University of Holy Cross

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

About the Program

● The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) program at the University of Holy Cross (UHC) is a professional degree program designed to prepare students academically and clinically to practice medicine in a team-centered approach for responsibilities, services, and leadership as a PA. This graduate education program consists of two phases spanning 28 months for a total of 112 credits. The first phase is the didactic phase which is 16 months in the classroom and the second phase is the clinical phase with 12 months of clinical rotations.

● The PA Program is a lock-step curriculum with sequenced courses which build upon the knowledge and skills mastered in previous courses. Students must successfully complete all required coursework and assignments in sequence in order to progress successfully throughout the curriculum.

● Course content will include basic and applied medical sciences, clinical medical sciences, clinical diagnostics, clinical patient care skills and interventions, professional development, medical literature/resources research, and practical experiences via simulation, early didactic patient experiences, and clinical rotations.

● Upon receiving provisional accreditation, the program will enroll one class annually with 25 students in the inaugural cohort. Classes will begin in August 2020.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Graduate PAs with clinical knowledge, skills, and analytical thinking to augment compassionate care for patients which is effective, safe, high-quality and equitable.
  • Foster patient care based on respect, privacy, and participation in ongoing professional education.
  • Contribute to the health of the community through health education, outreach and donating volunteer medical services when and where possible.
  • Develop awareness and sensitivity towards various cultural, ethnic, disability and lifestyle variations to effectively meet the needs of all patients.
  • Educate effective physician assistants who work in interdisciplinary teams with physician collaboration striving to serve patients with the highest level of care.

Accreditation Status

University of Holy Cross has applied for Accreditation - Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). University of Holy Cross anticipates matriculating its first class in August of 2020, pending achieving Accreditation. Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program's ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Mission, Program Goals

  • University of Holy Cross Mission Statement: The University of Holy Cross, a Catholic institution of higher learning, is an inclusive student-centered learning community focused on academic excellence and innovative teaching. Rooted in the traditions of the Marianites of Holy Cross, the University is committed to educating the minds and hearts of its students through freedom of inquiry, the pursuit of truth, and compassionate care for all.
  • PA Program Mission: In keeping with, and aligned to, the University of Holy Cross Mission, the Physician Assistant Program will educate and graduate competent, skilled, compassionate physician assistants who will practice in multidisciplinary teams across all areas of medicine and in all practice settings. Graduates will enhance the community by providing high quality healthcare to populations and communities in need, embracing diversity and cultural context.
  • PA Program Vision: The University of Holy Cross Physician Assistant Program will be a leader in high quality PA education in Louisiana, and the Gulf region, improving healthcare delivery in the local, state and regional community and beyond, with graduates displaying excellence in patient care and a heart for service.

PA Program Goals

1.       Enroll a qualified group of student applicants who will successfully complete the physician assistant program.

Measures for success of goal includes:

a.       Undergraduate cumulative GPA

b.       Undergraduate natural science GPA

c.       GRE scores

d.       Program class GPA

e.       PANCE performance

f.        Student attrition

2.       Provide a quality education that provides students with knowledge, clinical skills, and interpersonal skills essential for entry into clinical practice.

Measures for success of goal includes:

a.       Systems-based curriculum

b.       Clinical procedure labs corresponding to the organ systems.

c.       Participation in the state-of-art simulation center.

d.       Clinical History course focusing on interpersonal communication.

3.       Provide a curriculum that embraces diversity and underrepresented populations.

Measures for success of goal includes:

a.       Provide lectures in Clinical History that address cultural awareness and inclusion.

b.       Provide lectures in Professional Practice that address medical care for diverse populations.

c.       Place PA students in clinical rotations in which they will be working with diverse populations.

4.       Deliver a curriculum that provides activities in interprofessional education to foster a better understanding of inter-disciplinary healthcare.

Measures for success of goal includes:

a.       Instruction in working with members of other healthcare teams in the Professional Practice course

b.       Lab / simulation activities with students from other healthcare disciplines

5.       Graduate competent physician assistants who will be able to practice in all disciplines and clinical settings.

Measures for success of goal includes:

a.       Graduation rate

b.       Student Cohort GPA average

c.       PANCE Performance

6.       Achieve a first time PANCE pass rate that is at or above the national average. 

Measures for success of goal includes:

a.       PANCE performance


4123 Woodland Drive, New Orleans, LA 70131 (504) 394-7744 or 1-800-259-7744

A Ministry of the Marianites of Holy Cross: Educating Hearts and Minds

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