Physician Assistant Studies Curriculum
|Semester||Didactic Curriculum||Credit Hours|
(Jun – Aug)
|PAS 610 Human Anatomy||3|
|PAS 620 Physiology||3|
|PAS 612 Medical Interviewing||1|
|PAS 615 Introduction to Evidence Based Medicine||2|
|PAS 616 Medicine & Society I||2|
|PAS 624 Pharmacology & Therapeutics I||2|
|PAS 626 Integrated Clinical Medicine and Regional Anatomy I||7|
|PAS 613 Physical Diagnosis I||2|
|PAS 629 Diagnostic Methods I||2|
|PAS 611 Scientific Foundations||3|
|PAS 617 Medicine & Society II||1|
|PAS 625 Pharmacology & Therapeutics II||2|
|PAS 627 Integrated Clinical Medicine and Regional Anatomy II||7|
|PAS 630 Diagnostic Methods II||2|
|PAS 618 Medicine & Society III||1|
|PAS 670 Clinical Integration Seminar I||4|
|PAS 632 Physical Diagnosis II||2|
|PAS 631 Special Populations||5|
|PAS 628 Integrated Clinical Medicine and Regional Anatomy III||3|
|PAS 619 Medicine & Society IV||1|
|PAS 614 Behavioral Medicine & Counseling||2|
|PAS 671 Clinical Integration Seminar II||1|
|Preclinical Year Total||58|
Clinical Year Curriculum
|PAS 740 Family Medicine Clerkship||8|
|PAS 741 Internal Medicine Clerkship||8|
|PAS 742 Pediatrics Clerkship||4|
|PAS 743 Emergency Medicine Clerkship||4|
|PAS 744 Behavioral Medicine & Psychiatry Clerkship||4|
|PAS 745 General Surgery Clerkship||4|
|PAS 746 Women’s Health Clerkship||4|
|PAS 747 Elective Clerkship||4|
|PAS 748 Professional Seminar I||1|
|PAS 749 Professional Seminar II||1|
|PAS 750 Professional Seminar III||1|
|PAS 751 Capstone Project||2|
|Program Total: 103|
*The clinical clerkship sequence will be based on preceptor availability and will vary among PA students.
** The program has an approved scheduled curriculum change for the 2024-2025 academic year. Please see the following link below for updates to the didactic year curriculum. This includes decreasing credit hours for PAS 670 Clinical Seminar I and increasing credit hours for PAS 671 Clinical Seminar II. Didactic Curriculum Updates AY25
Establishing Clerkship Sites
The PA Program has established relationships with preceptors and sites for all core clerkships and many clinical electives. Students are not required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors for any of their clinical clerkships during the program.
Pre-Clinical Course Descriptions
PAS 610 Human Anatomy 3 credit hours
This course is designed to develop an understanding of normal clinical anatomy through an integrated anatomical approach to the study of human body structure. Lectures will cover the systematic and developmental anatomy of the human body with faculty utilizing medical case studies to teach anatomy within a clinical context. Throughout this course, instructional emphasis is placed on structure/function relationships and the clinical application of such knowledge. Students will have the opportunity to participate in independent and group study activities with the goal of enhancing life-long learning.
PAS 611 Scientific Foundations 3 credit hours
The course will provide instruction in the basic sciences of medicine integral to understanding human disease. The course will cover topics in pathophysiology, biochemistry, immunology, microbiology, and genetics.
PAS 616 Medicine and Society I 2 credit hours
Medicine and Society (M&S) consists of 4 consecutive, integrated courses in which students explore the intersection of the individual in society and health care. The first semester will focus on an introduction to the PA profession, medical ethics, and cultural competency. The course will also consist of learning communities which will facilitate critical thinking and clinical problem solving.
