Northeastern State University launches physician assistant master’s degree

08/02/2020 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Northeastern State University welcomes its first cohort of students entering the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program, according to a July 28 NSU release.

The inaugural class of 20 students will begin coursework in October and complete degree requirements in just over two years (27 months), the release states.

Physician assistants are advanced health care providers, licensed by state medical boards to practice medicine under the delegatory authority of a licensed physician, according to the release. It also states physician assistants are able to provide a range of medical services within primary and specialty care such as diagnostic, therapeutic, preventative and health maintenance services.

A NSU PAS program goal is to increase health care in rural communities, according to the release.

“Our graduates will be encouraged to remain northeastern Oklahoma and to provide healthcare to the underserved, rural Oklahoma and American Indian populations,” said NSU President Steve Turner. “It is paramount to the success of our program and the health of the people in our region that graduates of our PAS program are able to demonstrate cultural sensitivity and respect for individual differences among colleagues and patients.”

With the program’s emphasis placed on providing health care in more individualized rural settings, NSU has partnered with regional medical facilities to assist with the program’s comprehensive clinical curriculum components, the release states. It also states that students will experience clinical rotations in emergency medicine, family medicine, behavioral health, internal medicine, women’s health, pediatrics and surgery.

According to the release, NSU students will also practice and sharpen advanced clinical skills in the Marilyn S. Gailey Clinical Skills Center on NSU’s Muskogee campus before training with medical professionals.

“Within the clinical phase of the program, our students will be working specifically within rural hospitals and communities in this area to expose them to the challenges that healthcare communities face every day,” Dr. Troy Bender, NSU Physician Assistant Studies program director, said. “The curriculum of the program is designed to enable the students with the necessary knowledge, skills and clinical reasoning that is required to enter into clinical practice.” 

Applications for NSU’s second PAS cohort will be available in April through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants at, according to the release.


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