The PA Studies program at Clarkson University is a professional degree program intended to prepare students academically and professionally for responsibilities and services as physician assistants. This entry-level master’s degree program consists of 82 credit hours divided into three phases that span 28 consecutive months.

  • The didactic phase is the preclinical year and spans 13 months.
  • The clinical phase consists of 14 months of supervised clinical education and coursework.
  • The summative phase consists of one month and consists of evaluation and preparation for the future as a graduated physician assistant.

The curriculum is structured so that courses from semester two build on courses in semester one, etc. Therefore, opportunities for transfer of credit into the PA Studies curriculum or advanced placement are not available.

Supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs) are distributed among nine clinical field experiences. These experiences form the basis of the clinical and socialization processes for adaptation to the roles and functions of a physician assistant. A separate five-week elective is designed for student research.

Physician Assistant Student with a patient

Length of Program

Students must complete the program in 28 months unless granted a leave of absence for health or personal reasons. Any student that requests and is granted a leave of absence must complete the program in 40 months (28 month program plus one year).

Program Sequence and Advanced Standing

Students are expected to complete the designated professional curriculum in the sequence specified. Each semester’s coursework is considered a prerequisite to the next semester.

  1. Students may not enter the program with advanced standing.
  2. Students are required to successfully complete, in sequence, all course work as full-time students.
  3. There is no opportunity to progress into an advanced semester.
  4. There is no opportunity to change the order of pre-clinical course work.
  5. Elective courses are limited to the clinical year.

Students are expected to complete each semester on time as a cohort. Student progression will be a function of successfully passing all required courses in a semester and maintaining a 3.0 GPA. In the didactic phase of the program, any course failure after attempts at remediation will result in dismissal from the program. In the clinical phase, one rotation may be failed, but the student can undergo remediation and repeat that rotation once only. In that instance, the student’s education may continue five more weeks. In the summative phase, the student must pass both the physical assessment exam and the comprehensive written final to pass PA610 and to be recommended for graduation. If after remediation, students cannot successfully pass either or both exams, they will not be recommended for graduation and will be released from the program.

Degree Requirements

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the PA Studies program and earn the MS in PA Studies degree, candidates must

  • achieve a grade of C or better for all courses in the program
  • achieve a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or better at program completion
  • successfully pass a multi-station Objective Structured Clinical Examination/history and physical skills assessment with an acceptable score or after remediation
  • successfully pass the comprehensive written final exam with an acceptable score or after remediation
  • be recommended for graduation by the program chair and Clarkson University faculty
  • have paid all debts to the school and be in good standing

Academic Performance Standards

Standards of acceptable performance (cognitive and psychomotor) for courses are communicated to students in writing via the syllabus and orally reviewed at the introduction of the course.

A student must achieve and maintain the required 3.0 semester GPA to remain in good academic standing and graduate from the PA Studies program.

The policy of 3.0 or better in a graduate professional program has been adopted to better ensure student’s preparation for future sequential coursework. Students will be given feedback at the completion of each exam.

Performance in didactic courses is commonly assessed by written exams, oral presentations and/or research papers, as well as final written (cognitive) exams. In designated courses, psychomotor performance may be assessed by target skill competency exams and small group exercises.

During the didactic phase of the program, grades for cognitive performances will be recorded as a raw score and a percentage. At the end of each course, the percentage scores will be converted to a grade, A through F, for each of the core PA courses. Grades of D are not utilized.

Performance in the clinical phase of the program is assessed using a combination of targeted behavioral, psychomotor and clinical competencies relative to the supervised practice objectives and opportunities and, when indicated, by the syllabus for the SCPEs, grand rounds presentations and written cognitive exams.

To remain in good academic standing, all students must maintain a minimum semester GPA of 3.0 and receive a C or better in all courses (an F grade in any course may result in academic dismissal from the program).

Additionally, students may not progress to the clinical year of the program with a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0 at the end of the third semester of the program.

Faculty will meet formally at the end of each semester to discuss students' academic progress; students will be notified in writing about the results of their individual progress. Each bi-weekly faculty meeting will include an agenda item on student progress. Additionally, the department will notify Student Administrative Services to comply with the university policy on satisfactory academic progress.

