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Impact - Fall 2005

Exceptional programs offered for exceptional students

Three fast-track programs offer motivated students the opportunity to earn bachelor’s and advanced degrees at an accelerated pace. In Fall Term 2006, UDM will add a five-year BS/MS program track for physician assistants (PA) in addition to its long-standing six-year BS/DDS dental program and five-year BS/MS engineering and science program.

The PA program will include three years of undergraduate studies toward a BS in biology and two years of master’s level studies for a PA degree, explains Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Ken Henold.

“To acquire clinical and care-giving experience, students also will train and work as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) or in other opportunities at hospitals,” he adds.

As health care continues to change, “more primary care units will become staffed by PAs,” Henold predicts. “A number of our current PA Program students have previous background or experience in health care, as well as other fields of science. We think there is a need and market, particularly with the aging population, for more, younger PAs. Our new program will bring a new cadre of highly motivated students to the field.”

The fast-track PA program will be limited to approximately 15 students per class for the two years of master’s level studies.

The six-year accelerated dental program is ideal for students who intend to become specialists, researchers or professors, all of which require a bachelor’s degree in addition to the DDS. Students in the BS/DDS program take two years of accelerated undergraduate courses followed by four years in dental school.  The program is limited to six to eight students a year.

The five-year BS/MS track for engineering and science programs has been available for two years to students with a minimum 3.25 grade point average who are majoring in chemistry; electrical, civil and mechanical engineering; or computer science.

“Students take graduate courses their senior year and typically attend summer school two terms,” Henold explains.  Co-op placement also is mandated for engineering students.

“We are excited about all three of these accelerated programs,” Henold says. “They offer eligible motivated students an opportunity to earn their degrees in a concentrated timeframe without sacrificing quality of education.”