School of Medicine

Physician Assistant Studies - Program

About Us

About Us

The Physician Assistant Program

The Utah Physician Assistant Program (UPAP) at the University of Utah, School of Medicine is one of the oldest PA programs in the country, and has held continued accreditation since 1971. We are proud of our heritage that includes the MEDEX model and co-sponsorship of the Utah Medical Association, the largest constituency association in the state of Utah. As a program created from the MEDEX model, UPAP is committed to training PAs who will be prepared to meet the challenges of providing high quality care to patients in medically underserved and rural communities. The program has refined its curriculum and format to provide the best combination of didactic and clinical training to accomplish this mission. UPAP has been consistently ranked as top a Top 10 PA Program in the country by the US News and World Report since rankings have been provided in 2004. We are honored to be part of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. Our PA program is the oldest, continuously accredited program in the western United States.

Curriculum Emphasis

The emphasis our mission-based curriculum is educating physician assistants to evaluate, diagnose, and manage acute and chronic conditions in patients of all ages utilizing a primary care model. The program trains physician assistants to work with physicians as part of a health care team to improve the quality and access to primary care. At the successful completion of training, students are awarded a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree.

Program Training

Utah Physician Assistant Program (UPAP) students are trained at the University of Utah's Health Sciences Center, major affiliated hospitals, and in clinics and private primary care practices within the region. UPAP curriculum is divided into two phases providing both didactic classroom instruction and supervised clinical practice experiences. The didactic phase consists of pre-class material, 15 months of classroom instruction, completion of a master’s project in partnership with a community partner. The clinical phase involves 3 consecutives semesters of intense clinical training in primary care and specialty rotations, including a required rural/underserved rotation.