Physician Assistant (MPAS)

Degree: Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Program of Study: Physician Assistant
Program Code: 8160

About This Program . . .

The Physician Assistant program is a post-baccalaureate program, leading to a Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree (MPAS).

A Physician Assistant (PA) is a healthcare professional who is licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a Doctor of medicine (MD) or Doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) and can exercise delegated autonomy in decision-making.  Physician Assistants can make clinical decisions and provide a variety of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and health maintenance services to patients.

The CMU PA program offers a student-centered curriculum that has a unique emphasis on training compassionate and competent PAs to be ambassadors of wellness in their careers and communities.  Our program places emphasis on wellness promotion and disease prevention for the individual patient and the community.  The program is a rigorous 27-month, full-time on campus program consisting of 112 credits.  The CMU PA Program curriculum is designed to educate clinicians with the knowledge and skills to be agents of excellence and innovation in the delivery of quality healthcare to the communities of Western Colorado and beyond. 

To become a certified PA following completion of a Master's program, you must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

Important information for this program:

  • Enrollment requires PA program acceptance. Please see the catalog and program website for specific admissions requirements.
  • All courses and course sequencing are required and must be completed at CMU.
  • Students must successfully pass all didactic, clinical course work, and summative exam.

All CMU masters-level graduates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in specialized knowledge/applied learning, quantitative fluency, communication fluency, critical thinking, information literacy, and ethical reasoning. In addition to these campus-wide student learning outcomes, a graduate of this program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate creativity and the ability to think critically and analytically.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to work individually and in collaboration with others, in contributing to the scholarly advancement in their field.
  3. Demonstrate advanced written and oral communication skills and the ability to access and analyze information from various literary sources.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to recognize and articulate moral and ethical challenges within their discipline and demonstrate leadership.

Each section below contains details about the requirements for this program. Select a header to expand the information/requirements for that particular section of the program's requirements. 

To print or save an overview of this program's information, including the program description, learning outcomes, requirements, suggested course sequencing (if applicable), and advising and graduation information, scroll to the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu and select "Print Options." This will give you the options to either "Send Page to Printer" or "Download PDF of This Page." The "Download PDF of This Page" option prepares a much more concise presentation of all program information. The PDF is also printable and may be preferable due to its brevity. 

Institutional Graduate Degree Requirements

The following institutional requirements apply to all CMU graduate-level degrees. Specific programs may have different requirements that must be met in addition to institutional requirements.

  • Graduate certificates consist of a minimum of 5 credit hours.  Master’s degrees consist of a minimum of 30 credit hours. Doctoral degrees consist of a minimum of 60 credit hours.
  • All credits in a graduate program must be minimally at the 500-level.
  • At least fifty percent of the credit hours must be taken at CMU.
  • Students must achieve a 3.00 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU coursework.
  • Students may not apply coursework with a grade lower than a “B” toward graduation requirements.  
  • A course may only be used to fulfill one requirement for each degree/certificate.
  • Capstone exit assessment/projects (e.g., Major Field Achievement Test) requirements are identified under Program-Specific Requirements.
  • The Catalog Year determines which program sheet and certificate requirements a student must fulfill in order to graduate. Visit with your advisor or academic department to determine which catalog year and program requirements you should follow.
  • See “Graduate Degree Requirements” in this catalog for a complete list of graduation requirements.
  • All policies for graduate degrees are outlined in the Graduate Policies and Procedures Manual, Capstone Guidelines Manual, and Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines Manual, all of which are provided on the Graduate Studies website

Specific to this program:

  • 112 semester hours for the MPAS in Physician Assistant.

Program Specific Requirements

(112 semester hours)

BIOL 500
Advanced Human Anatomy
and Advanced Human Anatomy Laboratory
PHAS 501Biomedical Science4
PHAS 502Clinical Pharmacology3
PHAS 503Health Promotion and Disease Prevention2
PHAS 510Foundation to Clinical Medicine2
PHAS 511Clinical Medicine I13
PHAS 512Clinical Medicine II13
PHAS 513Clinical Medicine III13
PHAS 520
History and Physical Exam
and History and Physical Exam Lab
PHAS 521Patient Assessment, Diagnostics and Clinical Skills Lab I2
PHAS 522Patient Assessment, Diagnostics and Clinical Skills Lab II2
PHAS 523Patient Assessment, Diagnostics and Clinical Skills Lab III2
PHAS 530Introduction to Research and Evidence-Based Medicine2
PHAS 531Clinical Reasoning I2
PHAS 532Clinical Reasoning II2
PHAS 533Clinical Reasoning III2
PHAS 541PA Professionalism I2
PHAS 542PA Professionalism II2
PHAS 543PA Professional Capstone1
PHAS 570Clinical Year Seminar1
PHAS 571Family Medicine Rotation4
PHAS 572Behavioral Medicine and Mental Health Rotation2
PHAS 573Internal Medicine Rotation4
PHAS 574Women's Health Rotation2
PHAS 575Pediatric Medicine Rotation2
PHAS 576Surgery Rotation4
PHAS 577Emergency Medicine Rotation4
PHAS 578Inpatient Medicine Rotation4
PHAS 579Elective Rotation I4
PHAS 580Elective Rotation II4
PHAS 581Summative Seminar1
Total Semester Credit Hours112

