Our Two-Year Physician Assistant Program

College of Saint Mary’s physician assistant studies program is a master’s level degree curriculum with a focus on the prevailing role of the physician assistant in health care. The physician assistant performs the same functions as a physician but does so under the direction and supervision of a licensed physician. The physician assistant sees patients independently, examines patients, makes diagnoses and treatment decisions, and performs medical procedures (such as suturing, casting, and assisting in surgical procedures). Our physician assistant program provides the didactic scientific foundation and essential experiences in clinical practice, research and professional services to prepare you for this role.

This degree is a demanding program of study and is full-time only. The program of study begins with didactic instruction in the basic and clinical sciences as applied in medicine (Level IV). Direct patient encounters begin early and will comprise the majority of Level V program of study. 

You may apply to pursue this program combined with our bachelor of science degree in pre-physician assistant/human biology to complete both degrees in only five years — the only such program in our five-state region — Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado, Kansas and South Dakota!

College of Saint Mary's master of science degree in physician assistant studies is a 24-month program that begins in August with a maximum class size of 30 students.

Frequently Asked Questions

College of Saint Mary Estimated Net Tuition for the Physician Assistant Program

Required Courses in Your Major

Pre-Professional Phase (Levels 1-3) — leading to a bachelor of science degree in human biology

Professional (PA) Phase Curriculum — leading to a master of science degree in physician assistant studies

Curriculum Plan of Study

Didactic Year (Level 4)

PAS 461 Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology (3)

Common cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases of the human body across the lifespan will be covered.  The course will begin with normal cardiovascular and pulmonary physiology and progress on to the alterations in normal anatomical and physiological processes that cause disease.  The course will provide a foundation in cardiovascular and pulmonary scientific principles required for future understanding of disease management and patient care.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 462 Gastroenterology and Renal Pathophysiology (3)

Common gastroenterological and renal diseases of the human body across the lifespan will be covered.  The course will begin with normal gastroenterological and renal physiology and progress on to the alterations in normal anatomical and physiological processes that cause disease.  The course will provide a foundation in gastroenterological and renal scientific principles required for future understanding of disease management and patient care.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 463 Endocrinology (2)

Common endocrine diseases of the human body across the lifespan will be covered.  The course will begin with normal endocrine physiology and progress on to the alterations in normal anatomical and physiological processes that cause disease.  The course will provide a foundation in endocrine scientific principles required for future understanding of disease management and patient care.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 464 Immunology (3)

A study of the nature and theory of antigen-antibody interaction, mechanisms of immunity, principles and procedures of serodiagnosis.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 510 PA Professional Issues and Ethics (1) 

The Physician Assistant profession will be introduced through its origins, history and current trends in the profession with topics including professionalism, patient safety and state laws, as well as an emphasis on the ethical influences on the profession.  Interprofessional teamwork, diversity in healthcare, evidence-based medicine and legal implications of medical errors will be examined.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 512 Clinical Anatomy (4) 

Clinical Anatomy consists of a detailed study of the structure of the human body as it relates to clinical scenarios, disease processes and relevance to clinical practice.  Basic principles of radiology will be introduced.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 514 Clinical Science (2) 

Students will focus on normal cellular physiological processes of the human body across the lifespan and how they relate to the practice of medicine.  Human genetics and common genetic medical conditions will be discussed, as well as clinical nutrition and clinical biochemistry.  The course will provide a foundation to the study of the alterations in physiological process that represents disease.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 516 Physical Diagnosis (2) 

Knowledge and skills required to perform a medical history and physical examination throughout the lifespan will be presented for each of organ system or body region.  The course will result in students performing a complete medical history and head-to-toe physical examination.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program  

PAS 520 Healthcare Delivery Systems (1) 

An overview of healthcare delivery systems in the United States, the Physician Assistant’s role, and the coordination of care will be presented with a focus on the past, present and future of healthcare systems.  Reimbursement, access to care and quality performance standards will be discussed, as well as concepts related to public health.  Prerequisite: PAS 461, 462, 463, 464, 510, 512, 514, 516

