Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Prepare for a rewarding medical career in patient care

Physician assistants play a vital role in our health care system. Our Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program will prepare you to provide patient care in a variety of medical environments, helping to improve access to and quality of care.

#3Best Healthcare Jobs, U.S. News & World Report

#5fastest growing job in America, Bureau of Labor Statistics

$104,860median pay in 2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Program Vision, Mission, and Values

The Indiana University Master of Physician Assistant Studies program aspires to be innovators and leaders in physician assistant education.

The mission of the Indiana University Master of Physician Assistant Studies program is to prepare compassionate and competent graduates for physician assistant practice, and to prepare leaders in the field to transform human experience and quality of life, with a focus on meeting the healthcare needs of the community. 

Professionalism: The program expects faculty, staff, and students to demonstrate respect, integrity, honesty, and ethical behavior in all circumstances.

Leadership: We inspire our faculty and students to be champions and advocates in their professional, institutional, and patient care communities.

Collaboration: The program fosters a learning environment where students engage with members of an interprofessional healthcare team to promote excellence in patient-centered care.

Diversity and Inclusion: We instill awareness of and respect for individual cultures by educating our students on the importance of understanding the unique needs of a diverse patient population and providing culturally sensitive health care.

Excellence: We are committed to faculty excellence in their area of expertise and in preparing clinically competent Physician Assistants that excel in evidence-based decision-making

What you’ll learn

Physician assistants have to be ready for anything—and our program ensures you will be.

Our 27-month/seven-semester program is based on medical school curriculum and includes classroom education and extensive clinical training. You’ll graduate ready to take on any challenge and make a difference in the lives of people who need you most.

Your studies will cover six broad areas:

  • Didactic coursework (fundamental science and medical knowledge)
  • Clinical skills (including communication, patient interview and physical exam techniques, critical thinking, and clinical procedures)
  • Professionalism
  • Interprofessional collaborative education and work environments
  • Cultural awareness
  • Clinical rotations in urban/rural community-based practice settings as well as rotations in large, university-affiliated academic medical centers

Program Goals

  • Almost 40% of applicants are from areas designated as medically underserved.
  • Ninety-five percent of the students who entered in the Class of 2018 graduated. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor to mentor the student through the rigors of the program.
  • The Class of 2018 achieved a 100% first-time pass rate on the PANCE.
  • The first four cohorts of graduates averaged a 96% first-time pass rate on the PANCE, which is consistent with the national average.
  • The program is revising the admissions process to a more holistic approach in the 2019 application cycle to assist in increasing applicants from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented populations, non-traditional students and veterans.
  • The School of Health & Human Sciences attends various recruitment events to engage high-quality applicants from diverse backgrounds, such as the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. The School participates in the Breaking the Myths summer camp to develop a pipeline of qualified applicants from local high schools and were recipients of the Health Career Opportunities Program, a $1.9 million federal HRSA grant designed to provide economically and educationally disadvantaged students with the academic and social skills to successfully graduate from health professions programs. Both of these pipeline programs increased the awareness of the physician assistant profession among the participants.
  • Cultural humility and competence are addressed throughout the first year during the Intro to PA Profession, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, and the Patient Evaluation courses. An annual Unconscious Bias workshop was developed in 2018 for all faculty, and will become an annual program event for all students.
  • Ninety-three percent of Class of 2018 students were placed in at least three clinical sites that were designated as medically underserved, with over 40% placed in at least five medically underserved areas.
  • IU MPAS students are educated throughout the didactic curriculum to consider a holistic approach to patient care and incorporate patient preference along with evidence-based medicine.  To educate students to provide quality patient-centered care, the didactic curriculum consists of courses that cover clinical medicine across all body systems and special populations.
  • Clinical rotations are offered in nine core areas to provide opportunities for diverse clinical experiences: Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Behavioral Health, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Community Medicine, and Outpatient Medicine. 
  • All Class of 2018 students successfully completed the summative evaluation, which includes evaluation of medical knowledge, clinical reasoning, clinical and technical skills, and professionalism. The program utilizes this evaluation to demonstrate students are competent for entry-level practice as a physician assistant.
  • Graduates practice in various disciplines including: emergency medicine, surgical subspecialties, family medicine, internal medicine subspecialties, women’s health, and pediatrics subspecialties.
  • Since the first cohort, our preceptors have rated our students as above average with “conducting respectful interviews, with empathy and sensitivity.” The preceptors for the Community Medicine rotation, which is a clinical placement in a patient-centered medical home in a medically underserved area, consistently rates our students above average with “conducting respectful interviews, with empathy and sensitivity.”
  • In 2018, the program initiated participation in the IU Student Outreach Clinic, a free, student-run clinical that provides primary care services to underserved populations of Indianapolis.
  • The IU MPAS program participates in the IU Interprofessional Practice and Education Center TEACH! curriculum, which provides Interprofessional opportunities with learners in the health-related schools across campus.
  • Our students are embedded in clinical rotations with medical students, residents, other physician assistant students, and nurse practitioner students.
  • As a cohort, our most recent graduates mean ratings by preceptors were above average with “demonstrating a respectful attitude and works appropriately with preceptors, staff and patients, at all times.”
  • Evidence-based medicine is a cornerstone of clinical decision-making.  Students are introduced to evidence-based medicine in their first semester. This allows students an early opportunity to understand how to be a consumer of health research and how to apply it to clinical decision-making during their clinical medicine courses and clinical rotations.
  • The Clinical Therapeutics course in the final didactic semester reemphasizes patient-centered evidence-based decision-making and enhances clinical reasoning skills.


The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Indiana University School of Health & Human Sciences Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program sponsored by Indiana 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 2027. 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

Certificate & Licensure

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Continued to the Indiana University Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program. Graduates of the IU MPAS Program will be eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE), which is offered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). All Program graduates are expected to take the PANCE.
PANCE Performance
Class ofIU MPAS First Time Test Taker Pass RateNational First Time Test Taker Pass Rate

To view the 2019 report click HERE.

Learn more at the NCCPA website »

Physician assistants in Indiana are regulated through the Physician Assistant Committee of the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (IPLA).

Practicing as a PA in Indiana requires the following:

  • Graduation from an accredited PA program
  • Passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE)
  • Passing a criminal background check
  • Approval of license application and required supporting, including identification of supervising physician(s)

Information about Indiana Physician Assistant licensure is available from the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency.

The program does not grant advanced placement to any applicant. No courses taken prior to entrance in the program will substitute for any required courses within the program.

Program Completion Requirements

In order to graduate from the Indiana University Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program, a student must complete the following requirements:
  • Passing grade (C or better) in each required course in the curriculum
  • Maintain a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA 
  • Complete professionalism self-assessments during the didactic and clinical phases
  • Complete clinical year competencies and minimum patient encounter requirements
  • Successful completion of the Summative Evaluation, which includes:
    • Comprehensive Written Examination (evaluates medical knowledge)
    • Multiple practical examination stations to evaluate clinical skills and professional behavior
  • Complete exit surveys and focus group
  • Complete payment of all tuition, program, and campus fees