Courses

Spring I Course Credit Hours
Introduction to the Profession PA500 1
Clinical Medicine I PA501 6
Basic Science I PA504 2
Pharmacotherapeutics I PA507 3
Patient Assessment I PA510 3
The Patient and the PA I   PA513 1
Semester Total   16
     
Summer I Course Credit Hours  
Clinical Medicine II PA502 6
Basic Science II PA505 2
Pharmacotherapeutics II PA508 3
Patient Assessment II PA511 3
The Patient and the PA II   PA514 1
Medical Informatics PA516 1    
Semester Total   15
     
Fall I Course Credit Hours  
Clinical Medicine III   PA503 6
Basic Science III PA506 2
Pharmacotherapeutics III PA509 3
Patient Assessment III PA512 3
The Patient and the PA III PA515 1
Semester Total   16
     
Spring II Course Credit Hours  
Clinical Procedures PA517 2
Supervised Practice - Ambulatory Medicine  PA600 3
Supervised Practice - Internal Medicine PA601 3
Semester Total   8
     
Summer II Course Credit Hours  
Supervised Practice - General Surgery PA602 3
Supervised Practice - Emergency Medicine PA603

3

Supervised Practice – Pediatrics PA604 3
Semester Total   9
     
Fall II Course Credit Hours  
Supervised Practice - Women’s Health PA605 3
Supervised Practice - Behavioral Health PA606 3
Supervised Practice - Elective I PA607 3
Semester Total   9
     
Spring III Course Credit Hours  
Supervised Practice – Elective II PA608 3
Clinical Research Elective PA609 3
Summative Review PA610 1
Master’s Project PA611 2
Semester Total   9
Program Total   82


PA500                  Introduction to the Profession (1)

This course is designed to aid the student in the transition into the medical profession and serves as an introduction to professional practice issues.  Areas of discussion include the history of the physician assistant profession, the PA-Physician team, professional organizations, licensing and credentialing, malpractice, professionalism, health care delivery, reimbursement issues including Medicaid and Medicare, biomedical ethics, health literacy, diversity issues, domestic violence, and end of life issues.

 

PA 501                 Clinical Medicine I           (6)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to provide an intensive study of human diseases and disorders, using a lifespan approach from pediatrics to geriatrics, in the areas of clinical medicine including epidemiology, etiology, historical data, clinical manifestations, progression, therapeutic management, prevention, laboratory medicine, imaging, and prognosis.  Emphasis will be on disease processes common to primary care practices and the emergency department following the NCCPA Blueprint, and the development of differential diagnoses and plans based upon the patient's clinical presentation.  This course will be facilitated through lecture and problem-based learning.   

PA 502                  Clinical Medicine II   (6)

This is the second in a series of courses designed to provide an intensive study of human diseases and disorders, using a lifespan approach from pediatrics to geriatrics, in the areas of clinical medicine including epidemiology, etiology, historical data, clinical manifestations, progression, therapeutic management, prevention, laboratory medicine, imaging and prognosis.  Emphasis will be on disease processes common to primary care practices and the emergency department following the NCCPA Blueprint, and the development of differential diagnoses and plans based upon the patient's clinical presentation.  This course will be facilitated through lecture and problem-based learning.

PA 503                   Clinical Medicine III     (6)

This is the third in a series of courses designed to provide an intensive study of human diseases and disorders, using a lifespan approach from pediatrics to geriatrics, in the areas of clinical medicine including epidemiology, etiology, historical data, clinical manifestations, progression, therapeutic management, prevention, laboratory medicine, imaging, and prognosis.  Emphasis will be on disease processes common to primary care practices and the emergency department following the NCCPA Blueprint, and the development of differential diagnoses and plans based upon the patient's clinical presentation.  This course will be facilitated through lecture and problem-based learning.

PA 504                  Basic Science I     (2)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to develop an understanding of normal physiology, genetics, pathologic, and pathophysiologic concepts of diseases per organ system, and clinical anatomy with an emphasis on important anatomical landmarks required in physical evaluation of patients, anatomical relationships of structures to each other, and anatomical components of body systems. 

