Nov 24, 2020  
2020-2021 University Catalog 
    
2020-2021 University Catalog

Physician Assistant Studies – MSPAS


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Vision

The Mission of the University of the Sciences Physician Assistant Program is to educate future physician assistants with a foundation in primary care, with a focus on interprofessional healthcare and exposure to underserved and diverse populations.

Program Goals

1)  Matriculate qualified applicants who will successfully complete the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

     Demonstrated by:

  • Demographics of the applicants meeting all admissions criteria
  • Graduation rate at or greater than 95%
  • Attrition rate less than 5%

2)  Prepare students with a foundation in Primary Care with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to function as entry-level members of the health care team in varied clinical settings and disciplines.

     Demonstrated by:

  • All students will complete the didactic phase with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • All students will attain a score of 3.0/5.0 average on the Preceptor’s Evaluation of Student on each rotation
  • All students’ rotations will include underserved and diverse populations
  • Successful completion of the Summative Examination, OSCEs and Clinical Skills Examination
  • Graduation rate at or greater than 95%

3)  Engage students in interprofessional medical education that will enable them to adapt to the changing health care environment with a focus on evidence-based practice.

     Demonstrated by:

  • PA students engage with USciences OT, PT, and Pharmacy students during both the didactic and clinical phases of the program to provide an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each health profession and engage in the application of those roles and responsibilities during the entire PA Program
  • PA students will report on their interprofessional opportunities during each clinical rotation at Call Back Days
  • Research courses provide the students with the knowledge to participate in evidence-based practice during the clinical phase and the Capstone project

4)  Model an interdisciplinary approach to medicine which utilizes effective oral and written communication between members of the healthcare team and patient.

     Demonstrated by:

  • Oral case presentations to PA faculty and preceptors
  • OSCE Electronic medical records
  • Presentations in both didactic and clinical phases

5)  Facilitate and cultivate the development of professional, moral and ethical attitudes essential to the role of a physician assistant.

    Demonstrated by:

  • Courses
  • Preceptor evaluations of students OSCE evaluations
  • Student self-reflection

6)  Educate students in a patient-centered environment which promotes critical thinking and medical problem-solving skills.

     Demonstrated by:

  • Providing case-based scenarios/questions throughout the program
  • OSCE evaluations
  • Preceptor evaluation of critical thinking and medical problem-solving skills

7)  Prepare students for the successful completion of the PANCE.    

     Demonstrated by:

  • Goal of first-time pass rate at or above the national average

Accreditation Status

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the University of the Sciences Physician Assistant Program sponsored by the University of the Sciences

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. 

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. 

Degree Requirements


Students entering the physician assistant program are expected to meet certain technical standards and to continue to meet those standards during the program. Information about these technical standards may be found at

 www.physicianassistant.usciences.edu/physician-assistant-studies/physician-assistant-graduate-technical-standards.

Progression and continuance in the physician assistant program are based not only on scholastic achievement, they are also based on professional performance and the ability to meet the requirements of the program. For greater detail about the program’s requirements and policies, please see the program’s student handbook available from the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.

Academic Standards

Students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher to continue in and/or to graduate from the physician assistant program. In addition, students must obtain a minimum grade of “C” in all courses with the prefix PHA and must successfully complete all other requirements for a specific course as specified in that course’s syllabus.

Behavioral Standards

During all phases of training, students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Appropriate behavior includes attributes such as:

  • Ability to work effectively with peers and other members of the healthcare team Personal, academic and professional honesty and integrity
  • Concern for privacy of the patient
  • Understanding professional roles and limitations
  • Consistent attendance and punctuality

Professional Performance Standards

Professional behavior and attitudes are an essential and required part of interaction with patients, peers, supervisors, other health professionals, and the general public. All physician assistant students are expected to maintain the highest standard of professional behavior possible and to comply with the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant developed by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (available at https://www.aapa.org/download/56983/) and those in the University of the Sciences Student Handbook (available at www.usciences.edu/studenthandbook/).

Requirements for Progression Within the Didactic Phase

  • Remediation of any grade below a “C” on a written, physical, or combination examination may be required.
  • Any course with the prefix PHA must be passed with a minimum grade of “C”
  • Demonstration of required skills necessary for clinical practice as determined by the program
  • Receiving a satisfactory rating from the Student Progress Committee by meeting all the academic and behavioral requirements
  • Compliance with the policies of the university and the program
  • Compliance with the behavioral standards and professional performance standards, and with the Standards of Conduct for the Physician Assistant Student (see the program’s student handbook available from the Department of Physician Assistant Studies)

Requirements for Progression Within the Clinical Phase

In addition to meeting the above Requirements for Promotion within the Didactic Phase, students must complete the following requirements in order to complete the physician assistant program.

