College of Health Sciences

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) Program

Locations: Austin, Texas
Formats: On-campus
Program duration: 7 trimesters (2 years, 4 months)*
See Requirements & Program Details

MSPAS at Glance

  • On-campus study on weekdays
  • 115 credits over 7 trimesters (2 years, 4 months)*
  • 4 trimesters of didactic study
  • 3 trimesters of clinical rotations
  • Enrolling end of April 2023 for expected January 2024 start

*In some instances, time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress, and other factors.

Announcing the USAHS PA Program

Enrollment Begins in April 2023

USAHS is excited to announce our new Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) program. We will begin accepting applications in April 2023 for our first cohort, which will start in January 2024.

As a physician assistant (PA), you can work across a wide variety of practice settings, from emergent care to surgery to family practice. You’ll assume high-level medical responsibilities, such as ordering and interpreting tests, diagnosing illnesses, developing and managing treatment plans, prescribing medications, performing surgical procedures, and much more.

Job openings for physician assistants are expected to grow at the impressive rate of 28% between 2021 and 2031. “Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Medical and Health Services Managers” last modified October 25, 2022 As a PA, you can help meet the growing demand for primary healthcare providers—while establishing a meaningful career helping patients.

PA Program Structure

The PA curriculum is separated into a didactic phase and a clinical phase. It’s an intensive two-plus years of classroom study and clinical training.

During the four-trimester didactic phase, you will attend classes each weekday on our campus in beautiful Austin, Texas. This phase is followed by a three-trimester clinical phase, where you will complete seven core rotations plus two elective rotations of your choice across a variety of outpatient and inpatient clinical settings.

Accreditation Status

We expect to receive feedback from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) regarding the program’s provisional accreditation status by October 2023. Accreditation-Provisional is an active accreditation status; all new programs are required to go through a provisional accreditation period prior to receiving full accreditation. PA program graduates will be deemed to have graduated from an accredited program if their PA degree program was accredited at the time of their matriculation.

How Our MSPAS Program Stands Apart

We see you.

We choose you, not your test scores. We don’t require the GRE or a quota of prior healthcare professional experience—our rigorous program will give you all the training you need. We’re looking for students who demonstrate exemplary prior academic performance, as well as leadership skills, grit, empathy, and compassion. We choose students whom we believe will harmonize with our program’s culture and make a difference in their community.

We’re hands-on.

You’ll attend class every weekday on our Austin campus and practice skills in dedicated labs. Your three trimesters of clinical rotations will take place in outpatient clinics and hospitals in the local area. There may be opportunities, if approved, for you to arrange for rotations outside the 75-mile program catchment area during your electives—with the expectation that you will return to campus at the end of each rotation. We emphasize mentorship and building relationships throughout all phases of the program.

We’re innovative.

Some of your labs will be conducted in the PA Training Lab on our Austin campus. Developed with PA learners in mind, this area includes a dedicated outpatient exam and surgery rooms. Throughout the program, your learning will be focused on providing holistic, tailored person-centered care during the entire patient encounter. The curriculum was developed to ensure that you will have increased opportunities to apply your new knowledge and skills regularly before you go out into clinical rotations.

We’re interprofessional.

The USAHS PA program values interprofessional education and incorporates it into the curriculum. During your time at USAHS, you will practice working on a team with students in our physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and other programs. You will contribute your perspective as a physician assistant student in cross-functional problem-solving scenarios.

We’re in a cool place.

The live music capital of the country, Austin is home to SXSW, Austin City Limits, and multiple film festivals. Its extensive greenbelts and waterways make Austin a city for biking, walking and swimming. And with Texas’ expanding population, demand is high for healthcare workers.

MSPAS Curriculum

The PA program curriculum prepares students to offer person-centered, evidence-based care within an interprofessional team environment. It provides core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences in a breadth and depth to prepare students for the clinical practice of medicine. The curriculum totals 115 credits and is designed to be completed over 7 trimesters. In some instances, time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress, and other factors.

The Didactic Phase

The first trimester builds a strong base in medical sciences and sets the stage for clinical practice. The next three didactic trimesters begin to mix foundational science material with clinical science to move students toward applying their knowledge and problem-solving in clinical scenarios.

