A Masters in Physician Assistant is the perfect way for students to earn a rewarding degree that allows them to interact in the medical field and with patients every day. Successful graduates often can work alongside a medical doctor helping to assist patients, perform diagnosis, assist during surgery, or partake in clinical research studies. Further, a Masters in Physician Assistant program allows graduates to help and contribute to underserved communities around the world, aiding and assisting those in need of medical attention.
What is A Masters in Physician Assistant Program?
A Masters in a Physician Assistant Program is typically a Master of Science degree. The program usually consists of two parts, one part being a theoretical study, while the second part includes clinical practice. This gives students the medical knowledge and experience necessary to help medical doctors and interact with patients of their own. While a PA is not able to perform the same duties and functions as a medical doctor, they are able to assist in a number of medical capacities. PAs can help diagnose disease, help patients with disease prevention, assist in surgery, perform clinical research studies, and help serve members of the community.
What Are the Benefits?
As a PA you will have a thorough understanding of the medical world allowing you to gain a general understanding of medical principles as well as create a specialization. Many PAs go on to perform a surgery residency, allowing them to assist a medical doctor through complicated surgeries. PAs often have a better work-life balance compared to medical doctors and are able to work in a number of different offices and settings. Plus, with each PA program lasting about two years, the education required to work in the medical field is much shorter compared to a traditional medical doctor.
What is the Outlook and Salary?
Physician Assistants are always in high demand, and the outlook for this career continues to grow. In the past year, the demand for Physician Assistants grew by nearly 38% making this one of the most in demand positions. PAs can work in a number of different medical settings, including hospitals and local medical practices. This is a lucrative position with the average salary around $106,000 per year.
The Best Masters in Physician Assistant Programs
Earning your degree to become a PA takes dedication, hard work, and perseverance. Choosing the right school to perform your studies is not an easy decision to make and can easily become overwhelming. Luckily, our team has put together a list of the best Masters in Physician Assistant programs available around the country. Listed below, you will see our top 15 programs available for you to start your rewarding and exciting career as a PA.
Best 15 Masters in Physician Assistant Programs
1. Northeastern University – Boston, Massachusetts (26 Points)
Since 1971 Northeastern University has offered a comprehensive program designed for students wishing to earn a master’s degree as a Physician Assistant. This program is perfect for students who wish to work in the medical field alongside an attending doctor. This program will allow students to run and interpret testing and diagnostics, as well as educate patients on disease management and mitigation. Graduating students have the opportunity to work in nursing homes, physician offices, hospitals, or emergency rooms.
The program offered from Northeastern University gives students the opportunity to enroll in a dual master’s program. Students can earn a dual master’s degree in PA/MPH and PA/Health Informatics (HI). It is important to remember that the ability for a PA to practice will change depending on individual state regulations.
- Tuition: $1,580 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Official Transcripts (minimum 3.0 GPA), Hands on Experience, Minimum Science Course Requirements Undergraduate Level, Criminal Background Check
2. Baylor School of Medicine – Houston, Texas (24 Points)
As one of the top ranked schools for Medicine, Baylor University’s School of Medicine offers a competitive program for students wishing to earn their Masters in Physician Assistant studies. This program is augmented by the state-of-the-art biomedical facility located on campus. Students will have the opportunity to work with other disciplines at the university including nursing and social practice students.
The program offered at Baylor instills a service mindset in students with regular opportunities available to help serve all members of the Houston community.
- Tuition: $1,456 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Bachelor Degree and Transcripts with Minimum 3.2 GPA, GRE Scores, Course Specific Requirements, Healthcare Experience
2. University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin (24 Points)
Supported by the most up to date technology, the University of Wisconsin offers a competitive program for students wishing to earn a Masters in Physician Assistant degree. This school offers opportunities for a wide demographic, but focuses on students stemming from rural, underserved, and urban communities. In this way, the University of Wisconsin can offer medical care and practice to long underserved communities.
Not only does the school have state of the art technology for students to learn and practice on, but they have a dedicated team of faculty and staff members. Boasting a small admittance rate, students will be sure to get one-on-one attention and practice with trained professionals.
- Tuition: $1,122 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Bachelor Degree and Transcripts with Minimum 3.0 GPA, Required Undergraduate Coursework, Minimum 1,000 Hours Hands on Healthcare Practice
4. Stanford University – Stanford, California (22 Points)
The PA Program offered at Stanford University offers students the opportunity to earn a high demand degree from a prestigious school. This program consists of 9 quarters giving students the chance to enroll in a wide variety of courses as they pertain to medical study. Students who earn a PA from Stanford can pursue several different career outlets including clinical research and study, clinical practice, community health, or medical education.
Stanford University offers what they call a “flipped classroom”. This course of study allows lectures to be viewed remotely, in an online format. This dedicates traditional classroom time to collaborative work and study with fellow students and faculty members. In this way, Stanford hopes to redefine traditional education focusing more on hands-on practice.