PAS 522 Clinical Neuroanatomy (2) 

An overview of the structure and function of the central nervous system will be discussed with a focus on principles related to clinical neurology and interpretation of the neurological examination.  Prerequisite: PAS 461, 462, 463, 464, 510, 512, 514, 516

PAS 523 Infectious Disease (2) 

An overview of infectious disease and microbiology related to the disease processes will be discussed with a focus on the etiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis and diagnosis of infectious agents related to the disease.  Principles of the immune system will be discussed in relation to infectious agents.  Prerequisite: PAS 461, 462, 463, 464, 510, 512, 514, 516

PAS 524 Clinical/Preventative/Laboratory Medicine 1 (8) 

This course will focus on the common disease processes seen in the primary care setting with an emphasis on epidemiology, pathophysiology, presenting signs and symptoms, diagnosis and management using an organ system and life stages approach.  Each system will include associated preventative and laboratory medicine, as well as clinical pharmacology and radiology.  Topics covered include Cardiology, Pulmonology, Gastroenterology, ENT, Ophthalmology, Endocrinology, Nephrology, Urology, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Wound Care.  Prerequisite: PAS 461, 462, 463, 464, 510, 512, 514, 516

PAS 525 Pharmacology 1 (3) 

Basic principles of pharmacology will be covered to provide the knowledge required for safe and effective use of medications. The course begins with establishing a foundation of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics followed by principles of pharmacology in the alteration of physiology and metabolism that emphasizes drug name and class, mechanism of action, common uses, side effects and interactions.  Topics covered include pharmacology related to Cardiology, Pulmonology, Gastroenterology, ENT, Ophthalmology, Endocrinology, Nephrology, Urology, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Infectious Disease.  Prerequisite: PAS 461, 462, 463, 464, 510, 512, 514, 516

PAS 526 Applied Clinical Practice 1 (2) 

This course will focus on the integration of core science, clinical medicine, and pharmacology knowledge.  Students will learn to apply knowledge and refine exam techniques through case studies and patient simulations to improve clinical decision-making and differential diagnosis, as well as improve communication skills through interprofessional and community engagement opportunities.  A holistic patient approach will be emphasized with many common challenges to care delivery presented.  Prerequisite: PAS 461, 462, 463, 464, 510, 512, 514, 516

PAS 530 Applied Research and Evidence-based Medicine (1) 

Basic concepts of research methodology and statistics will be presented with an emphasis on critical review of the literature using clinical scenarios.  A foundation necessary to successfully critically analyze the medical literature and complete the Master’s project will be established.  Prerequisite: PAS 520, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526

PAS 534 Clinical/Preventative/Laboratory Medicine 2 (4) 

This course will focus on the common disease processes seen in the primary care setting with an emphasis on epidemiology, pathophysiology, presenting signs and symptoms, diagnosis and management using an organ system and life stages approach.  Each system will include associated preventative and laboratory medicine, as well as clinical pharmacology and radiology.  Topics covered include Neurology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Hematology, Oncology, Immunology, Orthopedics, Rheumatology, Emergency Medicine, Geriatrics and Pediatrics.  Prerequisite: PAS 520, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526

PAS 535 Pharmacology 2 (3) 

Basic principles of pharmacology will be covered to provide the knowledge required for safe and effective use of medications. The course will discuss principles of pharmacology in the alteration of physiology and metabolism that emphasizes drug name and class, mechanism of action, common uses, side effects  and interactions. Topics covered include pharmacology related to Neurology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Hematology, Oncology, Immunology, Orthopedics, Rheumatology, Emergency Medicine, Geriatrics and Pediatrics. Prerequisite: PAS 520, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526

PAS 536 Applied Clinical Practice 2 (2) 

