The College of Health Sciences' Physician Assistant Program offers you a student-centered environment in which you can develop skills as a compassionate, competent physician assistant in an ever-changing healthcare environment. Faculty mentors, interprofessional education and service, and self-directed learning help you to learn what it takes to provide critical services such as patient diagnoses, minor surgical procedures, emergency medicine, and health counseling and education. We will work with you to build your career as a member of tomorrow's healthcare team.

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Fast Facts



Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies (M.M.S.)

General Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Minimum cumulative and science GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale
  • GRE general test scores
  • Successful completion of prerequisite coursework from regionally accredited colleges or universities
  • Healthcare experience strongly preferred

Length of Program

27 months, full-time

Class Size


Class of 2020 Profile

  • Applicants: 1879
  • Matriculated: 90
  • Female: 74%
  • Male: 26%
  • Mean Age: 25
  • Mean Science GPA: 3.63
  • Mean Overall GPA: 3.66
  • Mean GRE percentiles
    • Quantitative 64
    • Verbal 74
    • Analytical 68
    • Analytical Writing 4.2
  • 78% had a total GPA above 3.5
  • Top Home States: Arizona (28%), California, Colorado

Clinical Rotations

Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine/Primary Care, Internal Medicine, Behavioral Medicine/Psychiatry, Surgery, Pediatrics, Women's Health, and Two Electives.

Graduation Rate

The Class of 2018 had a 100% graduation rate (89/89)

National Certifying Exam (PANCE) Pass Rate 5-Year Average (2013-2017)

  • Our students are at, or above, the national pass rate each year
  • Five year average pass rate for first time takers is 98% (national average is 96%)

NCCPA Pass Rate Summary Report ››

Employment Status

97% of the graduates from the Class of 2017 who responded to the graduate survey (43% response rate) reported they were employed within 1 year of graduation; 58% found their first clinical position prior to graduation.

Career Opportunities

Primary care, surgery, medical and surgical subspecialties, emergency medicine, behavioral medicine

US Employment Projections through 2026

2016 jobs: 106,200; outlook 2016-2026 employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 37%1

National 2016 Median Annual PA Salary

The average salary in 2017 grew to $104,860 (varies by specialty, practice setting, location, experience)1

1 (website last accessed May 2017)

Admission Requirements


Students seeking admission to the PA Program must submit the following documented evidence:

  1. All applicants must apply through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) and meet the published admission criteria.
  2. Minimum cumulative science and overall GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
  3. Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test submitted directly to CASPA under code 0508 by October 1st. Scores may also be submitted to the Office of Admissions by November 1st using the Midwestern University institution code for the GRE is 4160. Only test scores earned in the last five years are acceptable. Applicants are expected to achieve a score at or above the 50th percentile in each section. For additional information about the GRE, call 866/473-4373, or visit
  4. Completion of prerequisite courses as listed below from regionally accredited colleges or universities. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. Life experience credits do not count toward fulfillment of any prerequisite courses. Courses in which "credit" or grades of "pass" are earned will be counted only when applicants can provide verification that the earned grades were equivalent to grades of C or better (grades of C- are not acceptable).
  5. Completion of prerequisite courses prior to matriculation.
  6. Applicants must determine which prerequisites are missing and which courses must be taken to fulfill any outstanding prerequisites.
  7. Completion of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university before matriculation.
  8. Motivation for and commitment to health care as demonstrated by paid direct patient care hours, volunteer, work, shadowing, or other life experiences.
  9. Demonstration of service and leadership through community service or extracurricular activities.
  10. Oral and written communication skills necessary to interact with patients and colleagues.
  11. Completion of the online situational judgement test: Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer). For additional information about CASPer, visit
  12. Satisfactory Midwestern University criminal background check.
  13. Commitment to abide by the Midwestern University Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy.
  14. Successful completion of all required immunizations prior to matriculation.
  15. The applicant must meet the technical standards prior to matriculation.

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    Prerequisite Courses

    Course Sem Hrs Qtr Hrs
    Biology with lab* (must include at least 4 hours of Anatomy)812
    General Chemistry with lab*812
    Organic Chemistry with lab*46
    Math (college algebra or above)34
    English Composition69
    Social and Behavioral Sciences (sociology, psychology, anthropology, etc.)69
    Biochemistry (not required but strongly recommended)46
    *All science prerequisites must be courses designed for science majors. No survey courses will count to fulfill science prerequisites. No online labs will be accepted.