PAS 624 & 625 Pharmacology & Therapeutics I & II 2 credit hours (ea)
This two-course series provides students with a fundamental knowledge of the application of pharmacologic agents to the maintenance of health, prevention of illness, and the treatment of common acute and chronic medical conditions or related symptoms. The course focuses on the deliverance of the fundamental principles of pharmacology needed for an understanding of rational and effective prescribing of various drug classes. The pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, potential advantages and disadvantages of specific therapeutic regimens, indications, contraindications, adverse reactions, and the relative cost of commonly prescribed medications will be addressed.
PAS 620 Physiology 3 credit hours
This course offered early in the physician assistant program curriculum will review concepts of human physiology to strengthen the students’ core foundation of physiology knowledge. Major themes regarding commonly occurring pathophysiologic processes will be introduced to prepare students for more in-depth learning about specific disease states and patient presentations in subsequent courses.
PAS 626 Integrated Clinical Medicine and Regional Anatomy I 7 credit hours
This is the first of a three-part series designed to deliver a comprehensive study of human diseases and disorders by organ system. This semester will contain modules covering Hematology, Dermatology, Otorhinolaryngology/Ophthalmology, Cardiology and Pulmonary. Disease processes common to primary care practice, and the development of differential diagnoses and treatment plans based upon clinical presentation will be highlighted. Course content will be integrated with the content material being taught in Pharmacology, Physical Diagnosis, Clinical Integration Seminar, and Diagnostic Methods.
PAS 627 Integrated Clinical Medicine and Regional Anatomy II 7 credit hours
This is the second of a three-part series designed to deliver a comprehensive study of human diseases and disorders by organ system. This semester will contain modules covering Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Genitourinary, Renal, Musculoskeletal, Neurological and Oncology. Disease processes common to primary care practices, and the development of differential diagnoses and treatment plans based on clinical presentation will be highlighted. Course content will be integrated with the content being taught in Pharmacology and Diagnostic Methods.
PAS 628 Integrated Clinical Medicine and Regional Anatomy III 3 credit hours
This is the third of a three-part series designed to deliver a comprehensive study of the etiology and pathophysiology of human diseases and disorders by organ system. This semester will contain modules covering Endocrinology and Infectious Disease. Disease processes common to primary care practices, and the development of differential diagnoses and treatment plans based on clinicalpresentation will be highlighted. Course content will be integrated with the content being taught in Pharmacology and Diagnostic Methods.
PAS 613 & PAS 632 Physical Diagnosis I and II 2 credit hours (ea)
This course is designed to introduce the student to patient history-taking, physical examination, communication, and medical documentation skills that are necessary for patient assessment and medical practice. Learning objectives are met through reading assignments, small group encounters, practicum sessions, oral presentations, and various methods of evaluation. Students will perform system-based and problem-focused physical examinations for both primary care and specialty complaints. In addition, students will have the opportunity to practice their skills with assigned lab partners, simulated patients, and standardized patients.
The first semester will cover how to perform a complete and focused physical for the following areas: general survey, dermatologic, HEENT, neck, vital signs, cardiac, peripheral vascular, and pulmonary.
The second semester will cover how to perform a complete and focused physical for the following areas: abdominal, breast and axillary, musculoskeletal, and neurologic.
PAS 612 Medical Interviewing 1 credit hour
This course covers the collection of subjective data by physician assistant students and is divided into two sections. The first half of the course will involve comprehensive understanding of the Chief Complaint (CC), History of the Present Illness (HPI), medical/social/surgical history, medications/allergies, health maintenance, and complete review of systems (ROS). It will also include an introduction to history taking and direct patient interactions. Additionally, this course introduces PA students to active listening, the concepts of health, disease and illness and common medical decision-making pitfalls. The ideas of cultural competency and the concept of social determinants of health will also be introduced. Participation in a clinical practicum wherein students will interview assigned lab partners will occur before section two of this course.
The second half of the course will focus on the fundamentals of medical interviewing patients across the lifespan with particular attention directed at developing agenda setting skills, managing a difficult patient, patients with substance abuse, communicating with diverse patient populations, interviewing pediatric and geriatric patients, managing possible abuse, delivering bad news and collecting information essential for assessing sexual health.
