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Degree Overview

Master of Science in Physician Assistant

South University 2018 Graduation

In your search for physician assistant programs, we invite you to consider South University, Tampa. Our physician assistant courses offer fundamental medical concepts and theories, provides students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to function, with physician supervision, as medical professionals who will serve as valued members of the health care team. Physician assistants are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. With thousands of hours of medical training, PAs are versatile and collaborative. PAs practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality. Physician assistants perform medical functions that include, but are not limited to, evaluation, monitoring, diagnostics, therapeutics, counseling, and referral. The scope of the practice varies according to state laws, the medical setting, and the training of the physician assistant. In many states, physician assistants can prescribe and/or dispense medicine. The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Program at South University, Tampa’s campus, is designed to provide students with effective learning opportunities that will prepare them to perform their expected competencies in an ethical, legal, safe, and effective manner upon graduation.

South University Physician Assistant Program graduates are eligible to pursue licensure in all 50 states across the U.S. once they have passed the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) developed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). South University does not guarantee third-party certification/licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to South University.

Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistant

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation Continued to the South University Physician Assistant Program, Tampa, Florida sponsored by South University, Tampa, Florida. Continued accreditation is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA standards.

Continued 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 comprehensive review of the program by the ARC-PA will be March 2027. Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc., 12000 Findley Road, Suite 275, Johns Creek, GA, 30097; Telephone: 770.476.1224

Admission Requirements

The South University, Tampa Physician Assistant Program participates with the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Individuals whose applications are reviewed positively will be invited for a personal on-campus interview.

Applicant Criteria

The following criteria are established for students interested in applying to the South University Physician Assistant Master of Science degree program:

Applicants must have an earned bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.

Applicants must have an overall GPA as calculated by the CASPA service of 3.0 or greater (on a 4.0 scale) including undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate coursework.

Applicants should have a Biology-Chemistry-Physics (BCP) science GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) as calculated by the CASPA service.

Applicants must submit scores from the GRE general exam directly to the CASPA service using the South University PA program code of 0454.

At least one reference on the CASPA application must be from a physician (MD/DO), physician assistant, or nurse practitioner with whom the applicant has worked or shadowed and to whom the applicant is not related.

Preference will be given to those with GRE scores at the 50th percentile or above.

Students must complete all prerequisite courses listed below with a grade of C or better at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university before matriculation:

Human Anatomy - 1 course 1,2

Human Physiology - 1 course 1,2

General Biology - 2 courses 2,3

General Chemistry - 2 courses 2

Biochemistry -or- Organic Chemistry - 1 course 2

Microbiology - 1 course 2,4

Prerequisite coursework which is obtained from a four-year college or university and which is designed for science majors is considered to be more competitive.

In general, prerequisite coursework inclusive of titles such as Essentials of, Survey of, or Introduction to, unless specifically designed for science majors are considered less competitive.

1 Human Anatomy and Physiology may be taken as standalone courses or as part of a sequence. In the event that the courses are taken as part of a sequence, only a completed sequence of A and P I and II will be accepted.

2 Basic science courses should be those for science majors. Only courses (excluding general biology and biochemistry) with an associated lab will be given credit for fulfilling prerequisite requirements. In the event that a laboratory is not offered with a prerequisite course, applicants may request that the lab requirement for that course be waived.

3 Labs recommended but not required for general biology courses.

4 Microbiology courses must be 200/2000 level or higher.

No transfer credit is accepted for the Master of Science in Physician Assistant program. All students must complete each course in the curriculum.

The South University Physician Assistant program accepts credit for Advanced Placement (AP) courses. AP courses taken and successfully completed will be counted as one course credit toward completion of the respective prerequisite subject. Grades earned in AP courses are not used in calculation of the applicant's over all or prerequisite GPA.

The South University Physician Assistant program does not accept College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credit for any prerequisite requirements.

Transfer of Credits: The South University, Tampa Physician Assistant program does not accept a transfer of credits from another physician assistant program or provide enrolled students with a waiver of credit for any component of the required curricular coursework.

