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Our Two-Year Physician Assistant Program

College of Saint Mary's Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree is a 24-month program that begins in August with a maximum class size of 40 students. The class is selected with a combination of students admitted through CASPA and the CSM Physician Assistant Studies Accelerated Entry Program (PAS-AEP).

The MSPAS Degree is full-time only and begins with didactic instruction in the basic and clinical sciences as applied in medicine (Level IV). During the clinical phase (Level V), students are required to complete 8 required rotations in Family Practice (2), Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Women’s Health, Behavioral Health, General Surgery, and Emergency Medicine. Students will also complete 4 elective rotations. Students are trained in a variety of clinical settings to assure that they are well prepared to practice medicine with excellence as a part of the PA-physician team. 

Physician Assistant Program Mission Statement

The mission of the College of Saint Mary Physician Assistant Studies Program is to establish an educational environment fostering academic excellence and leadership, to prepare students to become competent Physician Assistants who possess the knowledge, compassion and clinical skills necessary to provide high quality medical care to all patient populations, including those that are underserved.

NCCPA PANCE Pass Rate

The Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) is a computer-based, multiple-choice test that assesses medical and surgical knowledge. This examination must be successfully passed in order for graduates to become eligible for licensure. 

Pass Rate Results

​Physician Assistant Program Goals and Competencies

College of Saint Mary Estimated Net Tuition for the Physician Assistant Program

 

Plan of Study

Course Descriptions

Program Curriculum 

Didactic Year

Fall Semester

Total Credit Hours: 19

  • PAS 500 Clinical Anatomy (5 credits)
  • PAS 502 Physiology (5 credits)
  • PAS 504 Medical Pathology (5 credits)
  • PAS 506 Immunology/Hematology (3 credits)
  • PAS 508 Professional Practice (1 credit)
     

Spring Semester

Total Credit Hours: 20

  • PAS 513 Clinical Medicine I (8 credits)
  • PAS 517 Pharmacotherapy I (3 credits)
  • PAS 519 Communication in Medicine I (2 credits)
  • PAS 521 Neuroanatomy (2 credits)
  • PAS 527 Clinical Lab Science (2 credits)
  • PAS 528 Healthcare Systems (1 credit)
  • PAS 529 Clinical Skills I (2 credits)
     

Summer Semester

Total Credit Hours: 19

  • PAS 533 Clinical Medicine II (8 credits)
  • PAS 537 Pharmacotherapy II (3 credits)
  • PAS 539 Communication in Medicine II (1 credit)
  • PAS 540 Behavioral Medicine (4 credits)
  • PAS 549 Clinical Skills II (1 credit)
  • PAS 550 Medical Ethics (1 credit)
  • PAS 552 Research I (1 credit)
     

Supervised Clinical Practice Experience

Fall, Spring and Summer Semesters*

Total Credit Hours: 16 each semester

  • PAS 660 Family Practice Rotation 1 (4 credits
  • PAS 670 Family Practice Rotation 2 (4 credits)
  • PAS 671 Internal Medicine Rotation (4 credits)
  • PAS 672 Pediatrics Rotation (4 credits)
  • PAS 673 Women’s Health Rotation (4 credits)
  • PAS 674 Emergency Medicine Rotation (4 credits)
  • PAS 675 Behavioral Health Rotation (4 credits)
  • PAS 676 General Surgery Rotation (4 credits)
  • PAS 677 Elective Rotation 1 (4 credits)
  • PAS 678 Elective Rotation 2 (4 credits)
  • PAS 679 Elective Rotation 3 (4 credits)
  • PAS 691 Elective Rotation 4 (4 credits)

*Course rotations vary from student to student. 

Advanced Standing Policy

No advanced standing is allowed in the program, regardless of previous graduate work or experience in healthcare.  All incoming students must complete the entire PA curriculum.

To graduate from the PAS Program and earn a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree, students must:

  • Successfully complete all course work according to program defined academic standards (106 credit hours of graduate coursework).

  • Achieve a minimum cumulative 2.50 GPA (Grade Point Average).

  • Successfully pass all components of the final summative evaluation assessing all PAS program competencies.

  • Submit a completed graduation application to the Office of the Registrar.

  • Be in good academic standing. In the event that a student is on academic probation as he/she enters the final semester, he/she must still have the required cumulative GPA of 2.5.

  • Be in good standing in areas of professionalism.

  • Complete all requirements for graduation within 5 years of the original date of matriculation.

  • Have no incomplete grades.

  • Have no current financial or library obligations to the College of Saint Mary.

