Marshall B. Ketchum University

School of Physician Assistant Studies

List of Courses and Descriptions

DIDACTIC PHASE

The didactic phase of the physician assistant curriculum provides the foundation for clinical practice with instruction in applied medical sciences, patient assessment, clinical medicine and pharmacotherapeutics. The curriculum is organized into systems-based modules which incorporate anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, clinical medicine, clinical skills, patient assessment, diagnostic testing, and pharmacotherapeutics taught in an organized and integrated sequence with a strong emphasis on active learning. Other courses include medical ethics, PA professional practice issues, population health and evidence-based practice. Students will also participate in interprofessional education courses, and will experience supervised patient interactions. Integration of the curriculum provides the students with better learning opportunities that will facilitate the development of knowledge that is relevant and meaningful to clinical practice and which is amendable to alteration updating and development as a part of an ongoing process of lifelong learning.  Students must successfully pass all first phase didactic academic requirements in order to progress to the second phase clinical rotation training.

Foundation Courses

Foundation courses include the basic medical sciences, the principles of genetics, infectious disease and immunology, and an overview of the patient assessment. The courses are designed to provide students with a review of the basic medical sciences as well as an introduction to patient assessment in preparation for the advanced study of clinical medicine.

PAS 524 Fundamentals of Anatomy (2 units)
This course is designed to provide an introduction of anatomy within a clinical context to assist in developing spatial relationship skills with an emphasis on important anatomical landmarks relevant to physical exam, diagnosis and development of disease, and in the anatomical relationships of structures to each other. The physician assistant student will learn the skills needed to recognize normal anatomy, normal anatomical variation and disease states. Lectures, 3-D anatomy tables, and a multimedia approach will be used to present the material.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 525 Applied Medical Science (6 units)
This course is designed to develop an understanding of physiology, pathology, and pathophysiology concepts of disease as they pertain to each organ system. Lectures, case studies, and a multimedia approach will be used to present the material.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 527 Medical Genetics (2 units)
This course is designed to develop an understanding of the genetic concepts of disease as they pertain to each organ system. Lectures and a multimedia approach will be used to present the material.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 528 Clinical History (2 units)
This course is designed to develop the knowledge and skills required to elicit, perform, and document the complete medical history and physical exam with use of appropriate equipment, proper exam techniques, and accurate medical terminology. The course will provide an overview of the medical record as well as development of writing and oral presentation skills. History-taking, physical examination, and documentation skills will be developed through lecture and structured small group laboratory exercises.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

Clinical Medicine Courses

The clinical medicine courses are organized into systems-based modules which incorporate anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, clinical medicine, clinical skills, patient assessment, diagnostic testing, and pharmacotherapeutics taught in an organized and integrated sequence with a strong emphasis on critical thinking and active learning.  In addition, students learn procedures including: sterile technique, venipuncture, IV placement, injections, airway management and endotracheal intubation, nasogastric tube placement, lumbar puncture, urinary bladder catheter insertion, bandaging, casting and splinting, local anesthesia, and wound management and closure.  The Clinical Medicine modules include:

  • Advanced study of human anatomy with 3-D human anatomy laboratories
  • Advanced study of physiology, pathology, and pathophysiology concepts of disease
  • Study of the epidemiology and etiology of disease states
  • Eliciting, performing, and documenting the medical history and physical exam
  • Selecting, interpreting, and applying appropriate laboratory, imaging and other diagnostic tests to its clinical significance
  • Advanced study of disease states including the development of a differential diagnosis, most likely diagnosis, and prognosis of disease
  • Developing patient management skills related to the principles of pharmacology as they pertain to prescription and non-prescription therapeutic agents
  • Study of the behavioral health aspects of wellness and disease
  • Study of preventive health care, patient-centered healthcare and education, and health maintenance
  • Study of the clinical presentation of disease states across the life span
  • Identification and treatment of clinical emergencies
  • Study of current evidence-based healthcare principles

PAS 526 Infectious Disease & Immunology (4 units)
This course is designed to introduce students to the concepts of medical immunology and the principles of infectious diseases. After reviewing epidemiology, virulence, and pathogenicity of selected organisms, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and general management of infectious disease states will be explored through lecture and case studies.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 529 Dermatology (2 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about dermatologic disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 530 Eye, ENT (4 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about ophthalmic and otorhinolaryngologic disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 532 Pulmonology (4 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about pulmonary  disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 533 Cardiology (6 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about cardiac  disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 534 Hematology (4 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about hematologic disease and oncologic processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 535 Nephrology (4 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about kidney disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 536 Endocrinology (4 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge diabetes and other endocrinologic disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 538 Gastroenterology (4 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about gastroenterologic disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 539 Orthopedics & Rheumatology (6 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about orthopedic and rheumatologic disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 540 Neurology (6 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about neurologic disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 537 Men’s Health (2 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about men’s health and disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 541 Behavioral Health (2 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about behavioral health and disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 542 Women’s Health (6 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about women’s health and disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 543 Pediatrics (4 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about pediatric health and disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 544 Emergency Medicine (6 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about emergency medical conditions common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 545 Surgery (4 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about surgical conditions common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 546 Hospital Medicine (2 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about the hospital management of conditions common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 547 Geriatrics (2 units)
In-depth and integrated knowledge about geriatric health and disease processes common to primary care practices.  Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, case studies, problem-based learning, hands-on laboratory and practice sessions, and small group workshops.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

IPE Courses

Interprofessional education courses are collaborative courses that teach students across the Colleges in the University about the principles of interprofessional practice, and allow students to practice interprofessional teamwork and communication skills in a classroom and small group setting.

