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 program anticipates matriculating its first class in October of 2022, pending achieving accreditation-provision status at the June 2022 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. The Widener University PA Program will not commence in the event that accreditation provisional is not achieved. Students are accepted on a conditional basis. In the event of non-accreditation, a refund of tuition deposits made to Widener University will be returned to those students.

Program Information

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

1. Accept students with strong academic and clinical experiences who come from diverse backgrounds

a. Criteria—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
  2. Success
Measures Cohort 2024 Cohort 2025 Cohort 2026
Undergraduate cum GPA      
Undergraduate science GPA      
Direct patient care      

b. Criteria 2—Students from Diverse Backgrounds

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Racial/ethnic diversity > 20% for the entering cohort
    2. Male gender > 20% for the entering cohort
  2. Success
Measures Cohort 2024 Cohort 2025 Cohort 2026
Racial/ethnic diversity      
Male gender      

2. Foster a student commitment to service-learning.

a. Criteria 1—Student involvement with community service

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Average number of hours of student community service by cohort/ >20 hours
  2. Success
Measures Cohort 2024 Cohort 2025 Cohort 2026
Avg. student hours of community service      

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
  2. Success
Measures Cohort 2024 Cohort 2025 Cohort 2026
Student Summative Exam      

b. Criteria 2—Student PANCE performance

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Student first-time taker PANCE pass rates at or above national average
  2. Success
Measures Cohort 2024 Cohort 2025 Cohort 2026
Student first-time taker PANCE pass rate      

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

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.
  2. Success
Measures Cohort 2024 Cohort 2025 Cohort 2026
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.

a. Criteria 1—Patient-centered care

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Preceptor evaluation of students (patient-centered care)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
    2. Faculty evaluation of curriculum (student patient-centered care preparation)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
    3. Student graduate exit survey (patient-centered care preparation)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
  2. Success
Measures Cohort 2024 Cohort 2025 Cohort 2026
Preceptor evaluation of students (patient-centered care)      
Faculty evaluation of curriculum (student patient-centered care preparation)      
Student graduate exit survey (patient-centered care preparation)      

b. Criteria 2—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
  2. Success
Measures Cohort 2024 Cohort 2025 Cohort 2026
Preceptor evaluation of students (IP collaboration)      
Faculty evaluation of curriculum (student IP collaboration preparation)      
Student graduate exit survey (IP collaboration preparation)      

6. Encourage faculty excellence in current practice knowledge and innovative teaching strategies.

a. Criteria 1—Current medical knowledge

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Faculty evaluation of curriculum (current medical knowledge)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
    2. Student end of didactic phase survey (current medical knowledge of faculty)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
    3. Student graduate exit survey (current medical knowledge of faculty)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
  2. Success
Measures Cohort 2024 Cohort 2025 Cohort 2026
Faculty evaluation of curriculum (current medical knowledge)      
Student end of didactic phase survey (current medical knowledge)      
Student graduate exit survey (current medical knowledge)      

b. Criteria 2—Innovative teaching strategies

  1. Measures/Benchmarks
    1. Faculty evaluation of curriculum (innovative teaching strategies of faculty)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
    2. Student end of didactic phase survey (innovative teaching strategies of faculty)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
    3. Student graduate exit survey (innovative teaching strategies of faculty)/ >3.5 avg. for cohort
  2. Success
Measures Cohort 2024 Cohort 2025 Cohort 2026
Faculty evaluation of Curriculum      
Student end of didactic phase survey (innovative teaching strategies of faculty)      
Student graduate exit survey (innovative teaching strategies of faculty)      

 

