Jul 17, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year]

Physician Assistant Studies [M.S.]

Location(s): In-person/hybrid

Eastern Michigan University’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program is a two-year graduate professional program with 103 semester credit hours emphasizing 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 lectures, problem-based learning, small group projects, role-playing, the use of standardized patients, case-based problem-solving, and hands-on work in the patient simulation lab.

The program focuses on higher-order learning that will prepare PA students for critical thinking, ethical decision-making, and synthesizing and judging problems based on the biopsychosocial model. PA students will need to be insightful and aware of their 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 and 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 21 courses 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. There is also an Introduction to Clinical Year course, which runs all three semesters, preparing students for clinical rotations. 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. There will be nine 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 completing all nine clinical rotations.

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

The coursework is offered in person only. 

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 April 25 and applications must be completed by Deember 1 of the year an applicant seeks entry to the program.

CASPA - By Decmber 1, 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 (help.liaisonedu.com/CASPA_Applicant_Help_Center).

CASPA applications that are not completed by December 1 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 December 1 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 (emich.edu/admissions/international/graduates/how-to-apply). A course-by-course report is required and must be received by CASPA by the application deadline, December 1. 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 December 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 Graduate Admissions webpage (emich.edu/admissions/international/graduates). For questions about residency/visa or financial requirements, please contact EMU 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. 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: emich.edu/pa or call 734.487.2843.

School Information

Physician Assistant Studies, 222 Rackham, 734.487.2843

Maria Keelon, MS, PA-C, Director

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, achieve all program competencies for preparation into clinical practice, 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.

Critical Graduation Information

Each graduate student is responsible for fulfilling the requirements or equivalents of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration or a subsequent catalog, including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.

Master’s degree requirements must be completed within six (6) years of first enrollment in the master’s degree program.

In the event a student does not complete the master’s degree requirements within six years of the date of their original registration, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their degree in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.

The following are minimum requirements for all master’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University. Some programs require more than the minimum in one or more areas below.

  • A master’s degree must require a minimum of 30 credit hours.
  • No more than six credits of independent study courses and no more than 12 credit hours of special topics and independent study courses combined may be applied to a graduate degree.  
  • Residency Requirement:
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 36 or fewer required hours, at least 24 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere). 
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 37 or more required hours, at least 30 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. Minimum degree hours must still be met for graduation. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere).
    • Residency and enrollment in multiple programs: Students enrolled in multiple master’s/specialist degree programs must have 24 unique credit hours in each degree program.
  • Only credits from one completed graduate certificate may be applied to a master’s or specialist degree in a relevant field of study, as determined by the Graduate School and with the approval of the degree-granting academic department, and be included in the residency hours above.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all graduate-level courses taken at EMU and in their program of study to remain in good academic standing and be eligible for graduation. Students do not need to be registered for classes during the semester of graduation.
  • The Graduate School does not permit the use of undergraduate courses (499 and below) to meet degree requirements on graduate programs of study.
  • Some master’s programs require a thesis; others require a special project or internship; others require students to pass a final exam. See the Graduate School website for Thesis and Dissertation Manuals, all forms, and information about research and human subject approval. Every completed thesis or dissertation must be submitted to Digital Commons. Any form of graduate student work submitted to Digital Commons must first be approved by a faculty advisor and the Graduate School.