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

$16,166

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.

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), Clinical Student Manual (pdf), the Program Performance Summary Report (pdf), and the Program Pass Rate Five Year Report (pdf).

Application deadline is October 1st

The application will be considered on time if it is e-submitted via CASPA application by the October 1st deadline. Supporting documents may be submitted to CASPA after the deadline, but candidates are strongly encouraged to complete their application by the October 1st deadline. Candidates must have their PA Shadowing Hours and GRE completed by October 1st. The next application cycle will open in late April 2020 for students intending to start in Fall 2021.

Admission Requirements

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution or completion of the undergraduate requirements for the Integrated Graduate Degree Program
  2. NEW for the 2020-2021 cycle: Official CASPer Situational Judgment Test scores (visit takecasper.com)
  3. Cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better on a scale of 4.0, as calculated by CASPA
  4. Cumulative science GPA of 3.25 or better with a minimum of 20 semester credits, as calculated by CASPA
  5. Students must have earned a B- or better in our 11 prerequisite courses by June 1st of the year of matriculation, with no more than 3 prerequisites remaining to be taken or re-taken at the time of submission. For details about our prerequisites, see "Prerequisite Requirements" below. 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.
  6. Prerequisite courses must have been completed no more than ten years prior to the anticipated start date of the MPAS program. Applicants requesting an exception to the ten-year limit due to healthcare work experience will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  7. Completed CASPA application, including all pertinent supporting documentation such as recommendations, PA shadowing, and transcripts.
  8. Official GRE scores sent to code 3879.
  9. Three references: one academic, one from a volunteer or work experience, and one other (candidate's choice) submitted through CASPA. (Two work references are acceptable for those who have not had a recent academic experience.) The application will not be considered complete until all three letters are received.
  10. PA Shadowing Experience Requirement - PA shadowing experience of at least 32 hours is required for admission to the program.  IMPORTANT: For the 2020-2021 cycle only, due to the impact of COVID-19, applicants need only 8 hours of unpaid PA shadowing at the time of CASPA application submission. The remaining 24 hours of unpaid PA shadowing must be completed by June 1, 2021 in order to remain eligible for admission. Because of this change, there will not be additional consideration given to excess shadowing hours this cycle. The shadowing experience must be documented in the "Shadowing" section of the CASPA application. Shadowing a physician or nurse practitioner will not satisfy this requirement. Varying practice areas and/or physician assistants is not required, but it is encouraged.
  11. Due to the impact of COVID-19, admission interviews will be conducted VIRTUALLY for the 2020-21 cycle.  VIRTUAL Interview – applicants are required to receive a passing score on the VIRTUAL interview to meet the criteria for admission. Interviews are by invitation only. The interview dates for the 2020-21 cycle are Saturday, September 26, 2020, and Saturday, October 31, 2020. 

Recommended Courses

We recommend, but do not require, the following courses:

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

GRE

Official GRE scores are required. These scores must be sent directly to CASPA. Chatham's MPAS GRE ID number is 3879. We do not use a cutoff or minimum GRE score. Our average combined score (quantitative and verbal) range is 305-310, and average analytical writing score range is 4.0-4.5. However, applicants should achieve a score of 290 or higher on the combined quantitative and verbal sections, and a score of 3.5 or higher on the analytical writing section. Submitted GRE scores must be from GRE tests taken within five years of the application date.

CASPer

NEW for the 2020-21 Cycle: All applicants must submit official CASPer Situational Judgment Test scores. Learn more at www.takecasper.com.

International Applicants

  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for international students whose native language is not English.
  • 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.
  • International applicants must complete the International Graduate Student Application Supplement and provide the proper documentation.
  • A course-by-course credential evaluation of university transcripts.
  • Additional requirements for international applicants can be found here.

TOEFL OR IELTS

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.

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)

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
Alyssa Abebe
Associate Program Director, Associate Professor
John Laird
Associate Professor, Admissions Coordinator
Clinical Coordinator, Assistant Professor
Lea O'Keefe
Associate Director of Clinical Education, Associate Professor

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."

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Problem-Based Learning

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is the cornerstone of Chatham MPAS students' first year, and an empowering method of education that sets students up for life-long learning.

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Practical Clinical Experience

Our program relies on the professional expertise of preceptors to provide students with hands-on experience and real-world patient interaction. Students rotate throughout the United States and internationally in the following areas of medicine: Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry/Behavioral Health, Women’s Health, and Surgery (all required by the ARC-PA). Additionally, they have the opportunity to choose 2 electives.

Preceptor Handbook (pdf)

PANCE Success Rate

To become a certified PA, you must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), a computer-based, multiple-choice test comprising questions that assess basic medical and surgical knowledge. Chatham graduates have averaged a 99% first-time pass rate over the past five years.

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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.

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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

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more and get the answers to your questions about Chatham University's Physician Assistant Studies program.

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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.  

intouch-newsletter-pa-2019

In Touch Newsletters

Learn about MPAS student and faculty accomplishments, alumni achievements, and various activities that occurred over the last academic year—in Pittsburgh, and all over the country.

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The Crazy, Intense, Beautiful World of Problem-Based Learning

This might be the best way anyone has taught anyone anything, ever.

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.”

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.