Physician Assistant MMS
About the Program
The Master of Medical Science (MMS) program is designed to train outstanding Physician Assistants who enhance patient care in the North Philadelphia community and beyond. Graduates of the program are recognized as leaders, educators and innovators in the delivery of high-quality healthcare that is accessible, affordable, compassionate and respectful of cultural diversity.
The Physician Assistant program facilitates delivery of an innovative curriculum for medical students that meets the accreditation standards for inter-professional education set by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). The program is designed to prepare students to provide patient-centered care in practice settings under the supervision of and in collaboration with physicians and inter-professional teams. The curriculum satisfies all of the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) standards and provides instruction in all areas tested by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) licensing examination. The goals of the program are to:
- admit highly qualified students representing diverse backgrounds;
- prepare compassionate and highly trained physician assistants to become leaders in healthcare;
- train physician assistants to develop and use an evidence-based approach in the delivery of the highest quality patient-centered healthcare;
- develop the skills needed as effective lifelong learners;
- cultivate collaborative patient care through integrated inter-professional training experiences;
- foster high individual and professional ethical standards; and
- promote cultural awareness in the provision of care to a diverse society.
Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years
Campus Location: Health Sciences Center
Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The curriculum is designed to be completed in approximately 26 months. Students begin in early June of the first year and complete their studies 26 months later at the end of the 12-week summer session, around July 30, to receive an August diploma.
Interdisciplinary Study: The Physician Assistant program is part of inter-professional education at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine. Inter-professional education is a collaborative exercise that involves students from the School of Medicine as well as from Temple University’s College of Public Health, Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry, School of Pharmacy, and School of Podiatric Medicine.
Ranking: In 2020, U.S. News & World Report ranked Temple University's School of Medicine number 66 in Research and among the Best Medical Schools.
Job Prospects: A critical need for Physician Assistants to work as part of a medical team providing access to quality healthcare has resulted from a looming critical shortage of physicians and an increase in the number of Americans covered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. Job prospects for graduates of the MMS program are excellent.
Licensure/Certification: The graduation competencies for the Physician Assistant MMS program are based on recommendations of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) and the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA), which is the accrediting body.
All students studying for the MMS degree at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University receive a broad medical education that prepares them to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). The PANCE is administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).
A passing score on the PANCE examination allows graduates to apply for licensure to practice medicine as a physician assistant in each U.S. state and territory. In addition, eight states require physician assistants to pass a jurisprudence examination demonstrating knowledge of state law prior to licensure: Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students may enroll in some courses with permission from the course instructor and approval from the Office of Graduate Studies at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine.
Financing Opportunities: Limited financial support is available for MMS students.
Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Summer I: January 15
All applicants to the MMS program must apply via the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). The system can be accessed at https://caspa.liaisoncas.com/. All application materials must be submitted, completed and verified by CASPA no later than January 15. As this is a self-managed process, applicants are expected to monitor the status, including submission and receipt, of all application materials through the CASPA applicant portal. Because CASPA processing may take up to six weeks, it is strongly recommended that all application materials be received by CASPA by December 1.
A supplemental application is also required to be submitted directly to Temple University. Submission of the supplemental application generates the applicant’s TUid number. The CASPA application will not be considered without the assigned TUid.
Applications are processed throughout the year as they are received. Thus, it is in the applicant's best interest to apply early to this highly competitive degree program. Deadline extensions for incomplete applications are not available.
Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3
From Whom: Letters of recommendation are to be submitted electronically at https://caspa.liaisoncas.com/. They should include one letter each from:
- a professor with whom the applicant has completed science coursework;
- a physician, physician assistant (preferred, but not required), or nurse practitioner; and
- an individual of the applicant’s choosing, but one who possesses a personal supervisory knowledge of the applicant.
Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: Prerequisite coursework includes:
- Biochemistry (3 credits)
- General Biology I and II, with lab (8 credits)
- General Chemistry I and II, with lab (8 credits)
- Human Anatomy* (4 credits)
- Human Physiology* (3 credits)
- Medical Terminology (2 credits)
- Organic Chemistry, with lab (4 credits)
- Psychology (3 credits)
- Statistics (2 credits)
- Two or more of the following: Cell Biology, Genetics, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology (6 credits)
* Combined Human Anatomy/Physiology may substitute with a total of 8 required credits.
All science and math prerequisite coursework must be completed within 10 years prior to June enrollment. All prerequisite coursework must be completed prior to enrollment with a grade of at least a “C” or 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
To identify coursework that fulfills the program’s prerequisite requirements, applicants are required to complete the “Program Materials: Prerequisites” section of the CASPA application.
Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States or Canada is required.
Statement of Goals: In approximately 500 to 1,000 words, describe your interest in Temple's Physician Assistant graduate program, research interests and past experiences, future career goals, and academic and research achievements.
Standardized Test Scores:
GRE or MCAT: Optional. If submitting scores, the test must have been taken within three years of matriculation. Applicants with GRE scores must contact ETS to request release of GRE scores through CASPA. The relevant code for the Physician Assistant program is 1746. MCAT scores are automatically transmitted to CASPA when the applicant’s AMCAS ID number is provided.
Interview: Candidates must have strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to listen and be culturally sensitive to another’s point of view. The PA Program Admissions Committee gives strong consideration to students who:
- have demonstrated exceptional service to others (e.g., military/police/fire service, Peace Corps, Teach for America);
- are educationally/environmentally disadvantaged; or
- hail from groups underrepresented in medicine.
Applicants are notified of their selection for interview by email. In addition to two personal interviews, the interview day includes a Clinical Skills Center Activity (MMI) and a brief essay at the time of interview.
Resume: Current resume or CV required.
Citizenship: Due to limitations on U.S. government-subsidized financing for medical education, Temple University only considers applications from U.S. citizens or non-citizens who have permanent resident or refugee/asylee status with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Applicants with permanent resident or refugee/asylee status need to provide a copy of official INS documentation when completing the CASPA application.
Healthcare/Patient Contact Experience: To be considered for an interview, 400 hours of clearly documented volunteer or paid direct hands-on patient contact experience or witnessing care firsthand are required. These hours are strongly recommended to include a minimum of 100 hours working with or shadowing an MD, DO, and/or Physician Assistant and 200 hours of relevant healthcare experience.
Community/Volunteer Service: Applicants are recommended to have a minimum 50 hours of community service activities, not including those performed in high school. All types of community service and volunteer activities are considered.
Clearances: Upon acceptance, students must complete a Child Abuse History Clearance and a Criminal Background Check. Any academic infraction, license infraction, felony or misdemeanor after the date of the original CASPA application submission must be reported to the MMS program within 10 business days of the occurrence.
