School News
Austin College welcomes initial cohort to Master of Medical Science-Physician Assistant Program
By Austin College
Jun 25, 2024
Print this page
Email this article

Sherman, Texas -- Austin College welcomed the initial cohort of students to its Master of Medical Science-Physician Assistant program Monday, June 3, 2024, at the College’s Health Campus.

Placement in the program is competitive, with over 1,200 applications received to fill the 34 available openings. Dr. Diana Noller, Associate Professor of Medical Science and Founding Director of the program, said, “Today marks the beginning of Austin College’s mission to train talented graduate students who have the heart to serve others, guiding their transformation into PAs who practice with excellence and make a difference in the lives of individuals and communities.”

Upon the students’ anticipated May 2026 graduation, they will be poised to work as physician assistants in outpatient and inpatient settings, as well as in emergency and operating rooms.  They will work in all areas of medicine and with patients across the human lifespan.

The Austin College Health Campus is a 13,000 square foot facility designed exclusively for the physician assistant program. State-of-the-art teaching tools include holographic anatomy software and Anatomage tables, which allow students to interact with the human body virtually. Students will also be able to practice mock patient encounters in the facility’s simulated inpatient and outpatient rooms.

The Austin College Master of Medical Science-Physician Assistant program was developed in response to a nationwide shortage of healthcare providers. The program’s start-up costs were funded through the generosity of Hillcrest Foundation, Texoma Health Foundation, Clara Blackford Smith and W. Aubrey Smith Charitable Foundation, M.B. and Edna Zale Foundation, and individual donors.

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, pre-professional foundations, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 44 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and an expert faculty of more than 100 educators allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Austin College Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Austin College. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.