Chairperson: Mary Jo Wiemiller, PA-C, M.S.
Department of Physician Assistant Studies
Our mission is to develop physician assistants in the Jesuit tradition who realize their full potential as excellent clinicians and national leaders. We pursue this ad majorem Dei gloriam, for the greater glory of God, and the benefit of the human community.
An ideal graduate of our program is well-rounded, clinically and intellectually competent, committed to professional growth, spiritually centered, compassionate and dedicated to doing justice in generous service to others. Our graduates will be leaders in promoting health, wellness and preventing disease in diverse healthcare settings and in their communities.
Department of Physician Assistant Studies Goals
The program supports students academically during their physician assistant training in order for them to achieve their academic and professional goals.
- Students are challenged with a rigorous medical curriculum while being supported by the faculty and administration through a low student to faculty ratio, academic advising and continued support.
The program recognizes students learn from a variety of teaching methods and employs these methods including: lectures, problem-based learning, small group experiences, standardized patient experiences, clinical rotations and self-reflection exercises. Starting with a thoughtful and fair admission process and continued support to the students throughout the program, we maintain a low attrition and deceleration rate.
Graduates of the program strive for a first-time passing rate of 100% on the PANCE exam.
Graduates of the program strive for a 100% employment rate by six months in each graduating class.
Prepare our graduates to promote the PA profession through their leadership, ethical practice, scholarship and service.
- Graduates are leaders of the profession at the local, state and national level.
- Graduates provide compassionate, patient-centered care to a diverse population of patients.
- Graduates foster integrity through accountability to patients, society and the PA Profession.
- Graduates meet all regulatory requirements for licensure and maintain their professional certification through completion of ongoing professional development.
Student Educational Learning Outcomes
MU PA Learning Outcome #1: General Physical Exam
Students will perform a comprehensive physical examination on the geriatric patient; adult patient; and pediatric patients including toddlers and newborns. The physical examination system components include:
Vital signs, General appearance, Skin, Head/Eye/Ear/Nose/Throat, Neck, Cardiac, Pulmonary, Abdominal, Genitourinary including rectal examination, pelvic examination in women and prostate examination in men, Peripheral Vascular, Neurologic, Musculoskeletal and Psychiatric.
MU PA Learning Outcome #2: Complete History
Students will demonstrate the ability to obtain a complete medical history on pediatric, adult and geriatric patients including the following components: Complete History, Medications, Allergies with Reaction, Family History and Health Maintenance.
MU PA Learning Outcome #3: Documentation of Complete History and Physical Exam
Students will demonstrate the ability to properly document a complete medical history and physical exam on pediatric, adult and geriatric patients inclusive of the above components.
MU PA Learning Outcome #4: Differential Diagnosis
Students will formulate an appropriate differential diagnosis based on information obtained through a focused history and physical examination.
MU PA Learning Outcome #5: Interpersonal Communication - Patient Education
Students will verbally communicate patient educational information. They will do so with clarity and accuracy at a level appropriate for the patient's health literacy.
MU PA Learning Outcome #6: Interpersonal Communication - Health Care Team Member
Students will communicate effectively and work collaboratively with other members of the health care team.
MU PA Learning Outcome #7: Professionalism
Students will demonstrate professionalism in their clinical interactions with patients, faculty and mentors and colleagues.
MU PA Learning Outcome #8: Practice Based Learning
Students will demonstrate oral and written proficiency in the presentation, critique and synthesis of evidence based medical and scientific data for the purpose of practice – based improvements.
MU PA Learning Outcome #9: Systems Based Practice
Students will demonstrate proficiency in knowledge of patient safety and procedural safety while partnering with supervising physicians and other health care providers. They will promote a safe environment for patient care recognizing systems-based factors that may negatively impact patient care.
MU PA Learning Outcome #10: Patient Care
Students will demonstrate sound clinical decision-making skills in their abilities to order and interpret diagnostic studies and to formulate patient management plans across the lifespan using current evidence-based medicine.
Students must also demonstrate incremental competence in the ten measured learning outcomes each term to progress in the program, and for all ten learning outcomes in summation for graduation requirements.
Marquette University Admission Requirements
Criteria to be Considered an Internal PA Candidate
Marquette undergraduate students in the biomedical sciences major (BISC) can apply for admission into the Physician Assistant Studies program as early as the summer after their sophomore year. Candidates for the accelerated admission program must be on track for an initial undergraduate degree with a major in Biomedical Sciences (BISC) following the published BISC pre-PA curriculum in the Undergraduate Bulletin. This curriculum includes specific prerequisite courses for the accelerated program and ensures undergraduate degree completion by the end of the spring term in the first year of the PA program. In addition, applicants to the accelerated program must meet all applications requirements outlined below. Students in the Biomedical Sciences major who transferred from another institution must have a minimum of 30 total credits hours (2 semesters), including at least 12 credits of science course work, completed at MU to be eligible to apply for the accelerated program. Undergraduate transfer students interested in applying to the BISC pre-PA accelerated program must contact the Director of Student Success & Recruitment at the College of Health Sciences Dean’s Office for course approvals and advising.
Marquette students who complete an undergraduate degree prior to matriculation to the PA program, regardless of major, must meet the application requirements outlined below. All internal applicants must be enrolled as degree-seeking students at Marquette University at time of application.
The intensity of the program and the skills necessary for practice as a physician assistant require the program to seek applicants with an excellent academic background, along with strong interpersonal skills and maturity. Prior health care experience is also an indicator of a career commitment to clinical practice. The program's admission process considers each applicant's strength and select for competitive candidates best qualified to meet the mission of the program.
Requirements and selection factors considered in the admission process include the following:
- Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.000 or greater, science GPA, and an assessment of quantity and performance in science course work.
- Marquette Biomedical Science applying to the accelerated program, must have a minimum of four semesters of course work calculated in the admission process.
- Completion of the following prerequisite course work at time of application. Marquette Biomedical Sciences majors applying for the accelerated program can apply with two science prerequisites in progress or planned for their junior year. All other applicants who will enter PA after undergraduate degree completion can apply with one science prerequisite in progress or planned for their senior year. However, all prerequisite science course work must be completed by December 31 prior to matriculating into the PA program.
- 2 semesters of biological sciences (biology)
- 1-2 semesters (minimum of 4 credits total) of inorganic (General) chemistry, with lab
- 1 semester of microbiology (3 credits)
- BISC majors applying for the accelerated program complete BISC 3115 (3 credits)
- 1 semester of physiology (3 credits)
- BISC majors applying to the accelerated program complete BISC 4145 (4 credits)
- 1 semester of biochemistry (3 credits)
- BISC majors applying to the accelerated program complete BISC 3213 (4 credits)
- Additional prerequisite coursework that may be in progress at time of application but must be completed by spring semester before starting the PA1 year:
- 1 semester of social sciences (3 credits, psychology recommended, AP credit accepted)
- 1 semester of statistics (3 credits, AP credit accepted)
- 1 course in medical terminology (must be taken for college credit; CEU/CME not accepted)
- It is highly recommended that the pre-requisite course work is completed within the last 5 years and taken at a 4-year regionally accredited institution. All prerequisite course work must be completed with a grade of C or better. Grades of C- or lower are not satisfactory grades.
- Motivation, maturity, ability to work with people and suitability for clinical practice.
- Minimum of two hundred patient contact hours. All hours must be submitted and documented on the CASPA application. Additional hours after application submission are not counted toward the total. Note: Healthcare shadowing does not count toward this requirement.
- Knowledge of the PA profession and the profession’s role in the health care system.
- Three letters of recommendation (submitted via CASPA).
