Make a difference in health care as a physician assistant.
As a physician assistant, you’ll be an integral member of the health care team, working with physicians to meet the needs of society’s patients. You’ll serve in all medical specialties, treating patients’ illnesses and injuries, as well as educating them on wellness and disease prevention.
You’ll exercise autonomy in decision-making and provide a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. Physician assistant practice is patient-care centered, but may include national and international opportunities to serve in clinical, educational, research and administrative roles.
Shenandoah’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies is a comprehensive graduate entry-level professional program that prepares you for primary care practice. The program emphasizes service to medically underserved populations and a team approach to the delivery of health care.
When I decided to pursue PA school, the reputation of Shenandoah’s program immediately put it on the top of my list. When I came for my interview day, the interactions I had with the current students and faculty and learning about the module-based approach to learning solidified Shenandoah as my top choice. Now that I am almost a year into my program, I cannot imagine doing this terrifyingly wonderful experience anywhere else.
Lynn Taggart ’19 | Physician Assistant Studies
Why become a Physician Assistant
U.S. News & World Report names Physician Assistant as the #1 Best Health Care Job and #3 Overall Best Jobs in its 2019 rankings. This popularity also translates into increased job growth, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating a much faster than average 31% employment rates.
Learn More About This Program
The Shenandoah University Physician Assistant Program is a graduate entry-level professional course of study enabling individuals who hold baccalaureate degrees to become PAs. The program is designed to prepare graduates for primary-care practice with emphasis on service to medically underserved populations and the team approach to the delivery of health care.
|Shenandoah University||PA Programs Nationally|
|30 Months||27 Months|
|16 Months Didactic||15 Months Didactic|
|60 students each class *||48 students each class|
|Master’s Degree awarded||96% Award Master’s Degrees|
|Standard Tuition: $80,545||Standard Tuition: $88,987|
* 42 students at Winchester campus and 18 at Loudoun site
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Shenandoah University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Shenandoah University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards. Our next accreditation review will occur in 2025.
Hear From Our Students
I knew that SU was the right program for me, the second I entered the building. The program’s commitment to service, coupled with the caring and compassionate staff made me feel like I was home. I knew that I wanted to learn from this amazing group of providers and I knew that they could make me the professional that I desired to be. Choosing SU was one of the easiest decisions I ever made.”
Kirk Livers ‘18 | Physician Assistant
I chose Shenandoah primarily because of the family atmosphere and the genuine interest that everyone expressed in the success of one another. This has proven more and more true during my time here: there is no concern over your class rank, no (serious) grade competition, and everyone is more than willing to help you if you ask. I also chose Shenandoah because of the very balanced approach to education. Sure, there is a heavy focus on medical knowledge, but the commitment to work outside in the community, to missions, to professional and personal growth. Nowhere else had I seen such a holistic mentality and it has most certainly helped prepare me to be the best PA I can be.”
Brian Collins ‘16 | Physician Assistant
After all the hard work, hours of studying, sacrificing time away from family and friends, it was all worth it in the end. SU was my first choice and it was the best choice.”
Sarah DeLuca ‘15 | Physician Assistant at Selma Medical Associates in Winchester, Virginia
I have taken great satisfaction in knowing that several patients are alive today because of my team.”
Daniel Regan ‘12 | Physician Assistant
My years at SU were filled with unforgettable people and experiences and I left with lifelong friends that are more like family.”
Chelsea Reamy ‘11 | Physician Assistant at Prince William Dermatology in Gainesville, Virginia
Employment of Physician Assistants is projected to grow 31% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Increased demand for healthcare services from the growing and aging population and widespread chronic disease, combined with a shortage of physicians, is resulting in an increased demand for Physician Assistants.
Physician Assistants (PAs) are health-care professionals who practice as part of a team with a physician. PAs exercise autonomy in decision-making and provide a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic services with physician supervision. The role of the PA includes provision of primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practices located in rural, urban or suburban areas. PA practice is patient-care centered but may include education, research and administrative duties.
The program integrates graduate-level critical thinking and analysis, problem solving, scientific inquiry, self-directed learning and the effective use of modern technology for professional practice that includes elements of research, leadership, education and continued enhancement of the physician assistant profession.
Learn how to:
- obtain medical histories, build patient relationships and perform appropriate physical examinations
- order and interpret diagnostic and therapeutic modalities
- establish diagnoses and develop and implement appropriate, evidence-based treatment plans
Shenandoah’s program is multimodal and case-based, with small-group learning and a primary care focus. Our clinical integration cases develop and enhance the critical thinking skills you’ll need to serve real patients.