Application Process
The South University, Tampa Master of Science in Physician Assistant program participates with the 
Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). The CASPA application process requires submission of scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and transcripts.

A completed application must be submitted through the Centralized Applications Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). The application cycle for the January 2019 start will begin in April 2018, and the deadline for receipt of all materials to be e-submitted* in the CASPA application portal is August 1, 2018.

To apply for the Master of Science in Physician Assistant degree program at South University, Tampa, individuals must:

  1. Complete CASPA online Applications including submission of all transcripts and GRE score.
  2. Official GRE scores for the General Test (verbal, quantitative, and written essay) are required to be electronically submitted to CASPA through ETS (Educational Testing Service) using the Tampa Program GRE Code: 0454. Paper copies are not accepted.
  3. Submit a complete FAFSA application (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for those applying for financial aid. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

If you have questions in regard to the Application Process, please see the FAQs or contact the Tampa program office by calling 813.393.3720 or by email at

Please do not send transcripts directly to South University. Transcripts should be sent to CASPA.

*Once you have filled out your entire online CASPA application and selected which programs you would like to apply to, you must "e-submit" to officially turn in your application to CASPA. Depending on what documents CASPA has already received, e-submitting will move your application from an "In-Progress" status to a "Received > Awaiting Materials" status or a "Materials Received (Complete) > Verifying" status. E-submitting does NOT mean your application is being reviewed by your PA programs.

Clinical Experience

Clinical experience that includes direct patient care is strongly recommended for application and selection into the program; however, there is no requirement for a predetermined number of hours (or months) of health care experience to be earned by an applicant. Clinical experiences should provide the applicant with a knowledge of and orientation to the presentation, signs, and symptoms of a variety of ill or injured patients. Such experiences are evaluated on an individual basis with regard to time spent with PAs or physicians observing or caring for patients.

PANCE Certification

Graduates of an accredited Physician Assistant program must pass the national Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) in order to acquire state licensure to practice. This exam is developed jointly by the National Board of Medical Examiners and the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). The South University, Tampa Physician Assistant Studies program has a 96% aggregate pass rate from the inception of the program. Below are the percentage pass rates for the first time test takers of the PANCE for the past five South University Tampa, Physician Assistant Studies graduating classes.

Click the link below to view the pass rates of South University, Tampa students

View PANCE pass rates of South University, Tampa students.


