Master of Science in Physician Assistant
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
Take the Next Step in Your Medical Career
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.
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.
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:
- Complete CASPA online Applications including submission of all transcripts and GRE score.
- 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.
- 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.
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 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.
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
Available at South University, Tampa
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.
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
Estimated Tuition for the MSPA Degree (effective January 2019)
Per quarter: $9,400.00
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
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.
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.
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.
Mission & Vision
Physician Assistant Program
The South University Physician Assistant (MSPA) exists to educate a diverse student population as providers of high-quality, cost-efficient health care who will make a positive impact while practicing the art and science of medicine with physician collaboration.
The South University Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) degree program strives to provide educational experiences where faculty, staff, clinical instructors, students, and other health care providers work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, cooperation, and commitment. The program’s primary focus is on the development of physician assistants capable of expanding into clinical leadership roles by demonstrating proficiency in critical thinking and creative problem solving, utilizing evidence-based skills gained through innovative approaches.
In order to ensure that patients receive the best medical care possible, the faculty of the South University Physician Assistant program has identified certain skills and professional behaviors that are essential for successful progression of physician assistant students in the program. A student must possess skills and behaviors at a level of capability to perform a variety of duties required of a physician assistant as a health care professional.
Students with disabilities who can perform these skills and successfully execute professional behavior either unassisted, with dependable use of assistive devices, or by employing other reasonable accommodations are eligible to apply for enrollment in the program. Minimum performance standards include critical thinking, communication skills, observation skills, motor skills, and interpersonal abilities. Interested parties may contact the Physician Assistant program office for additional information about South University performance standards. These skills and behaviors include, but are not limited to;
Critical Thinking: A student must possess the intellectual, ethical, physical and emotional capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty. The ability to solve problems, a skill that is critical to the practice of medicine, requires the intellectual abilities of measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Students must be able to perform demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences.
Communication Skills: A student should also be able to speak, to hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and to perceive nonverbal communications. The student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written forms.
Observation Skills: The student must be able to observe a patient accurately, both at a distance and in close proximity. This ability requires the functional use of vision and somatic sensation.
Motor Skills: A student should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic techniques. A student should be able to execute movements reasonably required to move from area to area, maneuver in small spaces, calibrate and use large and small equipment, position and move patients, and provide patients with general care and emergency treatment.
Interpersonal Abilities: A student for the Physician Assistant program must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities required for the diagnosis and care of patients and the development of professionalism through mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients, families, and colleagues.
Physician Assistant Program at Tampa
Program Director, Assistant Professor
Scott French, MPAS, PA-C
Clinical Director, Assistant Professor
L. LaBree Hans, MSPAP, PA-C
Director of Admissions, Assistant Professor
Karen Wilcox, MMS, PA-C
Director of Pre-Clinical Education, Assistant Professor
Amy Nichols, MMS, PA-C
Jennifer Pantaleo, MPAS, PA-C
Elliot E. Cazes, MD
Amanda M. Davis
The clinical phase is 12 months in length. Eight five-week clinical rotations are conducted at a variety of clinical sites. Students will gain clinical exposure in the following disciplines: Primary Care, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Women's Health, Behavioral Medicine, Emergency Medicine and the Clinical Elective.
Clinical sites are recruited by the Program’s Clinical Department and personnel from the Area Health Education Center (AHEC). Sites offer the students the wide variety of clinical experiences for that specific clinical rotation (course) and service delivery system. Students are not required to supply their own clinical sites or preceptors for clinical rotations. Sites for rotations will be determined by the department. Alternate rotation sites may be provided by the student to the Clinical Department personnel. Clinical Department personnel will evaluate sites suggested by students for viability as a clinical rotation site. In order to qualify for rotations outside of South University sites, or in student suggested sites, a student must demonstrate successful academic, clinical, and professional progress in the program.
The South University Physician Assistant program immunization policy is aligned with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthcare Personnel Vaccination Recommendations for health professionals. After acceptance into the program, but before registration can be successfully completed, all students must complete the South University Health Requirements. Be aware that additional immunizations may be required by some clinical training sites and are the students’ responsibility. If students choose not to be vaccinated, they will not be allowed to rotate at clinical sites that require immunizations unless expressly permitted in writing to the program by the appropriate personnel at that site. If any of the core (required) rotations cannot be completed because the student voluntarily chose not to be vaccinated as required by the clinical rotation site, the student will not be eligible for graduation from the Physician Assistant program. In addition, if the number of clinical sites available to students who have not been vaccinated does not meet graduation requirements, those students will not be eligible for graduation from the Physician Assistant program.
Physicians, physician assistants, and other health care providers serve as preceptors for clinical students in direct patient care, providing the opportunity for the student to perfect technical and procedural skills, and to become competent in communication, physical diagnosis, succinct recording and reporting, problem assessment, and development of a logical approach to further studies and therapy.Our students rotate in busy clinics, private physician offices, teaching hospitals, large institutions, and military hospitals and clinics. Rotations exist both in small towns and metropolitan cities. Our students are offered a wide variety of experiences and locations for their clinical rotations that are designed to round out the application of knowledge and skills to actual patient care.No text in field]
The following are the program learning outcomes (Graduate Competencies) for the South University Physician Assistant program. Prior to graduation from the program, students will:
- PLO-1. Integrate behavioral, social, and medical knowledge established from the evolving biomedical and clinical sciences in recognizing, evaluating, and managing patient disease states across the lifespan during acute, chronic, preventative, and emergent encounters..
- PLO-2. Demonstrate the interpersonal and communication skills required to sustain effective, multi-directional information exchange within a diverse population of patients, their caregivers, and members of the healthcare team.
- PLO-3. Demonstrate the ability to elicit an accurate patient history, perform an appropriate physical examination, and perform appropriate clinical procedures using essential clinical and technical skills to provide quality patient care.
- PLO-4. Collaborate effectively as part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team through clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills to formulate a logical differential diagnosis, select and interpret appropriate diagnostic studies, and synthesize a comprehensive, patient-centered management plan for the promotion of wellness and disease prevention.
- PLO-5. Demonstrate the ability to interpret and integrate an evidence-based approach to clinical and professional practice through clinical reasoning, problem- solving, and decision-making processes to improve patient care practices.
- PLO-6. Demonstrate professionalism through personal behaviors, sensitivity, and accountability essential to patients, society, and the profession.
Outstanding Education for Remarkable Careers
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