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Master of Science in Physician Assistant


Master of Science in Physician Assistant

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.

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.

Program Information


Program Overview & Locations

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).

Louisville Campus

About the Program


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.

Program Goals

The Sullivan PA program supports the following goals and gives evidence of the effectiveness of its goals.

  1. Attract and matriculate a diverse student bodyView Demographics Information
  2. Sustain a high first-time PANCE pass rateView PANCE Scores
  3. Cultivate competent, employable graduates. View report

Attrition Information

View College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences PA Program ARD-PA Student Attrition


Learn more about the Physician Assistant Admissions process


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 has 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.

View PA Curriculum

View PA Course Descriptions


Sullivan University COPHS Physician Assistant Students to Volunteer at Have A Heart Clinic


July 8, 2021

LOUISVILLE, KY – Second year Physician Assistant (PA) students from the Sullivan University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (SU COPHS) will volunteer at the Family Health Center in Portland on July 24th through a screening program offered by Have A Heart Clinic. 

The event will provide important education and clinical training opportunities for the students while assisting the Have A Heart Clinic with cardiovascular screenings of Family Healthcare patients and members of the community. 

“The screening provides PA students education on guideline-based risk factor modification and the ability to interact with patients and educate them on how to achieve those,” said Have A Heart Clinic Medical Director Michael Imburgia, MD. “These people are less likely to be able to afford such care.”

During the July 24th event, participants will have their blood pressure, heart rhythm and cholesterol tested. In addition, their risk of stroke or heart attack over the next 10 years will be calculated to determine if follow up is needed. 

Throughout their didactic year of training, Sullivan PA students have learned about health care disparities and patients at particular risk within our community, said Kelly Joy, an assistant professor in the university’s PA program. 

“This event with the Have A Heart Clinic is not only an amazing opportunity for our students to practice their clinical skills, but it is an opportunity for them to interact with and serve the uninsured and underinsured in the Louisville Metro area,” Joy said.  

The Have A Heart Clinic is committed to elevating community health in the region by providing cardiovascular care, coordinated support services, health screenings and education to adult patients, regardless of their ability to pay or their insurance coverage or status. 

In addition to treating disparities in healthcare, the Clinic works to address health disparities by screening for cardiovascular disease and risk and by educating screening participants on healthy lifestyles and risk reduction. 

“In parts of Louisville, people die from cardiovascular disease at two-and-a-half times that of other wealthier parts of the city,” Dr. Imburgia said. “Our hope is to change that outcome.”

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