colleges with undergraduate physician assistant programs

Last Updated on December 24, 2022 by

he title “physician assistant” belies the important, serious and dynamic nature of this career path. PAs are licensed healthcare professionals who practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. An often integral part of a medical team, they provide diagnostic, therapeutic and preventative services. While a PA’s duties might vary depending on the practice, physician assistants can conduct physical exams, take medical histories, order and interpret lab tests and x-rays, diagnose an illness, assist in surgery and (in most states) prescribe medications. In short, they are given a lot of responsibility.

While there are a select number of colleges that confer a bachelor’s degree to PAs, the vast majority of students who enter this field pursue a master’s. Indeed, most applicants to PA programs are already equipped with a college diploma and have a modicum of experience in health related jobs. There is no recommended major for those who want to attend a graduate program. Of course, studying a hard science such as biology or chemistry will certainly prepare you for further study. Regardless of what you ultimately decide, you will need to make sure you fulfill all of the pre-requisites mandated by your prospective schools.

Most master’s programs range between two and three years. Typically, the first year is devoted to classroom study. Like med students, you will take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology and pathology (to name a few). Beginning in the second year, you will embark on the clinical portion of the program. During this time, you will rotate between different areas working in family medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery and geriatrics. You’ll want to work hard during these rotations as they can lead to future employment. Finally, though licensing does vary by state, all physician assistants must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination before obtaining certification.

If you decide to take this route, you’ll find a demanding and rewarding career. As a physician assistant, you’ll need to be a quick thinker and able to make decisions in difficult and emergency situations. Additionally, since you will be interacting with patients continually, you will want to hone your communication skills and bedside manner. Indeed, a desire to help people is what motivates many students to become a PA

Nuts and Bolts

If you choose to enroll in a physician assistant program you will take classes such as: Human Gross Anatomy, Pathobiology, Clinical Medicine, Diagnostic Imaging, Ethics and Health Care, Principles of Clinical Pharmacology, Behavioral Aspects of Medicine, Patient Assessment, Microbiology and Medical Terminology.

Decisions, Decisions

Students thinking about pursuing a career as a physician assistant might consider majoring in these subjects while in undergrad: biology, chemistry, biochemistry, nursing, physical therapy, health sciences, neuroscience, nutrition, psychology, human development, pharmacology, gerontology, genetics or child development.

What’s Next

Similar to doctors, PAs work in a number of locations, from hospitals and clinics to the armed forces, nursing homes and government agencies. However, historically, physician assistants have often found positions in underserved communities providing care to those who would otherwise not have access to quality health services. Additionally, just like doctors, PAs can focus on everything from primary care to any medical or surgical specialty. As a physician assistant, you will be required to complete 100 hours of continuing medical education courses every two years and take a recertification exam every six years. Importantly, it is a fast-growing career and employment opportunities should abound for the foreseeable future. https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=http%3A%2F%2Fmycollegeoptions.org&layout=standard&show_faces=false&width=380&action=recommend&colorscheme=light&height=25

There are three roles in the broad healthcare field that are considered to be primary care providers: Physician, Nurse Practitioner, and Physician Assistant (PA). All three are important, but the PA career arguably might provide the best return compared to the other two primary care roles, for many reasons:

  1. A shorter study commitment. Unlike most master’s degree programs that require 30-42 credits and take 1-2 years to complete, healthcare-related master’s often need a significant commitment in studies – sometimes full-time. In fact, many of the MPA programs listed in this article require 100+ credits (combination of course work and clinical experience) that may take 2-3 years full-time of courses and clinical experiences. However, this is still less time than going to medical school to become a physician, and you will likely be earning a living in the healthcare field far sooner. As well, PAs can focus on one of several specialty areas of medical practice, if they prefer.
  2. Reduced student debt potential. MPA programs can be costly, but as your study commitment is lower, and your earning likely to happen sooner than for medical school, not only is your overall student debt potential reduced, but your ROI (return on investment) starts materializing sooner.
  3. Help people sooner. Becoming a Physician Assistant gives you the qualifications to practice many aspects of a physician’s role as part of a team, under supervision of a physician, without going to medical school. Your reasons for going to medical school will vary compared to another student. But if you are pursuing a healthcare profession because you want to help people in their health-related needs, then a Physician Assistant career will provide that for you. While PA programs generally follow a medical model of education, with the right training, you can also choose a specialty in which to practice as a PA.
  4. Have a dedicated mentor in the supervising physician. In most states, PAs practice medicine under a licensed physician (but may practice independently in underserved/ rural areas). While this will not count towards becoming a full physician on its own, you have the benefit of learning additional health practitioner skills while earning a living.
  5. Ample career opportunities. There is a huge demand for PAs across the USA, due to the combination of retiring physicians and the time needed to complete medical school and residency, not to mention the growing population. In fact, an AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) report indicates there may be a shortage of nearly 122,000 physicians in the USA by 2030. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) indicates an expected increase in Physician Assistant jobs of 31% between 2018 to 2028 — higher than the U.S. national average for all jobs in the same time period.
  6. Good salary potential. While your earnings will vary based on region of employment, and it will not be at the level of a full physician, a Physician Assistant salary can be very respectable – nearly as much, on average, as a Nurse Practitioner. U.S. News & World Report ranked the PA position as the top healthcare industry job, #3 for STEM jobs, and also the #3 job across all careers in the USA that they evaluated. Early six-figure salaries for PAs are not uncommon, and both PAs and Nurse Practitioners tend to earn a higher salary on average than Registered Nurses (RNs).
  7. International-student-friendly. Students who cannot complete the residency required (whether due to visa reasons or otherwise) to become a physician may prefer to pursue a PA career instead.
  8. Any combination of the factors above go a long way towards high job satisfaction.

Physician Assistant Careers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), the 2018 median pay for Physician Assistants was $108,610/ year, with a Master’s degree being the typical entry level education. The job growth rate has been very high in recent years, changing slightly downwards with each new OOH update, but still ranking as one of the fastest growing professions. [OOH Physician Assistant job profile]

This article looks at the 50 best, most affordable, accredited traditional masters degrees in Physician-Assistant-related studies that lead to careers as a Physician Assistant. A shortlist of the potential job titles or work environments for graduates of such advanced academic programs in physician assistant studies are shown in part below – some of which may require other education, training and/or certification. The rankings start after the Methodology section.

  • Adjunct Instructor or Professor
  • Certified Physician Assistant
  • Clinical Physician Assistant
  • Health Specialties Teacher
  • Occupational Therapy Professor
  • Physician Assistant
  • Postsecondary Teacher

Affordable Degrees Ranking Methodology

Data for the colleges listed in this article comes from NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) and IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) Data Center, both maintained by the U.S. Dept of Education.

  • Step 1: Query NCES for public U.S. institutions offering graduate programs in “Physician Assistant.”
  • Step 2: Refine the results with data from IPEDS, of colleges offering online master’s programs.
  • Step 3: Combine the two resulting data sets based on IPEDS ID.
  • Step 4: For each institution, add any mandatory graduate fees to the graduate in-state tuition (which is an average of all programs at a given institution), to determine approximate yearly tuition+fees cost.
  • Step 5: Sort by estimated in-state cost.
  • Step 6: Manually verify that an institution actually has one or more master’s degree programs in the above topics.

NOTE: Actual tuition for a master of physician assistant program at a given institution may vary greatly from their institutional graduate average plus mandatory graduate fees, especially because of the way average tuition for an institution is calculated, and the tuition variance between programs at a single institution.

As well, some institutions may have multiple additional semesterly fee requirements in their PA program for equipment, labs, etc. And there may be additional costs for students due to program-related presentations during clinical phases or simply from participating in clinical experiences, such as airfare, transportation, room and board, etc.

Verify all costs before applying to any college/ university. Also consider that maintaining PA accreditation requires ongoing education (CME = Continuing Medical Education) of 100 hours every two years, and taking a re-certification exam every 10 years. These requirements will add to career costs post-graduation from a master’s degree in physician assistant studies.

Best, Most Affordable Traditional Master’s Degrees in Physician Assistant Studies

50. James Madison University

Harrisonburg, Virginia

Website

James Madison University (JMU, est. 1908) is a public institution. Originally founded as a women’s college, it accepted male students as of 1946 and currently serves students online and on-campus.

JMU offers exceptional bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one high-value
traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Health Professions within the College of Health and Behavioral Studies, this is an affordable, 101-credit, 7-semester (28-month), on-campus degree that is accredited by ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant). It accepts a maximum of 32 students per year, and is suited to individuals seeking clinical career opportunities as a primary care physician assistant — particularly for the state of Virginia. Students will complete clinical rotations and a Capstone, along with coursework.

Sample courses include: Pathophysiology for Physician Assistants; The Physician Assistant Profession; Health Care Environment.

  • In-state: $ 11,640 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 28,958 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: BloombergBusiness; Forbes Magazine; Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (Best Values in Public Colleges); U.S. News & World Report (Most Innovative Schools; Top Public Schools; Regional Universities South; Best Undergraduate Teaching; Best Value Schools; Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs); Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: Musicians Leroi Moore and Butch Taylor (members of Dave Matthews Band)
  • #students: 21,751
  • #grads: 1,828
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

49. Mississippi College

Clinton, Mississippi

Website

Mississippi College (MC, est. 1826) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Baptist Convention, and the largest private college in the state, as well as the oldest statewide. It serves students a Christian education on-campus and online.

MC offers high-value bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the lowest-cost traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Medicine (MSM) – Physician Assistant (PA).

