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Masters in Physician Assistant Studies

About the Profession

The health care system has fully embraced the important role of the Physician Assistant. Working under the direction of medical doctors, PA’s:

  • Provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive health care services in a team-based environment.
  • Can specialize, and are found in family, internal, women’s, and emergency care settings, among others.
  • Make diagnoses, perform routine care, and often manage others.
  • Prescribe medication in all states.
  • The role of the PA is truly diverse. Whereas one may work in a suburban clinic, another may spend long hours in surgery. Some provide home health services; others gravitate to corporate settings. The thread that runs throughout the profession: patient-centered care.

About the Program

Physician Assistants play a critical role delivering high-quality, affordable Health care, and more than ever before, are needed to meet the needs of our nation and the world. The MUSC Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) program is the perfect place to gain the skills, knowledge, and experience to prepare you to practice in this exciting, ever evolving profession. We offer a Master of Science degree for individuals seeking to become physician assistants.

The PAS program begins at the end of May and lasts for seven semesters which is approximately twenty-seven months in duration. The first four semesters, which comprise the fifteen month didactic portion of the program, are devoted to classroom study. Students reside in Charleston taking courses five days a week during this time which does not include online courses.

During the last three semesters, which comprise the twelve month clinical year, students complete nine individual clinical rotations at sites predominately located throughout South Carolina. The clinical rotations include internal medicine, family medicine, women’s health, pediatrics, mental health, emergency medicine, general surgery, and an adjunct clinical experience as well as an elective of the student’s choosing. 

Students are highly discouraged from being employed while in the PAS program. Students may choose to work part-time (starting after their first semester) as a work-study student through MUSC's Financial Aid Office. Scholarships may also be available to currently enrolled students which are publicized by the Office of Student Life each semester.

Program Goals

The Physician Assistant Studies program assesses its success through the accomplishments of our students and alumni. In order to ensure its success, the program strives to:

  • Be fully compliant with all standards established by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA);
  • Enroll competitive applicants representing the rich diversity of the populations of South Carolina and the nation;
  • Educate physician assistants with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide quality Health care;
  • Graduate students who are highly satisfied with the quality of their education, the state of their professional development, and their overall capability to function as a physician assistant.

Accreditation Status

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Medical University of South Carolina Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Medical University of South Carolina. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards. Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2023. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Graduate Performance on the PANCE (PDF)