Apr 17, 2024  
2022-2023 University Catalog/Handbook (Spring Update) NOT CURRENT 
    
2022-2023 University Catalog/Handbook (Spring Update) NOT CURRENT [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physician Assistant Studies, MSPAS


Mission Statement

The mission of the USAHS Physician Assistant (PA) program is to train physician assistants who serve their communities by delivering high quality, value-based healthcare with empathy, compassion, and cultural humility as part of a collaborative healthcare team.

Goals

  • Support students to achieve first-time board passing rates consistently above the national average.
  • Prepare competent entry level PAs through foundational knowledge and professional skills.
  • Prepare students to work within a patient-centered interprofessional healthcare team.
  • Promote professionalism, leadership, and service of students and faculty within their communities.
  • Recruit and retain a diverse population of faculty and students.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the MSPAS program, graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Apply medical knowledge in the clinical care of patients.
  • Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills appropriate to the situation and individuals.
  • Demonstrate clinical and technical skills in the care of patients.
  • Exhibit professional behaviors consistently and adhere to ethical standards.
  • Demonstrate clinical reasoning and problem-solving to make evidence-informed patient care decisions.
  • Apply interprofessional collaboration competencies.

Admissions Requirements

The planned start date for the first cohort of the PA program is Spring 2024 term. 

  • The application for January 2024 entry into the MSPAS program is available beginning in late April 2023.
  • To be considered for an interview, applications must be designated as “verified” status in CASPA by August 1, 2023.
  • Verification of applications by CASPA could take as long as four weeks. It is recommended to submit completed applications in early July. 

Prerequisites

All prerequisite science courses must be designed for science majors. Other courses will not be accepted.

  • 8 semester credits/12 quarter credits of general/inorganic chemistry (lab required)
  • 4 semester credits/6 quarter credits of organic chemistry (lab required)
  • 4 semester credits/6 quarter credits of general biology (lab required)
  • 4 semester credits/6 quarter credits of microbiology (lab required)
  • 8 semester credits/12 quarter credits of anatomy and physiology
    • Includes 4 semester credits of anatomy plus 4 semester credits of physiology OR a minimum of 8 semester credits of combined anatomy and physiology
    • Includes comparative anatomy and/or physiology
  • 3 semester credits of psychology
  • 1 semester credit of medical terminology
    • ACE transcripts may be accepted for this prerequisite

Pending Prerequisites

USAHS allows MSPAS candidates to submit an application with two or fewer pending prerequisites.

  • Admitted students must complete all prerequisite coursework by the end of the fall term (December) prior to starting the program. Students must earn a minimum grade of a C (2.0) in all prerequisite courses.
  • If the eligible prerequisite(s) are not completed by the end of the fall term prior to starting the program, the student is administratively withdrawn from the program. The student may reapply to be readmitted within a year if they can demonstrate successful completion of the pending prerequisite(s).
  • Official final transcripts from all schools attended must be received by the Admissions Office no later than 30 days after the start of a student’s first term of enrollment.

Application

To be considered for admission, all candidates must submit an online application, which includes the following:

  • A baccalaureate degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale as calculated by CASPA. A specific type of baccalaureate degree or major is not required.
    • Applicants may submit an application prior to obtaining a baccalaureate degree; however, the Admissions Office must receive official final transcripts showing conferral of a baccalaureate degree no later than 30 days after the start of the student’s first term of enrollment.
  • Official transcripts from all schools from which the student earned a baccalaureate degree or higher and schools from which required prerequisite courses were completed. 
  • Transcripts showing the completion of prerequisite coursework with a required grade of C or better earned in each prerequisite course.
    • Applicants with two or fewer pending prerequisites may submit an application provided they are in compliance with the pending prerequisites policy outlined above prior to enrollment (see Pending Prerequisites).
  • Successful completion of the Acuity Insights online assessment, including Casper and Duet (https://acuityinsights.app/).
  • Three letters of professional recommendation (e.g., professor, supervisor, or employer).
  • Completion of an on-campus interview. Virtual interviews may be available upon request and with evidence of extenuating circumstances.
  • If the applicant completed his or her education in a foreign country, the applicant must submit an original copy of a degree credentialing evaluation from an agency recognized by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). The evaluation must indicate previous education at the minimum level of a baccalaureate degree earned at an accredited college or university in the United States.

