Master of Physician Assistant Studies


Whether you want to provide primary care to residents in rural America or work in hospitals in underserved communities, St. Ambrose has a program to help you achieve – and exceed – all of your goals. 

Our graduates work in family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN, and other sectors within rural and underserved populations.


Ambrose Advantages

  • 100% First-time Pass Rate on NCCPA Exam (2017)
  • Only MPAS Program In QC and Western Illinois Region
  • We Invest In Your Success

Students Practice Exam

Exam Observation

Student and Patient in exam room

At SAU, we prepare highly qualified and compassionate Physician Assistants by providing deep learning opportunities in the classroom and in communities. You will work side-by-side with experts and specialists in medical communities, and just as closely with program faculty and mentors.

Read Our MPAS Fact Sheet


students in CHHS lab

Your Career as a Physician Assistant


Our 2016 MPAS graduates were tremendously successful in finding employment, and many received multiple offers prior to graduation. Some also received signing bonuses and tuition compensation from their employers.

Read more about our MPAS grads


More Information on the Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program

What will I learn?

You will be trained in the medical model to provide patient care, including physical examinations, ordering tests, diagnosing and treating illness, performing minor procedures, as well as first-assisting in surgery.

Our 29-month program is comprised of 124 credit hours. We accept a new class of 30 students annually through a competitive application process and coursework begins in the summer.

The first 14 months of the program are didactic. Classroom and laboratory studies include anatomy, pathology, physical examination and clinical medicine. The following 15 months are clinical rotations in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, surgery, OB-gyn, and psychiatry.

Graduates will be eligible to seek licensure to practice in one or more of the 50 states, and we prepare them well. All members (100%) of the MPAS Class of 2017 passed the NCCPA exam on the first attempt.

NCCPA Exam Performance Summary Report (pdf)

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the St. Ambrose University Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program.

What are some of the advantages of the SAU MPAS program?
  • Based on projected needs in rural states, primary care is an emphasis of our program. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reports the demand for physician services is increasing rapidly while the nation's population continues to age, grow, live longer, and has more chronic illnesses. Physician assistants are part of the solution to help alleviate shortages.
  • We have a strong history and regional reputation for training excellent and caring health professionals. There are more than 525 students currently enrolled in SAU accredited health sciences programs in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and social work. In fact, the St. Ambrose University College of Health and Human Services houses two of the top doctoral programs in the country: Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy.
  • Job opportunities abound for Ambrose PA graduates. We've also curated a list of job positions from around the country. Take a look at it here.
What is the Career Outlook for Physician Assistants?

In 2017, Forbes Magazine gave the physician assistant graduate degree a first-place ranking based on salary and employment outlook, citing, in part, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projection of a 37 percent increase in PA positions by 2026. The average annual wage for a physician assistant in 2016 was $102,090 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

And students from St. Ambrose University are no exception. Our 2016 MPAS graduates were tremendously successful in securing employment, and many received multiple offers prior to graduation. Some also received signing bonuses and tuition compensation from their employers. Read more about our graduates by clicking here.

Mission and Goals

Mission

The mission of the St. Ambrose University Physician Assistant Program is to prepare physician assistants to deliver high-quality patient-centered care with compassion and respect.

The program provides a supportive environment to assist students as they develop into professionals with the knowledge and skills to contribute to the health and welfare of their communities.

Program Goals

  1. Maintain an accredited MPAS program
    This goal is achieved by the St. Ambrose University Physician Assistant Program having provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
  2. Maintain a level of PANCE pass rate above the national average.
    St. Ambrose University's program has had two classes take the PANCE exam since the start of the program in 2014. Both graduating classes have been above the national average for first-time test takers, with a 100% for the Class of 2017 and 97% for the Class of 2016. Overall pass rate has been 100% for both graduating classes.
  3. Meet the primary care workforce needs - especially in rural and underserved populations.
    a. The curriculum at St. Ambrose University is designed to help prepare students to work in the primary care field with seven out of nine required rotations in a primary care field.
    b. St. Ambrose University has graduated two classes thus far with >50% of graduating students working in primary care in a rural or underserved area.
  4. Demonstrate the highest standards of professionalism
    a. Students at St. Ambrose University are evaluated each semester by their professors and preceptors to ensure they maintain the highest standards of professionalism.
    b. All cohorts have had > or =95% of students meet or exceed this goal.
  5. Work effectively with other members of the healthcare team
    a. Students at St. Ambrose University are evaluated each semester by their professors and preceptors to ensure they maintain the highest standards of professionalism.
    b. All cohorts have had > or =95% of students meet or exceed this goal.
  6. Demonstrate service or assume a leadership role within the profession and the community
    a. The St. Ambrose University Physician Assistant Program encourages throughout the program and after graduation.
    b. Students have assumed leadership roles in the PA student society.
    c. Student service hours have ranged from 6-12 hours per student per year.
  7. Recruit and retain qualified applicants
    The success of this program is based on attracting and recruiting highly qualified applicants that will be able to handle the rigor of this type of teaching format. Each year, approximately 80 applicants are interviewed for the 30 seats available. Our data, along with our graduation and PANCE pass rates indicate that we recruit highly qualified applicants. Since the first class has matriculated in June 2014, only two students have withdrawn from the program. This demonstrates that the program selects students that will perform well in a rigorous educational program.

