Physician Assistant Studies Program

College of Health Sciences, Glendale Campus

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

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The College of Health Sciences' Physician Assistant Program supports a student-centered approach in which learners develop the skills to become compassionate, competent Physician Assistants in an ever-changing healthcare environment. Faculty mentors, interprofessional education, and experiential learning help students attain and refine clinical skills to manage patients in diverse healthcare settings, perform a variety of therapeutic skills appropriate for entry level PA practice, and engage in disease prevention and health promotion.  The didactic and clinical year curricula are designed to provide the breadth and depth of exposure to promote critical thinking, support personal and professional development, and foster self-efficacy.


Glendale, AZ

24 months, full-time


Class Size

Graduation Rate

The professional curriculum leads to a Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies (M.M.S.). This full-time 24-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 36 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 12 months covering a variety of didactic courses.

Advanced Placement

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.

Extended Program

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.

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 24-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.

 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

Physician Assistant Year 1 Year 2
Tuition $62,314 $62,314
Student Services Fee $724 $724
Personal Expenses & Health Insurance $7,288 $7,288
Disability Insurance Fee $65 $65
Books & Supplies $2,813 $1,608

Based on the 2022-2023 academic year.  Physician Assistant Cost of Attendance Budget 2022-2023.

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".


  • Awarded continuous accreditation since Program inception in 1998
  • Consistently low attrition rates and high national ranking
  • Nationally recognized in PA education with PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination) pass rates exceeding the national average
  • Graduates are selected for nationally recognized clinical fellowships such as Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and Banner–MD Anderson.
  • Faculty leadership and membership in national, state and specialty professional organizations.
  • Faculty and alumni have served in the role of president for AAPA (American Academy of Physician Associates), ASAPA (Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants) and PAEA (Physician Assistant Education Association)
  • #4 Current faculty recognized by AAPA as distinguished fellows
  • Post-graduate Academic Fellowship in PA education, (12-month, full-time, in-person, visiting professorship model)
  • Strong reputation with preceptors and community clinicians
  • Over half of PA Program faculty act as peer reviewers for national clinical and academic journals
  • Multiple faculty are invited speakers at national continuing medical education courses
  • Faculty have published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals


  • 24-month curriculum
  • Dedicated Clinical Simulation Center
  • Full cadaver dissection lab experience
  • Heavy emphasis on standardized patients encounters throughout didactic and clinical year
  • Dedicated procedural skills training course
  • Basic science courses taught by PhD content specialists
  • Eleven full-time faculty members, including Midwestern University PA Program alumni
  • Active core of clinically practicing adjunct faculty
  • The medical director is a full-time PA program faculty member
  • Six support staff appointed to the PA Program (>50 years combined experience)
  • Cumulative Review course provided prior to graduation
  • Clinical rotations are available in multilingual, underserved, and rural communities

Campus Experience 

  • Midwestern University is a non-profit institution that concentrates on training graduate level students in healthcare
  • Campus includes 125 acres of a lush park-like central green area, outdoor pavilion, sports courts, wellness center, coffee shop, and on campus housing.
  • Admissions process includes online interviews with optional on-campus tours
  • Fully Staffed student services that includes mental health professionals and a learning specialist
  • Free telehealth access for students with a licensed healthcare provider 24 hours per day nationwide
  • Mentorship programs for students includes both faculty and peer mentors
  • H.O.M.E. (Health Outreach in Medicine and Education) clinic in which students can participate in treating patients experiencing homelessness
  • Options for participation in >150 student interest clubs
  • Multiple community outreach project opportunities

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 12 months, students rotate through seven required core clinical rotations and one 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. 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.  Clinical rotations are in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine/Primary Care, Internal Medicine, Behavioral Medicine/Psychiatry, Surgery, Pediatrics, Women's Health, along with one elective.

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

Upon Completion of the program, the student will achieve the following:

Knowledge for Practice; Interpersonal and Communication Skills; Person-centered Care

Learning Outcome 1: Integrate critical thinking skills with evidence-based medical knowledge and patient care to provide entry level primary health care services for a diverse population in a variety of settings. 

1A: Understand basic scientific principles of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology necessary to practice medicine as a physician assistant. 

1B: Assess the health status of individuals of all ages by obtaining a history and physical examination, recommending, and interpreting appropriate diagnostic studies, diagnosing, formulating appropriate differential diagnoses, and developing a management plan for primary care conditions. 

1C: Apply principles of health promotion and disease prevention to provide primary health care across the lifespan. 

1D. Recognize health disparities and social determinants of health in the delivery of patient care. 

1E: Provide counseling, patient education, interventions, and appropriate referral for promotion, maintenance, and restoration of optimal levels of health for individuals of all ages. 

1F: Refine interpersonal and communication skills and exercise cultural competence to ensure effective information exchange with patients, families, and members of the professional health care team.

Professionalism and Ethics; Interprofessional Collaboration

Learning Outcome 2:  Develop professional accountability to patients, society and the profession, and a commitment to excellence, integrity, inclusivity, equity, and ongoing professional development. 

2A: Demonstrate a high level of responsibility and ethical practice while acknowledging professional and personal limitations. 

2B: Understand the importance of the team approach to health care and work closely with other health care professionals to develop trusting relationships and strong medical practice ethic. 

2C. Recognize the importance of provider wellness and implement strategies to mitigate and prevent stress and burnout. 

