Student Spotlight

Shreyash Pradhan, OMS III

Class of 2020 (Fellow)

  • Hometown: Aurora, CO
  • Undergraduate Studies: Integrative Physiology (University of Colorado Boulder)
  • Clubs and Activities: Anatomy Fellow, Orthopedics, Surgery, Rotary, Sports Med, Global Track, and RVU Ambassador

Why did you choose RVU? RVUCOM’s dedication to providing care to the underserved population and the Rocky Mountain region specifically. Colorado has been home for...
Read More

Faculty Spotlight

Sarah Curtis Lopez, DO

Assistant Professor, Osteopathic Principles and Practice; Course Director, OPP I & II; OPP Pre-doctoral Fellowship Director

  • Hometown: Dallas, TX
  • Undergraduate Studies: BA in Spanish: Hispanic Studies
  • Graduate Studies: University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (Fort Worth, TX); Neuromusculoskeletal medicine/osteopathic manipulative medicine (NMM/OMM) residency at St. Barnabas Hospital (Bronx, NY)

What class do you teach? OPP I-IV, NMM/OMM residents Why did you choose to teach at RVUCOM? What drew...
Read More

Physician Assistant (PA) Program

Rocky Vista University (RVU) has applied for Accreditation – Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The RVU Physician Assistant Program anticipates matriculating its first class in September, 2018, pending achieving Accreditation – Provisional status at the March, 2018 ARC-PA meeting. 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 the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. In the event Accreditation – Provisional status is not granted at the March, 2018 meeting, a 2018 cohort will not matriculate.

Program Mission The mission of the Rocky Vista Physician Assistant Program is to prepare clinically competent, collaborative, and compassionate physician assistants to provide primary care. Program Goals The Program strives to achieve excellence in:

  1. Program completion  (measurement: at least 95% of students graduate from the program)
  1. National certification (measurement: the program meets or exceeds the national mean for first time pass rates for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam [PANCE])
  1. Graduate employment (measurement: at least 95% of graduates who seek PA employment are certified, licensed and practicing as PAs within 12 months of graduation)
  1. Achieving the program mission  (measurement: employer surveys indicate high satisfaction with program graduates)

Central Application Service for Physician Assistants

Rocky Vista University partners with CASPA, a streamlined admissions process for PA programs. To access their website, please go to

Requirements and Prerequisites

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements, which have been established by the Board of Trustees:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university must be completed prior to matriculation.
  • The following prerequisite coursework from a regionally accredited institution of higher education must be successfully completed prior to matriculation**:
    • Biology (12 semester hours including lab)
    • General Chemistry (8 semester hours including lab)
    • Organic Chemistry (8 semester hours including lab)
    • Biochemistry (3 semester hours)
    • Physics (4 semester hours including lab)
    • Statistics (3 semester hours)
    • Behavioral or Social Sciences (6 semester hours)
    • Humanities (9 semester hours)

**No grade below a “C” will be considered to fulfill requirements. Note: upper division coursework such as Genetics, Human Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Cellular Biology, Medical Terminology, Ethics, Psychology, Literature, Communication, and Philosophy is highly recommended.

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8.
  • All candidates are required to have a minimum of 1000 documented hours of paid healthcare relevant experience.
  • Students must pass a background check and drug screen. Note: Applicant cannot have been convicted of a felony criminal offense or of any criminal offense, regardless of its designation, involving a crime of moral turpitude or a crime against a child.
  • Travel Requirements: the program requires students to accept clinical rotation assignments at the discretion of the program.


Admissions Process

  • Submit CASPA application (Application must be verified by CASPA prior to the RVU deadline)
  • 3 letters of reference (Submitted to CASPA)
  • Supplemental application fee
  • Appear for interview, if invited
  • Accepted candidates will be required to make a non-refundable deposit of $500 upon receipt of ARC-PA accreditation.
  • Provide evidence of compliance with CDC guidelines for healthcare workers regarding immunizations, screening, and freedom from communicable diseases
  • Hold current BLS certification (health care providers) upon matriculation



To be considered for the class matriculating in September 2018, applications must be submitted and verified by CASPA no later than December 1, 2017.

Advanced Placement and Transfers

The RVU Physician Assistant Program does not grant advance placement for any of its courses and does not accept transfers from other Physician Assistant programs.

Technical Standards

The anticipated cost of tuition and fees for completing the MPAS will approximate $80,000-85,000. The RVU Board of Trustees determines tuition and fees for all RVU programs on an annual basis. A decision on the tuition and fees for the RVU PA class matriculating in 2018 will be made by the BOT in November 2017 and will be posted when approved. The RVU PA program benchmarks its tuition and fees to be competitive with private institutions offering PA education across the United States.