The Clinical Phase

The final three trimesters are supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs). Here, students fully integrate and apply the knowledge they acquired during the didactic phase of their studies. The SCPEs are composed of the following rotations: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, emergency medicine, community behavioral and mental health, surgery, and two electives. The order of the SCPE content for each individual student during the experiential year will vary. Most rotations are 4 weeks.

Course NameCredit Hours
Year 1 (PA1 - Didactic)
Trimester 1
PAC 5101 Clinical Anatomy5
PAC 5116 Human Physiology and Pathophysiology5
PAC 5123 PA Roles and Responsibilities2
IPE 7001 IPE and Collaborative Practice3
PAC 5128 Pharmacology3
Total Credit Hours
Year 1 (PA1 - Didactic)
Trimester 2
PAC 5202 Diagnostic studies and Medical Imaging4
PAC 5211 Clinical Medicine and Pharmacotherapeutics 15
PAC 5219 Patient History3
PAC 5227 Interpreting the Medical Literature and EBM3
PAC 5207 Nutrition and Wellness3
Total Credit Hours
Year 1 (PA1 - Didactic)
Trimester 3
PAC 5322 Clinical Medicine and Pharmacotherapeutics 25
PAC 5329 Patient Evaluation3
PAC 5344 Social and Behavioral Medicine2
PAC 5333 Surgery and Emergency Medicine3
IPE 7200 Cultural Competence in Healthcare3
PAC 5348 Pediatrics2
Total Credit Hours
Year 2 (PA2 - Didactic)
Trimester 4
PAC 5433 Clinical Medicine and Pharmacotherapeutics 35
PAC 5439 Patient Management3
PAC 5442 Clinical and Technical skills4
PAC 5453 Clinical Integration1
PAC 5459 Medical Ethics and Issues in Professional Practice3
PAC 5462 Psychosocial Dynamics in Medicine2
Total Credit Hours
Year 2 (PA3 - Clinical)
Trimester 5
PAC 6501 Formative Experience2
PAC 6511 Family Medicine SCPE4
PAC 6522 Internal Medicine SCPE4
PAC 6531 Core Content 12
Total Credit Hours
Year 2 (PA3 - Clinical)
Trimester 6
PAC 6533 Pediatric Medicine SCPE4
PAC 6544 Women's Health SCPE4
PAC 6655 Emergency Medicine SCPE4
PAC 6666 Behavioral and Mental Health Care SCPE4
PAC 6632 Core Content 21
Total Credit Hours
Year 3 (PA3 - Clinical)
Trimester 7
PAC 6777 Surgery SCPE4
PAC 6788 Elective 1 SCPE4
PAC 6789 Elective 2 SCPE4
PAC 6733 Core Content 31
PAC 6742 Summative Experience (Capstone)1
Total Credit Hours
Total MSPAS Program Credit Hours

Note: SCPE = Supervised Clinical Practice Experience (SCPEs).

The order of the specific SCPE content for each individual student during the experiential year will vary.


MSPAS Admission Requirements

Admission into the USAHS PA program requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and prerequisite courses in the sciences. Most prospective PA students will pursue a science-based bachelor’s degree; however, any major is acceptable if the prerequisite courses are completed. The USAHS PA Program will accept a maximum of two advanced placement (AP) courses for PA prerequisites. To be accepted, the AP credit must be listed on an official university transcript.


All prerequisite science courses must be designed for science majors. Other courses will not be accepted.

  • General/Inorganic Chemistry (with lab) – minimum 8 semester credits/12 quarter credits
  • Organic Chemistry (with lab) – minimum 4 semester credits/6 quarter credits
  • General Biology (with lab) – minimum 4 semester credits/6 quarter credits
  • Microbiology (with lab) – minimum 4 semester credits/6 quarter credits
  • Anatomy and Physiology – minimum 8 semester credits/12 quarter credits
    • May include 4 semester credits of Anatomy plus 4 semester credits of Physiology OR a minimum of 8 semester credits of combined Anatomy and Physiology
    • May be comparative Anatomy and/or Physiology
  • Psychology – minimum 3 semester credits
  • Medical Terminology – minimum 1 semester credit
    • Will accept an ACE transcript for this course

Admission to the USAHS PA Program

Entry into the USAHS PA program is a competitive process based on both quantitative and qualitative variables.

