Community Based Physician Assistant Program

Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Physicians assistant checking patients eyes

The UW–Madison Physician Assistant distance learning option is a rigorous three-year program that allows you to stay in your home community while completing the majority of your education.


Is this program right for you?

The UW–Madison Physician Assistant (PA) program’s distance learning option is a unique opportunity that makes PA education more accessible, especially if you are from a rural or urban underserved community. You get deep clinical experience in your community, so you can better serve patients after graduation.

More than 80% of your PA education occurs in the place where you live, as you watch videos recorded in front of classes on the UW–Madison campus each week. As a distance student, you are required to spend the first summer semester on our UW–Madison campus and make two campus visits of three to four days each semester. This blended approach provides you with the flexibility to learn from home while creating supportive relationships with faculty and fellow students.

Wisconsin residents who meet admissions criteria and currently reside in a medically underserved community are given preference in our application process. Consideration will be given to all applicants expressing an interest in serving a medically underserved community or population.

The UW–Madison Physician Assistant Studies program is as demanding as most medical schools. Our courses are intense and difficult, but the rewards are profound—to you and to the people whom you seek to serve.

Is this program right for you?

The UW–Madison Physician Assistant (PA) program’s distance learning option is a unique opportunity that makes PA education more accessible, especially if you are from a rural or urban underserved community. You get deep clinical experience in your community, so you can better serve patients after graduation.

More than 80% of your PA education occurs in the place where you live, as you watch videos recorded in front of classes on the UW–Madison campus each week. As a distance student, you are required to spend the first summer semester on our UW–Madison campus and make two campus visits of three to four days each semester. This blended approach provides you with the flexibility to learn from home while creating supportive relationships with faculty and fellow students.

Wisconsin residents who meet admissions criteria and currently reside in a medically underserved community are given preference in our application process. Consideration will be given to all applicants expressing an interest in serving a medically underserved community or population.

The UW–Madison Physician Assistant Studies program is as demanding as most medical schools. Our courses are intense and difficult, but the rewards are profound—to you and to the people whom you seek to serve.

Admissions requirements

All applicants must:

To apply:

  • Online application through the Central Application Service for PAs.
  • 3-5 letters of reference/evaluations.
  • Essay.
  • Other supporting materials.

Connect with us

Faculty Lecture: My Informatics Journey

May 27
4-5 p.m.
Learn about the new Master of Science in Clinical & Health Informatics and hear about Dr. David Schneider's experience in the clinical informatics field.
Register for MS-CHI Lecture Series: Dr. David Schneider "My Informatics Journey"

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Program highlights

  • UW–Madison’s Physician’s Assistant (PA) program is a unique blend of online and in-person components, so you complete most of the coursework on your own time, but also have the option to learn from faculty on campus.
  • Our program has been accredited since 1977, so you learn from faculty with a long history of expertise in the medical field.
  • You’re almost guaranteed to succeed: Our national certification exam pass rate is 96% for first-time test-takers over the past 5 years.

How you'll learn

  • Online curriculum and clinical instruction in your community. Mandatory on-campus 12-week summer session and two campus visits lasting three to four days each semester.
  • Instruction provided through a combination of on-campus residency components and asynchronous distance education (recorded lecture capture with the option to live-stream).
  • Complete one year of full-time, community-based clinical instruction in your community; this includes five 8-week rotations in various medical specialties.

Sample curriculum

Year 1 (Didactic)

  • Human Anatomy Laboratory
  • Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine
  • Professional Seminar I
  • History & Physical Examination
  • Clinical Medicine I and II
  • Clinical Prevention and Community Practice I and II
  • Clinical Pharmacology I and II
  • Diagnostic Methods I and II

Year 2 (Didactic)

  • Infectious Diseases of Human Beings
  • Professional Seminar II and III
  • Advanced Patient Evaluation I and II
  • Women’s Health
  • Pediatrics
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Clinical Skills Lab
  • Fundamentals of Surgery

Year 3 (Clinical)

  • Professional Seminar IV
  • Preceptorships
  • Professional Seminar and Capstone I and II

Job outlook

Market Salary
$103K in 2018

Projected Job Growth
37.4% for Physician Assistants (2016-2026)

Job Postings
6,130 in 2018

Source: Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insight. 2019.
Burning Glass Technologies’ Market Salary is an estimated expected salary. Market Salary uses machine learning algorithms to account for experience, skill, and education among other factors that may impact individual salaries.

Ready to learn more about Community Based Physician Assistant Program?
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Connect with our enrollment coaches

Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

Visit with our coaches on campus or at an upcoming student fair in your area. Search student fairs & events

Connect with a coach