Physician Assistant Program

Physician Assistant Programs California

Welcome to the Master Physician Assistant Program

The Physician Assistant Program at Samuel Merritt University prepares graduates for the practice of medicine in an ever changing clinical environment. Graduates possess the educational foundation for continued intellectual growth, in a shrinking world of diverse cultures. Graduates demonstrate the institutional values embodied in the nine Samuel Merritt Core Learning Competencies, including critical thinking, effective communication, clinical competence, and skill in scientific inquiry.

Why Choose the Physician Assistant Program at Samuel Merritt University...

  • 95% first time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) for all graduates. Average national first time pass rate over same period = 94%
  • Accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant; next review September 2018
  • Small class sizes. The SMU PA Department admits an annual class of 44 students
  • Campus Location: Oakland, CA with clinical placement sites in the greater Bay Area
  • Inclusive, diverse campus culture that values student success
  • Stable and supportive faculty who foster a collaborative learning environment
  • Extensive use of medical simulation technology throughout the curriculum
  • Opportunities to participate in community service activities
  • Mentoring high school students in the FACES for the Future Coalition
  • International Healthcare Club with faculty-led medical trips to Panama twice a year
  • The PA Program is committed to the education of highly skilled, knowledgeable Physician Assistants who contribute to the provision of high quality health care to all individuals in a wide variety of clinical settings.

See 'Program Goals' section to review the NCCPA 5-year performance report for SMU graduates.

Student & Alumni Testimonials:

"I was very impressed that they had very good numbers, so I knew they were doing a good job teaching their students. For me though, it was the faculty. They were very approachable. They seemed to be not only there for the Program, but also, very much there for the students."

"I am very grateful, not only for the opportunity to attend Samuel Merritt, but also for the excellent quality of the program, from faculty members, to didactic flow, and clinical experiences."

"The single most valuable thing I learned was how to write a solid chart -- THANK YOU!"

"PA school is extremely challenging and will test your commitment to its fullest.  At SMU, you are given every tool you need to master the didactic portion, pass the PANCE and achieve your dream of becoming a PA."

"I think the core faculty instructors are extremely passionate and good at what they do.  They seem to genuinely care about their students and are very knoweldgeable."

"I enjoy the student teacher relationship we have.  I like how our staff feel supportive and open to hearing us out.  I think we get great simulation opportunities that are incredibly helpful."

Preceptor & Supervising Physician Testimonials:

"I've been taking students for a long time and you are the first one to show not only competency in the subject of OB/GYN, but also a great strong technique with your exams.  You need to thank whoever taught you."

"Her fund of knowledge is outstanding, and when she doesn't know something, she immediately asks questions, looks up information and owns her new knowledge.  She is an absolute pleasure!"

"I am impressed by her willingness to see all patients and manage more complicated presentations.  She can manage electronic records and is becoming good at managing multiple patients from beginning to end."

"He constantly sought out educational opportunities, and was a true pleasure to work with.  We look forward to having him as a peer in the PA community."

"She was prompt, interested and genuinely cared for the patients that she saw during her rotation here.  Her technical surgical skills are excellent and knows her anatomy well."

"He has a great bedside manner.  I can tell he really cares about patients.  I appreciate his attention to detail."

"She has good rapport with patients, asks the right questions, and demonstrates good physical exam skills.  She asks good questions and has thoughtful responses to discussions on patient care."

"He was always on time.  Eager to learn, interested and professional.  I received excellent feedback from the patients that he saw."

Application Deadline:

The MPA program at Samuel Merritt University participates in the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Applicants apply online at

Applications for Fall are available on the CASPA website beginning May 1st. First consideration will be given to applicants who have submitted all required documents to CASPA by Oct. 1st. Applications submitted to CASPA after Oct. 1st will be considered on a space-available basis and admission will be closed after a suitable cohort has been identified.

For admission requirements:


Interested in becoming a Preceptor for PA students?  Please email


In less than two years, my family has a better life. It was a fast program and I spent many nights studying after the kids went to bed, but now I’ve got a lot to show for it: A new career Alejandra Villegas FNP
Our background in sports and passion for physical performance drove us to study the science of human movement. Tino and Tron Tino & Tron Hardy Physical Therapy
So many foot problems can be successfully treated if they are identified early, and corrective measures are taken. Then, there are patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases that require specialized, ongoing foot care. We see everything in our clinics. Samantha Ralstin Samantha Ralstin Podiatric Medicine

Program Resources

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