Master of Physician Assistant Studies

//Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Master of Physician Assistant Studies2019-07-18T11:45:11-07:00

Important Program Dates

Application Cycle Begins: April 25, 2019
Final application deadline: October 1, 2019*
Semester begins: May 4, 2020
*(CASPA application needs to be verified by this date)

Education Model

Residential Program with clinical assignments throughout the country

The Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP) Physician Assistant (PA) Program educates outstanding clinicians equipped to handle the challenges of practicing medicine in a multifaceted and complex healthcare system. Our program emphasizes a holistic patient-centered care approach, educating students not only in the foundational domains of medical knowledge and patient care, but also to:

  • approach complex health problems through sound clinical reasoning, with sensitivity for the unique situation and concerns of each individual patient;
  • leverage the powers of information technology and collaborative networking to make thoughtful, evidence-based decisions at the point-of-care;
  • master the art of connecting with patients of diverse characteristics and backgrounds; and
  • serve as ethical professionals who stand as examples and leaders in their communities and amongst their colleagues.

Program Highlights


As our name implies, we are located in the Rocky Mountains! Utah has four different seasons full of world-class skiing, hiking, biking, rock climbing, star gazing, and more. We live where nature is in our backyard. Red rock country is just a short drive away. Many students take day or weekend trips together to the many national parks in Southern Utah (including Arches, Zions, Bryce, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef). The campus is also located right next to historic downtown Provo and is within an hour drive of Salt Lake City.

Clinical Simulation Practice

During the didactic phase of the program, students are challenged weekly with simulated patient encounters. This allows students to learn how to treat and care for patients in the didactic phase and prepare for their clinical experiences. The average PA program only offers a few simulated patient encounters just prior to clinical rotations.

Practicing Faculty

At RMUoHP, we support our faculty to continue working in the clinic to stay up-to-date on skills and best practices. By continuing to work in the field, faculty bring real experiences into the classroom to better train the next generation of physician assistants.

Low Faculty-to-Student Ratio

The PA program at RMUoHP maintains a low faculty-to-student ratio. After being admitted, students are assigned a faculty mentor who will work with them individually throughout the program.

100% PANCE Pass Rate

Our top-notch students and our top-tier faculty and curriculum have brought about a 100% pass rate on the Physician Assistance National Certifying Exam (PANCE). Faculty and administration work hard to help students prepare for the certifying exam at the end of the program.

100% Graduation Rate

Every single student who has enrolled in the RMUoHP Physician Assistant program has graduated the program. We credit our 100% graduation rate to the hard work and dedication of both our excellent students and dedicated faculty.

Opportunity for International Service in Africa and Guatemala

Each year during the summer semester break, students have the opportunity to travel to Africa with faculty and university administration to provide humanitarian work and gain exposure to third-world clinical experiences. Students will spend time both in the clinics and hospitals as well as the local village.

PA Program FAQ

The program is 7 semesters (28 months) long. It is a year-round program with breaks (typically around 2 weeks in length) between each semester.

The program offers 40 weeks of clinical education separated into eight 5-week rotations. At the beginning of the program, each student sits down with our clinical education team and together they work out where they will be placed for each rotation. Seven of the eight rotations are required settings that each student must go to, but there is an elective clinical where the student can choose the setting he/she wishes to go to. There are no guarantees that students will get their first choice based on geographical location or setting type, but student input and desires are strongly considered.

Not usually. We have clinical opportunities throughout the nation, and it is highly encouraged to do some clinical rotations outside of the state.

The program accept 50 students in each cohort. Each cohort starts in May.

The CASPA application cycle opens up in April and closes on October 1. All materials need to be received and verified by this deadline to be considered for review.

No. Rolling admissions is where a program interviews/accepts applicants throughout the application period (prior to the final application deadline). Our PA program sends out all application decisions after the final application deadline.

No. The only application is the CASPA application. You will have to complete the CASPer test and have those scores sent to the university, but that is the only additional requirement.

The CASPer test is an online screening tool designed to evaluate key personal and professional characteristics that make for successful students and graduates. CASPer provides the program with a reliable measure of traits such as professionalism, ethics, communication, and empathy. You will be asked to complete the CASPer test at the time of submission of your application to this program. Visit for more information.

Yes. A 298 minimum aggregate score of both the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections combined is required The average GRE score for all accepted students is 308.

