified to evaluate their intellectual abilities, interpersonal skills, and ability to meet the demands of an academically rigorous physician assistant student curriculum. 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.

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 and all other requirements 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 will not be considered. Clinical Experience / Health Care hours obtained outside of the United States healthcare system or older than 10 years at the time of application will not be considered.

Coursework Outside the U.S.

Applicants to the EMU PA Program who have studied abroad and earned greater than fifteen college/university credits at non-U.S institutions must submit an evaluation of all non-U.S. post-secondary education using one of the four approved evaluation services outlined on the International Graduate Admissions webpage ( A course-by-course report is required and must be received by CASPA by the application deadline, January 15. This evaluation will provide a U.S.-equivalent Grade Point Average (GPA) and be used in conjunction with coursework completed within the U.S. to determine the applicant’s GPA and eligibility for PA Program admission. 

International Applicants

An international applicant is defined as a student who is either not a United States citizen or a student who has educational degrees 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 one of the four approved evaluation services. A course-by-course report is required and must be received by CASPA 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. 

All applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL iBT examination. For the PA Program, the primary language used during high school is considered the native language. No other form of the TOEFL or other tests will be accepted. A minimum score of 95 on the TOEFL iBT, or a minimum MyBest score of 95, is required for consideration for admission into the PA Program. Applicants must submit their TOEFL scores to CASPA by having an official score report sent to code #3709. It takes approximately 10-12 business days from the date you make the request to post to your application. Official scores must appear on your CASPA application by January 15.

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 Graduate Admissions webpage ( For questions about residency/visa or financial requirements, please contact EMU International Admissions at

Technical Standards

All applicants must be aware of and are subject to the PA Program required Technical Standards. Review the Technical Standards in the PA Program Student Handbook 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.

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: or call 734.487.2843.

Program Information

Maria Keelon, MS, PA-C, Program Director, 222 Rackham, 734.487.2843,

Please consult the program’s detailed website.

Degree Requirements: 103 hours

To complete the PA Program and graduate, a student must satisfactorily complete each course outlined in the Program’s curriculum below, attain supervised clinical practice experience benchmarks and successfully complete 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: 42 hours

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

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Department