Mission and Goals

Our Mission

Our mission is to develop physician assistants in the Jesuit tradition who realize their full potential as excellent clinicians and national leaders. We pursue this for ad majorem Dei gloriam, the greater glory of God, and the benefit of the human community.

An ideal graduate of our program is well-rounded, clinically and intellectually competent, committed to professional growth, spiritually centered, compassionate and dedicated to doing justice in generous service to others. Our graduates will be leaders in promoting health, wellness, and preventing disease in diverse healthcare settings and in their communities.

Department of PA Studies Goals


PAEA New Graduate Competencies

AAPA and MU Program Competencies


Goal 1: The program supports students academically during their physician assistant training in order for them to achieve their academic and professional goals.

Starting with a thoughtful and fair admission process and continued support to the students throughout the program, we strive to maintain a low attrition and deceleration rate. Students are challenged with a rigorous medical curriculum while being supported by the faculty and administration through a low student-to-faculty ratio, academic advising, wellness programming and continuous socioemotional support.

Goal 2: The program recognizes students learn from a variety of teaching methods.  The program uses innovative teaching methods to enhance student learning including problem-based learning, virtual reality, simulation, ultrasound, early clinical experiences, and self-reflection exercises.

Goal 3: The program strives for its graduates to attain a first-time passing rate of 100% on the PANCE exam.  Our PA graduates perform well on the exam and are excellently prepared for clinical practice by our rigorous curriculum and strong clinical rotations.

Goal 4: The program prepares our graduates to promote the PA profession through their leadership, ethical practice, scholarship, and service.

Graduates are leaders of the profession at the local, state, and national level.

Graduates provide compassionate, patient-centered care to a diverse population of patients.

Graduates foster integrity through accountability to patients, society, and the PA Profession.

Graduates meet all regulatory requirements for licensure and maintain their professional certification through the completion of ongoing professional development.


Read how the Marquette PA program demonstrates its success in reaching its Program Goals.


1. Medical Knowledge: 

Graduates of the program will be able to apply comprehensive knowledge of biologic and clinical sciences to provide acute, chronic, urgent, and emergent, patient-centered care to include women’s health, behavioral health, prenatal care, and care across the life span (infants, children, adolescents, adult, and the elderly).

MK1: Apply principles of basic and clinical science, including anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and genetics to identify, diagnose, and provide patient centered care to healthy and ill patients.

MK2: Recognize the etiology, risk factors, epidemiology and clinical presentation of various medical conditions.

MK3: Appropriately select diagnostic studies to inform differential diagnosis and clinical decision-making related to patient care.

MK4: Identify pharmacological and non-pharmacologic treatment options with risks and benefits inclusive of patient education and counseling, in caring for health and/or ill patients who present with various medical conditions.


2. Clinical Reasoning and Problem Solving

Graduates of the Marquette University PA program will be able to analyze and   synthesize relevant   clinical,   diagnostic,   cultural,   and   contextual information to diagnose and manage patients to include patients across the lifespan (prenatal,  infant, child, adolescent, adult, and older adult), and across settings including pre-op, intra-op and post op, women's health and pre-natal, and psychiatric/behavioral health patients.

CRPS1: Synthesize information acquired through all aspects of patient encounters and the medical literature to develop appropriate differential diagnoses for acute, chronic, and emergent health conditions.

CRPS2: Interpret data collected from diagnostic, laboratory, and imaging studies and procedures to accurately diagnose acute, chronic, and emergent health conditions. 

CRPS3: Formulate and apply health management strategies including pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapies and patient education, in the prevention and treatment of acute, chronic, rehabilitative, and emergent conditions for care across the lifespan, pre/intra/post operative care, women’s health care including pre-natal, and psychiatric/behavioral health care.

CRPS4: Recognize an integrate an understanding of cultural, socioeconomic, environmental, and other population health elements impacts on medical decision-making and the development if individualized care plans.


3. Clinical and Technical Skills

Graduates of the Marquette University PA program will be able to demonstrate the clinical and technical skills required to provide age-appropriate assessment, evaluation, and management of patients. 

CTS1: Conduct effective, patient-centered history-taking and physical examination for comprehensive and problem-focused patient visits.

CTS2: Convey aspects of a patient encounter to all health care team members through accurate and timely written and verbal communication. 

CTS3: Perform procedural and clinical skills considered essential for entry into PA practice.

CTS4: Counsel and educate patients and families from diverse backgrounds to empower them to participate in their care and enable shared decision-making.