Yes. The GRE can be retaken and the highest scores will be reviewed.

The GPA and GRE minimum scores are hard cutoffs. Due to the accelerated nature of the program and the competitive applicant pool, the posted GPA and GRE are required minimums.

You can take the GRE anytime as long as the official GRE scores are received by the university prior to the deadline. Typically, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) takes up to 7 to 10 days to get the official scores sent, so plan accordingly. All materials, including official GRE scores, need to be received prior to the final deadline.

Yes. If you have sent out your Letter of Recommendation requests, you can submit your application. For the GRE, use our school code (0377) so your scores are submitted directly to the university. GRE scores and letters of recommendation will be attached to your application once they are received.

We have no restrictions or requirements related to geographical location of our students. We accept students from all over the nation.

Yes. Courses can be taken anywhere or online as long as they satisfy our prerequisite requirements. You can confirm all courses either by contacting us directly or submitting this form.

Yes. You are allowed up to 9 credits of prerequisite courses pending or in progress when you submit the application. These courses will need to be completed before the program start date in May. If an acceptance offer is extended, updated official transcripts will need to be re-submitted once all prior coursework is complete.

The only prerequisite course that can be satisfied by an AP course is the Algebra or higher requirement. However, the AP credit either needs to be explicitly stated on the transcript or a signed document from the school’s registrar needs to be submitted with the application.

Salt Lake City is roughly a 40-minute drive north of Provo.

Learn More About our PA Program

There is great enthusiasm about our PA program, and for good reason! There is a significant need for highly-competent, genuinely-caring physician assistants who provide excellent care for all. RMUoHP feels privileged to have the opportunity to deliver an innovative program designed to educate expert PAs who will prove to make a dramatic difference in the communities they serve.

RMUoHP PA Program Core Values

In addition to RMUoHP’s core values, the RMUoHP PA Program espouses those values listed below. Our commitment is to provide the best education possible for our students. To achieve this, we strive to think, make decisions, and act in accordance with these core values. As a natural extension, we strongly emphasize their importance and encourage their adoption to every student we have the privilege of teaching and mentoring. As anchors, these values serve as the pillars upon which all else in the program stands. The acronym R.I.G.H.T. helps us easily remember and communicate these values:

Relationships Come FirstNothing is more important than our relationships. People are more important than things. It is people who give care, and people who receive care. Furthermore, people come from all walks of life and carry with them unique backgrounds, personalities, philosophies, and perspectives. We regard each individual as an equal member of the human family, and therefore strive to serve each with compassion, concern, and diligence. We particularly value the relationship between students and their future patients. Additionally, self-care promotes sustainability and wellness, which ultimately influences one’s ability to care for others. Therefore, we advocate self-care to foster healthy and meaningful relationships.

Innovative CultureWe are living in the midst of dramatic change. Not only is the medical industry changing quickly, but the educational arena as well. We strongly value supporting and sustaining a culture of innovation because as a result, our students and faculty are empowered to act as forward-thinking creatives, bringing unique and dynamic perspectives in their contributions to addressing the most challenging of problems.

Growth MindsetA fixed mindset clings to notions of innate ability and capacity, or lack thereof. By contrast, a growth mindset engenders the learning and progress born when persevering through challenge and failure. We are not completed works of varying perfection or imperfection, but products of ongoing experiential and reflective states of being. As such, our best days are inherently ahead of us.

High ExpectationsWe are here to serve students. But more importantly, we are here to serve the patients whom our students will serve. Without high expectations, we risk compromising the education of our students, and thus ultimately the care of their patients. The RMUoHP PA program holds the standards high. The patient deserves nothing but our best.

Think About the PatientThe medical world is remarkably complex: so many dynamics, so many considerations. Unfortunately, in the midst of the chaos, thinking about and doing what’s best for the patient can slip to the back burner. In the RMUoHP PA program, we keep the patient front and center. The patient comes first, always.

RMUoHP PA Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the RMUoHP Physician Assistant (PA) Program, graduates will:

Biomedical and Clinical Science Knowledge  K1

Demonstrate knowledge of biomedical and clinical sciences and the ability to integrate and apply this knowledge to the care of patients.

Differentiating Normal & Abnormal in Evaluation & Diagnostics  K2

Differentiate between the normal and the abnormal in anatomic and physiologic findings and diagnostic test data and imaging.

