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 will offer two pathways to obtain a Master of Medical Science in Physician Associate Studies: a Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track and a traditional post-baccalaureate program. The Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track is a fast-paced course of study which allows focused students to obtain both a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Master of Medical Science degree within five years. The start of this program is contingent on the ARC-PA accreditation status being granted; the anticipated start date for the program’s first cohort is the fall of 2024. At this time, the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track is only available for first-year students. We invite transfer students to complete another major and apply for the Master of Medical Science in Physician Associate Studies after completion of their baccalaureate degree.
 

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.

Getting Started

Where You Can Get A Degree

The Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track will be available at the following Alvernia University campus:

Program Admissions

Alvernia's Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track is a fast-paced course of study which allows focused students to obtain both a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology and a Master of Medical Science in Physician Associate Studies degree within five years. Students will first complete three years of undergraduate coursework towards their Biology degree and then enter the physician associate program if all assured criteria are met. The physician associate program is twenty four months in length and spans six semesters, including two summer semesters, beginning in August (fall semester) of the fourth year of undergraduate study for students on the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track. The first three semesters will consist of didactic phase instruction, and the last three semesters will consist of clinical phase instruction. The curriculum is based on the most recent ARC-PA standards and NCCPA PANCE blueprint and aligns with the University and Program’s mission and goals.

Admission Requirements: Step One

  • Decisions regarding admission into the biology portion of the program will be made by the Office of Admissions in accordance with the University undergraduate admissions policies. The Physician Associate Program Director will be consulted as needed.
  • Admission into the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track will be available to students who meet the criteria of 3.5 high school GPA. This is a hard cut-off and there will be no rounding. The SAT and/or ACT is optional with a desired score of 1170 and/or 24, respectively, to be considered competitive.
  • All students must take a math competency examination with results indicating a proficiency level for pre-calculus or higher. Those students who are required to take pre-calculus must do so during the summer semester prior to the fall of their freshman year.
  • AP credit will be accepted with a score of 4 or higher for Biology and Chemistry courses.
  • AP credit will be accepted with a score of 3 or higher for all other non-science courses.
  • AP credit for Statistics will not satisfy the biology degree requirement for Statistics (MAT 209). All students on the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track must take Statistics (MAT 209).
  • AP credit for Statistics may be applied to overall credit requirements for degree conferral.
  • AP credit for Statistics will not satisfy the biology degree requirement for Statistics Lab (MAT 220). All students on the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track must take Statistics Lab (MAT 220).
  • All students on the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track who use AP credit to satisfy a Biology or Chemistry course must take a higher-level course in the same content area of Biology or Chemistry.
  • All students on the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track who use AP credit to satisfy non-science course may pursue academic enhancement with any course of their choice.
  • Transfer credit will be accepted with a score of 3.0 or higher for Biology and Chemistry courses.
  • Transfer credit will be accepted with a score of 3.0 or higher for all other non-science courses.
  • Transfer credit for Statistics will not satisfy the biology degree requirement for Statistics (MAT 209). All students on the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track must take Statistics (MAT 209).
  • Transfer credit for Statistics may be applied to overall credit requirements for degree conferral.
  • Transfer credit for Statistics will not satisfy the biology degree requirement for Statistics Lab (MAT 220). All students on the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track must take Statistics Lab (MAT 220).
  • All students on the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track who use Transfer credit to satisfy a Biology or Chemistry course must take a higher-level course in the same content area.
  • All students on the Bio-PA(3+2) accelerated track who use Transfer credit to satisfy non-science course may pursue academic enhancement with any course of their choice.
  • Acceptance into the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track is conditional pending verification of final high school transcripts. Upon timely completion of ALL admission criteria, applicants will be offered admission into the accelerated program and a conditional guaranteed admission into the graduate PA program as determined by each student’s ability to meet all PA program admission criteria for the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track. Students within the accelerated (3+2) format will follow a modified curricular plan in biology labeled “Bio-PA”. For more information about the Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track contact us at admissions@alvernia.edu.
     

Admission Requirements: Step Two

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


Academic criteria

  • Courses must be taken in the order in which they are listed in the proposed curriculum
  • No less than “C” on any science or prerequisite course
  • Minimum overall cumulative and science and prerequisite GPA of 3.4 for assured admission
  • AP credits will not be accepted for prerequisite courses


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. Any hours credited as part of education or training will not count. Direct patient care hours may be paid or volunteer. Please refer to our list of acceptable direct patient care hours for guidance.


