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PA Course Descriptions

Didactic Phase

The didactic phase of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) Program takes place over the course of four semesters. Although primarily campus-based, students occasionally need to travel to clinical application obligations, including local interprofessional education activities.

 
Fall 1 (16 weeks, 16 credit hours): 

PAS 5001 CLINICAL GENETICS (1 CREDIT)
This course will focus on the clinically relevant genetics and genomics necessary for clinical practice. This survey course covers introductory genetics, inheritable patterns disease, specific hereditary diseases and clinical applications of genetics/genomics.
Prerequisite: Matriculation into the MPAS program.
 
PAS 5002 DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUES I: LABORATORY MEDICINE (2 CREDITS)
This course is the first in a series of three lecture and lab courses in which students acquire and practice various diagnostic clinical skills. In this course, students will be introduced to the interpretation and application of common clinical laboratory tests.
Prerequisite: Matriculation into the MPAS program.
 
PAS 5003 CLINICAL PHYSIOLOGY (3 CREDITS)
This lecture course is a graduate level survey of clinically relevant human physiology.  The goal is to compare and contrast normal and abnormal physiology associated with common clinical conditions, injuries, pathologies, and diagnostic/interventional procedures.
Prerequisite: Matriculation into the MPAS program.
 
PAS 5004 CLINICAL ANATOMY (4 CREDITS)
This lecture and lab course consists of an in-depth study of gross human anatomy along with applications to a clinical setting. The course consists of a mixture of techniques, including lecture, discussion, and examination of cadaveric specimens, and palpation.
Prerequisite: Matriculation into the MPAS program.
 
PAS 5012 CLINICAL SKILLS I: MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION & INTERVIEWING (2 CREDITS) 
This is the first of a series of four lecture and lab courses in which students acquire and practice various diagnostic and therapeutic clinical skills, such as performance of basic and advanced health histories and physical exams, the performance and interpretation of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.  In this course portion of the course, the emphasis will be on the art of communication in medicine, the medical interview, and the proper documentation of medical encounters.  Prerequisite: Matriculation into the MPAS program.
 
PAS 5022 PA PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (2 CREDITS) 
In this course, students learn about issues pertinent to the PA profession. The course covers the profession’s history and future directions, roles and responsibilities, and organizations. The course also includes an introduction to the psychosocial aspects of medical care and medical ethics. Prerequisite: Matriculation into the MPAS Program.
 
PAS 5052 CLINICAL APPLICATION & REFLECTION EXPERIENCE I (2 CREDITS)
This is the first in a series of four courses where students work in teams to practice and refine skills, employ problem solving, participate in reflective experiences, and assume professional roles. Students are expected to retain and apply knowledge from concurrent and previous coursework. Examples of experiences include simulation / standardized patients, interprofessional education opportunities, preclinical patient exposures, and case studies. Professional development areas include professional communications and behavior, conflict resolution, and stress management. (Pass/Fail)
Prerequisite: Matriculation into the MPAS Program.
 


Spring 1 (16 weeks, 18 credit hours):

PAS 5102 CLINICAL SKILLS II: PHYSICAL EXAM & DOCUMENTATION (2 CREDITS)
This is the second of a series of four lecture and lab courses in which students acquire and practice various diagnostic and therapeutic clinical skills, such as performance of health histories and physical exams and documentation. In this course, the emphasis is on the performance and documentation of a complete (head to toe) physical examination.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses. 
 
PAS 5110 CLINICAL MEDICINE & THERAPEUTICS I (10 CREDITS)
This is the first in a series of three courses for the study of the diagnosis and management of common acute, emergent, rehabilitative, and chronic medical disorders across the lifespan. The relevant anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of disease states are discussed, followed by incidence/prevalence, associated risk factors, signs and symptoms, clinical findings, diagnostic criteria, diagnostic tests and procedures, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapeutic options, prevention, patient education, follow-up care, course, and prognosis. This 3-series course series collectively covers disorders categorized under the following organ systems: cardiovascular, dermatology, ophthalmology, EENT, endocrine, GI/Nutritional, GU, hematology, infectious disease, musculoskeletal/rheumatology, neurological, psychiatry/behavioral medicine, pulmonary, and reproductive.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses. 
 
