Most physician assistant dual degree programs include a degree in physician assistant studies at the graduate level and/or a graduate degree in public health. Learn more about a few of the dual degree options and the different hands-on learning experiences and coursework they include.
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Physician Assistant Dual Degree Programs
Bachelor of Science (BS) and Master of Science (MS) in Physician Assistant Studies Dual Degree Program
The BS/MS in Physician Assistant Studies dual degree program can be completed in about 5.5 years and consists of 3 years of pre-professional coursework, followed by 2.5 years of coursework, clinical clerkships (in various areas of concentration) and research. Students in these programs receive plenty of hands-on learning opportunities through case-studies, simulations, use of cadavers and standardized patients (actors) and typically complete a research project. Course topics may include human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, health psychology and medicine. After graduation, students are eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE).
Master of Public Health (MPH) and Physician Assistant (MMS) Dual Degree Program
Dual MPH and MMS degree programs are usually designed to prepare students for leadership positions in the community health care field and can be completed in 3 years. In the third year, students in these programs complete a clinical year for the physician assistant program in conjunction with an MPH internship. The MPH provides this dual degree program with a unique focus on population health and includes coursework in biostatistics and epidemiology, in addition to other courses typical to a physician assistant program, like medicine, diagnostics and clinical procedures and behavioral health.
Physician Assistant (PA) Studies and Master of Public Health (MPH) Dual Degree Program
PA/MPH dual degree programs are similar to MPH/MMS dual degree programs and can be completed in about 3.5 years, including summer semesters. Students complete the bulk of the PA program in 3 years and then can finish up the MPH coursework full- or part-time. The program provides students with plenty of hands-on experience through clinical skill labs, practicums, clinical rotations and integrated learning experiences. These programs may include capstone seminars and coursework in topics like pharmacotherapeutics, healthcare systems and issues in healthcare and medical interview and physical assessment.
Common Entrance Requirements
Most physical assistant dual degree programs require students to apply and be accepted into both programs that make up the dual degree. Since BS/MS dual degree programs usually accept students out of high school, these programs might require applicants to meet a specific GPA and/or test scores, and qualified students who are admitted directly into the program can automatically complete the professional phase of the program their junior year after an interview process. Applicants to other physician assistant dual degree programs may need to meet a minimum GPA, have a specific amount of patient care experience, have volunteer experience and/or have taken prior coursework in areas like chemistry, biology, statistics and psychology. Most of these programs require applicants to include official transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation and/or personal essays.
There are several kinds of physician assistant dual degree programs that usually include an ample amount of hands-on experience through labs, internships, clinical rotations and other opportunities. Applicants to these programs can usually expect to be required to meet a minimum GPA requirement.