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Physician Assistant Studies Department

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Curriculum

The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program is a 24-month, 90-credit, full-time program designed to prepare students for the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) and for a successful career as a physician assistant. The program consists of two 12-month phases: didactic and clinical. During the didactic phase, students learn about healthcare in a variety of settings and across the lifespan. In addition, the ethical responsibilities of the profession, behavioral aspects of health, roles and responsibilities of the physician assistant, and global aspects of health are covered. The clinical phase offers seven required core rotations in the clinical year, as well as two electives focusing on students' specific interests. A notable strength of the program is the tremendous support it has received from the regional healthcare community, with our students being hosted at a wide variety of clinical sites within a 50-60 mile radius of campus.

Year 1: Semester I [Summer] - 20 credits

  • PA 601 Human Anatomy - 4 credits
  • This course is designed to provide the physician assistant student with a comprehensive, clinically relevant, foundation in human gross anatomy in preparation for future clinical practice. The course incorporates lecture, anatomical models, and a human cadaver dissection laboratory. Emphasis is placed on relationship of structure and normal variants with clinical correlation to pathology and disease prevention.
  • PA 602 Human Physiology - 3 credits
  • An integrated study of normal physiologic function of the cell and organ systems from a clinical perspective. Using a systems-based approach, this course emphasizes normal physiologic function and control of various systems in preparation for Clinical Pathology.
  • PA 603 Clinical Medicine I - 4 credits
  • This course is the first in a sequence of three clinical medicine courses that are designed to prepare physician assistant students for their professional clinical role. Using a system-based module approach, human diseases and disorders are studied from the perspectives of epidemiology, etiology, clinical presentation, disease progression, management, and prognosis. Emphasis will be on diseases common to primary care practice and the development of a differential diagnosis and management plan based upon the patient's clinical presentation. In addition to the study of specific disease processes this course teaches the student to incorporate techniques of evidence-based medicine, physical examination, laboratory and diagnostic techniques, and interprofessional collaboration relevant to the system being studied. Pharmacologic therapeutic principles and practices are presented for specific medications utilized in the disease management of the topics covered in this section. This course blends a variety of learning techniques including lecture, self-directed learning, problem-based scenarios, and online learning to engage students in the content.
  • PA 604 Physical Diagnostics - 3 credits
  • This course introduces the student to patient assessment. Students will learn communication skills, medical history-taking, documentation, and physical exam skills associated with the clinical encounter. Students will learn these skills in a systems-based approach finally integrating them into a complete examination. This course incorporates the use of traditional lectures, small group sessions, and standardized patient encounters.
  • PA 605 Physical Diagnostics Lab - 2 credits
  • This lab section supports the learning objectives of PA 604 by providing the student time for supervised learning.
  • PA 607 PA History, Policy and Regulation - 1 credit
  • This course explores the origins of the physician assistant (PA) profession and the factors affecting the development of the profession in preparing the student to provide patient-centered care as part of the physician/PA team. Emphasis is placed on role socialization, quality assurance, credentialing of continued competence, policies and regulations governing clinical responsibilities and scope of practice, and the development of professional organizations for physician assistants. Issues of professionalism and the status of physician assistants in the U.S. and around the world are explored.
  • PA 613 Clinical Pathology - 3 credits
  • This course describes the major pathophysiologic processes associated with diseases commonly observed in primary care medicine. Emphasis is placed on the etiology, pathogenesis and disease symptoms in an integrated morphological, biochemical, pathophysiological, molecular and functional perspective.

Year 1: Semester II [Fall] - 19 credits

  • PA 608 Clinical Pharmacology - 4 credits
  • This foundational course in pharmacology provides the student with the concepts of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacotherapeutics. Major concepts involve drug classification, mechanism of action, absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination, and dose-response relationships of the different drug classes. Major drug interactions and adverse effects of specific classes will be covered for medications commonly used for the treatment and management of disease states in primary care.
  • PA 609 Clinical Medicine II - 4 credits
  • This course is the second in a sequence of three clinical medicine courses that are designed to prepare physician assistant students for their professional clinical role. Using a system-based module approach, human diseases and disorders are studied from the perspectives of epidemiology, etiology, clinical presentation, disease progression, management, and prognosis. Emphasis will be on diseases common to primary care practice and the development of a differential diagnosis and management plan based upon the patient's clinical presentation. In addition to the study of specific disease processes this course teaches the student to incorporate techniques of evidence-based medicine, physical examination, laboratory and diagnostic techniques, and interprofessional collaboration relevant to the system being studied. Pharmacologic therapeutic principles and practices are presented for specific medications utilized in the disease management of the topics covered in this section. This course blends a variety of learning techniques including lecture, self-directed learning, problem-based scenarios, and online learning to engage students in the content.
  • PA 610 Clinical Diagnostics - 3 credits
  • This course develops the student's ability to complete a focused patient assessment for common disorders seen in primary care medicine incorporating skills learned in PA 604. Additionally students will learn to compile patient data to formulate a differential diagnosis and include the use of diagnostic studies leading towards the development of a final diagnosis and treatment plan. Skills in writing patient notes are emphasized and oral presentation skills are introduced. This course incorporates the use of problem-based learning, small group sessions, and simulated or standardized patient encounters.
  • PA 611 Clinical Diagnostics Lab - 2 credits
  • This course will introduce the student to performing basic laboratory tests as discussed in lecture.
  • PA 612 Medical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases - 3 credits
  • This course provides advanced instruction regarding the properties of pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi and their role in disease states commonly observed in primary care. A systems-based approach is used to examine the fundamentals of pathogenicity, host response, epidemiological aspects of infectious diseases, as well as clinical diagnosis and treatment of infections. Emphasis will be placed on clinically relevant pathogens, isolation and aseptic techniques, identification and treatment.
  • PA 614 Imaging & Diagnostic Testing - 3 credits
  • In this course students will learn diagnostic studies commonly used in primary care practice. Focusing on radiographic imaging, electrocardiography, and diagnostic laboratory studies students will learn about the variety of available studies, the indications for their use as it relates to the patients' complaint, and the basic techniques for interpretation required to implement a management plan for the patient.

