Physician Assistant Program

Physician Assistant Programs California

Welcome to the Master Physician Assistant Program

The physician assistant program at Samuel Merritt University prepares graduates for the practice of medicine in an ever changing clinical environment. Graduates possess the educational foundation for continued intellectual growth, in a shrinking world of diverse cultures. Graduates demonstrate the institutional values embodied in the nine Samuel Merritt Core Learning Competencies, including critical thinking, effective communication, clinical competence, and skill in scientific inquiry.

Why Choose the Physician Assistant Program at Samuel Merritt University...

  • 95% first time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) for all graduates. Average national first time pass rate over same period = 94%
  • Accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant; next review September 2018
  • Small class sizes. The SMU PA Department admits an annual class of 44 students
  • Campus Location: Oakland, CA with clinical placement sites in the greater Bay Area
  • Opportunity to participate in community health with under-served patients and elective international rotation experiences
  • Extensive use of high fidelity medical simulation technology throughout the curriculum
  • The MPA program is committed to the education of highly skilled, knowledgeable physician assistants who contribute to the provision of high quality health care to all individuals in a wide variety of clinical settings.

Graduating Class

Number of First Time Takers

Samuel Merritt University First Time Pass Rate

National First Time Pass Rate










39 90% 95%


42 90% 96%


40 95% 96%

Click here to review the NCCPA 5-year performance report for SMU graduates.

Application Deadline:

The MPA program at Samuel Merritt University participates in the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Applicants apply online at

Applications for Fall are available on the CASPA website beginning May 1st. First consideration will be given to applicants who have submitted all required documents to CASPA by Oct. 1st. Applications submitted to CASPA after Oct. 1st will be considered on a space-available basis and admission will be closed after a suitable cohort has been identified.

For admission requirements:

Why did you choose Samuel Merritt University?

"I was very impressed that for a young program, they had very good numbers, so I knew they were doing a good job teaching their students. For me though, it was the faculty. They were very approachable. They seemed to be not only there for the Program, but also, very much there for the students."
--Aaron Peters, graduate Class of 2005

PA News
Click here for PA News

In less than two years, my family has a better life. It was a fast program and I spent many nights studying after the kids went to bed, but now I’ve got a lot to show for it: A new career Alejandra Villegas FNP
Our background in sports and passion for physical performance drove us to study the science of human movement. Tino and Tron Tino & Tron Hardy Physical Therapy
So many foot problems can be successfully treated if they are identified early, and corrective measures are taken. Then, there are patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases that require specialized, ongoing foot care. We see everything in our clinics. Samantha Ralstin Samantha Ralstin Podiatric Medicine

Program Resources

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