Sep 30, 2020  
2019-2020 Catalog 
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physician Assistant (PPA)

3180 William S. White Building
(810) 424-5508
Fax: (810) 237-6532

Director: Stephanie Joseph Gilkey, M.S., P.A.-C., DFAAPA

Associate Professor: Stephanie Gilkey

Physician Assistants (PAs) are healthcare providers who practice medicine. Duties include; conduct medical histories and physical exams, diagnose illness, order and interpret tests, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, counsel on preventative care, perform procedures, assist in surgery, attend to patients in every medical setting and in nursing homes, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers in every medical setting and specialty, in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories with the exception of Puerto Rico. The entry-level and terminal degree in PA education is the master’s degree. In order to maintain national certification, PAs are required to recertify as medical generalists every 10 years and complete 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years.

PA education is built on a solid foundation of basic sciences including chemistry, human anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. Healthcare experience and the study of psychology through the lifespan prior to program matriculation provides preparation to develop effective interpersonal relationships with patients, family members, caretakers, other health care professionals, third party payers, community agencies and other stakeholders.

Student PAs learn to strive for excellence in patient management across the lifespan, learning to value and respect diversity of gender identity, race, culture and disability, regardless of age.  Graduates are self-directed learners who are critical thinkers, using evidence and best practices to make sound clinical judgments.

Career opportunities for PAs are continually expanding and employment of PAs are is projected to grow 37 percent from 2016-2026. As the demand for healthcare services grows, PAs will be needed to provide care to patients.

Department Mission and Assessment

The faculty and staff in the Physician Assistant Department at the University of Michigan-Flint are student-centered and committed to excellence in best practices in teaching and learning, scholarship, clinical practice and service. The Department’s graduates will be highly qualified PAs who are engaged citizens and leaders in the PA profession, in accordance with standards of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. The Physician Assistant Department at the University of Michigan-Flint will prepare students to become exemplary physician assistant practitioners, leaders, and advocates through best practices in teaching, learning, and service to our diverse local community and beyond.

The Physician Assistant Department actively participates in continuous assessment of the MSPA program to facilitate excellence in education in the development and implementation phases. Changes to the program and curriculum will be based on these assessments. Students admitted to the MSPA program are expected to abide by the implemented curricular changes. The Department also participates in university-wide assessment efforts for the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Accreditation.

Academic Regulations and Procedures

Students are expected to maintain satisfactory performance in their academic courses, clinical rotations, and professional/ethical conduct. While enrolled in the MSPA program, the student is subject to the policies and procedures of the program regarding academic standards and professional conduct. Because the student is enrolled in the College of Health Sciences (CHS), the student is also subject to the policies and procedures of CHS. All regulations of the University of Michigan-Flint also apply to students in the MSPA program. Students should make note of these regulations, which appear in other sections of this catalog. Specific rules and regulations adopted by the faculty of the MSPA program are presented in the sections that follow.

Grading System

Refer to the Graduate Study section for the grading scale. The report of an I (incomplete) grade may be made by the instructor if the student is unable to meet the course requirements within the specified time due to extended illness or a family crisis. An I grade may be made up while a student is not enrolled and must be made up by the end of the second week of the next semester in which the student is enrolled. If, for sufficient reason, a student cannot remove the incomplete within the two-week period, an extension request form must be approved by both the course instructor and the Department Director and forwarded to the Office of the Registrar. Failure either to make up the grade within the allotted time or to have an extension approved will result in the I automatically being changed to a grade of E. A grade once reported (with the exception of I) may be changed only to correct a demonstrable error.

Credit without Grade (Pass/Fail)

The pass/fail option applies only to specific courses so designated in the course schedule by individual CHS departments.  Courses elected for credit without grade are not included in the calculation of the grade point average. There are no courses within the MSPA curriculum granting the pass/fail grade option.

Changes in Course Elections (Drop/Add)

Changes in course elections include dropping and adding courses. It is the student’s responsibility to adhere to the published deadlines for dropping and/or adding a course. Granting withdrawal from the Physician Assistant Department with or without intention to return is a prerogative of the Physician Assistant Department faculty.

Academic Standing

The faculty of the Department, acting on behalf of the University, has the responsibility of defining academic standards and reserves the right to remove from the MSPA program any student whose academic and professional standing, in the judgment of the faculty, is regarded as unsatisfactory. To maintain satisfactory academic standing, a student must have a minimum cumulative graduate grade point average of B (3.0 on a 4.0 point scale) for all graduate courses taken for credit and applied toward any degree or certificate offered in the Physician Assistant Department. Academic records of all students are reviewed by the administrative staff of the Physician Assistant Department at the end of each semester according to the Academic Standards Performance and Progression Policy. Students whose cumulative grade point average falls below a B (3.0 on a 4.0 point scale) in a given semester are reviewed by the MSPA Program Director.  A written notice of academic probationary status is given to the student. The complete policy regarding academic and professional standards can be found in the Physician Assistant Student Handbook.

Appeals Procedure 

Students admitted to the Physician Assistant Department agree to follow established policies and procedures which govern academic and professional performance, clinical competency, and ethical standards of the profession (AAPA Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the PA Profession). Specific appeals procedures are outlined in the Student Handbook for specific programs. For issues or complaints involving a faculty member, the appeal procedure should be initiated after consultation with the faculty member whenever possible.

For issues or complaints of a discriminatory or sexually harassing nature the student should consult with the University Human Resources or the Dean of the College of Health Sciences. Formal complaints must be filed with the University Human Resources.

English Proficiency Requirements for the Physician Assistant Department

Applicants whose native language is not English and have not earned a baccalaureate degree from the the United States, Canada, or Great Britain are required to submit official test scores for the Test of English as a Foreign language (TOEFL). The TOEFL exam must be taken by January 1 and the score submitted in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistant application by February 1. The minimum TOEFL scores accepted: 94-internet based, with a speaking score of 26.

Programs in Physician Assistant

The Physician Assistant Department at the University of Michigan-Flint, College of Health Sciences, offers the Master of Science Physician Assistant (MSPA) program.


The University of Michigan-Flint (UM-Flint) Master of Science, Physician Assistant (PA) Program has applied for Accreditation - Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). UM-Flint anticipates matriculating its first class in January 2021, pending achieving Accreditation - Provisional status at the June 2020 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appears to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

In the event accreditation is not granted, program admissions will be delayed until accreditation is received.  Program applicants will be notified as soon as we are informed of accreditation process results.  Should the program not receive accreditation, all deposits will be returned to candidates.  Information on accreditation is available at  The proposed Physician Assistant program would grant the Master of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA) degree.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant is located at 12000 Findley Road, Suite 275, Johns Creek, Georgia, 30097; telephone: 770-476-1224, website: