Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the PA

George Fox University has applied for Accreditation-Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). George Fox anticipates matriculating its first class in January 2021, pending achieving Accreditation-Provisional status at the September 2020 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

National and Regional Accreditation

The MMSc-PA program has applied for regional accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. 

All existing programs at George Fox University are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). In addition, they are approved by the U.S. government and the states of Oregon and Idaho for the education of veterans, and by the U.S. attorney general for the admission of international students.

Degree Status

ARC-PA is accredited by the Council of Higher Education (CHEA).  ARC-PA's current scope statement, that has been approved by CHEA as part of the ARC-PA’s recognition, is as follows and can also be found direclty on the CHEA website at

Programs preparing individuals for entry into physician assistant practice located in institutions in the United States that are accredited by recognized regional accrediting bodies. ARC-PA accredited programs are located in institutions offering, associate, baccalaureate or masters degrees in conjunction with the PA credential award. (2015) 

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) Policy on Degree Levels states:

Masters.  A graduate degree representing approximately 30 semester credits or 45 quarter credits of post‐baccalaureate study, or its equivalent in depth and quality.

Doctorate.  A terminal degree representing three or more years of graduate study that prepares the recipient to conduct original research, engage in scholarship, create artistic expressions of human emotions, or apply knowledge to practice.

Although the George Fox PA program meets university and NWCCU credit hour requirements for a doctorate degree (112 graduate semester hours over six semesters), the Accreditation Review Commission on the Education of Physician Assistants (ARC-PA) is limited by the Council of Higher Education (CHEA) to a master's degree.  In other words, ARC-PA cannot accredit a program above the master's degree level. Therefore, the George Fox PA program will award a master's degree as the entry-level degree for matriculating PA Students.