Improve the Health and Wellness of Individuals, Communities, & Older Adults
The School of Medicine Division of Physician Assistant Studies and College of Nursing Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program dual degree program enables students to pursue a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree in conjunction with a Master of Science Gerontology (MSG) degree. By combining gerontology and PA training, graduates of this dual degree program will be equipped to care for and address the needs of older adult populations—such as chronic illness, memory loss, bereavement, and palliative care.
The University of Utah College of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies program are highly ranked within their respective fields, focusing on primary care. The MPAS program is ranked #2 in the country by US News & World Report. The College of Nursing's Master of Science programs are ranked #38 in the nation by US News & World Report.
The Dual MPAS/MSG degree takes 32 months to complete—saving students time, increasing specialization, and increasing the number of primary care to treat an age range in critical need of primary care providers. The dual degree capitalizes on the strengths and missions of the MPAS and MSG programs, attracting a diverse group of students from across the country who are dedicated to improving the health of older adults. While completing these two degrees concurrently would take 51 months, the dual degree program permits highly-qualified students to earn both degrees in 32 months and with significant cost savings. The course of study allows MPAS/MSG students to begin their training by taking core gerontological coursework one semester before beginning the MPAS curriculum and graduating on time, earning both MPAS and MS degrees.
Prospective students apply to the MSG and the PA programs by the published admissions deadline (Summer Semester). Students seeking to enroll in the MPAS/MSG program must meet current University of Utah admission standards and be accepted individually to the MPAS and MS programs. If students are independently admitted to both programs, they can enter the Dual Degree in Spring semester of the following year (Spring-1).
Due to the rigorous nature of PA education, the program already has an exception to graduate credit limits. The first semester of the dual degree program is concentrated on the gerontology curriculum at 17 credits total. Students then progress into MPAS coursework. Students spend three semesters in the PA program, concentrating exclusively on PA coursework. The MSG program accepts three 1-credit courses in this period toward the MSG degree requirements (PAS 6010, PAS6011, PAS 6200) In Summer-2, students take one MSG course to their PA course load (GERON 6500).
In Fall-2, Spring-3, and Summer-3, students complete the clinical portion of their PA curriculum. During Fall-2, students choose one MSG elective. In Spring-3, students take three 3-credit preceptorships. One preceptorship is vetted to meet the elective preceptorship (or relevant core-preceptorship) requirements for the MPAS program and the practicum requirement for the MSG program. Also, in Spring-3, students enroll in the online Research Methods in Aging course (GERON 6003). This is followed the subsequent semester (Summer-3) by the MSG Master’s Project.
Upon successful completion of all required course elements of the dual degree program set forth above, students will graduate with a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree, as well as a Master of Science in Gerontology degree.