March 25, 2024

UCalgary launches Master of Physician Assistant Studies program

Inaugural Alberta program seeks first 20 learners as admissions portal now open
Two yellow, red and orange UCalgary banners behind tress
Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is now accepting applications from students applying to its Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program, a first of its kind in Alberta. The two-year course-based graduate degree program is accepting applications in anticipation of a late-August course start. The deadline to apply is Apr. 14.

“Congratulations to the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) on the launch of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program," says Rajan Sawhney, Alberta’s minister of Advanced Education. "Alberta is proud to support this new program through foundational funding of 40 seats in Budget 2023. 

"With the admissions portal now open for the first contingent of students to begin in late August, we look forward to a new generation of physician assistants supporting Albertans’ health across the system, from emergency departments and operating rooms to primary care clinics,” Sawhney adds. 

A woman stands behind a podium

Minister of Advanced Education Rajan Sawhney

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

“The University of Calgary works collaboratively with the Government of Alberta to bring about transformative change in medical education, clinical practice and health outcomes. In working towards these goals, we are grateful for the province’s support of our essential role in improving health care for all Albertans," says Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor, University of Calgary. 

"The launch of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program is an important next step in providing the highest quality frontline practitioners to sustain our people and our communities.”

Physician assistants are highly skilled health-care professionals who work under the supervision of licensed medical practitioners in settings including hospitals, health-care clinics and physician offices. MPAS graduates will be eligible for the national physician assistant certification exam and qualify for registration with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.

“The CSM is reimagining health for all, and the introduction of a physician assistant program is a prime example of how we achieve that goal,” says Dr. Todd Anderson, MD, dean of the Cumming School of Medicine. “We aim to provide the best experience in Canada for our learners and be a transdisciplinary academic leader. I’d like to thank the Government of Alberta for its support in bringing this from vision to reality and we look forward to welcoming these talented new learners to our campus in August.”

The university is projecting enrolment for the program of 20 students per year.

UCalgary has been developing the program since receiving an Alberta Advanced Education grant from the provincial government in 2023 through the Targeted Enrolment Expansion Grant program, a program designed to ease the shortage of primary health-care providers in Alberta

MPAS objectives include attracting applicants from Alberta, particularly students from rural and remote communities, Indigenous communities and equity-deserving groups.

Todd Anderson is a cardiologist and professor in the Department of Cardiac Sciences and dean of the Cumming School of Medicine. He is a member and former director of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute.

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