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Physician Assistant Program

CURRICULUM

The PA Program at Charleston Southern University is a full-time, 24-month, year-round graduate program that consists of 99 semester credit hours completed over 6 semesters. The curriculum is separated into didactic and clinical academic work. The curriculum structure is designed to give students the knowledge, skill and confidence to care for patients in a variety of settings. 

DIDACTIC YEAR 

The didactic year is organized to deliver curriculum by each major organ system. The curriculum will be taught through various platforms such as lectures, small groups, problem-based learning, high fidelity simulation and practical hands-on training.

  SPRING SEMESTER
Unit   Course Code   Course Name Credit Hours
1 MPAS 500 Human Anatomy and Lab 4
  1 and 2   MPAS 510 The Path to Becoming a PA I 2
2 MPAS 520 Clinical Medicine I 6
2 MPAS 530 Basic Sciences I 3
2 MPAS 540 Patient Assessment and Diagnostic Methods I    2
2 MPAS 550 Pharmacology I 2
2 MPAS 560 Problem-Based Learning I 1
Total Semester Hours 20

 

SUMMER SEMESTER
  Unit     Course Code   Course Name Credit Hours
3 MPAS 511 The Path to Becoming a PA II 1
3 MPAS 521 Clinical Medicine II 6
3 MPAS 531 Basic Sciences II 3
3 MPAS 541 Patient Assessment and Diagnostic Methods II   2
3 MPAS 551 Pharmacology II 2
3 MPAS 56I Problem-Based Learning II 1
Total Semester Hours 15

 

FALL SEMESTER
Unit   Course Code   Course Name Credit Hours
4 MPAS 512 The Path to Becoming a PA III 1
4 MPAS 522 Clinical Medicine III 6
4 MPAS 532 Basic Sciences III 3
4 MPAS 542 Patient Assessment and Diagnostic Methods III   2
4 MPAS 552 Pharmacology III 2
4 MPAS 562 Problem-Based Learning III 1
4 MPAS 570 Fundamental of Pediatrics 1
5 MPAS 580 Clinical Year Prep 1
5 MPAS 600 Graduate Year Project I 1
Total Semester Hours 18

 

CLINICAL YEAR  

The clinical year curriculum is primarily delivered through supervised clinical practice experiences or clinical rotations. Students will be required to complete 9 five week clinical rotations. It is our goal as a program to secure the majority of clinical rotations in the Charleston area so that students have the ability to remain in Charleston through the duration of the program. 

CLINICAL ROTATIONS
  Course Code   Course Name Credit Hours
MPAS 610 Family Medicine Rotation 5
MPAS 620 Internal Medicine Rotation 5
MPAS 630 Emergency Medicine Rotation 5
MPAS 640 Surgery Rotation 5
MPAS 650 Pediatrics Rotation 5
MPAS 660 Psychiatry Rotation 5
MPAS 670 Women's Health Rotation 5
MPAS 680 Elective I Rotation 5
MPAS 690 Elective II Rotation 5
MPAS 601 Graduate Year Project II 1
Total Clinical Year Hours 46

 

In order for students to successfully graduate and be awarded a Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies, students must successfully complete all coursework, achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better and successfully pass all components of the Summative Evaluation demonstrating all program Student Learning Outcomes have been achieved. In addition, students must be in good professional standing with the program and complete all university requirements. 

 

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

 

MPAS 500 – Human Anatomy

This is a 5 week course that will meet five times a week and is lecture and lab based. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of gross anatomy. This will also serve as an introduction to how the anatomy relates to physical exam, procedures, and surgery. Lab dissection will be conducted with various digital imaging technologies. The prerequisite is matriculation into the Physician Assistant Program.

MPAS 510 – The Path to Becoming a PA I

This is a 17 week course that will meet once a week during Unit 1 and 2 of the spring semester and will consist of lecture, discussion, and small group formats. This course is designed to facilitate the student in the transition into the medical profession and serves as an introduction to PA professional practice issues. This course is the first course of a series of three courses and topics taught will include academic integrity and professionalism, conflict and time management, the history of the PA profession, an overview of medical law, medical ethics, healthcare policy, public health and epidemiology. The prerequisite is matriculation into the Physician Assistant Program.

