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Pre-Physician Assistant Studies and Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

A Physician Assistant (PA) is a nationally certified medical provider who is licensed to diagnose and treat illness and disease, and prescribe medication for patients.  PAs work in physician offices, hospitals, and clinics in collaboration with a licensed physician.  The physician-PA relationship is fundamental to the profession and enhances the delivery of health care.

At College of Saint Mary, you can go from a high school graduate to a practicing physician assistant in just 5 years. Students accepted into the pre-PA status are assigned a level (1 – 3) according to the extent to which they have completed prerequisite courses necessary to start the graduate Physician Assistant program. Levels 4 and 5 are the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program.

Choose from 2 Admissions Pathways

Pre-Physician Assistant Studies
If you need to complete your undergraduate degree.

  • 5 year path (3+2 program: Levels 1-3 are Pre-PAS; Levels 4-5 are MSPAS)
  • You can choose an undergraduate major in Human Biology, Psychology or General Studies.
  • While meeting progression requirements after each semester at CSM, you’ll be able to earn your seat in the MSPAS program.
  • A professional academic advisor will guide you in meeting progression requirements.

Graduate Entry through CASPA
If you have or will complete your bachelor's degree

  • 24-month graduate level program
  • Assigned a physician assistant advisor


*Pre-PA is a status assigned to students at College of Saint Mary and not a degree program.

Degrees Offered and Overview

Degrees Offered and Overview

Undergraduate Pathway Offered

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (Pre-PAS; undergraduate)

Graduate Degree Offered

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (Graduate; through CASPA)

Program Details

Program Details

Start Date: Fall Semester
Program Length: 5 years (combined Bachelor of Science & Master of Science degrees)
Class Size: 30 students at each level 
Licensure: Upon graduation, candidates must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Eam (PANCE) and seek state licensure in order to practice.



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

Career Outlook

Career Outlook

The U.S. Department of Labor projects demand for physician assistants will grow by 31%, much faster than average, by 2030. Physician assistants earn a median annual salary of $115,390 nationally and $113,240 in Nebraska.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration

Student Activities & Organizations

Student Activities & Organizations

Pre-Physician Assistant Organization

P-PAO welcomes any student who is interested in pursuing or learning about a career as a physician assistant (PA). Focusing on the application process to PA schools and providing resources to students, this organization is to offer an open community for all students sharing the same goal.

Many Opportunities Offered on a Small Campus

Jocelyn is a human biology major with a minor in chemistry. She is on the undergraduate pathway for the Physician Assistant Studies program, which allows students to earn their undergraduate and master’s degrees in just five years.

“I didn’t even consider the medical field until my junior year of high school when I took an anatomy class and fell in love with the material,” Jocelyn said. “I was so fascinated by how the body worked.” In addition to attending classes and participating in athletics, Jocelyn has been able to get involved on campus, serving in Student Senate and STEMinists Club. She’s also helped with the Elementary Science Outreach Program, which brings exciting, hands-on activities to classrooms at Omaha metro area schools.

“There’s so much you can do and engage with. I feel like that’s a cool part of the CSM community,” she said. “It’s like a big family. Everyone I’ve met here has been so nice. I’ve just really enjoyed this school.”

Read More About Jocelyn's Experience at CSM