Master's Degree

Physician Assistant Studies (MS)

By pursuing a master's degree in physician assistant studies at Widener, you'll graduate prepared as a leader in your field with comprehensive medical knowledge and extensive hands-on patient care experiences.

Program Overview

Widener's master's degree in physician assistant studies (MS) will help you strengthen your critical thinking, leadership, and collaboration skills in a uniquely interprofessional, patient- and community-focused program.

Widener's PA program is a 27-month cohort-based program where you will develop close connections with faculty mentors and fellow students as you move through the sequential curriculum together. You'll dive in strong—working directly with patients in your very first semester at Widener's student-run, pro-bono Chester Community Clinic—and quickly become empowered with in-depth medical knowledge and hands-on patient care and service learning experiences that develop one-of-a-kind leaders.

You'll graduate prepared to be an innovative collaborator with the ability and confidence to provide holistic, patient-centered health care with a multi-disciplinary approach.

Accreditation Status

The Widener University Physician Assistant Program has applied for Accreditation- Provision from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).  The Widener University Physician Assistant Program anticipates matriculating its first class in September of 2024, pending achieving Accreditation- Provision status at the March 2024 ARC-PA meeting.  Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resources allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA standards or when a program holding accreditation – provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the standards as it prepared for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.  

Should the program have challenges in receiving accreditation that cannot be appealed and remediated, the accrediting body provides guidelines and requirements that programs must follow. This includes aiding students in transferring to another accredited program.  

In the event that the program does not achieve accreditation all student who have deposited a seat in the program will receive a full refund. The program will not accept the class until which time provisional accreditation has been granted.

Program Information

Curriculum & Coursework Requirements

View the curriculum and coursework requirements for the PA program. 

Key Policies


Program Mission

The MS program at Widener University will graduate excellent health care professionals to meet the growing need for patients to have access to medicine both locally and globally. The MS program will educate highly effective health care professionals equipped to provide patient-centered medical care to diverse populations across the life span. Students will learn to be competent clinicians, culturally sensitive, socially conscious health care providers able to work in collaboration with other members of the health care team.  

Program Vision

The physician assistant program at Widener University will be the leader in physician assistant education by providing experiential and collaborative learning, and interprofessional experiences through community and civic engagement, developing leaders in health care, and ultimately improving the lives of the patients they serve.

Core Values

  1. Excellence in teaching
  2. Commitment to service
  3. Diversity and inclusion
  4. Professionalism
  5. Scholarship
  6. Collaboration
  7. Kindness and compassion 

Widener University PA Program Goals

For goal success metrics and other data, please view the Program Outcomes & PANCE Rate section.

1. Accept students with strong academic and clinical experience who are underrepresented in the physician assistant profession

a. Criteria 1—Students with strong academic and clinical experience

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Undergraduate cum GPA/ >3.0 average for the entering cohort
    2. Undergraduate science GPA/ > 3.0 average for the entering cohort
    3. Direct patient care/ > 500 average for the entering cohort

b. Criteria 2—Students who are under-represented in the Physician Assistant Profession

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Racial/ethnic diversity > 20% for the entering cohort
    2. Male gender > 20% for the entering cohort

2. Foster a student commitment to service

a. Criteria 1—Student involvement with community service

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Average number of hours of student community service by cohort/ >20 hours

3. Successfully prepare student for entry level practice.

a. Criteria 1—Student Summative Exam performance.

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Student Summative Exam/ >80% average by cohort

b. Criteria 2—Student PANCE performance

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Student first-time taker PANCE pass rates at or above national average

4. Emphasize a commitment to evidence-based medicine.

a. Criteria 1—Evidence-based medicine

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Preceptor evaluation of students (EBM)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
    2. Faculty evaluation of curriculum (student EBM preparation)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
    3. Student graduate exit survey (EBM preparation)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort

5. Prepare students to practice patient-centered care

a. Criteria 1—Patient-centered care

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Preceptor Evaluation of Students (Patient-centered care)/ >3.5 ave for cohort
    2. Faculty Eval of Course (Student Patient-centered care Preparation)/ >3.5 ave for cohort
    3. Student Exit Survey (Patient-centered care Preparation)/ >3.5 ave for cohort

6. Prepare student for interprofessional collaboration in their practice

a. Criteria 1—Interprofessional Collaboration 

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Preceptor evaluation of students (interprofessional collaboration)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
    2. Faculty evaluation of curriculum (student interprofessional collaboration preparation)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
    3. Student graduate exit survey (interprofessional collaboration preparation)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort

Widener University PA Program Competencies

The Widener University Institute for Physician Assistant competencies represent the requisite medical knowledge, interpersonal skills, clinical and technical skills, professional behaviors, and clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills required for each student to satisfactory demonstrate in order to graduate from the Widener Physician Assistant Program.  

