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The Master of Physician Assistant Studies curriculum is designed to give you the knowledge, skill, and confidence to care for a wide range of patients in varied settings.

The Physician Assistant Studies Program is committed to preparing broadly trained health professionals to provide high quality patient care to a diverse and dynamic patient population.  The program defined competencies and learning outcomes are derived from the Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession. These competencies fall into the following categories:

  • Knowledge for Practice
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Person-Centered Care
  • Interprofessional Collaboration
  • Professionalism and Ethics
  • Practice-based Learning and Quality Improvement
  • Society and Population Health

Didactic Phase Overview

In the first semester, you will concentrate on basic sciences and professional practice issues. In the fall semester, the emphasis shifts to patient evaluation skills balanced with disease process identification, pharmacology, and pathology. In the following spring and summer semesters, you will continue these studies and add clinical prevention, population health, evidence-based medicine, clinical skills, and psychiatry. 

Clinical Phase Overview

After successfully completing your didactic course work, you will participate in four semesters of clinical rotations that will expose you to the entire range of medical practice. This comprehensive clinical curriculum includes rotations in emergency medicine, family medicine, infectious disease, internal medicine, women’s health, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, and a primary care preceptorship. You will not be required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors for any rotation within this curriculum.

Order of Classes

We have sequenced the curriculum to create an effective and efficient path for learning. All of the courses in a given semester are prerequisites for the courses that follow in the next semester. View our catalog.

Degree Plan


Total Program Hours

  • First Year
    • Summer | 13 Credit Hours

      MPA 5101 Professional Practice Issues I | 1 Credit Hour

      HCS 5407 Human Physiology | 4 Credit Hours

      HCS 5308 Human Anatomy | 3 Credit Hours

      HCS 5309 Human Anatomy Lab | 3 Credit Hours

      HCS 5207 Introduction to Human Neuroscience | 2 Credit Hours

    • Fall | 14 Credit Hours

      MPA 5215 Pharmacology I | 2 Credit Hours

      MPA 5102 Integration Skills I | 1 Credit Hour

      MPA 5305 Patient Evaluation I | 3 Credit Hours

      MPA 5509 Clinical Medicine I | 5 Credit Hours

      HCS 5306 Introduction to Pathology | 3 Credit Hours

      HCS 5106 Professional Development (grade in Spring 1) | 0 Credit Hours

    • Spring | 14 Credit Hours

      MPA 5216 Pharmacology II | 2 Credit Hours

      MPA 5103 Integration Skills II | 1 Credit Hours

      MPA 5204 Clinical Prevention and Population Health | 2 Credit Hours

      MPA 5206 Patient Evaluation II | 2 Credit Hours

      MPA 5510 Clinical Medicine II | 5 Credit Hours

      MPA 5130 Evidence Based Medicine | 1 Credit Hour

      HCS 5106 Professional Development | 1 Credit Hour

  • Second Year
    • Summer | 12 Credit Hours

      MPA 5231 Psychiatry | 2 Credit Hours

      MPA 5308 Clinical Skills | 2 Credit Hours

      MPA 5307 Patient Evaluation III | 3 Credit Hours

      MPA 5511 Clinical Medicine III | 5 Credit Hours

    • Clinical Curriculum | 59 Credit Hours

      MPA 5831 Family Medicine | 8 Credit Hours

      MPA 5830 Internal Medicine | 8 Credit Hours

      MPA 5832 Primary Care Preceptorship | 8 Credit Hours

      MPA 5422 Women's Health | 4 Credit Hours

      MPA 5423 Pediatrics | 4 Credit Hours

      MPA 5433 Surgery | 4 Credit Hours

      MPA 5432 Emergency Medicine | 4 Credit Hours

      MPA 5430 Psychiatry | 4 Credit Hours

      MPA 5451 Infectious Disease | 4 Credit Hours

      MPA 5428 Clinical Elective | 4 Credit Hours

      MPA 5350 Professional Practice II | 3 Credit Hours

      MPA 5450 Directed Study | 4 Credit Hours

Special Requirements

Throughout the program, students:

  • Are expected to maintain high academic performance and display professional and ethical behavior during all phases of their education
  • Must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better in all didactic courses in order to participate in clinical rotations. Clinical knowledge, judgment, and professional behavior are factors determining satisfactory performance.
  • All academic and professional behavior policies are detailed in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies’ Student Guidelines.

Graduation Requirements

A candidate for the degree of Master of Physician Assistant Studies in Southwestern School of Health Professions must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. The student must demonstrate a high order of scholarly achievement in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, including appropriate professional competencies. The program’s Committee on Student Progress determines whether adequate mastery has been acquired.
  2. The student must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 112 semester hours at Southwestern School of Health Professions.
  3. The student must discharge all financial obligations to the medical center. In the event of nonpayment, one or more actions may be taken by the Dean:
    • Readmission may be denied;
    • A student’s grades and official transcript may be withheld; and
    • The degree to which the student would otherwise be entitled may be withheld.
  4. The student must complete the academic requirements listed on his/her degree plan, including completion of any academic deficiencies in prerequisite courses, by the times stated in the student’s official letter of acceptance. The student is responsible for submitting official documentation of successful completion of the prerequisites to the Office of the Registrar.
  5. Pay a graduation fee designated to partially offset the costs associated with diploma and diploma cover production, regalia, and the commencement ceremony. All students completing a degree or certification must pay the fee without regard to whether they attend the commencement ceremony or not.
  6. The student must successfully complete all required courses in the degree plan. For courses with letter grades, a grade of “C” or higher must be maintained in every letter grade course, with the exception of MPA 5509, MPA 5510, and MPA 5511, in which minimum grades of “B” must be maintained. A cumulative grade point average of 2.75 must be maintained. For courses graded Pass/Fail, a grade of pass must be achieved. 
  7. The student must complete and submit a Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating and Assessment Test (PACKRAT) examination following completion of didactic curriculum and again after completion of the majority of clinical rotations.
  8. The student must successfully complete and receive a passing grade on all required summative assessments at the end of the clinical curriculum.
  9. The student must successfully complete a graduate project as approved by Program faculty.
  10. The student must complete all requirements for graduation within five consecutive years of the original date of matriculation.