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Degree Offered

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree

Length of Program

The program requires 28 continuous months of instruction divided into two phases.

Phase I, the Didactic Phase, consists of 13 months of basic medical sciences, pre-clinical sciences and professional studies course work. The basic medical and pre-clinical science courses introduce students to the fundamentals of scientific and clinical medicine. The professional studies courses are designed to provide understanding of professionalism, legal aspects of practice, medical ethics, practice-based learning and improvement and systems-based practice.

Phase II, the Clinical Education phase, consists of 10 months of Required clerkships and 5 months of Elective clerkships. The required clerkships are in specific areas of clinical medicine, designed to provide a broad foundation for primary care clinical practice. Elective clerkships may be selected from specialty or primary care areas.

Clerkships are scheduled after mutual collaboration and agreement between the student and the Clinical Coordinator. Assignments to clerkship sites are made after careful consideration of the individual student's educational needs, site availability and the Program's goal for clinical education. These sites are located throughout the state of Nebraska and within many other states in the U.S. Required and elective clerkships may be assigned at any of these affiliated sites. Because of the location of clinical education sites, all applicants accepted into the Program must agree to spend at least three, and up to fifteen months in clerkship sites outside the Omaha and Lincoln metropolitan areas if required to do so by the Program.

Degree Requirements

Students must receive a passing grade of “C” or better or “Pass” in all courses and maintain an overall quality grade point average of 2.50 (on a 4.0 scale) or above. Grades of less than “C” are considered as failing within the physician assistant program. Physician assistant education requires the student to demonstrate skills of observation, communication, sensory, intellectual-conceptual, integrative and qualitative abilities, and professionalism. As such, students must successfully meet all of the program’s performance standards by passing all laboratory practical examinations and clinical education experiences, in addition to successful completion of didactic work. The standing of a student in any course is determined by the instructor of the course by examinations, laboratory and clinical performance, class participation, written assignments, personal observation, and other methods of evaluation.

Certification & Licensure

Certification

PAs receive their national certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Only graduates of an accredited PA program are eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). Once a PA is certified, he/she must complete a continuous six-year cycle of continuing medical education (CME) to keep her/his certificate current. Every two years, a PA must earn and log 100 CME hours and reregister her/his certificate with the NCCPA (second and fourth years), and by the end of the tenth year, recertify by successfully completing either the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Examination (PANRE) or Pathway II study. All states require passage of the PANCE for state licensure. Forty-seven states make provisions to license new physician assistant program graduates prior to availability of PANCE results NCCPA, 770/734-4500

Licensure

Graduation from an accredited physician assistant program and passage of the national certifying exam are required for Nebraska state licensure. For information on other states, contact each state's credentialing office.

About the Profession

PAs practice medicine. PAs are medical providers licensed to diagnose and treat illness and disease.

PAs work collaboratively with physicians to provide care in a variety of settings, including physician offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. After completing an intensive training program modeled after physician education, PAs can treat patients with significant autonomy.

PAs work together with physicians as part of an integrated medical team. PAs provide almost all the clinical services that physicians provide, including making clinical decisions and providing a broad range of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and health maintenance services, including prescribing medications. The physician-PA team relationship is fundamental to the PA profession and enhances the delivery of high-quality health care.

PAs are qualified to practice by graduation from an accredited PA educational program and passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Only those passing the examination can use the title “Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C).” PAs keep up with medical advances through continuing medical education requirements.

Brief History of the PA Profession

The PA profession began in the 1960s during a period of primary care shortages. The profession’s roots are in the military. The first PA class, in 1965, was composed of Navy corpsmen who had served during the Vietnam War who wanted to use their medical knowledge and experience in civilian life.

