Physician Assistant Studies (M.S.)

For the first time in their lives, many individuals now have access to insurance through the Affordable Care Act, which means more licensed health care providers are needed to treat them. Physician assistants represent 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 collaborative program offered through the Towson University/CCBC-Essex 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.

Program Mission 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. 


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.


  • Goal 1: For each student cohort, the program will provide the highest level of PA education, medical competencies, and professionalism. 
  • 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. 
  • Goal 4: The program will provide each student with opportunities for interprofessional collaborative experiences and a foundation for leadership, clinical oriented research, and continued life-long learning.

Application Information

All applicants must be verified in CASPA by August 1, 2021. View degree requirements in the Graduate Catalog.

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

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 

Professional Accreditation

The program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant Inc. (ARC-PA). The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted accreditation-continued status to the Towson University/CCBC-Essex physician assistant program sponsored by Towson University.  Accreditation-continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA StandardsThe program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website 

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be Towson University/CCBC-Essex September 2023.  The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy. 

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 classes of 2014 and 2015, 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.   

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Contact Information

Physician Assistant Program
Dr. Marsha Davenport, Program Director
Linthicum Hall
Room 101
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.