All graduates will be eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

For more information on the MSPAS program, please go to the CSM Academic Catalog.

Accreditation Status

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the College of St. Mary - NE Physician Assistant Program sponsored by College of St. Mary - NE. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2031. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-college-of-st-mary.

Requirements for Admission to College of Saint Mary's Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

CASPA Admission Requirements 

  • A complete  CASPA application submitted by October 1st, 11:59 EST (Priority Deadline), or March 1st, 11:59 EST (Final Deadline) of the application cycle
  • A baccalaureate degree from a United States regionally accredited college or university
    • A baccalaureate degree from outside the United States will be accepted if the student can document equivalency of a U.S. bachelor's degree through a foreign transcript evaluation service and completion of an additional 24 credit hours in biology or chemistry departments at a U.S. regionally accredited college or university prior to application.
  • Minimum cumulative PAS prerequisite GPA* (Cumulative GPA of all prerequisite courses below) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Minimum grade of “C” in all prerequisite courses
  • Minimum cumulative overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale​
  • 300 hours of healthcare clinical experience is required
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is required with scores at or above the 25th percentile on each of all three categories; verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing
    • May take the exam multiple times – highest scores used in each category
    • Send score to Institution Code 4413 (CASPA applicants only)
  • Three professional references (academic and supervisory individuals are preferred)
  • Altus Suite (CASPer), an admissions assessment of non-cognitive skills, is required. To complete Altus Suite, visit www.TakeAltus.com to register.  Cost is $52.
  • Ability to complete all MSPAS matriculation requirements within 4-6 months of entry.
    • Includes requirements for immunizations, tuberculosis screening, physical examination, criminal background check, urine drug screening, and health insurance requirements
  • Students entering the program must have the ability to comply with the CSM PAS Program Technical Standards
     

Preferences

CSM alumni, military, first generation, fluency in a second language, and HRSA (Health Resources & Services Administration) Indicators will receive special consideration on the application evaluation.

PAS Program Prerequisite Course Requirements 

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology with lab (minimum 8 semester credits)
    • Minimum of one semester of each or two semesters of a combined sequenced course
  • Microbiology with lab
  • Upper-level Biology course (lab preferred) 
  • General Chemistry with lab (minimum 8 semester credits)
    • Two semesters in a sequenced course
  • Organic Chemistry with lab (minimum 4 semester credits)
    • At least one semester as required for Biochemistry (two semesters preferred)
  • Biochemistry with lab
    • Acceptable course must at a minimum require Organic Chemistry 1 as a prerequisite
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Developmental/Lifespan Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Medical Terminology
    • Either a college/university course or certificate program will be acceptable
       

Prerequisite courses must be completed with a 2.0 “C” or higher grade.  In progress or planned courses must be reflected on the CASPA application and must be successfully completed by July 1st of planned year of entry. There is no minimum on the amount of in progress or planned courses. 

Repeated Course Work

A course repeated at the same institution will have the most recent grade used in the GPA calculations.  If the course is repeated more than once, only one grade (the lowest received) will be replaced by the most recent grade received. 

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Applicants whose native language is not English must meet one of the following requirements to be eligible for admission to the CSM PAS program.  Minimum scores are based on language skills needed to successfully complete the PA curriculum, including clinical education requirements, as well as sit for the certification exam.

Paper-based TOEFL exam, minimum score of 600
Internet-based TOEFL exam, minimum score of 100, minimum of 20 in each sub test
Internet-based IELTS exam, minimum of 7.5, minimum of 7.5 for each sub-test

Results should be sent directly from ETS to College of Saint Mary institutional code 6106.

**The requirements for the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies is subject to change as CSM is currently in the provisional accreditation process and will make necessary adjustments to meet the accreditation standards. 

PAS Admissions Process and Decisions 

Admission to the PAS graduate program is competitive with a limited number of seats in each cohort.  Meeting the minimum admission requirements above does not ensure acceptance into the PAS program.  The PAS program does not award or grant advanced placement. Admission decisions are made by the PAS Admissions Committee and will be made based on the following:

  • Past academic performance (GPA and completed courses, particularly science and math courses)
  • Documented academic aptitude (collegiate GPA)
  • Extra- and co-curricular activities
  • Medical and/or clinical experiences (shadowing, volunteering, etc.)
  • Recommendations from qualified individuals with knowledge of the applicant’s character and performance
  • Communication, professionalism, and interpersonal skills via essay, interview, and review of letters of reference
     

