Help to transform health and wellness

Physician associates are licensed clinicians who practice medicine in every specialty and setting. Trusted, rigorously educated and trained healthcare professionals, PAs are dedicated to expanding access to care and transforming health and wellness through patient-centered, team-based medical practice.

Alvernia University’s traditional post-baccalaureate Master of Medical Science in Physician Associate Studies program is designed for students who have obtained a baccalaureate degree in a related healthcare science field. The start of this program in contingent on the ARC-PA accreditation status being granted; the anticipated start date for the program’s first cohort is the fall of 2024.

Getting Started

Where You Can Get A Degree

The post-baccalaureate Master of Medical Science in Physician Associate Studies program is available at the following Alvernia University campus:

Program Requirements

CASPA - All students must apply to the Physician Associate Program via CASPA.

Bachelor’s Degree - Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree awarded from a regionally accredited institution at the time of matriculation.

Grade Point Average (GPAs) -Minimum overall cumulative GPA of 2.8 and minimum Science and Prerequisite GPA of 3.0

Prerequisite Courses

  • No less than “C” in any prerequisite course.
  • Applicants may have two outstanding prerequisites at the time of CASPA application submission, but these must be completed and verified prior to matriculation.
  • All prerequisite courses must be completed within 10 years of CASPA application submission.
  • Pass/Fail grades for prerequisite courses will not be accepted.


  • Anatomy or A&P I - One course, or a minimum of 3 semester hours. Lab is required.
  • Physiology or A&P II - One course, or a minimum of 3 semester hours. Lab is required.
  • General Chemistry - Two courses, or a minimum of 6 semester hours. Lab is required.
  • General Biology - Two courses, or a minimum of 6 semester hours. Lab is required.
  • Statistics - One course, or a minimum of 3 semester hours.
  • Microbiology - One course, or a minimum of 3 semester hours. Lab is required.
  • Psychology - One course, or a minimum of 3 semester hours.
  • Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry - One course, or a minimum of 3 semester hours. Lab is required.

Academic Rigor -The program will review all transcripts submitted by each applicant for evidence of academic rigor in each semester of study. Completing more than one STEM class per semester in one or more semesters will strengthen the application.

GRE - All students must take the GRE examination.

Direct Patient Care Hours - The Program defines direct patient care hours as any experience where the applicant provides hands-on patient care and is exposed to patient care delivery and/or the provider-patient relationship. We require a minimum of 200 direct patient care hours with at least 8 hours direct interaction with a PA. Additional hours will strengthen the application. Any hours credited as part of
education or training will not count. Direct patient care hours may be paid or volunteer.

Community Service - Evidence of community service and a commitment to service is not required but recommended. Evidence of community service will strengthen the application based on the number of community service hours.

Leadership - Evidence of leadership is not required but recommended. Evidence of leadership roles will strengthen the application based on the number of leadership roles.

Interviews - No Interview is required but there will be an optional accepted students’ day on campus.

CASPER - All applicants will be required to complete the CASPER assessment, which is an online, open-response situational competency test. Individual results will be reviewed and considered in the admission decision.

Custom Essay - All applicants will be required to answer three short-answer essay questions within the CASPA portal that are specific to the Alvernia University PA program.

Letters of Recommendation - Three letters of recommendation are required, including at least one from a healthcare professional and one from a professor/instructor.

Criminal Background Check - All applicants must pass a criminal background check prior to matriculation.

Technical Standards - All applicants must meet the program’s officially published technical standards at the time of matriculation and continue to meet them while enrolled in the program.

International Students - We will not enroll applicants who have graduated from foreign or domestic medical institutions alone.  International applicants must have completed at least one year of study in a US or English-Speaking Institution and fulfill our minimum requirements for the English proficiency examination. Applicants who have completed course work outside of the US, Canada, UK,  Ireland, Australia, South Africa, or any other English-Speaking country must take the TOEFL English proficiency examination and achieve a minimum score of 100.

Special Considerations

  • Alvernia University Alumni
  • Local applicants from the Pennsylvania counties of Berks, Chester, Montgomery, Lebanon, Schuylkill, and Lehigh
  • All past and current military experience, including veteran, active duty, and reserve status
  • Applicants who speak Spanish, or any other language in addition to English, including sign language.
Application Instructions
Financing Your Education

There are options to assist in financing your education and making the tuition affordable. Visit our financial aid page for a detailed overview of the process, including a link to complete the FAFSA application, as well as more information about the tuition payment plan and the tuition deferment program we offer. Alvernia’s Title IV code for the FAFSA is 003233. The Office of Student Financial Services is available to help with any questions you may have. Call 610-796-8201 or email

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Physician Associate
Why Alvernia?
• A nationally ranked comprehensive regional university, Alvernia offers doctoral, master's, and post-baccalaureate programs to advance your career or prepare you for a new one.
• Flexible scheduling with evening classes and in-person, hybrid and online formats meet the needs of the busy adult learner.
• Programs are offered at a growing number of convenient locations in Reading, Pottsville, and Philadelphia.
• Alvernia is the ideal choice for graduate students because of a growing number of affiliation agreements with other local institutions and industry partners and dedicated advisors to help through every step of the educational journey.

Program Overview


The curriculum for the program is under development.

Experiential Learning Opportunities
  • Utilization of the university’s state-of-the-art facilities, including Anatomage Virtual Dissection tables
  • Standardized patients for formative assessment
  • Required community service
  • Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS)
Accreditation Statements
  • The Alvernia University Physician Associate Program has applied for Accreditation - Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The Alvernia University Physician Associate Program anticipates matriculating its first class in August, 2024, pending achieving Accreditation - Provisional status at the March 2024 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. The Alvernia University Physician Associate Program will not commence if provisional accreditation status is not formally achieved. In addition, any student enrolled in the 3+2 program will be offered the opportunity to complete their bachelor's degree including the option of earning a biology degree in year four via a modified curriculum. Any deposits collected from admitted students will be refunded by the University should provisional accreditation status not be obtained from the ARC-PA.
  • Alvernia is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Career Outlook

The PA profession is one of the fastest growing in the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job growth rate for 2021-2031 is 28%, which is much higher than the average growth rate of 5% for all professions. The median annual wage for physician assistants was $121,530 in 2021. Obtaining a Master of Medical Science in Physician Associate Studies will allow graduates to:

  • Take medical histories
  • Conduct physical exams
  • Diagnose and treat illness
  • Order and interpret tests
  • Develop treatment plans
  • Prescribe medication
  • Counsel on preventive care
  • Perform procedures
  • Assist in surgery
  • Make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes
  • Do clinical research
Professional Title Change

On May 24, 2021, the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) House of Delegates passed a resolution affirming “physician associate” as the official title of the PA profession.1 This title change will take time to fully implement as it involves other national PA organizations: Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), and Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA); PA programs, AAPA Constituent Organizations, as well as state and federal governments, regulators, and employers.

The purpose of the title change is to allow PAs to hold a professional title that ensures clarity about the work that they provide within the healthcare system. It does not impact a PA’s scope of practice. PAs will continue to use physician assistant as their official legal title in the professional capacity until jurisdiction governing licensure and practice has formally adopted the new title. This process may take several years but is underway. Therefore, Alvernia University has adopted the title “Physician Associate Program” as a reflection of the status of the profession.

For more information about the Physician Assistant title change investigation and final report to the AAPA House of Delegates, please refer to the AAPA website.

Learn More About the Program
Alvernia offers two pathways to obtain an MMS degree in Physician Associate Studies: a Bio-PA 3+2 program, and a traditional Post Baccalaureate program.