PAS 5112 DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUES II: EKG (2 CREDITS)
This course is the second in a series of three lecture and lab courses in which students acquire and practice various diagnostic clinical skills.  In this course the student will learn interpretation of electrocardiograms and some associated clinical syndromes and diagnoses as well as therapeutic interventions for common dysrhythmias and syndromes.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses. 
 
PAS 5152 CLINICAL APPLICATION & REFLECTION EXPERIENCE II (2 CREDITS) 
This is the second in a series of four courses where students work in teams to practice and refine skills, employ problem solving, participate in reflective experiences, and assume professional roles. Students are expected to retain and apply knowledge from concurrent and previous coursework. Examples of experiences include simulation / standardized patients, interprofessional education opportunities, preclinical patient exposures, and case studies. Professional development areas include professional communication and behavior, conflict resolution, and stress management.  (Pass/Fail)
Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses. 
 
PAS 5161 CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY I (1 CREDIT)
This course is the first in a series of three courses for the study of clinical pharmacology appropriate to the professional physician assistant role. The basic principles of pharmacology, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics are discussed. This 3-series course collectively provides as introduction to the pharmacologic processes in the care and promotion of wellness across the lifespan, including the medications commonly used to treat human disorders, their classification, mechanisms of actions, indications, contraindications/cautions, formulations, routes of metabolism and excretion, adverse reactions, and drug interactions.
Prerequisite: Matriculation into the MPAS Program. 

PAS 5171 EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE I (1 CREDIT)
This course will provide a foundational framework for clinical research and evidence-based practice (EBP) in the health sciences, covering the steps in the EBP research process and strategies for implementing EBP in real world settings. In this first course in the series, students study the philosophical and theoretical concepts of evidence-based clinical research and learn how to search, retrieve, organize, synthesize and critically evaluate the clinical evidence. The course will include lectures, readings, discussions, and skill-building activities with grading based upon class participation, quizzes, homework assignments, and a final project (literature review). Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses.


Summer 1 (12 weeks, 14 credit hours):

PAS 5205 CLINICAL MEDICINE & THERAPEUTICS II (5 CREDITS)
This is the second in a series of three courses for the study of the diagnosis and management of common acute, emergent, rehabilitative, and chronic medical disorders across the lifespan. The relevant anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of disease states are discussed, followed by incidence / prevalence, associated risk factors, signs and symptoms, clinical findings, diagnostic criteria, diagnostic tests and procedures, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapeutic options, prevention, patient education, follow-up care, course, and prognosis. This 3-series course series collectively covers disorders categorized under the following organ systems: cardiovascular, dermatology, ophthalmology, EENT, endocrine, GI / Nutritional, GU, hematology, infectious disease, musculoskeletal, neurological, psychiatry / behavioral medicine, pulmonary, and reproductive.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses. 
 
PAS 5212 CLINICAL SKILLS III: SPECIAL POPULATIONS (2 CREDITS) 
This is the third of a series of four lecture and lab courses in which students acquire and practice various diagnostic and therapeutic clinical skills, such as performance of health histories and physical exams, interpretation of laboratory, electrocardiographic, and imaging studies, the performance and interpretation of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and training in basic and advanced cardiac life support. In this lab course, the emphasis is on the performance and documentation of problem-focused medical interviews and physical examinations, and an introduction to specialty-focused medical interviews and physical examinations across the lifespan. Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses.  
 
PAS 5213 DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUES III: IMAGING & PFT (3 CREDITS) 
This course is the third in a series of three lecture and lab courses in which students acquire and practice various diagnostic clinical skills. This course will focus on diagnostic imaging (Radiography, Computer Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Ultrasound etc.). An introduction to Pulmonary Function Testing to correlate with chest and lung imaging studies is included.  Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses.
 
PAS 5252 CLINICAL APPLICATION & REFLECTION EXPERIENCE III (2 CREDITS)
This is the third in a series of four courses where students work in teams to practice and refine skills, employ problem solving, participate in reflective experiences, and assume professional roles. Students are expected to retain and apply knowledge from concurrent and previous coursework. Examples of experiences include simulation / standardized patients, interprofessional education opportunities, preclinical patient exposures, and case studies. Professional development areas include professional communication and behavior, conflict resolution, and stress management. (Pass/Fail)
Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses.
 