1. Medical Knowledge 

  • a) Recognize healthy and ill patients at different stages of illness, including acute,  emergent, and chronic. 
  • b) Synthesize the pathophysiology, etiology, and patient presentation to deliver high-quality patient-centered care. 
  • c) Apply evidence-based medicine in clinical practice 
  • d) Synthesize the history, physical exam, and diagnostic studies to formulate a differential diagnosis.   
  • e) Differentiate pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment strategies, including patient education and counseling for patients with various medical conditions. 
  • f) Understand health promotion and preventative medicine 

2. Interpersonal Communication Skills 

  • a) Demonstrate an ability to communicate with patients as partners and use shared decision-making to involve patients in their medical care.  
  • b) Recognize any barriers to communication or comprehension and work to correct them.  
  • c) Recognize the significance of health literacy in the patient population they serve. 
  • d) Understand that a patient’s community, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or other individual characteristics affect their health and strive to understand them.  
  • e) Recognize and understand the effect of a patient’s community on their health and vis versa

3. Clinical and Technical Skills 

  • a) Demonstrate medical, behavioral, clinical, and technical skills needed to promote health, evaluation, and management of patient presentations across the lifespan.
  • b) Conduct effective, patient-centered history and physical examination for comprehensive and problem-focused patient visits
  • c) Perform procedural and clinical skills considered essential for PA practice
  • d) Counsel and educate patients and their families with consideration for diverse backgrounds to empower shared decision-making.

4. Professional Behaviors 

  • a) Demonstrate integrity, honesty, beneficence, and professionalism in practice. 
  • b) Recognize and adhere to standards of care in the role of the PA in the healthcare team.
  • c) Recognize personal biases, work to overcome them, and do not allow them to affect the delivery of quality patient care. 
  • d) Demonstrate cultural humility and responsiveness to diverse populations.  

5. Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving

  • a) Demonstrate an ability to use the latest scientific evidence to inform clinical reasoning and problem-solving. 
  • b) Understand the effect that social determinants of health and health disparities can have on patient care and work to minimize these effects when engaged in clinical decision making
  • c) Demonstrate investigative and critical thinking in the clinical setting.

This section will capture the outcomes data of our graduates as students move through the master's of physician assistant studies (MPAS) program. 

PANCE Pass Rates

Physician Assistant National Certification Examination
Exam Performance Summary Report 

Program Name: 
Program Number: 
Test Taker Status: All Test Takers 

Class  Class Graduation Year Group Number of Candidates who took PANCE Number of Exams Passed Program Exam Pass Rate National Exam Pass Rates for the Class Graduation Year % of Candidates Who Ultimately Passed PANCE
1st Cohort TBD All Takers          
First Time Takers         
2nd Cohort TBD All Takers           
First Time Takers         
3rd Cohort TBD All Takers           
First Time Takers         
4th Cohort TBD All Takers           
First Time Takers         
5th Cohort TBD  All Takers           
First Time Takers        


ARC-PA Student Attrition

  Graduated Classes 
1st Cohort 2nd Cohort 3rd Cohort

Maximum Entering Class Size (as approved by ARC-PA)

Entering Class Size       
*Attrition Rate       
**Graduation Rate      


Program Goal Measurements

1. Accept students who are underrepresented in the PA field.

Measures 1st Cohort 2nd Cohort 3rd Cohort
Undergraduate cum GPA      
Undergraduate science GPA      
Direct patient care      
Racial/ethnic diversity      
Male Gender      


2. Foster a student commitment to service-learning.

Measures 1st Cohort 2nd Corhort 3rd Cohort
Avg. student hours of community service      


3. Successfully prepare student for entry level practice.

Measures 1st Cohort 2nd Cohort 3rd Cohort
Student Summative Exam      
Student first-time taker PANCE pass rate      