    Application Process and Deadlines

    The Physician Assistant program uses a rolling admissions process. Students must apply for admission via the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). The application deadline is October 1st each year.

    Additional Application Information

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    Program Description


    The professional curriculum leads to a Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies (M.M.S.). This full-time 27-month professional program offers students the opportunity to earn a graduate degree and satisfy the eligibility requirements for the PA National Certifying Examination (PANCE). The PA Program does not offer an extended course of study beyond the usual length of the program. The maximum allotted time for completion of this program is 40.5 months. The roles and specific clinical duties and responsibilities that graduates can expect to experience will vary depending on their chosen career path. PA Program graduates are expected to have the ability to competently perform patient histories and physicals, gather pertinent patient data, order and interpret diagnostic studies, recognize common diseases and disorders, choose appropriate therapeutic modalities, perform minor surgical procedures, manage emergency life-threatening conditions, promote health through counseling, education, and disease prevention, and demonstrate interpersonal skills consistent with the physician assistant role. The program is a combination of didactic and clinical education with the first 13.5 months covering a variety of didactic courses.

    The didactic coursework includes basic medical science coursework in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics and microbiology. It also includes clinical preparatory coursework in clinical medicine, pediatrics, behavioral medicine, psychiatry, women's health,  emergency medicine and surgical principles. During the remaining 13.5 months, students rotate through seven required core clinical rotations and two elective rotations.

    The second-year clinical program is delivered at affiliated clinical sites and facilities. These sites are geographically and demographically diverse, reflecting the broad scope of practice opportunities that exist for PAs in the health care delivery system of this country. Sites include ambulatory practice settings, small and large office-based group practices, community and migrant health centers, in-patient settings involving large and small hospitals, as well as federal and state facilities. These sites are in urban, suburban, and rural communities. In addition, the Program has established formal affiliations with clinical facilities and practitioners in Arizona and a number of other states. As part of the clinical education phase of the program, students enrolled in the MWU PA Program will likely be assigned to clinical rotations that reflect this geographic and demographic diversity. Students are required to complete a minimum of one clinical rotation in a rural/medically-underserved community. Subsidized housing is provided for distant in-state and out-of-state core clinical rotations only.  Students are expected to secure their own housing for local and elective rotations, and must provide their own transportation to all core and elective clinical rotations regardless of location.

    No advanced placement within the PA Program is allowed for prior clinical or life experience.  Requests may be made for advanced placement for coursework and will only be considered if a letter grade of "C" or better has been earned and must be deemed equivalent to the Midwestern University course.  Please see the Midwestern University Catalog for the policy and procedure.  Midwestern University has an articulation agreement that exists between programs.

    The PA Program does not offer an extended course of study beyond the usual length of the program. For more information on the specific curriculum, download our quick overview and see the Midwestern University Catalog for more detailed course descriptions and additional University, College, and Program policies which pertain to Physician Assistant students.

    For more information on the specific curriculum browse our online catalog or you can download a quick overview.

    Planned Program Improvements

    No significant changes in the PA Program admission requirements, academic standards, or curriculum are anticipated for the 2019-2020 academic year.

    PA Program Student Work Policy

    Due to the rigorous time demands during the didactic and clinical years, the PA Program strongly discourages students who are enrolled in the Program from working outside of school during the 27-month Program.   

    Some students may be able to successfully coordinate campus work-study jobs, but the educational requirements of the Program remain the priority.  Students who do choose to work at off-campus jobs despite this recommendation are expected to maintain all university and Program attendance expectations, professionalism, and academic standards. 

    Students should consult with a counselor in the Office of Student Financial Services if they are in need of more financial resources.    Students who are in the work-study Program for Midwestern University may not conduct their work in the PA Program offices due to confidentiality concerns with student records.  PA students may utilize the work-study Program, as outlined by federal guidelines, for community service projects.  PA students are NOT required to work for the program.


    The Midwestern University Physician Assistant Program of Glendale is committed to educate and mentor students in a setting that cultivates excellence and prepares compassionate, competent physician assistants to serve in a changing healthcare environment.

