Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Graduate with the education to treat patients and enable them to meet the life-long challenges inherent in the practice of medicine.

Gardner-Webb University, a private, Christian university, provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate education that is strongly grounded in the liberal arts while offering opportunities to prepare for various professions. Fostering meaningful intellectual thought, critical analysis, and spiritual challenge within a diverse community of learning, Gardner-Webb is dedicated to higher education that integrates scholarship with Christian life. By embracing faith and intellectual freedom, balancing conviction with compassion, and inspiring a love of learning, service, and leadership, Gardner-Webb prepares its graduates to make significant contributions for God and humanity in an ever-changing global community.

In accordance with the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) entry-level standards, the Gardner-Webb University Department of Physician Assistant Studies design prepares graduates with the competencies needed for entry into clinical PA practice.  Gardner-Webb hopes to attract students focused on providing medical service in underserved communities. The PA Program is a practice oriented master’s degree program designed to accommodate students with a bachelor’s degree, diverse educational backgrounds, and an aptitude for patient care.


Our students begin the program in January and spend 16 months in the didactic phase (classroom, small groups, and lab) followed by 12 months in the clinical phase (supervised clinical practice experiences or SCPEs). Our didactic curriculum uses a traditional classroom setting augmented with problem- and team-based learning modules and hands-on skills training. This is followed by ten SCPEs, including family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, emergency medicine, general surgery, mental health, one rotation in an underserved community, and two electives. Also within the clinical curriculum is an advanced Evidence-Based Medicine course followed by a Capstone before graduation.

For a more in-depth look at the program curriculum, visit our Academic Catalog.

Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination

The combination of a smaller class size and dedicated faculty put our students on the right track after graduation. The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants is the only certifying organization for physician assistants in the United States. After graduating from Gardner-Webb’s PA program, students will be eligible for PANCE.

GWU PA Studies Student Attrition

Performance Indicators of Graduated ClassesClass of 2019Class of 2020Class of 2021
Maximum entering class size (as approved by ARC-PA)363636
Entering class size363636
*Attrition rate11.1%5.6%2.8%
**Graduate rate88.9%94.4%97.2%
*Attrition rate calculation:  Number of students who attritted from cohort divided by the entering class size. 
**Graduation rate:  Number of cohort graduates divided by the entering class size.


Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Obtain and record a complete and accurate medical history and perform a complete or problem-focused physical examination from any patient in any setting.
  2. Interpret and synthesize the information derived from the history, physical examination, and other patient-related data to guide the formulation of a thorough differential diagnosis.
  3. Order, perform, and interpret appropriate diagnostic procedures and laboratory tests based upon the findings from the medical history and physical examination; identify, discuss, perform, and order appropriate therapy and treatment modalities for the management of commonly occurring primary care entities; recognize life-threatening conditions.
  4. Clearly and effectively communicate with patients, their families, and other medical personnel in a professional manner; demonstrate knowledge of the impact that health problems have on the individual and family members and develop an attitude of professional concern for each patient.
  5. Utilize critical thinking skills through the use of evidence-based medicine; articulate the unique role of the physician assistant in the medical team; possess a working knowledge of the American health care delivery system.
  6. Exhibit ethical behavior and professional conduct.

Graduate Competencies

The PA profession defines the specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes required and provides educational experiences as needed in order for physician assistants to acquire and demonstrate these competencies. The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants endorses the following Profession Based PA competencies.

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Admissions Requirements

The class sizes for our PA program are smaller, and our admissions process is more selective. Learn what it takes to be selected.

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Tuition, Fees, and Other Expenses

The standard graduate tuition does not apply to students who matriculate into the GWU Department of Physician Assistant Studies.

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