Interviews

  • No Interview required but there will be a required accepted students’ day on campus.


CASPer


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 will be 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 for Admission

The technical standards for the Alvernia University Physician Associate Program have been established to ensure that candidates have the ability to demonstrate academic mastery, competence when performing clinical skills, and the ability to communicate clinical information. Those standards can be read here.

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 sfs@alvernia.edu.

Request More Information
Loading...
Learn More About the Program
Program Director Renee Langstaff and Medical Director Ankit Shah discuss Alvernia's Physician Associate Program in this video.


Program Overview

Mission Statement

Guided by our Franciscan foundation, the Alvernia University Physician Associate Program is committed to working collaboratively with the community and students to foster and support their development as Physician Associates who practice with moral courage and will provide sensitive, compassionate, ethical, professional, proficient, and person-centered care.

Curriculum Summary

The Master of Medical Science in Physician Associate Studies is 24 months in length and spans 6 semesters, including two summer semesters, beginning in August (fall semester) of the fourth year of undergraduate study for students on the Bio-PA 3+2 accelerated track. The first 3 semesters will consist of didactic phase instruction, and the last 3 semesters will consist of clinical phase instruction. The curriculum is based on the most recent ARC-PA standards and NCCPA PANCE blueprint and aligns with the University and Program’s mission and goals.


The curriculum will include basic and clinical sciences, including an intensive anatomy course utilizing Anatomage tables. The second 12 months will consist of the clinical phase, during which students will participate in supervised clinical practice experiences which will allow them to meet program defined learning outcomes for the following:

  • Family Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Reproductive Health
  • Behavioral and Mental Health
  • Elective


Supervised clinical practice experiences will occur in both the inpatient and outpatient settings as well as the emergency department and operating room.

Solicitation of Clinical Sites & Preceptor Policy (A3.03) 

A3.03 The program must define, publish, and make readily available and consistently apply a policy for prospective and enrolled students that they must not be required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors.


Clinical rotation placement for each student is the responsibility of the PA program, and the program makes all decisions regarding student clinical placement. The Alvernia University PA program recruits, develops, maintains, and determines student placements for all supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs/rotations). Coordinating SCPEs/rotations by the program’s faculty involves identifying, contacting, and evaluating clinical sites and preceptors for suitability and student safety as a required (core) or elective rotation experience. Additionally, the program orients clinical preceptors to the goals, expectations, and outcomes of the specific rotation.


Students may suggest or provide information regarding potential clinical sites or preceptors to the program’s faculty, but no student will be required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors. Any clinical site or preceptor recommended to the program by a student must be reviewed, evaluated, and approved for educational suitability and student safety by the program.


Students that want to submit a suggestion for a potential clinical site or preceptor must complete a "Student SCPE Request Consideration” form. Completion of the form does not guarantee placement.

Bio Curriculum

Summer MOD 6 prior to Freshman Fall

  • MAT 131 (if needed): 3 credits

    
Semester 1: 15 credits, 6 SEARCH credits

  • Core (COM 101 Recommended): 3 credits
  • SHR 101: 3 credits
  • BIO 103: Principles of Biology I w/ Lab: 4 credits
  • CHE 104: General Chemistry I: 3 credits
  • CHE 110: General Chemistry Lab I: 1 credit
  • CHE 107: Laboratory Safety: 1 credit


Semester 2: 18 credits, 6 SEARCH credits    

  • PHI 105/THE 105: 3 credits
  • PSY 101 (core): 3 credits
  • BIO 104: Principles of Biology II w/ Lab: 4 credits
  • CHE 105: General Chemistry II: 3 credits
  • CHE 111: General Chemistry Lab II: 1 credit
  • MAT 230 Calculus I: 4 credits


Semester 3: 18 credits, 6 SEARCH credits    

  • PHI 105/THE 105: 3 credits
  • CORE: 3 credits
  • CHE 201: Organic Chemistry I: 3 credits
  • CHE 210: Organic Chemistry Lab I: 1 credit
  • MAT 209: Probability and Statistics: 3 credits
  • MAT 220: Math/Statistics Computer Lab: 1 credit
  • BIO 107 Human Anatomy & Physiology I: 3 credits
  • BIO 117 Human Anatomy & Physiology I Lab: 1 credit
     