Minimum Application Requirements (ALL):

  • A completed CASPA application
    • The application for January 2024 entry into the MSPAS program will be available beginning in late April of 2023.
    • To be considered for an interview, your application must be designated in CASPA as “verified” status by August 1, 2023.
    • Verification of your application by CASPA could take four weeks, so plan to submit your application at the beginning of July.
    • The USAHS PA Program uses a holistic review of the CASPA application. The areas within the holistic review are:
      • Volunteer / Service
      • Leadership
      • Communication
      • Work/Life Experiences
      • Cultural Humility
      • Program/University Core Values: Integrity, Innovation, Collaboration, Accountability, Responsibility, Excellence.
  • Successful completion of Acuity Insights – comprehensive admissions assessments. All applicants are required to complete Casper and Duet as part of their application for the 2023/24  admissions cycle. To complete these assessments visit to create an account and register to complete the following assessments:
    • Casper: 90-110 minute online, open-response situational judgment test
    • Duet: 15-minute value-alignment assessment*

    *Note: Duet is required to apply to our program.

  • Three letters of recommendation submitted through CASPA (up to five are allowed).
  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree by the time of matriculation into the PA program.
    • You may apply prior to obtaining your degree.
    • There are no specific required degrees or majors to gain entrance.
  • A minimum overall GPA of 3.0
    • As calculated by CASPA
  • A grade of C or higher in all prerequisite coursework. A grade of C– does not meet the requirement.
  • Completion of all but two prerequisite courses at the time of application submission.
    • You must complete the remaining prerequisites by the end of the Fall term (December) prior to starting the program.
  • Completion of an on-campus interview.
    • Virtual interviews are granted upon request and evidence of extenuating circumstances.
  • Fulfillment of technical standards, a.k.a. essential functions.
    • USAHS welcomes all students and will provide reasonable accommodations to students who have documented needs to meet this standard.

Please also note:

  • The USAHS PA program has NO specific hour requirements for prior healthcare experience. The program considers all prior activities that demonstrate preparedness to enter the PA profession.

The PA program does not recognize any special populations for the purpose of preference in admissions.


MSPAS Tuition & Fees

See below for tuition and fee estimates. Tuition is approximately $13,571 per trimester. All tuition and fee numbers are subject to change.

School ExpensesTuition and Fees
Estimated Tuition for the MSPAS program (effective January 2024)$95,000.00
Estimated Fees (billed per term) for the MSPAS program (effective January 2024)$10,000.00
Total Program Direct Expenses$105,000.00
Out-of-pocket one-time Fees for the MSPAS program
Estimated Out-of-pocket fees (effective January 2024)$1,085.00
Estimated Total Tuition and Fees for the MSPAS program (effective January 2024)$106,085.00
All tuition and costs are estimates and subject to change.
2023-2024 Estimated Tuition & Fees - Physician Assistant - Austin
Residing off Campus Residing at Home Overall Cost (7 terms)
Billable Expenses by TermTuition$13,571.43$13,571.43$95,000.00
Clinical Fees$642.85$642.85$4500.00
Digital Textbooks and Teaching Material$285.72$285.72$2000.00
Program Fees (supplies, facilities, instruments)$500.00$500.00$3500.00
Total Program Direct Expenses$15,000.00$15,000.00$105,000.00
Out-of-pocket one-time feesOut-of-pocket one-time fees$120.00$120.00$120.00
External Certifications$400.00$400.00$400.00
Background Check$300.00$300.00$300.00
Estimated Tuition and Fees$106,085.00

View our Refund Policy here.


MSPAS Accreditation and State Approvals/Post-Graduation Licensure

Programmatic Accreditation

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences’ (USAHS) Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) has applied for Accreditation-Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences anticipates matriculating its first MSPAS class in January 2024, pending achieving Accreditation-Provisional status at the September 2023 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

However, Accreditation-Provisional is an active accreditation status. PA program graduates will be deemed to have graduated from an accredited program if their PA degree program was accredited at the time of their matriculation.

In the event that the program is not granted Accreditation-Provisional status by the ARC-PA, students accepted into USAHS’ MSPAS program will receive a full refund of their deposit and the program will not matriculate in January 2024.

Institutional Accreditation (Regional)

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, 1080 Marina Village Parkway, Suite 500, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001,

State Approvals

USAHS will begin accepting applications in April 2023 for enrollment in the MSPAS from residents of all U.S. states.