Note: GRE scores are not required for admission to the MSPAS program, and the program does not require a specific number of hours of healthcare experience or observation hours. The program considers all prior activities that demonstrate preparedness to enter the PA profession.

The PA program does not recognize any special populations for the purpose of preference in admissions.

Upon acceptance, students must complete a comprehensive background check requiring fingerprints and a drug screen to be administered at the applicant’s expense prior to matriculation. See Background Checks, Fingerprints, Drug Screens, and Criminal Records  for detailed requirements and time frames for completing comprehensive background checks.

Applicants may apply free of charge at https://caspa.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login.

Academic Requirements

To remain in the PA program, the student must meet the following criteria:

  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA. 
  • Successfully complete all didactic and clinical courses. 
  • Demonstrate professional behavior.

Program Overview

The MSPAS program curriculum prepares students to offer person-centered, evidence-based care within an interprofessional team environment. It provides core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences in a breadth and depth to prepare students for the clinical practice of medicine.

Students complete 115 required credits over seven trimesters (28 months). Students complete the didactic courses during the first four trimesters (72 credit hours), followed by three trimesters of clinical courses (43 credit hours).

The first trimester builds a strong base in medical sciences and sets the stage for clinical practice. The next three didactic trimesters begin to mix foundational science material with clinical science to move students toward applying their knowledge and problem-solving in clinical scenarios. Supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs), where students fully integrate and apply the knowledge they acquired during the didactic phase of their studies, occur in the final three trimesters.

Delivery of Coursework

The MSPAS program includes a core didactic curriculum, clinical preceptorships, and lab sessions delivered over seven trimesters. Didactic coursework is provided in a traditional, face-to-face format on the Austin, TX campus. Lab classes are taught in a hands-on setting and interprofessional education courses are available online with instruction from on-campus faculty. Supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs) occur in a clinical setting with one-on-one instruction from a clinical preceptor (36 credits).

Time Limit

It is required that MSPAS students complete all program requirements within 28 months (i.e., seven terms). An extension of up to 16 months may be requested (i.e., a total of three years and eight months).

Clinical Rotations

SCPEs are composed of the following rotations: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, emergency medicine, community behavioral and mental health, surgery, and two electives. The order of the SCPE rotations will vary for each student during the experiential year; most rotations are four weeks.

Tuition and Fees

The MSPAS program is seven trimesters in duration consisting of a minimum of 115 credit hours. Tuition deposit and estimated living expenses for the 2023–2024 academic year will be available before August 1, 2023. Estimated tuition, fees, and cost of attendance are as follows:

Estimated Tuition and Fees1 All Students
Tuition ($13,571.43 per trimester × 7) $95,000.00
Tuition deposit (nonrefundable; subtracted from first-trimester tuition) To be determined
Books and school expenses ($285.72 per trimester × 7) $2,000.00
Program fee2 ($500 per trimester × 7) $3,500.00
Clinical fee (642.85 per trimester x 7) $4,500
Student activity fee $20.00
Graduation fee for all students (regalia not included) $100.00
Estimated Living Expenses3
Room and board To be determined
Transportation To be determined
Health insurance and other To be determined

Tuition Refund Policy for MSPAS Program

Cancellation and Tuition Refund Policy

USAHS’ institutional refund policy has been established in accordance with current state and federal regulations and applicable accrediting standards. A refund to the student or fund source may result from the application of the University’s institutional refund policy.

Deposit Refund Policy for MSPAS Program

When notification of withdrawal from the University is submitted, the University retains a seat deposit.

