Physician Assistant Program Overview

The WSU Department of Physician Assistant offers a 26 month graduate course of study that leads to a Master of Physician Assistant MPA degree.

Applicants interested in applying for one of the 48 slots offered annually should have a strong background in the natural and clinical sciences supporting their bachelor degree. The selection process screens candidates based on past academic performance, direct patient care experience, strong potential to meet the Program’s vision, mission, and guiding principles, and an on-site interview.

Students spend the first 13 months learning the foundations of clinical medicine, clinical skills, and interprofessional teamwork, evidence-based practice, community service, and professionalism to become excellent PAs.  The first 13 months (the didactic year) are spent on campus, but the learning opportunities extend beyond the classroom setting.  Graduate coursework completed in the Didactic Year includes clinical medicine, clinical laboratory, pharmacotherapy, anatomy, pathophysiology, research and evidence- based practice, clinical skills, preventive medicine and professional issues. (See Curriculum)

Students complete 8 clinical rotations during the second 13 months of the Program all across the state of Kansas (the Clinical Year).  These rotations include patient experiences in family medicine/primary care, prenatal care/women’s health, emergency medicine/acute care, general surgery, pediatrics, geriatrics, behavioral health/psychiatry, and in-patient care and out-patient care.

The WSU PA Program benefits from the support of preceptors throughout Kansas along with a few rotations in surrounding states. All students will be assigned to clinical rotations outside of the urban areas and should therefore expect to spend several months in rural areas of Kansas.

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Technical Standards

The WSU PA Program curriculum incorporates the teaching of technical skills necessary for the practice of medicine. Students must be able to perform successfully in a wide variety of clinical situations, and therefore are required to have adequate ability in physical, cognitive and behavioral areas. Students are expected to confirm their ability to meet the following standards (with or without reasonable accommodations consistent with applicable law) upon admittance to the program.


Physical abilities required for satisfactory completion of curriculum:

The ability to observe demonstrations and other forms of instruction, as well as the observation of patients for physical evaluation. Observation necessitates the functional use of vision both at a distance and close at hand. Other sensory modalities, such as touch and smell enhance observation.

The ability to communicate effectively in English. Communication necessitates the ability to speak, hear and perceive nonverbal communication. Writing, reading, interpreting graphs and diagrams, as well as computer literacy, are also essential for effective communication throughout the PA Program curriculum and in patient care.

The ability to perform physical exams, diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, and treatment modalities for general and emergent medical care requires sufficient sensory and motor function. The curriculum requires that students have coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and other sensory function to perform tasks such as intubation, catheterization, suturing, cast application, palpation, auscultation, administration of intravenous medication, basic life support (BLS), advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), etc.


Cognitive abilities required for satisfactory completion of curriculum:

Analytical reasoning, problem solving, critical thinking, and the ability to intellectually grasp a large volume of information are essential for successful completion of the curriculum. These skills would include understanding of measurements and calculations. Students will be required to integrate information from patient histories, exams, and diagnostic tests and then relate it to medical knowledge to form diagnoses and treatment plans.


Behavioral abilities required for satisfactory completion of curriculum:

The ability to demonstrate compassion, concern for others and a motivation to service, as well as maturity that is expressed through ethical and professional behavior, the ability to complete tasks without unnecessary delay, dependability to take responsibility and initiative, willingness to be flexible, and the use of clean and tactful language, are all essential to excellent medical care and successful completion of the curriculum. Practicing good judgment when choosing patient care, including the ability to identify ones limit of knowledge and seek help.

Students must be able to function effectively under stress. The curriculum includes a demanding schedule, changing clinical environments, and uncertainties inherent to medical care.

Also required, is the ability to maintain appropriate relationships with colleagues, faculty, patients and other health care professionals conducive to providing quality medical care and services.

Questions about technical standards

Any applicant/student with a question about these technical standards or their ability to meet them will be strongly encouraged to discuss them with the Wichita State University Office of Disability Services prior to the interview process.

Disability Services

Any student with an ability limitation or in need of special accommodation will be requested to notify the Program Director in writing prior to the beginning of didactic coursework or immediately upon obtaining knowledge, awareness or diagnosis of such a condition requiring accommodation.

This resource can be accessed at

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Patient Care Experience

Health care experience (direct patient care) is strongly preferred, but not required. Experience listed on your application will be verified.

Shadowing is strongly preferred, but not required. Shadowing is advantageous because it can help you better understand what a PA does.

Examples of Direct Patient Care Experience 

(May be considered)

  • Registered Nurse
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • X-Ray Technologist
  • Physical/Occupational Therapist
  • Medical Social Worker
  • Aide in Dialysis Unit
  • Chiropractic Assistant
  • Medical Technologist
  • Military Corpsmen
  • OR Technologist
  • Certified Nurse Aide
  • Medical Assistant
  • Scribe
  • Paramedic
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Physical Therapy Assistant
  • Mental Health Care Counselor
  • Optometry Assistant
  • Phlebotomist

Examples of Activities That Are NOT Direct Patient Care Experience

  • Medical records personnel or clerical worker in a medical office or hospital
  • Pharmacy technician/clerk
  • Observation of any kind (i.e., shadowing a physician or PA)
  • Training without employment (such as EMT/MICT, etc.)
  • Health care experience which is part of a health care training program (i.e., clinical rotations, field work, or internships)
  • Caring for one’s own family
  • Providing first aid as a coach, scout leader, etc.


Shadowing is strongly preferred, but not required. Shadowing is advantageous because it can help you better understand what a PA does.

