Physician Assistant Studies

Overview

The Masters of Health Science Physician Assistant Studies Program provides a competency-based graduate educational program with an ongoing commitment to academic excellence and patient-focused care. This comprehensive, competency-based graduate program is designed to be the starting pathway in the professional career of future health care providers. The program includes a 15-month didactic phase and a 12-month generalist clinical learning phase.

The program offers a comprehensive curriculum that begins with a didactic phase designed to provide a solid foundation in patient assessment, clinical medicine, and basic medical, behavioral, and social sciences. The didactic phase includes instruction in human gross anatomy, neuroanatomy, physiology, health assessment and physical examination, medical pathology and genetics, pharmacotherapeutics, clinical laboratory medicine, epidemiology and public health, clinical assessment and management, psychiatry and behavioral medicine, women’s health, evidence-based medicine, radiology, clinical pediatrics, medical nutrition, Physician Assistant history, emergency medicine, professional issues and health policy, clinical geriatrics, surgery, research design and methodology, and a didactic summative evaluation. This didactic phase includes a variety of learning strategies combining formal lectures, problem-based learning, practical hands-on clinical laboratory classes, clinical simulation assessment, and objective structured clinical examinations with a continuous focus on competency-based clinical skills. Students also develop strong patient communication skills and advanced critical-thinking problem-solving clinical skills.

The clinical learning phase of the Masters of Health Science Program in Physician Assistant Studies follows the didactic phase. Clinical learning rotations are divided into eight six-week blocks ending with a comprehensive summative review course prior to graduation. Seven core clinical learning rotations are required, which include: Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Family Medicine/Geriatrics, Emergency Medicine, Women’s Health, Pediatrics, and Behavioral Health. The eighth clinical learning rotation is an elective. The Clinical Learning phase involves clinical practice experience in a variety of in-patient and out-patient settings and specialties. A Capstone Project is required.

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