Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

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Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) Overview

Chatham University’s Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program is an accelerated, 85-credit program designed to produce highly skilled and competent healthcare providers. During the first year of the program, you will complete two didactic terms before continuing on to clinical rotations which comprise your second year. At the end of your second year, you will return to campus to finish coursework.
Degrees Offered
  • MPAS
Program School
Important Dates

Application Deadline

The application deadline for Chatham's MPAS is October 1. All applications must be submitted through CASPA. Additional information can be found in the below Admission Requirements section.

Credits Required

85 (6 terms)

The MPAS is a full-time cohort program that begins in the Fall Semester and is completed in six terms over 24 months.

Cost Per Term

$16,651

Cost consists of program tuition (cost per term times number of terms) as well as any applicable University and degree-specific fees. View the detailed program tuition.

PANCE Success Rate

98%

Graduates of the program have achieved a 98% average first-time pass rate over the past five years on the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE).

Explore the MPAS Degree:

The MPAS program is part of Chatham’s School of Health Sciences. The School of Health Sciences has developed a strong reputation for its sought-after healthcare professionals. From high first-time certification rates to advanced clinical aptitude, our graduates enter their careers ready to meet the needs of patients and contribute to improving the quality of care their organizations deliver.

For additional information, please view our Student Manual (pdf) and our Clinical Student Manual (pdf).

Application deadline is October 1st

The CASPA application will be considered on time if it is fully verified by the October 1st deadline.  All required materials listed below must be included at the time of submission with the exception of remaining prerequisites, degrees, and PA shadowing hours.  The next application cycle will open in late April 2021 for students intending to start in Fall 2022.

UPDATE: We will not require the GRE exam as an admission requirement for the 2021-22 cycle.  PA shadowing hours are also not required for applicants, but admitted students will be required to complete them by June 1st of the year of matriculation.

Admission Review Process

The PA program’s Admissions Committee reviews all applicants through an individualized, holistic review process. We value academics as well as the many characteristics and qualities an applicant would bring to the program and give preference to those who best align with our program’s mission. The PA program regards diversity in all ways such as gender and gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, military status, and different life experiences.  We strive to admit a class that is representative of the communities around us. Chatham University has an integrated degree program and articulation agreements with several other universities. Invitations to interview are given to those who best meets the admission requirements and align with the program’s mission. Once an applicant has passed the interview, the complete application is reviewed.  Final decisions are made based on the recommendation of the Admissions Committee. Candidates must meet all program and technical requirements to be considered for matriculation. Admission to the program is based on the number of seats available for the upcoming fall.

Admission Requirements

  1. Completed and fully-verified CASPA application. NOTE: A minimum two (2) years of post-secondary education following high school graduation must have been completed prior to submitting the graduate application.  The deadline for the CASPA application to be fully verified is October 1st.
  2. CASPer Situational Judgment Test scheduled date and/or score. Learn more at takealtus.com.  Test dates for the current cycle will become available shortly before CASPA opens at the end of April.
  3. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.
  4. A cumulative overall GPA of at least 3.25, as calculated by the Centralized Application System (CAS), at the time of graduate application submission.
  5. A cumulative science GPA of at least 3.25, as calculated by the Centralized Application System (CAS), at the time of graduate application submission.
  6. Prerequisite Courses. A grade of "B-" or better is required for each of our 11 prerequisite courses, to be fully completed by June 1st of the year of matriculation. Applicants should have no more than 3 prerequisite courses remaining to be taken or re-taken for a grade of B- or better at the time of application submission.  See “Prerequisite Coursework” below for a detailed list of our prerequisites.
  7. Three specific letters of recommendation: one from a college professor or academic advisor, one from a volunteer or work experience, and one other (candidate's choice) submitted through CASPA. (Students who have not been enrolled in any college coursework in the past three (3) years may submit an additional work or volunteer letter in place of the academic letter.)
  8. PA Shadowing HoursApplicants do not need any PA shadowing at the time of application submission. However, admitted students will be required to complete 32 hours of PA shadowing by June 1, 2022.  Waitlisted students should also work to obtain these hours in case an offer becomes available.  Telehealth shadowing is acceptable provided the PA is actively engaged with a patient (i.e., a YouTube lecture does not count as shadowing).  Shadowing a physician or nurse practitioner will not satisfy this requirement.  Shadowing must be unpaid.
  9. Interview – Applicants are required to receive a passing score on the interview to meet the criteria for admission. Interviews are by invitation only.  This cycle’s interview dates are Saturday, September 25, 2021 and Saturday, October 23, 2021.

International Applicants

  • Applicants whose native language is not English and who have not completed their degree in the U.S. or Canada will be required to submit current TOEFL or IELTS scores, regardless of their citizenship status. Minimum TOEFL scores required: 600 or above on the paper-based test; 100 or above on the internet-based test. Minimum IELTS score: 7.0 or above.
  • It is strongly advised that prerequisite coursework be completed at a U.S.-based, accredited institution.
  • Additional requirements for international applicants can be found here.

