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.
Why become a Physician Assistant
The latest 2019 U.S. News & World Report on graduate health programs ranked Shenandoah University PA (SUPA) program in the top 25 in the nation as well as the Physician Assistant profession as the #1 Best Health Care Job. SUPA was also ranked as #8 nationally for having “Best Faculty” in Intelligent.com‘s 2021 report.
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||14 Months Didactic|
|60 students each class *||48 students each class|
|Master’s Degree awarded||99% Award Master’s Degrees|
|Standard Tuition: $97,200||Standard Tuition: $92,175|
* 42 students at Winchester and 18 at Loudoun educational sites, respectively.
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 Current Students
Covid-19 has made my experience with PA school very different from what I had imagined, but Shenandoah’s program has managed to continue building a close knit community for students and faculty through difficult times. The open-minded, approachable faculty has helped me feel more at ease with constantly changing circumstances, and the repeated focus on patient care through our Clinical Integration course, zoom calls with patients, and covid friendly volunteer events serve as constant reminders as to why I choose PA. While this experience is not what I thought it would be, I am so thankful I am here!
Tanha Patel ’22, PA-S
I had been working in ophthalmology for about 5 years as a retinal angiographer when I realized that my love of medicine was pulling me towards the PA profession. When I visited Shenandoah University, everything just felt right. The caring nature of the faculty and the camaraderie of the students really drew me in. Even now, my favorite part about being a SUPA student is that I feel I can count on any one of my peers to help me in any way I would need.”
David Blumberg ’22, PA-S
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. Learning is further enhanced by didactic elective course opportunities in nutrition, ultrasound, climate and health, and Global Experiential Learning (GEL) courses.
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.
My favorite thing about the faculty at SUPA is their desire to see you succeed. Not only are we being taught by award-winning faculty, but by individuals who genuinely care about you as a whole. They find ways to incorporate fun, feedback, and fellowship in our learning environment.”
Danika Okpaleke ’24 | Physician Assistant Studies
I initially chose SU because it was ranked highly on a national level for my program (PA), and I had family and friends who had lived in this area and said it was a great place to live. I ultimately decided on SU after interviewing for their PA program because of the compassion and love for their students demonstrated by the faculty.”
Hyrum Snell ’23 | Physician Assistant Studies
Dr. Anne Schempp
Program Director and Associate ProfessorFull Biography
Changes to our admission guidelines to 2023-2024 application cycle were updated as of February 20, 2023.
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 our program’s information sessions.
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/
- 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) or equivalent.
- A minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) cumulative overall 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.