- 2U on Tuesday announced a partnership with Yale University on an online Master of Medical Science degree program.
- The partnership is the company's first with an Ivy League institution, and the program must still be approved by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and state licensing agencies before launching.
- Along with interactive coursework and live classes that allow face-to-face interaction via 2U's cloud-based platform, the program also includes on-site "immersion experiences" at Yale's New Haven, CT, campus to facilitate clinical placements.
Physician assistant probably isn't a career field many would think they could earn a degree for online, but because of the way 2U's programs are organized — students are able to complete the majority of the program, sans the handful of trips to a campus, online — it works.
"PA program students could come to campus during the first week or two in the program to experience Yale," program director James Van Rhee was quoted in a press release. "Then at the end of the first year, they would come back to learn clinical skills and again at the end of the clinical year to do testing. A distant student could also do a rotation at Yale New Haven Hospital."
According to the release, students in the program would also be encouraged to work in their local communities, so this could indicate that partnerships with hospitals around the U.S. are in place for on-site clinical placements as well, which wouldn't be unlike the school partnerships in the Master of Arts in Teaching program offered through the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education and 2U.
Ultimately, this deal further drives home 2U's commitment to making top degree programs available to students who may not want the burden of upending their lives and relocating to attend some of the nation's best schools. The program is also expected to accept three cohorts a year, as opposed to one, making it even more accessible to prospective physician assistants.
It will be interesting to see if any hiccups arise in the approval process, though it doesn't seem like any are currently anticipated.