4. Interpersonal Skills

Graduates of the Marquette University PA program will be able to communicate effectively with patients, families, and health team members, incorporating cultural humility and compassion to build relationships.

IS1: Use effective communication skills to elicit and provide information to patients, families, and health team members.

IS2: Establish rapport with patients and families to initiate and build relationships. Demonstrate ability to provide compassionate and respectful care that is responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other needs.

IS3: Establish respectful working relationships and interact effectively with all members of the health care team.


5. Professional Behaviors

Graduates of the Marquette University PA program will be able to demonstrate integrity, deep understanding of the practice environment, and a commitment to lifelong learning and personal well-being that enables them to provide high quality, equitable care for individuals and communities.

PB1: Collaborate professionally with physicians, other health professionals, and health care teams to optimize team member roles and coordinate care.

PB2: Demonstrate integrity, ethical practice, and respect for the dignity and privacy of patients, including maintaining confidentiality, patient autonomy, and informed consent in the delivery of team-based care.

PB3: Exhibit an understanding of the regulatory environment, and laws and regulations regarding professional practice.

PB4: Approach the provision of quality care with consideration to financial impact and cost effective resource allocation. Recognize the importance of patient and provider safety.

PB5: Recognize the importance of self-care and provider well-being as it relates to patient care. Recognize the importance of preventing and responding to provider burnout and the ability to practice safely.

PB6: Demonstrate a commitment to the PA professionalism, readiness, reflection, and develop strategies for ongoing self-assessment and professional development.



The program competencies were developed following the Physician Assistant Education Association Core Competencies for New Physician Assistant Graduates (2018) (Core Competencies for New PA Graduates).   Listed below are the building blocks utilized to guide students throughout the didactic and clinical phases of the curriculum to ensure successful mastery of the required program competencies.

  • Patient-centered practice knowledge (PCPK)
  • Society and population health (SPH)
  • Health literacy and communication (HLC)
  • Interprofessional collaborative practice and leadership (ICPL)
  • Professional and legal aspects of health care (PLAHC)
  • Health care finance and systems (HCFS) 

1. Patient-centered Practice Knowledge Competencies 

1.1  Recognize normal and abnormal health states

1.2  Discern among acute, chronic, and emerging disease states

1.3  Elicit and understand the stories of individual patients and apply the context of their lives (including environmental influences, cultural norms, socioeconomic factors, and beliefs) when determining healthy versus ill patients

1.4  Develop meaningful, therapeutic relationships with patients and their families (PA PC, FMM)

1.5  Partner with patients to address issues of ongoing signs, symptoms, or health concerns that remain over time without clear diagnosis despite evaluation and treatment (PA Comp. PC)


2. Society and Population Health Competencies

2.1  Recognize the cultural norms, needs, influences, and socioeconomic, environmental, and other population-level determinants affecting the health of the individual and community being served

2.2  Recognize the potential impacts of the community, biology, and genetics on patients and incorporate them into decisions of care

2.3  Demonstrate accountability and responsibility for removing barriers to health

2.4  Understand the role of structural disparities in causing illness

2.5  Engage members of the health care team in the surveillance of community resources to sustain and improve health

2.6  Engage the health care team in determining the adequacy of community resources

2.7  Reflect on personal and professional limitations in providing care

2.8  Exercise cultural humility

2.9  Elicit and hear the story of the individual and apply the context of the individual’s life (including environmental influences, culture, and disease) when determining healthy versus ill patients

2.10  Understand and apply the fundamental principles of epidemiology

2.11  Recognize the value of the work of monitoring and reporting for quality improvement

2.12  Use appropriate literature to make evidence-based decisions on patient care

3. Health Literacy and Communication Competencies

3.1  Establish meaningful, therapeutic relationships with patients and families that allow for a deeper connection and create space for exploration of the patients’ needs and goals to deliver culturally competent care (PA PC, FMM)

3.2  Interpret information so that patients can understand and make meaning out of the information conveyed to them

3.3  Recognize the need for and governing mandates that ensure patients have access to interpreters and appropriate resources when barriers to communication arise

3.4  Demonstrate insight and understanding about emotions and human responses to emotions that allow one to develop and manage interpersonal interactions (PCRS 7)

3.5  Communicate effectively with patients, families, and the public

3.6  Provide effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful quality care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other communication needs (CLAS)