Master of Science in Physician Assistant Degree: 174 Credits

Available at South University, Tampa

Didactic Phase (Physician Assistant Course Sequence)
1st Quarter: 17 Credits
PAS5102 Medical Interviewing and Documentation, 3 Credit Hours
PAS5110 Physical Assessment I, 3 Credit Hours
PAS5125 Medical Anatomy and Physiology I, 4 Credit Hours
PAS5135 Laboratory Diagnostics, 3 Credit Hours
PAS5173 Professional Seminar I, 2 Credit Hours
PAS5210 Physical Assessment Lab I, 1 Credit Hour
PAS5225 Medical Anatomy and Physiology I Lab, 1 Credit Hour
2nd Quarter: 21 Credits
PAS5111 Physical Assessment II, 3 Credit Hours
PAS5126 Medical Anatomy and Physiology II, 4 Credit Hours
PAS5175 Issues in Contemporary Medicine, 2 Credit Hours
PAS5180 Clinical Medicine and Pharmacotherapeutics I, 8 Credit Hours
PAS5211 Physical Assessment Lab II, 1 Credit Hour
PAS5226 Medical Anatomy and Physiology II Lab, 1 Credit Hour
PAS5295 Applied Learning Experience I, 1 Credit Hour
PAS5380 Clinical Medicine and Pharmacotherapeutics I Lab, 1 Credit Hour
3rd Quarter: 18 Credits
PAS5130 Diagnostic Methods, 4 Credit Hours
PAS5167 Musculoskeletal Care, 3 Credit Hours
PAS5181 Clinical Medicine and Pharmacotherapeutics II, 8 Credit Hours
PAS5296 Applied Learning Experience II, 2 Credit Hours
PAS5381 Clinical Medicine and Pharmacotherapeutics II Lab, 1 Credit Hour
4th Quarter: 20 Credits
PAS5105 Epidemiology and Biostatistics, 3 Credit Hours
PAS5124 Essentials of Behavioral Medicine, 3 Credit Hours
PAS5138 Fundamentals of Surgery, 4 Credit Hours
PAS5182 Clinical Medicine and Pharmacotherapeutics III, 8 Credit Hours
PAS5297 Applied Learning Experience III, 1 Credit Hour
PAS5382 Clinical Medicine and Pharmacotherapeutics III Lab, 1 Credit Hour
5th Quarter: 24 Credits
PAS5132 Essentials of Clinical Geriatrics, 4 Credit Hours
PAS5147 Clinical Procedures, 2 Credit Hours
PAS5174 Professional Seminar II, 3 Credit Hours
PAS5183 Clinical Medicine and Pharmacotherapeutics IV, 8 Credit Hours
PAS5190 Essentials of Emergency Medicine, 4 Credit Hours
PAS5298 Applied Learning Experience IV, 1 Credit Hour
PAS5383 Clinical Medicine and Pharmacotherpeutics IV Lab, 1 Credit Hour
PAS6152 Medical Literature in Clinical Practice, 1 Credit Hour
Didactic Phase Total: 100 Credits
Clinical Phase
PAS6200 Clinical Rotation I, 8 Credit Hours
PAS6205 Clinical Rotation II, 8 Credit Hours
PAS6210 Clinical Rotation III, 8 Credit Hours
PAS6215 Clinical Rotation IV, 8 Credit Hours
PAS6220 Clinical Rotation V, 8 Credit Hours
PAS6225 Clinical Rotation VI, 8 Credit Hours
PAS6230 Clinical Rotation VII, 8 Credit Hours
PAS6235 Clinical Rotation VIII, 8 Credit Hours
PAS6320 Special Topics in Clinical Practice I, 2 Credit Hours
PAS6330 Special Topics in Clinical Practice II, 2 Credit Hours
PAS6340 Special Topics in Clinical Practice III, 2 Credit Hours
PAS6350 Physician Assistant Senior Seminar, 4 Credit Hours
Clinical Phase Total: 74
Required Program Total Credits: 174

No physician assistant credits from another institution may transfer into the didactic or clinical phase. Master of Science in Physician Assistant students must complete the entire 27 month program (174 credit hours) at South University.

Program Goals

Please click here for information on our Physician Assistant program and effectiveness in achieving program goals.

The following are program goals for the South University, Tampa Master of Science in Physician Assistant program:

  • The program will recruit a highly qualified, diverse student cohort that will foster success in the program.
  • The program will strive to adequately prepare graduating students to achieve a first-time pass rate that exceeds the national average upon completion of the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE).
  • The program will provide students service learning opportunities that allow them to use their skills and education to demonstrate compassion and commitment to the community.

(Note: Requirements for NCCPA Certification are determined by the NCCPA and are subject to change without notification to South University. Graduation from the South University, Richmond Physician Assistant program does not guarantee certification or employment.)


Tuition and Fees

Tuition and Fees represented here are those of the currently enrolled student. Students enrolling for in classes that begin after January 1, 2017 have been made aware of an impending rate increase. The tuition and fees are for the January start can be found in the current enrollment agreement.

Estimated Tuition for the MSPA Degree (effective January 2019)

Per quarter: $9,400.00

Total: $84,600.00

Estimated Fees for the MSPA Degree

Acceptance Fee: $500.00
(Non-refundable/Applied to Tuition)


Graduation Fee: $125.00


AAPA Student Membership Fee: $75.00


FAPA Student Membership Fee: $60.00


Other Estimated Costs for the MS Degree

Professional Instruments: $1,000.00

Textbooks:  $1740.00 ($10 per credit)

Surgical Scrubs: $55.00

Laptop Computer and privacy screen: $1,500.00

Background Checks: approximately $200-$400 (Additional fees may apply to the base package fee contingent upon credentialing requirements of the hospital.)

