|Monika Baldridge, Ph.D.
|James Brandes, M.D.
||Program Director, Clinical Professor
|Kelly Miller, PA-C
||Clinical Assistant Professor
|Kerri Murphy, PA-C
||Didactic Coordinator, Clinical Assistant Professor
|Robert Schellinger, M.D.
|Miranda Spindt, PA-C
||Clinical Coordinator, Clinical Assistant Professor
The Carroll University Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program has Continuing Accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and approval from HLC/NCA.
The Mission of the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program is to educate physician assistants to provide comprehensive quality health care to all, to be respectful of patient values, to be committed to ethical principles and to be grounded in evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning. Graduates will contribute to the profession and their communities and be prepared to practice medicine in a variety of primary care settings under the supervision of physicians. Graduates will also be prepared to provide service to medically underserved communities and diverse patient populations.
To achieve its mission, the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program has three goals:
- To develop skilled primary care physician assistants who demonstrate the medical knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide quality patient care for entry level practice as a PA
- To develop PAs with a high level of professionalism and interpersonal communication skills
- To provide all students with practicum medical experiences in underserved areas or with underserved populations
The curriculum includes core knowledge about the established and evolving biomedical, clinical preparatory, behavioral and social sciences; informational literacy; health policy and professional practice; and the application of this knowledge to patient care through supervised clinical practice and practicums. The curriculum is of sufficient breadth and depth to prepare students for clinical practice of medicine and assist students in becoming critical thinkers who can apply the concepts of medical decision making and problem solving. Building on Carroll University Health Sciences Area’s commitment to provide service to culturally diverse populations, there is emphasis on primary care, cultural competency, and Hispanic health care.
The philosophy of the curriculum incorporates both traditional and case-based learning concepts and culminates with a true problem-based learning experience (Capstone). A systems-based curriculum model integrates knowledge, provision of services, and reflection. Common themes across the curriculum include ethical inquiry and practice, professionalism, scientific inquiry, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making as incorporated into the clinical practice and clinical research models, the presentation of content across the lifespan, and exploration of the effects of gender, culture, and cognitive level on content. There is collaborative teaching across courses with planned redundancy of subject matter. Constant reinforcement of content with clinical experiences occurs through observations of and exposure to patients in academic courses, service-learning, and clinical rotations. The students learn in an inter-disciplinary heath care and graduate environment that promotes interdisciplinary clinical practice and life-long learning. Ongoing self, student, peer, program, and professional assessment occurs to ensure that the program is reflective of optimal practice.
The physician assistant studies program is a cohort model, 24 months in length, requiring 118 credit hours to complete. The first year, Year 1 of curriculum, is 12 months and consists of 66 credit hours of didactic courses and integrated service-learning practicums in medically underserved communities in southeastern Wisconsin. Year 2 of the curriculum (consisting of 52 credits), is 12 months of clinical rotations plus the completion of a Capstone project.
Admission to Carroll University Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program requires a bachelor’s degree and satisfaction of prerequisite coursework. The program admits qualified students regardless of race, color, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status, national or ethnic origin or handicap that does not interfere with the performance of professional physician assistant practice as provided by law.
Carroll University will be using Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) to collect admission materials which will be forwarded to the university.
Timeline for Admission Process
The application deadline date is Oct. 1. All materials (including Verified CASPA file) must be received by Carroll University on or before this date. Please note that verification of application of materials might take up to 4-6 weeks.
Candidates will be chosen for on-campus interviews in October-January. Twenty positions will be offered each year. Admission decisions are generally finalized in late spring.
Required Application Materials:
Verified CASPA application including:
- Three letters of reference are required, preferably from a college instructor, a supervisor from a work or volunteer clinical experience, and a health care professional such as PA, NP, MD or DO. Letters of reference must be submitted via CASPA.
- List of coursework in progress.
- Carroll University PA Program Supplemental Fee.
- Official GRE score report using program code 0409. By entering program code 0409 your GRE exam score will automatically be sent to CASPA and considered official submission by Carroll University.
Compliance with the following requirements must be completed prior to beginning the physician assistant program. Completion of all prerequisites is required prior to matriculation.
GPA: Cumulative GPA and science GPA of 3.0 or greater on a 4.0 scale.
Patient Care Experience: A minimum of 500 hours of patient care experience.
Baccalaureate degree: Must be awarded from an accredited institution prior to matriculation.
Prerequisite Courses: Please see below for the specific courses required under each discipline.