    The philosophy of the PA Program is based on a dedication to the student-centered approach to teaching and learning. Program Goals are met through a variety of curricular objectives and assessments. 

    The Goals of the Midwestern University PA Program, Glendale Campus, include: 1) to develop competent PAs, 2) to deliver a thorough and comprehensive curriculum that promotes inter-professional education and service within the healthcare community, 3) to facilitate critical-thinking skills and evidence-based practices, 4) to mentor students and promote professionalism, and 5) to demonstrate a genuine commitment to program excellence through a process of continuous self-assessment and curricular improvements.  

    The program meets these goals in a variety of ways:

    1. The curriculum has contributed to an average first-time PANCE pass rate of 98% over the last five years (100%, 99%, 98%, 99%, and 100%, respectively).  This is compared to the national average of 96%.  100% of new graduate respondents (Class of 2016) reported full-time employment.  This is above the national average of 67% of newly certified PAs who accepted a clinical position (NCCPA 2015 Statistical Report).  
    2. The curriculum provides a strong basis for clinical practice in the following ways: 1) A rigorous basic science curriculum (anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology, and microbiology) is delivered by content area experts and PA Program courses are taught by experienced PA faculty. 2) The program also promotes inter-professional education via a university-wide, interdisciplinary course involving most first-year students that develops teamwork and collaboration between the professions via didactic presentations and small group activities.  3) Faculty encourage and model service to the profession and to our community.  This is evident by 27% of 2011-2015 graduates participating in the training of a MWU PA student; PA faculty involvement with state and national organizations (ASAPA, PAEA, AAPA, etc.); more than 1100 hours of community service by our PA students in 2016, and 26% of 2017 graduates report employment in health professions shortage areas or medically underserved communities. 
    3. Students are required to complete a didactic course dedicated to the development of critical thinking skills and the application of evidence-based practices. The students then utilize these skills in interactive clinical case group discussions, simulation activities, and clinical rotations and are assessed by faculty and preceptors throughout their training.  Graduates from the Class of 2017 rated their overall level of satisfaction with their education received at 4.58/5.00.
    4. Faculty encourage, model and assess professionalism. Health Professionalism, during the first quarter, is a course devoted to teaching professionalism (values and ideals as described in 'Competencies for the PA Profession') and in recent years the program has implemented a code of professional conduct and dress code.  Upon matriculation, every student in the program is assigned a PA faculty mentor who monitors the student's performance in the didactic and clinical phases of training.  Additionally, students are evaluated by preceptors regularly throughout the clinical year on their professional conduct/demeanor, dependability/responsibility, educational attitude and responsiveness to feedback.
    5. The program has a continuous process of self-assessment that allows for data collection and subsequent analysis throughout the curriculum. A variety of perspectives are formally sought in this process including those of students, faculty, clinical preceptors and graduates in the form of regularly scheduled surveys and evaluations.  This serves to further improve the experience for students and is foundational to maintaining accreditation.  This process has led to a status of full accreditation by ARC-PA since 1998, and again most recently in 2018.  

    Definition and Role of A Physician Assistant (Approved by the American Academy of Physician Assistants' House of Delegates, 2005)

    "Physician Assistants are health professionals licensed or, in the case of those employed by the federal government, credentialed, to practice medicine with physician supervision. Physician assistants are qualified by graduation from an accredited physician assistant educational program and/or certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Within the physician-PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. The clinical role of physician assistants includes primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practice settings in rural and urban areas. Physician assistant practice is centered on patient care and may include educational, research, and administrative activities."

    [Adopted by the American Academy of Physician Assistants' House of Delegates 1995, reaffirmed 2000, 2005, 2010, amended 1996, 2014] 

    Estimated Cost of Attendance


    Total for 27-month program

    Physician AssistantYear 1Year 2Year 3
    Student Services Fee$679$679$170
    Health Insurance$3,216$3,216$1,034
    Disability Ins. Fee$65$65$33
    Books & Supplies$1,891$1,608$150
    Therapeutic Skills Kit$561----

    Tuition Refund Policy

    Midwestern University's policies and procedures for refunds of tuition and fees are listed in the catalog on page 36 of the Student Financial Services section under "MWU Refund Policy: Return of the Title IV, Title VII, and institutional Funds".



    The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Midwestern University-Glendale Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Midwestern University-Glendale. 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 June 2028. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

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