Students completing the University of Wisconsin-Madison Physician Assistant Program receive a master of physician assistant studies degree designed to train generalist practitioners with the capacity for specialty practice.

The curriculum is built upon the foundation of competency-based training and practice. The PA profession ensures that programs provide educational experiences for physician assistants to acquire and demonstrate competencies in the areas of medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, patient care, professionalism, practice-based learning and systems-based practice.

Physician assistant students in the simulation lab

The Physician Assistant Program curriculum integrates these competencies throughout the students’ physician assistant training to provide a strong foundation, fostering scientific inquiry, critical thinking, ethical reasoning, cultural competency and integrative learning. Principles of lifelong learning and professionalism encourage growth and enhance graduates in meeting future needs of patients and the medical profession.

All students will complete a required curriculum. Additional master of public health (MPH) coursework is required for the MPAS/MPH dual degree option.

We offer five unique tracks, providing flexibility and opportunities for students with special interests in public health or caring for patients in underserved areas:

Campus track

Physician assistant students learning how to do injections
Students have many opportunities for hands-on learning.

The campus track is a full-time, 24-month on-campus professional program. View the campus track degree plan (pdf)

Delivery

  • Live lectures, labs and discussion held at the Health Sciences Learning Center (HSLC) in Madison

Structure

  • Full-time, 1 year didactic and 1 year clinical rotations 
  • 24 months total completion

Target

  • Students committed to the delivery of comprehensive health care in a culturally and ethnically sensitive manner with stated interest in primary health care for populations and regions in need.

Distance tracks (medically underserved area and local)

We offer distance tracks for students who live within driving distance of Madison or those who wish to practice in a medically underserved area. Both tracks take 36 months to complete (24 months half-time didactic instruction and 12 months full-time clinical training). We are unable to accept applications from those living in California for our MUA distance track due to federal regulations. View the distance track degree plan (pdf) and frequently asked questions (pdf).

Delivery

  • Lectures and discussions held asynchronously through the School of Medicine and Public Health video library and UW-Madison course management system
  • Medically underserved area (MUA): Labs conducted twice a semester at the Health Sciences Learning Center (HSLC) in Madison
  • Local: Labs and hands-on activities conducted at least once per week at the HSLC. Students will be expected to commute to Madison, up to several times per week, on a regular basis.

Structure

  • Part-time, two years of didactics and one year clinical rotation. All three years done in or around distance student’s home community.
  • MUA: Distance students will be in Madison for the first summer of the program (10 weeks) and twice per semester (each visit lasting two to four days) thereafter.
  • Local: Students will be at the HSLC daily for the first summer of the program (10 weeks) and at least once per week during the two years of their didactic education.
  • 36 months total completion

Target

  • MUA: Students who meet our mission, have a strong connection to their community and a desire to practice there as a PA after graduation. Wisconsin residents who live in medically underserved communities get preference in the application process. 
  • Local: Wisconsin residents who meet our mission, have a strong connection to their community and a desire to practice there as a PA after graduation. Applicants must have extensive health care experience and live within driving distance of campus.

wisPACT track

The wisPACT track is a full-time, 24-month northern Wisconsin physician assistant education track that began in 2014. The degree plan is the same as the campus track (pdf).

Delivery

  • Live lectures and discussions delivered via video conferencing and live streaming between UW-Marathon County and the Health Sciences Learning Center 
  • Labs conducted by UW-Madison PA Program faculty at partnering clinics/hospitals in Wausau

Structure

  • Full-time: One year of didactics and one year of clinical rotations. Clinical rotations done in or around wisPACT student’s home community.
  • wisPACT students will be in Madison for the first summer of the program (10 weeks).
  • 24 months total completion

Target

  • Students who meet our mission and have a strong connection to northern Wisconsin and a desire to practice in this region after graduation

MPH-PA dual degree track

In this 33-month on-campus dual-degree track, students earn master of public health and master of physician assistant studies (MPH/MPAS) degrees. View the degree plan (pdf)

Delivery

  • Live lectures, labs and discussion held at the Health Sciences Learning in Madison

Structure

  • Full-time, one year MPH curriculum, one year PA didactic curriculum and one year PA clinical rotations 
  • 33 months total completion

Target

  • Students who meet our mission and have a strong desire to integrate public health into their PA practice after graduation