Applied Clinical Practice 2 will continue to focus on the integration of core science, clinical medicine, and pharmacology knowledge. Students will learn to apply knowledge and refine exam techniques through case studies and patient simulations to improve clinical decision-making and differential diagnosis, as well as improve communication skills through interprofessional and community engagement opportunities.  A holistic patient approach will be emphasized with many common challenges to care delivery presented. Prerequisite: PAS 520, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526

PAS 538 Clinical Skills (2) 

The technical skills required to become proficient in clinical procedures expected of the Physician Assistant will be taught in this course using a hands-on approach. This will include surgical skills, procedural skills, resuscitation and emergency first aid, and various technical skills. Surgical documentation and patient management will be discussed.  Prerequisite: PAS 520, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526

Clinical Year (Level 5)

During the clinical phase (Level V), students are required to complete 8 required rotations in Family Practice (2), Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Women’s Health, Psychiatry, General Surgery and Emergency Medicine. Students will also complete 3 elective rotations.  Students are trained in a variety of clinical settings to assure that they are well prepared to practice medicine with excellence as a part of the PA-physician team. Clinical rotations may occur away from the Omaha metropolitan area, according to rotation availability and the student’s individual rotation schedule. Students are not required to provide their own clinical sites. Students may arrange some of their rotations; however, a discussion with the Clinical Faculty must occur prior to any arrangements being made. Approval is not automatically guaranteed. Students are responsible for their own individual transportation to their clinical rotation sites.

PAS 660 Family Practice Rotation 1 (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in family medicine will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 670 Family Practice Rotation 2 (3) 

A second four-week clinical preceptorship in family medicine will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 671 Internal Medicine Rotation (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in internal medicine will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 672 Pediatric Rotation (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in pediatrics will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 673 OB/GYN Rotation (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in OB/GYN will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 674 Emergency Medicine Rotation (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in emergency medicine will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 675 Psychiatry Rotation (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in psychiatry will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 676 General Surgery Rotation (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in general surgery will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 677 Elective Rotation 1 (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in an elective will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Electives may include a specialty or repeat of a core rotation.  Readings, assignments, and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 678 Elective Rotation 2 (3) 

A second four-week clinical preceptorship in an elective will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Electives may include a specialty or repeat of a core rotation.  Readings, assignments, and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 679 Elective Rotation 3 (3) 

A third four-week clinical preceptorship in an elective will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Electives may include a specialty or repeat of a core rotation.  Readings, assignments, and examinations during the preceptorship will be required. Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 690 Master’s Project (3) 

All students will complete a Master’s Project prior to graduation.  Students will identify a need in the healthcare community, complete a critical literature review and a plan for implementation.  Students will be responsible for implementing their plan under the supervision of their chair prior to their final presentation in the last semester.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 710 PA Practice Transition (2) 

This course focuses on successful transition from school to clinical practice.  Leadership, licensing, contract negotiations, ethical and legal issues, personal wellness and cultural competency will be revisited.  Students will participate in a certification examination review presented by faculty.  Students will be evaluated through cumulative examinations and mock patient encounters.  Prerequisite: PAS 660, 670, 671, 672, 673, 674, 675, 676, 677, 678, 679, 690

Advanced Placement

You must complete all components and requirements of the physician assistant studies program as a College of Saint Mary students. There are no exemptions or advanced placement from course work, clinical skills, laboratories, or clinical education regardless of prior experience, degree or credential during the professional phase of the program.

To earn your master of science degree in physician assistant studies, you must complete:

  • 88 credit hours of graduate coursework

 

All graduates will be eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

The Assurance of Accreditation

The assurance of regional accreditation means that our degrees have been evaluated for their outcomes — including how well they prepare you to meet the needs of your employers, yourself and our global society. College of Saint Mary is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The nationally recognized accrediting agency for physician assistant programs in the territorial United States is the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc (ARC-PA). The purpose of accreditation is to protect the public’s interest and promote excellence in physician assistant education.  A physician assistant must graduate from an accredited program to be eligible for the national board certification examination following graduation. 

