Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies - California


A.T. Still University (ATSU) has partnered with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) to develop the Central Coast Physician Assistant (CCPA) program, with the goal of educating community-oriented physician assistants who will provide whole person primary care to our nation’s underserved communities.

The CCPA program is a 24-month residential master’s degree program based in Santa Maria, California. Students will spend one year on campus in Santa Maria for the didactic phase of the program. Then, students will enter the clinical phase, including 35 weeks of supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs) in various medical disciplines. Students will spend the clinical phase primarily at one of the partnered Community Health Centers (CHCs) located across the U.S.

CCPA program prepares highly competent professionals in the science of medicine steeped in the osteopathic tradition of body, mind, and spirit care for the whole person and service to underserved populations. From their first day, CCPA students are immersed in engaged scholarship, threading the philosophy of whole person healthcare and serving the underserved through classes and activities designed to foster critical thinking.

Faculty and staff work closely with CCPA students, helping them develop professional attributes and clinical problem-solving skills necessary for efficient and optimal patient care. CCPA program aims to produce providers who will enter the CHC system and will provide primary care in the following community health specialties:

  • Family medicine
  • General internal medicine
  • General pediatrics
  • Women’s health
  • Behavioral health/psychiatry

Hometown Scholars

Are you a Hometown Scholar? The Hometown Scholars program helps ATSU meet the needs of community health centers by identifying, attracting, and educating dedicated, motivated, and qualified community-minded healers. Hometown Scholar-endorsed applicants may receive advance applicant consideration. We recommend all applicants have their Hometown Scholar letters submitted prior to or along with their secondary application.