Any student accepted for admission to the program must have official college transcripts documenting completion of all requirements sent directly to Carroll University prior to matriculation. Accepted students are required to have completed a health screening, updated immunizations and tuberculosis screening according to current Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for health professionals, background investigation and drug screening prior to beginning the PA program.
Biology Sciences - 5 semesters of biology (courses designed for science majors are preferred)
Biological science courses must include the following:
- Anatomy (or combined anatomy and physiology)
- Physiology (or combined anatomy and physiology)
Suggested additional biological sciences include:
- Cell Biology
- Upper division biological science related to medicine
Chemistry - 4 semesters of chemistry (courses designed for science majors are preferred)
Suggested Chemistry course options include:
- General Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
Psychology - 2 semesters
Suggested Psychology course options include:
- General Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Lifespan Psychology
- Abnormal Psychology
Statistics - 1 semester
Other courses highly recommended for success in PA education:
- Medical Terminology
- Spanish language
Online format is not acceptable for anatomy/physiology courses. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a “C” or higher. Note that a “C-” will not be accepted.
AP courses are accepted for general psychology, general biology I, general chemistry I, and statistics. Documentation must be submitted via official college transcript.
Time Limit for Completion of Prerequisite Requirements: Candidates with coursework more than five years old will need to repeat A&P I and II.
Carroll University will not accept transfer credits for any required course in the Physician Assistant Studies Program. Advanced placement will not be granted for any reason, including prior academic studies or professional experience. Only full-time students are admitted to the program, and all courses within the curriculum are required.
The selection process for the PA Program is highly competitive. Each application is evaluated on individual merits. The submitted materials will be used to evaluate applicants for potential success in the program based on proven academic performance and potential; knowledge of the PA profession; work, community service and other experiences; letters of reference; and essays. Personal interviews, offered to the most qualified applicants, will aid the committee in assessing a variety of non-cognitive factors, including interpersonal skills, personal maturity, motivation and life experiences. Applicants may not be accepted without a personal interview. Invitations for admission will be extended to applicants who appear to be the most highly qualified to meet the mission and goals of the program. Students will be admitted to the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program based on their admission materials and their interview.
Students need not have received their bachelor’s degree from Carroll University, but those who do will receive additional admission points.
Technical Standards for Admission to and Progression in the Physician Assistant Studies Program
The Physician Assistant Studies Program requires that a student possess the ability to meet the requirements of the program. Though the program might modify certain course requirements to provide accommodations required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1990, there are no substitutes for the following essential skills. The applicant must independently, with or without reasonable accommodation, be able to meet each requirement to gain admission to the program, and must also continue to meet them throughout participation in the program.
- Physical Requirements: The applicant/student must be willing and capable of performing the customary techniques for physical assessment, such as visual observation, auscultation, percussion and palpation. The applicant must be able to timely perform physician assistant procedures such as suturing, splinting, venous and arterial puncture and cannulation, bladder catheterization, nasogastric tube placement, emergency procedures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, suctioning of airway, endotracheal intubation, operation of cardioverter/defibrillator, and application of routine first aid procedures.
- Communication: The applicant/student must be able to elicit information, describe changes in health, mood and activity, and perceive nonverbal communication. The applicant/student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and all members of the health care team.
- Intellectual Ability: The applicant/student must be competent in problem solving skills, including measurement, calculation, reasoning and analysis.
- Behavioral and Social Attributes: The applicant/student must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the evaluation and treatment of patients, and must possess integrity, compassion, effective interpersonal skills and be motivated for a career in health care. The student/applicant must be able to work with patients who have serious illnesses, infectious or terminal diseases and severe emotional disorders.
The Physician Assistant Studies Program requires that the applicant/student undergo a physical examination. Carroll University does not discriminate against qualified applicants or enrolled students with disabilities. These Technical Standards are not intended to deter any candidate or enrolled student for whom reasonable accommodation will allow the fulfillment of the complete curriculum.
Health Insurance Statement:
Physician Assistant students are required to have health insurance, and students can be covered under a family or personal policy. Students without their own coverage may purchase University-sponsored coverage.
Caregiver Background and Criminal History Check
October 1, 1998, the State of Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services mandated that all persons who seek to be employed and/or licensed in the caregiver industry must fulfill the caregiver and background check requirements in Section 50.065 of the Wisconsin Statute. Prior to the first day of class, students are required to complete a background and criminal history check and abide by university and state regulations pertaining to findings.
Physician Assistant students are required to have health insurance, and students can be covered under a family or personal policy. Students without their own coverage may purchase University-sponsored coverage.
Academic Progression in Physician Assistant Program
Progression Standards for progression policy.
