This website uses cookies to understand how you use the website and to improve your experience. By continuing to use the website, you accept the University of New England’s use of cookies and similar technologies. To learn more about our use of cookies and how to manage your browser cookie settings, please review our Privacy Notice.

Accept

Physician Assistant

Master of Science Physician Assistant

Westbrook College of Health Professions

Physician Assistant Program

Please call 1 (800) 477-4UNE or (207) 221-4225 for further information. Applications are available online from Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) www.caspaonline.org.

Mission

The mission of the University of New England Physician Assistant Program is to prepare master's level primary care Physician Assistants to be highly skilled members of interprofessional healthcare teams. The program is committed to developing clinicians who will provide compassionate, competent and evidence-based patient-centered healthcare to people of all backgrounds and cultures throughout their lifespan. The Program places special emphasis on training clinicians who are knowledgeable about the healthcare needs of our aging population and have the skills and passion to provide healthcare to people in underserved rural and urban communities. 

Graduate Professional Competencies

The mission of the Program is accomplished by having graduates who meet the goals of the educational process. Graduates of the Physician Assistant Program will:

  • Understand the basic sciences of anatomy, physiology and Pathophysiology and be able to utilize this knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
  • Understand the principles of pharmacotherapeutics and to apply them in the treatment of patients.
  • Elicit a detailed, accurate history and perform a thorough physical examination.
  • Understand how to order and interpret appropriate diagnostic tests in a cost-efficient manner.
  • Present patient data and document it appropriately in the medical record.
  • Provide quality acute and ongoing patient care by appropriately delineating patient problems and by formulating and implementing patient management plans, including referrals to other healthcare providers and agencies.
  • Perform or assist in the performance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and manage or assist in the management of medical and surgical conditions, particularly in life-threatening situations.
  • Understand the principles of public health and incorporate health promotion and disease prevention into a patient care practice.
  • Use information technology in the provision of quality healthcare and clinical decision-making.
  • Evaluate the medical literature critically and apply this knowledge and the principles of evidence-based medicine to clinical practice.
  • Provide compassionate and competent healthcare to patients of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Understand the medical and social issues that affect the geriatric patient and provide appropriate management of these problems.
  • Counsel patients, their families and their caregivers regarding issues of health, illness and medical care.
  • Understand the historical and contemporary role of the physician assistant in the healthcare system.
  • Participate effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team.
  • Understand the principles of patient-oriented healthcare and to communicate clearly with patients.
  • Identify the special dynamics of providing healthcare to rural or underserved populations.
  • Demonstrate appropriate professional behavior by following the American Academy of Physician Assistants' Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession.
Program Description

The Master of Science — Physician Assistant Program (M.S.P.A.) has been planned to effectively utilize faculty expertise from the University's five colleges. Some faculty hold joint appointments with responsibility for teaching medical and physician assistant students as well as other health profession matriculants. Similarly, physician assistant candidates will receive clinical supervision as part of an integrated team of health providers. It is our expectation that these collaborative strategies toward teaching and learning will ultimately result in high quality, cost-effective health care delivery, particularly in medically underserved regions of New England.

Upon successful completion of the Physician Assistant Program, the University of New England awards the master of science degree. The program operates on a 24-month full-time calendar, beginning in late May of each year with a new incoming class.

What is a PA?

Physician Assistants (PAs) are health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Physician Assistants are qualified by graduation from an accredited physician assistant educational program and/or certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Within the physician/PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision-making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services under the general supervision of the physician.

Other

The University of New England's M.S.P.A. program was designed according to the Essentials and Guidelines for an Accredited Educational Program for the Physician Assistant. The University of New England Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Curricular Requirements

Note: The curricular requirements below apply to the class entering JUNE 2018 (Class of 2020). 

Phase I of the program of study consists of 60.5 credit hours in pre-clinical didactic course work. The summer, fall, and spring terms include instruction in the fields of biomedical sciences, clinical medicine, public health, pharmacology, clinical assessment, anatomy, physiology, evidence-based medicine, ethics and professionalism, specialty disciplines, surgery, geriatrics, and emergency medicine.

Twelve months of clinical rotations will take place upon successful completion of the didactic phase. The program ends with a final week on campus, which provides a forum for the presentation of students' research projects to peers and faculty; offers assistance in preparing the graduating students for certification, and gives physician assistant candidates an opportunity to integrate the didactic and clinical portions of their training in preparation for the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam.

