Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Sacramento campus

University of the Pacific is pleased to announce its Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree program. This full-time, 27-month program is designed for professionals currently working in other areas of health care, individuals interested in a second career opportunity, and pre-health students interested in entering the fast-growing physician assistant (PA) field. The program is planned to start in January 2017 at Pacific’s campus in Sacramento.

Pacific’s PA program will provide numerous opportunities for interprofessional education through involvement with Pacific’s highly regarded health-related schools, the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and through student clinical training experiences at community hospitals and clinics.

What is a Physician Assistant?

Physician assistants (PAs) are healthcare professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. In an interprofessional setting, Pacific PA students will become proficient in the full array of skills involved in completing medical histories, performing physical examinations, performing clinical skills and procedures, providing treatment, and counseling patients.

As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PA students will work with patients to:

  • Obtain, compile and record patient medical data, including health history, progress notes and results of physical examination.
  • Instruct and counsel patients about prescribed therapeutic regimens, normal growth and development, family planning, emotional problems of daily living, and health maintenance.
  • Perform, order and interpret diagnostic test results, correctly identifying any results that fall outside of normal range.
  • Make tentative diagnoses and decisions about management and treatment of patients.
  • Perform therapeutic procedures, such as injections, immunizations, suturing and wound care and infection management.
  • Prescribe therapy and/or medication.
  • Provide physicians with assistance during surgery or complicated medical procedures.
  • Supervise and coordinate activities of technicians and technical assistants.
  • Visit and observe patients on hospital rounds or house calls, updating charts, ordering therapy and reporting back to physician.

In addition to successfully completing their program, Pacific PA students are required to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) as required by regulatory agencies in order to enter into practice.

Pacific has applied for Accreditation—Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Pacific anticipates matriculating its first class in January 2017, pending achieving Accreditation—Provisional status at the September 2016 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.