- Acuity Insights Assessment (CASPER)
Meeting the admission requirements and completing the academic prerequisites does not guarantee admission to the Physician Assistant Program. Marquette's PA program accepts students from a large pool of highly qualified, diverse applicants and is a competitive process. The program currently admits 75 students per class consisting of a target class makeup of approximately 27 Marquette applicants from the Biomedical Sciences major. A limited number of acceptances are also reserved for Marquette applicants pursuing majors outside of Biomedical Sciences.
International Student Requirements
International students must meet all graduate admission requirements in addition to the following:
A transcript evaluation is required for applicants who attended university outside the United States. Below are acceptable foreign transcript evaluation services.
Graduates of an international college or university are required to successfully complete at least nine semester hours of social-behavioral science courses, such as psychology or sociology, and twelve semester hours of upper division science courses at a regionally accredited, four-year U.S. college or university. Online course work is not acceptable. International medical graduates must also acquire at least 200 patient contact hours in the U.S. by the time of application.
Applicants whose native language is something other than English are also required to take the TOEFL internet-based test.
To achieve satisfactory academic progress leading to promotion in the Physician Assistant Program, the student must achieve a GPA of 2.800 in each term (summer, fall, spring). In addition, the student may receive no single final grade of less than a C (2.000) for courses required for the MPAS degree. The PA program considers a grade below C (2.000) to represent unsatisfactory academic progress, including C-. Unsatisfactory academic progress may result in conditional promotion, student-initiated withdrawal from the program or dismissal from the program. Students who earn grades of C-, D+, D or below, or unsatisfactory grades (U, UNC, ADW, UW, WA or WF) in any course in the PA program may be dismissed. This may also lead to withdrawal of financial aid. Students are required to have a cumulative GPA equal or greater than 2.800 to graduate.
In the clinical portion of the program, the term GPA is compiled from an aggregate of clinical rotation grades completed in that term (fall, spring, summer).
Students may not participate in Physician Assistant clinical rotations until they have successfully completed all the required courses in the didactic curriculum.
In addition, at intervals during each term and at its conclusion, the Progress and Promotion Committee reviews students' progress. The committee determines whether students shall be promoted, conditionally promoted, (as described below); or be subject to other action as described earlier in this section. See the PA Program and Clinical Student Handbooks for the PA Program's Policies and Procedures.
If remediation is required, students must satisfy all requirements of any remediation protocols in the defined time frame. These protocols are defined in the PA Program and Clinical Student Handbooks. If students do not meet the remediation requirements, they may be subject to dismissal with College Academic Alert (CAA). All policies in the Student Handbooks are stricter than those outlined in the university general bulletins; therefore, the Handbooks supersede the university policies.
Directing students to seek appropriate counseling is within the purview of the Progress and Promotion Committee (P&P Committee). In such cases, referrals are made to the PA Program's Academic Counseling Subcommittee. While it is advisable for students to seek assistance from instructors and faculty as a course proceeds, there may be circumstances where support is needed to understand certain concepts and to make up work lost for extraordinary reasons such as illness. The Academic Counseling Subcommittee can recommend students establish a collaborative plan with the faculty to complete selected course objectives and incomplete work. Students are notified of this recommendation by letter from the program director or the Academic Counseling Subcommittee. This letter remains a part of students' permanent file.
In specific situations involving financial or personal elements, the Progress and Promotion Committee may recommend outside resources be utilized to satisfy this category of promotion. When medical or psychiatric consultation is required or recommended, the P&P Committee respects patient/provider confidentiality. However, documentation of enrollment and/or completion may be required by the committee.
A warning is a written letter to students for unacceptable academic progress during the term (usually at mid-term). A warning may come from the course instructor or the program director on behalf of the course instructor. The purpose of the warning letter is to make students aware of impending academic jeopardy. Warnings are reported to the Progress and Promotion Committee and program director for informational purposes. Students may also be placed on College Academic Alert (CAA) upon receipt of the warning letter.