General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 117, divided into a preclinical curriculum of 69 credits over 14 months and a clinical curriculum of 48 credits over 12 months
|Summer I||Credit Hours|
|PA 8101||Physician Assistant Practice I||1|
|PA 8102||Patient Assessment I||1|
|PA 8103||Human Gross Anatomy||5|
|PA 8104||Introduction to Scientific Inquiry||1|
|PA 8105||Foundations of Medical Sciences I||4|
|PA 8106||Introduction to Epidemiology and Biostatistics||2|
|Term Credit Hours||14|
|PA 8201||Physician Assistant Practice II||1|
|PA 8202||Patient Assessment II||1|
|PA 8203||Foundations of Medical Sciences II||4|
|PA 8204||Fundamentals of Hematology||3|
|PA 8205||Fundamentals of Cardiology||4|
|PA 8206||Fundamentals of Pulmonology||4|
|PA 8305||Fundamentals of Ears/Eyes/Nose/Throat (EENT)||2|
|PA 8308||Fundamentals of Dermatology||2|
|Term Credit Hours||21|
|PA 8207||Fundamentals of Gastroenterology||3|
|PA 8301||Physician Assistant Practice III||1|
|PA 8302||Patient Assessment III||1|
|PA 8303||Fundamentals of Nephrology||2|
|PA 8304||Fundamentals of Endocrinology||3|
|PA 8306||Fundamentals of Neurology||2|
|PA 8307||Fundamentals of Rheumatology and Orthopedics||3|
|PA 8309||Essentials of Psychiatry||2|
|Term Credit Hours||19|
|PA 8401||Physician Assistant Practice IV||1|
|PA 8402||Patient Assessment IV||1|
|PA 8404||Essentials of Men's and Women's Health||4|
|PA 8405||Essentials Across the Lifespan||4|
|PA 8406||Essentials of Surgery and Emergency Medicine||4|
|PA 9991||Scholarly Clinical Research I||1|
|Term Credit Hours||15|
|Total Credit Hours:||69|
|Year 2 Fall and Spring / Year 3 Summer 1|
|Behavioral Medicine Clerkship||5|
|Emergency Medicine Clerkship||5|
|Family Medicine Clerkship||5|
|General Surgery Clerkship||5|
|Internal Medicine Clerkship||5|
|Elective I Clerkship||5|
|Elective II Clerkship||5|
|Scholarly Clinical Research II||1|
|Total Credit Hours||48|
|Total Credit Hours of Preclinical Coursework:||69|
|Total Credit Hours of Clinical Clerkship, Research, and Review:||48|
|Total Credit Hours||117|
Students spend the last 12 months of the program rotating through clerkships in seven assigned medical disciplines and two elective rotations at Temple University Hospital System locations. Students are under the direct supervision of a physician or physician assistant, although they interact with numerous other healthcare providers, including residents, interns, medical students, nurses, and others. Students are expected to work the preceptor’s work schedule, which may include nights/weekends.
The technical standards for the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University Physician Assistant Program have been established to ensure that students have the ability to demonstrate academic mastery and competence when performing clinical skills and the ability to communicate clinical information. These technical standards are intended to ensure that each student has the academic and physical ability to acquire competencies, as defined by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), and the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA). The technical standards are consistent with the technical standards set forth by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
The candidate for successful completion of the Physician Assistant Program must be able to perform the following skills:
- Observation: Observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences, including but not limited to physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations, microbiologic cultures, and microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states; observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand, necessitating the functional use of vision, which is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.
- Communication: Speak to, hear and observe patients in order to elicit both verbal and nonverbal information; communicate effectively and sensitively with and about patients; communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with the patient, the patient’s family, and all members of the healthcare team, including referral sources such as agencies and other physicians. Speech, reading and writing are essential.
- Motor: Exhibit sufficient motor function to carry out basic laboratory techniques and to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers; perform anatomical dissections and use a microscope; perform basic laboratory tests (e.g., urinalysis, gram stain, preparation of a blood smear), diagnostic procedures (e.g., proctoscopy, paracentesis); perform/read EKGs and read X-rays; execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients (e.g., cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding, opening obstructed airways, suturing simple wounds, and performing simple, general gynecologic procedures). Coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision are essential.
- Intellectual, i.e., Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities: Possess abilities to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize, which are required when engaging in problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physician assistants; comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.
- Behavioral and Social Attributes: Possess the physical and emotional health required for full utilization of intellectual abilities, exercise of good judgment, prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients; adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities assessed during the admission and education process.
The faculty of Temple University’s Physician Assistant Program recognizes its responsibility to present candidates for the Physician Assistant degree who have the knowledge, attitudes and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a broad spectrum of patient care.
Program Web Address:
Physician Assistant Program Office of Admissions
Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
3500 N. Broad Street, MERB 124
Philadelphia, PA 19140
Submission Address for Application Materials:
Submission Address for Supplemental Temple University Application:
Christine Connolly, AS
Christine F. Mount, MS, PA-C
Assistant Professor, Surgery