Degrees Offered

MEDEX Northwest, the Physician Assistant Program at the University of Washington School of Medicine offers a Master or Bachelor of Clinical Health Services degree (MCHS or BCHS). All students who complete the program successfully also earn a Certificate of Completion, which qualifies them to take the national certification examination.

Applicants interested in earning a master’s degree in conjunction with their physician assistant training will apply to either the Seattle, WA or Spokane, WA training site. These are the only two sites accepting students into the master’s option. Applicants applying to the master’s option in the 2013-2014 application cycle must have a prior bachelor’s degree to be eligible. For a complete list of MCHS degree option prerequisites, please see details provided on the MCHS Prerequisite page.

Applicants interested in earning a bachelor’s degree in conjunction with their physician assistant training will apply to Tacoma, WA, Spokane, WA or Anchorage, AK. Beginning in 2013 the Spokane, WA training site will be a hybrid site offering both the master’s and bachelor’s degree options. A prior bachelor’s degree will not be required when applying to bachelor’s sites. For details about this option please see the BCHS prerequisite page.

Master of Clinical Health Services

All master’s-level students will participate in the core MEDEX PA curriculum, which focuses on primary care and improving healthcare access for the medically underserved. Specific graduate-level assignments and activities will be woven throughout the regular PA curriculum.  Students in both Seattle and Spokane who have selected the master’s option will participate in additional master’s-only coursework and complete a capstone project.


Focused Study Course Options:

Students entering the master’s-level program will select a specific Focused Study course offering advanced skills and knowledge in their chosen focus area. Students will declare their Focused Study choice at the beginning of spring quarter of the didactic phase of training. Focused Study course options include:

  • Healthcare for Rural and Underserved Populations,
  • Public Health and Preventive Medicine,
  • Academic Medicine and Specialty Practice,
  • Global Health.

Capstone Project

With faculty guidance, students will develop and complete an individual capstone project within their selected focus area. Projects will be presented to faculty and fellow students during the summer graduation week.

Program timing:

With the addition of the master’s-specific coursework, the MEDEX master’s program will be a total of nine (9) quarters. The additional quarter is the summer quarter between the didactic and clinical years.  This second summer quarter will begin with an on-campus intensive in Seattle, followed by six weeks of online course participation to complete the quarter.


Bachelor of Clinical Health Services

Applicants for a bachelor’s degree must apply for the didactic year of training in Tacoma, WA, Anchorage, AK, or Spokane, WA.  Students attending the first didactic year in any one of these sites may still have their clinical year arranged in potential training sites located throughout the five-state service region (WWAMI).

Applicants interested in earning a first or second bachelor’s degree must first meet the specific MEDEX academic and clinical experience prerequisites.

The only site options for certificate and bachelor’s students are the Tacoma or Anchorage classroom locations. Students will be eligible for a University of Washington Bachelor of Clinical Health Services degree if they additionally meet the UW admissions requirement for matriculation into a degree pathway. Students attending the Anchorage site can choose to earn a bachelor’s degree through either the UW or the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Program timing:

The MEDEX bachelor’s program will be a total of eight (8) quarters. All BCHS students have a break between the didactic and clinical year. The break between the first and second year is an opportune time to complete any UW-required coursework for those students who may still need to fulfill graduation requirements.


Extended Master of Clinical Health Services

The Extended Master of Clinical Health Services (EMCHS) at the University of Washington School of Medicine has been carefully designed to meet the demand of bachelor’s-trained PAs who would like to earn their master’s degree while still working at their clinical practice.

Please note: this degree program is open only to those who are already PAs.  If you wish to apply to become a PA, please refer to the MCHS and BCHS options.

Degree Prerequisites

View the EMCHS degree prerequisites.

Advantages to this degree option:

  • As a practicing PA you can continue your clinical practice.
  • Receive credit for the patients you treat.
  • Receive credit for the improvements you make in your clinical practice while enrolled in the EMCHS program.

Coursework is delivered primarily online! Each of the five academic quarters will include online coursework and continuing work on a capstone project. UW School of Medicine faculty teach all online courses, and the four focused study options provide opportunities for professional and personal growth in the areas that are of most interest and relevance to you.

There is an on-campus requirement in the first two weeks of the extended master’s program but the overall program requires minimal time away from home. The on-campus commitment is quite brief: 2 weeks in June at the beginning of the master’s course of study, and then the final week preceding graduation 15 months later. (Summer housing is available on campus at a very reasonable rate.)

The MEDEX Extended Master’s Degree is an excellent way to meet the needs of bachelor’s-trained PAs who want to take that next step in their careers.

View the degree overview

MEDEX collaborates with other departments and institutions to offer a limited number of unique degree options for specialized educational programs.  Please review the options below carefully to determine whether one of these opportunities is appropriate for you.

