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Physician Assistant
Chatham University :: Majors & Programs :: Health Sciences Division :: Physician Assistant Program

Introduction to the Curriculum

The curriculum is a 24 month (85 semester credits) professional course of study leading to MPAS degree. Basic medical sciences, research, clinical methods, and clinical experiences are integrated from the beginning of the program and continued throughout the course of study.

The ultimate goal of the Program is to produce physician assistants capable of providing primary medical care in an ethical, legal, safe, and caring manner. To achieve this goal, students must acquire knowledge and the ability to use that knowledge in the practice of medicine. Students must repeatedly apply their knowledge in order to increase its usefulness. They must be able to reason effectively and to retrieve and apply their knowledge appropriately in the care of patients. They must acquire self-directed learning skills in order to keep their knowledge current. Students can learn what is acceptable and appropriate at the time of learning, but as the body of skills, procedures, and knowledge is ever-growing and being modified, the students must apply the ability to expand their education after leaving school. It is also important that the students develop the ability to interact effectively with patients and other health professionals. They need to understand themselves and others in order to deal with all aspects of the patient's problems.

Problem-based learning forms the backbone of the entire curriculum. In this learning process, the student encounters a clinical problem which serves as stimulus for the application of clinical-reasoning skills. Students then initiate a search for information and knowledge needed to understand the mechanisms responsible for the problem and how it might be resolved. Students acquire knowledge at the same time they develop their clinical-reasoning, self-directed learning, and teamwork skills. They are encouraged to seek out all available resources, thus developing skills necessary for the life-long learning that a medical practitioner must use.

The MPAS program is competency-based, requiring all students to master the required material. The grading system used is pass (P) or fail (F). Any student receiving a failing grade may remediate the course work with the approval of the respective instructor of record.

The student in the MPAS program must be in good academic standing to remain enrolled in the program. To be eligible for graduation, students must be in good academic standing and successfully complete all required courses.

In order for students to be awarded the degree of MPAS, they must complete the entire curriculum within three years of initiating coursework.

Courses as of Fall 2008
Course NumberCourse TitleCredits
  Seminar 1 - Year 1
PAS 612Introduction to the PA Profession1
PAS 614Medical Ethics1
PAS 616History and Physical Examination4
  Fall - Year 1
PAS 600Essentials for the Physician Assistant I9
PAS 602Clinical Application of Basic Sciences I4
PAS 604Critical Reading of the Literature I1
PAS 606Clinical Pharmacology I2
PAS 610Introduction to Clinical Experience I1
PAS 633Physical Diagnosis I3
  Spring - Year 1
PAS 601Essentials for the Physician Assistant II9
PAS 603Clinical Application of Basic Sciences II4
PAS 605Critical Reading of the Literature II1
PAS 607Clinical Pharmacology II2
PAS 611Introduction to Clinical Experience II1
PAS 634Physical Diagnosis II3
  Seminar 2 - Year 1 (Maymester)
PAS 617Clinical Procedures2
  Summer 1 - Year 2
PAS 625Clinical Decision Making I1
PAS 640Clinical Experience I3
PAS 641Clinical Experience II3
  Fall - Year 2
PAS 626Clinical Decision Making II1
PAS 642Clinical Experience III3
PAS 643Clinical Experience IV3
PAS 644Clinical Experience V3
  Spring - Year 2
PAS 627Clinical Decision Making III2
PAS 645Clinical Experience VI3
PAS 646Clinical Experience VII3
PAS 647Clinical Experience VIII3
  Summer 2 - Year 2
PAS 628Clinical Decision Making IV1
PAS 648Clinical Experience IX3
  Seminar 3 - Year 2
PAS 630Topics in Clinical Medicine3
PAS 635Healthcare Policy1
PAS 636Program to Practice1
TOTAL CREDITS85
Chatham University Physician Assistant Program
Woodland Road • Pittsburgh, PA 15232 • (412) 365-1412