This program is a campus-based program approved to operate on the USAHS Austin, Texas campus. USAHS meets the requirements to offer on-the-ground clinical activities in Texas. USAHS has not made a determination that the program meets the requirements to offer on-the-ground clinical activities in states other than Texas at this time.

Current and admitted students are advised to monitor this page for any updates prior to relocating to another state, as this can have an impact on continued enrollment in the program and the ability to be placed for clinical experiences.

It remains the student’s responsibility to understand, evaluate and comply with all requirements relating to field education experiences, licensing or certification, authorization or endorsement for the state in which she or he resides.

Post-Graduation Licensure

The USAHS curriculum meets the educational degree completion requirements for graduates to seek licensure in Texas. The various licensure boards of each state are responsible for setting requirements for licensure/certification in their state, and students who intend on moving or returning to a state other than Texas should be aware of the unique requirements for that state. USAHS has not made a determination that its curriculum meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification in states other than Texas at this time.


MSPAS PANCE Rates and Attrition Rates

PANCE Certification Pass Rates

This program is not yet enrolling students, so no program data is available.
PANCE pass rates will be available and reported here as soon as the first cohort completes the exam.

Attrition Rates

This program is not yet enrolling students, so no program data is available.
The program attrition rates will be available and reported here as soon as the first cohort completes the program.

Program Profile Data

This program is not yet enrolling students, so no program data is available.
The program demographic and profile data will be available and reported here as soon as the first cohort matriculates into the program.


MSPAS Faculty

Michael Roscoe PhD, PA-C

PA Program Director
Michael Roscoe, PhD, PA-CMichael Roscoe, PhD, PA-C, is an experienced physician assistant (PA) educator and clinician. He has been a PA for more than 20 years, with a primary specialty in emergency medicine. He joined USHAS in March 2021 to launch and direct the University’s new PA program on its Austin, Texas campus.

Dr. Roscoe served as a PA for the U.S. military during two combat tours (Afghanistan 2004­­–2005, Iraq 2008–2009). He is actively involved in national and state levels of PA leadership, which has included serving on the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Board of Directors and as president of the Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants.

His awards include the Distinguished Hoosier Award, the Bronze Star medal during his Afghanistan deployment, and the 2005 Indiana PA of the Year. After authoring numerous journal articles, he received the prestigious American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) Paragon Award for publishing in 2007.

[Read Full Bio]

Lindsay Kozicz MHS, PA-C

Assistant Professor, PA Program
Lindsay Kozicz MHS, PA-CLindsay Kozicz, MHS, PA-C, is a board-certified PA who is currently serving as an advanced practice provider at the Livestrong Cancer Institutes at UT Austin. Since entering the healthcare field in 2008, she has found a deep passion for both clinical medicine and teaching.

Kozicz worked for three years as the associate director of a PA program in Los Angeles; there, she co-developed a longitudinal social justice curriculum for PA students and served as the community outreach and project development liaison.

In the classroom, she is committed to finding ways to engage students with all learning styles to make learning fun. She joined USAHS in 2022 as an Assistant Professor for its developing MSPAS program.

Throughout her career, Kozicz has developed a deep interest in integrative medicine and the use of adjunctive therapies to support patients and their families, as well as her students. A certified yoga instructor, she enjoys sharing the healing benefits of meditation and movement with her community.

[Read Full Bio]

Sarah Talbot, MPAS, PA-C

Assistant Professor, PA Program

Sarah Talbot, MPAS, PA-C

Sarah Talbot is a board-certified physician assistant whose career has focused on working in orthopedic surgery and pediatric surgical subspecialties. She has also enjoyed working in the allergy/sinus setting and as the area manager for an urgent care house call service.

In 2004, Talbot earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Austin. She obtained her Master of Physician Assistant Studies in 2006 from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She also has her license as a registered nurse. In 2023, Sarah joined the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences at the Austin, TX campus as an Assistant Professor.

[Read Full Bio]

Elizabeth Blankenship MPAS, PA-C, FHM

Clinical Faculty

Elizabeth Blankenship, PA-C, FHM, is ta clinical faculty member of the new Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) launching at USAHS.

Blankenship has worked in healthcare industry for over 20 years. Currently, she’s a physician assistant hospitalist at Dell Medical School at UT Austin, where she is co-director of the Orthopedic, Urology and Plastic Surgery service lines with a focus on patient-centered care and best practices. She precepts and mentors students who will become advanced practice providers, incorporating principles of interprofessional collaboration.