Course/Program Area Credits
Summer I
June–August (10 weeks)
 
PAC 555 - Anatomy 5
PAC 503 - Clinical Assessment I 2.5
PAC 559 - Pharmacology I 3
PAC 548 - Principles of Biological Science 3
PAC 509 - Clinical Medicine I 1
PAC 582 - Professional and Ethical Issues for Physician Assistants 1
Semester total  15.5
Fall
September–December (15 weeks)
 
PAC 554 - Clinical Assessment II 3
PAC 560 - Pharmacology II 3.5
PAC 519 - Clinical Medicine II 8
PAC 564 - Interprofessional Geriatric Education Practicum I 2
PAC 565 - Integrating Seminar I 3
PAC 543 - Evidence Based Medicine I 1
Semester Total 20.5
Spring
January–May (20 weeks)
 
PAC 551 - Introduction to Public Health 1
PAC 556 - Evidence Based Medicine II 0.5
PAC 545 - Specialty Disciplines 7
PAC 585 - Integrating Seminar II 3
PAC 533 - Clinical Assessment III 3
PAC 561 - Pharmacology III 3.5
PAC 546 - Clinical Medicine III 6
PAC 547 - Interprofessional Geriatric Education Practicum II 1
Semester Total 25
Spring II–Summer II
June–June (12 months)
 
Clinical Rotations  
PAC 667 - Inpatient Selective (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 601 - Internal Medicine Outpatient (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 602 - Emergency Medicine (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 603 - Surgery (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 607 - Family Medicine I (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 608 - Family Medicine II (6 Weeks) 6
PAC 612 - Primary Care Selective 6
PAC 613 - Elective  6
PAC 614 - Preparation for Clinical Practice I 1
PAC 615 - Preparation for Clinical Practice II 1
PAC 616 - Preparation for Clinical Practice III 1
PAC 628 - Clinical Therapeutics I 0.5
PAC 629 - Clinical Therapeutics II 0.5
Semester Total 52

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all program requirements prior to the issuance of their Master of Science degree and the certificate of completion of the program. 

Academic and Technical Standards

WCHP Academic Policies

The Department of Physician Assistant, the Westbrook College of Health Professions, and the University of New England are committed to offering a quality Physician Assistant education program that complies with the evaluative criteria of the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. The program provides learning experiences to enable graduates to achieve the outcomes required for the practice of Physician Assistant. Please refer to the WCHP Graduate Program Progression Policies and Procedures (PDF) for a detailed description of academic standards.

Technical Standards

A student in the Physician Assistant Program must have abilities and skills in five categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual, and behavioral/social. All students admitted to the program must meet the following abilities and expectations upon matriculation and maintain these standards while enrolled in the PA Program. In the event a student is unable to fulfill these technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, the student will be subject to dismissal after admission.

Reasonable accommodation for persons with documented disabilities will be considered on an individual basis. However, a candidate must be able to perform these skills in an independent manner. Accordingly, the program requires each student to meet the following technical standards with or without accommodation:

Observation: Students must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe in the lecture hall, the laboratory, the outpatient setting, and the patient’s bedside. Sensory skills adequate to perform a physical examination are required. The ability to acquire sensory input using vision, hearing, and tactile sensation must be adequate to observe a patient’s condition and to elicit information through procedures regularly required in a physical examination, such as inspection, auscultation, percussion, and palpation.

In any case, where a student’s ability to observe or acquire information through these sensory modalities is compromised, the student must demonstrate alternative means and/or abilities to acquire and demonstrate the essential information without reliance upon another person’s interpretation of the information. It is expected that obtaining and using such alternative means and/or abilities shall be the responsibility of the student. The University will reasonably assist the student where necessary.

Communication: The student must be able to effectively and efficiently communicate in the English language using verbal, written, and reading skills, in a manner that demonstrates sensitivity to fellow students, patients, their families, and all members of the health care team.

  • A student must be able to accurately elicit information, describe a patient’s change in mood, thought, activity, and posture. Students must demonstrate established communication skills using traditional means which may include the use of assistive devices. 
  • The student must be able to communicate complex findings in appropriate terms for patients/caregivers and other members of the health care team.
  • A student must be able to communicate clearly and audibly during interactions with classmates, professors, patients, and members of the health care team. 
  • A student must be able to receive, write legibly, and interpret written and verbal communication in both clinical and academic settings.
  • The student must be able to interpret and record legibly observations in a manner that is efficient and accurate using handwritten and electronic and dictating formats.

Motor: The ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures (e.g. palpation, percussion, auscultation) is required. Students must have sufficient motor function to safely execute movements required to provide care to patients. Students must be able to negotiate patient care environments and must be able to move between settings, such as clinic, classroom building, and hospital. Physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study in required. Long periods of sitting, standing, or moving are required in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences.