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, this is an economical, 143-credit, on-campus Physician Assistant program of 30 months, with a maximum of 30 students admitted each Summer. The 143 credits consists of 77cr didactic and 66cr clinical. Students will complete practicums in eight clinical practice areas. Assuming all requirements are satisfied, graduates of the program are prepared to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE) developed by the NCCPA (National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants) – with MC’s 5-year PANCE pass rate being 95%. Successful PAs will practice as with supervising physicians, delivering medical and surgical services, conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating illness, prescribing medications, supervising technicians and more. PAs can specialize in a specific medical area that includes: emergency medicine; family/ general medicine; internal medicine; ob/gyn; occupational medicine; pediatric medicine; surgery.

Sample courses include: Diagnostic Medicine; Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics; Behavioral and Community Medicine.

  • In-state: $ 11,630 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 11,630 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report’s (Best Value Schools; Best Colleges for Veterans; Best Undergraduate Teaching; Regional Universities South; Best Online Graduate Education Programs)
  • Notable alumni: Professional wrestler Ted DiBiase Jr, aka Million Dollar Champion
  • #students: 5,103
  • #grads: 1,871
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

48. Francis Marion University

Florence, South Carolina

Website

Francis Marion University (FMU, est. 1970) is a public institution serving students on campus and online. While not an HBCU (Historically Black College/ University), African Americans make up 45% of the student body.

FMU offers best-value bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the least expensive on-campus programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

This is a 98-credit, on-campus, affordable Physician Assistant program of 27 months, with a curriculum that consists of didactic (61cr) and clinical (37cr) phases. A capstone and clinical rotations are part of the curriculum. Graduates of this program can sit for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination), to earn professional certification as a PA. They will work with a supervising physician to conduct patient interviews and physical exams, interpret lab results, evaluate and manage acute and chronic disease in patients, and more.

Sample courses include: Intro to the Physician Assistant Profession; Fundamentals of Medical Science; Health Systems and Risk Management.

  • In-state: $ 11,388 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 22,000 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Top Public Schools; Best Colleges for Veterans; Top Performers on Social Mobility; Best Value Schools; Regional Universities South)
  • Notable alumni: Antiques Roadshow TV host Mark L. Walberg
  • #students: 3,940
  • #grads: 458
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

47. University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Website

University of Iowa (UI, est. 1847) is a public institution and the first in the state. It boasts over 40 Pulitzer Prize winners amongst faculty and alumni, and has a bike-friendly campus in a top college town (as per American Institute for Economic Research, 2017) considered #2 best place to live (Livability.com). It also boasts a top hospital (as per U.S. News & World Report), and admitted men and women of all races from its start. This gives it a milestone of having had the first co-ed medical school in the country.

UI offers economical bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one affordable on-campus program in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies within the Carver College of Medicine, this is a 28-month, non-thesis, low-priced master’s degree of didactic and clinical phases open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only. By design, PA students “complete their didactic curriculum with medical students” in this program, which currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant). Graduates will be prepared for the PANCE (National Certifying Examination for Physician Assistants) – an exam which UI PA students have achieved top 5-10% scores on every year since 1974. They may then find careers as either Physician Assistant (PA) or a PA Hospitalist, and the department lists job opportunities on their Web site. They may also decide to first pursue doctoral studies in any of a range of focus areas including health and human physiology, health management and policy, preventive medicine and more.

Sample courses include: Medical Gross Anatomy; Medicine and Society; Mechanisms of Health and Disease. A capstone is also part of the curriculum.

  • In-state: $ 11,336 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 30,277 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Fiske Guide to Colleges (Best Buy list); Princeton Review (Happiest Students; Best Colleges); Reuters (Most Innovative Universities); U.S. News & World Report (Best Graduate Schools – Physician Assistant; Best Public Universities; Best Colleges for Veterans; Best Public Universities; Best National Universities); Victory Media (Military Friendly Schools); Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: Actors Ashton Kutcher and Gene Wilder; actress Mary Beth Hurt; Gallup Poll founder George Gallup; Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams
  • #students: 31,656
  • #grads: 7,667
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

46. Marywood University

Scranton, Pennsylvania

Website

Marywood University (MU, est. 1915) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Initially a women’s college and coed since 1989, it serves students on campus and online.

MU offers affordable bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs – including 30+ master’s programs alone. It has one low-cost traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS), with an optional Pre-Physician Assistant/ Pre-Professional phase available.

This is a best-value, 79-credit, on-campus Physician Assistant degree program of 24 months (12 mos didactic, 12 clinical), with a May start date, and End-of-Rotation activities (exams, lectures, professional development) on-campus every five weeks. It currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant). Students will complete clinical rotations in emergency medicine, family medicine, general surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, women’s health and an elective. In addition, students have the option of choosing one specialized Clinical Track (Emergency Medicine; General Surgery; Hospitalist; Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine), which adds 10 weeks of clinical practice without affecting the 24-month timeline, as the specialty track will replace one of the family practice and one of the internal medicine rotations.

The MPAS program tests students on topics that will appear in the PANCE professional certification exam, which they will be eligible to sit for post-graduation. Graduates may find opportunities working with physicians to diagnose illness, order xrays, lab and diagnostic studies, prescribe medication, assist in surgery and more.

Sample courses include: Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis; Culturally Competent Medicine and Underserved Populations; Laboratory Medicine.

Alternatives: Students who lack some of the requirements for the MPAS may be qualified for the post-baccalaureate PA Program Eligibility Track, which consists of up to 39 undergrad credits in biology and chemistry courses and labs.

  • In-state: $ 11,300 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 11,300 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Best Colleges for Veterans; Best Value Schools; Regional Universities North)
  • Notable alumni: MSNBC news presenter Colette Cassidy; author/ playwright Jean Kerr
  • #students: 2,853
  • #grads: 919
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

45. Wingate University

Wingate, North Carolina

Website

Wingate University (WU, est. 1896) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. It serves students on two campuses and online.

WU offers best-value bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the least expensive on-campus programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, this is a 116-credit, economical Physician Assistant program with synchronous distance-learning classes delivered at two campuses, plus in-person clinical/ field experiences. The program admits a total of 40 students (across two campuses) each August and is 27 months (44 weeks didactic, 59 weeks clinical). The curriculum includes a capstone, comprehensive written exam and clinical hours. Clinical rotations include Ambulatory Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry/ Behavioral Health, General Surgery, Women’s Health, Emergency Medicine, and two elective rotations. Graduates of this degree program are qualified to sit for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam) professional certification exam.

Sample courses include: Clinical Medicine; Patient Assessment; Clinical Anatomy. A capstone and a comprehensive exam are required for graduation, as is the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). The program currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 11,250 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 11,250 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (National Universities)
  • Notable alumni: Grammy-Award-winning opera singer Anthony Dean Griffey
  • #students: 3,689
  • #grads: 963
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

44. Ohio Dominican University

Columbus, Ohio

Website

Ohio Dominican University (ODU, est. 1911) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Dominican Order. Initially a women’s college that went coed in 1964, its student population still leans to slightly female (about 57% to 43%).

ODU offers high-value associate’s through master’s level degrees, plus certificate programs – with nearly 50 inexpensive degree programs in total. It has one cheap traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

This is a 94-credit, on-campus, economical, Physician Assistant program of 27 months (15 mos didactic, 12 clinical). The clinical year consists of professional development, four non-core rotations, and seven core rotations (Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Women’s Health, Pediatrics, Surgery, Behavioral Medicine). The professional development portion is a board review to prepare for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination), for which graduates of this program will be eligible to sit.

Sample courses include: The Physician Assistant Profession; Gross Human Anatomy; Clinical Medicine. Students also receive HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules training and certification.

  • In-state: $ 11,250 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 11,250 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Victory Media (Military Friendly School); U.S. News & World Report (Regional Universities Midwest; Best Online Graduate Education Programs)
  • Notable alumni: YouTube fitness personality Meg Gallagher, aka Meg Squats.
  • #students: 1,716
  • #grads: 528
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

43. CUNY York College

Jamaica, New York

Website

CUNY York College (CUNY York, est. 1966) is a public institution and a member of the City University of New York (CUNY) System. It serves students online and on campus.

CUNY York offers economical bachelor’s and master’s level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one low cost on-campus program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Health Professions, this is an inexpensive, 87-credit, full-time, on-campus Physician Assistant program of 28-month with didactic (63cr) and clinical (24cr) phases. It starts each Fall and accepts a maximum of 30 students per year. Clinical rotation areas include: Ambulatory Care; Emergency Medicine; Family Practice; Internal Medicine; Long-Term Care; Obstetrics/ Gynecology; Pediatric Medicine; Psychiatry; Surgery. Clinical sites are currently in NY state, within or relatively close to NYC. Graduates of this master’s degree are prepared for the PANCE professional certification exam, successful completion of which allows them to apply for state-specific licensure, to practice medicine as Physician Assistants, typically under physician supervision, and possibly as part of a health care team.

Sample courses include: Physical Diagnosis; Clinical Anatomy; Applied Medical Sciences. The MSPAS degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant). Note that some courses are hybrid, with online and in-person components.

Alternatives: Students seeking a bachelor’s program may be interested in York’s BS in Health Science, which is a suitable prerequisite for the MSPAS.

  • In-state: $ 11,198 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 20,348 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Top Performers on Social Mobility; Regional Colleges North)
  • Notable alumni: Author/ political advisor James Seigel
  • #students: 8,693
  • #grads: 198
  • Has housing: No
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

42. Florida International University

Miami, Florida

Website

Florida International University (FIU, est. 1965) is a public institution and a member of the State University System of Florida. One of the country’s largest universities, it serves students online and on multiple campuses.

FIU offers high-value associate’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the cheapest traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, this is an on-campus and affordable Physician Assistant program of 27 months (15m didactic; 12m clinical – with nine clerkships in different areas of expertise). Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination) professional certification exam for PA credentials. Certified PAs will find career opportunities under the supervision of a physician, in roles requiring diagnosis and treatment or patients’ illnesses or prevention of them, performing physical exams or ordering tests and interpreting results, prescription of medications and more.