Courses are taught by experienced professionals in a collegial, compassionate learning atmosphere, and we offer an interprofessional teaching and learning environment, including courses seminar and location. The program offers clinical rotations in medically underserved communities, and hands-on experience in full-dissection cadaver anatomy. You can further enhance your learning with elective course opportunities in Care of Vulnerable Populations, Chronic Care and Communication (e.g. Medical Spanish).
The curriculum design, offered in didactic and experiential components, is based upon the concepts of adult-centered learning and professional education, which focus on mastery of knowledge, skills and attitudes required by the graduate to practice effectively as a physician assistant. The didactic curriculum offers multiple modalities for learning, which include self-directed study, recitation, lecture, integrated clinical cases and laboratory experiences. These modalities assist students in developing the necessary skills to be self-directed life-long learners and effectively apply what they learn in the clinical setting. The clinical curriculum provides core primary care and other learning experiences where students apply knowledge and skills in patient care settings under the supervision and mentoring by licensed health care providers.
Our accomplished and caring faculty serve as mentors beyond the classroom. Our faculty actively serve the profession through professional organizations and all practice clinically. As a team, they prepare you to serve as a compassionate physician assistant, critical thinker and ethical leader. You’ll benefit from small class sizes that enable faculty members to provide individualized attention and nurture your academic and professional development.
The faculty and staff of the PA program are exceedingly supportive. They recognize the incredible challenges we face in this program, and they are always willing to help when asked. I know that I can turn to my advisor whenever I am struggling, and our program director has a very open-door policy for questions, suggestions, and issues.”
Lynn Taggart ’19 | Physician Assistant Studies
Phenomenal teaching. Committed and unwavering staff pushed students to reach maximum potential. Teaching methods reinforced real life scenarios to force early medical minds to think critically and adapt to changes. Teaching methods also promoted a high degree of independence which forced students to get out of their comfort zone, take the leap, gain confidence, and succeed.
Jordan Warnsholz ’13 | Physician Assistant Studies
Professor & Program DirectorFull Biography
Learn about the necessary steps and qualifications to be considered for Shenandoah University’s Physician Assistant Studies program.
Due to the volume of applications received each year, we are unable to offer individual appointments or the service of reviewing prerequisite courses for candidates who have yet to apply to the Shenandoah PA Program through CASPA. See the FAQ section on evaluation of transcripts or courses for additional information.
Candidates are STRONGLY encouraged to attend one of the information sessions at Shenandoah University.
Reservations must be made 72 hours in advance of the Open House date for you to receive an acknowledgement email.
- Submit all application materials to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) at https://caspa.liaisoncas.com/
- Submit official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing) scores taken with 5 years of application.
- A bachelor’s degree from a college or university regionally-accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or World Education Services (WES)
- A minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) overall cumulative grade point average (GPA)
- A minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) overall science GPA
- A minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) Shenandoah University Prerequisite GPA
PA & MPH Dual Degree Option
The Physician Assistant Studies & Master Of Public Health Dual Degree Program offers students an opportunity to earn a Master Of Public Health Degree (MPH) in conjunction with training in the Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program.
The purpose of the dual Physician Assistant/Master of Public Health program is to graduate highly qualified health professionals who have obtained competencies necessary to succeed in the rapidly evolving health system. The dual program prepares students to enter a wide range of PA and public health positions that address today’s most challenging population health care issues.
Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program
The Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program offers Shenandoah students a short-term, faculty-led, study-abroad experience for academic credit. These short-term, credit-bearing, faculty-led programs are offered winter break, spring break, and during the summer.
My favorite part of the GEL trip to Uganda was working with the teachers at Nyaka. You could tell how dedicated they are to the program and to the students they teach. I particularly enjoyed spending time with the secondary school teachers and seeing how they work to not only teach the course material but to prepare their students for life beyond Nyaka. Even though I have traveled, I have never been to a location where it is truly subsistence living. To say that it was an eye opening experience is a dramatic understatement. It makes one reconsider personal lifestyle choices. I remember coming home and one of my first thoughts was “Wow. I have so much stuff in my house. Do I really need all these things?” I had a great relationship with the professors on my trip. You get to know so much more about the faculty and you are able to develop relationships beyond the classroom on these experiences.
Sinead Arndt ’18 | Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies