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Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

The Augsburg PA Program was established in 1995 and was the first accredited PA program in Minnesota. Augsburg’s PA Program is a full-time program that provides a broad, case-based, primary care curriculum with an emphasis on diverse and underserved populations throughout the curriculum. Our core mission is to train highly capable PAs who will serve the community with uncompromising commitment and compassion.

Students are trained using an active-learning model which incorporates case-based small group discussions, in-lecture clinical vignettes, and hands-on skill-based workshops. In the Clinical Seminar Course, PA students are assigned reading material beforehand and then work with clinicians to synthesize, apply and justify the use of that medical knowledge in small group settings.

chart showing 100% of students ultimately passed the PANCE 2016-2020
100% of students ultimately passed the PANCE 2016-2020

Augsburg PAs have a proven track record of success and graduates of our PA program consistently pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) at a rate that is higher than the national average:

From the 2019 graduating cohort, the majority of our new PA graduates were employed within six months of graduation. In addition, Augsburg PAs continue to be innovative in identifying and creating new areas for PAs to practice medicine. They report employment in primary care, women’s health, emergency medicine, urgent care, psychiatry, surgical specialties, and internal medicine sub-specialties.


The mission of the Augsburg PA Program is based on a foundation of respect and sensitivity to persons of all cultures and backgrounds and oriented towards providing medical care to underserved populations. Students are well educated in current medical theory and practice, and graduates are encouraged to work in primary care settings. The program promotes dedication to excellence in performance, with the highest standards of ethics and integrity, and commitment to lifelong personal and professional development.

To access additional information: Augsburg and PA Program Policies are detailed in the Student Handbook.


The Augsburg PA Program will:

  • Enroll an intentionally diverse mix of PA students:
    • Benchmark: matriculate at least 24.8% of underrepresented minority (URM) students within the program annually. This is consistent with the national average, defined and reported by the PAEA.¹
    • Outcome: for the past three years, the Augsburg PA Program has matriculated an average of 30% underrepresented minority students.²
  • Educate Physician Assistant students to achieve the foundational knowledge required to enter into PA professional practice:
    • Benchmark: achieve a first-time PANCE pass rate that is above the national average 
    • Outcome: the program has a first-time pass rate of 97% – 100% (average of 99%) for the past 5 years; the national average first-time pass rate in 2020 is 95%.³
  • Graduate Physician Assistant students with a demonstrated commitment to primary care (family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health):
    • Benchmark: alumni will work in a primary care field of medicine at a rate above the national average (25%) of PA’s working in primary care as documented by NCCPA.⁴
    • Outcome: the program alumni survey through 2019 ⁵ indicate that 50% of the respondents* work/have worked in primary care at some time in their career.
  • Graduate Physician Assistant students committed to providing medical care to underserved and diverse populations:
    • Benchmark: 30% of alumni will provide care to underserved and diverse populations
    • Outcome: the program alumni survey collected up through 2019 indicates that 30% of the respondents* report working with underserved and diverse populations. ⁵
  1. Physician Assistant Education Association, By the Numbers: Student Report 4: Data from the 2019 Matriculating Student and End of Program Surveys, Washington, DC: PAEA; 2020. doi: 10.17538/SR2020.0004

  2. Augsburg PA CASPA matriculant data from 2017-2020.
  3. Augsburg PA Program data from the NCCPA Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination Five Year First Time Taker Summary Report, last updated in February 2021.
  4. National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, Inc. (2020, July). 2019 Statistical Profile of Certified Physician Assistants by Specialty: An Annual Report of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Retrieved Date, from
  5. Data obtained from Augsburg PA alumni surveys from 1997-2019 cohorts, last updated on August 2019 with a 25% response rate*.

Learning Outcomes and Competencies

Competence of the Augsburg PA Learning Outcomes for each student is assessed across the program curriculum and confirmed through summative evaluation (End of Curriculum Exam and OSCE) prior to graduation. These are the program required competencies for entry level practice, consistent with the competencies as defined by the PA profession.

  1. Medical Knowledge:
    Demonstrate core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care. In addition, students are expected to demonstrate an investigative and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations. 
  2. Interpersonal and Communication Skills:
    Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, patients’ families, physicians, professional associates, and other individuals within the healthcare system. 
  3. Clinical and Technical Skills:
    Demonstrate patient care and education that is effective, safe, high quality, equitable and focuses on disease prevention.
  4. Professional Behaviors:
    Physician assistants must demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse patient population, and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements.
  5. Clinical Reasoning and Problem Solving Abilities:
    Demonstrate the ability to compile, appraise and integrate evidence based medicine outcomes and apply to diagnostic studies, clinical interventions and therapeutic effectiveness.


At its June 2019 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the Augsburg University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Augsburg University on Accreditation-Probation until its next review in June 2021.

Probation is a temporary status of accreditation conferred when a program does not meet the Standards and when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.

Once placed on probation, programs that still fail to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and/or risk having their accreditation withdrawn.

Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the Program Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at

Chair and Program Director (Dr. Alicia Quella, phone #612-330-1325 and/or email

Read the program’s response to the accreditation status.


Attrition and Graduation Rate statistics