Jul 25, 2024  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physician Assistant (MS)

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PA Department Information  

The University of Michigan-Flint Physician Assistant Master of Science Program (MSPA) prepares graduates to practice medicine as primary care physician assistants (PAs), eligible for national certification and state licensure. PAs are healthcare providers who practice medicine in every medical setting and in nursing homes, often serving as patients’ principal healthcare provider.  Their duties include conducting medical histories and physical exams, diagnosing illness, ordering and interpreting tests, developing and managing treatment plans, prescribing medications, counseling on preventative care, performing procedures, assisting in surgery, and attending to patients.  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. Health care 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.

PA students learn to strive for excellence in patient management across the lifespan and 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 is projected to grow 37 percent from 2016 to 2026. As the demand for healthcare services grows, PAs will be needed to provide care to patients.

Admission to the Program

The University of Michigan-Flint MSPA program utilizes the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Applicants should check the University of Michigan-Flint Office of Graduate Programs website for the application deadline, and check the MSPA website for admission information details. Additionally, applicants must complete a UM-Flint Graduate Program Application in order to be considered for admission to the MSPA program.


To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the following requirements by the CASPA application deadline:

  • Bachelor degree from a regionally accredited college or university completed prior to January PA Program start date.
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0  (Graduate level courses are not included in grade point average calculations.)
  • Minimum prerequisite grade point average of 3.0. All prerequisite coursework must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or higher. Courses for which credit was awarded by examination and/or advanced placement credit are not acceptable as prerequisite courses.
  • Prerequisite courses required are:
    • Human anatomy: one course
    • Human physiology: two courses, at least one at the 300-400 level
    • Chemistry: two courses, at least one in organic chemistry or biochemistry
    • Microbiology with lab: one course
    • Developmental psychology: one course
    • Statistics: one course
    • Medical terminology: one course
  • All prerequisite coursework must be taken at a regionally accredited institution of higher learning.  All science coursework (anatomy, physiology, chemistry, microbiology) must be taken within seven years prior to the date of the application submission.
  • All prerequisite coursework must be completed before submission of the CASPA application.
  • Health care experience:  500 hours of direct, hands‐on patient care experience in a health care environment within two years prior to application submission. Paid work experience is preferred, but some volunteer experience may be considered. Health clinician shadowing and hours gained through student clinical experiences are not accepted toward this requirement.
  • TOEFL Scores: necessary if English is not the native language and have not earned a  baccalaureate degree from an institution in U.S., Canada, or Great Britain.
  • CASPer Test scores: Computer -Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics. Visit: http://www.takeCASPer.com.
  • Successful completion of an on-campus personal interview.
  • Writing samples submitted during the personal interview.

All deadlines must be met in order to be considered for admission to the UM-Flint MSPA program. Due to the highly competitive nature of admission, successful completion of all admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the program.

All applicants must meet the Physician Assistant Technical Standards in order to be admitted to and retained in the UM-Flint MSPA Program. These standards, which go beyond academic requirements for admission, are essential and necessary for practice and function as a PA, and include physical, behavioral and cognitive abilities needed to complete the PA education curriculum and competently perform as a PA upon graduation.

The Technical Standards for the UM-Flint PA Program ensure that enrolled students have the ability to demonstrate academic mastery, competency when performing clinical skills, and ability to communicate clinical information with sound physical and mental capacities. Details can be found here.

Application Process

To be considered for admission, an applicant must submit completed applications by the deadline date, to the University of Michigan-Flint Graduate Program Application website and a Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) website. Instructions for completing the application may be found at the Office of Graduate Programs website https://www.umflint.edu/graduateprograms/office-graduate-programs. International applicants must submit additional documentation (see the Graduate Study portion of this Catalog) and meet Physician Assistant Department English proficiency requirements.


Students will be required to purchase clinical attire, physical examination equipment, course and clinical education related textbooks and other resources to be used in the classroom or clinical practice. Clinical education experiences may require students to leave the Flint area. All students are responsible for providing their own transportation to all clinical sites and housing.  Students are responsible for costs for health insurance, and for costs related to keeping all required health documents updated, including special tests required by clinical sites (drug screen, fingerprinting, etc). Current estimates of costs are available to applicants through the Physical Assistant Department. Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice.

Transfer of Credit

University of Michigan-Flint MSPA program courses build upon knowledge, skills and perspectives gained from prior semesters. It is essential that all students in the University of Michigan-Flint MSPA program complete all required coursework and do so in the published sequence. No transfer of credit from other programs or institutions will be allowed to fulfill any requirement of the program. Likewise, no advanced standing will be afforded to any individual, as all course credits must be completed in order. This policy also applies to students requesting transfer from other PA educational programs:  no credit will be accepted in lieu of required coursework.

PA education program curricula vary, including in depth of instruction. Due to these variations, the University of Michigan-Flint does not accept transfer students during any phase of the program.

Time Limit for Degree Completion

All requirements must be completed within three calendar years of initial enrollment in the program.

Requirements (103 credits)

The MSPA program requires successful completion of a sixteen month didactic phase followed by twelve months of supervised clinical practice rotations. Students must achieve documented standards as outlined in PA program policies in order to progress from one semester to the next, and the didactic phase to the clinical phase. This includes maintaining an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and successful completion of all coursework. The didactic phase courses must be taken in the pre-determined published sequence. The clinical phase 11-course rotation sequence will vary.

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