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Monday, March 10, 2014

Master's, Dual-Degree, and Bachelor Level PA Programs

Master’s Degree Programs
Most master's degree programs have a preference for the name they give your degree, but all PA programs must be accredited by the same governing body, ARC-PA. Similarly, their curriculums must also be very similar in order to qualify for accreditation. Thus, there is no difference between the names of the degree you will receive and means little in comparison to the end result, which is the “-C” at the end of your title.

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)
Sometimes referred to as many other degree offerings, such as:
  • Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS)
  • Master of Physician Assistant Practice (MPAP)
  • Master of Physician Assistant (MPA)

Master of Medical Science (MMS/MMsc)
Sometimes referred to as a Master of Science in Medicine (MSM).

Master of Health Science (MHS)
Sometimes referred to as a Master of Science in Health Science (MSHS).

Master of Science (MS)
The master of science typically requires an additional paper (research project) and a presentation.

Dual-Degree Programs
Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)/Master of Public Health (MPH/MSPH)

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)/Master of Healthcare Administration(MHA)
If you’re looking to become an administrator of a hospital or health care education, you’ll probably want to look into dual programs that offer MPAS/MHA degrees. Other PAs who move into administrative positions also have Master of Business Administration degrees, in which case you could also look into doing a MPH/MHA or MPH/MBA degree before PA school as well. If you’re looking into management after PA school, you could apply to become an operations manager (junior administrator) and eventually be promoted to operations administrator (hospital administrator). It is highly advised that if you’re looking into health care administration, you go with a program offering a dual MHA program.


Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)/Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
If you were ever unsure whether you wanted to become a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant, well, there is a solution for that too. At the the University of California Davis, a Master of Science - Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Dual-Track Program prepares you to work as both. You first have to be accepted into the nurse practitioner program and then you work with your adviser to determine if you are eligible for the dual-track. Graduates of the program complete 9 quarters of study and 2500 hours of clinicals rotations and are able to sit for the PANCE at the end. Students who have been through the program claim the curriculum is the same for both PAs and NPs, minus a few lectures. The difference being that the NPs were allowed to practice in both professions and didn’t have to keep up with their PA licensing if they didn’t wish to practice, yet they could always retake the PANCE. On the flip side, the newly graduated FNPs were equivalents to newly graduated PAs of the same program, whereas it normally takes a newly graduated FNP pursuing PA studies 3-4 years to become a PA.

Baccalaureate Degree Programs
As with Master’s degrees, there is no difference between the names of the Bachelor’s degree you will receive and means little in comparison to the end result, which is the “-C” at the end of your title after you pass your PANCE. Below is a list of common names you might see.  

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant (BSPA)
Sometimes referred to as many other degree offerings, such as:
  • Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (BSPAS)
  • Bachelor of Physician Assistant Studies (DPAS)
  • Bachelor of Physician Assistant (BPA)

Bachelor of Medical Sciences (BMS)

Bachelor of Clinical Health Services (BCHS)

Bachelor of Health Science (BHS)
Sometimes referred to as a Bachelor of Science in Health Science (BSHS).


Sources:
Assessing the Value of Dual Physician Assistant/Public Health Degrees (Cawley et al., 2011)
Interest in Physician Assistant/Public Health Dual-Degree Programs (Benzie et al., 2003)

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