PAS 400 Medical Spanish (2 units) (Optional course; not a required course for completion of the PA Program).
This optional course is designed to improve students' communication in clinical situations with patients whose native language is Spanish. The focus of the instruction will be on learning basic conversational skills in order to elicit clinical histories, conduct physical examinations, and give instructions to Spanish speaking patients. Instruction for this course will consist of lectures and class discussion.
Prerequisites: PA students: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 401 Medical Ethics (1.5 units)
This team-taught course introduces ethical theory and presents case studies that are commonplace in clinical professional practice. The initial lecture sequence on ethical theories, legal state regulations and clinical examples is supplemented with small group discussions of case studies using a problem-based learning format. Students examine and address issues by applying ethical theory and values to resolving situations that challenge practitioners. Ethical issues dealing with confidentiality, professional referrals, advertising, record keeping, informed consent, and conflicts of interest are presented in class and discussion groups.
Prerequisites: PA students: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 403 Public and Population Health (2 units)
This course will reference leading health indicators for population health. Students will identify the most significant preventable threats to health, and will learn strategies for integrating risk reduction into patient care.  Students will develop skills in the area of patient communication, patient education, and cultural diversity to address concepts of health promotion and disease prevention, and will focus on developing clinical skills toward maintaining or improving the wellness of patients.  Evidence-based recommendations for health promotion and disease prevention will be emphasized. Lectures and structured small group workshops will discuss the application of strategies for reducing health risk behaviors.
Prerequisites: PA students: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 404 Interprofessional Cases Conferences (0.75 units)
This team-taught course introduces interprofessional collaboration, communication, and teamwork through small group discussion of clinical cases that are well-suited for all the health professions. Students will examine the clinical cases from their professional perspective, and will learn from other health professions students about their professional roles and responsibilities within the context of the case studies. The course is facilitated by an interprofessional team of faculty members who will guide the small group discussions.
Prerequisites: PA students: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

Professional Courses

The professional courses are designed to provide students with instruction in evidence based practice and critical review of the literature; Advanced study of the physician assistant profession; PA regulation and laws; Professional leadership development; PA policy development; and review of the U.S. healthcare system including reimbursement and billing practices.

PAS 531 Evidence-Based Practice (2 units)
This course will focus on evidence-based practice methodology, to include the necessary skills to search and critically analyze the medical literature. Students will learn to analyze, and interpret various types of clinical articles to develop proficiency in utilizing current, evidence based medicine to answer clinical questions relative to diagnosis and therapy. Instruction for this course will consist of lectures, structured faculty-led small group journal clubs, and review sessions.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 550 Introduction to the Physician Assistant Profession (2 units)
This is a self-study course designed to prepare students for matriculation. Students examine the role of the Physician Assistant in the context of the healthcare system, as well as issues pertaining to the Physician Assistants’ practice of medicine. This course also includes a historical review of the Physician Assistant profession and Physician Assistant organizations. Students also take a medical terminology course during this time
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

PAS 610 Graduate Seminar I (2 units)
This seminar occurs during the clinical phase, and focuses on specific requirements for entering professional clinical practice. Professional practice issues will address PA Scope of Practice in California, laws and licensure regulation, preparing for, acquiring, and maintaining  national certification, patient risk management, and medical-legal issues and medical malpractice. Through guided discussion in lecture and small seminar settings, students explore and discuss requirements and competencies for the physician assistant profession.
Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical phase of the School of Physician Assistant Studies or program permission.

PAS 611 Graduate Seminar II (2 units)
This seminar occurs during the clinical phase and focuses on professional practice issues, as well as ensures students have met all the requisite knowledge and professional criteria for graduation.  Students undergo a Summative Evaluation during this time to ensure they not only have acquired broad and specific clinical knowledge, but that they are able to apply these skills into the needed competencies for PA clinical practice. The student is evaluated with (1) a comprehensive written examination, (2) an application of clinical knowledge and skills examination in the form of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) (3) completion of their Masters Capstone Project (4) a final Milestone Evaluation.
Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical phase of the School of Physician Assistant Studies or program permission.

