Master of Science – Physician Assistant
Program Design and Curriculum Content
The two-year program (120 semester credits) of study leading to a Master of Science in Physician Assistant studies (M.S.P.A.) is delivered Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM with occasional workshops outside of those hours. The first year of the program will be on the Heritage University campus in Toppenish, Washington with some coursework and/or learning experiences conducted at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences. The clinic sites for the second year rotations will be spread throughout the Pacific Northwest.
A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 is required in all courses.
Didactic Education Overview
The didactic curriculum is an organ/system-based concept with basic sciences and clinical preparatory sciences coordinated in each module. This allows the student to learn the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of a system, while simultaneously learning the physical and diagnostic assessment skills. Students will learn how the disorder/disease presents in an adult, in a child, or in an emergent situation. Finally, they will learn the modalities, including pharmaceuticals, needed to treat the diagnosis. Three additional classes will be taught throughout the first year: Behavioral Medicine, Professional Issues for Physician Assistants, and the Master’s Research Project. Spanish for Medical Professionals will only be offered during spring semester.
The core courses required of all students in the M.S.P.A. degree are indicated below.
Didactic - First Year
• PAM 500 – Behavioral Medicine I - 1 credit
• PAM 515 – Master’s Research Project I - 2 credits
• PAM 530 – Professional Issues for Physician Assistants I - 1 credit
• PAM 545 – Introduction to Primary Care and the Normal Patient - 8 credits
• PAM 505 – Behavioral Medicine II - 3 credits
• PAM 520 – Master’s Research Project II (online) - 2 credits
• PAM 535 – Professional Issues for Physician Assistants II - 2 credits
• PAM 550 – Procedures and Diagnostics I - 2 credits
• PAM 560 – Integrated Primary Care I - 17 credits
• PAM 510– Behavioral Medicine III - 3 credits
• PAM 525 – Master’s Research Project III (online) - 2 credits
• PAM 540 – Professional Issues for Physician Assistants III - 1 credit
• PAM 555 – Procedures and Diagnostics II - 2 credits
• PAM 565 – Integrated Primary Care II - 17 credits
• SPAN 570 – Spanish for Medical Professionals - 3 credits
Clinical Education Overview
The second or clinical year is a Community-Based Clinical Education concept where the student will be placed in a decentralized Clinical Learning Center. These centers will be based in rural or underserved communities, primarily in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. Most of these learning centers are based in small towns that have smaller hospitals with active emergency departments, a few key specialists, and a good family medicine or internal medicine base. The student will remain in the community as they receive supervised clinical practice experiences in emergency medicine, family medicine, general internal medicine, general surgery / operative care, geriatrics, pediatrics, prenatal and women’s health care, and psychiatry and / or behavioral medicine. While positioned in a family medicine rotation for two or three days a week as a continuity clinic, the student will rotate through specialty rotations: inpatient medicine, general surgery, emergency medicine, and behavioral medicine. Pediatrics and women’s health may be added as separate rotations if the student does not see these types of patients in their family medicine rotations.
Clinical - Second Year
• PAM 615 – Master’s Research Project IV (online) - 1 credit
• PAM 600 – Community-Based Clinical Experience I - 12 credits
• PAM 620 – Master’s Research Project V (online) - 2 credits
• PAM 605 – Community-Based Clinical Experience II - 15 credits
• PAM 630 – Elective Clinical Experience I - 4 credits
• PAM 625 – Master’s Research Project VI (online) - 1 credit
• PAM 610 – Community-Based Clinical Experience III - 15 credits
• PAM 635 – Elective Clinical Experience II - 4 credits