Dual Degree in Physician Assistant Studies

The Masters of Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) prepares individuals for patient care roles as a Physician Assistant (PA). Under the supervision of a physician, a PA can diagnose and treat patients, as well as provide a number of health and wellness activities. Thus, the MSPAS curriculum provides a focus on diagnostic and procedural skills that can be applied to a wide variety of patient populations (e.g., internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, pediatrics). Much like pharmacy, to practice as a PA, individuals must pass a national examination. The University of Kentucky program focuses on developing primary care providers, particularly those who seek caregiver roles in a rural setting. For more information on the University of Kentucky MSPAS program go to http://www.mc.uky.edu/PA/index.html.

To be admitted, an applicant must meet the independent admission standards of the College of Pharmacy, the MSPAS Program, and the Graduate School. Students must be admitted to the Graduate School prior to MSPAS coursework, which would begin in the spring semester of the third year of the PharmD program. Pharmacy students who do not hold an awarded bachelor's degree must have at least 90 hours of undergraduate credits to apply to the Graduate School. All applicants must meet the minimum grade point average requirements of the Graduate School for admission, complete all prerequisite courses and successfully complete the GRE examination.

MSPAS/PharmD Advantages

The dual program of study affects the total number of minimum required hours and calendar years required as follows:

MSPAS and Pharm.D. Pursued Sequentially

Credit Hours

Calendar Years

Total hours required in MSPAS program



Total credit hours required in Pharm.D. program 106 required didactic + 8 elective + 50 experiential)





6 Calendar Years


Dual Program

Credit Hours

Calendar Years

Total MSPAS hours required in dual program


Total Pharm.D. credit hours required in dual program (109 required didactic + 26 experiential)


Total dually credited practice experiences




5+ Calendar Years

This dual program of study must be completed in a total of 5 calendar years plus one additional semester.  PharmD graduation occurs in May of the fifth professional year, followed by MSPAS graduation the following semester (August).

From the perspective of the MSPAS program, approved Pharm.D. courses serve as MSPAS elective courses. From the College of Pharmacy perspective, the MSPAS coursework satisfies 8 hours of required electives, but only if the student remains in good standing in both programs and satisifies all degree requirements in 5 years plus one additional summer semester.

Exploring the MSPAS/PharmD Dual Degree Program

Current PharmD students that are considering the MSPAS/PharmD Dual Degree must take additional steps to confirm their interest in a career as a Physician Assistant, as well as to demonstrate their competitiveness for the program. Specific requirements for PharmD students are to:

  • Contact Dr. Mandy Jones to learn more about the program.  Dr. Jones will provide initial guidance and then refer the student to the PharmD/MSPAS Faculty Advisor in the College of Health Sciences.  Pharmacy students must work with the specific dual degree advisor to receive program-specific academic advising.
  • Attend dual degree information sessions held by the College of Pharmacy each Spring Semester to learn more about the program and application details.

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page last modified: January 22 2015     

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