Jun 10, 2023  
2022-2023 South University Academic Catalog Version II with addendum 
2022-2023 South University Academic Catalog Version II with addendum [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physician Assistant (MSPA)

Offered at Austin Richmond Savannah Tampa  and West Palm Beach . 

Note: All Physician Assistant program policies apply to all students, principal faculty, and the program director regardless of location. (i.e., didactic or clinical)

Physician assistants perform many medical functions under the supervision of a licensed physician, including, but not limited to, evaluation, monitoring, diagnostics, therapeutics, counseling, and referral. The scope of the practice varies according to state laws, the medical setting, and the training of the physician assistant.

Vision Statement

The South University, Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) degree program strives to provide educational experiences where faculty, staff, clinical instructors, students, and other health care providers work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, cooperation, and commitment.  The program’s primary focus is on the development of physician assistants capable of expanding into clinical leadership roles by demonstrating proficiency in critical thinking and creative problem solving, utilizing evidence-based skills gained through innovative approaches.

Mission Statement

The South University Physician Assistant (MSPA) program exists to educate a diverse student population as providers of high quality, cost-efficient health care who will make a positive impact while practicing the art and science of medicine with physician collaboration.

Program Goals
  • The program will recruit a highly qualified, diverse student cohort that will foster success in the program.
  • The program will strive to adequately prepare graduating students to achieve a first-time pass rate that exceeds the national average upon completion of the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE).
  • The program will provide students service learning opportunities that allow them to use their skills and education to demonstrate compassion and commitment to the community.
Physician Assistant Learning Outcomes (Graduate Competencies)

The following are the program learning outcomes (Graduate Competencies) for the South University Physician Assistant program.

Prior to graduation from the program, students will:

  • PLO-1. Integrate behavioral, social, and medical knowledge established from the evolving biomedical and clinical sciences in recognizing, evaluating, and managing patient disease states across the lifespan during acute, chronic, preventative, and emergent encounters.
  • PLO-2. Demonstrate the interpersonal and communication skills required to sustain effective, multi-directional information exchange within a diverse population of patients, their caregivers, and members of the healthcare team.
  • PLO-3. Demonstrate the ability to elicit an accurate patient history, perform an appropriate physical examination, and perform appropriate clinical procedures using essential clinical and technical skills to provide quality patient care.
  • PLO-4. Collaborate effectively as part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team through clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills to formulate a logical differential diagnosis, select and interpret appropriate diagnostic studies, and synthesize a comprehensive, patient-centered management plan for the promotion of wellness and disease prevention.
  • PLO-5. Demonstrate the ability to interpret and integrate an evidence-based approach to clinical and professional practice through clinical reasoning, problem- solving, and decision-making processes to improve patient care practices.
  • PLO-6. Demonstrate professionalism through personal behaviors, sensitivity, and accountability essential to patients, society, and the profession.
Comprehensive Exams

Completion of the didactic phase of the curriculum requires completion of a formative evaluation. The formative evaluation consists of written, skills performance and professionalism components, is administered at the end of the didactic training period. This evaluation is used to identify individual and collective weaknesses within the cohort that should be remediated and strengthened during the clinical phase of the program.

Successful completion of the program requires satisfactory completion of a comprehensive summative evaluation. The comprehensive summative evaluation consisting of written, skills performance and professionalism evaluation components is administered up to four (4) months before the completion of the clinical training period.

The test is designed to evaluate student’s mastery of multiple student learning outcomes in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains. This evaluation is used to identify competence for entry into the Physician Assistant profession and thus eligibility for graduation.

There are three (3) distinct components of the graduate candidate’s summative evaluation; written exam, clinical performance and final professional evaluation. Each must be successfully completed in order to earn a passing grade for the senior seminar.

PA Certification

Graduation from an accredited physician assistant program permits students to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE), administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, Inc. (NCCPA). The PANCE is designed to assess essential medical and surgical knowledge of graduate Physician Assistants in conducting a variety of healthcare functions normally encountered in practice.

South University does not guarantee third-party certification/ licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to South University.


Master of Science in Physician Assistant Degree: 174 Credits

Didactic Phase (Physician Assistant Course Sequence)

Didactic Phase Total: 100 Credits

Clinical Phase Total: 74

Required Program Total Credits: 174

The courses below are offered on an as needed basis:


No physician assistant credits from another institution may transfer into the didactic or clinical phase. Master of Science in Physician Assistant students must complete the entire 27 month program (174 credit hours) at South University.