4. Emphasize a commitment to evidence-based medicine and life-long learning.

Measures 1st Cohort 2nd Cohort 3rd Cohort
Preceptor evaluation of students (EBM)      
Faculty evaluation of curriculum (Student EBM preparation)      
Student graduate exit survey (EBM preparation)      


5. Prepare students to be patient-centered and practice interprofessional collaboration.

Measures 1st Cohort 2nd Cohort 3rd Cohort
Preceptor evaluation of students (patient-centered care)      
Faculty evaluation of curriculum (student patient-centered care preparation)      
Student graduate exit survey (patient-centered care preparation)      
Preceptor evaluation of students (IP collaboration)      
Faculty evaluation of curriculum (student IP collaboration preparation)      
Student graduate exit survey (IP collaboration preparation)      

The Widener University physician assistant program is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We, as a university, program, faculty, and staff, desire to embrace students of all different cultures, backgrounds, and identities. We are committed to the development and delivery of a curriculum that is anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and reflects and respects our professional values. We seek to create an intentionally diverse educational community in which students, staff, and faculty perspectives are valued and meaningfully incorporated into our daily experience.

Upon the program's receipt of accreditation from ARC-PA, all graduating PA students will be eligible to sit for the NCCPA (National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants) PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certification Examination) upon graduation. A passing score on this examination allows graduates to obtain licensure to practice medicine as a physician assistant in all states and territories. For more information, review PANCE eligibility.

Admissions Information

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and overall science GPA of 3.0, at the time of application. Applications will not be reviewed unless these minimum requirements are met.  
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities must be sent directly to CASPA.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required for consideration. 
  • Pre-requisite course requirements must be met as described below.
  • Letters of reference—one must be from a physician assistant.
  • Personal statement
  • Proof of patient contact experience hours (see tab below)
  • Proof of required health screening and immunizations 

Pre-requisite Courses

  • General biology or zoology - 3 credits with lab
  • Microbiology - 3 credits
  • Other biology courses recommended: genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, embryology, histology, or immunology - 3 credits
  • Anatomy and physiology (completed within 5 years of attending MS program) - 8 credits with lab
  • General chemistry - 4 credits with lab
  • Organic chemistry - 4 credits
  • General psychology or behavioral psychology - 3 credits
  • Statistics - 1-2 credits
  • Medical terminology (can be taken online) - 1 credit or certificate of completion

Additional Requirements

Technical Standards

Candidates for the physician assistant program must be able to independently, with or without reasonable accommodations, meet the following technical standards for admission, progression, and graduation from the program. The student must possess the minimal physical, emotional and social abilities to be a successful student.  Candidates must have motor function capabilities, physical and emotional endurance that meet the demands of the program. If the student requires assistance in meeting the technical standards, they should make early contact with the Widener University Student Accessibility Office or call (610)499-1266.

  • Observation: 
    The candidate must be able to synthesize material as it is presented in lecture style, small group discussions, and laboratory discussions. Candidates must be able to obtain and interpret information as obtained from comprehensive assessments of patients, interpret the data, evaluate a patient’s condition, and responses, and develop a diagnostic plan. The use of the senses of touch, hearing, and vision is required to accomplish these tasks.  

  • Communication: 
    Candidates must exhibit interpersonal skills to allow for more effective communication and interactions with patients and family members, faculty, ancillary health care providers, colleagues, and fellow students. The candidate be able to communicate effectively in English, in person, and in writing when documents patient encounters. Candidates must be able to accurately interpret verbal and non-verbal communications while accurately and clearly recording information.  

  • Motor Function: 
    The candidate must be able to perform gross and fine motor movements in order to complete physical examinations using inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation. Candidates must be able to perform complex, and sometimes intricate procedures, treatments, administration of medication, and utilization of medical equipment. The candidate must have sufficient postural, motor, and neurologic, and hand eye coordination. Candidates must have the stamina to sustain extended periods of standing, sitting, and physical exertion in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings. 

  • Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, Quantitative Abilities: 
    Candidates must be able to assimilate, effectively interpret, and understand complex information with in the physician assistant program, and professional environment through patient encounters, formal lectures, interactions with students, patients, family members, ancillary staff and health care providers, small group discussions, medical literature, academic and clinical learning environments. Critical thinking and problem-solving are integral components of the physician assistant profession. A candidate must be able to reason, calculate, measure, analyze, and synthesize critical data. The candidate must be able to test hypotheses in order to effectively diagnose and treat patients.
  • Behavior and Social Skills: 
    The candidate must have the emotional health, maturity, and self-discipline to fulfill the responsibilities of the physician assistant program and professional career. The expectations for the physician assistant program candidate are that they will exercise academic integrity, professionalism, honesty, compassion, kindness, and teamwork. Candidates must be able to approach patient encounters with compassion, understanding, and cultural competence. The candidate must be able to adapt to changing environments and display flexibility while in the program and in their professional lives. 

Students are required to complete a minimum of 500 hours of direct patient/client care. This can be done through employment or volunteer experiences.  It is recommended that the student complete at least 40 hours of shadowing with a PA.  

The following is a sample list of acceptable areas for experiential healthcare patient/client contact hours:  

Examples of Acceptable Healthcare Experiences (included but are not limited to):   
Athletic trainer Medical scribe Certified nursing assistant  
Medical corpsman Dental hygienist/assistant Dietician
Medical caregiver Emergency department technician EMT/paramedic
Exercise physiologist Foreign medical graduate - physician Home health care aide
Phlebotomist Medical assistant Mental health technician 
Medical Research with patient contact  Physical therapist Occupational therapist
Speech pathologist Nurse Midwife

We are not currently accepting applications for this program. Applications will open pending accreditation approval.

All applications will be completed through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) site. Upon completion and verification of the application, students may be asked to visit campus for an interview.

View the physician assistant admissions rubric for a detailed look at how applications are reviewed. 

The Widener University physician assistant program is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Special considerations for admission to the program will be given to applicants from under-represented populations in the physician assistant field, U.S. uniformed services personnel, residents of Chester, and Widener graduates.  

Tuition Fees
$110,700 $5,587.89
Total: $116,287.89

The physician assistant cost per credit is $1,025.

View the 2024-2025 tuition and fees guide for a complete breakdown of estimated program costs.

Program Highlights

Our comprehensive, experiential, and patient-focused model prepares you for a career as a highly competent physician assistant.

Physical therapy students

Faculty Mentorship & Interprofessional Learning

Through close collaboration with faculty and students from other professional health care programs, you'll graduate with an in depth understanding of multi-disciplinary health fields to better support your patients and clients. Throughout the program, you'll have shared academic courses like Global Health and Introduction to Interprofessional Practice as well as experiential opportunities supporting holistic approaches to care.

Student reads blood pressure of woman

Hands-On Community Clinic & Service Experiences

Widener University prides itself on civic engagement. As a student, you will have opportunities to engage in service projects such as the MLK day of service as well as engaging with patients through the Chester Community Clinic and other Widener-run clinics and centers.

The clinic is a student-run, pro-bono clinic that provides compassionate, cost-effective care to the surrounding community using a multi-disciplinary approach. Here, you'll provide comprehensive patient care by working collaboratively with students and faculty from physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.

Adult student studying in coffee shop with bunder

Focus on Lifelong Learning

Unlike many other health care professions, as a physician assistant, you have the opportunity to continually evolve your health care practice and choose your own career path. Widener's focus on research, evidence-based learning will enable you to become a critical thinker and lifelong learner—supporting you wherever your journey takes you. You will have the confidence to master self-directed learning, how to critically evaluate literature, and how to translate your findings to better your patient.

Culture of Leadership

With support from faculty mentors and clinical practitioners, you'll develop into a citizen of character who demonstrates professional and civic leadership. As a student in the PA program you will have the opportunity to lead your student colleagues through experiences in the student-run pro bono community clinic. 


Our faculty are industry experts who serve as role models, mentors, and knowledgeable resources ready to support you every step of your journey to become a physician assistant.

Inside Track to Success

Inside Track to Success

Outlook & Outcomes

Industry Growth

Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Work Environments

  • Offices of physicians
  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Educational services

Example Fields of Medicine

  • Primary care
  • ER emergency care
  • Surgery
  • Cardiology

Take the Next Steps


We are not currently accepting applications for this program. Applications will open pending accreditation approval.