The College of Saint Mary Physician Assistant Program has applied for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). College of Saint Mary anticipates matriculating its first class of physician assistant students in fall 2016, pending provisional accreditation in spring 2016. Provisional accreditation is an accreditation status for a new physician assistant program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards. Pre-physician assistant students are currently being accepted and under all circumstances will be eligible to complete a degree in human biology.

The ARC-PA can be contacted at ARC-PA, Inc., 12000 Findley Road, Suite 150, Johns Creek, Georgia 30097, 770-476-1224 or FAX 770-476-1738.

 What is the accreditation process?

Physician assistant education is accredited through the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). College of Saint Mary has been granted developmental status by the ARC-PA with a provisional accreditation decision in March 2016. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted to new programs. The status indicates that the plans and resource allocation for the program appear to demonstrate the program's ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards, if fully implemented as planned. College of Saint Mary may officially start the physician assistant portion of the curriculum once provisionally accredited. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status, but any student beginning in a provisionally accredited program qualifies to take the national board certification examination following graduation.

 How is it possible to accept students if the PA program is not accredited?

College of Saint Mary has applied for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). College of Saint Mary's physician assistant program anticipates matriculating its first class in summer/fall 2016 pending provisional accreditation. Provisional accreditation is an accreditation status for a new physician assistant program that has not yet enrolled students in physician assistant courses, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its spring 2016 preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation standards. Students are currently being enrolled in the accelerated Bachelor of Science Human biology program. If students meet the progression criteria to level 4, and CSM is awarded provisional accreditation in spring 2016, pre-physician assistant  students will advance to the accredited level of the program beginning in Summer/Fall 2016.

 What if the physician assistant program does not receive accreditation in spring 2016?

College of Saint Mary will continue to seek accreditation as soon as possible. In the meantime, students would be eligible to apply to other physician assistant programs around the country and College of Saint Mary will assist with those applications.

 

Requirements for Admission to College of Saint Mary's Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

Pre-Professional Phase (Levels 1-3) 

Professional Physician Assistant Phase Admissions Requirements

The College of Saint Mary physician assistant program has an admissions preference to current College of Saint Mary pre-physician assistant/human biology majors who have successfully completed all acceptance and progression requirements. 

Program Prerequisite Courses — to be determined

Healthcare Experience — to be determined

Advanced Placement —  College of Saint Mary does not offer advanced placement for the professional phase of the physician assistant program (level 4).

Academic Standards for Admission to the Physician Assistant program — to be determined

Technical Standards for Admission to the Physician Assistant program 

Admission Process and Decisions

Admission to the program is competitive with a limited number of seats (30) in each cohort. Admission decisions are made by the PA Program Admissions and Progression Committee and will be made based on the following:

  • Past academic performance (GPA and completed courses, particularly science and math courses)
  • Documented academic aptitude (ACT/SAT or collegiate GPA if more than 12 credit hours of collegiate work has been completed)
  • Extra- and co-curricular activities
  • Medical and/or clinical experiences (shadowing, volunteering, etc.)
  • Recommendations from qualified individuals with knowledge of the applicant’s character and performance
  • Communication and interpersonal skills (via essay, interview and/or review of letters of reference)
  • Aptitude for successfully completing the program and passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)

 

Application Process

  • Apply On-Line 
  • Submit Application Fee
  • Submit High School and/or College Transcripts
  • Submit Names, Phones and E-mail Addresses of 3 References
  • Submit provided extra- and co-curricular activities form (attach to electronic application)
  • Submit essay (attach to electronic application)
  • If selected, participate in an on-campus interview with CSM PA Program Director and faculty.

 

Employment during the PA program

Due to the rigorous nature of the PA Program during both the didactic and the clinical phases of training, it is advised that students are not employed during their professional training. Employment demands will not justify an excused absence from any academic or clinical requirements of the program nor will any special accommodations be made.