Sample courses include: Clinical Skills; Clinical Medicine; The Role of the PA in American Health Care. Note: the MPAS degree has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 11,097 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 23,578 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Brookings Institute (upward student social mobility); U.S. News & World Report (National Universities; Top Performers on Social Mobility; Most Innovative Schools; Top Public Schools; Best Online Graduate Education Programs; MBA programs with the most diversity; Best Online MBA Programs)
  • Notable alumni: Actor Andy Garcia
  • #students: 57,942
  • #grads: 9,124
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

41. CUNY City College

New York, New York

Website

CUNY City College (CCNY, est. 1847) is a public institution and a member of the City University of New York (CUNY) System. Its alumni include winners of the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal and more. Students are served online and on several campuses.

CCNY offers low-priced bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one inexpensive on-campus program in physician assistant studies: a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) – one of the oldest PA programs in the United States.

Delivered by the School of Medicine, this is an 80-credit, on-campus, cheap Physician Assistant program of 28 months (seven semesters), and has a commitment to increasing the number of PAs from historically underserved communities. Students will clerkships in 10 areas: Critical Care; Emergency Medicine; Geriatrics; Internal Medicine; Obstetrics/ Gynecology; Pediatrics; Primary Care; Psychiatry; Surgery; Elective. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam for PAs, after which they may find career opportunities practice medicine under supervision of a licensed physician. This includes working in family medicine, primary care, sub-specialty surgery and other environments, and practicing in- and out-patient and emergency medicine, etc.

Sample courses include: Clinical Anatomy; Clinical Medicine; Patient Interviewing. Note: the MSPAS degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 11,082 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 20,232 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; Princeton Review; U.S. News & World Report (Physician Assistant; Top Performers on Social Mobility; Top Public Schools; National Universities); Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: fashion designer Ralph Lauren (attended); former New York City Mayor Ed Koch; UN Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan
  • #students: 16,043
  • #grads: 2,857
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

40. Carroll University

Waukesha, Wisconsin

Website

Carroll University (Carroll, est. 1846) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA, and named after one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. It has a milestone or being Wisconsin’s first four-year college/ university.

Carroll offers economical bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one high-value traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

This is an affordable, 120-credit, full-time, on-campus degree consisting of a year of courses and a year of clinical rotations – however, there are supervised clinical practicums in the first year. Second-year clinical rotations include the following areas: behavioral medicine; emergency medicine; family practice; general surgery; internal medicine; pediatrics; prenatal care; women’s health; and a medical or surgical sub-specialty. Students may also have an option for an international clinical experience. Graduates of the low-priced Physician Assistant program will be eligible to sit for the PANCE certification exam – which the school has a 98% pass rate on, for all first-time takes (5-yr average of 96%). Certified PAs will practice medicine under physician supervision looking at medical history, doing physical exams, diagnosing and treating ailments, ordering tests and interpreting results, producing treatment plans, prescribing medicine, and more.

Sample courses include: Human Gross Anatomy; Medical Physiology; Patient Assessment-History and Physical Exam. A capstone is part of the curriculum. The program has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

Alternatives: Five bachelor’s programs, completion of which may qualify graduates admission into the MSPAS degree: Biochemistry; Biology; Chemistry; Psychology; Public Health. Carroll also suggests any of these as minors, as well as Communication or Health and Human Experience.

  • In-state: $ 10,944 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 10,944 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; Princeton Review; U.S. News & World Report (Best Value Schools; Regional Universities Midwest; Top Performers on Social Mobility)
  • Notable alumni: Actors Alfred Lunt, Dennis Morgan and Fred MacMurray (attended)
  • #students: 3,352
  • #grads: 451
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

39. North Greenville University

Tigerville, South Carolina

Website

North Greenville University (NGU, est. 1891) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. It integrates a Christian worldview into its education programs, and serves students on campus and online.

NGU offers inexpensive bachelor’s through doctorate level degree programs – over 50 degrees in total. It has one of the lowest-cost traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Medical Science (MMS) – PA Medicine.

This is a 131-credit, on-campus, affordable Physician Assistant program taking a total of 24 months, divided into three phases: Didactic (12mos); Clinical (11m); Summative (1m). Clerkships during the clinical phase include: Psychiatry/Mental Health; Emergency Medicine; General Surgery; Internal Medicine; Prenatal and Gynecology; Pediatrics; Family Medicine; Elective. Some of these clerkships have an on-campus presentation component, which will have an additional cost attached for students, including expenses such as airfare, transportation, food and lodging, etc. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the PANCE national certifying exam – for which NGU students achieved a first-time taker pass rate of 100% (5yr average = 96%). Certified PAs can then practice medicine as part of a licensed physician’s team, under the latter’s supervision, performing services such as primary care and assistance in surgery, working in physician’s offices, hospitals, nursing homes and more.

Sample courses include: Research and Evidence Based Medicine; Population Health; Functional and Preventive Medicine.

  • In-state: $ 10,880 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 10,880 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine (Low Debt Private Colleges; B rating for financial health 2016); U.S. News & World Report (Best Regional Universities – South)
  • Notable alumni: NFL football players Clayton Holmes and Freddie Martino
  • #students: 2,578
  • #grads: 259
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

38. Concordia University-Wisconsin

Mequon, Wisconsin

Website

Concordia University-Wisconsin (CUW, est. 1881) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod/ Concordia University System. Integrating Lutheran Christian values into its academic programs, it serves students online and on a campus ranked one of the safest in the state.

CUW offers high-value associate’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the least expensive traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

Delivered by the School of Health Professions, this is a 117-credit, on-campus, low-priced Physician Assistant program with didactic and clinical phases (11 months). Required clinical areas are: behavioral medicine; emergency medicine; family medicine; general surgery; internal medicine; pediatrics; women’s health; two elective rotations. Graduates of the MSPAS degree are qualified to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam. After being certified, PAs can practice medicine working in collaboration with an MD or DO, doing physical exams, diagnoses, assisting in surgery, etc. Work environments may include clinics, hospitals, doctor’s offices, universities.

Sample courses include: Human Anatomy for PAs; Evidence Based Medicine; Public Health and Epidemiology. The MSPAS program currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 10,848 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 10,848 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Regional Universities Midwest; Best Value Schools; Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs; Best Online Graduate Education Programs; Best Online MBA Programs; Best Online Graduate Business Programs Excluding MBA)
  • Notable alumni: Author/ educator Walter Wangerin Jr.; NFL tackle John Scardina
  • #students: 6,374
  • #grads: 2,881
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

37. Lenoir-Rhyne University

Hickory, North Carolina

Website

Lenoir-Rhyne University (LR, est. 1825) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Lutheran Church North Carolina Synod/ Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It serves students online and on three campuses.

LR offers inexpensive bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one affordable traditional program in physician assistant studies: Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

This is a 110-credit, on-campus, economical Physician Assistant program of 27 months (15 didactic; 12 clinical) admitting up to 48 students each January. Clinical rotations are conducted at out- or in-patient sites, in areas that include: emergency medicine; family/ primary care; gynecology/ women’s health; internal medicine; obstetrics; pediatrics; psychiatry/ behavioral medicine. Additional specialty rotations are available in: Cardiology; Dermatology; ENT; Gastroenterology; Gerontology; Orthopedics; Plastic Surgery; Radiology; Urology. Graduates of this MSPAS master’s degree will be eligible to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam, after which they can serve in medical practice under supervision of a licensed physician, usually in underserved areas in the United States, or internationally.

Sample courses include: Foundations of Medical Science; Clinical Medicine; Healthcare Law and Ethics. A capstone is part of the curriculum. Note: The MSPAS degree has Accreditation-Provisional status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

Alternatives: 3+2 dual-degree Pre-Physician Assistant Studies track (BS in Medical Studies and MSPAS)

  • In-state: $ 10,620 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 10,620 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Regional Universities South; Best Value Schools; Best Colleges for Veterans)
  • Notable alumni: Actor Burgess Jenkins (Remember the Titans); stand-up comedian Tom Segura
  • #students: 2,700
  • #grads: 875
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

36. Bethel University – Tennessee

McKenzie, Tennessee

Website

Bethel University – Tennessee (BU, est. 1842) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, and one of the oldest colleges/ universities in the state. Incorporating Christian ideals into its programs, it serves students of various backgrounds on seven campuses/ satellite campuses, as well as online.

BU offers affordable associate’s through master’s level degree programs. It has one low-cost traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

Delivered by the College of Health Sciences, this is a high-value, 147-credit, on-campus, full-time Physician Assistant degree expected to take seven semesters/ 27 months (12 didactic, 15 clinical). The clinical phase has 11 rotations (eight are core), with areas that cover: Business of Medicine; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; Family Medicine/ Pediatrics; Family Medicine/ Women’s Health; General Surgery; Internal Medicine; Mental/ Behavioral Health. There are three elective rotations and a Summative course. Graduates of the program qualify to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam (most recent pass rate is 98%, with a 5-year average of 95%).

Sample courses include: Clinical Medicine; The PA Profession; Behavioral Medicine. Note: The MSPAS degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 10,609 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 10,609 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Regional Universities South)
  • Notable alumni: model/ singer/ songwriter Gin Cooley
  • #students: 5,407
  • #grads: 847
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

35. University of Missouri-Kansas City

Kansas City, Missouri

Website

University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC, est. 1933) is a public institution and a member of the University of Missouri System. It serves students online and at multiple locations.

UMKC offers best-value bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one cheap traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant (MMS-PA).

Delivered by the School of Medicine (SoM). this is a 129.5-credit, on-campus and affordable Physician Assistant program with didactic and clinical phases. Clinical rotations total 40 weeks, and areas covered include: Behavioral Medicine; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; General Surgery; Geriatrics; Internal Medicine; Pediatrics; Women’s Health; Electives (two). Students have access to SoM resources, including: Clinical Training Facility, Health Sciences library, and Medical Education Media Center. Additional elective clinical experiences are also available. Graduates will be eligible for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam) professional certification exam — with a recent pass rate (first-time takers) for SoM PA grads of 100% (5yr average of 96%). Certified PAs practice medicine under physician supervision.