Academic Censure (Dismissal/Probation/Academic Alert)
There are categories of student performance problems that can lead to academic censure. These problems may be identified at any point during the academic year, though a systematic review of all students' course grades is also conducted at the end of each academic term. The review of other, non-course grade problems is typically conducted on an individual basis as issues arise. A finding of significant problems in any of these areas can result in probation, suspension or dismissal, depending on the nature and severity of the problems identified. All of these statuses are maintained permanently on the academic record; only actions resulting in suspension or dismissal, however, appear permanently on Marquette University’s official transcript. If students are reinstated following a dismissal, that notation also permanently appears on the official transcript. Refer to the "Transcripts-Official" section of the Health Science Professional policies for statuses that appear permanently on the official transcript.
Academic Dismissal – Required to Withdraw for Academic Reasons (RWAR)
Health Science Professional Students (HESP) in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program must achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.800 by the end of the second term in the program and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.800 each term thereafter. In addition, students are subject to RWAR for any course required for the MPA degree with a final grade below a C (C-, D+, D, F) or an unsatisfactory grade (U, UNC, ADW, WA or WF). The Office of the Registrar (OTR) and the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) monitor the program academic requirements at the end of each term (fall, spring and summer). Students who do not meet these academic requirements are academically dismissed by the college (coded as RWAR by OTR) and their record coded as failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) by the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA).
The college office communicates the RWAR and OSFA communicates the SAP via Marquette email. As per university email policy, students have the responsibility to monitor their email.
Undergraduate students in the Physician Assistant Studies Program must meet requirements listed above to continue in the Physician Assistant Studies Program. Student that are not allowed to continue in the Physician Assistant Studies Program but remain in good standing at the university as undergraduate students, may be allowed to continue with their undergraduate degree course of study.
Satisfactory Academic Progress: there are other SAP conditions for which students are responsible and are applied to all students in this program, both professional and undergraduate. Refer to the complete SAP policy on the OSFA website.
RWAR/SAP Appeal Process
Per the PA Student Handbook, all appeals to decisions made by the PA Progress and Promotion Committee for not meeting the Academic or Professional Standards of the program must be submitted in writing to the dean of the College of Health Sciences within three business days. This may be done by letter or emailed to the dean. At this time, the dean, or appointed designee, or a panel, hears the appeal.
Students subject to RWAR/SAP may appeal both RWAR/SAP by sending one form, which addresses both RWAR and SAP issues. The Academic Censure Appeal form is mandatory and located on the Marquette Central academic forms website. The form includes all of the required information students must submit to have their appeal reviewed.
- The form is submitted according to the instructions on the form for initial review for completeness. Completed appeal forms are then forwarded to the chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. The department chair, in consultation with the Progress and Promotion Committee, has the final decision on all RWAR/SAP appeals.
- If the appeal is approved by the Progress and Promotion Committee, students may be decelerated or reinstated on probation and the Progress and Promotion Committee establishes an academic probation plan for them to regain their satisfactory academic and degree progress standing and their eligibility for financial aid is restored.
- The plan must be measurable and ensure that students are able to meet Marquette's SAP standards by a specific point in time. Plans include courses to be taken, expected grades and a time frame to complete the outlined objectives.
- The plan is monitored by the department (Progress and Promotion Committee).
- Should students not fulfill all of their academic obligations as outlined in the academic probation plan, their performance is evaluated by the committee and a determination is made as to whether the College Academic Alert (see below) process is implemented; however, they are again coded with SAP for that term.
- Students whose appeal is denied or do not appeal, are dropped from all classes in which they are subsequently registered.
Probation, College Academic Alert (CAA) and Required to Withdraw for Unsatisfactory Degree Progress (RWDP)
Academic performance is monitored carefully by the Progress and Promotion Committee of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies Program. Students failing to maintain steady progress or failing to demonstrate adequate academic progress at midterm, as defined earlier above, are barred from future registration in the program and placed on College Academic Alert (CAA).