Practice-Based Learning and Quality Improvement

Learning Outcome 3:  Engage in critical analysis of practice experience, medical literature, and informational resources for the enhancement of patient care outcomes and self-improvement.  

3A: Gain a basic understanding of research methods, statistical analysis, and medical literature to improve comprehension of peer-reviewed studies the application of evidence-based information into clinical practice.  

3B: Engage in self-reflective practice to identify opportunities for growth and develop a tailored self-directed learning and professional development plan. 

3C: Incorporate constructive feedback in all professional endeavors.  

Society and Population Health

Learning Outcome 4:  Gain an understanding of the role of physician assistants to serve the societal, organizational, and economic environments as patient care advocates and role models for future physician assistant students and members of the health care team. 

4A: Maintain awareness of and responsiveness to legal and ethical issues, equity and inclusion, patient safety and the larger system of health care to provide optimal value to patient care. 

4B: Advance professional role identity and accountability as a primary care provider developing leadership skills, removing barriers to health, and responsibility to serve as physician assistant mentors within the profession. 


The Midwestern University Physician Assistant Program-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. We value a culture of inclusion where students, staff and faculty are honored, respected, and engaged. 

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, team-based practice, and service within the healthcare community, 3) to facilitate critical-thinking skills and evidence-based practices, 4) to mentor students and promote professionalism, equity, and inclusion, and 5) to demonstrate a genuine commitment to program excellence through a process of continuous self-assessment and curricular improvements.

These goals are met 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 (98%, 100%, 97%, 98%, and 98%, respectively). This is compared to the national average of 95%. 100% of new graduate respondents (Class of 2020) reported full-time employment. This is above the national average of 42% of newly certified PAs who accepted a clinical position (NCCPA 2020 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, team-based education via a university-wide, interdisciplinary course involving most first-year students that develops teamwork and collaboration between the professions via didactic presentations, small group discussions, and activities. 3) Faculty encourage and model service to the profession and to our community. This is evident by 20% of alumni are currently participating in the training of a MWU PA student as a preceptor; PA faculty involvement with state and national organizations (ASAPA, PAEA, AAPA, etc.); Additionally, 20% of 2020 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. 
  4. Faculty encourage, model, and assess professionalism, equity, and inclusion. 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 the program has implemented a code of professional conduct and dress code. The course also includes lecture-based discussion and a reflective essay related to cultural competence. The Professional Development year-long series includes new sessions on disparities in health care with case-based application. Upon matriculation, every student in the program is assigned a PA faculty mentor who monitors the student's professional and academic 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 receptivity 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.

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 program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at:

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. 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).
  4. Completion of prerequisite courses prior to matriculation.
  5. Applicants must determine which prerequisites are missing and which courses must be taken to fulfill any outstanding prerequisites.
  6. Completion of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university before matriculation.
  7. "Motivation for and commitment to health care as demonstrated by paid direct patient care hours, volunteer, work, shadowing, or other life experiences."
  8. Demonstration of service and leadership through community service or extracurricular activities.
  9. Oral and written communication skills necessary to interact with patients and colleagues.
  10. Satisfactory Midwestern University criminal background check.
  11. Commitment to abide by the Midwestern University Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy.
  12. Successful completion of all required immunizations prior to matriculation.
  13. The applicant must meet the technical standards prior to matriculation.

Prerequisite Courses


Sem Hrs

Qtr Hrs

Biology with lab*, ** (must include at least 4 hours of Anatomy)



General Chemistry with lab*,**



Organic Chemistry with lab*, **



Math (college algebra or above)



English Composition



Social and Behavioral Sciences (sociology, psychology, anthropology, etc.)






Biochemistry (not required but strongly recommended)



*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.

**Courses with an online laboratory component will not meet any science prerequisite, with the exception below:

  • Many universities and colleges across the country modified their curriculum to offer online coursework secondary to the Coronavirus Disease-2019 pandemic.  The PA Program policy states that courses with an online laboratory component will not meet any biology or chemistry prerequisite.  This policy has been amended to accept prerequisite coursework with a laboratory component completed during Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Summer 2021, Fall 2021 and Spring 2022, which was only offered online.
  • In these circumstances, MWU may request appropriate  documentation to verify that the institution was not offering in-person laboratory components for prerequisite courses the applicant completed during the above period.


Growth Rate for Jobs

Pass Rate on PANCE

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
  • Successful completion of prerequisite coursework from regionally accredited colleges or universities
  • Healthcare experience strongly preferred

Class of 2024 Profiles

  • Applicants: 1497
  • Matriculated: 90
  • Female: 78%
  • Male: 22%
  • Mean Age: 25
  • Mean Science GPA: 3.61
  • Mean Overall GPA: 3.70
  • Mean GRE percentiles
    • Quantitative 56
    • Verbal 68
    • Analytical 73
    • Analytical Writing 4.4
  • 88% had a total GPA above 3.5
  • Top Home States: Arizona (30%), California, Colorado, Utah

Attrition and Graduation Rates

Please click the following link for information pertaining to the Program's attrition and graduation rates: ARC-PA Student Attrition Template.

National Certifying Exam (PANCE) Pass Rate 5-Year Average (2018-2022)

NCCPA Pass Rate Summary Report ››

  • 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 95%)

Employment Status

Graduates from the Class of 2020 who responded to the graduate survey (23% response rate) reported they were employed within 2.5 months of graduation; 52% found their first clinical position prior to graduation.


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