2020-2021 University Catalog (Fall) 
    Aug 14, 2022  
2020-2021 University Catalog (Fall) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physician Assistant (MSPA)

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The College of Science and Integrative Health offers a 7-trimester (two years and four months) full time Master of Science: Physician Assistant (MSPA) Program. Graduates of the MSPA Program are eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). The MSPA Program at SCU does not accept transfer students.

MSPA Program Mission:

SCU’s Master of Science: Physician Assistant program will prepare students to participate in integrative healthcare teams.  In today’s ever-changing healthcare system, our graduates will deliver healthcare to a diverse population with a primary care focus. 

MSPA Program Vision:

SCU’s MSPA program will develop leaders that positively impact healthcare and advance the profession.

MSPA Program Goals:

The Physician Assistant (PA) profession has successfully ranked as one of the highest rated professions in the U.S. for more than a decade. The U.S. News and World Report named the PA profession as the #1 Best Health Care Job and #3 Overall Best Job in its 2019 rankings. This popularity has translated into increased job growth, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating a 31% growth over the next decade. Since 2010, the number of PA programs has seen tremendous growth nationally, blossoming from 148 PA programs to over 250 today. The number of PA programs in the state of California has more than doubled over the last five years, with 16 programs currently available and five additional programs currently in development.


Admission to PA school is a highly competitive and rigorous process. For the 2019-2020 admissions cycle, applications exceeded 2,700 for 50 student slots in the SCU PA Program. Most applicants who apply to SCU exceed the minimal entrance requirements. All aspects of the application are important; however, the screening process weighs overall GPA, paid clinical experience hours, and types of clinical experience heavily and are all requisites to be considered for an interview. Due to the competitiveness of applications received, applicants who meet the minimum requirements to apply are not guaranteed an interview. Nationally, the average number of students admitted per admissions cycle is 44. Since SCU PA Program’s inception, the seated class has increased from 26 students to 50 students annually.


SCU’s goal is to enroll students reflective of the current demographic make-up of the U.S. SCU consistently exceeds national averages in the following areas:


  1. Diversity: to enroll students who possess a variety of clinical experiences, ages, gender, and ethnicities.
  2. Physician Assistant National Certification Examination PANCE Scores: The first-time program test-takers (pass rate) will meet the ARC-PA’s standard of 85% or better on the PANCE.
    • The first time test taking pass rate for the 2018 class was 85%
    • The first time test taking pass rate for the 2019 class was 94%
  3. Integrative Healthcare: Students will be exposed to integrative health providers during their didactic and clinical experiences.
    • 100% of all students successfully completed an Integrative Health Clinical Rotation.
  4. Clinical Competency: The program will graduate clinically competent providers as evidenced by clinical preceptor evaluations, summative evaluations, and end of rotation assessments.
    • 100% of all students successfully completed:
      1. Their clinical rotations;
      2. The summative evaluation process which consists of a 360 PANCE like examination, evaluation of professionalism, and an Objective Structured Clinical Examination;
      3. Their end of rotation examinations for the program’s core clinical assignments.

· SCU MSPA Program met all the stated Goals.


The Master of Science: Physician Assistant (MSPA) Program at SCU has been granted Accreditation - Provisional status by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), 12000 Findley Road, Ste. 275 Johns Creek, GA 30097. Phone: (770) 476-1224.



Applications are processed online through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA): https://caspa.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login

Currently, the fee to apply to one Physician Assistant school through CASPA. CASPA charges $179 for the first program you apply to and $55 for each additional program. Fees associated with conditional acceptance are the responsibility of the student and include the following:

  • Nonrefundable tuition deposit: $1,000 (applied against tuition)
  • EXXAT: $25 each year for APPROVE process

               $80 for clinical tracking fee (paid before clinical year begins)


  • Background check and Drug screen: (at admission and before clinical year) through Universal
  • Drug screen: $28
  • Background: $72

Fees are subject to change

CASPA application deadline: January 15, 2021 for the matriculating class of Fall 2021.

The CASPA application requires:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts


All prerequisite courses must be completed by January 15, 2021 to be eligible for the September 2021 enrollment date.

I. A U.S. Bachelor’s Degree from a Regionally Accredited College or University

NOTE: A regional accredited college or university is an institution that holds active accreditation recognized by the Department of Education from one of these accreditation agencies:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

If you hold an international degree and are applying to our program, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. institution to be eligible for admission.

II. Prerequisite College Courses in Core Sciences

The following courses must have been completed within 7 years of the current admissions cycle.

  • Chemistry (8 units) must include lab credits, acceptable chemistry courses include: General, Organic, Inorganic, Biochemistry
  • Human Anatomy (4 units) must include lab, must be Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology (4 units) must include lab, must be Human Physiology
  • Microbiology (4 units) must include lab

III. Prerequisite General College Courses

  • Mathematics, algebra or higher (2 units)
  • Psychology (3 units)
  • English Composition (3 units)
  • Sociology or Cultural Anthropology (3 units)
  • Statistics, in addition to mathematics requirement, must be within math, social sciences, or health sciences departments (3 units)
  • Medical Terminology (1 unit)

IV. Recommended Courses

  • Conversational Spanish

Healthcare Experience

2,000 paid hours of clinical experience is required

Clinical experience may include (but not limited to):

  • Military medic or corpsman
  • Chiropractic
  • Naturopathic Medicine
  • Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • Back Office Medical Assistant (MA)
  • Nurse Assistant
  • EMT (patient care hours only)
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse
  • Paramedic


  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Physical Therapy Aide
  • Radiologic Technologist
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Registered Nurse

Qualifying duties during clinical experiences must consist of direct patient contact.