Academic Description

Our Two-Year Physician Assistant Program

College of Saint Mary’s physician assistant studies program is a master’s level degree curriculum with a focus on the prevailing role of the physician assistant in health care. The physician assistant performs the same functions as a physician but does so under the direction and supervision of a licensed physician. The physician assistant sees patients independently, examines patients, makes diagnoses and treatment decisions, and performs medical procedures (such as suturing, casting, and assisting in surgical procedures). Our physician assistant program provides the didactic scientific foundation and essential experiences in clinical practice, research and professional services to prepare you for this role.

This degree is a demanding program of study and is full-time only. The program of study begins with didactic instruction in the basic and clinical sciences as applied in medicine (Level IV). Direct patient encounters begin early and will comprise the majority of Level V program of study. 

You may apply to pursue this program combined with our bachelor of science degree in pre-physician assistant/human biology to complete both degrees in only five years — the only such program in our five-state region — Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado, Kansas and South Dakota!

College of Saint Mary's master of science degree in physician assistant studies is a 24-month program that begins in August with a maximum class size of 30 students.

Frequently Asked Questions

College of Saint Mary Estimated Net Tuition for the Physician Assistant Program

Accreditation

The Assurance of Accreditation

The assurance of regional accreditation means that our degrees have been evaluated for their outcomes — including how well they prepare you to meet the needs of your employers, yourself and our global society. College of Saint Mary is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The nationally recognized accrediting agency for physician assistant programs in the territorial United States is the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc (ARC-PA). The purpose of accreditation is to protect the public’s interest and promote excellence in physician assistant education.  A physician assistant must graduate from an accredited program to be eligible for the national board certification examination following graduation. 

The College of Saint Mary Physician Assistant Program has applied for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). College of Saint Mary anticipates matriculating its first class of physician assistant students in fall 2016, pending provisional accreditation in spring 2016. Provisional accreditation is an accreditation status for a new physician assistant program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards. Pre-physician assistant students are currently being accepted and under all circumstances will be eligible to complete a degree in human biology.

The ARC-PA can be contacted at ARC-PA, Inc., 12000 Findley Road, Suite 150, Johns Creek, Georgia 30097, 770-476-1224 or FAX 770-476-1738.

 What is the accreditation process?

Physician assistant education is accredited through the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). College of Saint Mary has been granted developmental status by the ARC-PA with a provisional accreditation decision in March 2016. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted to new programs. The status indicates that the plans and resource allocation for the program appear to demonstrate the program's ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards, if fully implemented as planned. College of Saint Mary may officially start the physician assistant portion of the curriculum once provisionally accredited. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status, but any student beginning in a provisionally accredited program qualifies to take the national board certification examination following graduation.

 How is it possible to accept students if the PA program is not accredited?

College of Saint Mary has applied for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). College of Saint Mary's physician assistant program anticipates matriculating its first class in summer/fall 2016 pending provisional accreditation. Provisional accreditation is an accreditation status for a new physician assistant program that has not yet enrolled students in physician assistant courses, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its spring 2016 preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation standards. Students are currently being enrolled in the accelerated Bachelor of Science Human biology program. If students meet the progression criteria to level 4, and CSM is awarded provisional accreditation in spring 2016, pre-physician assistant  students will advance to the accredited level of the program beginning in Summer/Fall 2016.

 What if the physician assistant program does not receive accreditation in spring 2016?

College of Saint Mary will continue to seek accreditation as soon as possible. In the meantime, students would be eligible to apply to other physician assistant programs around the country and College of Saint Mary will assist with those applications.

 

Admissions Requirements

Requirements for Admission to College of Saint Mary's Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

Pre-Professional Phase (Levels 1-3) 

Professional Physician Assistant Phase Admissions Requirements

The College of Saint Mary physician assistant program has an admissions preference to current College of Saint Mary pre-physician assistant/human biology majors who have successfully completed all acceptance and progression requirements. 

Program Prerequisite Courses — to be determined

Healthcare Experience — to be determined

Advanced Placement —  College of Saint Mary does not offer advanced placement for the professional phase of the physician assistant program (level 4).

