About Us - PA Studies

The School of Physician Assistant Studies (SPAS) at Marshall B. Ketchum University was founded in 2012 and offers a 27-month, post-baccalaureate program leading to the degree, Master of Medical Science (MMS). The PA program is nine quarters in duration. Ketchum University is on the forefront of interprofessional education.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to educate individuals to become compassionate Physician Assistants who can provide the highest quality health care and are dedicated to their communities, while advancing the Physician Assistant profession.

Our Values


We value integrity and professionalism by modeling honesty, thoughtfulness, and consistency in our words and actions.


We value the dignity of our patients and their families and recognize compassion must be a cornerstone of our professional interactions.


We value the highest level of respect by advocating the virtue of inclusion while embracing the differences within communities where we serve, work and teach.


We value service for humanity and are committed to the welfare of others. 

Lifelong Learning

We value lifelong learning as an essential component of quality education and ongoing evidence-based medical care.

Our Goals

1. Graduate physician assistants who become certified by the NCCPA.

We use unique and innovative teaching modalities to ensure students receive a top notch education to not only meet their board requirements, but to be superior practicing PA’s.  To monitor and keep prospective applicants informed of our success in meeting this goal, future outcome measurements will include the number of graduates that passed PANCE, and the number of graduates who passed PANCE on the first attempt. The first cohort of students will graduate in November 2016.

2. Engage all students in active and on-going community service.

The program recognizes the importance of giving back, and thus instills this idea within the student body from day one. Our students are actively engaged in multiple community service projects and processes, from educating school aged children about anatomy, to engaging in Capstone projects focused on improving the lives of the communities and people we serve.  To date students have participated in health fairs, food banks, professional outreach and elementary school education. Students also, through their Master’s Capstone requirement, have taken on a number of community outreach projects including animal therapy for individuals currently living in a family shelter, CPR training for middle school students and nutrition education for grade school students. The program provides all students with experiences in caring for underserved communities during clinical rotations and encourages graduates to provide care in underserved communities. To monitor and keep prospective applicants informed of our success in meeting this goal, post-graduate surveys will be administered one-year after graduation, November 2017, with subsequent surveys as MBKU graduates additional students. These surveys will be used to measure the number of graduates who are actively participating in community service.

3. Provide all students with experience in caring for underserved communities during clinical rotations and encourage graduates to provide care in underserved communities.

The program uses a variety of medical sites for students during the clinical phase of their training, including sites in underserved areas. A priority for our clinical team is locating superior training sites and preceptors that are actively engaged in providing care for underserved populations, and each student is required to complete a rotation specific to an underserved area. At mid-point in the clinical phase for the Class of 2016, two-thirds of the students have completed rotations in underserved areas, and the program has projected that all students will have underserved experiences by graduation in November 2016. To monitor and keep prospective applicants informed of our success in meeting this goal, we will continue to develop underserved training opportunities, as well as monitor the total number of students and rotations completed in underserved areas. In addition, during our post-graduate surveys we will measure the number of graduates who are actively practicing in underserved communities.

How Our PA Curriculum Prepares You for Career Success

The Didactic Phase

The didactic phase of the PA curriculum provides the foundation for clinical practice with instruction in applied medical sciences, patient assessment, clinical medicine and pharmacotherapeutics. The curriculum is organized into systems-based modules which integrate anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, clinical medicine, clinical skills, patient assessment, diagnostic testing, and pharmacotherapeutics taught in an organized and integrated sequence with a strong emphasis on active learning. Other courses include medical ethics, PA professional practice issues, and population health. Students will also participate in interprofessional education courses, and will experience supervised patient interactions.

The Clinical Phase

The clinical phase of the PA curriculum focuses on direct patient care in the various clinics, hospitals and health centers. The program offers a vast array of clinical opportunities with diverse and challenging patient encounters. In order to graduate, students must successfully complete all of their clinical rotation blocks, the clinical phase courses including the Master’s Capstone Project, as well as summative evaluations.

For more information about the physician assistant program at Marshall B. Ketchum University contact MBKU's School of PA Studies Admissions Office at 714.992.7808 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Why Choose PA at MBKU?

As a future physician assistant student, you’ll be making a substantial investment of time and resources into your career.  You have a responsibility to research your options to find the best fit for you and yield a good return on investment.  There are dozens of reasons why MBKU, with over a century of excellence in clinical education, patient care and research, is worth of your consideration.  Here are the top 7.

  • Outstanding Contemporary Campus
    The MBKU campus, buildings and facilities are fantastic!  Add the great year-round weather and tremendous recreational attractions—beaches, mountains, professional sports, major theme parks, cultural events and a variety of culinary cuisines—and you have a wonderful environment for learning and personal growth.
  • Ideal Location
    MBKU is located in a residential, suburban neighborhood with many nearby apartments and rental houses for consideration.  About 50% of students live within one mile of the MBKU campus, which facilities a real sense of community on our campus.  Some schools are located in urban environments where students would not want to live and other institutions are in “high rent” districts where a typical student’s budget would not allow for housing near campus.
  • Leadership Experience—A Hallmark of MBKU
    Our students, alumni, faculty and administrators are leaders in their communities and within local, state and national health organizations.  This is a tremendous source of pride for the entire MBKU family.
  • Opportunities to Help Others
    MBKU has strong professional relationships with the community. Our students participate in many events at elementary schools and senior facilities, Boys and Girls Clubs, Special Olympics, etc.
  • Private, Autonomous College Since 1904
    MBKU is the third oldest optometry school founded in 1904. It is a private, non-profit college with a history of excellence and a standard of quality maintained at an elite level. What’s more, MBKU’s PA program was the first accredited PA program in Orange County. With the addition of the School of PA Studies and College of Pharmacy, MBKU is a leader in interprofessional education.
  • Student to Faculty Ratio
    With small class sizes, the student to faculty ratio provides a greater opportunity to ask questions, participate in discussion, and professors who can offer individualized attention.
  • Integrated Curriculum
    Integration of curricula in medical education seeks to break down barriers between subject areas in order to provide students with better learning opportunities that will facilitate the development of knowledge that is relevant and meaningful to clinical practice, is deep and retrievable, and which is amenable to alteration, updating, and development as a part of an ongoing process of lifelong learning.


The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation - Provisional status to the School of Physician Assistant Studies sponsored by Marshall B. Ketchum University.

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.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.