Sample courses include: Anatomy for the PA; Foundations in Basic Medical Science; Clinical Assessment for the PA. A capstone, a Professional Development course, and a Summative Exam are part of the curriculum. Note: The MMS-PA has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 10,605 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 10,605 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; Princeton Review (Best Value); U.S. News & World Report (Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs; Top Performers on Social Mobility; Top Public Schools; National Universities)
  • Notable alumni: Tool drummer Danny Carey; Pulitzer-Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Mike Keefe (Denver Post); comedian/ actress Edie McClurg
  • #students: 16,375
  • #grads: 5,056
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

34. Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, Arizona

Website

Northern Arizona University (NAU, est. 1899) is a public institution governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. The university, which has seen well over a 200% increase in admissions since 2003, serves students through NAU Online and on 22 campuses, the main one of which has earned a Gold rating for sustainability initiatives (from AASHE/ STARS).

NAU offers economical bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the least expensive traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS), accredited by ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, and partial collaboration with University of Arizona College of Medicine, this is a 103-credit, on-campus and low-priced Physican Assistant program of 24 months, following a medical model and based in the Phoenix Biomedical Campus (operated in joint with the University of Arizona – Phoenix College of Medicine). Students will gain experience in partnered clinics and hospitals. Graduates of the program will be prepared to sit for the PANCE national certification exam for Physician Assistants, completion of which will open up career opportunities on a health care team, practicing medicine under the supervision of a physician. NAU’s most-recent PANCE pass rate is 92% (5-year average is 97%). Certified PAs can then practice on a healthcare team under supervision of a licensed physician, conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating patients, assisting in surgery, writing prescriptions, and possibly delivering education, research or administrative services.

Sample courses include: Foundations of Clinical Practice; History Taking and Physical Examination; Diagnostic Medicine. A capstone experience is required and consists of both an independent project and a summative exam. Note: The MPAS degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 10,593 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 20,015 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Diverse: Issues in Higher Education (for the number of undergrad degrees awarded to Native American students, and also to Hispanic students); Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education (for the number of undergrad degrees awarded to Hispanic students); Military Times (Best for Vets: Colleges); PolicyMic (most popular American universities); Princeton Review (Best Business Schools; Guide to Green Colleges); U.S. News & World Report (Best Graduate Schools – topical)
  • Notable alumni: Multi-genre NY Times bestselling novelist Diana Gabaldon (Outlander)
  • #students: 31,066
  • #grads: 3,994
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

33. Towson University

Towson, Maryland

Website

Towson University (Towson, est. 1866) is a public institution and a member of the University System of Maryland. Originally a teacher training school, it now delivers a range of academic programs to students on two campuses and online, and has a commitment to a diverse and inclusive campus.

Towson offers best-value bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one low cost traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Health Sciences within the College of Health Professions, in partnership with Community College of Baltimore County-Essex, this is a 98-credit, full-time, on-campus and cheap Physician Assistant program of 26 months (continuous). It has affiliations to many prestigious Baltimore-area medical teaching institutions, including Johns Hopkins Hospital, amongst others. The bulk of clinical experiences takes place after the didactic year, and covers areas such as: family medicine; gynecology; internal medicine; obstetrics; psychiatry/ behavioral medicine; surgery. Graduates of this master’s degree will be prepared for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination) professional certification exam, for which Towson PA program graduates have a 96% 5-year average pass rate. Certified PAs can then provide healthcare to underserved communities under supervision of a doctor of medicine or osteopathy.

Sample courses include: Public Health and Preventive Medicine; Research Methods in Physician Assistant Practice; Ethics, Issues and Trends in Physician Assistant Practice. A graduate project is part of the curriculum. Note: This MSPAS degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 10,062 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 18,108 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; Kiplinger’s Personal Finance; Money Magazine (Best Colleges for Your Money); Princeton Review (Best Colleges); U.S. News & World Report (National Universities; Best Value Regional – North; Top Public Schools; Best Online Graduate Education Programs); Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: Actor Charles Dutton (Roc); actress/ WWE wrestler Stacy Keibler
  • #students: 22,923
  • #grads: 3,105
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

32. University of Lynchburg

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

University of Lynchburg (UL, est. 1903) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Christian Church/ Disciples of Christ. It incorporates a Christian worldview into its academic offering, and serves students online and on campus.

UL offers top-value bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the cheapest traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Medicine (MPAM).

Delivered by the School of PA Medicine, this is an on-campus program of 27 months, accepting up to 40 students per cohort (May start). In addition to courses (didactic phase), students will also complete over 2,000 hours of clinical rotations, especially in the areas of emergency medicine, family medicine, general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, primary care. Rotation environments include ambulatory clinics, acute or long-term care facilities, physician offices, etc. Students also have access to an anatomy lab, with flat screen monitors and nearly two dozen cadaver stations. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the PANCE national certification exam. Certified PAs can then practice medicine under a supervising licensed physician, which may include illness diagnosis and treatment, performing physical exams, patient education, ordering lab tests and interpreting results, doing rounds in hospitals or nursing homes, prescribing medicine, etc.

Note: The MPAM degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

Alternatives: Online Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc), for those already holding the MPAM or equivalent.

  • In-state: $ 10,014 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 10,014 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Best Value Schools; Best Colleges for Veterans; Regional Universities South; Top Performers on Social Mobility)
  • Notable alumni: Actress Deirdre Quinn (Heroes, Miss Congeniality)
  • #students: 3,081
  • #grads: 995
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

31. Trevecca Nazarene University

Nashville, Tennessee

Website

Trevecca Nazarene University (TNU, est. 1901) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene/ Protestant Church. Combining education and the Christian faith in its offering, it serves students online and on three campuses (in Tennessee and Georgia).

TNU offers economical associate’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs – nearly 140 high-value degree programs in total. It has one inexpensive traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Medicine – Physician Assistant (MSM-PA).

This is a 142-credit, on-campus and low-priced Physician Assistant program of seven semesters/ 27 months (seven semesters: 15 mos didactic; 12 clinical) – and reputedly the longest-running PA program in the state. Students will have eight 6-week rotations, including: Behavioral and Mental Health; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; General Surgery; Internal Medicine; Pediatrics; and an Elective rotation. Graduates are eligible to sit for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam) professional certification exam – for which TNU PA first-time test takers have achieved a 5-year average pass rate of 99%. Certified PAs work on inter-professional teams to deliver patient-centered healthcare in diverse populations.

Sample courses include: Medical Ethics; Research Methods and Designs in Medicine; Clinical Medicine. Note: The MSM-PA degree has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 10,004 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 10,004 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: “U.S. News & World Report (National Universities; Graduate Physician Assistant Programs)
  • Notable alumni: UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (mixed-martial artist and paramedic)
  • #students: 3,927
  • #grads: 1,616
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

30. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

La Crosse, Wisconsin

Website

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL, est. 1909) is a public institution and a member of the University of Wisconsin System. Founded as a teacher training school, it currently delivers academic programs in a range of topics, serving students on campus and online.

UWL offers affordable associate’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one high-value traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

Delivered via a partnership with three other organizations (including the Mayo Clinic), this is a 108-credit, full-time, on-campus and inexpensive Physician Assistant degree program offered in partnership with the Mayo Clinic School of Health Science and the Gundersen Medical Foundation, with a timeline of 24 months full-time (12 Preclinical, 12 Clinical), and a Summer start date. The clinical phase consists of 44 weeks of clinical rotations (11 at four weeks each). Rotation areas include: Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; General Surgery; Internal Medicine; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Pediatrics; Psychiatry; Selective/ Elective rotations (four). Graduates of the program are qualified to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam – for which UWL PA graduates have a 5-year average first-time pass rate of 100%. After certification and state-specific licensure, PAs work with on a team, partnered with a physician, performing medical tasks that include: taking patient histories; conducting physical exams; diagnosing and treating patients; assisting in surgery; writing prescriptions; performing clinical research and more.

Sample courses include: Medical History and Physical Exam; Evidence Based Medicine; Medical Diagnostics. A capstone is part of the curriculum. Note: The MSPAS degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 9,915 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 19,985 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (Best College Values); Princteon Review (Best Midwestern Colleges); The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students (LGBT-friendly); U.S. News & World Report (Top Public Schools; Physician Assistant; Regional Universities Midwest; Best Value Schools; Top Performers on Social Mobility)
  • Notable alumni: Actor/ producer Dan Davies (“Ed Gein, the Musical”); professional PGA golfer Don Iverson
  • #students: 10,597
  • #grads: 870
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

29. Ohio University

Athens, Ohio

Website

Ohio University (OU, est. 1804) is a public institution and amongst the oldest in the United States. In its time, many students have graduated as alumni and become successful, including numerous Pulitzer Prize winners. Students participate online, at the main campus, and at multiple regional/ educational/ extension campuses.

OU offers high-value associate’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the lowest-cost traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master’s in Physician Assistant Practice (MPAP).

Delivered by the School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences within the College of Health Sciences and Professions, this is a 102-credit, on-campus and economical Physician Assistant program of seven semesters/ 27 months that starts each May. Clinical experiences emphasize “primary care in urban and rural medically under-served communities in Ohio and throughout Appalachia.” Clinical rotation locales are both in-state and out-of-state, and may incur extra expenses for students. Rotation areas include: Behavioral and Mental Health; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; General Surgery; Internal Medicine; Pediatric Medicine; Women’s Health; General and Specialty Selective (three total). Graduates of the MPAP are eligible to take the PANCE professional certification exam, for which OU PA grads have achieved a 5-year average first-time pass rate of 96%. After certification and state licensure, PAs work within a healthcare team supervised by a physician, in a primary care setting.

