Franklin Pierce will debut hybrid Master of Physician Assistant Studies at Arizona location

  • Franklin Pierce University STAFF FILE PHOTO BY BEN CONANT

Published: 7/26/2022 9:03:08 AM
Modified: 7/26/2022 9:00:02 AM

In November, after a required two-year planning and development process, Franklin Pierce University will officially launch its hybrid Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program at the school’s academic center in Goodyear, Ariz., with 48 students. Provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) was granted on July 15.

According to an announcement from the school, plans to expand Franklin Pierce University’s footprint in Arizona have been at the forefront of the university’s strategic planning.

“The launch of the hybrid MPAS program represents a critical component of our strategic plan, Pierce@60, as we continue to focus on innovation in teaching and learning,” stated Catherine M. Paden, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The programs we offer resonate with the demands of the broader marketplace, including the evolving landscape of health care. Our MPAS hybrid program is one of the first online/hybrid PA programs in the country, helping to ensure Franklin Pierce is an institution that meets the needs of those who choose to enroll, no matter where they may live.”

Since April 2018, university administration and allied health sciences faculty have been exploring strategies to enhance enrollment and meet the needs of the population growth anticipated in Phoenix’s West Valley, New England, and beyond. The university currently operates a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in Goodyear and DPT and nursing programs in Manchester.

Its Lebanon academic center is home to an MPAS program ranked No. 2 in the nation by the Rural Health Research Center. The addition of the hybrid MPAS program in Arizona responds to the increased demand for highly skilled health professional graduates. 

“Today’s students want flexibility,” stated Marci Contreras, physician assistant studies hybrid program director and associate professor. “And in accommodating that kind of flexibility, we can reach students we normally wouldn’t be able to. They don’t have to move or put their life on pause to complete our MPAS program. They can remain in their community and, when they finish, hopefully they are able to serve their community.”

Priscilla Marsicovetere, dean of the College of Health and Natural Sciences, believes that Franklin Pierce’s hybrid delivery models allow the university to be on the cutting edge of higher education’s  trajectory, especially in the health professions.

“This paves the way for more innovation in the way we teach and train the next generation of health care workers,” stated Marsicovetere. “It broadens the university’s reach as we extend access to an increasingly instrumental cog in the American health care system’s wheel.”

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at


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