Academic Standards for Admission to the Physician Assistant program — to be determined

Technical Standards for Admission to the Physician Assistant program 

Admission Process and Decisions

Admission to the program is competitive with a limited number of seats (30) in each cohort. Admission decisions are made by the PA Program Admissions and Progression Committee and will be made based on the following:

  • Past academic performance (GPA and completed courses, particularly science and math courses)
  • Documented academic aptitude (ACT/SAT or collegiate GPA if more than 12 credit hours of collegiate work has been completed)
  • Extra- and co-curricular activities
  • Medical and/or clinical experiences (shadowing, volunteering, etc.)
  • Recommendations from qualified individuals with knowledge of the applicant’s character and performance
  • Communication and interpersonal skills (via essay, interview and/or review of letters of reference)
  • Aptitude for successfully completing the program and passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)

 

Application Process

  • Apply On-Line 
  • Submit Application Fee
  • Submit High School and/or College Transcripts
  • Submit Names, Phones and E-mail Addresses of 3 References
  • Submit provided extra- and co-curricular activities form (attach to electronic application)
  • Submit essay (attach to electronic application)
  • If selected, participate in an on-campus interview with CSM PA Program Director and faculty.

 

Employment during the PA program

Due to the rigorous nature of the PA Program during both the didactic and the clinical phases of training, it is advised that students are not employed during their professional training. Employment demands will not justify an excused absence from any academic or clinical requirements of the program nor will any special accommodations be made.

Curriculum

Required Courses in Your Major

Pre-Professional Phase (Levels 1-3) — leading to a bachelor of science degree in human biology

Professional (PA) Phase Curriculum — leading to a master of science degree in physician assistant studies

Curriculum Plan of Study

Didactic Year (Level 4)

PAS 461 Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology (3)

Common cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases of the human body across the lifespan will be covered.  The course will begin with normal cardiovascular and pulmonary physiology and progress on to the alterations in normal anatomical and physiological processes that cause disease.  The course will provide a foundation in cardiovascular and pulmonary scientific principles required for future understanding of disease management and patient care.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 462 Gastroenterology and Renal Pathophysiology (3)

Common gastroenterological and renal diseases of the human body across the lifespan will be covered.  The course will begin with normal gastroenterological and renal physiology and progress on to the alterations in normal anatomical and physiological processes that cause disease.  The course will provide a foundation in gastroenterological and renal scientific principles required for future understanding of disease management and patient care.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 463 Endocrinology (2)

Common endocrine diseases of the human body across the lifespan will be covered.  The course will begin with normal endocrine physiology and progress on to the alterations in normal anatomical and physiological processes that cause disease.  The course will provide a foundation in endocrine scientific principles required for future understanding of disease management and patient care.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 464 Immunology (3)

A study of the nature and theory of antigen-antibody interaction, mechanisms of immunity, principles and procedures of serodiagnosis.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 510 PA Professional Issues and Ethics (1) 

The Physician Assistant profession will be introduced through its origins, history and current trends in the profession with topics including professionalism, patient safety and state laws, as well as an emphasis on the ethical influences on the profession.  Interprofessional teamwork, diversity in healthcare, evidence-based medicine and legal implications of medical errors will be examined.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 512 Clinical Anatomy (4) 

Clinical Anatomy consists of a detailed study of the structure of the human body as it relates to clinical scenarios, disease processes and relevance to clinical practice.  Basic principles of radiology will be introduced.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 514 Clinical Science (2) 

Students will focus on normal cellular physiological processes of the human body across the lifespan and how they relate to the practice of medicine.  Human genetics and common genetic medical conditions will be discussed, as well as clinical nutrition and clinical biochemistry.  The course will provide a foundation to the study of the alterations in physiological process that represents disease.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program

PAS 516 Physical Diagnosis (2) 

Knowledge and skills required to perform a medical history and physical examination throughout the lifespan will be presented for each of organ system or body region.  The course will result in students performing a complete medical history and head-to-toe physical examination.  Prerequisite: Admitted to CSM PA program  

