7 Terms | 2 Years and 4 Months
Fall: September 6th, 2022
You’ll be taught alongside students of other disciplines to allow you to cross-collaborate and become a better practitioner.
Real patients. Real practice. Los Angeles is a diverse city that provides students with a large range of clinical education experiences.
SCU is the first university to offer a Physician Assistant program that exposes students to integrative whole-person healthcare practices.
SCU develops leaders to be thoughtful and compassionate practitioners who are qualified to provide high-quality care to a diverse population.
Our program will prepare students to participate in integrative healthcare teams and deliver healthcare with a primary care focus to a diverse population by providing evidence-based instruction.
Faculty, students, and graduates will be recognized as innovative leaders, incorporating integrative modalities into patient-centered healthcare.
Please click here for information about the program’s current progress toward achieving our program goals
Program Learning Outcomes (Graduate Competencies)
As health care changes, Physician Assistants are increasingly valued as vital members of the health care team. Graduates are in high demand and enjoy careers that are rewarding both personally and professionally.
*Portions of the above text are taken from Accreditation Standards for Physician Assistant Education, Fifth Edition, ARC-PA, page 3, 2019.
Median annual wage for Physician Assistants in California1
expected growth between 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations2
SCU’s Master of Science: Physician Assistant Program will prepare students to participate in integrative healthcare teams and deliver healthcare with a primary care focus to a diverse population by providing evidence-based instruction.
Total Terms: 7
Total Credits: 145
The second year is devoted to core clinical rotations, elective rotations, and seminars. Providing our PA students with these opportunities is integral to the basic foundation of their clinical skills. The start date for clinical rotations will be the fifth trimester. Clinical assignments are, at minimum, 32 hours per week. Students are expected to fully participate in all clinical activities (e.g., “call,” grand rounds, journal club).
Each student will complete one rotation in each of the required core clinical experiences. Elective time of up to 8 weeks may be available to students in good standing.
|Women’s Health: Obstetrics and Gynecology||6|
SCU’s MSPA program is a 28-month program, with terms 5-7 dedicated to core clinical rotations, elective rotations, and seminars. By serving as a clinical preceptor for our students, you will play an integral role in contributing to the basic foundations of their clinical skills. The clinical year is comprised of 10 clinical rotations – 8 core rotations and 2 elective rotations. Each rotation is four weeks in duration.
Our program emphasizes a holistic approach, teaching students to use science and evidence-based research to provide patient-centered, whole-person health care. SCU is the first university to offer a physician assistant program that fully immerses students in a multidisciplinary setting. MSPA students take core classes with other students pursuing a variety of healthcare careers — including future chiropractors and acupuncturists. This unique interprofessional environment empowers students to excel within integrative healthcare teams.
Our clinical team is ready to assist you in preparing for, working with, and evaluating students.
Our Associate Program Director of Clinical Education, Ashley Larsen, MPA, PA-C, is committed to developing and maintaining high-quality clinical rotations for our physician assistant students.
Feel free to contact us at any time:
Our clinical site information page contains the necessary forms and paperwork to make the clinical experience successful for the preceptor and students. Examples of documents included are student and preceptor clinical handbooks, evaluation documents, and syllabi. Our Clinical Team is also readily available to assist our preceptors with additional resources and information as needed. Please contact us at any time.
Visit our Clinical Site Information Page for more information.
Welcome to the Master of Science: Physician Assistant Program!
We are so excited that you have chosen to explore our program. Here at SCU, you will receive a top-notch education while having some fun too. If proximity to Disneyland and beaches isn’t enough, we happen to have an exceptional program. We believe in an interactive classroom that fully engages students and brings didactic material to life. You will participate in case studies, oral case presentations, interactive models, standardized patient experiences, and much more. We have worked tirelessly to secure exceptional clinical rotation sites to ensure supreme educational experiences. You will graduate with confidence!
Our program is one of a kind with an emphasis on integrative health care. At SCU, you will participate in an Integrative Health Promotion course series that provides students an opportunity to learn about alternative therapies, collaborate with other healthcare professionals, and experience hands-on experience at integrative facilities. These concepts are then reinforced during the clinical year with an Integrative Health rotation. We believe not only in graduating students with an excellent foundation to be physician assistants but also with a passion for integrative modalities.