PAS 5261 CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY II (1 CREDIT)
This course is the second in a series of three courses for the study of clinical pharmacology appropriate to the professional physician assistant role. The basic principles of pharmacology, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics are applied to generate pharmacologic management plans for the diseases / disorders based upon current clinical practice guidelines and other evidence-based resources. This 3-series Clinical Pharmacology Course collectively provides an introduction to the pharmacologic processes in the care and promotion of wellness across the lifespan, including the medications commonly used to treat human disorders, their classification, mechanisms of actions, indications, contraindications / cautions, formulations, routes of metabolism and excretion, adverse reactions, and drug interactions.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses.

PAS 5271 EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE II (1 CREDIT)
This course will provide a foundational framework for clinical research and evidence-based practice (EBP) in the health sciences, covering the steps in the EBP research process, and strategies for implementing EBP in real world settings. In this second course in the series, students study the principles of experimental, qualitative, and survey research methods and the application of these methods to the practice of medicine. Students utilize and apply these principles to the critical appraisal of the validity, importance, and applicability of research studies for use in clinical decision-making and evidence-based practice.  The course will include lectures, readings, discussions, and skill-building activities with grading based upon quizzes, homework assignments, and a final project (three-study deconstruction rubric).

Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses.

Fall 2 (16 weeks, 18 credit hours):

PAS 5310 CLINICAL MEDICINE & THERAPEUTICS III (10 CREDITS)
This is the third in a series of three courses for the study of the diagnosis and management of common acute, emergent, rehabilitative, and chronic medical disorders across the lifespan. The relevant anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of disease states will be discussed, followed by incidence / prevalence, associated risk factors, signs and symptoms, clinical findings, diagnostic criteria, diagnostic tests and procedures, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapeutic options, prevention, patient education, follow-up care, course, and prognosis. This 3-series course series collectively covers disorders categorized under the following organ systems: cardiovascular, dermatology, ophthalmology, EENT, endocrine, GI / Nutritional, GU, hematology, infectious disease, musculoskeletal, neurological, psychiatry / behavioral medicine, pulmonary, and reproductive.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses.
 
PAS 5314 CLINICAL SKILLS IV: PROCEDURES (5 CREDITS)
This is the fourth of a series of four lecture and lab courses in which students acquire and practice various diagnostic and therapeutic clinical skills, such as performance of health histories and physical exams, interpretation of laboratory, electrocardiographic, and imaging studies, the performance and interpretation of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and training in basic and advanced cardiac life support. In this course, the emphasis is on performance and interpretation of common diagnostic and therapeutic procedures including an orientation to the operating room, completion of advanced cardiac life support training, as well as the continuation of specialty-focused medical interviews and physical examinations across the lifespan from pediatrics to geriatrics, including the unique healthcare needs for women, diverse patient populations, and patients with disabilities.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses.
 
PAS 5352 CLINICAL APPLICATION & REFLECTION EXPERIENCE IV (2 CREDITS)
This is the third in a series of four courses where students work in teams to practice and refine skills, employ problem solving, participate in reflective experiences, and assume professional roles. Students are expected to retain and apply knowledge from concurrent and previous coursework. Examples of experiences include simulation / standardized patients, interprofessional education opportunities, preclinical patient exposures, and case studies. Professional development areas include professional communication and behavior, conflict resolution, and stress management. (Pass/Fail)
Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses.
 
PAS 5361 CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY III (1 CREDIT)
This course will be the third in a series of three courses for the study of clinical pharmacology appropriate to the professional physician assistant role. The basic principles of pharmacology, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics are applied to generate pharmacologic management plans for the diseases / disorders based upon current clinical practice guidelines and other evidence-based resources. This 3-series Clinical Pharmacology Course collectively provides an introduction to the pharmacologic processes in the care and promotion of wellness across the lifespan, including the medications commonly used to treat human disorders, their classification, mechanisms of actions, indications, contraindications/cautions, formulations, routes of metabolism and excretion, adverse reactions, and drug interactions.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous MPAS Program semester courses.
 


Experiential Phase (Clinical Year)

The clinical phase of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) Program runs over the course of approximately three semesters with nine clinical rotations organized in five-week blocks. Students are responsible for their own travel and housing expenses. Students are not eligible for experiential phase courses until having successfully completed all didactic phase courses.