Sample courses include: Physician Assistant Practice; Clinical Gross Anatomy for the Physician Assistant; Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for the Physician Assistant. A Graduate Project is part of the curriculum. Note: The MPAP degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 9,720 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 17,712 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Bloomberg Businessweek; Forbes Magazine; Peterson’s Guide to Competitive Colleges; Princeton Review; U.S. News & World Report (National Universities; Top Public Schools; Best Online Graduate Education Programs; Best Online MBA Programs; Best Online Graduate Education Programs for Veterans); Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: Actors Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver, Stargate), Ed O’Neill (Modern Family, Married… with Children); actress Piper Perabo (Turn Up Charlie, Notorious, Coyote Ugly)
  • #students: 28,480
  • #grads: 6,171
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

28. University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Website

University of North Dakota (UND, est. 1883) is a public institution and a member of the North Dakota University System. It houses the sole medical and law schools in the state, and has had notable visitors to campus including six sitting presidents, the most recent of which are Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

UND offers high-value bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the least expensive online/ hybrid programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies within the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, this is an economical, 88- to 113-credit, hybrid Physician Assistant program (one of the few in this ranking list) of 24 months, and the only PA program in the state. It accepts a maximum of 35 students, and total time required on campus is 15 weeks (six sessions across the two-year timeline), including the initial orientation. The curriculum combines 15 weeks on campus, with some online coursework and potential local clinical rotations. Graduates of this degree will be eligible to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam.

Sample courses include: Medical Human Anatomy and Radiology; Human Physiology and Pathophysiology; Clinical Medicine: Primary Care. A research project is part of the curriculum. Note: The MPAS degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 9,697 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 23,435 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; U.S. News & World Report (Top Public Schools; National Universities; Best Online Graduate Education Programs; Best Online Graduate Education Programs for Veterans); Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: Pulitzer Prize winners Maxwell Anderson and Mel Ruder; Hockey Hall of Fame and former NHL goalie Ed Belfour (including Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks)
  • #students: 13,847
  • #grads: 3,328
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

27. Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

Indianapolis, Indiana

Website

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI, est. 1969) is a public institution and a member of two prestigious university systems – Indiana University and Purdue University. It boasts amongst the largest nursing and medical schools in the USA.

IUPUI offers inexpensive associate’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one affordable traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the School of Health and Human Sciences, this is a low-cost, 101-credit, on-campus Physician Assistant degree of seven semesters/ 27 months, with 2000 hours of clinical experience, in 10 areas of clinical rotation. Rotation areas include: Behavioral Medicine; Community Medicine; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; Internal Medicine Inpatient; Outpatient Medicine; Pediatrics; Surgery; Women’s Health; Specialty Elective. Graduates of the program are eligible for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination) professional certification exam – for which IUPUI PAs achieved a 5-year average pass rate of 96%. Certified and state-licensed PAs practice medicine on a health care team supervised by a licensed physician, diagnosing and treating patients, prescribing medications, etc.

Sample courses include: Gross Anatomy for Healthcare Professionals; Introduction to the PA Profession; Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for PA. Note: The MPAS degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 9,662 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 24,542 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: INSIGHT into Diversity magazine; Military Times; President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll; U.S. News & World Report; Victory Media
  • Notable alumni: Mike Pence, U.S. Vice President (Donald Trump administration); Dan Quayle, former Vice President (George H. W. Bush administration)
  • #students: 29,579
  • #grads: 8,333
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

26. University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Princess Anne, Maryland

Website

University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES, est. 1886) is a public institution and a member of the University System of Maryland. Originally founded as a private United Methodist Church institution, it is an HBCU (Historically Black College/ University) and is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF).

UMES offers economical bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one low-cost traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Medical Science – Physician Assistant Studies (MMS-PAS).

Delivered by the Physician Assistant Department, this is a 120-credit, on-campus and Affordable Physician Assistant program of four years (2yr Pre-Professional Phase, 2yr Professional Program). Students will take courses and labs, and complete clinical experiences in several focus areas. Graduates of the program are prepared to write the PANCE professional certification exam for PAs, after which they can practice medicine on a healthcare team, supervised by a physician, managing patients, diagnosing and treating them, educating them on preventive care, etc.

Sample courses include: Scientific Basis of Medicine; Clinical Medicine; Applied Ethics and Law; PANCE Preparation Seminar. A capstone is part of the curriculum. Note: UMES has applied to ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant) for Accredited-Provisional status for the MMS-PAS degree.

  • In-state: $ 9,648 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 16,344 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: National Science Foundation (Top 10 HBCUs for awarding PhDs); U.S. News & World Report (Historically Black Colleges and Universities; National Universities)
  • Notable alumni: Saxophonist/ actor Clarence Clemons, likely best known for being a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band
  • #students: 3,193
  • #grads: 596
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

25. Idaho State University

Pocatello, Idaho

Website

Idaho State University (ISU, est. 1901) is a public institution serving students online and at three campuses or learning centers.

ISU offers low-priced associate’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one cheap traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, this is a high-value, 120-credit, on-campus Physician Assistant program of 26 months – the only PA program in the state. The curriculum is divided into Didactic and Clinical phases, with the latter covering the following required content areas in clinical rotations: Emergency Medicine; Internal Medicine; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Outpatient Medicine; Pediatrics; Psychiatry; Surgery. Graduates of this MPAS degree qualify to take the PANCE professional certification exam – for which the 5yr first-time taker average pass rate is 96%, for ISU PA graduates. Certified PAs will become health practitioners under supervision of a physician, recording medical histories, assessing and diagnosing patients, conducting physical exams, ordering and interpreting tests, etc.

Sample courses include: Intro to Physician Assistant; Evidence-based Medicine and Biostatistics; Clinical Assessment. Some optional Spanish language courses are available. A capstone is part of the curriculum. Note: The MPAS has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 9,376 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 24,896 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; U.S. News & World Report; Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: Olympic gold medalists Stacy Dragila (women’s pole vault) and Ed Sanders (boxing)
  • #students: 12,363
  • #grads: 1,962
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

24. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Little Rock, Arkansas

Website

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS, est. 1870) is a public institution and a member of the University of Arkansas System. It serves students online and on-campus.

UAMS offers high-value associate’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the least expensive traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Masters of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the College of Health Professions, this is a 128-credit, on-campus and affordable Physician Assistant program of a continuous 28 months full-time, with a May start date. The first 13 mos make up the Didactic phase, with some clinical patient encounters. The next 15 mos are the Clinical phase, with multiple clinical rotations and a Capstone and Summative Evaluation. There are two elective rotations and 10 core rotations, with the latter covering the following content areas: Behavioral Medicine; Emergency Medicine; Family Practice; General Surgery; Geriatric Medicine; Internal Medicine; Inpatient Medicine; OB/GYN, Pediatrics; Orthopedic Medicine. Graduates of the MPAS are eligible to take the PANCE national professional certification exam – for which UAMS PA grads have achieved a 5-year first time taker pass rate average of 92%. Certified PAs work under a physician’s supervision, typically as part of a healthcare team, assessing and treating patients.

Sample courses include: Clinical Reasoning; Patient Communication; Intro to Evidence Based Medicine. Note: The MPAS degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 9,344 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 17,474 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Notable alumni: Jocelyn Elders, former Surgeon General (to President Bill Clinton)
  • #students: 2,758
  • #grads: 2,152
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

23. Heritage University

Toppenish, Washington

Website

Heritage University (HU, est. 1907) is a private, nonprofit institution founded by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary but with no current religious affiliation. It serves students online and on three campuses, and is the state’s only HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution), with 69% of undergrads identifying as Hispanic/ LatinX.

HU offers economical associate’s through master’s level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one low cost traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA).

Delivered by the Physician Assistant Program Department, this is a low-cost, 120-credit, on-campus Physician Assistant program of 24 months (12 mos academic; 12 clinical) with a maximum class size of 32 students. Clinical sites are located mostly in the Pacific Northwest states of Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana, and clinical rotation areas include: behavioral medicine; emergency medicine; family medicine; internal medicine; pediatrics; prenatal and women’s health care; psychiatry; surgical care. The program emphasizes cultural sensitivity, disease prevention, ethics, health promotion, and professionalism. Graduates will be eligible for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam) professional certification exam. Once certified, they can practice under supervision of a physician, usually on a health care team.

Sample courses include: Behavioral Medicine; Professional Issues for Physician Assistants; Introduction to Primary Care and the Normal Patient. A Master’s Research Project is part of the curriculum and is started in the first semester. Note: The MSPA degree currently has a Accreditation-Probation status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant) and a review scheduled for September 2020.

  • In-state: $ 9,330 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 9,330 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • #students: 980
  • #grads: 203
  • Has housing: No
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

22. University of Nebraska Medical Center

Omaha, Nebraska

Website

University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC, est. 1880) is a public institution and a member of the University of Nebraska System. It was originally founded as a private medical school and currently serves students online and on two campuses.

UNMC offers economical bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the cheapest traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

This is a cheap, 123-credit, 28-month Physician Assistant program (13 mos didactic, 15 clinical) offered at two campuses. The Clinical phase has nine months of required clerkship, and six months of Elective clerkships (specialty or primary care), and clinical sites are primarily in the state of Nebraska, possibly outside of the Omaha and Lincoln metro areas. Required clerkships cover the following content areas: Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine (three); Internal Medicine; Pediatric; Psychiatry; Surgery; Woman’s Health. Elective clerkships can be selected from over two dozen specialties. Graduates of this degree are eligible to write the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam) professional certification exam – for which UNMC PA graduates have scored a 100% pass rate on (first time takers) in nine of the last 10 years. Certified PAs will work on a medical team, supervised by a physician, and practice most of the same clinical services as a physician, including assessing and diagnosing patients, prescribing medicine, counseling patients on preventative methods, etc.