Other Requirements

  • Overall GPA: 3.0 or above is required
  • Core science prerequisite GPA: 3.0 or above is required
  • Entrance Exam: GRE or MCAT is not required
  • International Students: TOEFL is required
  • TOEFL Scores:
  • Internet-based: 100 or above (this is divided into the following categories: Listening/Reading/Writing/Speaking)
  • Paper-based: 500 or above
  • Evaluations: Three (3) required
  • Official Transcripts: Must be submitted through CASPA for verification; transcripts for courses pending completion at the time of application may be submitted through CASPA or mailed to the SCU Admissions Office. These must be received by January 15, 2021
  • Some veteran assistance is not available due to the probation accreditation status. Please verify with financial aid.

There is no advanced standing recognized for the MSPA Program. SCU’s MSPA program does not accept transfer students.

VII. Admissions Process

  1. Applicants must meet all of the program’s admission requirements.
  2. Applicants must apply to the program through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Once SCU has received a verified CASPA application, the MSPA admissions committee will review the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  3. All applications are screened based on the admission requirements and the information provided. Competitive applicants will be invited to an interview. Due to COVID-19 restrictions all interviews will take place virtually. Specific details will be provided to the applicant as part of the invitation for the interview.
  4. Candidates offered a seat in SCU’s MSPA program will have 14 days to respond to the conditional enrollment offer, complete the supplemental application, and submit a $1,000 non-refundable deposit to be applied to their tuition. Being interviewed does not guarantee a seat in the MSPA program or on the waitlist.
  5. All remaining applicants will be notified of their application status by spring. Applicants placed on the waitlist may be offered a seat if an offered applicant rescinds their seat or withdraws from the admission process. Waitlist applications that are offered a seat must respond within 72 hours and complete the required supplemental application. Payment of the $1,000 non-refundable deposit must be made within 72 hours of completing the supplemental application.


Once an applicant has submitted the SCU supplemental application and paid their $1,000 non-refundable deposit, information about the additional admission requirements will be provided, once the class is fully seated:

  • A physical examination clearing the student to work as a healthcare professional student must be submitted prior to enrollment.
  • Proof of current health status and immunizations (PDF) is required. Please review immunization requirements at the link provided.
  • University approved medical insurance is required.
  • Criminal background checks and drug testing are required.

· Note: Any student that has resided or is currently residing in New York may be subject to additional fees for the criminal background check retrieval per state law of New York.

Student Employment Policy:

As referenced throughout the MSPA program’s affiliation agreements, Clinical Preceptor Handbook, and admissions disclosure agreement:

  • Students are not mandated to hold any position of employment in the institution. University or program employment is not a term of acceptance or continuation in the program.
  • Students of the MSPA program are not employees of the hospitals or clinics and, therefore, work entirely under the preceptor’s supervision. Students are not to substitute for paid clinicians, clerical staff, or other workers at their assigned clinical sites.
  • Due to the rigorous nature of the program, students are discouraged from working. Didactic and clinical schedules will not be altered for employment.

Technical Standards


Degree Requirements

The Master of Science: Physician Assistant (MSPA) degree may be conferred upon those who have fulfilled the following requirements:

  1. Completed all required MSPA coursework;
  2. Met the MSPA continuation standards;
  3. Fulfilled the clinical clerkship requirements as stated in the Clinical handbook;
  4. Pass the Physician Assistant Comprehensive Examination (PACE) 1 and 2;
  5. Free of all indebtedness and other obligations to the University;
  6. Recommended for graduation by the Program Director, student progress committee and the President of the University.

Tuition and Fees

For current tuition and fees, refer to the published Tuition and Fees schedule. Tuition and fees are approved by the Board of Regents annually. The University reserves the right to adjust tuition and/or fees.

Financial compliance must be met each term to maintain future registration status.

Refund Policy

Students are not entitled to a refund for units dropped after the close of the official “Add-Drop” period. In the event a student must withdraw or take a program leave, a partial refund of term tuition may be available. The percentage of tuition student is responsible for is based on the number of calendar days elapsed between the first day of the program and the official withdrawal/leave date provided by Registrar department. * Fees and reservation deposit are non-refundable*
No attendance: 0% Tuition responsibility
1-10 days: 10% Tuition responsibility
11-26 days: 25% Tuition responsibility
27-52 days: 50% Tuition responsibility
+52 days: 100% Tuition responsibility (no refund)

Representative Schedule of Courses

Term 4

Term 7

Physician Assistant Elective Clinical Assignments

Students must complete two elective rotations. The sequence of clinical clerkship practica and elective will vary by student. Students may complete two (2) electives. They may either select one of the following disciplines or repeat a required rotation if there is space available


The course sequence, course numbers, course names, hours, and units are subject to change.

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