Close

☰ In This Section

Physician Assistant Program Details

Master of Science

Our M.S. in Physician Assistant program prepares students to become physician assistants who provide meaningful medical care with integrity. Our PA program provides the credentials to practice medicine alongside physicians, providing services as varied as healthcare itself.

Face to Face

Daytime

You'll meet during the day on campus.

Location: St. Paul

Start Dates: Summer 2021

Total Credits

112

Program length

27 months

Courses

  • Human Gross Anatomy & Histology (BIOL600)

    Human anatomy for physician assistant students takes a regional approach to the study of human anatomy. This course will involve dissection of human cadavers by the students. Incorporated into the course content concerning anatomical structures will be a brief examination of histological structure, nervous system structure, and basic function.

    4 credits

    Corequisite Course: BIOL600L

  • Human Gross Anatomy and Histology Lab (BIOL600L)

    Laboratory experience accompanying BIOL600.

    2 credits

    Corequisite Course: BIOL600

  • Human Medical Physiology (BIOL610)

    This course is designed for graduate students to learn and gain knowledge in the physiological principles. These concepts are essential for further progress in understanding mechanisms of disease and body systems. This understanding is essential for clinical medicine. Weekly problem solving discussions will emphasize clinical application of physiologic concepts.

    3 credits

  • Pharmacology & Therapeutics I (BIOL620)

    This is the first course in a series of three clinical pharmacology courses taught in a systems-based approach with the Clinical Medicine series. The course explores clinical implications of pharmacology for these topics (but not limited to): hematologic, cardiovascular, pulmonary, genitourinary, and renal.

    3 credits

  • Medical Pathophysiology I (BIOL621)

    This is the first of three pathophysiology courses offered concurrently with the Clinical Medicine series. Pathophysiology at the molecular, cellular, organ, and total body levels will be applied in each organ system. Systems covered include, but are not limited to: hematologic, cardiovascular, pulmonary, genitourinary, and renal.

    2 credits

  • Pharmacology & Therapeutics II (BIOL630)

    This is the second course in a series of three clinical pharmacology courses taught in a systems-based approach with the Clinical Medicine series. The course explores clinical implications of pharmacology for these topics (but not limited to); dermatologic, endocrine, neurologic, psychiatric, musculoskeletal/ rheumatologic, gastrointestinal, and geriatric.

    4 credits

    Corequisite Course: BIOL631;PHAS603;PHAS603L;PHAS613;PHAS623L

  • Medical Pathophysiology II (BIOL631)

    This is the second of three pathophysiology courses offered concurrently with the Clinical Medicine series. Pathophysiology at the molecular, cellular, organ, and total body levels will be discussed in each body system. Systems covered include (but are not limited to); dermatologic, endocrine, neurologic, psychiatric, musculoskeletal/rheumatologic, gastrointestinal, and geriatric.

    2 credits

  • Pharmacology and Therapeutics III (BIOL640)

    This is the third course in a series of three clinical pharmacology courses taught in a systems-based approach with the Clinical Medicine series. The course explores clinical implications of pharmacology focusing on, but not limited to, these areas: womens health, pediatrics, surgery, ENT/ophthalmology/allergy, and emergency medicine.

    2 credits

  • Medical Pathophysiology III (BIOL641)

    This is the third of three pathophysiology courses offered concurrently with the Clinical Medicine series. Pathophysiology at the molecular, cellular, organ, and total body levels will be applied in each body system. Topics covered include, but are not limited to, womens health, pediatrics, ENT/ophthalmology/allergy, and multisystem disorders.

    2 credits

  • Introduction to History and Physical Examination (PHAS601)

    This is the first of four sequential courses designed to facilitate the development of medical history taking, physical examination skills, patient communication, clinical problem solving, clinical procedures, and ethical/legal considerations for the physician assistant. This first course focuses on history taking and physical examination in the healthy adult.

    2 credits

    Corequisite Course: PHAS601L

  • Introduction to History and Physical Examination Lab (PHAS601L)

    Laboratory experience accompanying PHAS601.

    1 credits

    Corequisite Course: PHAS601

  • Patient Assessment and Diagnostics I (PHAS602)

    This is the second of four sequential courses designed to facilitate the development of medical history taking, physical examination skills, patient communication, clinical problem solving, clinical procedures, and ethical/legal considerations for the physician assistant. Focus is on physical examination skills and procedures that coincide with topics in PHAS612.