MPAS 511 – The Path to Becoming a PA II

This is a 12 week course that will meet once a week during summer semester and will consist of lecture, discussion, and small group formats. This course is designed to facilitate the student in the transition into the medical profession and serves as an introduction to PA professional practice issues. This course is the second course of a series of three courses and topics taught will include diversity, interprofessionalism, patient-centered teams, patient safety, quality improvement, prevention of medical errors and the social and behavioral sciences.  The prerequisite is successful completion of Unit 2 of the Didactic Year.

MPAS 512 – The Path to Becoming a PA III

This is a 12 week course that will meet once a week during summer semester and will consist of lecture, discussion, and small group formats. This course is designed to facilitate the student in the transition into the medical profession and serves as an introduction to PA professional practice issues. This course is the third course of a series of three courses and topics taught will include health literacy, telemedicine, electronic medical records, billing, coding and reimbursement, the healthcare leadership team, skills for the PA profession and the clinical year and medical literature evaluation.  The prerequisite is successful completion Unit 3 of the Didactic Year.

MPAS 520 – Clinical Medicine I

This is the first course in a series of courses designed to provide an intensive study of human diseases and disorders, using a lifespan approach from pediatrics to geriatrics in acute, emergency, and chronic care settings.  It is a 12 week course that will meet every weekday and is predominantly lecture based. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of clinical medicine in the areas of Dermatology, HEENT, Infectious Disease, Hematology, and Gastroenterology.  It will serve as an introduction to diagnosis and treatment as well as preventive and rehabilitative care.  The prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Unit 1 of the didactic year.

MPAS 521 – Clinical Medicine II

This is the second course in a series of courses designed to provide an intensive study of human diseases and disorders, using a lifespan approach from pediatrics to geriatrics in acute, emergency, and chronic care settings.  It is a 12 week course that will meet every weekday and is predominantly lecture based. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of clinical medicine in the areas of Cardiology, Pulmonology and Endocrinology.  It will serve as an introduction to diagnosis and treatment as well as preventive and rehabilitative care.  The prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Unit 2 of the didactic year.

MPAS 522 – Clinical Medicine III

This is the third course in a series of courses designed to provide an intensive study of human diseases and disorders, using a lifespan approach from pediatrics to geriatrics in acute, emergency, and chronic care settings.  It is a 12 week course that will meet every weekday and is predominantly lecture based. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of clinical medicine in the areas of the Musculoskeletal System, Neurology, Psychiatry, Women’s Health, and the Genitourinary System.  It will serve as an introduction to diagnosis and treatment as well as preventive and rehabilitative care.  The prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Unit 3 of the didactic year.

MPAS 530 – Basic Sciences I

This is a 12 week course that will meet four times a week and is predominantly lecture based. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of medical physiology and pathophysiology.  This course will introduce students to clinical medicine through the study of diseases as manifestations of physiology, pathophysiology, and genetic and molecular mechanisms.  This course will focus on concepts that are relevant to dermatology, HEENT, infectious disease, hematology, and gastroenterology units. The prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Unit 1 in the didactic year.

MPAS 531 – Basic Sciences II

This is a 12 week course that will meet four times a week, and is predominantly lecture based. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of medical physiology and pathophysiology.  This course will introduce students to clinical medicine through the study of diseases as manifestations of physiology, pathophysiology, and genetic and molecular mechanisms.  This course will focus on concepts that are relevant to the cardiology, pulmonology and endocrinology units. The prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Unit 2 of the didactic year.

MPAS 532 – Basic Sciences III

This is a 12 week course that will meet four times a week, and is predominantly lecture based. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of medical physiology and pathophysiology.  This course will introduce students to clinical medicine through the study of diseases as manifestations of physiology, pathophysiology, and genetic and molecular mechanisms.  This course will focus on concepts that are relevant to the musculoskeletal, neurological, psychiatric, reproductive health and genitourinary units. The prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Unit 3 of the didactic year.

MPAS 540 – Patient Assessment and Diagnostic Methods I

This is a 12 week course that will meet once a week, and will consist of lecture, small group, and laboratory formats. This course is designed to introduce students to the art of history taking and the techniques of physical exam, using both lab partners and simulated patients. Students will also receive instruction on the proper use of diagnostic equipment. In addition, students will be introduced to ordering and interpreting diagnostic imaging, and laboratory results. Students will also learn to synthesize and present patient information as part of the medical decision-making team. This course will focus on history taking, physical exam, and diagnostics that are applicable to the infectious disease, dermatology, HEENT, gastroenterology, and hematology units. The prerequisite is successful completion of Unit 1 of the didactic year.