CASPA Application Process

  1. Submit CASPA application by October 1st, 11:59 EST  for priority, or March 1st for final deadline.
  2. Send official transcripts from all college credit institutions to CASPA
  3. Send Non-U.S. transcripts evaluated through the World Education Services, Inc. (preferred agency) to CASPA
  4. Request 3 letters of recommendation (evaluations) through CASPA – if more than 3 are submitted, we will ask you to identify 3 for our review (no family or friends)
  5. Send Official GRE General Test scores to Institution Code 4413
  6. References, transcripts and GRE scores submitted by November 1st, for priority deadline, or March 1st for final deadline.
  7. Complete Altus Suite, www.TakeAltus.com.
  8. Review of application by the PAS Admissions Committee
  9. If selected, participate in an on-campus interview with the PAS Admissions Committee. 
  10. Admission decision by the PAS Admissions Committee following a complete application and interview.
     

Student Work and Participation Policy

The program strongly discourages any type of outside work during the first 12 months of study in the program.  Students are prohibited from working during clinical rotations.  Program responsibilities are not negotiable, and will not be altered due to student work obligations.  The following apply to all students for the duration of the PA program:

  • Students may not be hired as employees for any private or public practice, clinic, or other institution to perform any medical services during any time they are part of the Physician Assistant Program.  College of Saint Mary holds no liability for services provided by the student in such capacity.
  • Students may not be given any payments, stipends, or other remuneration for medical services performed as part of the physician assistant educational program.
  • Students may not work or volunteer in any capacity that allows access to student files. 
  • Students may volunteer their medical services to charitable, humanitarian, or community service organizations only when such services are assigned or approved within the PA program.  All volunteer requests must be cleared by the PA program director before the student can partake in the volunteer activity.
  • Students may not substitute for regular clinical or administrative staff during the clinical phase.
  • Students may not act as instructional faculty for any component of the PAS curriculum. 
     

Students are not allowed to participate in CSM athletic teams or take additional courses outside of the PA curriculum while enrolled in the PA program unless approved by the PA program director.

Supervised Clinical Practice Experience (SCPE) Solicitation Policy

Currently enrolled, as well as prospective students, are not allowed to arrange their own clinical experiences nor solicit clinical sites or preceptors.  Reasonable effort will be made to accommodate student preference requests, but in ALL cases, the final determination for rotation times, sites, and activities will be at the discretion of the Clinical Coordinator.

Academic Description

Our Two-Year Physician Assistant Program

College of Saint Mary's Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree is a 24-month program that begins in August with a maximum class size of 40 students. The class is selected with a combination of students admitted through CASPA and the CSM Physician Assistant Studies Accelerated Entry Program (PAS-AEP).

The MSPAS Degree is full-time only and begins with didactic instruction in the basic and clinical sciences as applied in medicine (Level IV). During the clinical phase (Level V), students are required to complete 8 required rotations in Family Practice (2), Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Women’s Health, Behavioral Health, General Surgery, and Emergency Medicine. Students will also complete 4 elective rotations. Students are trained in a variety of clinical settings to assure that they are well prepared to practice medicine with excellence as a part of the PA-physician team. 

Physician Assistant Program Mission Statement

The mission of the College of Saint Mary Physician Assistant Studies Program is to establish an educational environment fostering academic excellence and leadership, to prepare students to become competent Physician Assistants who possess the knowledge, compassion and clinical skills necessary to provide high quality medical care to all patient populations, including those that are underserved.

NCCPA PANCE Pass Rate

The Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) is a computer-based, multiple-choice test that assesses medical and surgical knowledge. This examination must be successfully passed in order for graduates to become eligible for licensure. 

Pass Rate Results

​Physician Assistant Program Goals and Competencies

College of Saint Mary Estimated Net Tuition for the Physician Assistant Program

 

Accreditation

Accreditation Status

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the College of St. Mary - NE Physician Assistant Program sponsored by College of St. Mary - NE. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2031. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-college-of-st-mary.

Admissions Requirements

Requirements for Admission to College of Saint Mary's Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

