The Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU) School of Medicine (SOM) Physician Assistant (PA) Program began in 1997 and utilizes a problem-based learning (PBL) format for delivery of its medical curriculum. The SIU SOM PA Program is currently accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Our most recent site visit was held in December 2010. The results were that we are now accredited for seven (7) more years. Our Program is part of the School of Medicine in connection with the Family and Community Medicine. We are housed in Lindegren Hall and Life Science II. The SIU PA Program was a pioneer in and continues to use PBL, simulated patients, innovative evaluation techniques, and clinical mentoring programs. We enjoy a 100% employment rate within three (3) months of graduation/certification.
The mission of the Southern Illinois University Physician Assistant Program is to prepare professionals to provide primary healthcare. We enhance this process by preparing graduates who are interdependent medical providers, dedicated to both the community and their profession. Our academic setting fosters creative thinking and communication skills in the pursuit of excellence.
Because SIU is a major research institution and the national trend in PA education has moved toward the Master’s Degree, the PA Program has transitioned to a Master’s level degree program that began with the class entering summer of 2007. Two separate degree options are offered. A Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPA) can be gained within 26 months. This full program is for students who wish to become physician assistants. We have also added an online master’s degree completion option for those who already hold a Bachelor’s Degree in and are currently practicing as physician assistants. This Master’s Completion Program (MCP) can be achieved in one (1) year using distance learning and a supervising Preceptor. Detailed information about each of these programs can be found by clicking on the appropriate links in this website – MSPA or MCP.
Applicants will be required to complete a Bachelor’s degree among other requirements before being considered for admission to the PA Program. Any degrees in the sciences or medical field will suffice for the MSPA. A Bachelor’s degree in PA is required for the MCP.
SIU no longer offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies. A student can enroll in a pre-health profession track program through the SIU Science Department, choose a baccalaureate oriented major and fulfill requirements simultaneously. Therefore, a student planning a professional career in Physician Assistant Studies but has not completed a Bachelor’s degree should register in the College of Science. Students may consider the disciplines of Physiology, Anatomy, Biological Science, Chemistry, Radiological Sciences, Health Care Management, Psychology, Nursing or other health related undergraduate majors. Remember that in addition to a Bachelor’s degree, you will have to score highly on undergraduate coursework, science and prerequisite courses, have strong references and healthcare experience to be considered for admission to the SIU SOM PA Program. It is also highly recommended that an applicant shadow a PA-C. Please see related information on this website.
Our curriculum includes intense problem-based learning modules combined with clinical experiences. These units of study are based on the most common disease states and preventive medicine guidelines utilized in medical practice. The curriculum is designed to prepare primary care providers for medical practice. All physician assistant courses are sequenced and are required of all students. The first year of study (Phase I: Didactic) is on campus in Carbondale. It focuses on the PBL modules, Human Anatomy, clinical medicine, the core sciences and research methods. The second year (Phase II: Clinical Rotations) is completed at several Illinois hubsites. These locations are subject to change. Second year students may be required to relocate to one of these hubsites. Learning is continued through our PBL modules. Phase III is the eight-week Preceptorship and students may complete this at a site of their choice, with faculty approval. Phase III is entered after all clinical rotations are completed. (More complete curriculum information is available elsewhere on this website.)
The Master’s Completion Program (MCP) is designed to be completed via distance education with possible periodic scheduled seminars on campus. The MCP curriculum includes research methods, medical ethics, current PA practice and a Master’s seminar. The Program can be completed in 12 months. This option was developed for those students who are practicing PAs, hold a Bachelor’s degree in PA and have graduated from an accredited PA program.
Applications for the full 26 month MSPA Program are accepted the year prior to matriculation, between April 15th and the currently published deadline. These dates may change with each application season. Check our official website or contact the Academic Advisor for updated information. There is a $50 non-refundable application fee payable at the time of completion of the Graduate Application. After application to our Program is completed, those who are accepted into the Program all start classes in June.
Before students are accepted into the MSPA they must complete a Bachelor’s Degree, take the GRE, MAT or MCAT, as well as all other Physician Assistant Program requirements and prerequisites. Transfer credits may be accepted (contact academic advisor). No academic credit is awarded for prior work experience. Consideration for admission to the MSPA Program is given to candidates with high overall undergraduate coursework, prerequisite and Science GPAs, appropriate healthcare experience and strong letters of recommendation, preferably one from a PA-C. The most qualified candidates are invited to campus for interviews. After interviews, thirty five to forty students are offered a position in the class each year.
Applications for the MCP are accepted until June 1st of each year. There is a $50.00 non-refundable application fee and classes for the MCP start in the fall semester of each year or by special arrangement of the Program. MCP students do not use the CASPA application process. Contact the Academic Advisor for an application package and more information on this program.
PA students will pay a higher tuition rate than other normal graduate programs. Consult the Financial Aid Department or the Program Academic Advisor for questions.
Please be advised that border state students will not receive a tuition decrease. Therefore they will pay a higher tuition rate. Establishing residency to receive the in-state tuition rate can be applied for after six (6) months with a form and the meeting of certain requirements. Applicants may contact the Graduate School Registration Office at (618) 453-2969 or the Program Advisor.
Upon successful completion of both programs, a Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPA) is awarded. A Certificate of Completion in Physician Assistant Training and Program lapel pin are also awarded to students in the full 26 month Program. These graduates are then candidates for national certification through the National Commission of the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). (www.nccpa.net)
To speak with an academic advisor for any questions about recommended majors, Program requirements or if you need any assistance, call (618) 453-5527 or send an e-mail message to paadvisement-L@listserv.siu.edu. A complete transcript must be sent before advisement.