PA taking patient notes

Physician Assistant Program Overview

The WSU Department of Physician Assistant offers a 26 month graduate course of study that leads to a Master of Physician Assistant MPA degree.

Applicants interested in applying for one of the 48 slots offered annually should have a strong background in the natural and clinical sciences supporting their bachelor degree. The selection process screens candidates based on past academic performance, direct patientcare experience, strong potential to meet the Program’s vision, mission, and guiding principles, and an on-site interview.

Students spend the first 13 months learning the foundations of clinical medicine, clinical skills, and interprofessional teamwork, evidence-based practice, community service, and professionalism to become excellent PAs.  The first 13 months (the didactic year) are spent on campus, but the learning opportunities extend beyond the classroom setting.  Graduate coursework completed in the Didactic Year includes clinical medicine, clinical laboratory, pharmacotherapy, anatomy, pathophysiology, research and evidence- based practice, clinical skills, preventive medicine and professional issues. (See Curriculum)

Students complete 8 clinical rotations during the second 13 months of the Program all across the state of Kansas (the Clinical Year).  These rotations include patient experiences in family medicine/primary care, prenatal care/women’s health, emergency medicine/acute care, general surgery, pediatrics, geriatrics, behavioral health/psychiatry, and in-patient care and out-patient care.

The WSU PA Program benefits from the support of preceptors throughout Kansas along with a few rotations in surrounding states. All students will be assigned to clinical rotations outside of the urban areas and should therefore expect to spend several months in rural areas of Kansas.

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Technical Standards

The WSU PA Program curriculum incorporates the teaching of technical skills necessary for the practice of medicine. Students must be able to perform successfully in a wide variety of clinical situations, and therefore are required to have adequate ability in physical, cognitive and behavioral areas. Students are expected to confirm their ability to meet the following standards (with or without reasonable accommodations consistent with applicable law) upon admittance to the program.


Physical abilities required for satisfactory completion of curriculum:

The ability to observe demonstrations and other forms of instruction, as well as the observation of patients for physical evaluation. Observation necessitates the functional use of vision both at a distance and close at hand. Other sensory modalities, such as touch and smell enhance observation.

The ability to communicate effectively in English. Communication necessitates the ability to speak, hear and perceive nonverbal communication. Writing, reading, interpreting graphs and diagrams, as well as computer literacy, are also essential for effective communication throughout the PA Program curriculum and in patient care.

The ability to perform physical exams, diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, and treatment modalities for general and emergent medical care requires suffcient sensory and motor function. The curriculum requires that students have coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and other sensory function to perform tasks such as intubation, catheterization, suturing, cast application, palpation, auscultation, administration of intravenous medication, basic life support (BLS), advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), etc.


Cognitive abilities required for satisfactory completion of curriculum:

Analytical reasoning, problem solving, critical thinking, and the ability to intellectually grasp a large volume of information are essential for successful completion of the curriculum. These skills would include understanding of measurements and calculations. Students will be required to integrate information from patient histories, exams, and diagnostic tests and then relate it to medical knowledge to form diagnoses and treatment plans.


Behavioral abilities required for satisfactory completion of curriculum:

The ability to demonstrate compassion, concern for others and a motivation to service, as well as maturity that is expressed through ethical and professional behavior, the ability to complete tasks without unnecessary delay, dependability to take responsibility and initiative, willingness to be flexible, and the use of clean and tactful language, are all essential to excellent medical care and successful completion of the curriculum. Practicing good judgment when choosing patient care, including the ability to identify ones limit of knowledge and seek help.

Students must be able to function effectively under stress. The curriculum includes a demanding schedule, changing clinical environments, and uncertainties inherent to medical care.

Also required, is the ability to maintain appropriate relationships with colleagues, faculty, patients and other health care professionals conducive to providing quality medical care and services.

Questions about technical standards

Any applicant/student with a question about these technical standards or their ability to meet them will be strongly encouraged to discuss them with the Wichita State University Offce of Disability Services prior to the interview process.

Disability Services

Any student with an ability limitation or in need of special accommodation will be requested to notify the Program Director in writing prior to the beginning of didactic coursework or immediately upon obtaining knowledge, awareness or diagnosis of such a condition requiring accommodation.

This resource can be accessed at www.wichita.edu/disabilityservices

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Patient Care Experience

Health care experience (direct patient care) is strongly preferred, but not required. Experience listed on your application will be verified.

Shadowing is strongly preferred, but not required. Shadowing is advantageous because it can help you better understand what a PA does.

Examples of Direct Patient Care Experience 

(May be considered)

  • Registered Nurse
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • X-Ray Technologist
  • Physical/Occupational Therapist
  • Medical Social Worker
  • Aide in Dialysis Unit
  • Chiropractic Assistant
  • Scribe
  • Paramedic
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Physical Therapy Assistant
  • Mental Health Care Counselor
  • Optometry Assistant
  • Phlebotomist
  • Medical Technologist
  • Military Corpsmen
  • OR Technologist
  • Certified Nurse Aide
  • Medical Assistant

Examples of Activities That Are NOT Direct Patient Care Experience

  • Medical records personnel or clerical worker in a medical office or hospital
  • Pharmacy technician/clerk
  • Observation of any kind (i.e., shadowing a physician or PA)
  • Training without employment (such as EMT/MICT, etc.)
  • Health care experience which is part of a health care training program (i.e., clinical rotations, field work, or internships)
  • Caring for one’s own family
  • Providing first aid as a coach, scout leader, etc.

Shadowing is strongly preferred, but not required. Shadowing is advantageous because it can help you better understand what a PA does.

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Estimated Program Costs

PLEASE NOTE: These are estimated costs. Tuition, fees, and expenses are subject to change, and may vary depending on your personal situation (i.e. housing, transportation, etc.)

  Resident Non-Resident
First Year (51 credit hours)

+ 2,525.00

+ 2,525.00
Program Fees/Testing Fees
3 semesters
Second Year (42 credit hours)

+ 3,300.00

+ 3,300.00
Program Fees/Testing Fees
4 semesters
Other Expenses
Non-refundable registration fee $17 per semester
Background check, immunization verification and drug screening $120 initial fee, $50 annually thereafter
White coat, scrubs, and laboratory coat for anatomy $350 estimated
Books (First semester/ Second semester) $1500/$700 of the academic year
Equipment (List discussed start of first semester) $1,000 estimated

Student Responsibility

Health Insurance
All students are required to carry comprehensive health insurance while a student in the PA Program.  There is a student policy available through Wichita State University. See Student Health Insurance Web Page for more information.

Malpractice Insurance
All students are required to carry malpractice insurance throughout the program. It is ordered through our department and is currently priced at $150.00 per year ( price is subject to change).

Transportation and Housing
Transportation and living costs (room and board) are not covered during any phase of the Program.

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