MSPAS Curriculum

The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies is a 25-month, 111 credit full-time course of study. The curriculum is divided into a 12-month didactic phase, a 12-month clinical phase, and a 1-month capstone phase.  The program begins a new cohort of students in January each year.

Didactic Phase

The 12-month didactic phase of the PA program contains the preclinical curriculum that will prepare the student to succeed during the clinical phase. The program begins in January each year with an orientation and a 4-week intensive semester that will give the foundation for subsequent clinical courses. The remainder of the didactic phase will work sequentially through clinical body systems one at a time integrating the clinical course with the Applied Patient Care and Systems Pharmacology courses. Altogether, each body system module will contain the anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, history and physical exam, diagnostic techniques, evidence-based medicine, and treatment specific to that system.

In addition to the clinical medicine, students will work through all other aspects of PA practice including interprofessional practice, ethics and social issues, diversity and cultural competency, life-long learning, evidence-based medicine, and research methods.

SemesterClass #Class NameCr Hours
IntensiveMSPA 500Principles of PA Practice I1
4 wkMSPA 505Foundations of Clinical Anatomy2
MSPA 510Intro to Pathophysiology2
MSPA 515Intro to Clinical Pharmacology1
MSPA 520Applied Patient Care I2
Total Credit Hours (8)8
SpringMSPA 501Principles of PA Practice II1
14 wkMSPA 521Applied Patient Care II2
MSPA 530Intro to Evidence-Based Practice1
MSPA 550Systems Pharmacology I2
MSPA 560Clinical Hematology and infectious disease4
MSPA 561Clinical HEENT2.5
MSPA 562Clinical Dermatology1.5
MSPA 563Clinical Pulmonology4
Total Credit Hours (18)18
SummerMSPA 502Principles of PA Practice III1
12 wk
MSPA 522Applied Patient Care III2
MSPA 551Systems Pharmacology II2
MSPA 570Clinical Cardiology5
MSPA 571Clinical Nephrology and Urology3
MSPA 572Clinical Orthopedics and Rheumatology4
Total Credit Hours (17)17
FallMSPA 503Principles of PA Practice IV1
16 wkMSPA 523Applied Patient Care IV3
MSPA 552Systems Pharmacology III2
MSPA 580Clinical Gastroenterology3
MSPA 581Clinical Endocrinology2
MSPA 582Clinical Behavioral Medicine and Neurology4
MSPA 583Clinical Gynecology and Obstetrics3
MSPA 584Clinical Pediatrics3
MSPA 590Research Methods2
Total Credit Hours (23)23
Total Didactic Year (66)

Clinical Phase

The clinical phase of the program consists of structured clinical practice experiences (SCPEs). Students will complete 7 required rotations (family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, general surgery, emergency medicine, behavioral health) and have 2 elective rotations of the students choosing from a robust list of options. Following each clinical experience, students will return to campus for end-of-rotation exams and the Bridge to Clinical Practice courses. In addition, students will work on their capstone community engagement projects.

SemesterClass #Class NameCr Hours
Spring 2MSPA 650Surgery4
MSPA 651Internal medicine4
MSPA 652Emergency medicine4
MSPA 653Family medicine4
MSPA 630Bridge to Clinical Practice I1
Total semester17
Summer 2MSPA 654Women’s Health4
MSPA 655Pediatrics4
MSPA 631Bridge to Clinical Practice II1
MSPA 665Community EngagementNC
Total semester9
Fall 2MSPA 656Behavioral Medicine4
MSPA 657Elective I4
MSPA 658Elective II4
MSPA 632Bridge to Clinical Practice III1
Total semester13

Capstone Phase

The final capstone phase of the PA program lasting 1 month includes program summative testing, completion and presentation of the community engagement projects, Bridge to Clinical Practice IV, and structured board exam review.

CapstoneMSPA 633Bridge to Clinical Practice IV4
MSPA 665Community Engagement2
Total semester6