School of Medicine

Physician Assistant Studies - Program


Full-Time Accredited Program

The University of Utah Physician Assistant Program (UPAP) is accredited by ARC-PA, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. UPAP is a full-time program that begins each summer semester (early May) and spans 27 months over seven continuous semesters.* Part-time or interrupted attendance is not an option, and no online classes are offered.

Didactic and Clinical Training

The didactic phase of the program takes place over four (4) semesters for a total of 60 credits of graduate level academic coursework and includes full-day, clinical rotations once weekly beginning at mid-year. The clinical phase takes place during the second year and includes full-time clinical rotations under the direct supervision of a preceptor; students are not required to supply their own clinical sites or preceptors. The total number of credits awarded during the clinical year is 27. In addition all students must produce and present a master's project during their clinical year. Graduates of the Utah Physician Assistant Program earn a Master of Physician Assistant Studies Degree (MPAS).

Master's Project

Beginning January 2018, to fulfill the graduate school required portion of the Masters in Physician Assistant studies each student will complete a student led community-engagement research project. Students will work in a small group with their faculty member and community partner to implement the research project. The project will include a community needs assessment, development of a research question, research proposal, intervention, final paper and poster. A poster presentation session will be held at the University to allow for grading and dissemination of knowledge.

* The program loosely follows the University of Utah academic calendar during the first four semesters, with the exception of starting the first semester (summer) one week early, and PA program classes are held during part of fall break. Other exceptions announced on a yearly basis.