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Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program Curriculum

The curriculum includes core knowledge about the established and evolving biomedical, clinical preparatory, behavioral and social sciences; informational literacy; health policy and professional practice; and the application of this knowledge to patient care through supervised clinical practice and practicums. The curriculum is of sufficient breadth and depth to prepare students for clinical practice of medicine and assist students in becoming critical thinkers who can apply the concepts of medical decision-making and problem solving. Building on Carroll University's health sciences area commitment to provide service to culturally diverse populations, there is emphasis on primary care, cultural competency and Hispanic health care.

The philosophy of the curriculum incorporates both traditional and case-based learning concepts and culminates with a true problem-based learning experience (Capstone). A systems-based curriculum model integrates knowledge, provision of services and reflection.

Common themes across the curriculum include:

  • ethical inquiry and practice
  • professionalism
  • scientific inquiry
  • critical thinking
  • problem-solving
  • decision-making as incorporated into the clinical practice and clinical research models
  • the presentation of content across the lifespan
  • exploration of the effects of gender, culture and cognitive level

There is collaborative teaching across courses with planned redundancy of subject matter. Constant reinforcement of content with clinical experiences occurs through observations of and exposure to client/patients in academic courses, service-learning and clinical rotations. The students learn in an interdisciplinary heath care and graduate environment that promotes interdisciplinary clinical practice and lifelong learning.

The Carroll University Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program is a post-baccalaureate program divided into one year of course work with supervised clinical practicums, followed by one year of clinical rotations. The program begins in June and runs full time for two years.

The supervised clinical practicums (Foundations of Cultural Competence and Health Disparities Courses) in the first year provide students with hands-on patient/client experience that allows students to integrate classroom learning with practical and clinical applications while providing service to the community and help students develop clinical skills, and emphasize wellness and prevention across the lifespan.

Students participate in 12 months of full-time clinical rotations in the areas of Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Psychiatry, Pediatrics and General Surgery in the second year. An additional six-week elective will be taken in either a medical or surgical subspecialty area. Clinical education experiences occur off campus, in a variety of urban, rural and underserved locations. Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation and housing as well as any associated additional costs during the clinical year. International physician assistant clinical experiences a during the elective rotation are available to students.

Due to the academic rigor of the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program, students are highly encouraged not to work during their first year. Students are not allowed to work off campus during the second year except during breaks between clinical rotations. Additionally, students are not allowed to work on campus within the physician assistant program at any time during their first or second year.

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Curriculum
(118 Credits)

See Carroll University's Online Catalog for Course Descriptions

Graduate Year 1


PHA500 Human Gross Anatomy   6
PHA501 Medical Physiology   4
PHA502 Patient Assessment: History and Physical Exam   4
PHA503 Intro to Physician Assistant Profession   1
PHA504 Intro to Clinical Medicine   2
PHA523 Foundations of Cultural Competence and Health Disparities I   1
    18 credits


PHA505 Clinical Medicine I   5
PHA507 Pharmacotherapy & Pathophysiology I   4
PHA509 Clinical Diagnostics I   2
PHA511 Behavioral Medicine   2
PHA517 Pediatrics   2
PHA519 OB/Gyn   2
PHA521 Clinical Decision Making I   2
PHA524 Foundations of Cultural Competence and Health Disparities II   1
    20 credits


PHA512 Health Policy and Administration   1
PHA514 Medical Ethics   2
PHA518 Geriatrics   1
    4 credits


PHA506 Clinical Medicine II   5
PHA508 Pharmacotherapy & Pathophysiology II   4
PHA510 Clinical Diagnostics II   2
PHA516 Emergency Medicine   4
PHA520 Surgery   3
PHA522 Clinical Decision Making II   2
PHA525 Foundations of Cultural Competence and Health Disparities III   1
    21 credits


PHA513 Evidence Based Medicine and Research   2
PHA515 Clinical Procedures   1
    3 credits
Year 1 Total Credits: 66 credits

Graduate Year 2

Required Clinical Rotations:

PHA620 Emergency Medicine - 8 weeks   8
PHA621 Family Medicine - 8 weeks   8
PHA622 General Internal Medicine - 8 weeks   8
PHA623 General Surgery - 8 weeks   8
PHA625 Pediatrics - 4 weeks   4
PHA626 Women's Health and Prenatal Care - 4 weeks   4
PHA627 Psychiatry and/or Behavioral Health - 2 weeks   2

Elective Clinical Rotation

PHA628 Elective - 6 weeks   6

Required Capstone

PHA630 Capstone Project   4
Year 2 Total Credits: 52 credits
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