 

PAS 6015 – PAS 6095 CLINICAL PRACTICUM 1 - 9 (5 CREDITS EACH)
In the experiential phase, students are assigned into a series of rotations in a variety of settings. The Clinical Practicum are divided into 9 periods of approximately 5 weeks each. Required 5-week rotations include Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine and General Surgery. Experiences in Women’s Health, Pediatrics and Behavioral Health are also required but tend to be briefer experiences that may be integrated throughout the clinical experiences. Elective rotations are available in a variety of clinical practice areas, pending preceptor availability. The Program reserves the right to assign rotations or supplemental activities to ensure that students meet all experiential phase Program requirements.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of all didactic phase courses. 

PAS 6141 SENIOR SEMINAR I (1 CREDIT)
This is the first in a series of three courses designed to build upon the Evidence-Based Practice courses and provide students with experience in planning and implementing a graduate project. In these courses, students apply the concepts of evidence-based medicine to answer a question relevant to clinical practice or to devise a clinical practice improvement proposal.  In the first course in the series, students work individually or in groups of up to four to select relevant information sources and to begin the process of reviewing the literature. For those doing original research, they must complete a study proposal as outlined in the Graduate Project Guidelines and at least begin seeking IRB approval if needed. (Pass/Fail)
 
PAS 6171 GRADUATE PROJECT I (1 CREDIT)
This is the first in a series of three courses designed to build upon the Evidence-Based Practice courses and provide students with experience in planning and implementing a graduate project. In these courses, students apply the concepts of evidence-based medicine to answer a question relevant to clinical practice or to devise a clinical practice improvement proposal.  In the first course in the series, students work individually or in groups of up to four to select relevant information sources and to begin the process of reviewing the literature. For those doing original research, they must complete a study proposal as outlined in the Graduate Project Guidelines and at least begin seeking IRB approval if needed.  (Pass/Fail)
 
PAS 6241 SENIOR SEMINAR II (1 CREDIT)
This is the second of three Senior Seminar courses intertwined with the experiential phase of the PA Program. Over this course series, students will be exposed to a wide variety of topics pertinent to medical practice, including: healthcare policy and systems issues, medicolegal aspects of clinical practice, reimbursement issues, PA employment issues, patient safety and error reduction measures, and public health issues (e.g., mandatory reporting requirements, public health disease control measures). In addition, students will give case presentations of interesting patients they cared for on clinical practicums, and participate in activities designed to prepare them for the end-of-program summative exam and PANCE.
Prerequisite: PAS 6141 (Pass/Fail)
 
PAS 6271 GRADUATE PROJECT II (1 CREDIT)
This is the second in a series of three courses designed to build upon the Evidence-Based Practice courses and provide students with experience in planning and implementing a graduate project. In these courses, students apply the concepts of evidence-based medicine to answer a question relevant to clinical practice or to devise a clinical practice improvement proposal. In the second course in the series, students work individually or in groups of up four to collect and analyze the evidence included in selected sources.  For those doing original research, they must complete process of IRB approval if needed and finish data collection.  
Prerequisite: 6171 (Pass/Fail)
 
PAS 6341 SENIOR SEMINAR III (1 CREDIT)
This is the third of three Senior Seminar courses intertwined with the experiential phase of the PA Program. Over this course series, students will be exposed to a wide variety of topics pertinent to medical practice, including: healthcare policy and systems issues, medicolegal aspects of clinical practice, reimbursement issues, PA employment issues, patient safety and error reduction measures, and public health issues (e.g., mandatory reporting requirements, public health disease control measures). In addition, students will give case presentations of interesting patients they cared for on clinical practicums, and participate in activities designed to prepare them for the end-of-program summative exam and PANCE.
Prerequisite: PAS 6241 (Pass/Fail)
 
PAS 6371 GRADUATE PROJECT III (1 CREDIT)
This is the third in a series of three courses designed to build upon the Evidence-Based Practice courses and provide students with experience in planning and implementing a graduate project. In these courses, students apply the concepts of evidence-based medicine to answer a question relevant to clinical practice or to devise a clinical practice improvement proposal.  In this third course in the series, students work individually or in groups of up to four to complete the project and communicate the project’s findings in oral and written formats.  The course meets its conclusion through submission of (1) an evidence-based medicine review paper; (2) a case report; (3) an observational study; (4) a survey related to a medical or health topic; or (5) a rehabilitation focused experiment and study. A different method may be used but must have the approval of the Instructor of Record and associated faculty research advisor.
Prerequisite: PAS 6271 (Pass/Fail)