If you want to accelerate your path to a career as a physician assistant (PA), there are numerous dual-degree BS/MS, as well as BS/MHS, physician assistant programs nationwide. While there are variations on the combined program, a typical program consists of three years to complete a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences, and then two years to complete a Master of Science in physician assistant studies.
A sampling of classes students take include: biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. Some programs may not guarantee entry into the graduate phase, but may require students to reapply to the graduate level as well as having an interview and submitting a recommendation.
Universities with physician assistant combined-degree programs
Here are some universities offering BS/MS and BS/MHS physician assistant combined-degree programs:
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Students complete their Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Health Sciences, including sitting for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), in 5-¼ years, one year less than the traditional path. Students pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences during their first three years of study, and a Master of Health Science degree during the final 2-¼ years.
Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Incoming freshmen are admitted directly into the biomedical sciences major as a pre-PA. Once prerequisites are completed, students can apply to the university’s PA program. Admission is not guaranteed, but Marquette students are given priority. Students interested in applying to the PA program are encouraged to work or volunteer in a healthcare setting with patients as soon as possible. The program is typically five years: two years to complete a Bachelor’s in biomedical science and three years to earn a Master of PA studies.
Quinnipiac University, CT
Quinnipiac’s dual-degree BS in health science studies/Master’s Physician Assistant program consists of four years of pre-professional undergraduate training and a 27-month professional component that upon completion earns the Master of Health Science degree. Quinnipiac states on its website that its program is nationally recognized and that almost all graduates secure their first-choice job within months of graduation.
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), NY
At RIT, the physician assistant major is offered as a BS/MS degree program. Students earn a Bachelor’s degree in two years and a Master’s degree in three years. To apply, students follow the university’s general admission procedures, plus the completion of a supplemental data packet, application, and if invited, an admission interview. The program requires a personal interview prior to admission. Not all applicants are invited to interview, and not all applicants who are invited to interview are accepted into the program. The interview performance is viewed as one of the most important aspects of the application.
The program strongly encourages applicants to have participated in some degree of patient care experience and/or shadowing of physician assistants. Each class enrolls approximately 30-36 students so the program is highly competitive to gain admission. Prospective applicants must have a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA.
College counselor for dual-degree physician assistant program
These universities are just a sampling of the dozens of dual-degree PA programs available in the U.S. Our counselors have experience helping students successfully gain admission to combined physician assistant programs. Please contact us for a free consultation with one of our college counselors.
You may also want to read about other healthcare-related dual degree programs in our answer to the question: “What are examples of combined healthcare degree programs?”