Physician Assistant Master’s Degree (MMS)

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The Master of Medical Science (MMS) Physician Assistant program shapes students into compassionate, professional and ethically minded clinicians who serve patients across the lifespan and in diverse settings.

The purpose of the physician assistant program is to create and maintain an educational environment that promotes critical thinking as well as clinical knowledge and skills necessary to exercise sound medical decision-making and to provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services.

Guided by the tradition of compassionate healthcare exemplified by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, the mission of the physician assistant program is to develop graduates who will provide evidence-based, patient-centered medical care and who are committed to serving all God’s people.

School
School of Health Professions
Career
Physician Assistant (PA)
Program Contacts
  • Point of Contact: PA Program
  • Phone: (225) 526-1650
  • Email: pa@franu.edu

Quick Fact

  • 28 months (full-time study) program completion
  • 4 didactic (classroom) semesters and 3 clinical semesters (2000 hours)
  • Application cycle opens annually in April*
  • Application deadline August 1*

*The Application and admission cycles are currently in abeyance. Please continue to follow our website for updates regarding the 24-25 cycles

CAREER

Graduates of the program are equipped to take the PANCE (board certification exam for PAs) and, upon passing, will be eligible for state licensure to work as physician assistants in a variety of healthcare settings.

Physician Assistant Program Highlights

  • Rigorous curriculum - The PA program consists of 108 credit hours (68 of those hours are in the didactic phase and 40 of those hours are in the clinical phase). The program is rewarding yet demanding, and we recommend students stop working to focus their time and attention on their coursework. Learn more about the program curriculum.

  • Innovative curriculum - SETH, or the Simulated Environment Teaching Hospital, is an integral part of the curriculum. Aligned with our mission and values, students will have ample opportunities to get hands-on as they learn, including working with SETH, the Anatomage table, plasticized cadavers and team-based and interprofessional learning.

  • Expert faculty members - Our physician assistant program faculty members are highly skilled professionals with diverse backgrounds who bring a comprehensive blend of clinical practice, content expertise and educational experience to the classroom. View our PA program faculty members.

  • Prepare to work in a variety of settings - Between 2018 and 2020, FranU PA graduates worked in primary care (31%), emergency medicine (24%), a medical subspecialty (18%) or a surgical subspecialty (27%). Whatever your career goals, our program will prepare you for work across a variety of clinical settings and specialties.

Program Features

Admissions Requirements*

*The Application and admission cycles are currently in abeyance. Please continue to follow our website for updates regarding the 24-25 cycles

Admissions requirements for the PA program at FranU include:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or equivalent.

  • Meet the following GPA minimums:
    • Cumulative Undergraduate: 3.0

    • FranU Prerequisites: 3.0

    • Cumulative Undergraduate Science: 3.0

  • Completed all prerequisite courses within seven years of application.

  • Submit three letters of recommendation.

  • Submit a personal statement summarizing why you desire to be a Physician Assistant and what you feel you can contribute to the profession and the mission of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University’s PA program.

  • Completed the CASPer assessment by the due date (posted annually in CASPA portal).

  • Attend a personal interview.

  • Meet and maintain all Technical Standards in order to be enrolled in and progress through the PA program; Technical Standards are detailed below.

For more detailed information on necessary admissions requirements, including test scores and prerequisites, application materials, additional considerations and processes, please refer to the Admissions Details, Additional Considerations, Technical Standards and Admissions Process menus below.


Note: Applications must be received and in verified status by CASPA by the program’s deadline of August 1 annually (exceptions to the deadline may be made on a case-by-case basis).

Admissions Details

*The Application and admission cycles are currently in abeyance. Please continue to follow our website for updates regarding the 24-25 cycles

Admissions Details

The baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or equivalent must be submitted prior to the time of matriculation (with the exception of applicants from FranU’s 3+2 Accelerated Pathway to Physician Assistant Studies program).

Prerequisite Course Requirements

Prerequisite courses* for the MMS - Physician Assistant program include:

  • Human Anatomy with lab

  • Human Physiology (combined anatomy and physiology I and II with labs are acceptable alternatives)

  • General Microbiology

  • Organic Chemistry I

  • Organic Chemistry II (2000 level or higher) or Biochemistry (3000 level or higher)

  • General Psychology

  • Statistics

  • Genetics

  • Medical Terminology (certificate or other courses acceptable)

*Please note:

  • Applicants must make a minimum of C or higher in all prerequisite coursework.

  • "Survey" courses do not meet admissions criteria.

  • B or higher in all prerequisite coursework is preferred.

  • Repeated coursework negatively impacts the applicant.

  • No graduate, medical school or other transfer credit will be awarded as advanced placement/PA program credit.