- Tuition: $18,105 per quarter
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Bachelor Degree, CASPer, GRE, MCAT, or PA-CAT Scores, Letters of Recommendation, Essay
4. Emory University – Atlanta, Georgia (22 Points)
Emory University, based out of Atlanta, Georgia offers one of the top PA programs for students. For those interested in earning a Masters in Physician Assistant studies, the school offers several different paths. Students may enroll in a Masters in Physician Assistant degree, or can complete a dual degree coupling their Physician Assistant degree with Masters of Public Health Degree.
The goal of the program is to educate students allowing them to pursue a medical degree and help areas in the community that are continuously underserved. The program is intended to help community outreach and provide much needed medical care and education to both urban and rural areas of the country. The program strives to produce medical leaders who will help educate and care for the community.
- Tuition: $1,304 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Undergraduate Degree with Minimum 3.0 GPA, GRE Scores, Required Undergraduate Coursework, Minimum 2,000 hours Patient Care Experience, CASPA, 2 Letters of Recommendation
6. University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida (17 Points)
The PA Program offered at the University of Florida is designed to set students up for success as a practicing Physician Assistant. Over 98% of graduating students successfully pass their board examinations allowing them to work with patients in a medical or research capacity. Students will have the opportunity to not only attend one of the best schools to become a Physician Assistant but will have ongoing success in a medical career.
Students enrolled at the University of Florida also can take additional courses or seminars in related medical practices. The school offers a surgical residency program for interested PAs and offers ongoing practice and theoretical coursework for students interested in specialized coursework.
- Tuition: $1,702 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Undergraduate Degree with Minimum 3.0 GPA, GRE Test Scores, Minimum 2,000 hours Hands on Experience, Minimum coursework in Undergraduate Degree Required
7. Cornell University – Ithaca, New York (16 Points)
The Physician Assistant program offered at Cornell University takes students 26 months to complete. The study is divided into two sections; the first is pre-clinical study while the second half is clinical practice. Students will have the ability to choose from a mix of core coursework, as well as elective study. The program has had a strong reputation focusing on surgical practice, but the goal of the program is to make students well rounded and prepared Physician Assistants.
This program requires students to successfully complete both the pre-clinical and clinical phase of study, as well as complete a master’s thesis with an oral defense. Students who graduate will be prepared for a career in medical practice or ongoing clinical research.
- Tuition: $1,901 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Bachelor Degree with Minimum Course Work, GRE Scores, Minimum 500 Hours of Health Care Experience, Letters of Recommendation
7. University of Washington – Seattle, Washington (16 Points)
As part of the MEDEX Northwest program, the University of Washington offers a competitive program for students wishing to earn their Masters in Physician Assistant studies. This program is perfect for students who want the challenging yet rewarding career in the field of medicine. This program consists of two distinctly separate parts to the program which takes 27 months to complete. The first part of the program is the didactic training (or non-clinical), and the second part of the program is clinical practice.
While the program is geared toward preparing students to take on a career in the medical field, it is centered on providing medical support to traditionally underserved communities. Students will have elective rotations lasting for one month each where they will have the opportunity to explore several specialties and electives. The program also features a four-month practice focusing on general, primary care aspects of medical practice.
- Tuition: $790 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Pre-requisite courses in Undergraduate, Minimum 2,000 hours Health Care Practice, Minimum B- GPA in Accredited School
9. University of Iowa – Iowa City, Iowa (15 Points)
The Masters in Physician Assistant program offered at University of Iowa is unique to other programs offered throughout the country. While students are in their non-clinical, or didactic phase of study, PA students will work alongside fellow medical students. This allows students to collaborate and learn from students of all medical disciplines and practices.
The university strives to create students who are life-long learners. They continuously develop questions, studies, and dedicate their lives to ongoing medical practice and study. This program wants to create students and PAs who are equally well versed in theoretical ideas as well as hands-on practice.
- Tuition: $1,353 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Bachelor Degree with Minimum 3.0 GPA, GRE or MCAT with Minimum Score, Minimum 1,000 Hours of Direct Patient Work, Letters of Recommendation
10. Seton Hall University – South Orange, New Jersey (13 Points)
Offering a range of specialties, the Masters in Physician Assistant program offered at Seton Hall University gives students the opportunity to study and select the course of medical study that most interests them. Students can specialize in Surgery, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, or Psychiatry.
The program offered at Seton Hall University is 33 months long and offers comprehensive study for students. Education is focused on having clinical experience over theoretical practice, which can leave graduates with a great advantage over PA peers from other universities.
- Tuition: $1,350 credit hour (96 credits)
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Bachelor Degree with Minimum 3.2 GPA and Minimum Coursework, GRE Test Scores, Minimum 250 Hours of Healthcare Practice, Letters of Recommendation, Optional Interviews
11. Quinnipiac University – Hamden, Connecticut (11 Points)
Students who enroll in the Masters in Physician Assistant program at Quinnipiac University will have the opportunity to enroll in a full-time program. This program does not allow part-time study and will not accept transfer credits from other universities. The Masters in Physician Assistant can be completed as a stand-alone degree, or can be coupled with a dual degree in Health Science Studies.