Additional information about the profession may be obtained from:

PA Focus: http://pafocus.org/what-is-a-pa/
AAPA - American Academy of Physician Assistants: https://www.aapa.org/

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook (2019 Edition), the PA profession has the following outlook:

  • Expected to grow much faster than average for all occupations. 
  • Opportunities should be good, particularly in rural and inner-city healthcare facilities.
  • Employment to grow by 31 percent from 2018 to 2028. 
  • Scope of practice will continue to expand as States allow PAs to perform more procedures.
  • The median annual wage for physician assistants was $112,260 in May 2019.

PAs are cost-effective and productive members of the healthcare team and are employed by Physicians and institutions to provide primary care and assist with medical and surgical procedures.  

Admissions and Program Requirements

At UNMC, we value well-rounded, unique individuals and strive to create a diverse learning community. We perform a holistic review of all applications, considering both academic and non-academic experiences. Enrollment in the program is limited and competitive. The admissions committee of the program, composed of program faculty and administration, evaluates the qualifications of each applicant and makes the final selections for admission.

All interview dates provide equal opportunity for admission to the program. We do not utilize rolling admissions at UNMC; more than 85% of applicant selections will be made after all interviews are completed. Interviews are held at both the Omaha and Kearney campuses, so applicants can have the opportunity to experience our amazing facilities at either location. The campus on which an applicant interviews does not require attendance at that campus. We anticipate accepting 50 students to our Omaha campus and 16 students to our Kearney campus each year.

Admission to the Physician Assistant Program requires completion of a bachelor’s degree in any field prior to matriculation in August. Additionally, the applicant must successfully complete the following prerequisites prior to matriculation:

Required Undergraduate Prerequisites
The following course work is required. Introductory courses, survey courses, or courses intended for non-science majors will not satisfy the prerequisites. These courses may be planned or in progress during the application process. All prerequisite course work must be successfully completed with official transcript(s) submitted to the program by July 15th of the year of intended entry.

Biological Sciences
     General Biology with Lab
     Human Anatomy with Lab
     Human Physiology with Lab
     NOTE: Anatomy and Physiology may also be taken in a combined course.
     Microbiology with Lab 
     Genetics and Immunology are strongly recommended.
     UNMC offers an online immunology course, MLS 404. Taking immunology at UNMC is not a preference factor for admission. Further information about this course.
     
Chemistry
      General or Inorganic Chemistry with lab (one year sequence)
      Organic Chemistry with lab (one year sequence recommended)
      Biochemistry (lab recommended)

English and Writing
     English Composition (or other English elective)
     Writing-intensive course
     
Psychology
      General Psychology (or other psychology elective)
      Abnormal Psychology
      Life Span/Developmental Psychology
     
Mathematics
      Statistics
      Algebra is strongly recommended.
     
Medical Terminology
      Either a college/university course or certificate program is acceptable.
      UNMC offers a medical terminology course, CAHP 310, which meets this requirement. Taking medical terminology at UNMC is not a preference factor for admission.  Further information about this course.
Required course work graded Pass/Fail or credit obtained by CLEP Examination or Advanced Placement (AP) will not be accepted for any of the 50 hours.
 

Academic Criteria
1.  A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (A=4.0) is required.
2.  Grades below "C" are not accepted in transfer to the University of Nebraska (e.g., C-, D+, D, D-, F).
3.  Any repeated course grades (original and repeated) will be averaged in the CASPA GPA calculations and used accordingly in evaluation of the application.

As of 2019, UNMC will no longer require or utilize scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission to the PA program.

Get complete application details on How to Apply.

Accepted Students will be required to complete a background check and substance abuse testing prior to matriculation into the program. Depending on clinical site, additional requirements may need to be met or updated.

