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College of Health Professions & McAuley School of Nursing

Master's Degree

Physician Assistant Master of Science

The Master of Science degree in the Physician Assistant field prepares medical professionals to assist the primary care physician with all medical and patient care responsibilities within the health care system. This 2 year program provides opportunities to those first entering a health care profession and those seeking career mobility within the health care field.

The curriculum builds on the clinical and academic competencies acquired through the bachelor's degree. An emphasis is placed on the natural and behavioral sciences and work experience. The curriculum contains basic science and applied behavioral science courses as well as course work specific to the Physician Assistant program and graduate courses in health promotion/disease prevention and methodology in medical research.

The first year of the program is didactic course work in the medical sciences and related educational experiences which address the physical, interpersonal and psychosocial needs of patients. Classes are scheduled in summer sessions as well as regular fall and winter semesters.

During the second year, students acquire clinical expertise through a broad range of intensive clinical rotations, community health education and health projects with medically underserved communities. Clinical work is scheduled in summer sessions as well as in the regular fall and winter semesters. Each student completes the course of study with a preceptorship in primary care medicine.

A three-year course of study is provided. This program track is designed for health professionals and others who wish to earn the master's degree while continuing employment or other obligations. Students in this track divide the didactic coursework over a two-year period rather than one. The clinical year is completed in the same manner as the traditional two-year program.

The master of science degree is conferred at the completion of the program requirements. Graduates are eligible to sit for the national certifying exam administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

The Physician Assistant Program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), holds membership in the Association of Physician Assistant Programs, and is host to a student chapter of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

University of Detroit Mercy, Physician Assistant Program, Objectives and Outcomes

PA Program Information Meetings

Although we are unable to meet with applicants individually, you can meet with program faculty and find out more about the graduate program in person by attending one of our information meetings held the 3rd Monday evening of every month (with the exception of January when it is on the 2nd Monday of that month) on the McNichols campus.

2017 meetings will be held on the following Mondays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m:

  • March 20 – Ford Life Sciences Building, Room 115
  • April 17 – Ford Life Sciences Building, Room 115
  • May 15 – Health Professions Facility, Room 124
  • June 19 – Health Professions Facility, Room 124
  • July 17 – Health Professions Facility, Room 124
  • August 21 – Health Professions Facility, Room 124

Clinical Locations

The list which follows is a sample of the clinical sites who provide educational opportunities for University of Detroit Mercy Physician Assistant students:

  • Detroit Medical Center
  • Henry Ford Health System
  • Hurley Medical Center
  • McLaren Regional Medical Center
  • Oakwood Health System
  • Trinity Health
  • St. John Providence Health System
  • The Veteran's Affairs Medical Centers
  • Beaumont Health System
  • Allegiance Health
  • University of Michigan Health System
  • Botsford Hospital

And many clinics, HMOs and offices in SE Michigan and throughout the state.

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    Tuition and Costs

    • $1,565 per credit hour, or
    • Flat rate per term $10,670 for the 3-year track, or
    • Flat rate per term $16,027 for the 2-year track

    In addition to tuition, additional costs to consider include: books and medical equipment, local travel to clinical sites, course and certification exam fees. Details of these expenses are available here.

    Related Links:

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    Admission Criteria

    Application to the PA program is a competitive process and meeting the minimum admission criteria does not guarantee admission to the program. See FAQs for more information on how to compile a competitive application.

    Admission requirements for the Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies

    1. A baccalaureate degree from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university (or the equivalency of a U.S. bachelor's degree as documented by a foreign transcript evaluation service) and a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0/4.0 for the application cycle for admission for fall of 2017.
    2. Submission of all official transcripts for college/university education to CASPA.
    3. Official Graduate Record Examination, General aptitude scores for the most recent exam taken. (Minimum total score 900 if taken before August 2011 and minimum total score of 291 for exams taken after August 1, 2011) These scores must be received by CASPA directly from the Educational Testing Corp by the admission deadline. When sending these scores, you will need the University of Detroit Mercy's PA Program code: GI 0509. A completed/conferred Master's degree from an accredited U.S. institution with a minimum earned cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 may be used in lieu of the GRE.
    4. Completion of all prerequisite courses with a grade 3.0/4.0 or better for the fall of 2017 application cycle and within the six (6) years prior to application (January 2011 or after). All prerequisite coursework must be completed and documented by the deadline date of January 15th.
    5. Evidence of problem solving ability and communication skills as well as understanding of and commitment to the PA role, as demonstrated on the PA application and in candidate interviews.
    6. One thousand (1,000) hours of health care or helping care experience with increasing levels of responsibility, leadership and evidence of community service. Must be complete by application deadline of January 15th.
    7. Professional recommendations (from individuals who can evaluate the applicant's work, not someone "shadowed"), if possible, at least one from a practicing physician assistant or a physician familiar with the role and responsibilities of the physician assistant. Submitted to CASPA.
    8. A personal interview with the members of the Physician Assistant Graduate Admissions Committee. Personal interviews are by invitation and the class is selected only from among those interviewed.

