Academic Integrity Across Physician Assistant Programs in the United States

Dereczyk, Amy


The purpose of this study was to describe how academic integrity is addressed in Physician Assistant programs across the United States.



After receiving local IRB approval, an email invitation to participate in this study was disseminated to all program directors of currently accredited Physician Assistant programs.  Respondents consenting to participate were directed to a secure online site to complete the academic integrity survey. 



The majority of participants (93%) were from programs granting a Master’s degree and were spread throughout the regions of the nation.  The great majority of these programs (98%) have clear definitions of academic integrity at their institution.  In addition, most programs have an honor code (83%) that has been in place for greater than ten years (71%).  An almost equal amount of programs have students sign an honor pledge prior to matriculating (51%).  Some programs (63%) address academic integrity prior to matriculation during the interview process.  46% of programs have dismissed students from their program secondary to violations of academic integrity.  This study’s results are preliminary data based on a 25.8% response rate.



Academic integrity has been increasingly discussed at institutions over the past decade.  It is important that academic integrity is instilled in students so that as they grow into practicing Physician Assistants, they will go on to be responsible health care providers, stellar representations of the Physician Assistant profession and leaders in healthcare.  This study provides baseline data of academic integrity across Physician Assistant programs in the United States and recommends integrity standards that all Physician Assistant programs should adopt.






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3.       Turner, SP and Beemsterboer, PL.  Enhancing academic integrity:  formulating effective honor codes.  J Dent Ed.  2003; 67(10):  1122-1129.