Masters Capstone

PAS 551, 609, 613 Masters Capstone Project I, II, III (9 units)
This entails 3 courses spread across multiple quarters. Each course focuses on a particular area of the Masters Capstone Project, to allow the PA student to complete their requirement project for their Master's degree under the guidance of a faculty and/or approved community advisor. In teams of 3-4, students will identify a population health care need to develop and implement a project to address the identified need.   Students will use evidence-based principles to research the medical issue related to their community project. The student teams will prepare and present a professional poster on their topic prior to graduation.
Prerequisites: Admission to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

CLINICAL PHASE

This second phase of the program focuses on direct patient care that offers students a vast array of clinical opportunities with diverse and challenging patient encounters. Prior to beginning their clinical rotations, students engage in a comprehensive review of the entire first phase of training, designed to enhance their clinical exam skills and didactic knowledge.  During their clinical rotations, students train with board certified providers, across a number of different specialty areas, each averaging 6 weeks in length.  Students are exposed to acute and chronic patient care needs across the lifespan in a variety of health care settings (i.e. emergency room, outpatient and inpatient settings, operating rooms, and long term care facilities). In order to graduate, students must successfully complete all of their clinical rotations, the Master’s Capstone Project and Graduate Seminars, as well as Summative Examinations.

PAS 612 Clinical Preparatory (6 units)
This six-week clinical course provides the PA student with a comprehensive review of the didactic phase of training.  Students engage in a number of activities designed to enhance their current clinical skills and didactic knowledge prior to beginning their clinical rotations.   
Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical phase of the School of Physician Assistant Studies or program permission.

Clinical Rotations

PAS 670 Medical Clinical Services I (6 units)
PAS 671 Medical Clinical Services II (6 units)
PAS 672 Medical Clinical Services III (6 units)
PAS 673 Medical Clinical Services IV (6 units)
PAS 674 Medical Clinical Services V (6 units)
PAS 675 Medical Clinical Services VI (6 units)
PAS 676 Medical Clinical Services VII (6 units)
PAS 677 Medical Clinical Services VIII (6 units)
Prerequisites: Completion of the preclinical phase of the School of Physician Assistant Studies or program permission.

General Surgery
This clinical course will provide the PA student with experience in the evaluation and management of pediatric, adult, and geriatric surgical patients in the pre-operative, intra-operative and post-operative environments. The PA student will evaluate and participate directly in the care of surgical patients before, during and after their procedures.  Students will gain experience in proper and professional communication with patients, patient families, supervising physicians, and an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. 

Women’s Health 
This clinical course provides the PA student with experience in managing common gynecologic care and the maintenance of gynecologic health. Obstetric experience will include routine prenatal care. Students will gain experience in proper and professional communication with patients, patient families, supervising physicians, and an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. 

Pediatrics 
This 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 baby and child exams, problem-oriented exams, evaluate common pediatric illnesses, and experience care of newborns, children, and adolescents. Students will gain experience in proper and professional communication with patients, patient families, supervising physicians, and an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. 

Primary Care (Family Medicine) I 
This first of two clinical courses provides the PA student with experience in outpatient evaluation of pediatric and adult patients, including preventive medicine, and acute and chronic illness.  Both Family Medicine clinical rotations may be done at the same clinical site. Students will gain experience in proper and professional communication with patients, patient families, supervising physicians, and an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.

Primary Care (Family Medicine) II 
This second of two clinical courses provides the PA student with experience in outpatient evaluation of pediatric and adult patients, including preventive medicine, and acute and chronic illness. Both Family Medicine clinical rotations may be done at the same clinical site. Students will gain experience in proper and professional communication with patients, patient families, supervising physicians, and an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.

Behavioral Health
This clinical course will provide the PA student with a behavioral medicine experience in caring for ambulatory and/or hospitalized patients with behavioral and mental health conditions.  The student will perform basic psychiatric evaluations, monitor medications, and support the clinical management plan for patients. Students will gain experience in proper and professional communication with patients, patient families, supervising physicians, and an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. 

Emergency Medicine 
This clinical course provides the PA student with experience in triage, evaluation, and management of patients in the emergency department setting. The student will have the opportunity to learn skills necessary for appropriate triage, stabilization, evaluation, diagnosis and management of patients with traumatic injuries and acute medical and surgical illnesses, as well as management of lower acuity health disorders. Students will gain experience in proper and professional communication with patients, patient families, supervising physicians, and an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.

Internal Medicine
This six-week clinical course provides the PA student with experience in internal medicine. The student will gain in-depth knowledge of a variety of medical problems and learn the skills necessary for providing patient care in an outpatient and/or inpatient setting across a patient’s adult lifespan.   Technically, students will become proficient in a number of clinical and surgical skills germane to internal medicine.  Emphasis will be placed on students achieving proficiency in evaluation, diagnosis, management, problem solving and clinical decision-making skills as they pertain to internal medicine.  Students will gain valuable experience in proper and professional communication with patients, their families, supervising physicians, and an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.

Clinical Rotation Elective 
This clinical course is selected by the student from a variety of surgical or medicine specialties, or subspecialties, such as Oncology, Endocrinology, Occupational Medicine, Hospitalist Medicine, etc. The student will be able to recognize conditions treated by these specialties, and become aware of medical or surgical indications requiring referral to specialty care. Students will gain experience in proper and professional communication with patients, patient families, supervising physicians, and an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.  

Last updated August 3, 2016