Before becoming a physician assistant, Blankenship worked as an X-ray and CT scan technologist. She enjoys adventures with her husband, their two sons, and their cat.

Julia Forsberg, MPAS, PA-C 

Director of Clinical Education and PA Program Faculty
Julia Forsberg, MPAS, PA-CJulia Forsberg is a board-certified physician assistant (PA) and educator focused on patient education and empowerment. She began her career as a PA in orthopedic surgery at Texas Orthopedics in Austin, where she worked in both clinical and operating room settings, specializing in total joint replacement.

Thanks to the flexible nature of the PA profession, she then transitioned to outpatient psychiatry at Roots Behavioral Health in Austin. In this role, she honed a different set of skills to bring quality mental health care to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. She focused on medication management and provided progressive treatment options such as ketamine therapy.

In 2022, Forsberg joined USAHS. She is excited to lay the groundwork for an innovative, high-quality PA program in the heart of Texas. Among her professional affiliations, she serves as the secretary of the Central Texas PA Society (CTPAS).

[Read Full Bio]

Johanna Busch, PhD, MD, MPhil

Medical Director, PA Program
Dr. Busch is a board-certified internal medicine physician currently in practice as an inpatient academic hospitalist. She is involved in clinical research on COVID-19, medical education, and gender equity research.

Dr. Busch received her MD-PhD from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Her PhD dissertation focused on the initial characterization of TMEM106B, a protein involved in lysosomal pathways which has now been found to be a major proviral host factor for SARS-COV-2. She then went on to complete her internship and residency in internal medicine at UT Southwestern. She enjoys mentoring students and residents and working within a multi-disciplinary team focused on patient care.



MSPAS Program Mission, Goals, and Philosophy

Mission Statement

The mission of USAHS’ PA program is to train physician assistants who will serve their communities by delivering high-quality, value-based healthcare with empathy, compassion, and cultural humility as part of a collaborative healthcare team.


The PA program aims to:

  • Support students to achieve first-time board passing rates consistently above the national average.
  • Prepare competent entry-level PAs through foundational knowledge and professional skills.
  • Prepare students to work within a patient-centered, interprofessional healthcare team.
  • Promote professionalism, leadership, and service of students and faculty within their communities.
  • Recruit and retain a diverse population of faculty and students.

See this document, “USAHS PA Program: Evidence/Assessment of Goals,” for more detail about how the PA program will achieve its goals.


The PA program leadership and faculty believe in:

  • Focusing on “why” before “how” or “what”
  • Patient-centered, team-based healthcare
  • Long-term relationships and a strong culture of partnering vs. a short-term collaboration

We also believe that the art of medicine (focusing on the patient’s values and preferences) is as important as the science of medicine (treatment of a disease).

These beliefs define the USAHS PA program’s “why,” which drives our “what” (the program itself) and our “how.” Our “how” is our purposeful curriculum, student-centered approach, faculty involvement, and collaboration with our partnered health professions. Through our “why” and “how,” we offer an excellent physician assistant program that is designed to train leaders in the community and help increase access to healthcare, especially in the Austin region.

University Core Values

  • Student-FIRST
  • Integrity
  • Professionalism
  • Health and wellness
  • Promoting excellence and innovation in education
  • Responsiveness
  • Collaboration
  • Creative and critical thinking

MSPAS Core Competencies and Technical Standards

See this pdf for information about the core competencies that students acquire in this program, as well as technical standards that all students must meet.


MSPAS Student Handbook/Policies

Click here to review our PA student handbook.


MSPAS Program Data

Click a program below to view the program data page:

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies


Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the PA program, graduates will be able to:

  • PLO 1: Apply medical knowledge in the clinical care of patients (ILO 1, B4.03d)
  • PLO 2: Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills appropriate to the situation and individuals. (ILO 3, B4.03c)
  • PLO 3: Demonstrate clinical and technical skills in the care of patients (ILO 5, B4.03a)

  • PLO 4: Exhibit professional behaviors consistently and adhere to ethical standards (ILO 2, B4.03e)
  • PLO 5: Demonstrate clinical reasoning and problem-solving to make evidence-informed patient care decisions (ILO 5, B4.03b)
  • PLO 6: Apply interprofessional collaboration competencies (ILO 4)

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