MEDEX-PharmD Program

MEDEX Northwest and the PharmD Program at University of Washington have agreed to cross-train a limited number of students for a developing role as PharmD/PA-C. MEDEX places a high priority on the development of new niches of physician assistant practice as a strategy for increasing healthcare access throughout the region. The PharmD-PA joint training program creates the unique opportunity to place cross-trained individuals in academic instructional settings, such as residencies, in clinics providing care to the urban and rural medically underserved, and in newly developing hospitalist roles.

The PharmD-PA option is only available to students already enrolled in the Pharmacy Doctorate Program at the University of Washington. Students must be second-year PharmD students in good academic standing. Applicants must meet all MEDEX academic prerequisites, however the clinical experience prerequisite is more flexible.

Satisfactory grades in basic science and pharmacy courses taken within the PharmD program will allow MEDEX Northwest to waive the first summer Basic Science course, and the Patient Mangement course offered by MEDEX Northwest may be waived for students in the MEDEX-PharmD collaborative program.

Year one and two: Enrolled in UW Pharmacy program

Summer after year two: Make an application directly to the MEDEX Physician Assistant Program submitting all required documentation and application materials no later than October 1st. UW PharmD students will be required to complete a CASPA online application. The link to the CASPA website can be found on the Apply to MEDEX page of the MEDEX website. We will also require a MEDEX supplemental application before October 1st.

Year three: Pharmacy school

Summer after year three: Pharmacy rotations and start MEDEX.

Years four & five: The fourth year of Pharmacy School will be partially replaced by years 1 and 2 of PA training. The second year of PA training is comprised of clinical clerkships that will satisfy the elective clerkship requirements for the PharmD program. PharmD-PA students will receive their Pharmacy degree in June of their fifth year, followed by their PA certificate in August.

MEDEX and the Executive Master of Public Health (eMPH)

A collaborative master’s pathway is available with the School of Public Health and Community Medicine’s Executive MPH degree program. This collaborative pathway is currently being offered to MEDEX students in the bachelor’s degree option only (students in the master’s option are not eligible for the concurrent program at this time). The eMPH program is designed to be completed in three calendar years and requires the following components.

  • Four weeks of intensive in-residence study on the UW campus for each of three summers
  • Two academic years of coursework through directed independent study
  • Attendance at four on-campus weekend (Fri-Sat) seminars at approximately two-month intervals during the first two academic years
  • Completion of a thesis or an agency-related project
  • Completion of a practicum (if needed)

MEDEX BCHS students are eligible to apply for the MPH program during their first year of PA training (February application). Acceptance is competitive and students choosing to apply for this option must meet all prerequisites for the MPH program.

Students in the MPH option will be expected to attend MPH classes in Seattle during 3 summer quarters, and also 4 weekends per year over a two-year period. Students accepted by the Executive MPH program will normally begin their public health coursework during the summer between their first and second year of the MEDEX program. Alternative timing would be to start near the end of the clinical phase.  MEDEX training will satisfy 6 elective credits, and depending on your rotations, may satisfy 3 required practicum credits in the MPH program. MEDEX will consider a public health focus in arranging your clinical year. The MEDEX clinical elective rotation will be classified as “Public Health”, allowing a student to participate in the MPH required summer courses on campus during the MEDEX clinical year. The MPH degree will require a thesis or project, which can be developed during the physician assistant clinical year and completed after graduation from PA school.

Prerequisites for the MPH option include:

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • 3.0 grade point average on the most recent 90 quarter or 60 semester credits
  • Three years experience in a healthcare field
  • GRE within the last six years

Current MEDEX students must consult with designated personnel at MEDEX prior to beginning an application for this dual program option. Contact the main office at (206) 616-4001.

For more information about the UW Executive MPH program:
Phone: (206) 685-7580

MEDEX and Canadian Training Opportunities

In Canada, over the last 50 years, only the Canadian military trained and utilized physician assistants as part of the medical team. Recently, the Canadian Medical Association granted civilian physician assistants recognition as well. This opens the door to new training opportunities for qualified allied health practitioners to join the field. In May 2013 MEDEX Northwest will accept applications for the 2014 academic year from Canadian applicants to train at our Seattle or Spokane classroom locations.

Canadian students selected for the program must be eligible for a student visa and will choose to attend either the Seattle or Spokane training site for didactic instruction (year one) beginning in June 2014. The clinical training year will be arranged in sites throughout the WWAMI region and possibly some sites in Canada. Canadian applicants must meet all the same academic and clinical experience prerequisites as other MEDEX applicants.

It is our intent that MEDEX graduates will meet the Canadian requirements and professional standards for PA practice in Canada.

Please contact:
MEDEX Admissions
MEDEX Northwest
(206) 616-4001
Fax: (206) 616-3889

For more information about the PA profession in Canada please visit the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants

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