Cost to Attend

Under construction

Prior to Matriculation

Under construction

Refund of Tuition and Fees

A student who withdraws (either voluntarily or involuntarily) before the first day of class of a semester for which they have already paid their tuition and fees will receive a 100% refund for that semester, with the exception of any non-refundable deposits which will be retained by the University. Students who matriculate into the University, begin classes or rotations, and subsequently withdraw (either voluntarily or involuntarily) within the first seven calendar days of a semester shall receive a refund equal to the amount of their tuition for that semester less $4,000. Fees may be refunded with the exception of charges already incurred as of the date of withdrawal. Students who withdraw (either voluntarily or involuntarily) from the University after the first seven days of class or rotations but before the thirtieth calendar day of the semester shall receive a refund of 50% of the amount of tuition paid for that semester. No fees will be refunded. Important Note: All dismissals are deemed involuntary withdrawals from the University. Students who are on a voluntary or administrative leave of absence will not be eligible for refunds. Any exceptions to this refund policy must be made by the Dean of the College.


The MPAS curriculum is sequenced and designed to address and integrate the entrustable professional activities (EPA) in which are contained the competencies the student must achieve to successfully enter the profession upon graduation. In the first two semesters (Didactic Phase) the learner will move from foundational concepts to clinically oriented content.  The subsequent five semesters (Clinical Phase) are dedicated to advancing the student to the level of “competent” for all thirteen EPA’s.  This is achieved through supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPE) and clinical seminars. Upon successful completion of the program, the student will be prepared to enter the physician assistant profession, obtain national certification, gain state licensure, and provide clinically competent and compassionate care as part of a collaborative patient-centered team.

Didactic Phase (Two Semesters)

Credit Hours

Total = 57

  MPAS 5001/5002: Interprofessional Seminar I, II

The student will develop the knowledge and skills to achieve competency in EPA-9 (Collaborate as a member of an interprofessional team). These two institution level courses are required for all RVU students.


  MPAS 5111: Foundations: Normal Human Development

The student will develop a foundational knowledge of normal physical, social and psychological development and function across the lifespan. Self-care for the student professional will be an integral part of the course.


  MPAS 5113/5114: Foundations: Molecular and Cellular Concepts I, II

The student will develop the foundational knowledge needed in pharmacology, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, physiology, and microbiology in order to understand the pathophysiology of illness and disease and the rationale for therapeutic intervention.


  MPAS 5115/5116: Foundations: Anatomy I, II

The student will develop the knowledge and skills to correlate human anatomy with structure, function, and the clinical assessment of pathology.   Lecture, cadaveric dissection, and virtual dissection will provide the student the opportunity to integrate the appropriate use of diagnostic imaging with clinical anatomy.


  MPAS 5131/5132: Clinical Medicine: Professional Seminar I, II

The student will develop the knowledge and skills to function effectively within the existing US healthcare environment and to advocate for positive change in the future.  The course will explore both macro and micro approaches to health care and its delivery by incorporating the principles of public health, cultural competency, communication competency, social determinants of health, patient advocacy, biomedical ethics, informed consent, patient safety, the impaired provider, and healthcare financing. Central to each of these discussions will be the role of the PA and the PA profession. This course will introduce the knowledge and skills to achieve competency in EPA 11 (obtain informed consent for tests and/or procedures) and EPA 13 (identify system failures and contribute to a culture of safety and improvement).


  MPAS 5133/5134: Clinical Medicine: Illness and Disease I, II

The student will develop a foundational knowledge of illness and disease using an organ system approach. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the presentation, pathophysiology, diagnosis, prevention and management of the most common diagnoses.


  MPAS 5135/5136: Clinical Medicine: Evidence-Based Practice I, II

The student will develop the knowledge and skills to achieve competencies within EPA-7 (formulate clinical questions and retrieve evidence to advance patient care) and EPA-6 (provide an oral presentation of a clinical encounter).  This course will provide the foundational knowledge from which the student will formulate a research proposal and design the capstone project.


  MPAS 5137/5138: Clinical Medicine: Skills and Assessment I, II

The student will develop the knowledge and skills to achieve competency for EPA-1 (Gather a history and perform a physical examination), EPA 3 (recommend and interpret common diagnostic and screening tests) and EPA-5 (document clinical encounters in the patient record), EPA 8 (Give or receive a patient handover to transition care responsibility), and EPA 12 (perform general procedures).


  MPAS 5139/5140: Clinical Medicine: Reasoning and Application I, II

The student will develop the knowledge and skills to achieve competency for EPA-2 (Prioritize a differential diagnosis following a clinical encounter), EPA 10 (Recognize a patient requiring urgent or emergent care and initiate evaluation and management), EPA-4 (develop and implement patient orders and management plans) and EPA-7 (formulate clinical questions and retrieve evidence to advance patient care) through integration of content from other courses and facilitated interprofessional small group sessions.


  MPAS 5150: Introduction to Supervised Clinical Practice Experience

The student will be oriented for entry into the 48 weeks of SCPE. Expectations, competencies, assessments and the successful completion of the graduate portfolio will be discussed.  Training for the clinical tracking system will be provided.  The student must pass the clinical assessments in order to progress to the SCPE.


Clinical Phase (Five Semesters)

Credit Hours

Total = 65

  MPAS 5251/5252/5253/5254: Clinical Seminar I, I, III, IV

The student will continue to move toward mastery level competency by integrating advanced level content in diagnostic reasoning, pharmacotherapeutics, and therapeutic/diagnostic procedures. These courses also serve as the formal beginning of the transition to practice through presentation of content on the business of medicine, licensure, lifelong learning, and job selection.