    The CASPA application must be completed by January 15
    in time to be considered for regular admission to the program. 

    Detroit Mercy undergraduates, veterans, applicants from under-served communities and underrepresented minorities in the profession may be given additional consideration in the application process.

    Questions about the application process? See the Frequently Asked Questions link.

    Non-US Residents

    Complete your CASPA application by the deadline.


    If you are an international student seeking a student visa to study at University of Detroit Mercy, you must complete a Detroit Mercy International Physician Assistant Application. (see below) AND a CASPA application. Go to the International Services Office for more information. If you are admitted to the Physician Assistant Program or if you have questions about immigration matters, please contact Admissions  for further direction (800-635-5020).

    NOTE: as of April 1, 2008, the Detroit Mercy PA program requires applicants to submit official foreign transcripts to an approved (WES and ECE) foreign transcript evaluation service for a course-by-course U.S. equivalency report. Arrange for foreign transcript reports to be sent directly to CASPA from the foreign transcript evaluation agency. Contact the foreign transcript evaluation service as early as possible. The service may take several weeks to process your foreign transcript once it is received. 

    In order to be considered for admission, the foreign transcript evaluations will need to be received by the January 15 CASPA application deadline.

    English Language Requirements: If English is not your native language, or if you have not successfully completed a four-year degree program from an approved U.S. school, you are required to take Detroit Mercy's own academic English language proficiency test upon arrival at the University. Go to the the American Language and Culture Program web site for more information. Demonstration of spoken English proficiency may also be required.

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    CASPA Applicants

    The applicant is responsible for:
    • Reading all of the Admission Criteria and Academic Policies prior to application to the program.
    • Completing the CASPA application according to the directions, including the Supplemental Application, Service and Employment History, personal statement, two recommendations and all required submissions, by January 15.
      • Submit official foreign transcripts to an approved foreign transcript evaluation service (WES or ECE) for a course-by-course U.S. equivalency report including degree equivalency and arrange for foreign transcript reports to be sent directly to CASPA from the foreign transcript evaluation agency by Jan. 15.
      • Official transcripts sent to CASPA do not also need to be sent to the University of Detroit Mercy. Official transcripts for course work completed after submission of the CASPA application will need to be sent to the address below. All recommendation forms and all official transcripts for work completed at the time of admission must be received at CASPA by the January 15 deadline. Detroit Mercy will not accept CASPA applicant recommendation forms or transcripts (except those for course work completed after submission of the application) directly.
    •  Request Official General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores with a minimum total score of 900 if taken before August 2011 and a minimum of 291 for exams taken after Aug. 1, 2011, be sent to CASPA. These scores must be received by CASPA directly from the Educational Testing Corp. by January 15. When sending the GRE scores, you will need the University of Detroit Mercy's PA Program Code: GI 0509.This will ensure your scores reach CASPA in a timely manner (before January 15th).

    Graduate Admissions
    Physician Assistant Program, CHP 115
    University of Detroit Mercy
    4001 West McNichols Road
    Detroit, Michigan 48221-3038

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    Prerequisites

    All prerequisites must be completed and transcripts submitted/postmarked by the supplemental application deadline which is now the same as the CASPA deadline as the application is now part of CASPA. This will be available on CASPA by May 1st, 2015.  Prerequisite courses must have been taken within the six calendar years preceding the year to which you are applying and completed with official transcripts documented by the deadline date of January 15th. Official transcripts of all successfully completed (minimum grade each course:  3.0/4.0 prerequisite course work must be received by the application deadline of January 15th.

    For every prerequisite listed below, you will be asked to supply information in your application regarding when, where and which course you have taken.  A copy of the catalog course description and/or course syllabus for all 6 prerequisites must be attached to the application check list if it is NOT listed below. It is highly recommended that applicants have course descriptions approved prior to submission with the application. Non-approved prerequisites or incomplete prerequisite information will render an application incomplete. Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission. Course descriptions can be emailed or mailed.