Year 1: Semester III [Spring] - 18 credits

  • PA 606 Ethics in Health Care Delivery - 2 credits
  • This course introduces the student to ethical issues that occur in professional practice and provides them with basic knowledge and skills to identify, analyze, and resolve dilemmas. Topics address a variety of bioethics and legal considerations observed in clinical practice including informed consent, confidentiality, nonmaleficence and beneficence, patient decision-making capacity, advance directives, end-of-life issues, assisted suicide, human research, and health care provider issues.
  • PA 615 Behavioral Medicine - 3 credits
  • This course introduces students to basic psychiatric and mental health manifestations commonly observed in clinical practice. Topics include depression, anxiety, phobias, substance and eating disorders, somatoform, psychoses, neuroses and personality disorders. The student will learn how to conduct a psychiatric interview and classify disorders in accordance with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). Evaluation and treatment modalities will also be explored.
  • PA 616 Clinical Medicine III - 4 credits
  • This course is the third in a sequence of three courses that are designed to prepare physician assistant students for their professional clinical role. Using a system-based module approach, human diseases and disorders are studied from the perspectives of epidemiology, etiology, clinical presentation, disease progression, management, and prognosis. Emphasis will be on diseases common to primary care practice and the development of a differential diagnosis and management plan based upon the patient's clinical presentation. In addition to the study of specific disease processes this course teaches the student to incorporate techniques of evidence-based medicine, physical examination, laboratory and diagnostic techniques, and interprofessional collaboration relevant to the system being studied. Pharmacologic therapeutic principles and practices are presented for specific medications utilized in the disease management of the topics covered in this section. This course blends a variety of learning techniques including lecture, self-directed learning, problem-based scenarios, and online learning to engage students in the content.
  • PA 617 Epidemiology and Biostatistics - 3 credits
  • This course will introduce the basic concepts of epidemiology and biostatistics as applied to public health problems. Emphasis is placed on the principles and methods of epidemiologic investigation, appropriate summaries and displays of data, and the use of classical statistical approaches to describe the health of populations. Topics include the dynamic behavior of disease, usage of rates, ratios and proportions, methods of direct and indirect adjustment, and clinical life table which measures and describes the extent of disease problems.
  • PA 618 Emergency Medicine - 3 credits
  • This course is designed to prepare students to evaluate and treat patients in an emergency room setting. Students will learn the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, evaluation and management of urgent and emergent medical problems commonly encountered in hospital emergency departments. Emphasis is on providing the student with practical clinical experience (via the simulation lab) in the management of acute medical and surgical emergencies. Skills common to the emergency room are also covered in this course including aseptic technique, basic surgical procedures, suturing, various catheter placements, casting, splinting, and phlebotomy.
  • PA 621 Comprehensive Diagnosis - 3 credits
  • This course develops the student's ability to complete an expanded assessment for patients with multiple disorders commonly seen in primary care medicine. Students will integrate a patient's medical history, physical examination findings, and diagnostic studies to formulate an initial differential diagnosis, final diagnosis and treatment plan. Students will accurately document the encounter and provide an oral presentation to a supervising physician while accurately coding the encounter for billing and reimbursement. This course incorporates the use of problem-based learning, small group sessions, and simulated or standardized patient encounters.