PAS 520 Healthcare Delivery Systems (1) 

An overview of healthcare delivery systems in the United States, the Physician Assistant’s role, and the coordination of care will be presented with a focus on the past, present and future of healthcare systems.  Reimbursement, access to care and quality performance standards will be discussed, as well as concepts related to public health.  Prerequisite: PAS 461, 462, 463, 464, 510, 512, 514, 516

PAS 522 Clinical Neuroanatomy (2) 

An overview of the structure and function of the central nervous system will be discussed with a focus on principles related to clinical neurology and interpretation of the neurological examination.  Prerequisite: PAS 461, 462, 463, 464, 510, 512, 514, 516

PAS 523 Infectious Disease (2) 

An overview of infectious disease and microbiology related to the disease processes will be discussed with a focus on the etiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis and diagnosis of infectious agents related to the disease.  Principles of the immune system will be discussed in relation to infectious agents.  Prerequisite: PAS 461, 462, 463, 464, 510, 512, 514, 516

PAS 524 Clinical/Preventative/Laboratory Medicine 1 (8) 

This course will focus on the common disease processes seen in the primary care setting with an emphasis on epidemiology, pathophysiology, presenting signs and symptoms, diagnosis and management using an organ system and life stages approach.  Each system will include associated preventative and laboratory medicine, as well as clinical pharmacology and radiology.  Topics covered include Cardiology, Pulmonology, Gastroenterology, ENT, Ophthalmology, Endocrinology, Nephrology, Urology, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Wound Care.  Prerequisite: PAS 461, 462, 463, 464, 510, 512, 514, 516

PAS 525 Pharmacology 1 (3) 

Basic principles of pharmacology will be covered to provide the knowledge required for safe and effective use of medications. The course begins with establishing a foundation of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics followed by principles of pharmacology in the alteration of physiology and metabolism that emphasizes drug name and class, mechanism of action, common uses, side effects and interactions.  Topics covered include pharmacology related to Cardiology, Pulmonology, Gastroenterology, ENT, Ophthalmology, Endocrinology, Nephrology, Urology, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Infectious Disease.  Prerequisite: PAS 461, 462, 463, 464, 510, 512, 514, 516

PAS 526 Applied Clinical Practice 1 (2) 

This course will focus on the integration of core science, clinical medicine, and pharmacology knowledge.  Students will learn to apply knowledge and refine exam techniques through case studies and patient simulations to improve clinical decision-making and differential diagnosis, as well as improve communication skills through interprofessional and community engagement opportunities.  A holistic patient approach will be emphasized with many common challenges to care delivery presented.  Prerequisite: PAS 461, 462, 463, 464, 510, 512, 514, 516

PAS 530 Applied Research and Evidence-based Medicine (1) 

Basic concepts of research methodology and statistics will be presented with an emphasis on critical review of the literature using clinical scenarios.  A foundation necessary to successfully critically analyze the medical literature and complete the Master’s project will be established.  Prerequisite: PAS 520, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526

PAS 534 Clinical/Preventative/Laboratory Medicine 2 (4) 

This course will focus on the common disease processes seen in the primary care setting with an emphasis on epidemiology, pathophysiology, presenting signs and symptoms, diagnosis and management using an organ system and life stages approach.  Each system will include associated preventative and laboratory medicine, as well as clinical pharmacology and radiology.  Topics covered include Neurology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Hematology, Oncology, Immunology, Orthopedics, Rheumatology, Emergency Medicine, Geriatrics and Pediatrics.  Prerequisite: PAS 520, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526

PAS 535 Pharmacology 2 (3) 

Basic principles of pharmacology will be covered to provide the knowledge required for safe and effective use of medications. The course will discuss principles of pharmacology in the alteration of physiology and metabolism that emphasizes drug name and class, mechanism of action, common uses, side effects  and interactions. Topics covered include pharmacology related to Neurology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Hematology, Oncology, Immunology, Orthopedics, Rheumatology, Emergency Medicine, Geriatrics and Pediatrics. Prerequisite: PAS 520, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526