    • NUTRITION: Course work which concentrates on physiologic requirements for human growth and development. Role of nutrition in health and disease. General concepts of diet as a therapy.
    • MEDICAL ETHICS: An exploration of moral issues specific to health care delivery and medical research. This course will have examined issues such as euthanasia, abortion, human experimentation, assisted suicide and bias in access to health care.
    • STATISTICS: Statistical methods and their applications to human science research. Includes probability models, descriptive, correlational and basic inferential statistics. Students should be familiar with use of statistical software packages for the analysis of both descriptive and inferential statistics.
    • ADVANCED PHYSIOLOGY:Course explaining the functional organization of all organ systems of the body, its metabolism, and the application of physiologic principles to living organisms. Focus on human/medical physiology only, combination physiology and anatomy courses are not acceptable, pathophysiology is not acceptable. Usually a 300 level course or greater.
    • MICROBIOLOGY: A survey of microorganisms with emphasis on bacterial, parasitic and viral pathogens, must include laboratory techniques.
    • DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY: A life span perspective on developmental and maturational tasks from birth to death. The Committee may consider a series of courses to meet this requirement provided it minimally includes: Child Psychology; Adolescence and Psychology of Aging.

    University of Detroit Mercy Physician Assistant Program Pre-Requisite Course Equivalencies

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    Curriculum

    All PAS courses require admission to the PA Program as a prerequisite.
    Link to class schedules.


    Entry Level Curriculum

    DIDACTIC PHASE (Year 1)

    Fall Semester
    BIO 5430/5450* Advanced Human Anatomy 4cr
    HLH 5900* Advanced Pathophysiology 3cr
    PAS 5240 Clinical Medicine I 3cr
    PAS 5100 Patient Evaluation Practicum I 3cr
    PAS 5360 Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures I 1cr
    Total Credits 14

    Winter Semester
    HLH 5320* Health Promotion, Risk Reduction 3cr
    HLH 5300* Pharmacology I 2cr
    HLH 5700* Health Care Delivery and Policy Issues 3cr
    PAS 5250 Clinical Medicine II 3cr
    PAS 5200 Patient Evaluation Practicum II 3cr
    PAS 5370 Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures II 1cr
    Total Credits 15

    Summer Semester
    HLH 5500* Research Methods for Health Care Professionals 3cr
    HLH 5310* Pharmacology II 2cr
    PAS 5260 Clinical Medicine III 3cr
    PAS 5300 Patient Evaluation Practicum III 3cr
    PAS 5380 Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures III 1cr

    Total Credits 12
    *Taken the first year of the three year track

    CLINICAL PHASE (Year 2)

    Fall Semester
    PAS 5800 Clinical Rotations I 8cr
    PAS 5870 PA Seminar I 1cr
    Total Credits 9

    Winter Semester
    PAS 5810 Clinical Rotations II 8cr
    PAS 5880 PA Seminar II 1cr
    Total Credits 9

    Summer Semester
    PAS 5820 Clinical Rotations III 8cr
    PAS 5890 PA Seminar III 1cr
    Total Credits 9
    Grand Total 68 Credit Hours


    Physician Assistant Course Descriptions and Requirements

    All PAS courses require admission to the PA Program as a prerequisite.

    BIO 5430 Advanced Human Anatomy
    A lecture and laboratory course covering all of the body systems. The laboratory portion involves dissection of human cadavers.

    HLH 5900 Advanced Pathophysiology
    This course focuses on the advanced physiology of the altered health and body function and disease processes with the emphasis on clinical application to practice. Students will learn the "how and why" of signs, symptoms and laboratory changes of various physiological conditions and human responses. This knowledge will be applied to the process of developing diagnosis and treatment skills.

    HLH 5300 Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics I
    This course provides the foundation for advanced principles of clinical pharmacokinetics with application to dosage determination. The pharmacokinetics of automatic transmission, adrenergic agonists and blocking agents, cholinergic agonists, muscarinic blocking agents and cardiovascular agents are examined.

    HLH 5310 Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics II
    (Prerequisite BCS 5300)
    This course continues the examination of various pharmacotherapeutic agents including anti-infectives, eicosanoids, adrenal steroids, nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory, opioids, antihistamines, and diuretics. Psychotropic agents including antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiolytics, hypnosedatives, and anticonvulsants are also addressed.

    HLH 5320 Health Promotion and Risk Reduction
    Examines theoretical and empirical basis for health promotion and risk reduction. It will prepare the health care professional to provide population-centered, interdisciplinary, prevention-oriented health care. Healthy People 2000/2010 will be used as the framework as well as theories and research from multiple disciplines for application to practice.

