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Yale Will Launch An Online PA Degree


Yale announced that they had plans to launch an online degree in May 2015. The lectures would be online, but the students would still be required to attend rotations – no different than a traditional program.

This would allow students to get a very similar education as those who are studying in-house, without the hassle of relocating to New Haven.

Program director James Van Rhee said,

“The blended program would provide the same didactic and clinical training that on-campus students receive, with key improvements such as immersive, interactive course videos that all of our students — both those in the traditional program and in the new blended program — can review as often as they want.”

Just to clarify, the students will still have scheduled hours where they will meet online and discuss case scenarios, ethics, etc. Mr. Van Rhee was clear to state that this will not be “passive learning.”

Current physician assistant students are worried this will have a negative impact on the profession. They fear it will ruin the PA reputation and they fear it will impact rotations for those who are physically attending.

According to Yale Daily News,

“This spring, after students spoke out against the project, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant rejected the University’s proposal, which was billed as a class expansion, because of a technicality: Schools applying for class size expansion must wait four years after submitting past proposals to submit another. The rejection letter, though, made it clear that if the program were to move forward, it would have to do so as an entirely separate entity, Belitsky said.”

Aside from this, there have been professors who stated they will stop teaching if the online program becomes a reality.

Currently, Yale University is in the process of presenting a plan to the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) for a proposed online distance education physician assistant program seeking an accreditation status.

Will this help care for more who are underserved or will this negatively impact the PA profession?