Dismissed Graduate Students’ Participation in Commencement
A student may be dismissed from a Carroll University graduate program if he/she does not fulfill the academic progression requirements outlined by each program. If a student is dismissed from a graduate program, he/she will not be able to participate in the Commencement ceremony. The student may choose to appeal this dismissal by completing an Academic Petition form which is reviewed by the Academic Steering Committee. Depending on the outcome of the committee’s decision, the student may be eligible to participate in the Commencement ceremony the following academic year.
End of Program Standards
In addition to successful completion of all required physician assistant courses, students must complete the program Capstone course requirements. The Capstone course consists of four components: the summative comprehensive written examination, summative OSCE, the Capstone project, and Professionalism evaluation. The comprehensive written examination and summative OSCE will be administered at the end of the next to last return to campus day during the second year of the program. The capstone presentation will occur during the spring semester of year-2. If a student (1) fails the summative OSCE, (2) fails a written comprehensive examination or (3) receives a grade of D or F on the capstone, or (4) fails to “meet expectations” on the 2nd year Spring Professionalism Evaluation, successful remediation (as determined by the faculty) must occur prior to graduation. If the student fails to successfully complete remediation, the student will be dismissed from the program.
All Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program requirements must be completed in 24 months unless permission is otherwise granted by the Director of the Physician Assistant Program.
At the end of each grading period the Health Science Academic Progress Committee (HSAPC) will meet to review the academic status of every student in the physician assistant program and ensure that all students meet the requirements necessary for progression. The committee will consider the PA program progression standards and will make decisions within the context of the academic progression standards above. The committee is composed of the PA Program Director, the Department of Health and Medicine Chair, the Dean of the College of Health Sciences, the Chair of Physical Therapy, and the Directors and Chairs from Athletic Training, Exercise Physiology, Occupational Therapy, and Nursing. The purpose of the Health Science Academic Progress Committee is to ensure that every graduate of the Carroll University PA program has the skills, knowledge, and judgment to assume the responsibilities of a physician assistant. Students with deficiencies will be notified by the Office of the Registrar within 10 business days after grades are submitted and will meet with the PA Student Progress Committee (SPC) composed of the core PA program faculty and the PA Program Director.
The Academic Steering Committee acts as the appeal body for questions related to academic progression, academic policy, probation or dismissal, etc. The Student/Faculty Ethics committee acts as the appeal body for questions related to grades, integrity, and professionalism. A student wishing to appeal decisions by the HSAPC or SPC must follow the process indicated in the Carroll University Student Handbook.
Policy on Readmission to the Program
The Policy on Readmission defines the process by which students may seek to be readmitted to the program following dismissal of the student from the program. Readmission candidates may apply for readmission to the program no sooner than eight months and no later than three years from the date of dismissal. Readmission candidates may exercise this option only once. Readmission candidates must submit the materials required of all applicants for admission. In addition, they must provide transcripts relating to any education experiences completed since leaving the program. A letter indicating why the readmission candidate believes they will succeed academically, technically, and professionally in the program must accompany the application materials.
Upon review of the materials, the PA admission committee will render one of the following decisions:
- Approval of the request for readmission to the program with the academic condition that the readmission applicant repeat the entire academic program or
- denial of the request for readmission to the program.
The decision of this committee is final.
Students and faculty should make every effort to resolve questions about grades without seeking a formal grade appeal. Students should seek a formal grade appeal only as a last resort.
All students who seek to appeal the assignment of a grade should understand that the evaluation of the extent of course mastery is normally within the province of the instructor for a particular course. Absent extraordinary circumstances, no grade adjustments or changes will be initiated. Therefore, students should make every effort to resolve questions without seeking a formal grade appeal.
Students may seek to appeal final course grades only if there is a valid basis to do so, supported by compelling documentation to show that the assignment of a grade was incorrect or was contrary to established Carroll University academic policies and procedures. Accordingly, appropriate grounds for grade appeals may include:
- A clerical error in the assignment of a final grade;
- The assignment of a grade on some basis other than the student’s performance and participation in the course;
- The evaluation of the student’s work by using criteria that is unnecessarily different from that used to evaluate other students in the same class;
- The assignment of a grade that reflects a significant departure from the instructor’s published or announced standards for assigning grades.
The responsibility for developing and presenting the case for a grade change rests with the student making the appeal. Further, no appeal shall be received by Student/Faculty Ethics Committee absent evidence that the student attempted to address and/or resolve the matter individually with the faculty member responsible for assigning the grade at issue.
All grade appeals must be submitted, in writing, to the Student/Faculty Ethics Committee within the first three weeks of the academic semester immediately following the term in which the course was taken. A written statement clearly identifying the basis for the appeal must be submitted by the student, along with the following documentation: All assignments/project grades, test/quiz results, instructor comments and assessments related to the course/grade in question.
