Masters in Physician Assistant Studies

About the Profession

The Physician Assistant is a licensed health professional qualified by specialized academic and clinical education to perform medical tasks traditionally undertaken by physicians, while practicing under the supervision and responsibility of a licensed physician. PAs provide essential diagnostic, therapeutic, preventative, and health maintenance services in primary and specialty care settings.

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Physician Assistant Studies (PAS) program awards a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree (MSPAS). MUSC is an academic teaching hospital and the PAS program benefits from the vast resources available from the University. Students participate in interprofessional and simulation. MUSC PAS students are also involved in projects within the local community as well as international mission trips. In addition to our outstanding resources and opportunities for student involvement outside the classroom, we have dedicated faculty who pride themselves in their students' success.

About the Program

Physician Assistants play a critical role delivering high-quality, affordable health care, and more than ever before, are helping to meet the health care needs of our nation and the world. The MUSC PAS program is the perfect place to gain the skills, knowledge, and experience to prepare you to practice in this exciting, ever evolving profession. We offer a Master of Science degree for individuals seeking to become physician assistants.

The PAS program begins at the end of May and lasts for seven semesters which is approximately twenty-seven months in duration. The first four semesters, which comprise the fifteen-month didactic portion of the program, are devoted to classroom study. Students reside in Charleston taking courses five days a week.

During the last three semesters, which comprise the twelve-month long clinical year, students complete nine individual clinical rotations at sites predominately located in South Carolina. The clinical rotations include internal medicine, family medicine, women's health, pediatrics, mental health, emergency medicine, general surgery, and an adjunct clinical experience as well as an elective of the student's choosing. 

Students are highly discouraged from being employed while in the PAS program.

Accreditation Status

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Medical University of South Carolina Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Medical University of South Carolina. 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 2023. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Accreditation/Licensure

Being accredited by the ARC-PA confirms the program meets or exceeds established national standards for a professional program leading to the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree. Whereas accreditation applies to training programs, licensure applies to individuals. Our program prepares you for and makes you eligible to take the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) exam, which all individuals must pass in order to practice as a Physician Assistant. Passing the certification exam is necessary but it may not be sufficient to practice as a physician assistant in any given state. You can find additional requirements for practicing physician assistants in each state at PhysicianAssistant.edu.

Graduate Performance on the PANCE (PDF)