Each faculty and staff member that comprises our phenomenal team brings years of experience and expertise to our program. You will be able to participate regularly in meetings with faculty members, advisors, and student mentors; as well as periodic town hall meetings. Education is a vocation, not a job, and we genuinely care about you! Your success is our number one goal!
Program Director, Physician Assistant Program
Southern California University of Health Sciences
SCU faculty are real-world practitioners who bring knowledge gained through the powerful combination of higher learning and industry experience.
Another symbol of excellence at SCU is reflected by its accreditation. Southern California University of Health Sciences is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 1001 Marina Village Parkway, Suite 402, Alameda, CA 94501. Phone: (510) 748-9001.
Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc (ARC-PA)
Attrition: ARC-PA Student Attrition Rate
In compliance with 34 CFR 668.43, the Master of Science: Physician Assistant (MSPA) program at Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) provides information pertaining to professional licensure for the program. Students should refer to the information below and contact the appropriate licensing board to ensure they will meet the licensure requirements in the state(s) in which they intend to practice upon graduation.
Upon completing an ARC-PA accredited program, graduates are eligible to sit for the professional board exam given by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Upon passing the exam, candidates are given the designation of Physician Assistant–Certified (PA-C). The candidate may then apply for state licensure and for a DEA certificate to prescribe controlled medication. SCU’s Master of Science: Physician Assistant program meets the educational requirements for licensure in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Some states have requirements in addition to educational requirements – prospective and enrolled students are encouraged to research licensure requirements for the state that they intend to practice in. These licensure requirements vary from state to state.
Neither acceptance for admission into the program nor the subsequent earning of an MSPA degree guarantees that a state or foreign country will grant a graduate a license to practice. Each state and foreign country, through its legislative and administrative process, defines the standards of competency and scope of practice of PA’s within its jurisdiction. The American Academy of PAs maintains a list of licensing boards at their website List of Licensing Boards – AAPA.
Please note that licensure requirements are always subject to change. Although SCU will confirm the licensure requirements on a routine basis, we strongly recommend that you inquire with the licensing agency to confirm that you understand and will meet the requirements for licensure before enrolling in your program of choice. Additionally, while progressing through the program, we recommend that you check licensing agency requirements regularly to monitor whether they have changed in a manner that impacts your licensure plans.
All international students are strongly encouraged to check the credentialing requirements in the country where they intend to practice.
Are there any changes for the 2021-2022 cycle due to COVID-19?
All admissions requirements are published on our Admissions page. No exceptions will be made due to COVID-19. Click here for more information regarding COVID-19.
Is the SCU MSPA Program accredited?
Yes. At its September 2020 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the Southern California University of Health Sciences Master of Science: Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Southern California University of Health Sciences on Accreditation-Probation status until its next review in September 2022.
How does the program’s Accreditation-Probation status affect my ability to find a job?
There is no effect on the job market from graduating from an accredited program on probation.
How will the Accreditation-Probation status affect future entering classes?
The program will still be admitting students during our regular admissions cycle and will continue to do so. The program is not restricted to admitting future cohorts under the probation status.
How will the Accreditation-Probation status affect the curriculum and clinical experiences?
There is no change to didactic or clinical instruction under this status. The program will still be delivering a robust didactic curriculum as well as robust clinical clerkship experiences for every student in the program.
Is a program on probation still accredited?
Yes, The ARC-PA awards the accreditation status of “Accreditation-Probation.” Probation accreditation is a temporary accreditation status initially of not less than two years. However, that period may be extended by the ARC-PA for up to an additional two years if the ARC-PA finds that the program is making substantial progress toward meeting all applicable standards but requires additional time to come into full compliance. Probation accreditation status is granted, at the sole discretion of the ARC-PA, when a program holding an accreditation status of Accreditation-Provisional or Accreditation – Continued does not, in the judgment of the ARC-PA, meet the Standards or when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.
If the program is on probation, can I take the PANCE?
