PA/MPH

The Tufts School of Medicine Physician Assistant (PA) Program and the Public Health Program offers a combined PA/MPH degree track for interested students that allows students to earn a PA and a MPH degree in just over three years. The goal of this program is to integrate clinical skills learned in training to be a PA with a thorough understanding of public health concepts such as health equity, social determinants of health, global health, epidemiology, and community health needs assessments and interventions.  Graduates of the PA/MPH degree track are rigorously trained for clinical practice and in evidence-based public health skills that emphasize a transdisciplinary team approach to healthcare delivery and service to medically underserved populations. Upon completion of the PA/MPH degree track, students will receive two master's degrees: a Master of Medical Science (MMS) from the PA Program and a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the Public Health Program.

Courses & Concentration

Students must complete the core courses of the MPH program, a set of concentration courses, and enough electives to earn 42 semester hours of credit to complete the MPH. The PA/MPH has its own set of concentration courses that focus on the intersection of clinical care and public health. These include course work in quality improvement and double counting of several PA courses with public health content. Students also participate in a monthly evening seminar—Integration of Public Health—that helps integrate their public health work and clinical studies. Details about the required concentration competencies and courses can be found here. The final part of the core curriculum is the Applied Learning Experience (ALE). The ALE requires students to synthesize knowledge acquired in coursework and apply it to a public health project of their own design involving at least 160 hours of practicum work. The PA/MPH curriculum is organized so that students complete all MPH degree requirements in three terms, except for PH 229 Integration of Public Health/Physician Assistant. PH 229 will continue throughout the duration of the PA program. In addition, several courses with public health content are double counted for the PA and MPH, and students demonstrate some of their public health competencies through assignments in these courses.

Timeline

Students accepted in the summer admission cycle begin taking MPH courses the following January (spring term) and complete the requirements for the MPH degree (except for PH 229 Integration of Public Health course) within three terms. The Integration course will continue throughout the duration of the completion of the PA program requirements. Completion of both degrees takes 36 months.

First Year: Master of Public Health (MPH) program (January start + ALE)

During this first year, 37.5 credits will be completed for the MPH (before officially entering the PA program the following January) and the remaining 4.5 credits will be completed during Years 2 and 3, during the course of study for the PA. View details regarding the core curriculum and general requirements of the MPH. Details regarding the concentration requirements for the PA/MPH concentration can be found here.

Second Physician Assistant (PA) Program (Didactic Year)

The 77 credits for the PA Program will be completed over the course of 25 months after the completion of the initial MPH portion of the combined degree program. During Year 2, students will be in the Didactic Year taking courses on the Tufts Health Sciences Campus in Boston.

Third Year: PA Program (Clinical Year)

In the Clinical Year, students do clinical rotations at sites across Massachusetts and the greater New England area. Although the MPH program does not require a thesis, the capstone project for the PA program during this final year should reflect a public health focus. 

How to Apply

  • Candidates apply to the PA/MPH program within the CASPA application.
  • Within the Tufts Program Questions section of the CASPA Application, there will be a question asking which degree program you wish to apply to. If you intend on applying to the combined PA/MPH, you will select that option and proceed to answer additional questions specific to that degree.
  • The application process for the PA/MPH will run parallel to that of the PA program, with the same application requirements and process. Learn more about the PA admissions process.
  • Applicants to the PA/MPH program may not change their application from the dual degree to consideration for the single degree program once they have submitted their application on CASPA.
  • If admitted to the PA/MPH dual-degree program, candidates will receive a letter from the Director of Admissions and be given two weeks to submit a non-refundable deposit to hold their place in the program.
  • If admitted into the PA/MPH program, students must be prepared to follow the timeline outlined above, or forfeit their spot in the PA/MPH program. Enrolled students must be prepared to begin the MPH program in January following the application process, and then the PA Program a year later in January.
  • A student may not defer any portion of the PA/MPH program.

Snapshot Recently-Matriculated Class

Current Matriculated Students - 2022

Average Overall GPA

3.81

Average Prerequisite GPA

3.6

Average Science Prerequisite GPA

3.73

Average Age (range)

23 (22-25)

Gender (M)

0

Gender (F)

6

Mean hours of patient care experience

3,373

Massachusetts residents

50%

Non-Massachusetts residents

50%

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GRE was test-optional for the 2021 and 2022 admissions cycle and is therefore not reported in the 2021 class statistics.

Tuition Costs for the PA/MPH Degree

The following tuition rates are for 2022–2023 academic year* and apply to students enrolled in the MPH portion of the program starting in Fall 2022.