What have alumni of this program done?

More than half of our alumni work in underserved or rural areas delivering primary care. Here are examples of other jobs our alums have secured:

  • Trevor Portiner '16 MPAS works in internal medicine at Lower Manhattan Hospital in New York.
  • Jennifer Hermanson '16 MPAS works in neurosurgery in Anchorage, Alaska.
How much will this degree cost?

When you enroll in a graduate program, you are making a personal, professional, and financial investment. The cost may seem daunting, but there are programs that can help.

MPAS students are part of the One Price Plan that ensures tuition costs remain at one rate throughout the normal course of full time graduate study. Additionally, the cost is consistent across semesters, making financial planning easier.

The One Price tuition is $11,958/semester for the 2018-19 academic year. There are some additional costs for textbooks and technology. We estimate your total cost for the program to be $95,664.

Due to a nationwide shortage of physician assistants, there are several loan repayment programs that offer partial or full repayment of college loans. The American Association of Medical Colleges provides a database to search loan repayment/forgiveness and scholarship programs.

Specifically in Iowa, the Primary Care Recruitment and Retention Endeavor offers two-year grants when PAs work in a health professional shortage area. MPAS students may be eligible for low-interest federal student loans. Our Financial Aid Office can provide you with more information.

Faculty

Kerry Humes, MD, Director and Assistant Professor
David Rohlf, MD, Medical Director

Mary Jo Bloominger, MPAS, PA-C, Asst. Professor
Beth Carlson, Assistant Clinical Coordinator
Christy Dwyer, Administrative Assistant
Katie Gimbel, MPAS, PA-C, Clinical Coordinator and Clinical Assistant Professor
Angie King, Program Coordinator
Suzanne Peppers, MPAS, PA-C, Asst. Professor
Angela Schmieder, MPAS, PA-C, Clinical Coordinator and Clinical Assistant Professor
Yvette Work, Contract Coordinator

Degree Requirements

Prerequisite Coursework is listed on the Admission and Application page

The Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program (MPAS) is 29 months in length consisting of a 14-month didactic component followed by 15-month supervised clinical clerkship component. The didactic phase is comprised of classroom instruction in advanced basic sciences, clinical skills, clinical medicine, pharmacology, behavioral medicine, ethics, and research.

In general, classes are held Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students are expected to attend all classes and should have no other commitments during these hours.

The clinical phase of the program consists of 15 months of supervised clinical clerkships. Most clerkships are 4 weeks in length with some exceptions. There are eight required clerkships to include: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics-Gynecology, Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, and General Surgery.

In addition to the required clerkships, students will choose five electives. Some rotations will require students to work on the weekends and evenings. Students are required to be available as instructed by their preceptors. Several times throughout the clinical phase, students will return to campus for end-of-rotation exams as well as other educational sessions. A separate handbook will be distributed during the clinical year orientation detailing specifics for the clinical year.

Note: We do not allow for advanced standing, regardless of previous graduate work in healthcare. All incoming students must complete the entire PA curriculum.

Year 1: Summer Course (8 weeks)
BIOL 550 Gross Anatomy, 5 credit hours
5 credit hours total

Year 1: Fall Courses
MPAS 510 Advanced Physiology, 5 credit hours
MPAS 520 Medical Pathology, 5 credit hours
MPAS 530 Clinical Laboratory Science, 3 credit hours
MPAS 600 Professional Practice Issues, 1 credit hour
MPAS 620 Communication in Medicine I, 2 credit hours
MPAS 630 Healthcare Systems, 2 credit hours
18 credit hours total

Year 1: Spring Courses
MPAS 640 Medicine I, 8 credit hours
MPAS 650 Pharmacotherapy I, 3 credit hours
MPAS 660 Clinical Skills I, 2 credit hours
MPAS 625 Communication in Medicine II, 1 credit hour
MPAS 670 Issues in Research I, 3 credit hours
MPAS 690 Medical Ethics, 2 credit hours
19 credit hours total

Year 2: Summer Courses
MPAS 645 Medicine II, 11 credit hours
MPAS 655 Pharmacotherapy II, 3 credit hours
MPAS 680 Behavioral Medicine, 4 credit hours
MPAS 665 Clinical Skills II, 1 credit hour
MPAS 675 Issues in Research II, 1 credit hour
20 credit hours total

Year 2: Fall Courses
MPAS 677 Research Application, 2 credit hours
MPAS 700s Clinical Preceptorships, 12 credit hours
14 credit hours total

Year 2: Spring Course
MPAS 700s Clinical Preceptorships, 16 credit hours
16 credit hours total

Year 3: Summer Course
MPAS 700s Clinical Preceptorships, 16 credit hours
16 credit hours total

Year 3: Fall Course
MPAS 700s Clinical Preceptorships, 16 credit hours
16 credit hours total

Total credit hours: 124

Ready to Apply?

Take the next step to earning your degree and apply to the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program.


Apply Visit Info

Contact


Angie King

Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Center for Health Sciences Education #287
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
563-333-5886
PA@sau.edu

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