PAS 629 &630 Diagnostic Methods I and II 2 credit hours (ea)
The essentials of ordering, interpreting, and performing diagnostic studies used in the screening, diagnosis, management, and monitoring of common diseases. Topics for this course are sequenced with Clinical Medicine. Lectures, small group discussions, and hands-on laboratory sessions are the teaching strategies utilized in this course.
PAS 615 Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine 2 credit hours
This course is designed to help develop critical thinking regarding interpretation of evidence-based practice and research literature. Medical knowledge is far from static, and the best clinicians of the coming decades will be those who can most effectively filter and integrate the latest scientific evidence to provide customized, safe, patient-centered care in every clinical encounter. In this course, we will integrate concepts of epidemiology, research study design, and biostatistics and apply them to interpretation of medical literature, with an ultimate goal of producing clinically relevant answers to patient care-related questions. The course will be a mix of interactive lectures, individual and small group exercises, and discussions. Student learners will be able to critique medical research at the completion of this course and begin the process of formulating a clinically relevant research question
PAS 617 Medicine and Society II 2 credit hours
Medicine & Society II
Medicine & Society II is the second of a 4-semester sequence of consecutive, integrated courses in which students explore the intersection of the individual in society and health care. The Medicine & Society II course examines relevant historical issues, theories, approaches, and barriers, emphasizing critical analysis and application of knowledge.
The second semester of the course will take a closer look at the concept of community health and health equity in the United States. Students will apply the principles of Community-Oriented Primary Care (COPC) to develop intervention programs that improve health outcomes and address health disparities through access to quality services. Through the COPC process students will be introduced to concepts in patient advocacy, public health, provider bias (implicit/explicit), racial\ethnic health disparities, and social determents of health as it relates to community health outcomes and its impact on clinical practice. The course will also consist of learning communities wherein students will participate in a community health engagement project addressing an identified health promotion/disease prevention issue or an identified community health risk.
PAS 618 Medicine and Society III 2 credit hours
Medicine & Society III is the third of a 4-semester sequence of consecutive, integrated courses in which students explore the intersection of the individual in society and health care. Medicine & Society III introduces the foundations of public health with an emphasis on population health, how public health affects everyday lives, and influences clinical practice. This course presents a big-picture, population perspective on the determinants of health, disease, and the tools available to protect and promote health. This course also examines a range of options for intervention including the use of the healthcare system, the public health system, and society-wide systems such as policy and advocacy. Learning Communities serve as an opportunity for student-led small group discussions and group research projects led by a faculty facilitator. Learning Community will include activities and discussions focused on topics related to community health projects and Capstone activities which will facilitate research, critical thinking, and clinical problem-solving throughout the semester.
PAS 619 Medicine and Society IV 2 credit hours
Medicine & Society IV is the fourth of a 4-semester sequence of consecutive, integrated courses in which students explore the intersection of the individual in society and health care. The second semester will focus on the healthcare delivery system, public health, patient safety, quality improvement, billing, reimbursement and risk management. The course will also introduce students to and focus on focus on interprofessional education. The course will continue to incorporate learning communities that will facilitate critical thinking and clinical problem-solving activities and discussions.
PAS 614 Behavioral Medicine & Counseling 2 credit hours
This course provides the student with an opportunity to develop an understanding of human behavior by providing an overview of major behavioral disease processes, and differentiation criteria to include disease presentation, physical examination findings, laboratory testing, and therapeutic approaches. Additionally, the student will survey common behavioral issues related to somatic disease processes that present to the primary care practitioner.
PAS 631 Special Populations 5 credit hours
This course is designed to deliver a comprehensive study of human diseases and disorders. Emphasis will be on the epidemiology, etiology, historical data, clinical manifestations, progression, therapeutic management, prevention, laboratory medicine, and prognosis of disease processes common in Women’s Health, Pediatrics, Geriatrics and Emergency Medicine. The course will also provide instruction on basic surgical principles, techniques, and technical skills necessary for Physician Assistants to function in primary care and surgical settings. This course is taught in a modular format using a variety of learning methods including lectures, group discussions, demonstrations, and laboratory sessions.