Holistic Approach to Caring for Unique Patients  K3

Explain the implications of psychological, socioeconomic, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of human health and illness and tailor their approach to evaluating and managing patients to optimize care when contextually appropriate.

Evidence-Based Prevention and Wellness  K4

Identify effective evidence-based interventions for prevention of disease conditions and promotion of healthy living behaviors.

Eliciting Comprehensive and Focused Health Histories  S1

Perform a comprehensive health history, accurately eliciting and documenting acquired information. Demonstrate the ability to focus the health history based on the contextual nature of the patient presentation as well as information elicited during the interview process.

Performing Comprehensive and Focused Physical Examinations  S2

Perform a comprehensive health history, accurately eliciting and documenting acquired information.  Demonstrate the ability to focus the physical examination based on the contextual nature of the patient presentation as well as information elicited during the interview process.

Developing Patient-Centered Assessments and Management Plans  S3

Demonstrate effective clinical problem solving, reasoning, and decision-making by developing comprehensive patient-centered assessments and management plans through integrating and applying health history and physical examination information, diagnostic and imaging data, and patient preferences.

Performing Diagnostic and Therapeutic Clinical Procedures  S4

Identify evidence-based indications and contraindications for, and accurately perform, diagnostic and therapeutic clinical procedures for common primary care and emergent conditions.

Applying EBM and Digital Literacy Skills at the Point of Care  S5

Apply principles of evidence-based medicine and high proficiency digital literacy skills to quickly access, critically evaluate, and apply high quality evidence-based information to unique patients at the point of care.

Collaborating with Healthcare Team to Provide Patient-Centered Care  S6

Effectively collaborate with members of the healthcare team to provide comprehensive patient-centered care.

Engaging, Communicating with, and Educating Patients  S7

Utilize evidence-based patient engagement and communication strategies to provide effective patient education for common primary care conditions and health promotion situations.

Learning & Practicing Reflectively and Recognizing Limitations  S8

Demonstrate the capacity to learn and engage in patient care reflectively, with a critical awareness of the scope and limits of one’s knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

Ethical Practice and Sensitivity to Unique & Diverse Patients  VA1

Commit to high ethical standards and demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to the unique needs of individual patients to include consideration of culture, age, gender, and disabilities.

Respect, Compassion, Integrity, and Accountability  VA2

Demonstrate respect, compassion, integrity, and accountability to patients, society, and the profession.

Developing and Sustaining Sound Professional Relationships  VA3

Create and sustain sound professional relationships with patients and members of the healthcare team.

Emotional Intelligence and Self-Care Practices  VA4

Demonstrate emotional resilience, emotional stability, adaptability, and flexibility. Demonstrate tolerance of ambiguity and anxiety with an awareness of the importance of maintaining one’s own well-being.

Physician Assistant Mission & Vision

In harmony with the mission of Rocky Mountain University of Health Profession (RMUoHP), the Physician Assistant (PA) Program has established the following mission and vision.

The mission of the RMUoHP PA Program is to educate students to become competent physician assistants who value and provide comprehensive, evidence-based, patient-centered care and are committed to lifelong-learning, professional excellence, and collaborative practice.

The vision of the RMUoHP PA Program is to:

  • foster a culture of growth mindedness, unity of purpose, collegiality, and perpetual desire for self-directed learning,
  • deliver a richly balanced, application-based curriculum centered on critical principles of health, wellness, and disease,
  • graduate self-reflective professionals with adept clinical reasoning skills and keen sensitivity to unique patient needs,
  • and empower students to become digitally literate clinicians proficient in applying information technologies and collaborative networking skills to improve patient care.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Who’s Who at RMU?

It is no secret that at RMUoHP we are student-centered and work hard to make sure every student who walks through our doors will be successful [...]


Master of Physician Assistant Studies Faculty and Staff

Michael Nelson DHSc, MPAS, PA-C
Department Chair and Program Director
Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Tyler Sommer MPAS, PA-C
Associate Program Director
Academic Director

Amber Collins, M.Ed
Director of Clinical Education

Jennifer Johnson MPAS, PA-C
Director of Simulation Education

Eric Smart MD
Medical Director

Administrative Staff

Kristan Coon, Clinical Education Coordinator
Asher Long, Administrative Assistant
Summer Shepherd, Administrative Assistant

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