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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 and can practice in virtually any medical specialty. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of PAs will increase 37% from 2016 to 2026 (much faster than average). Interest in the profession is also very high, as the PA profession is consistently named one of the Best Master's Degree for Jobs by Forbes and among the Best Job's in America by U.S. News & World Report.

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 students starting as a cohort annually in May. This program prepares 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 facilitates 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 teach using only one method. Instead, we combine interactive lectures with a clinical focus, small group interactions (PBL), hands-on practical training, out of classroom learning and high fidelity medical simulation. Students do not simply sit in a lecture hall all day long. Visit PA Curriculum for a full listing of our innovative curriculum plan and links to course descriptions.

Newly Renovated 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 were designed specifically for our multiple teaching styles, use of cutting-edge technology while also being conducive to student learning and success. Additionally, the University collaborated with nearby St. Joseph Mercy Hospital to create a new Human Anatomy Cadaver Laboratory and Advanced Medical Simulation Center. Together, these facilities provide an exemplary student learning environment. Visit PA Facilities for a detailed description and photos of our great facilities.

Small Group Learning & Medical Simulation

We have taken an innovative approach to utilizing small group learning (modified problem-based learning - PBL) and medical simulation in our curriculum. In our Pathophysiology courses, small groups of students work together to solve a medical case using a cloud-based software program while focusing on the pathophysiology of diseases. Students work in small groups with an active approach to problem-solving, discuss medicine with their classmates and work together to solve medical cases. This type of modified-PBL promotes active learning so students learn how and where to find answers to their questions, interact with peers using medical terminology and develop patient-centered problem-solving skills. Students also hone their skills through advanced medical simulation experiences as part of the regular schedule of courses each semester. Students are placed in simulated medical experiences with realistic patient interaction to practice and build confidence in their skills, obtain constructive feedback and establish a minimum proficiency prior to interacting with real patients. Visit Sim Center for a detailed description and photos of the new Sim Center.

Practical Curriculum Based on Current Medicine

The PA program faculty and staff have a wealth of clinical and educational experience and are truly academic clinicians. Our curriculum is based on current medical practice and utilization of today's technology (flat screen monitors, audience response devices, utilization of electronic devices, etc.), best practices for student learning and a focus on practical medical knowledge and skills. Visit PA Curriculum for a full listing of our innovative curriculum plan and links to course descriptions.


The Eastern Michigan University PA Program is accredited.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Eastern Michigan University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Eastern Michigan University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2028. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Program Goals

A complete listing of Program Goals and the success of our program in achieving these goals can be found here: Program Goals.

Graduate Performance on Certification Exam

The graduate performance on certification exam (PANCE) can be found here: Graduate Performance on Certification Exam.

Physician Assistant Program

Christopher Herman
Interim Program Director

222 Rackham Building

Ypsilanti, MI 48197

734.487.2843 | Fax: 734.487.1834


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