Curriculum

Department of Physician Assistant Studies

Proposed Curriculum

Degree Requirements

All students must complete the required 83 semester hours of the curriculum (42 didactic and 41 clinical) in the prescribed sequence for each admitted class (cohort). Any exceptions to the cohort progression must stem from unavoidable and extreme personal circumstances, and must be approved by the program director. Due to the rigorous nature of the curriculum, students should not expect to be employed while in the program.

Didactic Year Courses:

Spring - (15 credit hours)

  • PAS 717 - Medical Human Anatomy and Radiology (6)
  • BMS 752 - Medical Physiology (3)
  • PAS 753 - Molecular Pathophysiology (1)
  • PAS 765 - Clinical Assessment 1 (3)
  • PAS 769 - Behavioral Medicine (1)
  • PAS 775 - Principles of Clinical Problem Solving (1)

Summer - (10 credit hours)

  • PAS 785 - Clinical Medicine I (4)
  • PAS 780 - Pharmacotherapeutics 1 (1)
  • PAS 766 - Clinical Assessment II (3)
  • PAS 770 - Professional Issues Seminar (1)
  • PAS 673 - Clinical Practicum (1)

Fall - (17 credit hours) 

  • PAS 786 - Clinical Medicine II (6 )
  • PAS 781 - Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics  (3)
  • PAS 787 - Laboratory Medicine & Clinical Procedures (1)
  • PAS 788 - EKG & ACLS (2)
  • PAS 776 - Clinical Problem Solving Seminar (1)
  • PAS 777 - Introduction to Research and Clinical Epidemiology (3)
  • PAS 784 - Clinical Practicum II (1)
Clinical Year Courses:

The clinical year consists of 8 six-week clinical preceptorship experiences, PAS 790, for 4-5 credits each for a total of 36 hours preceptorship credits. Students are required to complete the following required clinical preceptorships:

  • Family practice/primary care (12 weeks)
  • General surgery (6 weeks)
  • Internal medicine (6 weeks)
  • Emergency medicine (6 weeks)
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology/Women's Health ( 6 weeks)
  • Pediatrics (6 weeks)
  • Electives (6 weeks) 

Underserved Populations: All students are required to do at least one underserved or rural population rotation. 

Distant Rotations: All students should anticipate a minimum of two clinical rotations outside of the Springfield area that will require living in "off-campus" housing (e.g., Tahlequah and Grove, OK, Rolla and Poplar Bluff, MO).  Unless the student can provide their own housing (e.g., with family or friends) for thee "distant" rotations, the Program clinical rotation supervisor will arrange for housing when possible. When this is not possible, the program clinical rotation supervisor will provide information regarding housing options in the local community.  The student will then arrange for their housing.  All housing expenses are the responsibility of the student, regardless of whether the student or Program makes the arrangements. Off-Campus housing for one six- week period may range from $500-$1,000 (see below).

Off-Campus Housing: Off-campus housing for one six-week period ranges from $500-$1,000.  Commuting: All students should anticipate having several clinical rotations that will require commuting. For safety reasons, students will typically not be asked to commute more than 50 miles (one-way) or one hour to a clinical site. This is NOT considered a distance rotation. Please note that commuting distances are calculated from the Missouri State campus rather than the student's residence while in the program.

Clinical Rotation Assignments: Core clinical rotation assignments are determined by the program. Students are not allowed to choose their core clinical training assignments, but a student may suggest a new clinical training site or preceptor. Regarding the Directed rotation, a student can request a particular clinical training site or preceptor. Finally, it is not generally possible to establish new core clinical rotation sites in other states or locations within Missouri beyond reasonable driving distance. 

Additionally, students will register for PAS 797 for 1 credit of clinical practice issues seminar each semester throughout the clinical year for a total of three credits.

Clinical Year Research Requirement

All students will register for PAS 798, a 2-credit research project during the final semester of their clinical year. This project will consist of an in-depth study of a clinical problem of interest, which culminates in a scholarly paper and formal presentation.

PA Program Course Descriptions:

PAS 717 Medical Human Anatomy and Radiology. 6 (3-11) S.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program, or permission. Regional study of the human body. Course will include lecture and laboratory activities including cadaver dissection, study of anatomic models, computer images, x-rays, CAT scans, MRI and ultrasound imaging. Lab instruction will also include a systematic approach to interpreting diagnostic radiographs.

BMS 752 Medical Physiology. 3 (3-0) S.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program or MS in Physical therapy, or permission. The study of biological function of the human organism. Emphasis will be placed on mechanisms and regulation using examples focusing on the field of medicine. Topics covered will include general cell function and metabolism, neural, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and renal physiology and regulation of acid base balance. The course stresses the interrelated functions of the body systems in homeostasis and builds on this knowledge to introduce how disease alters the homeostatic controls.

PAS 753 Molecular Pathophysiology (0-2) S.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program and concurrent enrollment in BMS 752. This course is designed to provide the student with a basic understanding of 4 disciplines that are essential to understanding the molecular basis of pathology: genetics, immunology, microbiology and neoplasia.

PAS 765 Clinical Assessment 1. 3 (2-2) S.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program. The first of a 2 semester course sequence. Introduction to effective communication and interviewing skills, techniques of physical examination utilizing a systematic anatomical approach and the recording and presentation of clinical information. Format will include lecture, hands-on laboratory exercises, small group presentations, limited patient contact and written and practical examinations.

PAS 769 Behavioral Medicine. 1 (0-2) S.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program. A biopsychosocial systems approach to the individual, family and community within the health care delivery system that includes issues germane to public health and rural medicine. A variety of topics such as growth and development, human sexuality, health promotion and disease prevention, health education, patient compliance, cultural diversity, substance abuse, family violence, child abuse and rural health issues are examined.