Yes, even though the program is on probation, it is still accredited, which allows all program graduates to take the PANCE.
Can I apply for the licensure if the program I graduated from is on probation?
Yes, the program’s probation status has no bearing on a graduate’s ability to obtain licensure. The primary requirements for licensure are graduation from an accredited program and NCCPA certification.
Can I fulfill prerequisite courses through Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)?
AP and IB credit will be accepted to fulfill the Mathematics, Psychology, English Composition, and Statistics prerequisites only. You must receive a passing score of 3 or above for AP and IB to be accepted. The CLEP will not be accepted to fulfill any prerequisites.
Will an accepted introductory course fulfill the prerequisite course requirement for the core sciences?
Yes, we do accept introductory courses to fulfill prerequisite requirements, however, we prefer upper-level core science courses.
Will SCU prequalify my classes prior to submitting my CASPA application?
We do not prequalify courses, however, SCU does offer several prerequisite courses through our Accelerated Science courses.
These courses must meet all minimum prerequisite requirements to qualify.
My school uses a quarter system. Will this affect the number of prerequisite course credits I need?
While CASPA automatically makes a quarter to semester conversion of all credits, SCU does not follow this conversion. For example, if you have 4 units of a course under a quarter system, this will still be counted as 4 units for the purposes of our prerequisite requirements.
Do my prerequisite courses need to be completed prior to the application deadline?
Yes. All prerequisite courses must be completed, and the transcript verifying the successful completion of the course must be received by January 15, 2022. All degrees must be conferred by August 31, 2022 to be eligible for fall enrollment.
I took coursework or earned a bachelor’s degree from a foreign/international institution. Will you accept foreign/international degrees and coursework to fulfill the admission requirements?
No, we do not accept courses or degrees from foreign or international institutions.
Do I need a TOEFL?
No, a TOEFL is not required.
Do clinical hours need to be paid?
Yes, 2,000 paid clinical hours are required.
Can I drop off a sealed official transcript or any other admissions documents on campus?
No. Please upload all admissions documents through CASPA. If you have a transcript for an AP or a pending course, please send these directly to CASPA or mail them to the address below. Please note, transcripts mailed directly to us will not be visible to other schools.
Southern California University of Health Sciences
Attn: Trina Cicinelli
16200 Amber Valley Drive
Whittier, CA 90604
What is the application process timeline?
The 2021-2022 application cycle for our program begins April 29, 2021 and closes January 15, 2022 for students who desire to be considered for the class entering in fall 2022. All applications must be verified by the deadline to be considered.
When are admissions decisions made and when will I be notified of my application status?
We anticipate that interviews will be held in February 2022. Rolling admission offers will be made after interviews begin. We anticipate that all applicants will be notified of their application status by June 2022.
How many students will you seat this year?
Our program is approved to admit 50 students each fall.
Is there a waitlist?
Yes, applicants will be notified of their waitlist status by June 2022. Applicants on our waitlist may be offered a seat through the first week of classes.
Why did I not meet the minimum admissions requirements?
There are many reasons why an applicant may not meet our minimum admissions requirements. The most common are related to GPA, PCE hours, missing prerequisites, and science classes taken more than 7 years ago. Please monitor your email throughout the cycle as we’ll do our best to communicate any missing prerequisites with you.
I met the minimum qualifications but did not get invited for an interview. What can I do to improve my application?
We receive over 1,200 applications each cycle and only interview 200 applicants each year. This means that the majority of applicants who qualify for application review will not be invited for an interview. Below are a few tips to help you qualify for an interview.
Why was I not selected after an interview?
Our program is limited to 50 students each year. We invite applicants who align with our mission and who we believe will succeed in our program. We specifically look for applicants who show a passion for delivering integrative healthcare. Below are a few ways you can improve your interview in the future.
Can I meet with an admissions advisor to go over my application prior to submitting it to CASPA?
No. We receive over 1,200 applications each year and are unable to provide one-on-one advice or application review to applicants. Please carefully review the admissions requirements listed on our website. If you are unable to find an answer to your question after a careful review of our website, you may email email@example.com.
When must my immunizations be up-to-date?