Sample courses include: Physician Assistant Professional Issues; Communication in Medicine; Clinical Skills. Note: The MPAS degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

Alternatives: Hybrid MPAS Degree Advancement Option (DAO), with online courses and in-person clinicals; MPAS/ Master of Public Health (MPH) Dual Degree option.

  • In-state: $ 9,303 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 25,557 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs)
  • Notable alumni: World public health advocates Gretchen and Warren Berggren
  • #students: 3,972
  • #grads: 3,103
  • Has housing: No
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

21. Gardner-Webb University

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Website

Gardner-Webb University (GWU, est. 1905) is a private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. It incorporates Baptist Christian principles into its programs, serving students online and on multiple campuses.

GWU offers best-value associate’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one inexpensive traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies within the College of Health Sciences, this is a cheap, 116-credit, on-campus Physician Assistant program of 28 months (16 mos didactic, 12 clinical), with a maximum of 32 students per year. The SCPEs (supervised clinical practice experiences) consist of nine rotations, with content areas that include: emergency medicine; family medicine; general surgery; internal medicine; mental health; pediatrics; women’s health. Students will also have an elective rotation and one more in an underserved community. Graduates will be prepared for the PANCE professional certification exam – for which GWU PA grads have a 5-year average first time taker pass rate of 96%.

Sample courses include: Physician Assistant Medicine; Patient Centered Care; Operating Room and Minor Surgery. Note: The MPAS degree currently has a Accreditation-Probation status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant), with a review scheduled for early 2020.

  • In-state: $ 9,050 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 9,050 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (National Universities; Top Performers on Social Mobility)
  • Notable alumni: Novelist/ poet Ron Rash; NBA All-Star and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Artis Gilmore
  • #students: 3,598
  • #grads: 1,562
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

20. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Lubbock, Texas

Website

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC, est. 1969) is a public institution and a member of the Texas Tech University System. It serves students online and on multiple campuses.

TTUHSC offers low-priced bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one high-value traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

Delivered by the School of Health Professions, this is a 125-credit, on-campus, affordable Physician Assistant program of 27 months, with academic (15 mos) and clinical (12 mos) components. The didactic portion of the program takes place at TTUHSC’s Midland, Texas campus, while the clinical portion has sites in West Texas. Clerkships include: Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; Internal Medicine; Pediatric; Prenatal Care and Gynecology; Psychiatry; Surgery; and one Selective clerkship. Graduates of this master’s degree qualify for the PANCE professional certification exam (TTUHSC PA grads 5-year first-time taker pass rate average is 98%). Certified PAs will practice patient-centered primary care on a healthcare team, under supervision of a physician, in underserved communities such as in West Texas or wherever the choose for their state license.

Sample courses include: Physical Examination; Clinical Medicine; Clinical Decision Making. A Master’s Project is part of the curriculum. Note: The MPAS degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 8,806 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 18,766 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs; Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs for Veterans)
  • Notable alumni: Astronaut Bernard Harris
  • #students: 5,083
  • #grads: 3,563
  • Has housing: No
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

19. University of Texas Medical Branch

Galveston, Texas

Website

University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB, est. 1891) is a public institution and a member of the University of Texas System. It holds the honor of having the oldest medical school in the state.

UTMB offers inexpensive bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the lowest-cost traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the School of Medicine, this is a 108-110 credit, on-campus and affordable Physician Assistant program of 26 months (12mos didactic, 14 clinical) that starts each July. Students gain competency in the following learning domains: Behavioral and Social Proficiency; Communication; Intellectual Capability; Motor Functions; Observation and Sensation. Graduates of the program qualify to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam, for which UTMB PA grads have a 5-year first-timer taker average pass rate of 98%. Certified PAs practice medicine under supervision of a physician, in clinics, hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, conducting physicals, diagnosing and treating patients, counseling patients, writing prescriptions. PAs can also specialize, in areas such as emergency or internal medicine, pediatrics or surgery.

Sample courses include: Patient Evaluation; Intro to Health Professions; Health Promotion and Prevention. Note: The MPAS degree currently has Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 8,773 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 17,564 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs; Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs for Veterans)
  • Notable alumni: Ronny Jackson, physician to Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump
  • #students: 3,343
  • #grads: 2,590
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

18. University of South Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Website

University of South Alabama (USA, est. 1963) is a public institution. It serves students online and on three campuses.

USA offers low-cost bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the least expensive traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Health Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MHS-PAS).

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies within the College of Allied Health, this is a cheap, 121-credit, on-campus Physician Assistant program of 27 months (15 mos clinical, 12 didactic). It starts each May and admits up to 40 students per class. Most rotation sites are situated near the campus, but could be up to 75 miles away, and there is a Women’s Health clinical rotation opportunity abroad in Peru. Clinical rotation areas include: Emergency Medicine; General Surgery; Internal Medicine; Obstetrics/ Gynecology; Primary Care/ Family Practice; Psychiatry; Elective (three).

Graduates of this master’s degree are eligible to take the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination) professional certification exam, for which previous graduates have achieved a 5-year average first-time taker pass rate of 95%. Certified PAs work in environments such as: correctional institutions; hospitals; industrial settings; nursing homes; physicians offices; retail clinics; schools/ colleges; federal agencies, including uniformed services.

Sample courses include: Clinical Medicine; Human Gross Anatomy; PA Issues in Healthcare and Population Health. Note: The MHS-PAS has a current status of Accreditation-Continued from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 8,156 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 16,112 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; U.S. News & World Report (National Universities); Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: Track and Field athlete and civil rights activist Jessie Tompkins
  • #students: 14,834
  • #grads: 4,541
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

17. University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Website

University of Utah (U of U, est. 1850) is a public institution and a member of the Utah System of Higher Education. Its alumni are collectively accomplished in many fields, some of which are: business/ entrepreneurship, education, entertainment and media, and sports.

U of U offers cheap bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one affordable traditional program
in physician assistant studies: Masters in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine within the School of Medicine, this is an 86.5-credit, full-time, on-campus, inexpensive Physician Assistant program – one of the oldest PA programs in the United States. The continuous 27-month program consists of Didactic and Clinical phases, with core rotation areas consisting of: Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; General Surgery; Internal Medicine; Pediatrics; Psychiatry; Women’s Health. Graduates of this master’s degree qualify to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam – for which U of U PA grads achieved a 5-year average pass rate (first-time takers) of 95%. Certified PAs are under supervision of a physician, often on a team, practicing patient care and/or performing some administrative, educational or research tasks. Practice could involve diagnostic, health maintenance, preventive, therapeutic services.

Sample courses include: Mission in Practice/ Professional Issues; Evidence Based Medicine; Mechanisms of Health and Disease. A community-engagement research project and a summative exam are part of the curriculum. Note: The MPAS currently holds Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 8,151 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 25,828 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Bloomberg Business Week (Best Business Schools; Entrepreneurship); Princeton Review (top undergrad and grad Entrepreneur Studies); U.S. News & World Report (National Universities; Top Public Schools (tie); Best Value Schools; Best Online MBA Programs; Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans; Best Online Bachelor’s Programs); Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull; multi-genre novelist Orson Scott Card, who is the first author to earn both of the two biggest science fiction awards (Hugo and Nebula) two years in a row
  • #students: 33,023
  • #grads: 8,280
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

16. University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, Alabama

Website

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB, est. 1969) is a public institution and a member of the University of Alabama System. The university’s undergrad population consists of about 25% Black/ African American (2nd largest group); however, it is not an HBCU (Historically Black College/ University).

UAB offers top-value bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one low-cost traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences within the School of Health Professions, this is a cheap, 115-credit, on-campus, Physician Assistant program of 27 months. Established in 1967, it claims the title of second oldest PA program in the USA. Students have access to the well-regarded UAB Hospital system, and clinical rotation opportunities include: critical care; emergency medicine; primary care;, surgery; trauma. Graduates of this master’s degree are eligible to write the PANCE professional certification exam, for which UAB PA grads have a 5-year first-time taker average pass rate of 93%. Certified PAs work on a healthcare team, supervised by a physician, and typically in underserved or rural locations, in most health care settings.

Sample courses include: Human Gross Anatomy and Lab; Medical Physiology; Clinical Pathology. Note: The MSPAS degree currently holds Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

Alternatives: MSPAS/ MPH (Master of Public Health) dual degree option.

  • In-state: $ 8,100 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 18,540 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: National Arbor Day Foundation (Tree Campus USA); Forbes Magazine; INSIGHT Into Diversity; U.S. News & World Report (Best Graduate Schools, including Healthcare Management); Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: Olympic gold medalist Vonetta Flowers (bobsledding)
  • #students: 21,923
  • #grads: 8,087
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

15. University of Colorado Denver/ Anschutz Medical Campus

Denver, Colorado

Website

University of Colorado Denver/ Anschutz Medical Campus (UC Anschutz, est. 2006) is a public institution and a member of the University of Colorado System. Presenting mostly health sciences programs, it serves students online and on-campus.

UC Anschutz offers low-priced bachelor’s through doctorate level degree programs. It has one cheap traditional program in physician assistant studies: Professional Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) with five tracks:

  • Regular
  • Rural
  • Urban/ Underserved
  • Global Health
  • Pediatric Critical and Acute Care
  • LEADS (Leadership, Education, Advocacy, Development, and Scholarship) – interdisciplinary

Delivered by the School of Medicine, this is an inexpensive, 132-credit, on-campus Physician Assistant program of three years, with didactic and clinical components. Clinical rotation areas for the Regular track include: Adult Internal Medicine; Ambulatory Pediatrics; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; Inpatient Medicine; Pediatric Subspecialty (Neonatology or Adolescent Medicine); Surgery; Women’s Health. Graduates of this master’s degree are eligible to take the PANCE professional certification exam, on which previous program grads have scored a 5-year first-time taker average pass rate of 97%. The two largest areas of PA practice for alumni of this program are Pediatrics and Family/ General Medicine.

