Coordinated Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies and Master of Public Health (MSPAS/MPH) Dual Degree Program

The coordinated Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies and Master of Public Health (MSPAS/MPH) dual degree program will prepare physician assistant students for leadership roles that address community health care needs. The MSPAS/MPH program aims to increase the number primary care clinicians with public health expertise and thus improve access, quality, and cost of care. In addition to developing clinical competencies and skills as a physician assistant, this plan of study provides students with opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and a public health practice experience with rural primary care clinical community partners. This innovative program enhances physician assistant education with integrated training in public health and primary care and thereby provides students with the information and skills needed to monitor and assess community health, develop and analyze programs and policies, coordinate and integrate care, and utilize appropriate population health measures in quality improvement strategies.

Students enrolled in the MSPAS/MPH program can complete 26 credit hours of online coursework in public health in the spring and summer terms prior to fall matriculation into the PA program. Courses available for completion during these two terms include the required public health foundational courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health policy, and health behavior. Several public health elective courses are available to meet the curriculum needs and interest of the PA/MPH students. Students then begin the PA Program didactic year in the fall after completing the first two semesters in the UAB SOPH. Twelve credit hours of coursework in the PA program curriculum, such as research methods, health administration, and health behavior, accrue credit toward both degrees. MSPAS/MPH students complete a specially designed integrated public health /primary care internship and tailor their master’s research project topic to address the public health needs of medically underserved communities. A sample curriculum sequence is available here.

Why should you pursue a dual MSPAS/MPH degree at UAB?

There are multiple reasons. Among these are a wider choice of career opportunities, broader perspective on caring for patients within their communities, increased ability to provide evidence-based medical care and expansion of practice capability to tackle international health challenges especially in the developing world.

The UAB School of Public Health and the UAB Physician Assistant Program are recognized leaders in education. The School of Public Health is ranked in the top 20 Schools of Public Health by US News and World Report. The UAB Online MPH is recognized as one of the best online master of public health degree programs in the United States. The UAB Physician Assistant Program is ranked #16 in Physician Assistant Program by US News and World Report.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham has one of the oldest Physician Assistant programs in the nation and has a rich history of community collaboration and support. Housed within the School of Health Professions on the campus of the world class UAB Medical Center complex, a student in the dual MSPAS/MPH program will have access to the region’s medical communities with diverse clinical experiences and opportunities. Students at UAB will have outstanding opportunities to learn both the medical and public health perspectives of providing care while serving in underserved areas.

Admissions Requirements

Students must meet the admissions requirements for both the MSPAS degree program as well as the MPH degree program. Click here for MSPAS admissions requirements. Click here for UAB School of Public Health admissions requirements.

In addition to meeting the stated requirements for each degree separately, applicants for the dual degree must also have completed a bachelor degree and all prerequisites before December 30 in order to start the program in January of the following spring term.

Application Procedures

In order to be considered for admission to the UAB MSPAS/MPH dual degree program, candidates will need to complete and submit the following materials by the stated deadlines:
August 1: The Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) Application
August 7: The UAB PA Supplemental Application

The Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) Application: The UAB PA program participates in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Please consult for more information regarding specific CASPA application requirements, procedures and fees. Applicants should use GRE Code 0570 when sending GRE scores to CASPA. CASPA will verify the application information and send completed applications to the program.

The UAB PA Supplemental Application: The PA program supplemental application is an opportunity for PA program applicants to provide details regarding completion of the program’s prerequisite courses and to express their specific interest in the UAB program. On this form, MSPAS/MPH dual degree program applicants should also be sure to complete the information required for consideration of dual degree admission. 

Completed applications are reviewed by members of the admissions committee. Interviews typically occur in October and November. Decisions regarding acceptance to the MSPAS/MPH program will occur in November and December for matriculation in January. 

Students accepted into the dual degree program will also need to complete the UAB Graduate School applications. One is for the MPH program and one is for the UAB PA program. Instructions for completing these applications will be provided to students upon acceptance to the MPSAS/MPH program.

The UAB PA program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The UAB MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Fees and Financial Aid

All tuition and fees are billed to the student by the corresponding school during matriculation. The estimated budgeted cost of attendance and information regarding financial support can be found here: