About the Program

Grand Valley Physician Assistant Studies

Grand Valley State University established its Physician Assistant (PAS) Studies program in the 1990s, accepting its first class for entry in 1995 and graduating the inaugural class into the profession in 1998. The program awards the degree Master of Physician Assistant Studies (M.P.A.S.) following completion of a 28-month (seven semesters) curriculum of professional studies.

An equal number of applicants to the program are derived from those who possess a baccalaureate degree from either Grand Valley or another institution of higher learning and/or those who have pursued careers other than physician assistant. All applicants must meet the prerequisites and criteria for application to the program, realizing that some bring with them a wealth of life and career experience that enriches the diversity of the program.

Students begin the professional curriculum after they have been admitted into the program (see  Application Procedures). During the PAS professional curriculum, students take coursework including human anatomy, medical physiology, clinical applications, clinical medicine, pathophysiology, practical therapeutics, PA professional seminar, and research methods. The curriculum combines traditional classroom sessions with Web-based instruction, case studies, and problem-based learning (PBL) to provide students with the knowledge and clinical acumen to sit for their certification examination and practice medicine upon graduation. Students spend their final three semesters completing rotations in various clinical specialties, by working in clinics, emergency departments, and hospitals throughout Western Michigan, other Michigan communities, and even some out of state or international communities. As part of the masters curriculum, students also complete a research project, thesis, or in depth case studies.