 

PA 505                Basic Science II     (2)

This is the second in a series of courses designed to develop an understanding of normal physiology, genetics, pathologic, and pathophysiologic concepts of diseases per organ system, and clinical anatomy with an emphasis on important anatomical landmarks required in physical evaluation of patients, anatomical relationships of structures to each other, and anatomical components of body systems. 

 

PA 506                  Basic Science III    (2)

This is the third in a series of courses designed to develop an understanding of normal physiology, genetics, pathologic, and pathophysiologic concepts of diseases per organ system, and clinical anatomy with an emphasis on important anatomical landmarks required in physical evaluation of patients, anatomical relationships of structures to each other, and anatomical components of body systems

 

PA 507                   Pharmacotherapeutics I    (3)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to develop skills related to the principles of pharmacology as they pertain to therapeutic agents, prescription, and non-prescription medications.  Discussion will include the principal mechanisms of action of the major classes of therapeutic agents, understanding of pharmacodynamics, uses, side effects, and toxicities.

PA 508                    Pharmacotherapeutics II     (3)

This is the second in a series of courses designed to develop skills related to the principles of pharmacology as they pertain to therapeutic agents, prescription, and non-prescription medications.  Discussion will include the principal mechanisms of action of the major classes of therapeutic agents, understanding of pharmacodynamics, uses, side effects, and toxicities.

PA 509                  Pharmacotherapeutics III      (3)

This is the third in a series of courses designed to develop skills related to the principles of pharmacology as they pertain to therapeutic agents, prescription, and non-prescription medications.  Discussion will include the principal mechanisms of action of the major classes of therapeutic agents, understanding of pharmacodynamics, uses, side effects, and toxicities.

PA 510                 Patient Assessment I   (3)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to develop the knowledge and skills required to obtain and record the complete medical history, use of appropriate equipment, proper techniques, and accurate medical terminology to document findings. This course will provide an overview of the medical record as well as development of writing and organizational skills for medical record keeping and oral presentation skills. Skills will be developed through lecture and structured laboratory exercises.

 

PA 511               Patient Assessment II    (3)

This is the second in a series of courses designed to develop the knowledge and skills required to obtain and record the complete medical history, use of appropriate equipment, proper techniques, and accurate medical terminology to document findings. This course will provide an overview of the medical record as well as development of writing and organizational skills for medical record keeping and oral presentation skills. Skills will be developed through lecture and structured laboratory exercises.

PA 512                   Patient Assessment III    (3)

This is the third in a series of courses designed to develop the knowledge and skills required to obtain and record the complete medical history, use of appropriate equipment, proper techniques, and accurate medical terminology to document findings. This course will provide an overview of the medical record as well as development of writing and organizational skills for medical record keeping and oral presentation skills. Skills will be developed through lecture and structured laboratory exercises.

PA 513                  The Patient and the PA I   (1)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to develop skills in the area of patient communication, patient counseling, patient education, and cultural diversity and how they influence all aspects of medical practice.  Instruction is focused on the detection and application of preventive measures and treatment of health risk behaviors including stress, abuse and violence, substance abuse, sexuality, end of life issues, and reaction to illness. The course will also include discussions on medical ethics.

PA 514                   The Patient and the PA II     (1)

This is the second in a series of courses designed to develop skills in the area of patient communication, patient counseling, patient education, and cultural diversity and how they influence all aspects of medical practice.  Instruction is focused on the detection and application of preventive measures and treatment of health risk behaviors including stress, abuse and violence, substance abuse, sexuality, end of life issues, and reaction to illness.  The course will also include discussions on medical ethics.

PA 515                  The Patient and the PA III    (1)

This is the third in a series of courses designed to develop skills in the area of patient communication, patient counseling, patient education, and cultural diversity and how they influence all aspects of medical practice.  Instruction is focused on the detection and application of preventive measures and treatment of health risk behaviors including stress, abuse and violence, substance abuse, sexuality, end of life issues, and reaction to illness.  The course will also include discussions on medical ethics.

