About the USM PA Program


Our Mission

In harmony with our university mission to “[educate] students of diverse backgrounds to realize their God-given potential and [prepare] them for value-centered lives and careers that contribute to the wellbeing of our global society,” the mission of the University of Saint Mary Physician Assistant Program is to:

  1. Inspire future physician assistants to recognize their potential to effect change and impact the well-being of others,

  2. Deliver an exceptional medical education which prepares competent, compassionate, dedicated professionals who can assume a broad range of roles and responsibilities and deliver comprehensive high quality health care services in a variety of settings, and

  3. Graduate ardent, value-centered, lifelong learners committed to service and fulfilling the needs of others.


Our Vision

Our vision is to cultivate a learning environment which motivates students to achieve excellence.

Our Goals

The goals of the University of Saint Mary Physician Assistant Program are to:

  1. Recruit qualified applicants of diverse backgrounds who successfully complete the Physician Assistant Master of Medical Sciences (MMSc) degree program,

  2. Maintain an accredited program whose graduates demonstrate the knowledge and skills requisite for entry-level physician assistant practice,

  3. Prepare graduates who are ready to assume roles and responsibilities in primary care as well as medical and surgical specialties,

  4. Maintain a Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) first-time test takers pass rate that equals or exceeds the national average, and

  5. Foster a commitment to professional and community participation and service.


Our Educational Philosophy

Our approach to physician assistant education is to provide an application-based curriculum using innovative instructional design that includes:

  • Fostering a collaborative (versus competitive) learning environment

  • Problem-based, team-based and self-reflective learning activities embedded across the curriculum

  • A systems-based integrated approach to learning the biomedical and clinical sciences

  • A strong emphasis on skills development with experiential learning activities including simulated patient encounters using both standardized patients and high-fidelity manikin simulators to ensure competency-based mastery of critical clinical and technical skills

  • Sufficient depth and breadth of content presented with progressively more challenging experiences necessary to prepare graduates to practice immediately upon graduation

  • Interprofessional education to prepare graduates to work effectively as participants of the healthcare team

  • Dynamic mentoring with high expectations of professionalism in every component of the program

  • High levels of academic rigor, worthy of the master’s degree that is bestowed