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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

Degrees Offered

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

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

Career Outlook

The U.S. Department of Labor projects demand for physician assistants will grow by 22 percent by 2022. Physician assistants earn a median annual salary of $108,610 nationally and $103,400 in Nebraska.

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

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

Accreditation Statement

Accreditation Statement

Physician assistant education is accredited through the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

At its March 2021 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA), extended Accreditation-Probation status for the College of Saint Mary Physician Assistant Program sponsored by the College of Saint Mary until its next review in June 2022. 
Probation accreditation is a temporary accreditation status initially of not less than two years. However, that period may be extended by the ARC-PA for up to an additional two years if the ARC-PA finds that the program is making substantial progress toward meeting all applicable standards but requires additional time to come into full compliance. Probation accreditation status is granted, at the sole discretion of the ARC-PA, when a program holding an accreditation status of Accreditation - Provisional or Accreditation - Continued does not, in the judgment of the ARC-PA, meet the Standards or when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened. 
Once placed on probation, a program that fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and is subject to having its accreditation withdrawn. 

Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the pa [at] (Program Director) and/or the appropriate institutional official(s). 
The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at