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 27% between 2022 and 2032 (much faster than average for all occupations). Interest in the profession is very high, as the PA profession is consistently named one of the Best Master's Degree for Jobs by Forbes and among the Best Jobs 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 master's of science in physician assistant studies academic program in 2012. The School of Physician Assistant Studies is situated 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 the fall semester. This program prepares its graduates to be certified and licensed to practice medicine using autonomous decision-making under the supervision of a physician. 

  • Why Study at Eastern?

    We are helping to grow multi-talented professionals that will flourish within the healthcare industry. Here are some other benefits to studying in our PA program.

    • Our five year first time taker PANCE pass rate is 93%, which is consistent with the national average of 93%. 
    • We recognize that students don’t all learn the same way, so we offer multi-faceted teaching styles. The program combines interactive lectures with a clinical focus, small-group learning, hands-on practical training, out-of-classroom learning and high-fidelity medical simulation.
    • Classes are taught in the newly renovated, multi-million dollar Rackham Building. This building provides numerous functional spaces for learning along with the cutting-edge technology needed to accomplish it.

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 the PA catalog page for a full listing of our innovative curriculum plan and links to course descriptions.
  • 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 and use of cutting-edge technology while also being conducive to student learning and success. Additionally, the University collaborated with nearby Trinity Health Ann Arbor Hospital to create a Human Anatomy Cadaver Laboratory and Advanced Medical Simulation Center. Together, these facilities provide an exemplary student learning environment. Visit the PA facilities page [BROKEN LINK] for detailed descriptions and photos of our great facilities.
  • Small Group Learning and Medical Simulation

    We have taken an innovative approach to utilizing small-group learning (modified problem-based learning, or 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.
  • 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 modern technology, best practices for student learning and a focus on practical medical knowledge and skills. Visit the PA catalog page for a full listing of our innovative curriculum plan and links to course descriptions.
  • Accreditation

    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.

    The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at

At a Glance

  • 24 months, full-time, year-round


  • 103 credit hours
  • 10 clinical rotations
  • On campus, at Trinity Health Ann Arbor Hospital and clinical practice locations


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Contact Us

Eastern Michigan University
School of Physician Assistant Studies
222 Rackham Building
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

[email protected]
734.487.2843 | Fax: 734.487.1834