Additional Admission Factors

Several factors are weighed by the admissions committee when considering students for interview invitations and admission offers.  In addition to the minimum requirements above, students can build a competitive application by reporting the following in their CASPA application:

  • Significant volunteering in any field (>100 hours)
  • Significant employment in any field (>750 hours)
  • Exposure to other cultures/international experiences
  • Advanced degrees (master’s, doctorates)
  • Advanced training and/or certifications (EMT, CRN, etc.)
  • Leadership experiences (club officers, shift supervisors, member of college sports team, etc.)
  • Military service
  • Chatham alumnus
  • Socioeconomic status

Prerequisites

The admission committee will determine whether a student has met the prerequisite requirements and may request course syllabi and/or course descriptions to verify if a course counts. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a B- or better prior to June 1st of the year of matriculation. Certificate coursework is not accepted. We accept coursework completed at any accredited institution of higher education, including four-year institutions, community colleges, and online universities.

IMPORTANT: Due to the impact of COVID-19 on institutional grading policies, a "Pass" grade for prerequisites will be accepted for coursework completed during the Spring 2020 semester only. Pass/fail grades do not factor into science and/or overall GPA calculation.

Medical Terminology
One term of 100- or 200-level undergraduate coursework, minimum 1 credit

Anatomy & Physiology
One term of each, undergraduate or graduate-level, with a lab for Anatomy

We accept 4 credits of Human/Vertebrate Anatomy with lab and 3 credits of Human/Vertebrate Physiology OR 4 credits of Anatomy & Physiology I with lab and 4 credits of Anatomy & Physiology II with lab, but no "mixing and matching" between these two paths.

Microbiology
One term of 100- or 200-level undergraduate coursework, 3 credits total. This is independent of the Human Biology requirement below

English
One term of a writing-intensive English course, 3 credits total, or AP English Exam credit as listed on the undergraduate transcript

Intro/General Psychology
One term of undergraduate coursework in introductory/general psychology or human growth & development, 3 credits total, or AP Psychology Exam credit as listed on the undergraduate transcript

Human Biology
Two terms of 100- or 200-level undergraduate coursework, including labs, 8 credits total

Examples of the courses we have accepted toward the Human Biology prerequisite requirement include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • General Biology 1
  • General Biology 2
  • Intro to Biology 1
  • Intro to Biology 2
  • The Cell
  • The Organism
  • Cell Biology
  • Organismal Biology
  • Form & Function
  • Evolution & Ecology
  • AP Biology Exam Credit, as listed on undergraduate transcript 

Inorganic Chemistry
Two terms of 100- or 200-level undergraduate coursework, including labs, 8 credits total

Examples of the courses we have accepted toward the Inorganic Chemistry prerequisite requirement include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • General Chemistry 1
  • General Chemistry 2
  • Intro to Inorganic Chemistry 1
  • Intro to Inorganic Chemistry 2
  • Inorganic Chemistry 1
  • Inorganic Chemistry 2
  • Qualitative Analysis (Inorganic Chemistry)
  • AP Chemistry Exam Credit, as listed on undergraduate transcript
  • Organic Chemistry 2 (can be substituted for Organic Chemistry 1 OR 4 credits' worth of the Inorganic Chemistry requirement, but not both)

Organic Chemistry
One term of 100- or 200-level undergraduate coursework, including a lab, 4 credits total

We do not accept Biochemistry toward this requirement. The courses we have accepted toward the Organic Chemistry requirement include: 

  • Organic Chemistry 1
  • Organic Chemistry 2 (can be substituted for Organic Chemistry 1 OR 4 credits' worth of the Inorganic Chemistry requirement, but not both)

Recommended Coursework

The following coursework is recommended, but not required, by the PA faculty.

  • Genetics
  • Statistics
  • Nutrition
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Additional/Advanced Anatomy and Physiology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Cadaver Lab Dissection

Chatham University’s PA program maintains articulation agreements with other regional institutions such that a limited number of seats and/or interview slots are reserved for students who meet advanced criteria. For more information about the criteria and timeline for eligibility, email the graduate admissions counselor. These schools include:

  • Allegheny College
  • Goshen College
  • Grove City College
  • Lincoln University
  • Saint Vincent College
  • Washington and Jefferson College
  • Waynesburg University

PAS602: Clinical Application of Basic Sciences I

An in-depth study of topics in gross human anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology, supporting the instruction in the Essentials for the Physician Assistant courses. Instruction will involve basic sciences with an emphasis on the clinical application of the material, utilizing a systems approach.