PA 516                   Medical Informatics (1)

This course will cover the importance of evidence-based medicine and review basic statistics, research methods, and ethical standards in research.  It will also cover the interpretation of medical literature and application of various types of clinical articles in answering clinical questions.  It will also include the basics of medical writing to provide added guidance for upcoming projects.

PA 517                  Clinical Procedures (2)

This course will prepare the student for the upcoming clinical year.  The focus will be on procedures, such as bedside and surgical procedures including aseptic technique, air and blood-borne pathogen transmission prevention, phlebotomy, IV placement, foley catheter insertion, lumbar puncture, injections, surgical techniques, suturing, and casting.

PA 600              Supervised Practice - Ambulatory Medicine (3)

This 5 week clinical course will be within a Family Medicine clinic setting.  This course provides the PA student with experience in the outpatient evaluation and treatment of pediatric and adult patients, including preventive medicine, acute and chronic illness, and patient education.

PA 601                  Supervised Practice - Internal Medicine (3)

This 5 week clinical course will be within an Internal Medicine practice. It will include a substantial inpatient experience for the PA student to gain knowledge of the evaluation and treatment of the multiple diseases and conditions of the adult population requiring hospitalization.

PA 602                  Supervised Practice - General Surgery (3)

This 5 week clinical course will be within a surgical practice. PA students will participate in Operating Room (OR) cases and hospital consultations as well as clinic based cases and visits in caring for conditions that require surgical management. This will include pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative care.

PA 603                  Supervised Practice - Emergency Medicine (3)

This 5 week clinical course will be within a hospital Emergency Department.  PA students will gain knowledge and learn skills relevant to the triage, stabilization, diagnosis, and management of acute, life-threatening injuries and illnesses as well as the care of less threatening conditions.

PA 604                   Supervised Practice – Pediatrics (3)

This 5 week clinical course will provide the PA student with experience in outpatient and/or in-patient management of pediatric patients. The student will have the opportunity to perform well child exams, problem oriented exams, evaluate common pediatric illnesses, and the care of the newborn and children.

PA 605                  Supervised Practice - Women’s Health (3)

This 5 week clinical course provides the PA student with experience in managing common gynecologic disorders. The obstetric experience will include routine prenatal and postpartum care.  It will include labor & delivery when possible.

PA 606                  Supervised Practice - Behavioral Health (3)

This 5 week clinical course will provide the PA student with a behavioral medicine experience in caring for ambulatory and/or hospitalized patients with psychiatric disorders.  The student will perform basic psychiatric evaluations, monitor medications, and support the clinical management plan for patients after psychiatric evaluation and treatment.

PA 607                  Supervised Practice - Elective I (3)

This 5 week clinical course will provide the PA student the opportunity to practice in any available medical setting of the student’s choice. This may be used to augment a previous clinical experience or explore an area of interest or potential future employment.

PA 608                  Supervised Practice – Elective II (3)           

This 5 week clinical course will provide the PA student the opportunity to practice in any available medical setting of the student’s choice. This may be used to augment a previous clinical experience or explore an area of interest or potential future employment.

PA 609                  Clinical Research Elective (3)

Prerequisite: Completion of the preclinical year of the physician assistant program or program permission. This 5 week course gives the PA student time to focus on research in preparation for completion of their Master's Project. The student may engage the multiple academic departments of Clarkson University outside of PA Studies for their research.

PA 610                  Summative Review (1)

This course, presented near the end of the clinical year, will include intensive board review in preparation for the PANCE, review for clinical skills testing, CV preparation, and interviewing skills. It also includes a final clinical skills exam as well as a cumulative written test, both of which must be successfully passed to graduate from the program.

PA 611                  Master’s Project (2)

This course is a follow up to Medical Informatics and the Research elective. It is designed to allow the PA student to complete a Master's Project under the guidance of a Clarkson faculty advisor.  Students may identify an area of medicine, disease process or condition, conduct research, and produce a paper worthy of publication.  The student may also perform a learning service project resulting in a paper worthy of publication or product for use in the community.  The student will prepare and present an oral presentation on their topic at the conclusion of the year.

Problem-Based Learning

The PA Program at Clarkson University is a professional degree program intended to prepare students academically and professionally for responsibilities and services as a Physician Assistant. This entry level master’s degree program consists of 82 credit hours divided into three phases that span 28 consecutive months.