Widener University PA Program Competencies

  1. Patient-Centered Practice Knowledge
    1. Recognize healthy patients and ill patients at different stages of illness, including acute, emergent, and chronic.
    2. Demonstrate an ability to use the latest scientific evidence to inform clinical reasoning and judgement.
    3. Demonstrate medical, behavioral, and social science knowledge needed to promote health, evaluation, and management of patient presentations across the lifespan.
    4. Recognize one's own personal biases, work to overcome them, and do not allow them to affect the delivery of quality patient care.
    5. Understand that a patient's community, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or other individual characteristics affect their health and strive to understand them.
  2. Health Literacy and Communication Skills
    1. Demonstrate an ability to communicate with patients as partners and use shared decision making to involve patients in their medical care.
    2. Recognize any barriers to communication or comprehension and work to correct them.
    3. Recognize the significance of health literacy in the patient population they serve.
  3. Society and Population Health
    1. Recognize and understand the effect of a patient's community on their health and vis versa.
    2. 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.
  4. Interprofessional Collaborative Practice and Leadership
    1. Recognize that the patient is at the center of all health care decisions and partner with them to define their health care goals.
    2. Collaborate with other members of the health care team to develop a plan to best meet patient goals and needs.
    3. Recognize one's limitations and defer leadership to another team member when doing so is in the best interests of the patient.
  5. Professionalism and Legal Aspects of Care
    1. Demonstrate integrity, honesty, beneficence, and professionalism in practice.
    2. Recognize and adhere to standards of care.
    3. Understand the legal and regulatory environment affecting PA practice.
  6. Systems Based Practice
    1. Demonstrate knowledge and skills needed to navigate the health care system successfully to deliver high quality patient centered care.
    2. Demonstrate stewardship of resources with consideration to patients' social and financial needs.

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)

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 Skills: 
    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 the 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 provide proof of completion of a minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care as part of their application. Hours can be completed 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 list of acceptable areas for experiential healthcare patient contact hours: 

  • Athletic trainer
  • Certified nursing assistant
  • Dental hygienist/assistant
  • Dietician
  • Emergency department technician
  • EMT/paramedic
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Foreign medical graduate - physician
  • Home health care aide
  • Medical assistant
  • Medical caregiver
  • Medical corpsman
  • Medical research with patient contact
  • Medical scribe
  • Mental health care aide
  • Midwife
  • Nurse
  • Occupational therapist
  • Phlebotomist
  • Physical therapist
  • Speech pathologist

Widener's physician assistant program is not currently accepting applications. Interested students can complete the request information form to be connected with a program or admissions representative.

Once applications open, all applications must be completed through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) site. 

The physician assistant program does not grant advanced placement.

Special considerations for admission will be given to military personnel, residents of Chester, applicants from diverse backgrounds, and those who demonstrate dedication to service and civic engagement. Widener also gives preference to Widener undergraduate students. 

All tuition and fees are tentative estimates and are subject to change.

Tuition 2022-2023  
PA Program Cost/Credit (108 total credits) $1,082.00
   
Semester Fees (7 semesters)  
General Fee $25.00
Graduate Student Fee $25.00
General Technology Fee $198.00
PA Program Technology Fee $50.00
Total $298.00
   
Annual Fees (2 years)  
AAPA Student Membership Fee $75.00
Flu Shot $100.00
Total $175.00
   
One-Time Fees  
Standardized Patient Fee $500.00
PAEA Student Exam Box $420.00
Advanced Cardiac Life Support $185.00
Otoscope/Ophthalmoscope $706.98
Blood Pressure Cuff $12.98
Stethoscope $100.98
Tuning Forks $10.98
Reflex Hammer $6.98
Lab Coat $20.00
Pen Light $7.99
FBI Background Check & Finger Printing $22.60
Urine Drug Screening $30.00
Notary Fee $5.00
Graduation Fee $120.00
Total: $2,149.49

 

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. 

Faculty

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.

Medical Director of the Physician Assistant Program

The Widener Physician Assistant Program will provide you the training and teach you the skills which you need to be confident and thrive as a physician assistant in a challenging, essential and rewarding career.

Lori Felker headshot
Program Director, Institute for Physician Assistant Education

The Widener University Physician Assistant Program will bolster your passion for patient care by inspiring you to engage in the community through service learning, explore your role as a health care provider and leader in the physician assistant field, and enhance your skills as a patient and community health care advocate.

Profile image of Derek Scott
Director of Clinical Education

Becoming a physician assistant is in many aspects a “calling". It’s a call to excellence, service, sacrifice, and dedication, but more than anything, it’s a call to humanity. If you are ready to answer that call, start your incredible journey here at Widener.

Inside Track to Success

Inside Track to Success

Outlook & Outcomes

Industry Growth

Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2019 to 2029, 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

Visit Us

To visit Widener is, more often than not, to fall in love with the place. To fit your timeline and schedule, we offer a variety of ways to get to know us.

View Tuition and Fees

View estimated tuition and fees for the PA program above.

Financial Aid

At Widener, opportunities for financial aid extend to PA students. Discover how Widener can help make obtaining your degree possible.

Next steps to apply

All physician assistant program applications will be managed through CASPA, the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants. Applications will open this summer. Want to be kept in the loop? Complete our request information form. 

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