Students will have the opportunity to complete this exciting curriculum in a state of the art, 325,000 square foot research and laboratory facility. This allows students the necessary theoretical, as well as practical, experience needed to become a successful Physician Assistant.
- Tuition: $2,212 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Bachelor Degree with Minimum 3.0 GPA and Minimum Course Requirements, 2,500 hours of Patient Practice
12. Butler University – Indianapolis, Indiana (10 Points)
The Masters in Physician Assistant program at Butler University requires students to take a 24 month course curriculum. This program can help set students up for a career in either surgical or general medical practices. Students will graduate with the knowledge and experience necessary to take state issued boards and exams to practice medicine in their respective state.
The program is divided into two parts consisting of a non-clinical and clinical phase. The first year of study is dedicated to a non-clinical phase, while the remaining study is focused on hands-on practice and experience. Students will always work alongside trained and certified faculty and staff when moving to the clinical phase of study.
- Tuition: $871.30 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, CASPA, Pre-Requisite Course Work, Bachelor Degree and Transcripts with 3.2 GPA Minimum, Three Letters of Recommendation
12. Wake Forest University – Winston-Salem, North Carolina (10 Points)
Wake Forest University School of Medicine offers a competitive and comprehensive PA program for students wishing to pursue a medical career in practice or research. This 24-month program with a primary focus on Inquiry-based Learning models the continuous, life-long adult education principles required of PA practice. Students who complete the PA program coursework will earn a Master of Medical Science.
In its partnerships with the Wake Forest University colleges of business and law and the graduate medical school research programs, sequential and dual degrees are offered. These options allow students to augment their clinical education with a focus on topics such as health administration and management, public policy, and research.
The core PA Program course curriculum is divided into two parts, with the first year consisting of didactic, clinical practice-based applications, and the second year of study devoted to supervised clinical experiences with direct patient care. In the clinical portion of study, students from both the Boone and Winston-Salem campuses are combined, adding expanded opportunities for peer study and cooperative work.
- Tuition: $1,779 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Letters of Reference, CASPer, Bachelor Degree with Minimum Course Requirements, Health Care Experience
14. Stony Brook University – Stony Brook, New York (9 Points)
Stony Brook University was one of the first public universities to offer physician assistant education in the country. Their 24-month program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) and students earn a Master of Science (MS) degree upon graduation. In 2018, the Stony Brook PA Program expanded to the Stony Brook Southampton campus, which has 25 PA students on the Southampton campus in addition to the 44 students on the Stony Brook location campus.
The school is working with the community of Southampton to build a new state-of-the-art Southampton Hospital on the campus which will be part of the learning environment for future PA Students. Their program emphasizes competence in primary care as the foundation of sound clinical practice and graduates use their education and training in over 60 specialties and subspecialties of medicine and surgery. Stony Brook graduates can be found working in all 50 states and internationally in rural, urban, and suburban settings.
- Full Time NYS Resident Tuition per year: $16,220 (Fall and Spring), $4,732 (1st Year Summer), $7,436 (2nd Year Summer)
- Full Time Non-NYS Resident Tuition per year: $29,980 (Fall and Spring), $8,743 (1st Year Summer), $13,739 (2nd Year Summer)
- Application Requirements: visit the application process page for detailed information
15. Drexel University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (5 Points)
The Physician Assistant program offered at Drexel University is perfect for students who wish to continue their career to practice medicine. Students will earn a Masters in Health Science with an opportunity to take board certified exams required to practice medicine following the completion of the program.
Students who go on to graduate as a practicing PA can help diagnose patients, assist in surgical procedures, conduct hospital rounds, perform certain specialized procedures, and generally work alongside a medical doctor.
- Tuition: $2,203 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Bachelor degree with minimum 3.0 GPA, Transcripts, Letters of Recommendation, Essay, Resume, Interview may be Optional
In order to create our list for the top 15 schools to earn a Masters as a Physician Assistant we created a point based ranking system. Schools and universities were graded on two metrics. The first metric was the cost per credit for tuition. Schools were assessed on a per credit basis. When schools simply listed a tuition cost for a semester, it was assumed a semester includes 12 credits. In all cases, the tuition cost for out-of-state students was used. Schools that had the lowest tuition cost per credit were given the most amount of points, and thus a more favorable ranking.
Next, schools were graded on their enrollment class size for the PA program specifically. Schools with a smaller class size are assumed to be better, offering more opportunity for students to interact with faculty and staff. Schools with the smallest enrollment size were given the most amount of points. The total points from the tuition score and the enrollment score were added together, with the most points indicating the top school in our list.
If your school has been listed as one of our top schools to earn your Masters in a Physician Assistant program we would love to hear from you. We always want to give our students the most up to date and accurate information. If your program has changed, just let us know and we would be happy to update our information.