  • While the program will not waive any prerequisite requirements, in some circumstances, the PA admissions committee may allow substitutions for equivalent or more rigorous previous graduate, medical school course work or professional experience(s) as satisfying prerequisite requirements ONLY. This may apply to prerequisite courses taken beyond seven years ago as well.
    • Applicants requesting such substitutions should email pa@franu.edu to request a copy of the prerequisite substitution form. The form must be completed by the applicant and submitted to the admissions committee for consideration. Applicants should include detailed descriptions of course work, professional experiences, a copy of the undergraduate transcript and any additional materials as requested by the committee. The committee will evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis and all decisions made will be final.

  • Example: A currently practicing licensed clinical social worker applies to the program. The applicant holds an undergraduate degree in psychology (2008) and a master's of social work (2011). She has conducted clinical research with several peer-reviewed publications. In this circumstance, the admissions committee will accept her Psychology 101 course taken in 2005 and her master's level Biostatistics course (taken in 2010) as satisfying the prerequisites because she has demonstrated evidence of continued knowledge and skills in those particular areas, despite the age of the courses.

Letters of Recommendation

  • Letters should be from individuals who know the applicant well; former professors, employers and healthcare/professional colleagues are good choices.

  • Recommenders should consider and attest to the applicant's academic success, work ethic, maturity, professionalism, interest in the healthcare field, etc.

  • Letters must be submitted directly from the recommender through the CASPA portal (not mailed or emailed to program faculty or University administration).

  • While it may be tempting to ask "high-profile" community members to provide a letter of recommendation, these are not generally helpful unless the above criteria is met; no extra consideration is provided for such letters.

Interviews

After the initial application review, qualified applicants will be further screened via personal interview.

FAQ

Additional Considerations

The PA program strives to transform enrolled students into competent entry level PAs as well as mission-centered servant leaders. As such, other factors such as diversity, maturity, professionalism, compassion and service to community are also important criteria for acceptance.

Therefore, in addition to excellence in academics, the admissions committee weighs other individual factors when considering each applicant, including:

  1. Applicants from the University’s 3+2 Accelerated Pathway to Physician Assistant Studies; 3+2 students must meet all minimum admissions requirements as outlined above
  2. Hands-on patient care experience
  3. Licensed healthcare worker
  4. Shadowing one or more PAs
  5. Military service
  6. Work/professional experience
  7. Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University graduate
  8. Applicants from medically underserved areas
  9. Mission work/community service
  10. Graduates from Catholic universities

In general, the higher the GPA and greater number of additional admissions considerations, the more competitive the applicant.

The following table should give the applicant guidance as to how competitive he/she is in comparison to prior PA classes. The competitive candidate has a “B” or better in all defined pre-requisite course work. Repeated attempts at pre-requisite coursework will be noted and weaken candidate’s overall application packet.

ClassAverage Undergrad GPA (cumulative)Average GPA (pre-requisite)Average Science GPAAverage Volunteer HoursAverage PA Shadowing HoursDirect Patient Care HoursWork Experience Hours
20213.53.53.41261452667

1527

20223.43.4

3.3

256

131

2427

1714

2023
3.6
3.6

3.5

217

93

2153

2876

20243.63.6

3.5

304

218

2020

218

20253.63.7

3.6

284

115

1537

629

3 year mean3.53.63.5

237

140

2161

1543

Admissions Process

Minimum Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for admissions, all applicants to the PA program must:

  1. Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited, U.S. college or university or equivalent prior to the time of matriculation (with exception of applicant's from the university's 3+2 Accelerated Pathway to Physician Assistant Studies program)
  2. Meet the following GPA minimums:
    • Cumulative Undergraduate:3.0
    • FranU Pre-Requisites: 3.0
    • Cumulative Undergraduate Science: 3.0
  3. Complete all pre-requisite courses within 7 years of application:
    • Anatomy and Anatomy Lab for science or pre-health professions majors (2000 level or above)
    • Physiology for science or pre-health professions majors (2000 level or above; a combined anatomy and physiology I and II with labs are acceptable alternatives)
    • General Microbiology
    • Organic Chemistry I (no lab required)
    • Organic Chemistry II (2000 level or higher, no lab required) or Biochemistry (3000 level or higher, no lab required)
    • General Psychology or other related psychology course (3 credit hours)
    • Statistics
    • Genetics
    • Medical Terminology (certificate or other courses acceptable)
    • Please note:
      • Applicants must make a minimum grade of C or higher in all pre-requisite coursework; B or higher in all pre-requisite coursework is preferred.
      • "Survey" courses generally do not meet admissions criteria and must be reviewed by the PA admissions committee for approval.
      • Repeated coursework negatively impacts the applicant.
      • No Graduate, medical school or other transfer credit will be awarded as advanced placement/PA program credit;
      • While the program will not waive any pre-requisite requirements, in some circumstances, the PA admissions committee may allow substitutions for equivalent or more rigorous previous graduate, medical school course work or professional experience(s) as satisfying pre-requisite requirements ONLY. This may apply to pre-requisite courses taken beyond 7 years ago as well. Applicants requesting such substitutions should email pa@franu.edu to request a copy of the pre-requisite substitution form. The form must be completed by the applicant and submitted to the admissions committee for consideration. Applicants should include detailed descriptions of course work, professional experiences, a copy of the undergraduate transcript, and any additional materials as requested by the committee. The committee will evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis and all decisions made will be final.
        • Example: A currently practicing licensed clinical social worker applies to the program. The applicant holds an undergraduate degree in psychology (2008) and a master's of social work (2011). She has conducted clinical research with several peer-reviewed publications. In this circumstance, the admissions committee will accept her Psychology 101 course taken in 2005 and her master's level Biostatistics course (taken in 2010) as satisfying the pre-requisites because she has demonstrated evidence of continued knowledge and skills in those particular areas, despite the age of the courses.
  4. Submit three letters of recommendation;
    • Letters should be from individuals who know the applicant well; Former professors, employers, healthcare/professional colleagues are good choices.
    • Recommenders should consider, and attest to the applicant's academic success, work ethic, maturity, professionalism, interest in the healthcare field, etc.
    • Letters must be submitted directly from the recommender through the CASPA portal (not mailed or emailed to program faculty or university administration).
    • While it may be tempting to ask "high-profile" community members to provide a letter of recommendation, these are not generally helpful unless the above criteria is met; no extra consideration is provided for such letters.

5. Submit a personal statement summarizing why the individual desires to be a Physician Assistant and what they feel they can contribute to the profession.

6. Complete a third-party situational judgment assessment (Casper). The Casper assessment helps the program evaluate behavioral attributes necessary to succeed as a PA student. Applicants are responsible for scheduling their Casper test from available test dates (vary by application cycle) and are responsible for the testing fee. Applicants must complete the Casper assessment each year they apply by the due date published in the program's CASPA portal. Failure to complete the Casper assessment prior to the published deadline will result in ineligibility for an interview. Instructions and tips for taking the Casper assessment can be found here: Welcome to TakeAltus - TakeAltus.

7.. Attend a personal interview; After the initial application review, qualified applicants will be further screened via personal interview.

8. Meet and maintain all Technical Standards in order to be enrolled in, and progress through, the PA program; Technical Standards are posted on the web page.

Technical Standards

Physician assistants must have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to render a wide spectrum of patient care services in a broad variety of clinical situations. Consequently, it is essential that in its admission process, the physician assistant program assesses an applicant’s physical and emotional capabilities as well as his/her scholastic accomplishments and academic potential in order to assure that the applicant can meet the full demands of the program’s curriculum and graduate as a skilled and effective healthcare provider. 

In making this assessment, the program must consider the applicant’s current physical and emotional status, any cumulative or progressive disability and any drug-induced impairment that may pose obstacles to the safe application of his/her knowledge and skills to the provision of quality care or prevent effective interaction with patients. Learn more about Technical Standards.

PA Program Enrollment*

*The Application and admission cycles are currently in abeyance. Please continue to follow our website for updates regarding the 24-25 cycles

Applicants to the program must complete a program-specific application through CASPA. Applications must be in verification status by August 1 for a January start. Enrollment is limited to 30 students and admission is via a competitive selection process.

Program Goals

Please click the blue links below to see how the program is meeting its goals.

  1. The first time pass rate for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) will be at or above the national average
  2. 100% of the program's graduates will be employed within 1 year of graduation
  3. PA graduates will serve diverse patient populations in a variety of clinical settings/specialties
  4. Students and Faculty will participate in at least 250 community service hours per academic year
  5. At least 15% of graduates from the program will remain engaged in the program in a meaningful way

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

The program has identified seven program learning outcomes (PLO) as well as forty-five associated entry-level PA competency measures (COMP). The learning outcomes and competencies were developed based on standards published by the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants, the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Physician Assistant Education Association.

As such, upon completion of the program, the entry-level PA graduate will successfully demonstrate the knowledge, skills and professional attributes defined by the program learning outcomes (PLO) and associated competencies (COMP).

PA Program Mission

Guided by the tradition of compassionate health care exemplified by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, the Physician Assistant Program will develop graduates who will provide evidence based, patient centered medical care in diverse settings, and who are committed to serving all God’s people.

Enrollment

Applicants to the PA program must complete an application specific to the program through CASPA. Applications must be in verification status by August 1 for a January start. Enrollment is limited to 30 students and admission is via a competitive selection process.

Attrition

Information on student attrition can be found here.

Length of Program

The program is a 28-month continuous program. The program consists of 108 credit hours (68 of those hours are in the didactic phase and 40 of those hours are in the clinical phase). Due to the intensity of the program, it is recommended that students do not work while enrolled in this program.

