Master of Science in Physician Assistant
On behalf of the Sullivan University Physician Assistant program faculty and staff, I am pleased to welcome you to our website where you will find information about the PA profession and Sullivan University’s 24-month, graduate-level PA program.
The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects tremendous growth and increased opportunities for the PA profession. PAs work in every medical specialty as valued members of the healthcare team with the profession offering unmatched flexibility across the industry.
As an autonomous program within Sullivan University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, we enjoy the dedicated support and leadership from Dean of the College, Dr. Misty Stutz, as well as the administration and staff of our sponsoring institution, Sullivan University. They inspire us to work toward appreciation for teamwork, life-long learning, and professionalism in all our endeavors. It is with their support and encouragement that we have developed and employ a process of self-assessment and continuous improvement which guides us in our growth.
I am proud of our highly qualified faculty and staff whose combined efforts deliver a rigorous curriculum, developed to prepare students for excellence in clinical practice. Our desire is the success of each student in achieving their goal.
It is inspiring to see the caliber of students applying to our program; many candidates already hold Master's Degrees in complementary areas. We encourage you to review our prerequisites and curriculum to see how your own experience and education may support your goal of becoming a PA.
Steve Gaskins, MPAS, PA-C
PA Program Director
The mission of the Sullivan University Physician Assistant program is to train medical professionals who provide ethical, high-quality, and compassionate medical care while serving an integral role in the healthcare team. This includes increasing access to healthcare in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the nation.
The Master of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA) Degree program is a rigorous 24-month curriculum consisting of a 12-month didactic phase and a 12-month clinical phase.
The didactic year curriculum builds a foundation for clinical practice and focuses on biomedical, clinical, and behavioral sciences as well as courses in physical diagnosis and critical thinking. During the first quarter of the didactic year, students may be introduced to clinical settings through shadowing experiences. In the second quarter, students must begin thinking critically and clinically, correlating classroom knowledge to clinical application through problem and case-based learning scenarios.
The final weeks of the didactic year include written and practical summative examinations — including simulated patient encounters — to assess each student’s preparedness for the clinical year. These examinations must be completed successfully as a requirement for entering the clinical year.
The clinical year consists of seven required clinical rotations and one elective clinical rotation. Each rotation is six weeks in length, and students return to campus the last two days of each rotation for required end-of-rotation testing, lectures, and debriefing sessions. They also begin preparation for their next clinical experience.
During the four months prior to program completion, students will be required to pass an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Failure to successfully complete this examination will result in remediation and retesting. The final two weeks of the clinical year are spent on campus for a summative written examination, completion of a graduate survey, presentations, and review for the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE).
Academic and professional growth is monitored closely throughout the program by the program director, the medical director, directors of Didactic and Clinical Education, and the academic, clinical, and course coordinators. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor for assistance and counseling regarding academic progress. If a student is having academic difficulty, he/she is counseled and offered opportunities to make improvements.
Consistent with the goals of Sullivan University, the PA Program is dedicated to providing cutting-edge, educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social, and professional development of its students, whilst instilling the values of teamwork, compassion, excellence, professionalism, integrity, and accountability.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Sullivan University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Sullivan University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.
Accreditation remains until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2028. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and the ARC-PA policy.
The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website.
The Sullivan PA program supports the following goals and gives evidence to the effectiveness of its goals.
Attract and matriculate a diverse student body
Sustain a high first-time PANCE pass rate
See PANCE report linked above
Cultivate competent, employable graduates
SU COPHS offers a 24-month Master of Science Physician Assistant program that supports and prepares students to meet the programmatic goals. The first professional year four 11-week quarters which consist of 10 weeks of instruction, 1 week of final assessments and a 2-week break before the next quarter begins. The second professional year is divided into four 12-week quarters which consist of two 6-week rotation blocks with a one-week break between each. The minimum credit hours required for the program completion is 149.50
Yes. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Sullivan University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Sullivan University.
Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards. Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards.
The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2028. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.
The Physician Assistant Program is offered as a full-time, on campus, 24 month program. The first twelve months is dedicated to the didactic year and the second twelve months is spent in clinical rotations.
Yes – The PA Program at Sullivan University uses CASPA. Applications may be submitted between April 30 and July 15 and must be verified on or before July 15.
The admissions cycle for the Sullivan University Physician Assistant Program opens in late April and closes early August each year.
Student interviews will be scheduled in late 2020 for the current application cycle. Decision letters should go out by the end of the year. If not offered a seat for the upcoming class, we do require students to reapply through CASPA.