Our Mission

Loma Linda University Department of Physician Assistant (PA) Sciences educates primary care physician assistants who will provide healthcare in collaboration with physicians as active members of a professional healthcare team. We are committed to excellence and compassion for the whole person and quality healthcare for under-served communities locally and globally in accordance with the mission of Loma Linda University and the School of Allied Health Professions.

Program Brochure

Program Overview

  • Degree: Master of Physician Assistant
  • Program Length: 24 months, full-time
  • Class Size: 38
  • Start Date: September

Additional Program Information

Due to the fast pace and intensity of our program:

  • There is a finite time to assimilate course work and complete assignments.  We discourage students from engaging in any form of employment while enrolled in the program.  Students are required to obtain written permission from the department chair prior to engaging in paid employment.
  • Our program does not offer any part-time or off-site distance-learning options.  Off-site distance learning options may be considered during pandemic, and is at the discretion of University administration through appreciation of Governmental and Public Health recommendations.
  • No advanced placement is awarded or granted for experiential learning or previous education. Prerequisite courses may not substitute for any course in the program.

Academic Courses

During the clinical year, students take the PA Professional Issues course as well as complete their Capstone project.

Program Curriculum

Didactic Phase (12 months, 76 units)

During the didactic phase, students take courses in applied medical and clinical preparatory sciences. With the extensive resources provided by the University, we provide up-to-date, clinically relevant information that students will be able to apply in their clinical rotations and throughout their careers.

Clinical Phase (12 months, 52 units)

In the clinical phase, we create opportunities for students to interact with persons from diverse populations. From the inner city to the suburbs, students complete a total of eight clinical rotations, participating in hands-on clinical experience in a wide variety of outpatient clinics, hospitals and surgical centers.  This allows students to refine their clinical skills in preparation for service to their communities as physician assistants.  Students also complete two didactic courses during the clinical phase, PA Professional Issues and Capstone.

Clinical Rotations

  • Family Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Women’s Health
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Behavioral Health/Psychiatry
  • Elective in an area of choice interest (from a growing list of more than 40 specialties)

Housing & Transportation

Clinical rotations are within a 75-mile radius of the LLU campus unless students apply for distant sites (see below). Housing and transportation are the responsibility of the student except for a small number of inpatient rotations for which housing is provided.

Distant Clinical Rotations

Students are able to apply for a maximum of three distant clinical sites (>75 miles from the program). Sites for these rotations must be either private outpatient facilities or hospital systems with which we have pre-existing contracts or deemed by the program to be a long-term clinical site for which a new contract will need to be generated. In order to be eligible for distant clinical rotations, students must be in good academic standing with the program. Clinical rotation decisions are ultimately made at the discretion of the program faculty.

International Clinical Rotations

International clinical rotations are offered as elective experiences and will be available to students who are in good academic standing with the program. To date, rotations are available in Honduras, Nepal, Sierra Leone, and Malawi with more sites in development. The University will assist the student in finding secure housing through the clinical site when available. However, all expenses incurred are the responsibility of the student.

COVID-19 Updates

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Loma Linda Department of Physician Assistant Sciences has approved temporary updates to the admissions requirements for the 2021-2022 CASPA Application Cycle. Please note that following closure of the 2021-2022 CASPA cycle, the prerequisite course requirement will be reassessed and may return to the original status of a maximum of 1 science and 1 non-science outstanding at the time of application for future application cycles.

(1) We recognize the challenges that an applicant may face in meeting the in-person laboratory requirement.  For this reason, we have modified our pending/outstanding course requirements.  For the 2021-2022 CASPA Application Cycle, Loma Linda University PA Sciences will allow for three total outstanding prerequisite courses at the time of application, with a maximum of 2 science courses outstanding at the time of application.  An outstanding course is defined as any course listed as being in progress when the CASPA application is submitted by the applicant, even if the course will be completed prior to the applicant submitting his or her supplemental application.  All outstanding prerequisites must be completed by the end of Spring quarter of the year of matriculation.

Science courses must be for science majors and include an on-campus or hybrid laboratory component (at least 50% of the lab on campus). It is required that all prerequisite science courses have been taken within the last 10 years.  Introductory courses are not accepted as meeting our science pre-requisite course criteria.

An alternative option for those who are facing difficulty in registration of on campus or hybrid laboratory components are to register for the lecture component of the course online, and complete the laboratory component of the course at a later date.  Please note, both courses must carry an institutional registration (i.e. two separate registered courses - lecture and lab, ex. ANAT1 - Anatomy Lecture, ANAT1A - Anatomy Laboratory) and the syllabus may be requested to ensure that the laboratory component occurred in the on-campus and/or hybrid setting.  Additionally, the applicant must have received a passing grade in both components of the course to be considered.

(2) We will not be accepting prerequisite courses which were changed to Pass/Fail (P/F) due to closure of an academic institution during the COVID-19 pandemic.  All pre-requisite courses must contain a letter grade to be accepted for our admissions process.  Please note that a passing grade is considered a C or better, and C- grades or below are not accepted for prerequisite courses.  Our requirement is as follows: "Pass/fail or credit/no-credit grades are not accepted for prerequisite courses. Grades of “pass” or “credit” for non-prerequisite courses will not be included in GPA calculations.”

(3) We will still require that you complete a minimum of 2000 hours of hands-on Patient Care Experience (PCE) prior to matriculation.  These hours must be paid.  If invited to matriculate, you will be required to submit a document from your payroll or human resources department indicating that these hours were completed prior to beginning the program.  Our requirement is as follows: "2,000 hours of hands-on patient care experience must be completed prior to enrollment.  Preferred experiences include accredited, credentialed professions that provide patient assessment, treatment, patient care plans, and diagnostic testing. Preferred applicants will have direct patient care experience working in clinical settings that involve a range of patient responsibility and involve a high level of critical thinking.  Only paid hours are acceptable.”

(4) Shadowing hours do not meet the direct patient care requirement.  These hours are not a required element of your application, but are strongly recommended.

(5) If invited to interview, you will be contacted by a member of our department.  Interviews will be completed using the Zoom platform for the 2021-2022 CASPA Cycle.

(6) All other requirements and preferences remain in place at this time.  For any additional questions, please visit our website or email pa@llu.edu.