    2 credits

    Corequisite Course: PHAS602L

  • Patient Assessment and Diagnostics Lab I (PHAS602L)

    Laboratory experience accompanying PHAS602.

    1 credits

    Corequisite Course: PHAS602

  • Patient Assessment and Diagnostics II (PHAS603)

    This is the third of four sequential courses designed to facilitate the development of medical history taking, physical examination skills, patient communication, clinical problem solving, clinical procedures, and ethical/legal considerations for the physician assistant. Focus is on physical examination skills and procedures that coincide with topics in PHAS613.

    3 credits

    Corequisite Course: PHAS603L

  • Patient Assessment and Diagnostics Lab II (PHAS603L)

    Laboratory experience accompanying PHAS603.

    1 credits

    Corequisite Course: PHAS603

  • Patient Assessment & Diagnostics III (PHAS604)

    This is the fourth of four sequential courses designed to facilitate the development of medical history taking, physical examination skills, patient communication, clinical problem solving, clinical procedures, and ethical/legal considerations for the physician assistant. Focus is on physical examination skills and procedures that coincide with topics in PHAS614.

    1 credits

    Corequisite Course: PHAS604L

  • Patient Assessment and Diagnostics Lab III (PHAS604L)

    Laboratory experience accompanying PHAS604.

    1 credits

    Corequisite Course: PHAS604

  • Foundation to Clinical Medicine (PHAS611)

    Designed as an introduction to clinical medicine topics, this course will lay the foundation for future clinical medicine courses by helping the student understand and apply fundamental concepts to patient care. Topics presented include radiological imaging, infectious disease, oncology, genetics, and fundamentals of pharmacology, immunology, preventative medicine, and laboratory studies.

    4 credits

  • Clinical Medicine I (PHAS612)

    This course is the first of a three-course sequence, which provides students with a systematic approach to the etiology, epidemiology, manifestations, laboratory and diagnostic studies, prognosis, and treatment of disease. This course will focus on, but is not limited to, hematological, cardiovascular, pulmonary, genitourinary, and renal systems.

    6 credits

  • Clinical Medicine II (PHAS613)

    This course is the second of a three-course sequence, which provides students with a systematic approach to the etiology, epidemiology, manifestations, laboratory and diagnostic studies, and prognosis and treatment of specific diseases. This course will focus on, but is not limited to, dermatologic, endocrine, neurologic, psychiatric, musculoskeletal, rheumatologic, gastrointestinal systems, and geriatrics.

    7 credits

  • Clinical Medicine III (PHAS614)

    This course is the third of a three-course sequence, which provides students with a systematic approach to the etiology, epidemiology, manifestations, laboratory and diagnostic studies, and prognosis and treatment of specific diseases. This course will focus on, but is not limited to: womens health, pediatrics, ENT/ophthalmology/allergy, surgery, and emergency medicine.

    5 credits

  • Evidence-Based Medicine and Research I (PHAS621)

    Course provides in-depth discussion and relevance of research literature. An emphasis will be placed on critical analysis of research articles. Independent thought and critical thinking skills will be addressed. Assigned readings will offer students the opportunity to examine prevailing research in the health professions.

    2 credits

  • Medical Problem Solving I (PHAS622L)

    Designed for first-year physician assistant (PA) students, this laboratory course is the first of three labs for development of PA students clinical problem-solving and decision-making skills. Using problem-based learning methods, this course corresponds with modules of PA clinical medicine and exposes students to an array of clinical healthcare issues.

    1 credits

  • Medical Problem Solving II (PHAS623L)

    Developed for first-year physician assistant (PA) students, this laboratory course is the second of three courses for development of PA students clinical problem-solving and decision-making skills. Using problem-based learning methods, this course supplements the modules of PA clinical medicine and exposes students to an array of clinical healthcare issues.

    1 credits

  • Medical Problem Solving III (PHAS624L)

    Specifically for physician assistant (PA) students, this laboratory course will facilitate the development of PA students clinical problem-solving and decision-making skills. Utilizing problem-based learning methods, this course encompasses all of the modules of the PA clinical medicine series through active learning for an array of clinical healthcare issues.