Sample courses include: Introduction to Clinical Reasoning; Physical Diagnosis; Professional and Clinical Practice. Note: The MPAS degree currently holds Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 8,017 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 23,821 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: UCD: Top Performers on Social Mobility; Top Public Schools; National Universities
  • #students: 25,645
  • #grads: 9,202
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

14. Indiana State University

Terre Haute, Indiana

Website

Indiana State University (ISU, est. 1865) is a public institution. It serves students on campus and online, with minority groups comprising about 25% of the student population.

ISU offers economical bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the least expensive traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Applied Medicine and Rehabilitation within the College of Health and Human Services, this is a cheap, 93-credit, on-campus Physician Assistant program of seven semesters/ 27 months (15mos didactic, 12 clinical), with a maximum of 30 students per cohort and a January start date. Clinical sites are mostly in the state, with other locations upon approval. Rotation areas include: Behavioral Medicine; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; General Surgery; Geriatrics; Internal Medicine; Pediatrics; Women’s Health. One Floating and two Elective rotations are also required. Graduates of this master’s degree will be eligible to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam for PAs, for which ISU PA grads have achieved a 5-year first-time taker average pass rate of 94%.

Sample courses include: Physical Diagnosis; Clinical Diagnostics; Introduction to Physician Assistant Practice. Note: The MSPAS degree currently holds Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 7,616 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 14,762 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; Princeton Review (Best in the Midwest); President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll; U.S. News & World Report; Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: Willa Brown, the first African-American woman to become a commercial pilot in the country
  • #students: 13,044
  • #grads: 2,094
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

13. East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

Website

East Carolina University (ECU, est. 1907) is a public institution and a member of the University of North Carolina System. Founded as a teacher training school, it currently serves students a range of topics online and on campus.

ECU offers affordable bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs – with over 140 low-cost graduate programs alone. It has one low cost traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science – Physician Assistant (MSPA).

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies within the College of Allied Health Sciences, this is a 100-credit, on-campus and inexpensive Physician Assistant program of 27 months (15 mos didactic, 12 clinical), starting each August. The program is on ECU’s medical campus and surrounded by the Vidant Medical Center teaching hospital and the Brody School of Medicine. Students also have access to the Simulation Center, the Laupus Health Sciences Library, and the new Health Sciences Student Center. Clinical practicum areas include: Behavioral Medicine; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; General Surgery; Geriatrics; Internal Medicine; International Medical; Pediatrics; Physician Assistant Studies; Women’s Health and Prenatal Care. Graduates of this master’s degree qualify to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam, for which ECU PA grads have scored a 99.4% pass rate for the 5-year average (first-time taker). Certified PAs practice medicine on a team, supervised by a licensed physician, with duties that include recording patient medical histories, assessing and treating patients, ordering and interpreting tests, writing prescriptions, patient education, administrative work, research and more.

Sample courses include: Clinical Gross Anatomy; Introduction to Clinical Medicine; Role of Physician Assistant and the History, Philosophy, and Ethics of Medical Practice. Note: The MSPA degree currently holds Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 7,485 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 20,634 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; INSIGHT into Diversity; Princeton Review; Social Mobility Index; U.S. News & World Report; Victory Media (Military Friendly School); Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: Vince and Linda McMahon, husband and wife owners of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE); actresses Emily Procter (CSI: Miami) and Sandra Bullock
  • #students: 28,718
  • #grads: 5,647
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

12. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Dallas, Texas

Website

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW, est. 1943) is a public institution and a member of the University of Texas System. It boasts the largest medical school in the state, and has three affiliated teaching hospitals.

UTSW offers high-value master’s and doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the cheapest traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the School of Health Professions, this is a 112-credit,  low-priced Physician Assistant program of eight semesters/ 30 months (15 mos didactic, 15 clinical) which starts each May. Students will complete 10 clinical rotations in the following areas: emergency medicine; family medicine; infectious disease; internal medicine; pediatrics; psychiatry; surgery; women’s health; primary care preceptorship. Graduates of this master’s degree are eligible to write the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination) professional certification exam, for which the MPAS program has a 10-year average first-time taker PANCE pass rate of 100%.

Sample courses include: Professional Practice Issues; Introduction to Human Neuroscience; Patient Evaluation. Note: The MPAS degree currently holds a Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 7,117 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 17,098 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; U.S. News & World Report (Best Graduate Schools)
  • Notable alumni: Nobel-Prize-wining biologist Linda Buck (category: Physiology or Medicine)
  • #students: 2,266
  • #grads: 2,266
  • Has housing: No
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

11. Augusta University

Augusta, Georgia

Website

Augusta University (Augusta, est. 1828) is a public institution and a member of the University System of Georgia. Students participate online and five campus or learning center locations.

Augusta offers best-value associate’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one inexpensive traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant (MPA) Program.

Delivered by the Physician Assistant Department within the College of Allied Health Sciences, this is a 122-credit, economical Physician Assistant program that starts each May. Practicum areas include: Adult Medicine; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; Pediatric Medicine; Psychiatric and Addiction Medicine; Surgery; Women’s Health; Students also complete an Elective practicum and a Professional and Teaching Practicum. Graduates of this master’s degree are qualified to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam, for which Augusta PA grads have achieved a 5-year first-time taker average pass rate of 96%. Certified PAs practice as medical generalists typically on a healthcare team, usually under the supervision of a physician. PAs diagnose and treat patient illness, write prescriptions, educate patients on prevention strategies, etc. They can also choose a specialty area to focus on, such as Dermatology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, or Surgery.

Sample courses include: Medical Terminology; Medical Communications; Ethics and Professional Practice Issues. A research project is part of the curriculum. Note: The MPA degree currently holds Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 7,064 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 19,464 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (National Universities; Top Public Schools South)
  • Notable alumni: Actress Joelle Carter (Justified)
  • #students: 8,458
  • #grads: 2,995
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

10. Wichita State University

Wichita, Kansas

Website

Wichita State University (WSU, est. 1895) is a public institution and a member of the Kansas State University System. It serves students online and on several campuses (main and satellites).

WSU offers economical associate’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one high-value traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant (MPA) – the only such program in the state.

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant within the College of Health Professions, this is a 93-credit, affordable Physician Assistant program of 26 months (including 13 months of clinical rotation), with a maximum class size of 48 students. Clinical sites are primarily in Kansas, with some opportunities in Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Clinical rotation areas include: behavioral health; emergency medicine and acute care; family medicine and primary care; general surgery; geriatrics; pediatrics; prenatal care and women’s health. Graduates of this master’s degree meet eligibility requirements to write the PANCE professional certification exam, for which WSU PA grads have earned a 5-year first-time taker pass rate average of 99.6%. Certified PAs practice as part of a team of health care specialists, typically under supervision of a physician, and provide a number of services: diagnostic; health maintenance; preventive; therapeutic. WSU’s own PA graduates work in primary care specialties or rural settings.

Sample courses include: Clinical Practice; Clinical Medicine Cardiology; Preventive Medicine. Note: The MPA degree currently has Accreditation-Probation status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant), with a review pending for early 2020.

  • In-state: $ 6,904 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 14,817 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (National Universities; Best Online Graduate Education Programs)
  • Notable alumni: Actor Lance LeGault; actress Shirley Knight
  • #students: 15,778
  • #grads: 2,772
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

9. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, Texas

Website

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV, est. 2013) is a public institution and a member of the University of Texas System. Two older U of Texas institutions merged to form UTRGV, making it one of the largest Hispanic-majority colleges/ universities in the United States, by undergrad enrollment.

UTRGV offers high-value bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the lowest-cost traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies within the College of Health Professions, this is a 100-credit, full-time, affordable Physician Assistant program. The program has twice received Apple Inc’s Apple Distinguished Program Award. Students complete 10 clinical rotations, which include: Emergency Medicine; Medicine; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Pediatric; Psychiatry; Surgery; Clinical Elective. Graduates of this master’s degree are eligible to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam, for which UTRGV PA grads have achieved a 5-year first-time taker average pass rate of 93%.

Sample courses include: Clinical Laboratory Methods; Studies in the Physician Assistant Profession; Evidence‐Based Medicine and Research Design. A capstone and an oral and written comprehensive exams are part of the curriculum.

Alternatives: MPAS Bridge Program (web-based).

  • In-state: $ 6,889 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 14,359 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine; Money Magazine (Best Colleges for Your Money); U.S. News & World Report (National Universities; Best Online Programs); Washington Monthly; White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
  • Notable alumni: Olympic Gold Medalist and NBA basketballer Lucious Jackson
  • #students: 28,644
  • #grads: 3,966
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

8. University of South Dakota

Vermillion, South Dakota

Website

University of South Dakota (USD, est. 1862) is a public institution governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents – the oldest in the state. Faculty and alumni have collectively earned awards such as the Nobel Prize, Rhodes Scholar, Truman Scholar, and others. Students are served on-campus and online.

USD offers low-cost associate’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the least expensive traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies within the School of Health Sciences, this is a 104-credit, cheap, ARC-PA-accredited Physician Assistant program of 24 months (12 mos didactic, 12 clinical). Students will complete rotations at one or more of the nearly five dozen clinical sites partnered with the PAS department. Clinical rotation areas include: Behavioral Health; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; General Surgery; Internal Medicine; Ob/ Gyn; Pediatric; Rural/ Underserved Family Medicine; Elective (two). Graduates of this master’s degree qualify for the PANCE professional certification exam, for which USD PA grads have scored a 5-year first-time taker average pass rate of 92.6%.