    HLH 5500 Research Methods in Health Care
    Introduces students to the research process relevant to the health care professional. The research process is analyzed with emphasis on techniques to: apply research findings to clinical practice, determine client population needs, evaluate outcomes, and participate in research teams.

    HLH 5700 Health Care Delivery and Policy Issues
    Examines the theoretical and empirical bases for health care delivery and policy issues in the United States. Health policy decisions are examined in relation to cost, quality, access, ethics, and managed care.

    PAS 5100 Patient Evaluation Practicum I
    A three-semester course designed to teach the skills required to perform a complete medical evaluation of a patient. Effective communication skills and the art of interviewing. Techniques of the physical examination utilizing a systems anatomic approach. An introduction to traditional medical record keeping, and the construction and writing of organized medical histories and physical examination.

    PAS 5200 Patient Evaluation Practicum II
    (Prerequisite PAS 5100)
    Skill development in obtaining and recording historical and physical exam data from patients. Integration of the knowledge gained in other courses with the medical evaluation of patients.

    PAS 5240 Clinical Medicine I
    Intensive study of human disease from the perspectives of epidemiology, etiology, clinical manifestations and course, diagnostic tests, treatment and prognosis. The series of clinical medicine (5240, 5250, 5260) incorporates the health promotion/disease prevention model. All the major areas of medicine are studied over the course of one year. This study emphasizes the differential diagnoses and diagnostic problem solving.

    PAS 5250 Clinical Medicine II
    (Prerequisite PAS 5240)
    Continued study of selected topics in medicine.

    PAS 5260 Clinical Medicine III
    (Prerequisite PAS 5250)
    Continued study of selected topics in medicine.

    PAS 5300 Patient Evaluation Practicum III
    (Prerequisite PAS 5200)
    A continuation of PAS 520 and PAS 520. Continued refinement of skills in history-taking and physical examination. Patient management through formulation of problem lists, differential diagnoses and management plans. Oral presentations of patient cases which focus on the pathophysicologic mechanisms involved.

    PAS 5360 Diagnostic and Therapeutic
    Procedures I
    Skills and understanding necessary to perform selected diagnostic (both laboratory and invasive) and therapeutic procedures. Clinical implications of findings.

    PAS 5370 Diagnostic and Therapeutic
    Procedures II (Prerequisite PAS 5360)
    Continuation of PAS 5360.

    PAS 5380 Diagnostic and Therapeutic
    Procedures III (Prerequisite PAS 5370)
    Continuation of PAS 5360 and 5370.

    PAS 5800 Clinical Rotation I*
    This series of externships provides the student with comprehensive clinical training in the major areas of primary medical care. It allows integration of learning in didactic and research components with direct patient care.

    PAS 5810 Clinical Rotation II*
    (Prerequisite PAS 5800)
    Continuation of PAS 5800.

    PAS 5820 Clinical Rotation III*
    (Prerequisite PAS 5810) Continuation of PAS 5800 and 5810.
    The clinical year will end with an eight-week preceptorship which has a primary care focus i.e. outpatient family practice or internal medicine or pediatrics or hospital-based internal medicine. 


    *During this 12-month period the student will rotate through 8 major clinical rotations including:
    Hospital based Internal Medicine (5 weeks)
    General Surgery (5 weeks)
    Pediatrics - may be outpatient and/or hospital based (5 weeks)
    Prenatal Care/Gynecology - may be outpatient and/or hospital based (5 weeks)
    Psychiatry/Chemical Dependency (5 weeks)
    Emergency Medicine (5 weeks)
    Outpatient based Family Practice (5 weeks)
    Longterm Care (2 weeks)

    Elective rotation:  total of 2 weeks in an area the student would like to have a concentrated exposure

    PAS 5870 PA Seminar I
    An opportunity to further define, expand and acquire skills necessary for the practice of medicine as a primary care physician assistant. Students completing this capstone course will define their multi-dimensional role in health care and take part in professional role development.

    PAS 5880 PA Seminar II
    Continuation of PAS 5870.

    PAS 5890 PA Seminar III
    Continuation of PAS 5870 and 5880.

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    Policies and Standards

    To remain in good academic standing and to graduate from the program, a student must maintain a GPA of 3.0. Core PA courses must be passed with a B- or better. Students are expected to maintain a mature, professional attitude consistent with that of an effective health care practitioner.

    The performance record of each student is reviewed at the end of each semester. Any student who fails to maintain these standards may not be permitted to progress in the program.

