Eastern Michigan University

Physician Assistant Program

There is high demand for the physician assistant (PA) profession, as physician assistants (PAs) help to fill the gap in a projected shortage of primary care physicians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of PAs will increase 30% in 10 years. Interest in the profession is also very high, as PA has been named Best Master's Degree for Jobs by Forbes and 2nd Best Job in America by CNN Money.

In response to pending local and national primary care provider shortages and the changing healthcare industry, the Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Board of Regents approved the new Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies academic program in 2012. The EMU PA Program is situated in the School of Health Promotion and Human Performance, within the College of Health and Human Services. The PA Program is a twenty-four month, full-time, year-round graduate professional program with the first class of students starting in May 2014. This program will prepare its graduates to be certified and licensed to practice medicine using autonomous decision making under the supervision of a physician.

Points of Distinction

The EMU PA Program assists students in developing critical thinking and patient-centered problem-solving skills with a practical focus to prepare them for the experiences they will encounter upon graduation. We seek to not just produce physician assistants, but rather to create highly respected ambassadors of the PA profession. Here are some points of distinction:

Multiple Teaching Styles

We recognize that not all students learn in the same way, so we should not only teach using one method. Instead, we combine interactive lectures with a clinical focus, small group courses (PBL), hands-on practical training, out of classroom learning and high fidelity medical simulation. Students will not simply be sitting in a lecture hall all day long.

Brand New Facilities Specifically for PA Students

The University is committed to the PA program and PA students. To this end, the multimillion dollar facility renovations in the Rackham Building have been designed specifically for our multiple teaching styles, use of cutting-edge technology while also being conducive to student learning and success.

Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

We have taken an innovative approach to utilizing problem-based learning (PBL). In PBL, students work together to solve a medical case using a cloud-based software program while focusing on the pathophysiology of diseases. In the PBL courses (one per semester), there are not lectures. Instead, students take an active approach to problem-solving, discuss medicine with their classmates and work together to solve medical cases. PBL promotes active learning where students learn how and where to find answers to their questions, interact with peers using medical terminology and develop patient-centered problem-solving skills.

Practical Curriculum Based on Current Medicine

PA Program faculty have a wealth of clinical and educational experience. We came together to build a curriculum based on current medical practice, utilization of today's technology (flat screen monitors, audience response devices, utilization of electronic devices, medical simulation, etc.) with a focus on best practices for student learning.


The Eastern Michigan University PA Program is accredited.

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Eastern Michigan University Physician Assistant Program.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status. The status indicates that the plans and resource allocation for the proposed program appear to demonstrate the program's ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards, if fully implemented as planned. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. Accreditation-Provisional remains in effect until the program achieves Accreditation-Continued after its third review, closes or withdraws from the accreditation process, or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards.


Physician Assistant Program

Jay Peterson, Program Director

222 Rackham Building

Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Fax: 734.487.1834

The Physician Assistant Program is part of the School of Health Promotion & Human Performance, 318 Porter Building, 734.487.0090