Students in the dual PA/MPH program begin by completing the majority of the MPH coursework during their first year of enrollment over three semesters (spring, summer, and fall) and then enroll in the Physician Assistant class starting the second year. Therefore, PA/MPH students will be billed the flat-rate of tuition listed below each of the three semesters (in addition to the cost of the PA program).*

  • Tuition: $11,155 per semester
  • Fees: $283 per semester

The current academic year's cost of attendance budget (including not only tuition, but room and board, health insurance, books etc.) is available from the Office of Financial Aid.

Tuition rates and fees are effective as of July 2022. Note that program cost is set each academic year and typically increases a small amount from year-to-year. The Trustees of Tufts University reserve the right to change tuition rates or fees at their discretion.

Career Opportunities with the PA/MPH Degree

In addition to traditional clinical roles that PAs may fill, PAs may be called upon to serve as health care administrators, quality improvement leaders, researchers, community-based health promotion and disease/prevention managers, and public health practitioners. The additional MPH degree can offer graduates the academic credentials and professional leverage to participate in the planning and administration of health promotion and disease prevention programs at local, national, or international levels. The MPH can also offer graduates the skills to improve clinical practice through more sophisticated use of clinical epidemiology and building of community partnerships for patient care.

  • Can I work while completing this program?

    Students often work while in the MPH Program, which is fairly flexible, but not while in the PA Program. The PA Program follows a standardized curriculum which is tightly organized.

    Most MPH courses are provided in the late afternoon and evening, so students may have the option to work part-time during Year 1.

    What are the requirements of the Applied Learning Experience?

    The ALE will be completed during the MPH year. ALE Planning will be completed no later than the end of summer term to allow the student to engage in substantial planning for the ALE experience. ALE implementation will be completed no later than the end of the Fall semester of the MPH year. Upon completion of the field work, students will be required to submit a final paper and give a poster presentation regarding their ALE topic.

    What are the requirements of the Integrative Seminar?

    The Integrative Seminar will be up to five sessions per year and will start during the MPH year and end in Year 3/Semester 2.

    After being admitted to the PA/MPH Program, when can I begin to take program courses?

    Students who apply and are accepted for entrance in the usual PA summer admission cycle will begin taking MPH courses during the following spring semester with a January start. Accepted students coming to Tufts should check with the Registrar's office for spring schedule information and course availability.

    Can I transfer graduate course credits earned at another university to be used towards my Tufts PA/MPH degree?

    Up to six credits (which might be the equivalent of up to eight credits at other universities, depending on their credit system) of relevant public health graduate work not applied to a previously earned degree may be transferred to Tufts for the MPH degree. Special rules apply for transfers of credits related to core knowledge (behavioral science, biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology and health services) courses.

    No advanced standing, transfer credit, or credit for experiential learning will be accepted for the PA Program.

    Can you attend the program either full-time or part-time?

    All students accepted into the PA/MPH combined degree program must be full-time.

    How are advisors established for the PA/MPH students?

    Students will be given an MPH advisor upon acceptance and then be given a PA advisor after completion of the first year in the MPH program.

    Is there any scholarship money available and how do I apply for it?

    Yes, there is a limited pool of need-based scholarships available to MPH full-time students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. In addition, federal government and other student loan programs are available. For more information visit PHPD Financial Aid here.

    What career assistance does the program offer?

    The Office of Career Services provides one-on-one counseling, workshops, e-mail job alerts, and access to Career Connector, a comprehensive database and personal portfolio system. The PA faculty is also readily available to answer any questions students may have pertaining to jobs. Students are free to stop by to speak with faculty or make an appointment with the Office of Career Services.

    What if I decide not to continue to the PA Program after the 1st year-MPH portion?

    Once you accept the combined degree program, you are enrolled in that program and if you wish to drop one, you will need to request it.

    What is the benefit of a Physician Assistant having an MPH?

    Graduates of the PA/MPH degree are equipped to become superb clinicians with the analytical skills and public health foundational knowledge required to assess the health needs of a community, develop health education and other community-based disease prevention/health promotion programs, conduct quality improvement projects, participate in clinical or community-based research, or become faculty at health profession training programs.

    What times of day are MPH classes offered?

    Classes meet once per week and are generally offered during the afternoons and evenings Monday-Thursday, although there are some morning classes. Core and required public health courses are offered at least once each semester, including summers. Students should review course schedules in advance to ensure the best sequencing of courses to complete the degree in a timely fashion.