PAS 670 Clinical Integration 4 credit hours
This course, delivered in a small group format, is designed to develop student skills related to integration of patient assessment and clinical medicine concepts from other courses in their curriculum. Using a patient-centered, problem-based learning method, students will actively explore pertinent aspects of patient care and practice through a case-based approach.
Clinical Course Descriptions
PAS 740 Family Medicine 8 credit hours
This required clinical clerkship takes place primarily in a community-based outpatient setting. The purpose of this Clerkship is to educate the physician assistant student in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of primary care patients across the life span, including prenatal, infant, children, adolescents, adults and elderly. Emphasis is placed on the primary care needs of patients in rural and urban communities.
PAS 741 Internal Medicine 8 credit hours
This clinical rotation focuses on the practice of internal medicine. Students will gain valuable hands-on exposure to a variety of acute and chronic adult diseases and will discover best practice methods for diagnoses and treatment of these issues.
PAS 742 Pediatric Medicine 4 credit hours
This is clerkship will center on pediatric patients. Students will learn how to differentiate presentations in the pediatric population from those in an adult population.
PAS 743 Emergency Medicine 4 credit hours
During this fast-paced clerkship, students will experience a variety of clinical presentations common in emergency medicine. Students will learn methods for determining critical versus non-critical presentations and methods of patient stabilization. Students will evaluate and treat acute illnesses and injuries as well as exacerbations of chronic illness. Students will have the opportunity to apply procedural/ skill techniques learned throughout the course of the MSM PA program.
PAS 744 Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry 4 credit hours
During this clinical clerkship, students will have the opportunity to participate in the evaluation and treatment of patients with a variety of behavioral and psychiatric conditions. Students will develop knowledge about the complex nature of psychiatric illness through active involvement in the diagnosis and management of patients.
PAS 745 General Surgery 4 credit hours
This rotation introduces students to practical concepts and principles of surgery, including pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative evaluation and management of the surgical patient.
PAS 746 Women’s Health 4 credit hours
This clinical rotation exposes the students to the practice of women’s health. Students will learn how to evaluate and treat a variety of gynecologic and obstetrical conditions as well as other issues specific to women’s health.
PAS 747 Elective Clerkship 4 credit hours
This elective clinical rotation provides the student with an opportunity to pursue an academic, medical, or surgical area of interest.
PAS 748 Professional Seminar I in Physician Assistant Studies 1 credit hour
Professional Seminar I is the first in a series of three consecutive integrated seminar style courses intended to assist the PA student in achieving the competencies needed to be successful in the supervised clinical practice experiences (clinical rotations) and to successfully transition to clinical practice upon graduation.
PAS 749 Professional Seminar II in Physician Assistant Studies 1 credit hour
Professional Seminar II is the second in a series of three consecutive integrated seminar style courses intended to assist the PA student in achieving the competencies needed to be successful in the supervised clinical practice experiences (clinical rotations) and to successfully transition to clinical practice upon graduation.
PAS 750 Professional Seminar III in Physician Assistant Studies 1 credit hour
Professional Seminar III is the third in a series of three consecutive integrated seminar style courses intended to assist the PA student in achieving the competencies needed to be successful in the supervised clinical practice experiences (clinical rotations) and to successfully transition to clinical practice upon graduation.
PAS 751 Capstone Project 2 credit hours
This course is designed to allow PA students to complete a group Capstone Project under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Students will put into practice the skills acquired in PAS 615: Introduction to Evidence Based Medicine and PAS 617: Medicine & Society II by conducting a literature review and writing a thesis paper describing their findings. Student groups will meet regularly with their Capstone advisor to discuss preliminary drafts of their scholarly work and associated assignments. Students will also submit their work for presentation at MSM’s annual Curtis L. Parker Student Research Symposium.