For official acceptance, immunization records and titers must be submitted before the first day of classes.
Do I need to do a background check and drug screen?
Yes, all applicants who have accepted an offer for admission will be required to complete a background check and drug screen. Any applicant who fails the drug screen and/or the background check will have their offer of admission rescinded. Additionally, any information that is falsified or inaccurate will lead to recension of the admission offer. Students will be required to retake the drug screen and the background check before starting their clinical rotations. If the drug screen is positive or if the student has new convictions on their record at this time, the student will be dismissed from the program.
When will I receive information about financial aid and registering for classes?
Financial aid information will be provided once an applicant accepts their seat in the program. An individualized financial aid plan will be provided to each student to meet their financial aid needs. Registration information will be sent to students prior to orientation.
What is the anticipated schedule for classes? Am I able to work while in the program?
Schedules are made at the discretion of the program. In general, students can expect to be on campus Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm during the didactic year. Clinical hours may vary and may include nights, weekends, and holidays. The PA program is a full-time program and students are discouraged from working while in the program.
Where are the clinical rotations located?
Clinical rotation hours are typically assigned within 75 miles from the university, however, placement in sites outside of this range, including out of state, may be made.
Does the program require students to find their own clinical rotation sites?
No. The program does not require students to find their own clinical rotation sites.
The main reason why I chose to come here for PA school was because of how amazing the staff and faculty was, they were all so nice, helpful and welcoming during the admissions process including my interview. Once I stepped on campus, I felt like I was finally home, getting that phone call that I was admitted to was truly the best day of my life. I have now completed my first year of school and that feeling has not gone away. Our cohort is very close with the faculty and staff, who are always available for help. They have made the transition to online learning seamless. I have no doubt that they are fully preparing us not only for the PANCE exam but also to be excellent providers.
I chose SCU when looking for a PA program because of their Integrative Medicine approach. I am from Michigan, and not many programs focus on this Integrative, Holistic approach when it comes to patient care in the Midwest, and I felt that was very important for me to learn as a future provider. My transition to semi-virtual learning has been very smooth and quite enjoyable. My favorite part about attending SCU is how tight-knit and diverse the community is. Coming from a large undergrad university and moving so far, it was very important for me to have a PA program that made me feel valued and invested in my success. At SCU, they do a great job of making you feel that.
Applications must be submitted through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Applications may be submitted with pending requirements, however, applications will not be reviewed until all requirements are met. Applications with in-progress degrees will be reviewed if all other requirements have been met and the anticipated degree completion date is before August 31, 2022.
The PA program does not offer advanced placement. Transfer students are not accepted.
Email PhysicianAssistant@scuhs.edu with any questions.
A regionally accredited college or university is an institution that holds active accreditation recognized by the Department of Education from one of the following accreditation agencies. All degrees must be conferred by August 31, 2022, to be eligible for fall enrollment.
If you hold an international degree and are applying to our program, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. institution to be eligible for admission.
All prerequisite courses must be completed at a regionally accredited college or university. Official transcripts verifying successful course completion must be uploaded by CASPA by January 15, 2022. Applications may be submitted with pending prerequisite courses, however, the application will not be reviewed until the official transcript for each pending course is uploaded by CASPA.
All prerequisite courses must be completed with a C grade or above. Pass/fail grades will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, however, please note that pass/fail grades are not calculated into CASPA GPAs. AP and IB courses will be considered with a score of 3 or above, however, individual transcripts must be submitted if the AP or IB score is not listed on the college transcript.
Each course used to satisfy the requirements below must include a lab and have been completed no earlier than 2014 (7 years from the current admissions cycle). Introductory level courses are accepted, but upper-level courses are preferred. Online courses and labs are accepted.
*A combination human anatomy & physiology course will be accepted, however, you cannot use the same course to fulfill both the anatomy and physiology prerequisites. If not titled “Human”, a course description must demonstrate a human focus.
Online courses and labs are accepted.
*Any course not titled “English Composition” must be a writing-intensive course that includes instruction on comprehension, investigation, evaluation, explanation, and refutation.
2,000 paid hours of clinical experience are required.