MPAS 541 – Patient Assessment Diagnostic Methods II

This is a 12 week course that will meet once a week, and will consist of lecture, small group, and laboratory formats. This course is designed to introduce students to the art of history taking and the techniques of physical exam, using both lab partners and simulated patients. Students will also receive instruction on the proper use of diagnostic equipment. In addition, students will be introduced to ordering and interpreting diagnostic imaging, and laboratory results. Students will also learn to synthesize and present patient information as part of the medical decision-making team. This course will focus on history taking, physical exam, and diagnostics that are applicable to the cardiology, pulmonology, and endocrine units. The prerequisite is successful completion of Unit 2 of the didactic year.

MPAS 542 – Patient Assessment and Diagnostic Methods III

This is a 12 week course that will meet once a week, and will consist of lecture, small group, and laboratory formats. This course is designed to introduce students to the art of history taking and the techniques of physical exam, using both lab partners and simulated patients. Students will also receive instruction on the proper use of diagnostic equipment. In addition, students will be introduced to ordering and interpreting diagnostic imaging, and laboratory results. Students will also learn to synthesize and present patient information as part of the medical decision-making team. This course will focus on history taking, physical exam, and diagnostics that are applicable to the musculoskeletal, neurology, psychiatry, genitourinary, and women’s health units. The prerequisite is successful completion of Unit 3 of the didactic year.

MPAS 550 – Pharmacology I

This is a 12 week course that will meet twice a week, and is predominantly lecture based. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of pharmacology, including pharmacokinetics, pharmacotherapy, and pharmacodynamics. This will also serve as an introduction to appropriately selecting medications based on clinical data and patient safety profiles. In addition, students will receive instruction on the standard format of prescription writing. This course will focus on all medications that are relevant to the infectious disease, dermatology, HEENT, gastroenterology, and hematology units. The prerequisite is successful completion of Unit 1 of the didactic year.

MPAS 551 – Pharmacology II

This is a 12 week course that will meet twice a week, and is predominantly lecture based. This course will reinforce the understanding of fundamentals of pharmacology, including pharmacokinetics, pharmacotherapy, and pharmacodynamics. This will also serve to reinforce how to appropriately select medications based on clinical data and patient safety profiles. In addition, students will continue to demonstrate proper format in writing prescriptions. This semester will focus on all medications that are relevant to the cardiology, pulmonology, and endocrine units. The prerequisite is successful completion of Unit 2 of the didactic year.

MPAS 552 – Pharmacology III

This is a 12 week course that will meet twice a week, and is predominantly lecture based. This course will reinforce the understanding of fundamentals of pharmacology, including pharmacokinetics, pharmacotherapy, and pharmacodynamics. This will also serve to reinforce how to appropriately select medications based on clinical data and patient safety profiles. In addition, students will continue to demonstrate proper format in writing prescriptions. This course will focus on all medications that are relevant to the musculoskeletal, neurology, psychiatry, genitourinary, and women’s health units. The prerequisite is successful completion of Unit 3 of the didactic year.

MPAS 560 – Problem-Based Learning I

This is a 12-week course that meets twice a week and is designed in an open learning format to encourage small group and individual discovery.  It uses case presentations to engage students, stimulate inquiry, develop skills in hypothesis formulation, critical thinking and problem solving; while engaging in a peer learning team environment.  Students are presented with progressively disclosed medical case information and must work through the process of acquiring and distinguishing pertinent information, synthesizing clinical information in a variety of contextually significant dynamic patient scenarios, and create management plans. By design, the course will foster and develop collaborative learning, peer teaching, interpersonal communication, leadership skills, collaboration, and high level reasoning strategies.  This course will focus on topics related to dermatology, HEENT, infectious disease, hematology and gastroenterology. The pre-requisite for this course is successful completion of Unit 1 of the didactic year.

MPAS 561 – Problem-Based Learning II

This is a 12-week course that meets twice a week and is designed in an open learning format to encourage small group and individual discovery.  It uses case presentations to engage students, stimulate inquiry, develop skills in hypothesis formulation, critical thinking and problem solving; while engaging in a peer learning team environment.  Students are presented with progressively disclosed medical case information and must work through the process of acquiring and distinguishing pertinent information, synthesizing clinical information in a variety of contextually significant dynamic patient scenarios, and create management plans. By design, the course will foster and develop collaborative learning, peer teaching, interpersonal communication, leadership skills, collaboration, and high level reasoning strategies.  This course will focus on topics related to cardiology, pulmonology and endocrinology. The pre-requisite for this course is successful completion of Unit 2 of the didactic year.