The student must be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency diagnosis and medical care such as airway management, placement of intravenous catheters, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and suturing of wounds. At all times the ability to administer care to patients in a safe manner is paramount.

Intellectual: Students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize information effectively in a precisely limited time as would be appropriate for the individual’s level of training in a given clinical setting, while under stress, and in an environment in which other distractions may be present. Problem-solving, one of the critical skills demanded on Physician Assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.

Students must be able to read and understand medical literature. The student must be able to demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in medical problem solving and patient care.

The student must be able to, with or without the use of assistive devices, but without reliance on another person, interpret x-ray, and other graphic images and digital or analog representations of physiologic phenomena (such as EKGs).

Behavioral and Social Attributes: Students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and other members of the health care team are essential. Flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and the ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice are required.

Students must function professionally and effectively in any academic or clinical setting. Students must always demonstrate the psychological and emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all academic and clinical responsibilities.

The student must demonstrate mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with University faculty and professional staff, peers and classmates, patients and other members of the health care team. Flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and the ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice are all required.

For more information on disabilities and accommodation, please contact the UNE Student Access Center at (207) 602-2815.

Grading

Upon completion of a course of study, the faculty member in charge of that course submits the number of hours taught and a grade for each student to the academic coordinator. The M.S.P.A. program uses a standard letter grading system.

Academic Policy

Course Add/Drop or Withdrawal Policy

Due to the standard curriculum sequence within the M.S.P.A. program, students are not allowed to add or drop courses. Students may not withdraw from an individual M.S.P.A. course, to do so indicates a complete withdrawal from the MSPA Program.

Repeat Course Policy

Courses in the M.S.P.A. program are offered once per year. All courses within the program must be completed with a minimum final grade of at least 74%. Students must successfully complete each course within a given semester to progress to the next semester. The Program Student Development Committee in association with the program director determines whether or not a course or part of it must be repeated. It may be necessary for the student to await the next time the course is offered in the MSPA Program schedule which may make it necessary for the student to apply for a leave of absence and if granted, return to the program when the course is next offered. 

Upon completion of a repeated course, a new listing and assigned grade are placed on the student's transcript. The original course listing and grade remain on the student's transcript. All courses are listed chronologically on the transcript by semester or academic period in which they are enrolled.

Please refer to the Westbrook College of Health Professions Graduate Progression Policy and Procedures for further information regarding graduate program progression. 

Learning Outcomes

The mission of the program is accomplished by having graduates who meet the goals of the educational process. Graduates of the Physician Assistant Program will:

  • Understand the basic sciences of anatomy, physiology, and Pathophysiology and be able to utilize this knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
  • Understand the principles of pharmacotherapeutics and to apply them in the treatment of patients.
  • Elicit a detailed, accurate history and perform a thorough physical examination.
  • Understand how to order and interpret appropriate diagnostic tests in a cost-efficient manner.
  • Present patient data and document it appropriately in the medical record.
  • Provide quality acute and ongoing patient care by appropriately delineating patient problems and by formulating and implementing patient management plans, including referrals to other healthcare providers and agencies.
  • Perform or assist in the performance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and manage or assist in the management of medical and surgical conditions, particularly in life-threatening situations.
  • Understand the principles of public health and incorporate health promotion and disease prevention into a patient care practice.
  • Use information technology in the provision of quality healthcare and clinical decision-making.
  • Evaluate the medical literature critically and apply this knowledge and the principles of evidence-based medicine to clinical practice.
  • Provide compassionate and competent healthcare to patients of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Understand the medical and social issues that affect the geriatric patient and provide appropriate management of these problems.
  • Counsel patients, their families and their caregivers regarding issues of health, illness and medical care.
  • Understand the historical and contemporary role of the physician assistant in the healthcare system.
  • Participate effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team.
  • Understand the principles of patient-oriented healthcare and to communicate clearly with patients.
  • Identify the special dynamics of providing healthcare to rural or underserved populations.
  • Demonstrate appropriate professional behavior by following the American Academy of Physician Assistants' Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession.
Transfer Credit

TRANSFER CREDIT

  • Transfer credit is not accepted or awarded.
Admissions

ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS
 

APPLICATION

The University of New England Master of Science, Physician Assistant program participates in the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). All applicants are required to apply online through this service.

DEGREE REQUIREMENT

Completion of Bachelor’s Degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution, or international equivalent, prior to matriculation.

  • All applicants are required to submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Official transcripts should be sent directly to CASPA. Please see CASPA application for additional information and instructions.