3.7  Organize and communicate information with patients, families, community members, and health team members in a form that is understandable, avoiding discipline-specific terminology when possible, and checking to ensure understanding (IPEC CC2)


4. Interprofessional Collaborative Practice and Leadership Competencies

4.1 Articulate one’s role and responsibilities to patients, families, communities, and other professionals (IPEC RR1)

4.2  Redirect the focus of the health care team to the needs of the patient

4.3  Assure patients that they are being heard

4.4  Ensure patients’ needs are the focus over self and others

4.5  Contribute to the creation, dissemination, application, and translation of new health care knowledge and practices (PCRS 6)

4.6  Recognize when referrals are needed and make them to the appropriate health care provider

4.7  Coordinate care

4.8  Develop relationships and effectively communicate with physicians, other health professionals, and health care teams (PA Comm)

4.9  Use the full scope of knowledge, skills, and abilities of available health professionals to provide care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective, and equitable (IPEC RR5)

4.10  Use unique and complementary abilities of all members of the team to optimize health and patient care (IPEC RR9)

4.11  Engage diverse professionals who complement one’s own professional expertise, as well as associated resources, to develop strategies to meet specific health and health care needs of patients and populations (IPEC RR3)

4.12  Describe how professionals in health and other fields can collaborate and integrate clinical care and public health interventions to optimize population health (IPEC RR10)


5. Professional and Legal Aspects of Health Care Competencies

5.1  Articulate standard of care practice

5.2  Admit mistakes and errors

5.3  Participate in difficult conversations with patients and colleagues

5.4  Recognize one’s limits and establish healthy boundaries to support healthy partnerships

5.5  Demonstrate respect for the dignity and privacy of patients while maintaining confidentiality in the delivery of team-based care (IPEC VE2)

5.6  Demonstrate responsiveness to patient needs that supersedes self- interest (PCRS 2)

5.7  Demonstrate accountability to patients, society, and the profession (PCRS 4)

5.8  Exhibit an understanding of the regulatory environment


6. Health Care Finance and Systems Competencies

This domain focuses on the essential knowledge and skills needed to:

6.1  Recognize that health care is a business

6.2  Articulate individual providers’ value-add to the health care team in terms of cost

6.3  Appreciate the value of the collaborative physician/PA relationship



1. Knowledge for Practice

Demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care. PAs should be able to:

1.1 Demonstrate investigative and critical thinking in clinical situations.

1.2  Access and interpret current and credible sources of medical information.

1.3  Apply principles of epidemiology to identify health problems, risk factors, treatment strategies, resources, and disease prevention/health promotion efforts for individuals and populations. 

1.4  Discern among acute, chronic, and emergent disease states.

1.5  Apply principles of clinical sciences to diagnose disease and utilize therapeutic decision- making, clinical problem-solving, and other evidence-based practice skills.

1.6  Adhere to standards of care, and to relevant laws, policies, and regulations that govern the delivery of care in the United States.

1.7  Consider cost-effectiveness when allocating resources for individual patient or population- based care.

1.8  Work effectively and efficiently in various health care delivery settings and systems relevant to the PA’s clinical specialty. 

1.9  Identify and address social determinants that affect access to care and deliver high quality care in a value-based system.

1.10  Participate in surveillance of community resources to determine if they are adequate to sustain and improve health.

1.11  Utilize technological advancements that decrease costs, improve quality, and increase access to health care.


2. Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and health professionals. PAs should be able to:

2.1  Establish meaningful therapeutic relationships with patients and families to ensure that patients’ values and preferences are addressed and that needs and goals are met to deliver person-centered care.

2.2  Provide effective, equitable, understandable, respectful, quality, and culturally competent care that is responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other communication needs.

2.3  Communicate effectively to elicit and provide information.

2.4  Accurately and adequately document medical information for clinical, legal, quality, and financial purposes.

2.5  Demonstrate sensitivity, honesty, and compassion in all conversations, including challenging discussions about death, end of life, adverse events, bad news, disclosure of errors, and other sensitive topics.

2.6  Demonstrate emotional resilience, stability, adaptability, flexibility, and tolerance of ambiguity.

2.7  Understand emotions, behaviors, and responses of others, which allows for effective interpersonal interactions.

2.8  Recognize communication barriers and provide solutions.


3. Person-Centered Care

Provide person-centered care that includes patient- and setting-specific assessment, evaluation, and management and health care that is evidence-based, supports patient safety, and advances health equity. PAs should be able to:

3.1  Gather accurate and essential information about patients through history-taking, physical examination, and diagnostic testing.

