PA Program Information

Image of Physician Assistant Studies students in lab.


Program Information

The University of South Alabama offers a Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Master of Health Science Degree that provides entry into the profession.

Master of Health Science Information
Degree Earned Master of Health Science
Length of Program 27 months
Number of students accepted 60
Matriculation Date Annually in mid-May
Class Type On site
Curriculum 121 Credit Hours
Class Schedule Mon-Fri, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM or as set by preceptor


Advanced Placement

The program does not offer advanced placement. Transfer credits or credit for experiential learning cannot be substituted for any course in the program, and no transfer credit is accepted from other PA programs.   

The Didactic Component

The pre-clinical portion of the Physician Assistant Studies program consists of four semesters (15 consecutive months) beginning with the basic medical sciences in the first semester. These include gross anatomy lab with prosection and dissection, physiology, introduction to infectious diseases, and introduction to physical examination skills. In semesters 2 through 4 students actively participate in learning the clinical medical sciences and physical examination skills through lectures given by the core faculty and guest lecturers from a variety of specialization areas. Other pedagogical methods are employed to facilitate student learning and mastery. These include case-based and team-based learning strategies. Additionally, simulation lab, standardized patient clinic, direct patient experiences, service-learning and community outreach projects are also employed to enhance the student’s learning.

Clinical Rotations

Clinical rotations are mostly in Mobile, Alabama, with other locations in Pensacola, Florida, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. All rotations within a 75-mile radius (one-way) are considered commutable. Elective rotations may be considered in other locations. Rural rotations for Primary Care and Pediatrics are required.

Many rotations are based in the University of South Alabama healthcare system, as well as in rural and/or medically underserved areas. Private and group practices may also be utilized if they have an affiliation agreement with the USA Physician Assistant Program. Students enrolled in the physician assistant program are not allowed to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors. The program will coordinate clinical sites and preceptors for program required rotations.

The University of South Alabama Physician Assistant program participates with the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) of Alabama for clinical clerkships. Students will be assigned to rural rotations in Primary Care and other disciplines at AHEC facilities.


Program policies strictly prohibit the program, its academic and clinical affiliates, and preceptors from employing any PA students, or utilizing them as instructional faculty, administrative staff, or clinical staff while attending the program. PA students are also strongly discouraged from accepting any other employment while attending the program. Employment while in the program has the potential to negatively impact the student's rigorous PA training curriculum. The USA PA program strongly discourages any type of outside employment during our consecutive 27-month course of studies. Employment during the program may result in academic difficulties and may prevent the student from acquiring the level of knowledge needed to perform adequately as a physician assistant student during the didactic and clinical phases of the program. The program course of studies will not be altered due to student work obligations.

Volunteer & Work Experiences

Students who are involved in volunteer or paid work during the course of training during the USA PA Studies Program are strictly prohibited from using their affiliation with the program in any aspect of the volunteer or paid work. Any activity undertaken by the student that is independent of the program is NOT covered by the university's liability insurance associated with physician assistant training.