GPA REQUIREMENTS

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, as calculated by CASPA (inclusive of all coursework taken with no forgiveness for retakes).
  • Minimum Biology, Chemistry, Physics (BCP) GPA of 3.0, as calculated by CASPA.
    - BCP is the standardized GPA calculated by CASPA and includes all completed biology, chemistry, and physics coursework.
  • Last 60 credit GPA, as calculated by CASPA, will also be considered.
  • All applicants must meet minimum GPA requirements to be considered for admission. However, due to the competitive nature of the program, meeting minimum admission requirements does not guarantee an interview or acceptance.

PREREQUISITE COURSEWORK REQUIREMENTS

  • Science Courses
    • Biology I & II (w/labs; 8 semester or 12 quarter credits)
    • General Chemistry I & II (w/labs; 8 semester or 12 quarter credits)
    • Human Anatomy & Physiology (w/labs; 8 semester or 12 quarter credits)
      • Completed within seven (7) years of matriculation
      • Must include all body systems and encompass a full-year, two-semester sequence or equivalent
      • Combination of courses must consist of both 4 credits of anatomy with lab and 4 credits of physiology with lab OR 8 credits of A&P I & II (both with lab)
      • Animal Physiology/Exercise Physiology will not satisfy the physiology prerequisite
  • Other Courses
    • Psychology/Sociology or related behavioral science (6 semester or 9 quarter credits)
    • English (6 semester or 9 quarter credits)
    • Statistics (3 semester or 4.5 quarter credits)
  • Recommended Courses
    • Microbiology w/lab **  (highly recommended)
    • Pathophysiology
    • Advanced Physiology
    • Biochemistry
    • Physics

Other Important Prerequisite Coursework Notes:

  • All prerequisite courses must be successfully completed with a grade of “C” or better (“C minus” grades are not acceptable).
  • Prerequisite courses may be in progress or planned at the time of application, although all courses must be completed with official transcripts submitted to CASPA no later than December 31, 2020. All courses must be completed with an official transcript submitted to the Office of Graduate Admission prior to the start of the program.
  • Official transcripts for coursework and/or degrees completed in the summer/fall term should be submitted to CASPA for verification during the fall Academic Update period.
  • Official transcripts for coursework and/or degrees completed in the spring term should be submitted directly to UNE’s Office of Graduate Admission prior to the start of the program.

**For the entering class of 2021:

Microbiology is highly recommended and preference will be given to applications with this successfully completed course as it is indicative of future success in the rigorous PA program. Other recommended courses include: genetics, biochemistry, immunology, cell biology, advanced physiology, and pathophysiology. Added value will be given to applications with these successfully completed recommended courses.

**For the entering class of 2022:

Microbiology will be a required prerequisite course. Added value will be given to applicants that have successfully completed coursework in genetics, biochemistry, immunology, cell biology, advanced physiology, and pathophysiology.

All planned or in-progress coursework should be listed on the CASPA application at the time of application submission; not doing so will result in the applicant not meeting all admissions requirements and therefore will not be eligible for admission review.

Online courses offered through UNE’s Online Science Prerequisites as well as online courses from other regionally accredited U.S. colleges or universities are acceptable with program approval.

LETTERS OF EVALUATION

Three (3) letters of evaluation are required- submitted via CASPA

  • One (1) letter from a clinician (allopathic physician, osteopathic physician, physician assistant, or registered nurse) is required.
  • Two (2) letters from other clinicians, supervisors, or co-workers. Letters should be requested from those who can speak to the applicant’s academic abilities and/or professional experiences.
    Letters from friends or family members are not acceptable.

EXPERIENCE HOURS

All experiences should be documented in the CASPA application.

Applicants are required to complete a minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care experience:

  • Hours can be completed through paid employment or volunteer work.
  • Hours completed for academic credit, e.g. internship hours to complete a bachelor’s degree is acceptable.

Preference is given to applicants who have completed 20 hours of Physician Assistant (PA) shadowing prior to the application deadline:

  • Shadowing hours must be completed with a licensed PA.
  • Shadowing in more than one practice facility and practice area is recommended in order to gain a clear understanding of the PA role within a medical team.
  • Shadowing hours do not count toward direct patient care experience hours.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

  • Please refer to the CASPA application for a specific writing prompt and additional information.

INTERVIEWS

On-campus interviews are a required part of the application and admission process:

  • Qualified applicants will be contacted and invited to interview by the Office of Graduate Admission.
  • Interviews are done by invitation only.
  • Alternate interviewing modalities (including virtual interviews) may be instituted as necessary to address ongoing public health concerns with COVID-19. The Office of Graduate Admissions will be in touch with any updates, as necessary.

INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS

International applicants and those with foreign degrees and coursework are required to satisfy the following additional requirements:

  • Official credential evaluation by World Education Service (WES), confirming degree and grade equivalency to that of a U.S. bachelor’s degree. The completed credential evaluation should be submitted directly to CASPA. Please refer to the International Admissions section of the UNE website for more information on the type of credential evaluation required for admission review.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate written and spoken fluency through the successful completion of a UNE approved English language proficiency test.
  • Applicants should refer to the English Language Proficiency page on the UNE website for specific information and minimum score requirements.
  • Please refer to the CASPA application for test score submission instructions.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS

Prior to matriculation, accepted and deposited students will be required to complete the following compliance requirements:

  • Completion of physical examination with proof of up-to-date immunization status. Please refer to UNE’s Student Health Center for detailed information.
  • Satisfactory completion of a criminal background check and/or drug screen prior to matriculation, as well as periodically throughout the program (as required by clinical affiliations).
  • All students must have a current American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) certification at the time of matriculation. BLS certification status must remain current throughout the duration of the program.
  • Proficiency with computer technology strongly recommended.
  • All students must be able to meet the Academic and Technical Standards of the Physician Assistant profession.

Note: All materials submitted as part of the application become the property of UNE and will not be returned or released to anyone, including the applicant. This policy includes letters of reference, primary and secondary applications, personal statements, transcripts, and other supporting materials.

Due to continuing developments with the COVID-19 pandemic, some application requirements and processes may change during the cycle for the health and safety of the university, its employees, and prospective students/applicants. We appreciate your flexibility and consideration.

POLICY EXCEPTIONS

  • Policies have been established to ensure fair and consistent admissions practice for all applicants
  • Exceptions to existing admission policies are rare and made on a case by case basis, only when it is deemed necessary and appropriate to maintain fair and consistent practice for all candidates
  • All academic (coursework and degree) and experience requirements presented in this summary are subject to change per accreditation mandates or clinical affiliation requirements

ADVANCED STANDING

  • No advanced standing available

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

  • No credit awarded for experiential learning
Financial Information

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for subsequent years may vary. Other expenses include books and housing. For more information regarding tuition and fees, please consult the Financial Information section of this catalog.

Lab Fees

A fee is charged to cover the expenses for specific science courses (e.g., anatomy), certain specific course or program components (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), evaluative testing, including the use of high-fidelity simulators, etc.) and an equipment fee for personal medical equipment.

Clinical Fee

The Clinical Fee is dispersed to clinical sites during the student's clinical year. It is an honorarium paid to the clinical site in appreciation for clinical training. While dispersed to clinical sites during the clinical year, to better equalize charges and award financial aid, a portion of the fee is billed to students during both the didactic and clinical year.

Tuition and fees are refunded per UNE policy. The refund policy can be found in the University Catalog section on Financial Information for Graduate Programs.

Equipment

Students are required to have certain personal medical equipment. This equipment is group purchased (at a significant discount) for each entering Class and the equipment is delivered to students during the first week of the program. Please do not purchase personal medical equipment from sources other than the Program's group purchase.

Books

Students in the didactic phase can plan on spending approximately $1,500 to $2,000 on required textbooks. Course syllabi and the program booklist may also include recommended books which students are not required to purchase but may wish to have as important reference materials. Most of the texts used in the program are available digitally via the UNE Library's Portal and can be accessed without additional expense.

Other Expenses

Students are responsible for expenses involved with travel, parking, living expenses, and meals.

Student Employment

The program discourages students from having outside employment while attending the PA program. If a student feels that it is necessary to work while in the program, it is advisable that the student inform his/her academic advisor.

Financial Aid

Detailed information and applications are available on request from the Financial Aid Office on the Biddeford Campus. Call (207) 602-2342 or visit the Financial Aid website.

Notice and Responsibilities Regarding this Catalog

This Catalog documents the academic programs, policies, and activities of the University of New England for the 2020-2021 academic year. The information contained herein is accurate as of date of publication May 1, 2020.

The University of New England reserves the right in its sole judgment to make changes of any nature in its programs, calendar, or academic schedule whenever it is deemed necessary or desirable, including changes in course content, the rescheduling of classes with or without extending the academic term, canceling of scheduled classes or other academic activities, in any such case giving such notice thereof as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances.

While each student may work closely with an academic advisor, he or she must retain individual responsibility for meeting requirements in this catalog and for being aware of any changes in provisions or requirements.

-