 The Didactic phase is the preclinical year and spans 13 months.

The Clinical phase consists of 14 months of supervised clinical education and coursework.

The Summative Phase consists of 1 month and consists of evaluation and preparation for the future as a graduate PA.

The curriculum is structured so that courses from Semester Two build on courses in Semester One, etc. Therefore, opportunities for transfer of credit into the PA curriculum or advanced placement are not available.

Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences are distributed among 9 clinical field experiences or “SCPE’s”. These experiences form the basis of the clinical and socialization processes for adaptation to the roles and functions of a Physician Assistant. A separate 5 week elective is designed for student research.

Length of Program

Students must complete the program in 28 months unless granted a leave of absence for health or personal reasons.  Any student that requests and is granted a leave of absence must complete the program in 40 months (28 month program plus 1 year).

Program sequence and Advance Standing

Students are expected to complete the designated professional curriculum in the sequence specified. Each semester's course work is to be considered pre-requisite to the next semester.

  1. Students may not enter the program with advanced standing.
  2. Students are required to successfully complete, in sequence, all course work as full-time students.
  3. There is no opportunity to progress into an advanced semester.
  4. There is no opportunity to change the order of pre-clinical course work.
  5. Elective courses are limited to the clinical year.

Students are expected to complete each semester on time as a cohort. Student progression will be a function of successfully passing all required courses in a semester and maintaining a 3.0 GPA. In the didactic phase of the program, any course failure after attempts at remediation will result in dismissal from the program. In the clinical phase, one rotation may be failed, but with remediation and a repeat of that rotation once only for the clinical phase. In that instance, the student's education may continue 5 more weeks. In the summative phase, the student must pass both the physical assessment exam and the comprehensive written final to pass PA 610 and to be recommended for graduation. If after remediation, a student cannot successfully pass either or both exams, they will not be recommended for graduation and will be released from the program.

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the PA Program, and earn the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree (MSPAS) candidates must:

  • Achieve a grade of C or better for all courses in the program
  • Achieve a minimum overall GPA of 3.00 or better at program completion
  • Successful completion of a multi-station OSCE/history and physical skills assessment by score or after remediation
  • Successful completion of the comprehensive written final exam by score or after remediation
  • Be recommended for graduation by the Program Chair and Clarkson University Faculty
  • Student must have paid all debts to the school and be in good standing

Academic Performance Standards

Standards of acceptable performance (cognitive and psychomotor) for courses are communicated to students in writing via the syllabus and orally reviewed at the introduction of the course.

A student must achieve and maintain the required 3.00 semester Grade Point Average (GPA) to remain in good academic standing and graduate from the PA Program.

The policy of 3.00 or better in a graduate professional program has been adopted to better ensure student’s preparation for future sequential course work. Students will be given feedback at the completion of each exam.

Performance in didactic courses is commonly assessed by written exams, oral presentations and/or research papers, as well as final written (cognitive) exams. In designated courses, psychomotor performance may be assessed by target skill competency exams and small group exercises.

During the didactic phase of the program, grades for cognitive performances will be recorded as a raw score and a percentage. At the end of each course the percentage scores will be converted to a grade, A through F for each of the core PA courses. Grades of D are not utilized.

Performance in the clinical phase of the program is assessed using a combination of targeted behavioral, psychomotor and clinical competencies relative to the supervised practice objectives and opportunities and, when indicated, by the syllabus for the SCPE, grand rounds presentations, and written cognitive exams.

To remain in good academic standing, all PA Students must maintain a minimum semester GPA of 3.00 and receive a “C” or better in all courses (A “ F,” grade in any course may result in academic dismissal from the program).

Additionally, a student may not progress to the clinical year of the program with a cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 at the end of the 3rd semester of the program.

Faculty will meet formally at the end of each semester to discuss student’s academic progress; students will be notified in writing the results of their individual student progress. Each bi-weekly faculty meeting will include an agenda item on student progress. Additionally the department will notify Student Administrative Services to comply with the university policy on satisfactory academic progress.