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College of Health Professions

Physician Assistant Studies | Curriculum

The PAS Program curriculum is a 27-month master’s program which meets qualifications for sitting for the national physician assistant licensure examination.  91 semester hours of prerequisite requirements provide the foundation for entry into the PAS Program (prerequisite requirements will change for the 2017 admission cycle, see for more details). After admission, the student will complete a 114-hour professional curriculum at the Medical University of South Carolina to meet degree requirements.

The professional curriculum is divided into two separate and distinct phases.  The didactic phase represents fifteen months (four semesters) of lecture courses, small group discussion, clinical, and laboratory work.  Courses offered include many of the basic medical science areas: physiology, anatomy, and pharmacology. The pre-clinical content areas include: introduction to the PA profession, biomedical ethics, physical diagnosis and interviewing skills, fundamentals of clinical medicine, pharmacotherapeutics, pathophysiology, pediatrics, research methods, patient evaluation and clinical problem-solving skills. An effort is made to integrate related medical subjects to provide sequential lectures, laboratory, and clinical experiences. 

In the second or clinical phase (3 semesters), the PAS student completes 45 weeks of clinical rotations. The clinical component is designed to facilitate the student’s application of the theoretical knowledge gained in the didactic year to practical situations in the evaluation of patient problems, and to allow the student to interact with patients and practitioners in a variety of settings.  Students are assigned to office practice settings, ambulatory care units, inpatient services, emergency services, and mental health agencies.

Student progress and patient activities are monitored by responsible physician, physician assistant, and/or nurse practitioner supervision.  Each clinical rotation requires a student performance evaluation, which is completed by the supervising clinician. Clinical rotation areas consist of internal medicine, women’s health, family medicine, pediatrics, mental health, surgery, emergency medicine, and two elective rotations  

The didactic and clinical phases of the program emphasize primary health care delivery and the use of PAs as members of the medical team.

Clinical resources and facilities at the Medical University complement and enhance the desired learning experiences sought for PA education.  In addition to the teaching resources of the Medical University of South Carolina, the program assigns students to a variety of medical practices located in South Carolina for support of the clinical educational experience.  With the assistance of the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and Office of Rural Health, the program assigns students in designated underserved areas for selected clerkships and preceptorships.


Year Semester CourseCredit Hours
1SummerPA-606 Human Anatomy6
  PA-607Introduction to the PA Profession1
  PA-632Principles of Pharmacology2
  PA-643Human Physiology & Basic Pathophysiologic Concepts3
  PA-630Bioethics 1
   Total Semester Hours13
1FallPA-614Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine I6
  PA-617Clinical Problem Solving I1
  PA-627Physical Diagnosis & Clinical Applications I2
  PA-640Community Health and Preventive Medicine2
  PA-695Research Methods for Health Professionals       3
  PA-624Pharmacotherapeutics I3
  PA-662Pathophysiology I3
  PA-654Diagnostic Medicine I2
   Total Semester Hours22
1SpringPA-615Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine II6
  PA-618Clinical Problem Solving II1
  PA-625Pharmacotherapeutics II3
  PA-628Physical Diagnosis & Clinical Applications II2
  PA-690Graduate Project I1
  PA-663Pathophysiology II3
  PA-655Diagnostic Medicine II2
  IP-710Transforming Health Care2
   Total Semester Hours20
2SummerPA-616Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine III3
  PA-619Clinical Problem Solving III1
  PA-626Pharmacotherapeutics III2
  PA-652Principles of Emergency Medicine2
  PA-653Principles of Surgical Care2
  PA-691Graduate Project II1
  Total Semester Hours13
  Total Didactic Credit Hours68
2FallPA-670Clinical Rotation I5
  PA-672Clinical Rotation II5
  PA-674Clinical Rotation III5
   Total Semester Hours15
2SpringPA-676Clinical Rotation IV5
  PA-678Clinical Rotation V5
  PA-679Clinical Rotation VI5
   Total Semester Hours15
3SummerPA-680Clinical Rotation VII5
  PA-682Clinical Rotation VIII5
  PA-685Clinical Rotation Elective5
  PA-692 Graduate Project III                                 1
   Total Semester Hours16
   Total Clinical Credit Hours46
  Total Credit Hours:   114
Last Published with Edits:December 18, 2017 3:13 PM
Last Comprehensive Review: June 2016
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