Once submitted, the Student/Faculty Ethics Committee shall meet to review the student’s written statement and supporting documentation. The committee retains the discretion to consult with the faculty member who issued the grade to receive further information. The committee’s written recommendation for resolution of the matter will be issued within ten school days of its receipt of the appeal. This recommendation shall be forwarded to the student, faculty member and PA Program Director
If the student seeks further review, the written basis for such a review, along with the supporting documentation, must be forwarded to Carroll University Provost within ten school days of the issuance of the Student/Faculty Ethics Committee recommendation. Review of the matter and the issuance of a decision by the Provost shall be final.
Student Academic Integrity and Professionalism
All acts of academic misconduct are serious and in fact subvert the very nature of the academic process. Given the central role of academic integrity to all academic pursuits, the Student/Faculty Ethics Committee will review every incident of alleged academic misconduct. Should they be accused of misconduct, students will be subject to fair application of the Policies and Procedures on Student Academic Integrity.
Academic misconduct violations include: committing plagiarism, fabricating or changing data or clinical logs, forging or falsifying academic documents or records, intentionally impeding or damaging the academic work of others, illicitly or maliciously accessing, altering, copying, using or damaging computer software or files, or any other academic violation of the Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy as stated in the Student Handbook.
For cases of academic misconduct in a particular academic course, the instructor of that course assigns an appropriate course sanction and the case is forwarded to the Student/Faculty Ethics Committee to consider the sanction, including program probation or dismissal.
Fees and Financial Aid
Graduate tuition for the Physician Assistant Studies Program is $36,015 average per year plus $1450 for fees for the 2019-2020 Academic Year.
The total program costs for students in the 2019-2020 Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program will be approximately $73,480.
Note that while the year-1 program costs are finalized, the year-2 costs are yet to be established by the Carroll University Board of Trustees and are subject to change, which will change the total program cost.
Additional Equipment and Related Costs
|Books (didactic and clinical years)
|AAPA dues (highly recommended)
|WAPA dues (highly recommended)
|Clinical Rotation Tracking System
* Depending on specific models chosen
**Depending on the facility
Financial aid is available in the form of loans. Additional information is available from the financial aid office.
Students are responsible for determining the requirements of physician assistant licensure and completing application requirements for the state in which they expect to be licensed.
The curriculum includes core knowledge about the established and evolving biomedical, clinical preparatory, behavioral and social sciences; informational literacy; health policy and professional practice; and the application of this knowledge to patient care through supervised clinical practice and practicums. The curriculum is of sufficient breadth and depth to prepare students for clinical practice of medicine and assist students in becoming critical thinkers who can apply the concepts of medical decision-making and problem solving. Building on Carroll University’s health sciences area commitment to provide service to culturally diverse populations, there is emphasis on primary care, cultural competency and Hispanic health care.
The philosophy of the curriculum incorporates both traditional and case-based learning concepts and culminates with a capstone experience. A systems-based curriculum model integrates knowledge, provision of services and reflection. Common themes across the curriculum include ethical inquiry and practice, professionalism, scientific inquiry, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making as incorporated into the clinical practice and clinical research models, the presentation of content across the lifespan, and exploration of the effects of gender, culture and cognitive level on content. There is collaborative teaching across courses with planned redundancy of subject matter. Constant reinforcement of content with clinical experiences occurs through observations of and exposure to patients in academic courses, service-learning and clinical rotations. The students learn in an interdisciplinary heath care and graduate environment that promotes interdisciplinary clinical practice and lifelong learning.
The Carroll University Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program is a post-baccalaureate program divided into one year of course work with supervised clinical practicums, followed by one year of clinical rotations. The program begins in summer and runs full time for two years. The supervised clinical practicums in the first year provide students with hands-on patient/client experience that allows students to integrate classroom learning with practical and clinical applications while providing service to the community. The practicum courses help students develop clinical skills, and emphasize wellness and prevention across the lifespan. Students participate in 12 months of full-time clinical rotations in the areas of Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Women’s Health, Behavioral Health, Pediatrics and General Surgery in the second year. An additional four-week elective will be taken in either a medical or surgical subspecialty area. Clinical education experiences occur off campus, and students must secure appropriate transportation. International physician assistant clinical experiences are available to students.
Due to the academic rigor and demands of clinical rotations throughout the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program, students are highly encouraged not to work during their first and second years. Additionally, students are not allowed to work on campus within the physician assistant program at any time during their first or second year.