The Master of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Studies program is housed within the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine in the Department of Allied Health Sciences.
School of Medicine Mission Statement
Our mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of North Carolinians and others whom we serve. We accomplish this by providing leadership and excellence in the interrelated areas of patient care, education, and research. We strive to promote faculty, staff and learner development in a diverse, respectful environment where our colleagues demonstrate professionalism, enhance learning, and create personal and professional sustainability. We optimize our partnership with the UNC Health Care System through close collaboration and a commitment to service.
Master of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Studies Mission Statement
To promote high-quality, accessible, patient-centered health care for the people of North Carolina and the nation through excellence in education, scholarship, and clinical service. The UNC PA program is committed to the health care and workforce needs of North Carolinians and will use an inter-professional approach to prepare skilled and compassionate health care practitioners across the continuum of life.
To become a certified Physician Assistant (PA-C), a graduate from an accredited program must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). The PANCE is provided by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, Inc. (NCCPA) and is the only certifying organization for PAs in the United States.
Five Year PANCE First-Time Pass Rates
|Class of||UNC Pass Rate||National Pass Rate|
Available DETAILED REPORT
|Class of 2020||Class of 2021||Class of 2022|
|Maximum entering class size (as approved by ARC-PA)||20||20||20|
|Entering class size||20||20||20|
|* Attrition rate||10%||15%||5%|
|** Graduation rate||90%||85%||95%|
*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.
Program Specific Competencies
For successful completion of the course of study for the degree of Master of Health Sciences (MHS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Physician Assistant Studies program, candidates for graduation must possess the knowledge, skills, attitudes and judgment to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. Candidates must demonstrate the capacity to develop academic and emotional maturity and leadership skills to function in a medical team.
In 2019, the Physician Assistant Education Association released its Core Competencies for New Physician Assistant Graduates. This document serves as a foundation from which the UNC Chapel Hill PA Program has developed its program learning outcomes and objectives.
- Acquire and demonstrate medical knowledge.
Student learning experiences include basic science skills such as normal anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, and the mechanisms of disease. Through a variety of learning modalities, including case-based learning, lectures, and hands-on activities, students will learn to use critical thinking and reasoning to evaluate patients, develop a sound differential diagnosis, and provide competent patient management. Health promotion and disease prevention are prioritized to improve health outcomes.
- Develop and demonstrate patient care skills.
- Demonstrate proficient knowledge and skills of Primary Care practice.
Students will be exposed to patients who are representative of the cultures and diversity of North Carolina. Students will also learn to care for patients of all ages. Students will be exposed to age-appropriate patient assessment, evaluation and management and acquire skills for caring for patients in a variety of settings (e.g. age spectrum, operative spectrum, ambulatory vs. acute). Patient and provider safety is emphasized throughout their training.
Professionalism and Cultural Sensitivity & Humility
- Demonstrate and model professionalism and ethical behavior.
- Demonstrate respect and awareness of the impact of cultural considerations in the provision of healthcare delivery.
Professional and ethical behavior in the classroom and clinic is demonstrated though role modeling of the faculty and staff, in lectures and workshops, and during clinical clerkships. Students will learn skills that support collaboration with patients, their families, and other health professionals, emphasizing the team approach to patient-centered care.
Interpersonal and Communication Skills
- Develop effective interpersonal and communication skills.
- Communicate effectively through telehealth modalities.
Students will be presented with learning opportunities to develop their communication skills, encompassing verbal, nonverbal and written exchanges of information, in a culturally/ethnically sensitive manner and among diverse communities of patients.
- Develop knowledge of healthcare delivery systems and health policy.
Students will be exposed to the current trends in health care delivery, including methods of coding and reimbursement, North Carolina healthcare systems, North Carolina PA rules and regulations, and both national and local PA organizations.
Self-Assessment and Ongoing Professional Development
- Acquire practice-based learning and life-long improvement skills.
Students will be exposed to and expected to demonstrate skills in the elements of using peer-reviewed evidence to evaluate the best practices of health care. Students will learn to search, interpret and evaluate medical literature, and apply this knowledge to individualized patient care.