Note: The below rotation schedule is a version of a possible schedule. Individual student’s rotation schedules during the clinical year will vary.

Also, while the sequencing below culminates in a total of 113-115 semester credit hours, students must complete a minimum of 112 semester credit hours as required for completion of the degree, including satisfactory completion of all required courses. Plan to complete requirements with varying hour options accordingly and consult with advisor.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Spring SemesterSemester Credit Hours
PHAS 541 PA Professionalism I 2
BIOL 500
Advanced Human Anatomy
and Advanced Human Anatomy Laboratory
PHAS 501 Biomedical Science 4
PHAS 502 Clinical Pharmacology 3
PHAS 510 Foundation to Clinical Medicine 2
PHAS 520
History and Physical Exam
and History and Physical Exam Lab
PHAS 530 Introduction to Research and Evidence-Based Medicine 2
 Semester Credit Hours20
Summer Semester
PHAS 511 Clinical Medicine I 13
PHAS 531 Clinical Reasoning I 2
PHAS 521 Patient Assessment, Diagnostics and Clinical Skills Lab I 2
 Semester Credit Hours17
Fall Semester
PHAS 512 Clinical Medicine II 13
PHAS 532 Clinical Reasoning II 2
PHAS 522 Patient Assessment, Diagnostics and Clinical Skills Lab II 2
PHAS 503 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention 2
 Semester Credit Hours19
Second Year
Spring Semester
PHAS 513 Clinical Medicine III 13
PHAS 533 Clinical Reasoning III 2
PHAS 523 Patient Assessment, Diagnostics and Clinical Skills Lab III 2
PHAS 570 Clinical Year Seminar 1
 Semester Credit Hours18
Summer Semester
PHAS 571 Family Medicine Rotation 4
PHAS 572 Behavioral Medicine and Mental Health Rotation 2
PHAS 573 Internal Medicine Rotation 4
PHAS 542 PA Professionalism II 2
 Semester Credit Hours12
Fall Semester
PHAS 574 Women's Health Rotation 2
PHAS 575 Pediatric Medicine Rotation 2
PHAS 576 Surgery Rotation 4
PHAS 577 Emergency Medicine Rotation 4
PHAS 543 PA Professional Capstone 1
 Semester Credit Hours13
Third Year
Spring Semester
PHAS 578 Inpatient Medicine Rotation 4
PHAS 579 Elective Rotation I 4
PHAS 580 Elective Rotation II 4
PHAS 581 Summative Seminar 1
PHAS 595 Independent Study (if needed) 1-3
 Semester Credit Hours14-16
 Total Semester Credit Hours113-115

Advising Process and DegreeWorks

Documentation on the pages related to this program is intended for informational purposes to help determine what courses and associated requirements are needed to earn a degree. Some courses are critical to complete in specific semesters while others may be moved around. Meeting with an academic advisor is essential in planning courses and discussing the suggested course sequencing. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand and fulfill the requirements for her/his intended degree.

DegreeWorks is an online degree audit tool available in MAVzone. It is the official record used by the Registrar’s Office to evaluate progress towards a certificate and determine eligibility for graduation. Students are responsible for reviewing their DegreeWorks audit on a regular basis and should discuss questions or concerns with their advisor or academic department head. Discrepancies in requirements should be reported to the Registrar’s Office.

Graduation Process

Students must complete the following in the first two months of the semester prior to completing their degree requirements:

  • Review their DegreeWorks audit and create a plan that outlines how unmet requirements will be met in the final semester.
  • Meet with their advisor and modify their plan as needed. The advisor must approve the final plan.
  • Submit the “Intent to Graduate” form to the Registrar’s Office to officially declare the intended graduation date and commencement ceremony plans.
  • Register for all needed courses and complete all requirements for each degree sought.

Submission deadlines and commencement details can be found at

If your petition for graduation is denied, it will be your responsibility to apply for graduation in a subsequent semester. Your “Intent to Graduate” does not automatically move to a later graduation date.