Clinical experience may include (but not limited to):
*Core science prerequisite GPA includes all courses subject categorized by CASPA as chemistry, human anatomy, human physiology, and microbiology that meet core science prerequisite requirements.
Applicants are expected to demonstrate professionalism in their interactions with the program and our faculty and staff. Applicants who demonstrate unprofessional behavior at any time will not be considered for admission.
Academic or licensure infractions, misdemeanors, and/or felonies may prohibit participation in required supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPE), eligibility to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam, and/or eligibility for state licensure. Due to this, all academic or licensure infractions, misdemeanors, and/or felonies must be disclosed on CASPA and will be assessed by the Admissions Committee on a case-by-case basis. Failure to disclose the above will result in applicant denial and recension of an enrollment offer, if applicable. Additionally, programs are required to report an applicant’s failure to disclose this information to the Physician Assistant Education Association.
All admissions decisions are made in accordance with our program mission, vision, and goals. Additionally, preference is given to applicants with evidence of the following:
*SCU does not refund CASPA application fees under any circumstance, including loss of accreditation during the application cycle.
Once the class is fully seated, information about additional requirements will be provided. These may include the following requirements which must be completed prior to matriculation.
*Any student that has resided or is currently residing in New York may be subject to additional fees for the criminal background check retrieval per state law of New York.
$15,571/term* or $108,997 tuition to complete the program
SCU’s distinctive Fixed Rate Tuition Guarantee for degree programs provides students with confidence in planning for their educational investment.
Fixed Tuition Guarantee Benefits:
Some limitations apply. View the Fixed Rate Tuition Program page for more information.
If you would like to learn more about fixed-rate tuition, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at FinancialAid@scuhs.edu.
*Tuition rate reflected above represents the fixed rate for a student entering during the 2021-2022 academic year.
Note: Tuition rates are subject to change and may not be reflected on this website or other SCU materials. Please contact us for the most updated information.
*PA students enrolled in less than 12 units will be charged on a per unit basis of $1,098 per unit.
**Program fees listed are for the 2021/2022 academic year and are subject to change. Program fees include charges for technology, malpractice insurance, student health, professional affiliation, and ASB.
***Books, supplies and other equipment not included in the tuition and fee schedule may be required for this program.
Fees associated with conditional acceptance are the responsibility of the student and include the following:
*The Background Standard package includes all third-party fees other than the New York Statewide (NYOCA) which would be billed to the school, when applicable. The current NYOCA fee as of August 2020 is $95. Please note that this is NOT a Universal Background Screening fee, it is a state of New York fee that is subject to change at any time.
Fees are subject to change
Veteran assistance is not available due to the program’s probation accreditation status.
The student will assume the following responsibilities: housing/board, textbooks, laptop computer, medical scrubs.
The majority of clinical rotations, while enrolled in the SCU MSPA Program, are within a 75-mile radius of campus and students will be expected to travel to rotation sites within this radius.
Students are responsible for their transportation, housing, and living expenses during the clinical year. Expenses will vary depending on the location of each rotation site.
Our approach to Interprofessional Education is unique in California and across the country. Here, modern medicine unites with ancient and traditional healing arts to create an environment of engagement. SCU’s groundbreaking IPE model combines curriculum, clinic, community, and clubs to help you develop a broader base of knowledge and gain a deeper appreciation for different perspectives on care which leads to a seamless transition from student to practitioner.
We bring together aspiring students from different disciplines so you can learn and excel side-by-side. The depth and breadth of this dynamic experience will prepare you to one day take the lead in a collaborative, interprofessional practice.
View our application requirements above or fill out a request for information to start speaking with an enrollment advisor today.
Graduate students have a variety of ways to help fund their education. From graduate-dedicated federal loans to specialty grants and scholarships, paying for your education can be easy at SCU. In addition, our distinctive Fixed Rate Tuition Guarantee for degree programs provides students with confidence in planning for their educational investment.
It’s not always possible to come to campus. However, there are a variety of ways to see buildings and spaces, interact with current students, and ask staff questions no matter where you are. Check out our virtual experiences to make connections and learn what it is like to be part of the University.