  MPAS 5261/5262/5263/5264: Supervised Clinical Practice I, II, II, IV  

The student will demonstrate competency in all thirteen EPAs in the patient care setting.  The student will be exposed to patients in out-patient, in-patient, emergency department and operating room settings. The student will care for patients across the lifespan, providing preventive, emergent, acute and chronic care for a wide range of health needs.


(48 weeks)

  MPAS 5271: Research

The student will be assigned four weeks of independent study during the year 3 spring semester in order to develop the graduate research project.  At the end of the four weeks, the student will have developed a viable research proposal which will become the foundation for the student’s Capstone project.  The proposal must receive program approval and IRB approval/exemption.


  MPAS 5272: Capstone

The student will demonstrate readiness for entry to the profession through mastery of the competencies for the newly graduated physician assistant (the competencies within all thirteen EPAs).   Demonstration activities include presentation of the required research project and presentation of the graduate portfolio.


  MPAS 5391: Independent Study

Program approved didactic or clinical course work primarily used for remediation purposes.

Variable credit

Rocky Vista University (RVU)  has applied for Accreditation – Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The RVU Physician Assistant Program  anticipates matriculating its first class in September, 2018, pending achieving Accreditation – Provisional status at the March, 2018 ARC-PA meeting.  Accreditation -Provisional is an accreditation status for a new PA program that, at the time of its initial accreditation review, demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards.  In the event Accreditation – Provisional status is not granted at the March, 2018 meeting,  a 2018 cohort will not matriculate.

Beginning in 2020 (the anticipated graduation of the first class of students), the program will publish in this location the  PANCE first time pass rate for each graduating class.

The program anticipates matriculating its first class in September 2018. This section will include the student handbook, policies, etc.

Due to the rigorous and lock step nature of the program’s curriculum, it is strongly recommended that PA students do not plan to work during their training.

When does the program begin? The first class of students will matriculate September 2018, following the Labor Day holiday.  Orientation to the program will be held during the last week of August.  Matriculation is contingent upon the program receiving accreditation-provisional. Is a bachelor’s degree required? Yes, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university must be completed prior to matriculation. What are the prerequisites? Program prerequisites are listed in the Admissions section of this website. There are no exceptions granted to these requirements. Is there a minimum GPA requirement? The program requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8.  Reference to this can be found in the Admissions section of this website. Can I be finishing a prerequisite course at the time of application? Yes.  You may submit an application with courses in progress.  However, all courses must be completed with a satisfactory grade prior to matriculation. Is there a minimum number of previous healthcare experience hours required to apply? Yes.  The program requires a minimum of 1000 hours of paid healthcare relevant experience. Reference to this requirement can be found under the Admissions section of this website. Does the program accept experiences gained during a healthcare training program toward the required 1000 hours of paid healthcare relevant experience? No.  While we understand many students will have participated in clinical encounters during a healthcare training program, the level of responsibility for students is different than that of a paid employee.  Paid employees are typically required to provide care to patients that students are not expected to provide. How does the program define healthcare relevant experience? Defining healthcare relevant experience will be left to the applicant to describe as part of the application process.  The program does not identify specific experiences. When can I apply for admission? The program partners with the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).  The CASPA application cycle will open on April 27, 2017 and applicants to the RVU PA Program can begin the application process on or after this date.  CASPA will forward to the RVU PA program only those applications that have been successfully verified. How long does the CASPA verification process take? Once an applicant has completed and submitted the CASPA application, CASPA will verify that the information provided is accurate.  The verification process may take up to 4 weeks.  Once an application is verified by CASPA, it is forwarded to the RVU PA program for consideration. Forwarding of applications may take an additional 2 weeks beyond that of verification.   The PA program must receive verified applications by December 1, 2017 in order to be considered. Applicants are encouraged to consider deadlines carefully and start the application process early.  Please refer to the CASPA website for additional information: What will the curriculum be? Course descriptions are listed in the Curriculum and Course Descriptions section of this website. How long is the program? The proposed program is seven semesters (27 months). Do I have to take the prerequisites within a certain period of time? All prerequisites must be successfully completed prior to matriculation.  There is no period of time previous to which prerequisites will not be accepted.  However, experience has shown that students who have taken the prerequisites within the last five years do better academically. Can I make an appointment to talk to program faculty about my application or prerequisites? No.  Neither the program faculty nor staff provide individual transcript, prerequisite or application advising, however, the RVU Office of Admissions does provide advising.  Inquiries should be directed to Will an arrest record preclude someone from applying to the RVU PA Program? An arrest will not preclude a candidate from being considered; however, anyone convicted of a felony will not be accepted into the program. Please refer to the Admissions section of this website for information about background checks and drug screens. Does the program accept AP credits to fulfill a prerequisite? No. Only graded coursework appearing on the college transcript will be considered to fulfill the prerequisite requirements of the program.

If you are interested in becoming a Physician Assistant, RVU will be holding General Information Sessions starting in April of 2018. Please check back then to RSVP.