Application Information*

*The Application and admission cycles are currently in abeyance. Please continue to follow our website for updates regarding the 24-25 cycles

Applications for the PA program must be submitted through Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Applications must be received and in verified status by CASPA by the published August 1 deadline. To submit an application, please click here.

Transfer of College Credits

All credits for the Master of Medical Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies must be earned at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. The PA program will not accept credit hours earned from other PA programs, graduate programs or medical schools.

Tuition

*Total Costs for the Physician Assistant Program

SemesterCredit HoursTuition/FeesCourse FeesTotal
116$13,348.00$60.00$13,408.00
217$14,154.25$140.00$14,294.25
316$12,808.00$310.00$13,118.00
414$11,555.50$11,555.50
512$10,123.00$247.50$10,370.50
616$13,348.00$13,348.00
717$14,154.25$14,154.25
Totals108$89,491.00$757.50
$90,248.50

*Tuition costs do not include textbooks or any additional costs associated with this program.

Additional Program Costs

Document TitleTypeFile Size
Document Title: Physician Assistant Program Student Supply ListType: pdfFile Size: 460.219 KBDownload


Financial Aid

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University has financial aid counselors available to assist you with the financial aid process. You are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Enrolled students are eligible for a number of scholarship awards offered by professional PA organizations.

Physician Assistant Masters Degree FAQs

Can I transfer courses into the PA program?

All credits for the Master of Medical Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies must be earned at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. The PA program will not accept credit hours earned from other PA programs, graduate programs or medical schools.

What is the attrition rate for the program?

Is working as a physician assistant a good career?

A physician assistant, also referred to as a PA, is a nationally certified and state licensed medical professional. PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and the uniformed services.

The United States is currently facing a shortage of healthcare professionals, and PAs are needed to fill the void. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is projected that the PA field will grow at a rate of 28% from 2021 to 2031, which translates into 38,400 new jobs for PAs. Currently, the PA profession is ranked as #4 in the best 100 jobs in the nation per U.S. News & World Report.

The following table should give the applicant guidance as to how competitive he/she is in comparison to prior PA classes. The competitive candidate has a “B” or better in all defined pre-requisite course work. Repeated attempts at pre-requisite coursework will be noted and weaken candidate’s overall application packet.

ClassAverage Undergrad GPA (cumulative)Average GPA (pre-requisite)Average Science GPAAverage Volunteer HoursAverage PA Shadowing HoursDirect Patient Care HoursWork Experience Hours
20213.53.53.41261452667

1527

20223.4
3.4

3.3

256

131

2427

1714

2023
3.6
3.6

3.5

217

93

2153

2876

20243.63.6

3.5

304

218

2020

218

20253.63.7

3.6

284

115

1537

629

3 year mean3.53.63.5

237

140

2161

1543

Accreditation

Regional Accreditation

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Questions about accreditation of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).

ARC-PA Accreditation

At its September 2023 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (Formerly Our Lady of the Lake College) Physician Assistant Program (“the program”) sponsored by Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University on Accreditation-Probation status until its next review in September 2025.

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.

Once placed on probation, a program that fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and is subject to having its accreditation withdrawn.

Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the Program Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at https://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-franciscan-missionaries-of-our-lady-university/.


Resources for Current PA Students

Curriculum

Curriculum Notes:

Clinical Rotation Courses

PHAS 5771 Primary Care I

PHAS 5772 Primary Care II

PHAS 5773 Hospital Medicine

PHAS 5774 Medical Elective I

PHAS 5775 Medical Elective II

PHAS 5776 General Surgery

PHAS 5777 Musculoskeletal Medicine

PHAS 5778 Pediatrics

PHAS 5779 Emergency Medicine

PHAS 5780 Focused Topics: Behavioral Health/ Women's

PHAS 5781 Pediatrics Elective

PHAS 5782 Advanced Pediatrics Elective

PHAS 5783 Advanced Surgery Elective

PHAS-5784 Advance Surgery Elective II

Didactic Curriculum

There are 68 hours in the didactic (classroom) phase of the program. Classes may be taught online, face-to-face, or in a blended format. Face-to-face classes are taught on the FranU campus. There are currently no distant campuses.

Clinical Curriculum

The clinical phase is made up of 10 clinical rotations. Students may be assigned rotations in the Baton Rouge area, throughout Louisiana and/or in some cases, any of the 48 contiguous United States.

Clinical site selection and student placement are the responsibility of the program faculty. Prospective and enrolled students are not required to arrange clinical site placements for their rotations and are asked not to solicit clinical sites or clinical preceptors. Once admitted, if a student knows a clinician who wishes to become a clinical preceptor for the program, contact information should be forwarded to the Clinical Coordinator for consideration and vetting per program policies and procedures.