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The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to The College of St. Scholastica Physician Assistant Studies Program sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica.

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.

The program's accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website.

Program Curriculum | Physician Assistant Studies

The PA Studies program is a post-baccalaureate, master’s degree leading to a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree. Entry into this program requires completion of a bachelor’s degree and program specific prerequisites. 

Program length

The PA program is a 28-month, full-time program. For courses, credit hours and course sequence see our curriculum schemas (2020-2021) and (2021-2022).

Policy on Advanced Placement: Advanced Placement is not accepted or available.

Policy on Experiential Learning: No credit will be granted to students for experiential learning performed prior to the start of the program.

Both policies are outlined in the PA Student Handbook, page 32.

Student employment

The PA Studies program is an extremely intense and rigorous program. The program expects that the student's position in the program is their primary responsibility and that any outside activity must not interfere with abilities to accomplish the program expectations. Employment is strongly discouraged during the program. Program expectations, assignments, deadlines and responsibilities will not be altered or adjusted to accommodate working students and it is expected that student employment will not interfere with the student learning experience.

Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPEs) scheduling policy

SCPE placement for students is the responsibility of the Director of Clinical Education and the program. All decisions regarding student placement will be made by the program.

The program maintains many clinical sites with clinicians who work with the program to provide clinical experience and training. Students may not develop or arrange their own clinical sites or clinical schedule, however, students will have the opportunity to identify potential new sites and/or preceptors through the Preceptor/Site Contact Information Form found in Appendix XII (of the PA Student Handbook). The program is happy to look into the potential site/preceptor and determine if it meets program standards.  Please note that this process can take at least 90 days and does not guarantee placement.


To become a certified PA following completion of a Master's program, you must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), a computer-based, multiple-choice test comprising questions that assess basic medical and surgical knowledge.

Program student learning outcomes (program competencies)

The CSS PA program’s student learning outcomes are designed to prepare graduates for entry into practice with the competencies expected of a "practice-ready" PA. The student learning outcomes are derived from the following professional competencies described by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA). These competencies are:

  • Medical Knowledge
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Patient Care
  • Professionalism
  • Practice-based Learning and Improvement
  • Systems -based Practice

Upon completion of the CSS PA Program, graduates will be expected to demonstrate competency in the following student learning outcomes:

Medical knowledge

Upon completion of the program, and acting in the capacity as an entry level PA, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the ability to integrate and apply this knowledge to patient care
  • Demonstrate the medical, surgical, behavioral and social science knowledge necessary to effectively evaluate, diagnose, and manage patients across the lifespan
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively evaluate, diagnose and manage patients with a range of problems seen in a variety of practice settings with emergent, acute and chronic presentations
  • Identify the appropriate interventions for prevention of disease conditions and promotion of healthy living behaviors

Interpersonal and communication skills

Upon completion of the program, and acting in the capacity as an entry level PA, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate oral and written communication skills to effectively exchange information with patients, families and other members of the healthcare team
  • Communicate in a respectful, patient-centered and culturally responsive manner to accurately obtain, interpret and utilize information and implement a patient-centered management plan
  • Demonstrate accurate and adequate documentation of care for medical, legal, quality and financial purposes

Patient care

Upon completion of the program, and acting in the capacity as an entry level PA, students will be able to:

  • Make informed, evidence-based and culturally sensitive decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, current scientific evidence and clinical judgment
  • Demonstrate the ability to counsel and educate patients and their families
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively work within an interdisciplinary and patient-centered healthcare team to develop and implement patient management plans


Upon completion of the program, and acting in the capacity as an entry level PA, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate professionalism in interactions with others including patients, families and other members of the healthcare team
  • Demonstrate knowledge of legal and regulatory requirements specific to the PA profession
  • Demonstrate the ability to recognize their own professional and personal limitations in providing care and make appropriate patient referrals when necessary

Practice-based learning and improvement

Upon completion of the program, and acting in the capacity as an entry level PA, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate research literature and apply that knowledge to educational and/or practice-based improvement projects promoting improved patient experiences and outcomes

Systems-based practice

Upon completion of the program, and acting in the capacity as an entry level PA, students will be able to:

  • Apply the concepts of population health to patient care

Next Steps...

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Schema (2020-2021)

Schema (2021-2022)