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.
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.
- Students may not enter the program with advanced standing.
- Students are required to successfully complete, in sequence, all course work as full-time students.
- There is no opportunity to progress into an advanced semester.
- There is no opportunity to change the order of pre-clinical course work.
- 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.
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 Achievement Services to comply with the university policy on satisfactory academic progress.