    1 credits

  • PA Professional Practice Issues I (PHAS632)

    Designed for first-year graduate physician assistant (PA) students, this introductory course is the first of two professional issues courses to develop PA students awareness and professional attributes. Professional history, certification, PA professional organizations, and other health delivery topics will be discussed.

    2 credits

  • Cultural & Prevention Competency (PHAS633)

    This course introduces students to the history, underlying theory, and basic concepts associated with clinical prevention in the United States, espoused by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (

    2 credits

  • Christian Health Care and Applied Medical Ethics (PHAS634)

    Studies the ethical dynamics of healthcare including principles of autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, justice, fairness, and dignity. Ethical principles are then applied to actual clinical and professional situations including inalienable rights, reproductive technologies, allocation of healthcare, death and dying issues, confidentiality, and professional conflict from a Christian ministry standpoint of the healing professions.

    3 credits

  • Evidence-Based Medicine and Research II (PHAS641)

    The second course in the PA research sequence to build upon students understanding of research. Each student will work with a faculty instructor and advisor to secure a research topic and establish a clear methodology for completing the project. Issues of applied statistics will be examined in this course with the opportunity to perform analysis of the project. Independent thought and critical thinking skills will be addressed.

    2 credits

  • Clinical Field Placements I (PHAS710)

    Transition from didactic to clinical training. Assignment to a combination of clinical rotations selected from emergency medicine, family practice, internal medicine, womens health, pediatrics, psychiatry/behavioral medicine, general surgery, and two elective rotations. Participation is required in the seven core/required rotations and two elective rotations by the end of the clinical field placement series.

    12 credits

  • Clinical Field Placements II (PHAS720)

    Ongoing clinical training. Assignment to a combination of clinical rotations selected from emergency medicine, family practice, internal medicine, womens health, pediatrics, psychiatry/behavioral medicine, general surgery, and two elective rotations. Participation is required in the seven required rotations and two elective rotations by the end of the clinical field placement series.

    15 credits

  • Clinical Field Placements III (PHAS730)

    Ongoing clinical training. Assignment to a combination of clinical rotations selected from emergency medicine, family practice, internal medicine, womens health, pediatrics, psychiatry/behavioral medicine, general surgery, and two elective rotations. Participation is required in the seven core/required rotations and two elective rotations by the end of the clinical field placement series. Includes programs overall summative evaluation of student.

    9 credits

  • Physician Assistant Professional Practice Capstone (PHAS735)

    Designed for second-year physician assistant (PA) students, this course is the second of two professional issues courses to develop PA students skills in office and professional procedures prior to clerkships. Socioeconomic issues, billing and coding, risk management, and other legal issues in the PA profession will be explored.

    2 credits

  • Evidence-Based Medicine Project/Thesis (PHAS790)

    This course investigates the theories, paradigms, and steps necessary to select and approach a research problem. A continued emphasis on critical analysis of research articles, designing and writing research proposals, and further refinement of the research process with a final defense of project at the end of the course.

    2 credits

Course Schedule

Students earning their M.S. in Physician Assistant degree at Bethel take 112 semester credits during the 27-month program. View the Course Schedule to see a breakdown of courses by year and term. Students take 15 months of courses followed by 12 months of clinical rotations in several different specialities.

Certifying Exam

Graduates of an accredited PA program must pass the national Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) prior to obtaining a license to practice. The examination is required for certification/registration in all states. This exam is developed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. To date for all exam takers, the Bethel program has 100% pass rate on the national certification exam. View Bethel's graduate first time performance on the certification exam (NCCPA PANCE rates).

Outside Employment

Classes meet  during the day, with some evening hours expected and varying hours during rotations the second year.

The program begins in the summer with full-time classes during the day and occasional evening lectures for the first 4 semesters (15 months). For the last 3 semesters, students engage in full-time rotations (40+ hours per week) at various hospitals and clinics with an assigned preceptor. Hours will vary during clinical rotations.

To accommodate this schedule, PA  students must be available for program activities Monday to Friday 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. In rare instances, we may also hold Saturday morning sessions. This full-time program offers a demanding course load with significant time spent in the labs. We will also need to adjust the schedule to accommodate guest lecturers and seminars. You will be expected to have the flexibility to make yourself available during these times.

As part of our employment policy, PA students must not substitute or function as instructional faculty, and are not required to work for the program.