Within a term where remediation is required, students who fail to comply with the remediation standards outlined in the PA Program and Clinical Handbooks are placed on College Academic Alert (CAA). All students where conditions of probation have been established are subject to Progress and Promotion Committee review and possible dismissal (Required to Withdraw for Unsatisfactory Degree Progress - RWDP) should they fail to fulfill the conditions. It is possible that students may be dismissed from the program for academic reasons even though the student’s cumulative GPA exceeds 2.800. Students concerned about their academic progress should consult the remediation protocol and academic progress section defined in the PA Program Handbook.
Students are notified of the Progress and Promotion Committee’s decision by email and of the appeal process. Undergraduate students who are not allowed to continue in the Physician Assistant Studies Program, but remain in good standing at the university, may be allowed to continue in their undergraduate degree course of study.
Academic Dismissal – Professional Integrity
Students may be dismissed from the Physician Assistant Studies program for failure to maintain professional integrity standards, which may include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to comply with the Physician Assistant Studies Program Honor Code and Professional Code of Conduct.
- Failure to comply with learning objectives set forth in a professional behavior learning contract between the student and the program.
- Professional misconduct, including, but not limited to:
- Conduct that constitutes harassment, threats or abuse of, or discrimination against peers, faculty, patients or others.
- Provision of services at any point in the Physician Assistant Studies program while under the influence of an illegal substance and/or alcohol.
- Breach of patient/client confidentiality.
- Failure, during a clinical experience, to comply with the policies and procedures of the clinical facility.
- Failure to comply with the Physician Assistant Studies program departmental Policies and Procedures outlined in the student handbook.
- Failure to comply with the Physician Assistant Ethical Guidelines to Professional Conduct (www.nccpa.net and www.aapa.org).
- Failure to complete their undergraduate degree by the end of the second spring term in the professional phase of the Physician Assistant program. Completion of the undergraduate degree is required before students proceed to the final Physician Assistant clinical year (fall, spring, summer).
Violation of the professional integrity requirements results in a hearing with the Progress and Promotion Committee. Findings of misconduct to self, faculty, the program, the university clinical placements and/or patients may result in failure in the assignment, failure in the course or dismissal from the program. For instances of dismissal from the program, a notation of “Required to Withdraw for Professional Integrity Reasons” appears on the permanent academic record and transcript.
Academic Dismissal – Academic Misconduct
Dismissal for academic misconduct (RWAM) is determined per the Academic Misconduct policy found in the Health Sciences Professional policies. Once this determination has been made, students are dismissed from the university. This action results in ineligibility to register at Marquette. Reinstatement criteria for students who are dismissed, if applicable, are outlined in the dismissal notice. If students are allowed to return to the university, a permanent notation of ‘Reinstated to the University’ appears on the academic record and Marquette’s official transcript.
Temporary Withdrawal from Program
Students who find it necessary to request a temporary withdrawal from the PA program must submit a written request to the program director.
The Progress and Promotion Committee may recommend, and must approve, the temporary withdrawal. The temporary withdrawal may be indicated under circumstances unique to specific students, however, the temporary withdrawal shall extend no longer than a single calendar year.
Normally, students are readmitted to the program at the end of their leave if the Progress and Promotion Committee believes the purpose of the temporary withdrawal has been successfully achieved. The committee may require students to repeat course work before reentry after a prolonged absence.
The Physician Assistant program must be completed in no more than four years. Therefore, if a second temporary withdrawal is requested, students may be dismissed from the program or required to reapply to the program.
Students who find it necessary to withdraw from the Physician Assistant program may reenter at that level only with concurrence of the Progress and Promotion Committee and the program director, on a space-available and case-by-case basis.
Tuition/Financial Aid for Physician Assistant Studies program
Students enrolled in the Physician Assistant Studies program upon completion of their baccalaureate degree are moved into the professional division of Health Sciences and are no longer eligible for undergraduate financial aid.
For additional information on other College of Health Sciences policies, see the College Academic Policies.