Notice of Cancellation for MSPAS Program

Students must notify the University in writing of the cancellation. All monies paid by an applicant other than deposit/matriculation fees, books, supplies, materials, and kits that are not returnable from use are refunded if cancellation occurs within the first seven days of instruction.

Tuition Refund Policy for MSPAS Program

USAHS has an established add/drop period that is the first week (7 days) of each trimester. All tuition, fees (other than deposit/matriculation fees), and cost of attendance are refunded to students or to student loans if the student withdraws from a program or a course within the add/drop period.

If a student withdraws from the program or a course after the add/drop period but prior to completion, the student may be eligible for a tuition refund in accordance with the refund policy.

Withdrawing from a Program—Refund of Tuition after the Start of Trimester Courses

For students who withdraw from all classes during days 1–7 of the trimester (add/drop period), 100% of tuition (minus the deposit/matriculation fee) is refunded to the student and/or to the loan provider. For students who withdraw from all classes after day seven but before more than 60% of the term has elapsed, the University calculates the refund using a percentage formula and returns the refund to the student and/or to the loan provider. If more than 60% of the term has elapsed, there is no refund.

Withdrawing from a Course

Students withdrawing from one or more course(s), but not the program, have their refund calculated under the same percentage formula as those withdrawing from a program.

Step 1: Determine the percentage of the enrollment period the student attended before withdrawing (days attended divided by total days in the period). If more than 60%, then no refund is due.

Step 2: Determine the amount of tuition earned by the school by multiplying the total tuition/fee charged by the percentage of time enrolled.

Step 3: Compare the amount of tuition earned by the school to the amount received by the school. If more funds were received by the school than tuition earned by the school, determine the amount of funds that must be returned by subtracting the tuition earned by the school amount from the amount received by the school.

Step 4: Distribute this calculated amount as a refund to the student or the student loan provider.

Refunds are made within 30 days of the date the University determines that the student has withdrawn.

For students who receive federal financial aid who withdraw (including transfers and leaves of absence) from all classes before more than 60% of the term has elapsed, a portion of their tuition is returned to the lender. Please see the University’s R2T4 policy for further information.

Program Policies and Procedures

In addition to the policies and procedures set forth in the USAHS Catalog/Handbook, students in the MSPAS program are also required to adhere to the policies and procedures specific to the PA program as outlined in the PA Student Handbook. Each student should carefully read the current PA Student Handbook. 

Note on Accreditation and Licensure

Programmatic Accreditation

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences’ (USAHS) Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) has applied for Accreditation-Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences anticipates matriculating its first MSPAS class in January 2024, pending achieving Accreditation-Provisional status at the September 2023 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.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

However, Accreditation-Provisional is an active accreditation status. PA program graduates will be deemed to have graduated from an accredited program if their PA degree program was accredited at the time of their matriculation.

In the event that the program is not granted Accreditation-Provisional status by the ARC-PA, students accepted into USAHS’ MSPAS program will receive a full refund of their deposit and the program will not matriculate in January 2024.

State Approvals

The MSPAS program is a campus-based program approved to operate on the USAHS Austin, Texas campus. USAHS meets the requirements to offer on-the-ground clinical activities in Texas. USAHS has not made a determination that the program meets the requirements to offer on-the-ground clinical activities in states other than Texas at this time.

Current and admitted students are advised to monitor this page for any updates prior to relocating to another state, as this can have an impact on continued enrollment in the program and the ability to be placed for clinical experiences.

It remains the student’s responsibility to understand, evaluate and comply with all requirements relating to field education experiences, licensing or certification, authorization or endorsement for the state in which she or he resides.

Post-Graduation Licensure

The USAHS curriculum meets the educational degree completion requirements for graduates to seek licensure in Texas. The various licensure boards of each state are responsible for setting requirements for licensure/certification in their state, and students who intend on moving or returning to a state other than Texas should be aware of the unique requirements for that state. USAHS has not made a determination that its curriculum meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification in states other than Texas at this time.

Standard Occupational Classification codes for which program is intended to prepare graduates: To Be Determined

MSPAS Plan of Study

See the curriculum .