PAS 536 Applied Clinical Practice 2 (2) 

Applied Clinical Practice 2 will continue to focus on the integration of core science, clinical medicine, and pharmacology knowledge. Students will learn to apply knowledge and refine exam techniques through case studies and patient simulations to improve clinical decision-making and differential diagnosis, as well as improve communication skills through interprofessional and community engagement opportunities.  A holistic patient approach will be emphasized with many common challenges to care delivery presented. Prerequisite: PAS 520, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526

PAS 538 Clinical Skills (2) 

The technical skills required to become proficient in clinical procedures expected of the Physician Assistant will be taught in this course using a hands-on approach. This will include surgical skills, procedural skills, resuscitation and emergency first aid, and various technical skills. Surgical documentation and patient management will be discussed.  Prerequisite: PAS 520, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526

Clinical Year (Level 5)

During the clinical phase (Level V), students are required to complete 8 required rotations in Family Practice (2), Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Women’s Health, Psychiatry, General Surgery and Emergency Medicine. Students will also complete 3 elective rotations.  Students are trained in a variety of clinical settings to assure that they are well prepared to practice medicine with excellence as a part of the PA-physician team. Clinical rotations may occur away from the Omaha metropolitan area, according to rotation availability and the student’s individual rotation schedule. Students are not required to provide their own clinical sites. Students may arrange some of their rotations; however, a discussion with the Clinical Faculty must occur prior to any arrangements being made. Approval is not automatically guaranteed. Students are responsible for their own individual transportation to their clinical rotation sites.

PAS 660 Family Practice Rotation 1 (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in family medicine will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 670 Family Practice Rotation 2 (3) 

A second four-week clinical preceptorship in family medicine will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 671 Internal Medicine Rotation (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in internal medicine will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 672 Pediatric Rotation (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in pediatrics will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 673 OB/GYN Rotation (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in OB/GYN will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 674 Emergency Medicine Rotation (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in emergency medicine will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 675 Psychiatry Rotation (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in psychiatry will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 676 General Surgery Rotation (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in general surgery will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Readings, assignments and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 677 Elective Rotation 1 (3) 

A four-week clinical preceptorship in an elective will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Electives may include a specialty or repeat of a core rotation.  Readings, assignments, and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 678 Elective Rotation 2 (3) 

A second four-week clinical preceptorship in an elective will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Electives may include a specialty or repeat of a core rotation.  Readings, assignments, and examinations during the preceptorship will be required.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 679 Elective Rotation 3 (3) 

A third four-week clinical preceptorship in an elective will be completed by the student after successfully completing the didactic curriculum.  Electives may include a specialty or repeat of a core rotation.  Readings, assignments, and examinations during the preceptorship will be required. Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 690 Master’s Project (3) 

All students will complete a Master’s Project prior to graduation.  Students will identify a need in the healthcare community, complete a critical literature review and a plan for implementation.  Students will be responsible for implementing their plan under the supervision of their chair prior to their final presentation in the last semester.  Prerequisite: PAS 530, 534, 535, 536, 538

PAS 710 PA Practice Transition (2) 

This course focuses on successful transition from school to clinical practice.  Leadership, licensing, contract negotiations, ethical and legal issues, personal wellness and cultural competency will be revisited.  Students will participate in a certification examination review presented by faculty.  Students will be evaluated through cumulative examinations and mock patient encounters.  Prerequisite: PAS 660, 670, 671, 672, 673, 674, 675, 676, 677, 678, 679, 690

Advanced Placement

You must complete all components and requirements of the physician assistant studies program as a College of Saint Mary students. There are no exemptions or advanced placement from course work, clinical skills, laboratories, or clinical education regardless of prior experience, degree or credential during the professional phase of the program.

Degree Requirements

To earn your master of science degree in physician assistant studies, you must complete:

  • 88 credit hours of graduate coursework

 

All graduates will be eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).