PAS600: Essentials for the Physician Assistant I

Essentials for the Physician Assistant I is a problem-oriented approach to primary and specialty care medicine. This course incorporates medical diagnosis and treatment; pharmacotherapeutics; psychosocial assessment and management; patient education; management of patients with chronic illness; clinical decision making; and prevention of disability and disease through detection, education, and prevention. The course is divided into three segments, Units 1, 2, and 3.

PAS637: Clinical Skills for the Physician Assistant I

This skills-based course will cover history, physical examination, documentation of patient data and diagnostic aspects of the head and neck, integumentary, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, pulmonary and cardiac systems. History taking will also be introduced. Course format will include lectures, demonstrations, online simulation modules, and high-fidelity simulation. 

View Full Curriculum

You can never teach all of medicine to any one student. If I can teach a student to think, to learn, and to be a compassionate caregiver, then I have made a difference.

— SUSAN HAWKINS, MSED, PA-C, professor emeritus

Our Faculty

If one word could best sum up Chatham's faculty, it would be engaged. Professors bring experiences to relate the course lessons to real-world situations.

Full Faculty
Photo of Alyssa Abebe
Associate Program Director, Associate Professor
kerri-jack
Clinical Coordinator, Assistant Professor

Clinical Rotation Experience

Clinical rotations are a core experience of Chatham’s MPAS training. Through rotations in Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry/Behavioral Health, Women’s Health, Surgery, and various electives, students are able to become well-rounded practitioners and solid members of healthcare teams, as well as fine-tune their career aspirations.

Explore Clinical Rotations : Checkerboard 2 - Clinical Rotation Experience
mpas-student-profile-checkerboard

Admitted Student Profile (Fall 2021)

  • Number matriculated: 59
  • Median age: 22
  • Gender identification: 93% female, 7% male
  • Ethnicity identification: 2% Hispanic, 5% Asian, 5% Black or African American, 93% White
  • Residence: 61% Pennsylvania, 39% out-of-state
  • Average cumulative overall GPA: 3.74
  • Average cumulative science GPA: 3.69
  • Average PA shadowing hours: 51

Vision and Mission

The vision of Chatham's MPAS program is, "To strive for excellence in physician assistant education whose graduates are known as outstanding clinicians in the community and leaders in the profession trained by faculty who are recognized for developing and researching innovative curricular methods."

Accreditation, Standards, Goals & Outcomes : Checkerboard 5 - Vision and Mission
Decorative image reading Integrated Degree Program (IDP)

Integrated Degree Program

Chatham University offers a 3+2 integrated degree program (IDP) for prospective undergraduate students looking to accelerate their path toward enrolling in the master’s program.  Highly qualified first-year applicants may be eligible for guaranteed or preferred admission to the PA program based on high school and SAT/ACT criteria.  Interested students should work with the undergraduate admissions team for assistance with applying to the IDP.

Learn About IDP : Checkerboard 6 - Integrated Degree Program
Rolling grassy hills, historic red brick buildings, and multicolored autumn trees decorate Chatham University's Shadyside campus in Pittsburgh.

Accreditation, Technical Standards, Goals and Outcomes

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Chatham University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.  The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website here. Once directed to the website, click on the document for further information about Chatham’s accreditation history.

Accreditation, Standards, Goals & Outcomes : Checkerboard 7 - Accreditation, Technical Standards, Goals and Outcomes

Support a PA Student

Professor Emerita Susan Hawkins and PA Program Director Judy Truscott launched the first ever PA Student Award in honor of Susan’s retirement from Chatham University. The purpose of the Student Award is to provide recognition and financial assistance to a deserving PA Student who has completed the didactic phase of the program. 

Give Now : Checkerboard 8 - Support a PA Student
Decorative image of the Pi Alpha logo

Pi Alpha Honor Society

Chatham's PA program has a chapter within the Pi Alpha Honor Society. The motto of Pi Alpha is "Scholarship, Service, Leadership." The organization is committed to lifelong learning and participation in intellectual life.  

Getting More Comfortable With Death and Dying

Last winter, Victoria Kissell, MPAS ’18, was able to add a facet to her education that not many PAs are able to claim. “We don’t learn how to deal with death in school,” she says. “Because we’re focused on making people better, we tend to push it aside, even though it’s inevitable. Through the Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s Fellowship in Death and Dying, I was able to talk to people who handle it every day, so that if I do have a patient who is terminally ill, I’m more comfortable talking about it.”

Photo angling above, showing surgeons leaning over an operating table and conducting a procedure

Diverse Career Opportunities

Recent MPAS graduates have gone on to work in hospitals, medical centers, military bases, and specialized clinics throughout the country including Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH; Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, MD; Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA; Healing Hands Ministries, Dallas, TX; Peak Vista Community Health Centers, Colorado Springs, CO; OIC Family Medical Center, Raleigh, NC; South Texas Rural Health Services, Cotulla, TX;  Squirrel Hill Health Center, Pittsburgh, PA, and many more.