    The program may be completed in two or three years. The maximum amount of time to complete the course of study is three years, unless approval is granted by the department due to extenuating circumstances. It not recommended that students in the 2 year track work while enrolled in the PA Program.

    The Physician Assistant Program carefully abides by the nondiscriminatory admissions policy of the University of Detroit Mercy. Applications are accepted for regular admission from August 1 through January 15th in the year for which admission is sought. Applicants in transfer from other Physician Assistant Programs must be reviewed for admission by the end of the semester preceding the one for which transfer admission is sought.

    The Physician Assistant Program recognizes two categories of admission.

    REGULAR ADMISSION: is selectively afforded to applicants who satisfy all admission requirements of the University and the Physician Assistant Program.

    CONTINGENT ADMISSION: is afforded to applicants who appear qualified for regular admission but have not completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited U.S. institution by the application deadline. When the baccaulareate degree has been completed, a decision about regular admission will be made by the Program faculty. Students admitted on a contingent basis, must resolve the incomplete requirement prior to registering for classes and beginning training in the Program.

    The Physician Assistant Program does not offer provisional, conditional or unclassified admission as defined by the University. The Program Admissions Committee consists of the Physician Assistant Program faculty, the Program Medical Director, community PA's, students currently enrolled in the Program and members of the adjunct faculty. The Program strives to include representatives from minority and disadvantaged groups on the Committee.

    UDM undergraduates, applicants from underserved communities and underrepresented minorities in the profession may be given additional consideration in the application process.

    The Physician Assistant Program will consider applicants who have completed advanced medical training but who are not already licensed to practice as a medical or osteopathic physician in the U.S.. Such applicants must demonstrate, by documentation or examination, successful completion of prerequisite course work equivalents. Such applicants must meet all other admission requirements. Any applicant may also be asked to demonstrate language competency The Program does not offer an accelerated course of study or advanced standing but the student advisor will, on the advice of the course instructor, review requests for waiver or modification of selected required coursework for admitted students who can demonstrate sufficient knowledge and proficient skill in the course material.

    TECHNICAL STANDARDS

    A candidate for the Physician Assistant Program must have the abilities and skills in five categories: Observation, communication, motor, intellectual, and behavioral/social.

    Reasonable accommodation for persons with documented disabilities will be considered on an individual basis, but a candidate must be able to perform in an independent manner. The following skills are required with or without accommodation.

    OBSERVATION: Candidates must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe in the lecture hall, the laboratory, the outpatient setting, and the patient's bedside. Sensory skills adequate to perform physical examination are required. Functional vision, hearing and tactile sensation must be adequate to observe a patient's condition and to elicit information through procedures regularly required in a physical examination, such as inspection, auscultation and palpation.

    COMMUNICATION: Candidates must be able to communicate effectively in both academic and health care settings.  Candidates must show evidence of effective oral, written and electronic communication skills.

    MOTOR: The ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures (e.g. palpation, auscultation) is required. Candidates must have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to provide care to patients. Candidates must be able to negotiate patient care environments and must be able to move between settings, such as clinic, classroom building, and hospital.

    Physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study is required. Long periods of sitting, standing, or moving are required in classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences.

    INTELLECTUAL: Candidates must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize. Problem solving, one of the critical skills demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures. Candidates must be able to read and understand medical literature. In order to complete the Physician Assistant degree, candidates must be able to demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely and often critical fashion in medical problem-solving and patient care.

    BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL ATTRIBUTES: Candidates must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgement, and the prompt completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and other members of the health care team is essential. Candidates must possess the ability to effectively function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice with flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and concern for all required.

    Candidates must be willing and able to follow program and practice guidelines. They must practice ethically and within legal and regulatory authority.

    College of Health Professions Policy and Procedure for Drug Screening and Criminal Background Checks

    The clinical programs of the University of Detroit Mercy’s College of Health Professions (CHP) require students to participate in the care of patients in various health care settings.  Accordingly, passing a criminal background check and drug screen is a condition for admission to the Physician Assistant (PA) Program. (See link below for full policy and procedure).

    Latex Allergy

    Latex allergy/sensitivity is a growing concern for health care professionals. The University of Detroit Mercy, College of Health Professions (CHP) is unable to provide a latex-free environment to learners in either the clinical practice laboratories on campus or clinical placement sites off campus. Applicants who have a known latex allergy/sensitivity are encouraged to consult their personal health care provider prior to entering a health care profession.

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