3.2  Elicit and acknowledge the story of the individual and apply the context of the individual’s life to their care, such as environmental and cultural influences. 

3.3  Interpret data based on patient information and preferences, current scientific evidence, and clinical judgment to make informed decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.

3.4  Develop, implement, and monitor effectiveness of patient management plans.

3.5  Maintain proficiency to perform safely all medical, diagnostic, and surgical procedures considered essential for the practice specialty. 

3.6  Counsel, educate, and empower patients and their families to participate in their care and enable shared decision-making.

3.7  Refer patients appropriately, ensure continuity of care throughout transitions between providers or settings, and follow up on patient progress and outcomes.

3.8  Provide health care services to patients, families, and communities to prevent health problems and to maintain health.


4. Interprofessional Collaboration

Demonstrate the ability to engage with a variety of other health care professionals in a manner that optimizes safe, effective, patient- and population-centered care. PAs should be able to:

4.1  Work effectively with other health professionals to provide collaborative, patient-centered care while maintaining a climate of mutual respect, dignity, diversity, ethical integrity, and trust.

4.2  Communicate effectively with colleagues and other professionals to establish and enhance interprofessional teams.

4.3  Engage the abilities of available health professionals and associated resources to complement the PA’s professional expertise and develop optimal strategies to enhance patient care.

4.4  Collaborate with other professionals to integrate clinical care and public health interventions.

4.5  Recognize when to refer patients to other disciplines to ensure that patients receive optimal care at the right time and appropriate level.


5. Professionalism and Ethics

Demonstrate a commitment to practicing medicine in ethically and legally appropriate ways and emphasizing professional maturity and accountability for delivering safe and quality care to patients and populations. PAs should be able to:

5.1  Adhere to standards of care in the role of the PA in the health care team.

5.2  Demonstrate compassion, integrity, and respect for others.

5.3  Demonstrate responsiveness to patient needs that supersedes self-interest.

5.4  Show accountability to patients, society, and the PA profession. 

5.5  Demonstrate cultural humility and responsiveness to a diverse patient populations, including diversity in sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, culture, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, and abilities.

5.6  Show commitment to ethical principles pertaining to provision or withholding of care, confidentiality, patient autonomy, informed consent, business practices, and compliance with relevant laws, policies, and regulations.

5.7  Demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning and education of students and other health care professionals.

5.8  Demonstrate commitment to personal wellness and self-care that supports the provision of quality patient care.

5.9  Exercise good judgment and fiscal responsibility when utilizing resources. 

5.10  Demonstrate flexibility and professional civility when adapting to change.

5.11  Implement leadership practices and principles.

5.12  Demonstrate effective advocacy for the PA profession in the workplace and in policymaking processes.


6. Practice-Based Learning and Quality Improvement

Demonstrate the ability to learn and implement quality improvement practices by engaging in critical analysis of one’s own practice experience, the medical literature, and other information resources for the purposes of self-evaluation, lifelong learning, and practice improvement. PAs should be able to:

6.1  Exhibit self-awareness to identify strengths, address deficiencies, and recognize limits in knowledge and expertise.

6.2  Identify, analyze, and adopt new knowledge, guidelines, standards, technologies, products, or services that have been demonstrated to improve outcomes. 

6.3  Identify improvement goals and perform learning activities that address gaps in knowledge, skills, and attitudes. 

6.4  Use practice performance data and metrics to identify areas for improvement.

6.5  Develop a professional and organizational capacity for ongoing quality improvement.

6.6  Analyze the use and allocation of resources to ensure the practice of cost-effective health care while maintaining quality of care.

6.7  Understand how practice decisions impact the finances of their organizations, while keeping the patient’s needs foremost. 

6.8  Advocate for administrative systems that capture the productivity and value of PA practice.


7. Society and Population Health

Recognize and understand the influences of the ecosystem of person, family, population, environment, and policy on the health of patients and integrate knowledge of these determinants of health into patient care decisions. PAs should be able to:

7.1  Apply principles of social-behavioral sciences by assessing the impact of psychosocial and cultural influences on health, disease, care seeking, and compliance.

7.2  Recognize the influence of genetic, socioeconomic, environmental, and other determinants on the health of the individual and community.

7.3  Improve the health of patient populations.

7.4  Demonstrate accountability, responsibility, and leadership for removing barriers to health.