CASPA Admission Requirements 

  • A complete  CASPA application submitted by October 1st, 11:59 EST (Priority Deadline), or March 1st, 11:59 EST (Final Deadline) of the application cycle
  • A baccalaureate degree from a United States regionally accredited college or university
    • A baccalaureate degree from outside the United States will be accepted if the student can document equivalency of a U.S. bachelor's degree through a foreign transcript evaluation service and completion of an additional 24 credit hours in biology or chemistry departments at a U.S. regionally accredited college or university prior to application.
  • Minimum cumulative PAS prerequisite GPA* (Cumulative GPA of all prerequisite courses below) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Minimum grade of “C” in all prerequisite courses
  • Minimum cumulative overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale​
  • 300 hours of healthcare clinical experience is required
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is required with scores at or above the 25th percentile on each of all three categories; verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing
    • May take the exam multiple times – highest scores used in each category
    • Send score to Institution Code 4413 (CASPA applicants only)
  • Three professional references (academic and supervisory individuals are preferred)
  • Altus Suite (CASPer), an admissions assessment of non-cognitive skills, is required. To complete Altus Suite, visit www.TakeAltus.com to register.  Cost is $52.
  • Ability to complete all MSPAS matriculation requirements within 4-6 months of entry.
    • Includes requirements for immunizations, tuberculosis screening, physical examination, criminal background check, urine drug screening, and health insurance requirements
  • Students entering the program must have the ability to comply with the CSM PAS Program Technical Standards
     

Preferences

CSM alumni, military, first generation, fluency in a second language, and HRSA (Health Resources & Services Administration) Indicators will receive special consideration on the application evaluation.

PAS Program Prerequisite Course Requirements 

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology with lab (minimum 8 semester credits)
    • Minimum of one semester of each or two semesters of a combined sequenced course
  • Microbiology with lab
  • Upper-level Biology course (lab preferred) 
  • General Chemistry with lab (minimum 8 semester credits)
    • Two semesters in a sequenced course
  • Organic Chemistry with lab (minimum 4 semester credits)
    • At least one semester as required for Biochemistry (two semesters preferred)
  • Biochemistry with lab
    • Acceptable course must at a minimum require Organic Chemistry 1 as a prerequisite
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Developmental/Lifespan Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Medical Terminology
    • Either a college/university course or certificate program will be acceptable
       

Prerequisite courses must be completed with a 2.0 “C” or higher grade.  In progress or planned courses must be reflected on the CASPA application and must be successfully completed by July 1st of planned year of entry. There is no minimum on the amount of in progress or planned courses. 

Repeated Course Work

A course repeated at the same institution will have the most recent grade used in the GPA calculations.  If the course is repeated more than once, only one grade (the lowest received) will be replaced by the most recent grade received. 

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Applicants whose native language is not English must meet one of the following requirements to be eligible for admission to the CSM PAS program.  Minimum scores are based on language skills needed to successfully complete the PA curriculum, including clinical education requirements, as well as sit for the certification exam.

Paper-based TOEFL exam, minimum score of 600
Internet-based TOEFL exam, minimum score of 100, minimum of 20 in each sub test
Internet-based IELTS exam, minimum of 7.5, minimum of 7.5 for each sub-test

Results should be sent directly from ETS to College of Saint Mary institutional code 6106.

**The requirements for the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies is subject to change as CSM is currently in the provisional accreditation process and will make necessary adjustments to meet the accreditation standards. 

PAS Admissions Process and Decisions 

Admission to the PAS graduate program is competitive with a limited number of seats in each cohort.  Meeting the minimum admission requirements above does not ensure acceptance into the PAS program.  The PAS program does not award or grant advanced placement. Admission decisions are made by the PAS Admissions Committee and will be made based on the following:

  • Past academic performance (GPA and completed courses, particularly science and math courses)
  • Documented academic aptitude (collegiate GPA)
  • Extra- and co-curricular activities
  • Medical and/or clinical experiences (shadowing, volunteering, etc.)
  • Recommendations from qualified individuals with knowledge of the applicant’s character and performance
  • Communication, professionalism, and interpersonal skills via essay, interview, and review of letters of reference
     

CASPA Application Process

  1. Submit CASPA application by October 1st, 11:59 EST  for priority, or March 1st for final deadline.
  2. Send official transcripts from all college credit institutions to CASPA
  3. Send Non-U.S. transcripts evaluated through the World Education Services, Inc. (preferred agency) to CASPA
  4. Request 3 letters of recommendation (evaluations) through CASPA – if more than 3 are submitted, we will ask you to identify 3 for our review (no family or friends)
  5. Send Official GRE General Test scores to Institution Code 4413
  6. References, transcripts and GRE scores submitted by November 1st, for priority deadline, or March 1st for final deadline.
  7. Complete Altus Suite, www.TakeAltus.com.
  8. Review of application by the PAS Admissions Committee
  9. If selected, participate in an on-campus interview with the PAS Admissions Committee. 
  10. Admission decision by the PAS Admissions Committee following a complete application and interview.
     

Student Work and Participation Policy

The program strongly discourages any type of outside work during the first 12 months of study in the program.  Students are prohibited from working during clinical rotations.  Program responsibilities are not negotiable, and will not be altered due to student work obligations.  The following apply to all students for the duration of the PA program:

  • Students may not be hired as employees for any private or public practice, clinic, or other institution to perform any medical services during any time they are part of the Physician Assistant Program.  College of Saint Mary holds no liability for services provided by the student in such capacity.
  • Students may not be given any payments, stipends, or other remuneration for medical services performed as part of the physician assistant educational program.
  • Students may not work or volunteer in any capacity that allows access to student files. 
  • Students may volunteer their medical services to charitable, humanitarian, or community service organizations only when such services are assigned or approved within the PA program.  All volunteer requests must be cleared by the PA program director before the student can partake in the volunteer activity.
  • Students may not substitute for regular clinical or administrative staff during the clinical phase.
  • Students may not act as instructional faculty for any component of the PAS curriculum. 
     

Students are not allowed to participate in CSM athletic teams or take additional courses outside of the PA curriculum while enrolled in the PA program unless approved by the PA program director.

Supervised Clinical Practice Experience (SCPE) Solicitation Policy

Currently enrolled, as well as prospective students, are not allowed to arrange their own clinical experiences nor solicit clinical sites or preceptors.  Reasonable effort will be made to accommodate student preference requests, but in ALL cases, the final determination for rotation times, sites, and activities will be at the discretion of the Clinical Coordinator.

Curriculum

Plan of Study

Course Descriptions

Program Curriculum 

Didactic Year

Fall Semester

Total Credit Hours: 19

  • PAS 500 Clinical Anatomy (5 credits)
  • PAS 502 Physiology (5 credits)
  • PAS 504 Medical Pathology (5 credits)
  • PAS 506 Immunology/Hematology (3 credits)
  • PAS 508 Professional Practice (1 credit)
     

Spring Semester

Total Credit Hours: 20

  • PAS 513 Clinical Medicine I (8 credits)
  • PAS 517 Pharmacotherapy I (3 credits)
  • PAS 519 Communication in Medicine I (2 credits)
  • PAS 521 Neuroanatomy (2 credits)
  • PAS 527 Clinical Lab Science (2 credits)
  • PAS 528 Healthcare Systems (1 credit)
  • PAS 529 Clinical Skills I (2 credits)
     

Summer Semester

Total Credit Hours: 19

  • PAS 533 Clinical Medicine II (8 credits)
  • PAS 537 Pharmacotherapy II (3 credits)
  • PAS 539 Communication in Medicine II (1 credit)
  • PAS 540 Behavioral Medicine (4 credits)
  • PAS 549 Clinical Skills II (1 credit)
  • PAS 550 Medical Ethics (1 credit)
  • PAS 552 Research I (1 credit)
     

Supervised Clinical Practice Experience

Fall, Spring and Summer Semesters*

Total Credit Hours: 16 each semester

  • PAS 660 Family Practice Rotation 1 (4 credits
  • PAS 670 Family Practice Rotation 2 (4 credits)
  • PAS 671 Internal Medicine Rotation (4 credits)
  • PAS 672 Pediatrics Rotation (4 credits)
  • PAS 673 Women’s Health Rotation (4 credits)
  • PAS 674 Emergency Medicine Rotation (4 credits)
  • PAS 675 Behavioral Health Rotation (4 credits)
  • PAS 676 General Surgery Rotation (4 credits)
  • PAS 677 Elective Rotation 1 (4 credits)
  • PAS 678 Elective Rotation 2 (4 credits)
  • PAS 679 Elective Rotation 3 (4 credits)
  • PAS 691 Elective Rotation 4 (4 credits)

*Course rotations vary from student to student. 

Advanced Standing Policy

No advanced standing is allowed in the program, regardless of previous graduate work or experience in healthcare.  All incoming students must complete the entire PA curriculum.

Degree Requirements

To graduate from the PAS Program and earn a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree, students must:

  • Successfully complete all course work according to program defined academic standards (106 credit hours of graduate coursework).

  • Achieve a minimum cumulative 2.50 GPA (Grade Point Average).

  • Successfully pass all components of the final summative evaluation assessing all PAS program competencies.

  • Submit a completed graduation application to the Office of the Registrar.

  • Be in good academic standing. In the event that a student is on academic probation as he/she enters the final semester, he/she must still have the required cumulative GPA of 2.5.

  • Be in good standing in areas of professionalism.

  • Complete all requirements for graduation within 5 years of the original date of matriculation.

  • Have no incomplete grades.

  • Have no current financial or library obligations to the College of Saint Mary.

All graduates will be eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

For more information on the MSPAS program, please go to the CSM Academic Catalog.