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Estimated Program Costs

PLEASE NOTE: These are estimated costs. Tuition, fees, and expenses are subject to change, and may vary depending on your personal situation (i.e. housing, transportation, etc.)


Tuition Cost

In State Tuition Cost Per Semester
Semester Credit Hours  In-State Tuition
Summer, Year # 1, Semester # 1 7 $2,061.99
Fall, Year # 1, Semester # 2 22 $6,480.54
Spring, Year # 1, Semester # 3 22 $6,480.54
Summer, Year # 2, Semester # 4 6 $1,767.42
Fall, Year # 2, Semester # 5 14 $4,123.98
Spring, Year # 2, Semester # 6 15 $4,418.55
Summer, Year # 3, Semester # 7 7 $2,061.99
TOTAL 93 $27,395.01


Out-of-State Tuition Cost Per Semester
Semester Credit Hours Out-of-State Tuition
Summer, Year # 1, Semester # 1 7 $5,064.22
Fall, Year # 1, Semester # 2 22 $15,916.12
Spring, Year # 1, Semester # 3 22 $15,916.12
Summer, Year # 2, Semester # 4 6 $4,340.76
Fall, Year # 2, Semester # 5 14 $10,128.44
Spring, Year # 2, Semester # 6 15 $10,851.90
Summer, Year # 3, Semester # 7 7 $5,064.22
TOTAL 93 $67,281.78


Other Fees

Other Fees Breakdown per Semester

Campus &Support $7.75/cr hr

Student Activity Fee Credit Hour Tier CHP Fee $15.00/cr hr PA Program Fee $775/sem PA Exam Fee $200/course TOTAL
Summer, Year # 1, Semester # 1 $54.25 $329.00 $105.00 $775.00 $0.00 $1,263.25
Fall, Year # 1, Semester # 2 $170.50 $658.00 $330.00 $775.00 $200.00 $2,133.50
Spring, Year # 1, Semester # 3 $170.50 $658.00 $330.00 $775.00 $200.00 $2,133.50
Summer, Year # 2, Semester # 4 $46.50 $219.50 $90.00 $775.00 $200.00 $1,331.00
Fall, Year # 2, Semester # 5 $108.50 $658.00 $210.00 $775.00 $200.00 $1,951.50
Spring, Year # 2, Semester # 6 $116.25 $658.00 $225.00 $775.00 $200.00 $1,974.25
Summer, Year # 3, Semester # 7 $54.25 $329.00 $105.00 $775.00 $0.00 $1,263.25
TOTAL $720.75 $3,509.50 $1,395.00 $5,425.00 $1,000.00 $12,050.25


Other Expenses

Other Expenses Breakdown per Year
Expense Item Annual Expense Total Expense
Background Check/Drug Screen $25-$125 $50-$125
Immunization Tracking $25 $35
Liability Insurance $175 $350
Health Insurance-Single Coverage $1,285 $2,570
Annual Physical Exam $40-$50 $80-$100
Fingerprint Fee $25 $25
Books $1,000-1,500 $1,000-$1,500
Supplies $350-$550 $350-$550
Equipment $2,000 $2,000
Transportation  varies by student $500-$1,000
Housing   varies by student $2000(approx 2nd yr)
TOTAL $4,925 - $5,735 $8,960 - $10,255

Background Check

Students must obtain, pay for and successfully pass a background check as a condition of acceptance into the Program. The cost for the background check will vary depending on student’s state(s) of residence. A second background check may be required by some clinical rotation sites within 30 days of the rotation.

Drug Screen

Prior to the start of the clinical year all students are required to complete and pass a 10 panel drug screen.

Immunization Tracking

Students will utilize an immunization tracking account during the program. It is $25 to create the account and $10 to renew. 

Malpractice Insurance

All students are required to carry malpractice insurance throughout the program. The policy is arranged by our department and is currently priced at $175 per year.

Health Insurance

All students are required to carry health insurance while a student in the PA program. There is a student policy available through Wichita State University. See Student Health Services for more information.

Physical Exam and Immunizations

Students are required to provide evidence of good health and current immunizations. 

Finger Print Fee

Student may be required to obtain finger prints for clinical rotation.


Books are purchased during the academic year. There are suggested books for purchase during the clinical year.

Supply Item Cost
Anatomy software $35
Anatomy scrubs & long lab coat $75
Anatomy gloves $10
Program scrubs $170
Short white coat $200
ID Badges $10
Suture Kit $45

Equipment Type Cost
Instruments* $1000
Laptop** $1000

* The list of required equipment will be discussed at orientation.

**All students are required to have a windows-based computer

Transportation Cost and Living Cost

Transportation and living costs (room and board) are not covered during any phase of the Program. Living expenses may vary for each student depending on personal situation and assigned clinical rotations during theTransportation & Housing

2nd year. The average monthly rent in Wichita is $650. WSU Housing Information can be found on the Housing and Residence Life webpage


Total Expense Summaries

Total Expenses for In-State
Expense Type Total Summary
In-State Tuition            $27,395.01
Student Fees               $12,050.25
Other Expenses          $8,960 - $10,255
TOTAL:      $48,405.26  -  $49,700.26


Total Expenses for Out-of-State
Expense Type Total Summary
Out-of-State Tuition          $67,281.78
Student Fees                    $12,050.25
Other Expenses                $8,960 - $10,255
TOTAL:           $88,292.03  -  $89,587.03

These are estimated costs. Tuition, fees, and expenses are subject to change


Additional information about University policies regarding student services, including tuition and fee procedures, withdrawals, refunds and student grievance procedures may be found in the WSU Graduate School Catalog

Wichita State University Physician Assistant Program:

American Academy of Physician Assistants:


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