Semester 4: 18 credits, 6 SEARCH credits    

  • CORE: 3 credits
  • CORE: 3 credits
  • CHE 202: Organic Chemistry II: 3 credits
  • CHE 211: Organic Chemistry Lab II: 1 credit
  • BIO 221: General Microbiology w/ lab: 4 credits
  • BIO 108 Human Anatomy & Physiology II: 3 credits
  • BIO 118 Human Anatomy & Physiology II Lab: 1 credit
     

Semester 5: 18 credits, 6 SEARCH credits

  • CORE (Diversity): 3 credits
  • CORE: 3 credits
  • BIO 303: Genetics w/ Lab: 4 credits
  • BIO 320: Ecology: 4 credits
  • PHY 200: Physics I w/ Lab: 4 credits
     

Semester 6: 17 credits, 9 SEARCH credits

  • CORE: 3 credits
  • CORE: 3 credits
  • CORE: 3 credits
  • BIO 304: Cell Biology: 3 credits
  • BIO 311: Cell Biology Lab: 1 credit
  • PHY 201: Physics II w/ Lab: 4 credits
PA Curriculum

Didactic Phase: Fall Semester (19 credits)

  • PA 505: Fundamentals of Disease States: 5 credits
  • PA 510: Professional Practice I: 2 credits
  • PA 515: Professional Practice II: 1 credit
  • PA 520: Fundamentals of Dermatology: 4 credits
  • PA 525: Fundamentals of Hematology: 3 credits
  • PA 530: Fundamentals of Neurology: 4 credits


Didactic Phase: Spring Semester (23 credits)

  • PA 535: Fundamentals of Eyes, Ears, Nose, Mouth, Neck and Throat: 4 credits
  • PA 540: Fundamentals of Pulmonology: 5 credits
  • PA 545: Fundamentals of the Cardiovascular System: 5 credits
  • PA 550: Fundamentals of Gastroenterology and Nutrition: 4 credits
  • PA 555: Fundamentals of Endocrinology: 3 credits
  • PA 560: Professional Practice III: 2 credits


Didactic Phase: Summer Semester (19 credits)

  • PA 565: Fundamentals of Nephrology: 3 credits
  • PA 570: Fundamentals of the Genitourinary System: 3 credits
  • PA 575: Fundamentals of Reproductive Health: 4 credits
  • PA 580: Fundamentals of Behavioral & Mental Health: 4 credits
  • PA 585: Fundamentals of the Musculoskeletal System: 3 credits
  • PA 595: Professional Practice IV: 2 credits


Clinical Phase: Fall Semester (14 credits)

  • PA 605: Behavioral & Mental Health Rotation: 4 credits
  • PA 610: Emergency Medicine Rotation: 4 credits
  • PA 615: Family Medicine Rotation: 4 credits
  • PA 620: Professional Practice V: 1 credit
  • PA 625: Ethics and Moral Leadership I: 1 credit


Clinical Phase: Spring Semester (14 credits)

  • PA 630: Pediatric Rotation: 4 credits
  • PA 635: Reproductive Health Rotation: 4 credits
  • PA 640: Surgery Rotation: 4 credits
  • PA 645: Professional Practice VI: 1 credit
  • PA 650: Ethics and Moral Leadership II: 1 credit


Clinical Phase: Summer Semester (11 credits)

  • PA 655: Internal Medicine Rotation: 4 credits
  • PA 660: Elective Rotation: 4 credits
  • PA 665: Professional Practice VII: 2 credits
  • PA 670: Ethics and Moral Leadership III: 1 credit

 

TOTAL PA CREDITS: 100

Experiential Learning Opportunities
  • Utilization of the university’s state-of-the-art facilities, including Anatomage virtual dissection tables
  • Standardized patients for assessment
  • Participation in 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 associates 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


Get To Know Your Faculty/Staff

For more information about Alvernia’s Master of Medical Science in Physician Associate Studies Bio-PA (3+2) accelerated track, contact the Admissions Office at 610-796-8269 or admissions@alvernia.edu. Or reach out directly to the program at 610-685-3253 or physicianassociate@alvernia.edu.

Joy Henderson 2023

Joy Henderson, MMS, PA-C

Director of Curriculum Innovation and Program Assessment

610-685-3253
  • Faculty
Stephanie Pillai 2023

Stephanie Pillai, MPAS, PA-C

Director of Outreach and Experiential Learning

610-685-3253
  • Faculty
Alvernia grey logo

Sarah Saget

Administrative Assistant

  • Staff