  • Satisfactory remediation for any grade below “C” in any examination
  • Preceptor evaluations must be passed with a minimum grade of “C”
  • Each course with the prefix PHA or rotation within a course must be passed with a minimum grade of “C” Satisfactory completion of basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) training
  • Demonstration of required skills necessary for clinical practice
  • Receiving a satisfactory rating from the Student Progress Committee by meeting all academic and behavioral requirements
  • Compliance with university and program policies and standards

Graduation Requirements

Faculty and staff of the physician assistant program will review all student records prior to graduation. Any outstanding financial balance must be reconciled prior to graduation. Students must fulfill all department and University requirements before being awarded a diploma and must be eligible for the PANCE examination. Specific requirements include:

  • Satisfactory completion of all courses in the curriculum with a grade of “C” or better A cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher throughout the program
  • Satisfactory completion of all assignments
  • Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive summative written examination
  • Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive Objective Structures Clinical Evaluation (OSCE)
  • Completion of the Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating and Assessment Tool (PACKRAT) examination
  • Compliance with behavioral and professional performance standards
  • Successful completion of comprehensive technical skills evaluation

Academic Program Probation

Any student whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 and/or who receives a grade below a “C” in any course with the prefix PHA will be placed on academic program probation. The Student Progress Committee, with approval of the program director, will review the student’s case and create a contract with the student setting forth the terms of probation.

The student may be allowed to repeat the failed course once, based on a schedule created by the Student Progress Committee. Repeating a course may cause a delay in starting clinical rotations and/or graduation. All didactic phase courses must be satisfactorily completed before the student is allowed to progress into the clinical phase.

Students who fail to meet the terms of the contract of probation within the designated time frame will be dismissed from the program. Students who do not achieve a grade of “C” or higher after repeating a course with the prefix PHA will be dismissed from the program. Students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher to continue and/or to graduate from the program.

Students may be placed on probation only once during the didactic phase or once during the clinical phase. If a student is eligible to be placed on academic program probation for a second time in either phase of the program, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Behavioral or Professional Program Probation

Students who fail to adhere to the required Behavioral Standards and Professional Performance Standards or whose behavior is disruptive or inappropriate for a medical professional will be required to appear before the Student Progress Committee. Students placed on probation for behavioral or professional reasons who fail to meet the terms of the contract of probation within the designated time frame will be dismissed from the program.

Contract of Program Probation

A contract with the student will set forth the terms and conditions of program probation. These terms and conditions may include, but are not limited to, specific academic and behavioral requirements, remedial sessions, and any other items deemed necessary by the Student Progress Committee and/or the University’s student conduct process to ensure program and University standards as well as the welfare of faculty, peers and, most importantly, patients. Terms may also include a psychological and/or medical evaluation and clearance in order to continue in the physician assistant program.

Removal from Program Probation

A student placed on program probation due to a cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 must acquire a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater by the end of the following semester. A student placed on program probation due to a grade of less than “C” in a course with the prefix PHA must retake the course according to the terms of the probation contract and must achieve a passing grade of “C” or higher in order to be removed from program probation. A student placed on program probation for academic and/or behavioral problems must fulfill ALL requirements of the contract of program probation within the designated time frame or the student will be dismissed from the physician assistant program.

Dismissal from the Program

Failure to meet conditions for removal from academic or behavioral/professional program probation or being eligible to be placed on program probation more than once while enrolled in the physician assistant program will result in dismissal from the program.

Students who are dismissed and who wish to be reinstated must petition the Student Progress Committee for readmission to the physician assistant program. In order to be reinstated the student must establish to the satisfaction of the Student Progress Committee that the unsatisfactory performance: 1) was due to extraordinary and non-recurring circumstances, AND 2) was not representative of the student’s academic ability and/or usual professional conduct. A student who is reinstated but who fails to satisfy the conditions of any program probation will automatically be dismissed from the program without further review or appeal within the physician assistant program.

MSPAS Curriculum Requirements


MSPAS Curriculum Plan


First Year


Second Year


Total Credits: 103


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