Physician Assistant Studies (M.S.)

Since many individuals now have access to insurance through the Affordable Care Act, there is a need for more licensed health care providers to treat them. Physician assistants are one of the fastest-growing professions in this country, and Towson University/CCBC-Essex offers one of the nation’s most established programs.

Physican Assistant Student

Physician assistants are highly skilled health care providers. This program  is designed for students with completed bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Full-time, continuous enrollment is required throughout the 98-credit, 26-month program.

Towson University's Summary Mission Statement

"Towson University fosters intellectual inquiry and critical thinking preparing graduates who will serve as effective, ethical leaders and engaged citizens. Through a foundation in the liberal arts, an emphasis on rigorous academic standards, and the creation of small learning environments, we are committed to providing a collaborative, interdisciplinary and inter-professional atmosphere, excellence in teaching, leadership development, civic engagement, and applied and sponsored research opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our graduates leave Towson University with the vision, creativity and adaptability to craft solutions that enrich the culture, society, economy, and environment of Maryland, the region, and beyond."

PA Program Mission, Vision, Values and Goals

The Physician Assistant Studies Program revised its Mission, Vision and Goals for 2021-2022 as of November 4th, 2021.  Outcomes from the prior 2019-2020 goals included integrating interprofessional educational  experiences into the PA curriculum.  PA students participated in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Towson University Open School Chapter  learning events where they applied principles related to quality improvement, leadership and team building to improve patient safety and health outcomes.  For additional information on our achievements, please see the updated Mission, Vision, and Goals (PDF).  


Our PA Program educates and empowers resilient graduates to practice collaborative, evidence-based medicine in the ever-changing and diverse health care environment.


Our PA Program is renowned for excellence in PA education, leadership, and innovative approaches to interprofessional practice.


Our PA Program values are:

  • cultural humility
  • collegiality
  • integrity
  • interprofessionalism
  • life-long learning
  • leadership


  • Goal 1: For each student cohort, the program will provide the highest level of PA education, medical competencies, and professionalism. Benchmarked by results on the 5 program learning outcomes.
  • Goal 2: The program will maintain a PANCE pass rate at or above 95% with each graduating class.
  • Goal 3: With each admissions cycle, the program will continue to enhance and strengthen the admission process to create a diverse student population that is reflective of the communities we serve. Benchmarked by current census data.
  • Goal 4: The program will provide each student with opportunities for interprofessional collaborative experiences (IPE) and a foundation for leadership, clinical oriented research, and continued life-long learning. Benchmarked by participation in at least 2 IPE educational activities per year.

Competencies for the PA Profession

  1. knowledge for practice 
  2. interpersonal and communication skills
  3. person-centered care 
  4. interprofessional collaboration
  5. professionalism and ethics
  6. practice based learning and quality improvement
  7. society and population health
These core competencies for the PA profession were developed through collaborative efforts between Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Core Competencies for New PA Graduates

  1. patient-centered practice knowledge
  2. society and population health
  3. health literacy and communication
  4. interprofessional collaborative practice and leadership
  5. professional and legal aspects of health care
  6. health care finance and systems
These core competencies for the new PA graduates were developed by Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA).

Learning Outcomes

  1. Medical Knowledge: demonstrate core knowledge about biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care.
  2. Interpersonal and Communication Skills: demonstrate verbal, nonverbal and written communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients and all other persons regarding the health care system.
  3. Patient Care: demonstrate care that is effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of wellness.
  4. Professionalism: demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse patient population and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements.
  5. Systems-Based Practice: demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger system of health care to provide patient care that is of optimal value. Also incorporated within this goal is that students will use technologies to identify, retrieve, and apply relevant information.

Application Information

All applicants must be verified in CASPA by August 1, 2022. Please view our Admission & Requirements Deadlines page

NOTE: A new prerequisite for the upcoming admissions cycle (summer 2023) is HLTH 207 Health Care in the United States or its equivalent at another college or university. This course must be at least 3 credits and, as with all of the prerequisites, you must earn an A or B in the course. The application for summer 2023 opens April 2022

for international students, there is a change to the TOEFL minimum score requirements.  A minimum TOEFL score of 25  is required on the Speaking section. A  minimum score of 20 is required for all other sections (Listening, Reading, and Writing). Students should have a total score of an 85. 

Student Attrition Information

In compliance with the ARC-PA Accreditation Standards (5th Edition), the program will provide the most current annual attrition information. 

Current student attrition information 


How to Apply 

  • Applicants must first apply through CASPA. The CASPA verification deadline is August 1st. 
  • When notified, complete the Towson application by the given deadline. Do not submit the Towson University application unless notified.
  • International graduate students may have additional admission and application requirements. See information about how to apply. 

Professional Accreditation

The program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant Inc. (ARC-PA).

At its September 2021 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) placed the Towson University CCBC Essex Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Towson University on Accreditation-Probation status until its next review in September 2023

Probation accreditation is a temporary accreditation status initially of not less than two years. However, that period may be extended by the ARC-PA for up to an additional two years if the ARC-PA finds that the program is making substantial progress toward meeting all applicable standards but requires additional time to come into full compliance. Probation accreditation status is granted, at the sole discretion of the ARC-PA, when a program holding an accreditation status of Accreditation - Provisional or Accreditation - Continued does not, in the judgment of the ARC-PA, meet the Standards or when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened. Once placed on probation, a program that fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and is subject to having its accreditation withdrawn. 

Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the Program Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s). 

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at 

NCCPA Examination Performance

Individuals who successfully complete the program are eligible for certification by the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Graduates of the Towson University/CCBC-Essex PA program have consistently scored well on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE), and have achieved a 100% first time pass rate for the class of 2020, surpassing the national exam pass rate average.

For more information please view the NCCPA PANCE Exam Performance Summary Report.

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Why Towson University?

A Strong Alumni Network

Join a strong network of successful alumni around the country. More than 1,000 program graduates are employed in a wide variety of medical settings in regional, national and international locations.

 A History of Success

The oldest and most established program in Maryland, the CCBC-Essex physician assistant program began in 1972 as a cooperative effort with the Johns Hopkins University and Franklin Square Hospital. Now a collaborative effort of CCBC-Essex and Towson University, the program has undergone a dynamic evolution in its 40-year history. 

A Vital Role

Make a direct impact on patients and their families. Working as part of the medical team, physician assistants practice medicine by performing patient histories and physical examination, ordering or performing laboratory tests, and analyzing medical data to formulate diagnoses and develop care management plans.   



Contact Information

Program Director

Dr. Marsha Davenport
Linthicum Hall
Room 101 
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.