MPAS 562 – Problem-Based Leaning III

This is a 12-week course that meets twice a week and is designed in an open learning format to encourage small group and individual discovery.  It uses case presentations to engage students, stimulate inquiry, develop skills in hypothesis formulation, critical thinking and problem solving; while engaging in a peer learning team environment.  Students are presented with progressively disclosed medical case information and must work through the process of acquiring and distinguishing pertinent information, synthesizing clinical information in a variety of contextually significant dynamic patient scenarios, and create management plans. By design, the course will foster and develop collaborative learning, peer teaching, interpersonal communication, leadership skills, collaboration, and high level reasoning strategies.  This course will focus on topics related to the musculoskeletal system, neurology, psychiatry, women’s health, and the genitourinary system. The pre-requisite for this course is successful completion of Unit 3 of the didactic year.

MPAS 570 – Fundamentals of Pediatrics

This is a 12 week course that meets once a week and is predominately lecture-based.  The Fundamentals of Pediatrics course is designed to augment the information regarding the clinical medicine and surgery of pediatrics that students obtained during the Clinical Medicine course series.  This course will address a number of pediatric related topics, specifically on development and immunizations, behavior, psychological and psychosocial issues, and emergencies. The prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Units 1, 2, and 3 during the didactic year.

MPAS 580 – Clinical Year Prep

This is a 5 week course that will meet three times a week during the final unit of the didactic year.  This course will develop the student’s clinical acumen regarding a certain set of clinical procedures and technical skills.  This class is designed to build on the skills taught in the Patient Assessment and Diagnostic Methods I, II, and III.  This course includes topics such as urinalysis with urine microscopy and dipstick and urinary catheter insertion on both males and females, injections, incision and drainage of abscesses, local and regional blocks, suturing and laceration repair, evaluation and care of basic wounds and skin burns, scrubbing and sterile technique and gowning and gloving procedures, and Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). The prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Units 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the didactic year.

MPAS 600 – The Graduate Project I

This is the first course in a series of two courses designed to introduce students to the importance of evidence-based medicine including researching and evaluating medical literature, and applying evidence appropriately when answering clinical questions and making medical decisions about a patient’s care.  This course will serve as a review of research methods, basic research terminology, and ethical standards.  Students will identify a clinical research question for their Master’s Project as a part of this course. The prerequisite for this course is successful completion of Units 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the didactic year.

MPAS 601 – The Graduate Project II

This is the second course in a series of two courses. The first course was designed to introduce students to the importance of evidence-based medicine including researching and evaluating medical literature, and applying evidence appropriately when answering clinical questions and making medical decisions about a patient’s care.  Students were required to develop a research topic relevant to healthcare today during The Graduate Project I.  In this course, students will do an ongoing review of medical literature related to their topic, critically appraise and synthesize results, orally present their findings to faculty and colleagues and prepare a scholarly paper with their findings. This course will also include the student’s summative evaluation, which is a cumulative written test and practice exam, both of which must be successfully passed to graduate from the program.  The prerequisite for this course is successful completion of MPAS 600-The Graduate Project I and all SCPE rotations.

MPAS 610 – Family Medicine Rotation

This five-week outpatient rotation provides experiential educational opportunities that apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the didactic phase of the program to the provision of patient care in a family medicine setting. Working under the supervision of a licensed clinical preceptor the student will learn and develop the discipline-specific principles and practices inherent to family medicine. The student will develop proficiency in obtaining the medical history, performing physical exams, developing a differential diagnosis, designing a therapeutic management plan, performing clinical procedures, and providing patient education. These skills are grounded in scientific evidence and accurate clinical judgment.  In addition, the student will continue to develop effective communication skills and professional behaviors and attributes.

MPAS 620 – Internal Medicine Rotation

This five-week rotation provides experiential educational opportunities that apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the didactic phase of the program to the provision of patient care in an internal medicine setting. Working under the supervision of a licensed clinical preceptor the student will learn and develop the discipline-specific principles and practices inherent to Internal Medicine. The student will develop proficiency in obtaining the medical history, performing physical exams, developing a differential diagnosis, designing a therapeutic management plan, performing clinical procedures, and providing patient education. These skills are grounded in scientific evidence and accurate clinical judgment. In addition, the student will continue to develop effective communication skills and professional behaviors and attributes.

