PA Degrees

Jonathon Mccrary
“No other programs are really doing service-learning and that is one thing that really sets us apart.”
-Jonathan McCrary, Hot Springs, AR

Most Physician Assistant programs award a Master’s degree.  Some of the degrees awarded include:

  • Master of Clinical Science (M.Sc.)
  • Master of Health Science (MHS)
  • Master of Medical Science (MMS)
  • Master of Physician Assistant (MPA)
  • Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)
  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS)
  • Master of Medical Science (MMSc)

Post Nominal Initials:

A physician assistant may use the post nominal initials "PA", "PA-S", "PA-G", "PA-C", "APA-C", "RPA" or "RPA-C"

Most PAs use "PA-S" during training. The “S” designates student.

Upon graduation from school and while awaiting their certification examination results a Physician Assistant may use “PA-G”. The “G” designates “Graduate”. 

The use of "PA-C" is limited only to those PAs who have successfully completed the certifying exam. The “C” designates the physician assistant is nationally “Certified”.

In RPA, The "R" indicates "Registered" and is unique to a few states.

The "A" in APA indicates completion of the Army Flight Surgeon Course.

Doctorate Degrees

In the PA Profession, a master’s degree is a terminal degree.  Some PAs, after receiving their Master’s Degree, may elect to return to school for advanced professional education which may include a doctorate degree.  A doctoral degree may be in a non-clinical area, for example, a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Education (Ed. D).  The PA may alternately select to study in a clinical area.  Some examples of doctoral degrees with a clinical emphasis include the Doctor of Science Physician Assistant (DScPA) and Doctor of Health Sciences (D.H.Sc.).  The clinical doctorate degree does not confer upon the PA the designation or position of a Physician.  He or she remains a Physician Assistant in licence and practice, and remains part of the Physician – PA team.  PAs obtaining doctoral degrees generally do so when they are in academic or educational settings. PAs generally will not use the designation of “Dr.” when seeing patients to avoid patient confusion with other health care provider roles. 

UAMS PA Program
UAMS PA Program
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