Yale University is creating a full-time online master of medical science degree program for aspiring physician’s associates. Though Yale offers a part-time online doctor of nursing practice program, this master’s program, which is identical in many ways to its on-campus equivalent, would be the first of its kind for an Ivy League school.
“The role of PAs in the country is expanding,” said James Van Rhee, the director of the physician’s associate program at Yale.
Physician’s associates are licensed to practice medicine under a physician’s supervision, their duties typically include taking patient histories, performing physical exams, ordering lab tests and prescribing medication, as well as assisting in surgery.
Van Rhee said the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a need for over 33,000 new physician’s associates within the next 10 years. “We need more PAs.”
Yale is the first Ivy League school to partner with online-learning software company 2U, which also works with Georgetown University, Northwestern University, and the University of California, Berkeley to provide online master’s programs.
“We want this to be more than just students sitting at home watching videos,” Van Rhee said. “The platform had to allow the students to interact. I needed it to be active learning.”
Several universities already offer online master’s degree programs, though they tend to be low-cost part-time alternatives with less exacting admission requirements. Harvard, for example has its long-established Extension School, which allows both graduate and undergraduate students to complete their degrees by taking courses online.
2U’s model is unique, however. For one, students get exactly the same degree as students who take on-campus courses. In fact, Van Rhee said that the Yale online program will have the same admissions requirements, the same tuition and fees, and the same curriculum as the on-campus program.
“We think this form of online education is in a lot of ways better than on-campus education,” said Chip Paucek, co-founder and chief executive officer of 2U. “It’s inherently a more flexible, online version of the degree.”
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SOURCE: USA Today – Malak Monir