Jul 18, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physician Assistant, MS

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Program Director: Alan Gindoff (4310-K Health Sciences Building; 252-744-1700; gindoffa@ecu.edu)

The Department of Physician Assistant Studies in the College of Allied Health Sciences at East Carolina University (ECU) has held continued accreditation since 1996 with students graduating from the program receiving a master of science in physician assistant studies. The program is focused on providing the skills, knowledge, and professional behaviors necessary to provide: high-quality, compassionate, evidenced based, professional, patient centered, interdisciplinary primary care to those in rural/medically-underserved areas of eastern North Carolina and beyond. 

The highly structured rigorous curriculum is divided into 2 phases, the didactic phase and clinical phase. The didactic phase consists of traditional lectures, small group teaching, hands on and skills labs, simulation, active learning and case-based learning. The didactic phase is 15 months in length and consists of 59 semester hours conducted on ECU’s Health Science campus. The clinical phase is delivered over a 12-month period and consists of 46 semester hours of clinical rotations (8 required and 2 elective).  During clinical rotations students spend 4-6 weeks in areas such as family medicine, woman’s health, pediatrics, emergency medicine, surgery, hospital and clinic based internal medicine, psychiatry and geriatrics where they are mentored by licensed health-care professionals (physicians and physician assistants) to develop competence in: Professionalism, performing history and physicals, ordering and interpreting lab studies and imaging modalities, critical thinking and differential diagnosis generation; and developing management plans which are required to graduate and enter clinical practice.

Admission Prerequisite Requirements

The following courses are to be completed prior to entering the program and require at least a 3.0 GPA.

  • chemistry with lab: one full academic year
  • genetics: one semester
  • human anatomy and physiology with lab: one full academic year
  • medical terminology: one semester
  • microbiology: one semester
  • psychology: one semester
  • statistics: one semester

Degree Requirements

The degree requires a minimum of 105 s.h. as follows:


To continue to the clinical portion of the curriculum, the student must successfully pass all didactic courses listed above with an overall 3.0 GPA and no more than 6 s.h. of Cs.

Comprehensive Assessment Requirement

All ECU graduate programs require students to successfully complete a comprehensive assessment. The assessment for this program is a Physician Assistant Summative Examination. 

Licensure/Certification Requirements in North Carolina

The curriculum for all ECU academic programs have been designed to meet the licensure/certification requirements in North Carolina and prepare students to sit for licensure/certification exams in North Carolina. The various licensure boards in each state are responsible for setting requirements for licensure/certification in their state. Other states have their own requirements, and you’ll want to make sure your program meets criteria in your home state (or state where you intend to work) before you apply. Search our state Licensure Dashboard to see if the program you’re interested in meets the educational requirements for licensing/certification in your home state (or state where you intend to work).

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