MPAS 630 – Emergency Medicine Rotation

This five-week rotation provides experiential educational opportunities that apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the didactic phase of the program to the provision of patient care in an emergency medicine setting. Working under the supervision of a licensed clinical preceptor the student will learn and develop the discipline-specific principles and practices inherent to Emergency Medicine. The student will develop proficiency in obtaining the medical history, performing physical exams, developing a differential diagnosis, designing a therapeutic management plan, performing clinical procedures, and providing patient education. These skills are grounded in scientific evidence and accurate clinical judgment. In addition, the student will continue to develop effective communication skills and professional behaviors and attributes.

MPAS 640 – Surgery Rotation

This five-week rotation provides experiential educational opportunities that apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the didactic phase of the program to the provision of patient care in a surgical setting. Working under the supervision of a licensed clinical preceptor the student will learn and develop the discipline-specific principles and practices inherent to Surgical Care. The student will develop proficiency in obtaining the medical history, performing physical exams, developing a differential diagnosis, designing a therapeutic management plan, performing clinical procedures, and providing patient education. These skills are grounded in scientific evidence and accurate clinical judgment. In addition, the student will continue to develop effective communication skills and professional behaviors and attributes.

MPAS 650 – Pediatrics Rotation

This five-week outpatient rotation provides experiential educational opportunities that apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the didactic phase of the program to the provision of patient care in a pediatric setting. Working under the supervision of a licensed clinical preceptor the student will learn and develop the discipline-specific principles and practices inherent to Pediatrics. The student will develop proficiency in obtaining the medical history, performing physical exams, developing a differential diagnosis, designing a therapeutic management plan, performing clinical procedures, and providing patient education. These skills are grounded in scientific evidence and accurate clinical judgment. In addition, the student will continue to develop effective communication skills and professional behaviors and attributes.

MPAS 660 – Psychiatry Rotation

This five-week outpatient rotation provides experiential educational opportunities that apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the didactic phase of the program to the provision of patient care in a psychiatric setting. Working under the supervision of a licensed clinical preceptor the student will learn and develop the discipline-specific principles and practices inherent to Psychiatry. The student will develop proficiency in obtaining the medical history, performing physical exams, developing a differential diagnosis, designing a therapeutic management plan, performing clinical procedures, and providing patient education. These skills are grounded in scientific evidence and accurate clinical judgment. In addition, the student will continue to develop effective communication skills and professional behaviors and attributes.

MPAS 670 – Women's Health Rotation

This five-week rotation provides experiential educational opportunities that apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the didactic phase of the program to the provision of patient care in a women’s health setting. Working under the supervision of a licensed clinical preceptor the student will learn and develop the discipline-specific principles and practices inherent to Women’s Health. The student will develop proficiency in obtaining the medical history, performing physical exams, developing a differential diagnosis, designing a therapeutic management plan, performing clinical procedures, and providing patient education. These skills are grounded in scientific evidence and accurate clinical judgment. In addition, the student will continue to develop effective communication skills and professional behaviors and attributes.

MPAS 680 – Elective 1 Rotation

This five-week rotation provides experiential educational opportunities that apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the didactic phase of the program to the provision of patient care in a setting of the student’s preference. Working under the supervision of a licensed clinical preceptor the student will learn and develop the discipline-specific principles and practices inherent to the elective discipline. The student will develop proficiency in obtaining the medical history, performing physical exams, developing a differential diagnosis, designing a therapeutic management plan, performing clinical procedures, and providing patient education.  These skills are grounded in scientific evidence and accurate clinical judgment. In addition, the student will continue to develop effective communication skills and professional behaviors and attributes.

MPAS 690 – Elective 2 Rotation

This five-week rotation provides experiential educational opportunities that apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the didactic phase of the program to the provision of patient care in a setting of the student’s preference. Working under the supervision of a licensed clinical preceptor the student will learn and develop the discipline-specific principles and practices inherent to the elective discipline. The student will develop proficiency in obtaining the medical history, performing physical exams, developing a differential diagnosis, designing a therapeutic management plan, performing clinical procedures, and providing patient education.  These skills are grounded in scientific evidence and accurate clinical judgment. In addition, the student will continue to develop effective communication skills and professional behaviors and attributes.


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