Sample courses include: Introduction to Clinical Basic Sciences; Clinical Medicine; Professional Practice. A master’s project (Health Sciences) is part of the curriculum. Note: The MSPAS degree currently holds Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 6,835 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 12,249 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; Military Times (Best for Vets); Princeton Review; U.S. News & World Report (National Universities; Top Public Schools; Best Online MBA Programs; Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans; Best Online Graduate Business Programs – Excluding MBA; Best Online Graduate Education Programs); Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: TV news anchor Tom Brokaw (NBC Nightly News); author, entrepreneur and USA Today founder Al Neuharth
  • #students: 10,066
  • #grads: 2,476
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

7. University of North Texas Health Science Center

Fort Worth, Texas

Website

University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC, est. 1970) is a public institution and a member of the University of North Texas System. It serves students on-campus and online.

UNTHSC offers economical master’s and doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one affordable traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies within the School of Health Professions, this is a 124-credit, inexpensive Physician Assistant program. Clinical practicum and SCPE (supervised clinical practicum experience) areas include: Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine SCPE; Inpatient; Internal Medicine; Pediatrics; Psychiatry; Surgery; Women’s Health SCPE; Underserved Clinical. Graduates of this master’s degree will be prepared for the PANCE professional certification exam, for which UNTHSC PA grads have achieved a 5-year first-time taker average pass rate of 100%. Certified PAs are prepared for clinical practice, usually under supervision of a physician, and often on a health care team.

Sample courses include: Human Physiology; Principles of Evidence Based Medicine; Approach to PA Practice.

Note: The MPAS degree currently holds Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

Alternatives: MPAS/ MHP (Master of Public Health) dual degree option.

  • In-state: $ 6,463 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 18,933 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Physician Assistant Programs)
  • #students: 2,276
  • #grads: 2,276
  • Has housing: No
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

6. University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Website

University of New Mexico (UNM, est. 1889) is a public institution and a member of the University of New Mexico System. It serves students online and on multiple campuses (main and branch).

UNM offers inexpensive bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one low-cost traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Family and Community Medicine within the School of Medicine, this is a 86-credit, full-time, affordable Physician Assistant program of 27 months (including nine months of clinical rotations), starting each June with a maximum of 17 students per class. Clerkship areas include: Behavioral Medicine – Psychiatry; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; General Internal Medicine; Pediatrics; Primary Care; Surgery; Elective. Graduates of the program are prepared to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam, for which UNM PA grads have earned a 5-year first-time taker average pass rate of 94.8%. Certified PAs practice medicine usually as part of a team and under physician supervision, diagnosing and treating illnesses, educating patients, prescribing medication, etc. This might be in primary care or a specialty area. PAs may also conduct research or perform administrative tasks.

Sample courses include: Population Health; Clinical Skills; Foundations of Medical Science. Note: The MSPA degree holds accreditation from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 6,258 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 18,140 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: Forbes Magazine; Princeton Review; U.S. News & World Report (Top Performers on Social Mobility; Top Public Schools; National Universities; Best Online Graduate Education Programs; Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs); Washington Monthly
  • Notable alumni: Journalist/ novelist/ screenwriter Sarah Bird; actress/ director Penny Marshall (attended)
  • #students: 24,319
  • #grads: 5,698
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

5. Missouri State University-Springfield

Springfield, Missouri

Website

Missouri State University-Springfield (MSU, est. 1905) is a public institution and a member of the Missouri State University System. Setting enrollment records for several straight years, it serves students on four campuses plus partnered locations in China.

MSU offers low-priced bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one cheap traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

This is an 87-credit, full-time, economical Physician Assistant program of 24 months, with didactic and clinical phases of 12 months each. Clinical preceptorship areas include: behavioral and mental health care; emergency medicine; family practice/ medicine; general surgery; Internal medicine; obstetrics and gynecology/ women’s health; primary care; directed. While most clinical sites will be in the Springfield area, up to three may be outside of this, such as in a rural setting and may incur extra costs for students (transportation, housing, etc.). Commuting may be necessary for sites in general. Graduates of this master’s degree are readied for the PANCE professional certification exam, for which MSU PA grads have scored a 5-year first-time taker average pass rate of 96%. Certified PAs usually work under physician supervision in clinical practice, typically in primary care, but may also find employment in various healthcare environments, including emergency medicine, urgent care, hospitals, etc.

Sample courses include: Behavioral Medicine; Principles of Clinical Problem Solving; Clinical Assessment. Note: The MSPAS degree is accredited by ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 6,038 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 11,114 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Top Public Schools; Regional Universities Midwest)
  • Notable alumni: Actor John Goodman (Roseanne, The Conners, The Big Lebowski); actress Kathleen Turner (attended)
  • #students: 23,697
  • #grads: 3,559
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

4. University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, Kentucky

Website

University of the Cumberlands (UC, est. 1888) is a private, nonprofit institution historically affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Students receive a Christian-centric education either online or on either of two campuses.

UC offers high-value associate’s through doctorate level degree programs. It has one of the least expensive traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

This is a 113-credit, affordable Physician Assistant program of at least 27 months, offered on two UC campuses, and consisting of didactic (63 credits) and clinical (45 credits) components. SPCE (Supervised Clinical Practice Experience) areas include: family; general surgery; internal and emergency medicine; pediatrics; psychiatry; women’s health. An Elective rotation may be required, depending on campus selected. Graduates of this master’s degree will be prepared for the PANCE professional certification exam. PAs typically practice medicine under supervision of a licensed physician, providing various medical services. Tasks include recording patient histories, conducting physical exams, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, educating patients, assisting in surgery, and more.

Sample courses include: Introduction to Patient Assessment; Foundations to Clinical Medicine; Introduction to the PA Profession. A capstone is part of the curriculum.

  • In-state: $ 5,970 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 5,970 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: NSA/ DHS (National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD))
  • Notable alumni: Olympic judo athletes Edward Liddie (bronze) and Leo White
  • #students: 13,472
  • #grads: 10,210
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

3. West Liberty University

West Liberty, West Virginia

Website

West Liberty University (WLU, est. 1837) is a public institution and the oldest college/ university in the state. It comes in third place in our ranking of affordable, accredited physician assistant master’s degrees.

WLU offers best-value associate’s through master’s level degree programs. It has one low cost traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

This is a 105-credit, cheap Physician Assistant program of 24 months, with didactic and clinical components of 12 months each, starting each July. There are nine 5-week clinical rotations covering the following content areas: Behavioral Medicine/Psychiatry; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; General Surgery; Internal Medicine; Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine; Women’s Health; Elective (two). Graduates of this master’s degree qualify to write the PANCE professional certification exam, for which WLU PA grads have earned a 5-year first-time taker average pass rate of 94%. PAs typically practice medicine under supervision of a physician, but may be primary care providers in some communities – usually rural or underserved areas.

Sample courses include: Human Anatomy and Physiology; Clinical Ethics; Behavioral Medicine. Note: The MSPAS degree currently holds Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 5,920 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 7,320 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Top Performers on Social Mobility; Top Public Schools; Regional Universities South)
  • Notable alumni: Country music star Brad Paisley (attended/ transferred)
  • #students: 2,526
  • #grads: 301
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

2. Northeastern State University

Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Website

Northeastern State University (NSU, est. 1909) is a public institution and a member of the Regional University System of Oklahoma. Originally founded as a Cherokee seminary, it serves students at three campuses and branch campuses. It places second in our ranking of affordable, accredited physician assistant master’s degrees.

NSU offers economical bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one of the cheapest traditional programs in physician assistant studies: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS).

This is a 110-credit. inexpensive Physician Assistant program that takes place at NSU’s Muskogee campus and runs for 27 months, with didactic (75 credits) and clinical (35 credits) phases. The eight clinical rotation areas include: behavioral health; emergency medicine; family medicine; general surgery; internal medicine; pediatrics; women’s health; elective. Graduates of the program sit for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination) to gain professional certification and subsequent state-specific licensure to practice as PAs.

Sample courses include: PA Practice, Policy, and Ethics; Clinical Assessment and Counseling; Diversity and Population Health. Note: NSU has applied for Accreditation – Provisional status for the MSPAS degree, from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant), with a review scheduled for mid-2020.

  • In-state: $ 4,903 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 10,191 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Regional Universities West; Best Online Graduate Education Programs; Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs; Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs)
  • Notable alumni: Wrestling commentator Jim “J.R.” Ross (formerly of WWE); Country music singer Carrie Underwood
  • #students: 7,879
  • #grads: 1,167
  • Has housing: Yes
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

1. University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas

Website

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA, est. 1959) is a public institution and a member of the University of Texas System. The university earns first place in our ranking of affordable, accredited physician assistant master’s degrees, and serves students at multiple campuses/ learning centers.

UTHSCSA offers low-cost bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificate programs. It has one inexpensive traditional program in physician assistant studies: Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS).

Delivered by the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, this is a 126-credit, economical Physician Assistant program of 30 months (14mos didactic, 16 clinical), starting each June. SPCE (Supervised Clinical Practice Experience) areas include: Behavioral Medicine; Emergency Medicine; Family Medicine; General Surgery; Inpatient Medicine; Internal Medicine; Pediatrics; Primary Care; Women’s Health; plus several elective rotations.

Graduates of this master’s degree are eligible to sit for the PANCE professional certification exam, for which UTHSCSA PA grads have earned a 5-year first-time taker average pass rate of 99%. Nearly half of UTHSCSA PA grads work as Physician Assistants in primary care. but certified can also focus on a specialty.

Sample courses include: Clinical Physiology; Principles of Ethics and Professionalism; Patient Evaluation. Note: The MPAS degree currently holds Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant).

  • In-state: $ 4,188 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Out-of-state: $ 12,719 (avg. grad tuition+fees)
  • Awards from: U.S. News & World Report (Physician Assistant; Best Nursing Schools: Master’s, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Research, Primary Care; Physical Therapy)
  • #students: 3,292
  • #grads: 2,518
  • Has housing: No
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

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