Estimated Total for the MSPA Degree

Tuition and Fees: $89,555.00

Tuition and fees are subject to change. The tuition for in-state and out-of-state residents is the same. Acceptance fee is non-refundable and upon acceptance is applied toward the student’s tuition. If a student decides not to attend after accepting, the fee will not be refunded.

All students are required to have a laptop computer with wireless internet access for use in the multimedia classroom. Purchase of these items is not recommended prior to acceptance into the program because of these very specific requirements.

Payment of Tuition and Fees

All charges are due and payable on or before the registration date for each quarter. Circumstances which prevent a student from adhering to these dates should be discussed with the financial aid office. Students attending school under grants and/or loans should confer with the financial aid office concerning payment of fees. Students attending school under the G.I. Bill may discuss payment of school fees with the Director of Financial Aid. Failure to make proper payments, unless otherwise cleared with the financial aid office, will result in dismissal from the university. Grades will not be issued, degrees granted, or academic transcripts furnished until all financial obligations have been satisfied and all university property returned. For refund policies, please see the

Policies and procedures for student withdrawal, refunds of tuition and fees, policies that limit or prevent students from working during the program and policies and procedures for processing student grievances can be found in the

Student Employment

Due to the rigorous nature of the Physician Assistant program, employment during a student's course of training is strongly discouraged.

Employment must never interfere with academic or clinical assignments.

At no time is a South University Physician Assistant student allowed to or required to work for the South University Physician Assistant program or program clinical sites.

Student Handbook

South University Student Handbook

For additional and detailed information about the South University, Tampa Physician Assistant Program and its requirements, please refer to the 2019 Physician Assistant Program Student Handbook, the 2020 Physician Assistant Program Student Handbook, or the 2021 Physician Assistant Program Student Handbook. All Physician Assistant program policies apply to all students, principal faculty, and the program director regardless of location, i.e., didactic and clinical settings.

Learn More

Physician Assistant at South University

South University is committed to creating career opportunities for our students, so we provide the relevant coursework for you to meet your career goals in a position as a Physician Assistant as well as the ethical and legal competencies and effective communication skills that are integral for this profession. In addition, we instill the value of continued education in our students so you can continue to create more opportunities for success in your career.

Success Stories

Outstanding Education for Remarkable Careers

We're committed to helping our graduates make an impact in their professional and personal lives. We applaud our alumni and the difference they make. Check out what some of our healthcare graduates have to say.

Jason Miller 2017
Jason Miller Grad Alumni
Class of '17
Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant

“South University pushed me hard - to the limits of my mental capacity - and that brought out the best in me.”

Jay Bodalia 2006
Jay Bodalia Grad Alumni
Class of '06
Master of Medical Science in Anesthesiologist Assistant

“I was working as a neonatal pediatric respiratory therapist, and after five years I had reached my maximum potential. I had friends who were in AA school, and I saw how much they enjoyed it”

Jennifer DAngelo 2018
Jennifer DAngelo Grad Alumni
Bachelor of Health Sciences

“I needed a program that would support my professional and academic goals in addition to understanding my family obligations. South University did that and so much more. South University and their compassionate staff and educators never stopped encouraging me to follow my dreams. From helping me with class schedule adjustments to providing financial aid services, they always assisted me in my time of need.”

Jessica Patel 2009
Jessica Patel Grad Alumni
Class of '09
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management

“I was really seeking a more productive environment, and the possibility of one-on-one relationships with professors, and I've found it. At South, I have a number of favorite teachers, and I simply feel like I belong here because I'm surrounded by kind, friendly people -- and especially by professors who are helpful and accessible! I think I have really good role models for my work, and how I want to see myself in the workplace someday.”

John Fulton 2009
John Fulton Grad Alumni
Class of '09
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management

“As soon as I got here, I really felt like the  courses suited my personality.”

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