PAS 775 Principles of Clinical Problem Solving. 1 (0-2) S.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program or permission. Introduction to critical thinking skills and problem solving techniques. Incorporates problem based learning format where small groups of students under the supervision of a group leader explore the various facets of "real-life" clinical case scenarios.

PAS 785 Clinical Medicine 1. 4 (4-2) Su.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program. The first in a 2 semester course sequence. Introduction to clinical medicine through an organs systems approach that examines the pertinent anatomy, pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up, patient education and prevention strategies for the various disease entities. Emphasis will be on problems frequently encountered in primary care settings. Includes lecture and discussion.

PAS 780 Pharmacotherapeutics 1. 1 (1-0) Su.

Prerequisite: admission to the MS in PA program. The first in a two-course sequence to introduce the principles of pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease.  Emphasis will be placed on the pharmacological, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of drugs and drug classes used in medical practice.

PAS 766 Clinical Assessment II. 3 (2-2) Su.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program. A continuation of Clinical Assessment 1. Emphasis will be on continued development of interviewing and physical examination skills, recognizing and interpreting abnormal physical findings, developing problem lists and differential diagnoses, and refining the recording and presenting of patient evaluation data. In addition, students will learn advanced assessment techniques and perform written and practical skills examinations that incorporate the objective structured clinical exam (OSCE).

PAS 770 Professional Issues Seminar. 1 (0-2) Su.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program. Seminar format for discussion of professional and legal issues relevant to the physician assistant profession. Includes topics such as the history of the profession, health care systems, professional organizations, national certification, Missouri licensure, prescriptive privileges, and clinical ethics.

PAS 783 Clinical Practicum 1. 1 ( 0-4) Su.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program and successful completion of didactic course work. A two week clinical experience with a minimum of 64 hours patient care under the supervision of a preceptor. Emphasis will be on refining interviewing, physical examination, recording and written/oral presentation skills.

PAS 786 Clinical Medicine II. 6 (6-2) F.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program. A continuation of Clinical Medicine I that emphasizes the organs systems approach to examine the pertinent anatomy, pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up, patient education and prevention strategies for the various disease entities. Emphasis will be on problems frequently encountered in primary care settings. Includes lecture and discussion.

PAS 781 Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics  3 (3-0) F.

Prerequisite: completion of PAS 780.  In-depth analysis of pharmacotherapeutics and the application of drugs for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.  Emphasis will be placed on the rational use of drugs in the care and treatment of pediatric, adult and geriatric patients in primary care settings.  Will include discussion of treatment guidelines, indications, contraindications, prescription writing, drug law, drug information resources and case studies.

PAS 787 Laboratory Medicine and Clinical Procedures. 1 (0-3) F.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program. "Hands-on " laboratory format class that introduces the student to skills needed to perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures such as performing/interpreting basic laboratory tests, phlebotomy, casting and splinting, knot tying, suturing, intravenous line insertion, aseptic technique, catheterization, and other clinical skills.

PAS 788 EKG and ACLS. 2 (0-4) F.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program. A study of the principles and practical applications of electrocardiography for the physician assistant followed by an Advanced Cardiac Life Support course. Lecture, Lab, interactive CD and "mock code" skills training.

PAS 776 Clinical Problem Solving Seminar. 1 (0-2) F.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program. Advanced exercises in clinical problem solving in a small group format. Commonly presenting clinical problems are utilized as a means to refine students' ability to choose appropriate steps to determine a definitive diagnosis/outcome.

PAS 777 Introduction to Research and Clinical Epidemiology. 3 (3-0) F.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program. Foundations of quantitative and qualitative research methodology related to the study of disease in populations. Includes issues related to study design, data collection, and methods of statistical analysis with a focus on application of these principles in the clinical setting. Will serve as the foundation for development of the clinical year research project.

PAS 784 Clinical Practicum II. 1 (0-4) F.

Prerequisite: admission to the PA program. Clinical practicum for students to gain additional experience in evaluating medical patients. Students will be under the supervision of a preceptor for a minimum of 32 hours during the semester to further refine their interview and physical exam skills, including formulation of a differential diagnosis and patient management plans and presentation skills.  Didactic classroom experience will also be required.

PAS 790 Clinical Preceptorship. 3 (0-4) S, Su, F.

Prerequisites: admission to the PA Program and promotion from the didactic year. Consists of a 6 week structured clinical experience of no less than 160 hours under the supervision of a qualified preceptor that will introduce the student to the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, patient education and referral of patients for the various clinical presentations within a specific discipline. The emphasis will be on problems encountered in primary care settings. Specific cognitive, skill and attitudinal objectives are defined for each required preceptorships that include family practice/primary care, general surgery, psychiatry/behavioral medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, obstetrics & gynecology/women's health, and pediatrics. Students will also complete a written clinical chart review with a literature citations each month.

PAS 797 Clinical Practice Issues Seminar. 1 (0-2) S, Su, F.

Prerequisite: clinical year standing in the PA Program. Provides a forum for topics germane to the clinical practice setting and transition to professional practice. Presentation of topics will occur on the end-of-preceptorship exam day each month. Topics of interest will cover areas such as managed health care, ethical decision-making, pharmacological management, resume preparation, job negotiation skills, the national certification examination and other relevant topics. Graded pass/not pass only. May be repeated for a maximum of 3 hours.

PAS 798 Research Project. 2 (0-2) F.

Prerequisite: clinical year standing in the PA Program. In-depth study of a clinical problem of interest that culminates in a scholarly paper and formal presentation.