Year 2: Clinical Phase (12 month cycle) - 33 credits

  • PA 620 Medical Literature/Seminar - 3 credits
  • Students participate in intensive online group discussions focused on the critical analysis of medical research papers from a wide range of fields. Papers are discussed in terms of their background, significance, hypothesis, experimental methods, data quality, and interpretation of results.
  • PA 701 Clinical Rotation - Family Medicine - 3 credits
  • The Family Medicine rotation familiarizes the student with the role of the physician assistant in general practice. Time will be spent with a physician, physician assistant, and/or nurse practitioner preceptor in a primary care setting. Through supervised exposure to ambulatory medical patients in this environment, students will be exposed to patient populations across the lifespan. In preparation for a supportive role in the patients' therapeutic management, students will obtain medical histories, perform physical examinations, and order/interpret diagnostic testing. Emphasis is placed on the evaluation and management of primary care medical problems. Patient education and counseling are emphasized, as is the importance of continuity of care & preventative care.
  • PA 702 Clinical Rotation - Internal Medicine - 3 credits
  • During the Internal Medicine rotation, students will be assigned to the inpatient medical/hospitalist service at one of many local hospitals. The purpose of the Internal Medicine rotation is to provide the student with practical clinical experience in working with the hospitalized patients with acute or chronic diseases that are routinely seen by internists. Under the supervision of a licensed provider, students will participate in a wide variety of inpatient care activities. Medical history review, physical examination, diagnostic testing, and management are emphasized, as is the importance of functioning on a multidisciplinary team. Students may be required to attend conferences, lectures, and take call.
  • PA 703 Clinical Rotation - General Surgery - 3 credits
  • During the General Surgery rotation, students are assigned to either the Department of Surgery at one of many local hospitals or to a private surgical service. With supervision, the student is given the opportunity to apply the basic principles of surgery while participating in a variety of patient care activities. The student is provided with practical experience in data collection, in addition to the evaluation and management of major and minor surgical problems. An opportunity is afforded for development of manual skills and for exposure to basic operating room procedures and techniques. Longitudinal care is encouraged in order to provide the student with the opportunity to follow patients from the preoperative confirmation of clinical impressions, through the post-surgical care period. Students may be required to attend conferences, lectures, and take call.
  • PA 704 Clinical Rotation - Pediatrics - 3 credits
  • During the Pediatrics rotation, students are assigned to private practice offices or to community health centers where they will participate in the care of pediatric patients. Through supervised exposure to patients in a pediatric practice setting, the student is given the opportunity to become familiar with the parameters of normal growth and development, newborn assessment, immunizations schedules, and the evaluation and management of common problems in the pediatric population. Students will be involved in well child care as well as in the evaluation of acute and chronic pediatric illnesses.
  • PA 705 Clinical Rotation - OB/GYN - 3 credits
  • The Ob/Gyn rotation takes place in a hospital, clinic, and/or private practice setting. The purpose of the Ob/Gyn rotation is to provide the student with practical clinical experience in the differential diagnosis, evaluation, and management of normal and abnormal conditions within obstetrics and gynecology. With supervision, students will participate in annual well woman exams, evaluate and treat gynecologic complaints, and work with patients presenting with normal or complicated pregnancies. Students may be assigned patients in preparation for a supportive role during labor, delivery, and/or gynecological surgery. Students may be required to attend conferences, lectures, or take call.
  • PA 706 Clinical Rotation - Behavioral and Mental Health - 3 credits
  • The Behavioral Health rotation takes place within an inpatient, or outpatient, behavioral health setting. The student will gain practical clinical experience in identifying, evaluating, and referring patients presenting with common and/or emergent psychiatric problems. With supervision, students will perform psychological interviews and evaluate acute and chronic psychological problems. In some instances, students may interview patients' families to better understand the nature of a patient's problem.
  • PA 707 Clinical Rotation - Emergency Medicine - 3 credits
  • The Emergency Medicine clinical rotation takes place within the emergency department setting of one of many local hospitals. Under the supervision of a licensed provider who is experienced in this area of instruction, the student will gain practical clinical experience in the management of medical and surgical emergencies on an acute outpatient basis. Through supervised patient contact, the student will gain experience in performing directed history and physical examinations, managing episodic illness, performing lifesaving techniques, and handling emergency equipment.
  • PA 708 Clinical Rotation - Geriatrics/Other Approved Elective - 3 credits
  • The focus of this rotation is an in-depth evaluation and ongoing treatment of geriatric patients with complex problems and/or chronic illness. Students learn the skills necessary to evaluate and manage the effects of chronic disease on various body systems and to perform or assist in procedures commonly used in providing care to the geriatric population. This rotation may take place in an office which focuses on geriatric medicine, an internal medicine rotation, or an approved specialty where a majority of the patient population falls within the geriatric age group. Students may request a non-geriatric rotation in an approved medical sub-specialty after consultation by their academic adviser and approval of the Program Director.
  • PA 709 Clinical Rotation - Elective - 3 credits
  • With consultation by their academic adviser and approval of the Program Director, students will select a 5-week elective rotation in any area of medicine or surgery. Students are encouraged to select specialties which provide clinical experiences applicable to the primary medical care setting. A list of suggestions is provided to the student, based on availability within the community.
  • PA 710 Capping - 3 credits
  • The Capping course is designed to prepare the student for the transition from classroom to practice. Through a year-long seminar series, students are presented with professional development topics ranging from billing and coding to medical malpractice and state licensing requirements. The course will also address job search skills, to include CV preparation, interviewing techniques, and contract negotiations. Another key element of this course is the structured practice and preparation for the various summative assessments that will occur at the end of the clinical year, as well as the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) which will be taken after graduation from the program.

Total 90 credits

All course descriptions are subject to change.

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Accreditation Status

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Marist College Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Marist College.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status.  It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

Updated: 1/16/18