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Physician Assistant Entry Level Doctoral Degree Research – Call for Proposals

At the 2019 PAEA Education Forum a resolution was brought to the floor to amend the current PAEA position policy on the Terminal Degree of the Profession. The current PAEA policy states, 

“Despite the adoption of clinical doctoral degrees by other health professions, PAEA is confident in the preparation of PA graduates at the master’s degree level to meet the competencies necessary for quality and cost-effective PA practice. PAEA reaffirms its endorsement of the master's degree as the sole recognized entry-level and terminal degree of the profession.” 


The amendment brought to the floor at the 2019 Business Meeting would include language supporting the clinical doctorate as the alternative entry-level credential. This resolution was tabled and referred to the Board of Directors for further consideration. The Board of Directors voted to support faculty research and investigation on this topic and will use the findings and evidence to develop a policy recommendation related to the alternative entry-level degree. 

To focus the investigation, applicants are asked to answer one or more of the questions posed below: 

  1. What can the PA profession learn from other health professions that have made similar transitions to the clinical doctoral credential (physical therapy, pharmacy, nursing) through literature review.  
  2.  What assumptions does the PA education community have about moving from a master’s to a doctorate entry-level degree?  
  3.  What are the benefits and risks of conferral of a doctorate degree for entry-level PAs?


This funded opportunity is designed to support the research and scholarly work of physician assistant faculty members. The goal of this program is to incentivize and focus scholarship and new research related to the impact of doctoral entry-level degrees in health professions. The program is not designed to provide sustained support for faculty. 

All research and reports or manuscripts must be completed by August 30th.

The honorariums are to be narrowly applied (e.g., for supplies, student assistant, software, funding for a workshop to learn a new scholarly technique, or partial summer salary support for a faculty member). If the amount required for the project exceeds the maximum amount of $2,000, an awarded honorarium may be supplemented by department funds at the discretion of the grantee’s  institution.

Proposal Requirements and Deadline

Applicants should submit their proposal electronically by 5:00 pm ET, Friday, May 15.

For mini-grant applications to be considered complete, they must include two elements:

  1. Narrative proposal (in a Word doc or PDF)
  2. Recent CV in any format convenient to you

The narrative proposal must not exceed two pages (single-spaced, 1” margins, no smaller than 11 pt. font size), and it should briefly explain:

  1. The project design and its importance given the context of the research questions 
  2. The potential outcomes
  3. What the funds will be used for in a brief budget summary (maximum request: $2,000)
  4. Why these funds are expected to be critical or particularly helpful in achieving the proposed outcomes


Faculty (full-time or part-time) members from PAEA member programs

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Proposal Review Process

A five-member, peer-review committee will evaluate the mini-grant proposals. The review committee will be comprised of PAEA staff and selected Mission Advisory Council members. To prevent conflicts of interest, members of the evaluation committee cannot have a pending proposal. 

It is the applicant’s responsibility to present the proposed project in a clear, well-organized manner that effectively communicates all elements of the proposal to the review committee. 

Committee members are prohibited from introducing any outside evidence or other information that is not included in the submitted proposals.

Proposals will be reviewed using the following 12-point evaluation rubric:

  •  0-3 points for the impact potential of research (proposal)
  •  0-3 points for the explanation of why the funds will make a difference for the researcher
  •  0-3 points for the discussion of the expected outcomes (proposal)
  •  0-3 points for the likelihood that the expected outcomes will be met (CV)

The review committee will rank-order the proposals based on the sum of those points, translated into a scale where:

  • 12 = highest priority for funding
  •  9 = fund if possible
  •  6 = low priority for funding