Application Deadline

Phase I - Academic

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredit Hours
GCBA 571 STRUCT OF HUMAN BODY 9
CIP 606 INTERMEDIATE PHYSIOLOGY 6
PHAS 620 PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROFESSIONAL ISSUES 1
PAMM 690 BIOLOGY OF DISEASE 5
 Credit Hours21
Spring
MLS 500 APPLICATION AND INTERPRETATION OF CLINICAL LABORATORY DATA 2
PHAR 507 PHARMACOLOGY 5
PHAS 630 CLINICAL SKILLS I 3
PHAS 632 COMMUNICATION IN MEDICINE I 2
PHAS 650 ADULT AND PEDIATRIC MEDICINE I 8
 Credit Hours20
Summer
PHAS 635 CLINICAL SKILLS II 3
PHAS 637 COMMUNICATION MEDICINE II 1
PHAS 645 BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE 3
PHAS 655 ADULT AND PEDIATRIC MEDICINE II 9
PHAS 670 RESEARCH APPLICATIONS IN MEDICINE 1
 Credit Hours17
Second Year
Fall
PHAS 656 ADULT AND PEDIATRIC MEDICINE III 3
PHAS 660 MEDICAL ETHICS 1
PHAS 665 SYSTEMS IN HEALTH CARE AND MANAGEMENT 1
 Credit Hours5
 Total Credit Hours63


Phase II - Clinical 

Plan of Study Grid
Second Year
FallCredit Hours
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION ((see course offerings below)) 4
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION 4
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION 4
 Credit Hours12
Spring
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION ((see course offerings below)) 4
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION 4
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION 4
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION 4
 Credit Hours16
Summer
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION ((see course offerings below)) 4
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION 4
PHAS 700 Clinical Education 4
PHAS 700 Clinical Education 4
 Credit Hours16
Third Year
Fall
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION ((see course offerings below)) 4
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION 4
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION 4
PHAS 700 CLINICAL EDUCATION 4
 Credit Hours16
 Total Credit Hours60

Phase II, The clinical education phase, consists of 10 months of Required clerkships and 5 months of Elective clerkships. The required clerkships are in specific areas of clinical medicine, designed to provide a broad foundation for primary care clinical practice. Elective clerkships will be selected from specialty and primary care areas.

Required Clerkships

PHAS 702PSYCHIATRY CLERKSHIP4
PHAS 703INTERNAL MEDICINE CLERKSHIP4
PHAS 704PEDIATRIC CLERKSHIP4
PHAS 705WOMAN'S HEALTH CLERKSHIP4
PHAS 706SURGERY CLERKSHIP4
PHAS 707AFAMILY MEDICINE A CLERKSHIP4
PHAS 707BFAMILY MEDICINE B CLERKSHIP4
PHAS 707CPRIMARY CARE CLERKSHIP4
PHAS 708EMERGENCY MEDICINE CLERKSHIP4

 Elective Clerkships

PHAS 709GERIATRIC CLERKSHIP4
PHAS 721CARDIOLOGY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 722ENDOCRINOLOGY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 723GASTROENTEROLOGY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 724INFECTIOUS DISEASE ELECTIVE4
PHAS 725NEPHROLOGY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 726ONCOLOGY / HEMATOLOGY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 727PULMONARY MEDICINE ELECTIVE4
PHAS 728RHEUMATOLOGY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 729CARDIOVASCULAR SURGERY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 733ORTHOPEDIC SPORTS MEDICINE ELECTIVE4
PHAS 734SURGERY SUBSPECIALTY CLERKSHIP4
PHAS 735ORTHOPEDIC SPINE SURGERY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 739ALLERGY/IMMUNOLOGY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 740PAIN MANAGEMENT ELECTIVE CLERKSHIP4
PHAS 741COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE ELECTIVE4
PHAS 743INFERTILITY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 745NEONATAL ELECTIVE4
PHAS 746NEUROLOGY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 751REHABILITATION ELECTIVE4
PHAS 754RADIOLOGY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 731NEUROSURGERY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 732ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 736PLASTIC SURGERY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 737UROLOGY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 742DERMATOLOGY ELECTIVE4
PHAS 744INTERNATIONAL STUDIES ELECTIVE4
PHAS 749OTOLARYNGOLOGY ELECTIVE4

Total Program Semester  Hours - 123 

Total Number of Months - 28