Advanced Placement

Bethel University's Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) program is designed as a comprehensive curriculum, and all learners are required to complete the prescribed didactic and clinical coursework.  The PA program does not allow for exemption from courses, clinical skills, laboratories, or clinical education regardless of prior experience, degree or credential.  Students must matriculate through all aspects of the program and successfully complete all program requirements in order to graduate.

  • Advanced placement is not granted into the M.S. in Physician Assistant (PA) program.
  • All students must complete the full PA program.
  • No external course work will satisfy PA program requirements.

Accreditation

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Bethel University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Bethel University. 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 September 2026. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Programs at Bethel University are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the PA program has been added to our list of approved programs with the HLC; the PA program is also registered with the Minnesota Department of Education.

Program Mission

Boldly motivated by the Christian faith and in the spirit of Bethel University's academic excellence and ministry focus, the Bethel Physician Assistant program will educate students to become physician assistants who develop the skills for competent and excellent medical practice, live out ethical principles and Bethel's academic excellence, serve their community and all cultures, and possess integrity and compassion.

Program Goals

Develop skills for competent and excellent medical practice. As demonstrated by Bethel's emphasis on being truth-seekers, graduates will possess competence in a balanced core of knowledge drawn from the fields of humanities, natural and social sciences, medical sciences, behavioral sciences, and evidence-based medicine.

Live out ethical principles and Bethel's academic excellence. With Bethel's desire to be character-builders, PA students and graduates will demonstrate their capacity for learning as critical thinkers and problem solvers while carrying out their calling to medical practice.

Serve their community and all cultures. Based upon Bethel's commitment to being world-changers, as well as salt and light in the world, students and graduates will recognize the privilege of serving others regardless of color, social, ethnic, religious, or economic status.

Possess integrity and compassion. Due to Bethel's motivation for being Christ-followers and reconcilers, students and graduates will act in a professional manner and integrate appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication skills in the care of patients, as well as render services in a compassionate manner.

View the success of the program in achieving its goals.

Program Graduate Competencies

The Bethel University PA Program has developed a list of expected competencies for all graduates.

1. Knowledge
Graduates must demonstrate an understanding of diseases processes, as well as the assessment and treatment of the same.

2. Interpersonal Skills
Graduates must demonstrate the interpersonal and inter-professional communication skills for sensitively and compassionately meeting diverse patient care needs.

3. Clinical and Technical Skills
Graduates must deliver patient-centered assessment, evaluation, and management, as well as provide services and education for health promotion and disease prevention in all patient populations. They must also safely and appropriately perform procedures essential to practice.

4. Clinical Reasoning and Problem Solving
Graduates must engage in critical analysis of the medical literature, patient resources, and the impact of provider and patient worldviews to assess, evaluate, and improve their patient care practices.

5. Professional Behaviors
Graduates must demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical and legal practice, and sensitivity to others. They must strive to understand the larger health care system in which they practice, and work to improve the system for colleagues and patients.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the physician assistant program will be able to:

  • Take and document accurate and complete patient histories.
  • Perform and document comprehensive and organized physical examinations of patients using proper technique. 
  • Conduct and document patient education and counseling in an effective, empathetic, and culturally competent manner.
  • Accurately interpret clinical lab and imaging tests, and appropriately apply the results to the patient’s situation.
  • Perform procedural skills safely and effectively.
  • Integrate knowledge of disease processes with individual medical case scenarios to optimize patient outcomes.
  • Develop and document appropriate treatment plans for patients based upon their history, physical exam, laboratory findings, and individual needs.
  • Critically analyze medical literature and apply findings to patient care.  
  • Formulate a personal approach to medical care, integrating their personal worldview with the needs of patients.
  • Collaborate with other medical professionals to improve patient care.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the physician assistant profession, including ethical, legal, and regulatory guidelines for practicing within the larger healthcare system.
  • Provide preventative care counseling and services based on established guidelines.

Licensure 

Bethel University cannot confirm whether courses or programs meet requirements for professional licensure in states outside of Minnesota. Students should contact their program's licensing bureau to determine whether Bethel's program meets requirements for licensure in their state.

Accreditation and Program Goals

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Bethel University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Bethel University. 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 September 2026. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website.

Learn more about the PA program's accreditation, program goals, and first time graduate performance on certification exam.

Become a Bethel Student