Students sitting and standing around a table discussing with instructor.

Academic year curriculum, 12 months

The following description reflects the Master of Physician Assistant Studies academic curriculum in the entry level program for those interested in becoming a physician assistant. The 12-month academic phase emphasizes: 

  • A strong foundation in basic science education
  • Comprehensive exposure to primary care and specialty areas of medicine
  • Introduction to patient care through experiences with community physician and physician assistant mentors
  • Hands-on experience performing histories, physical exams, and developing assessments and management plans during mentoring activities
  • Development of clinical thinking processes through faculty facilitated weekly small group activities utilizing problem-based learning
  • The use of medical informatics and evidence-based medicine to make better clinical decisions
  • Methods to improve patient interactions and provide more effective medical care
  • Formalized evaluations of clinical competencies and skills throughout the year

Course list

PAST 510 Physical Diagnosis (4 credits)
PAST 511 Physical Diagnosis Lab (2 credits)
PAST 518A Principles of Professional Practice I (3 credits)
PAST 528 Introduction to Epidemiology and Evidence-Based Medicine (2 credits)
PAST 571 Intro to Pathophysiology/Mechanisms of Disease (3 credits)
PAST 572 Intro to Pharmacotherapeutics (2 credits)
ANAT 511 UNI Foundations of Clinical Anatomy (5 credits)

Total of 21 credits

Course list

PAST 545 Clinical Medicine I (6)
PAST 565 Basic Sciences I (2)
PAST 575 Clinical Pharmacotherapeutics I (1)
PAST 518B Principles of Professional Practice II (2)
PAST 515 Clinical Medicine Tutorials I (3)
PAST 509 Clinical Practicum I (3)
IPE 501 Foundations of Patient Safety and Interprofessional Practice (0)


Total of 17 credits

Course list

PAST 546 Clinical Medicine II (6)
PAST 566 Basic Sciences II (2)
PAST 576 Clinical Pharmacotherapeutics II (1)
PAST 520 Principles of Professional Practice III (2)
PAST 516 Clinical Medicine Tutorials II (3)
PAST 509A Clinical Practicum II (3)
IPE 501 Foundations of Patient Safety and Interprofessional Practice (0)

Total of 17 credits

Course list

PAST557A – Clinical Medicine and Basic Science III A
PAST557B – Clinical Medicine and Basic Science III B
PAST 577 Clinical Pharmacotherapeutics III (1)
PAST 521 Principles of Professional Practice IV (2)
PAST 517 Clinical Medicine Tutorials III (3)
PAST 509B Clinical Practicum III (3)
PAST 507A Electrocardiography (1)
IPE 501 Foundations of Patient Safety and Interprofessional Practice (1)

Total of 20 credits

Clinical Year Curriculum, 14 months

All students participate in clinical training activities in a variety of settings at program-provided sites. In keeping with the mission of the program, a majority of the clinical opportunities are located outside of metropolitan Portland, many in rural medically underserved sites throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. Supervised clinical experiences (SCPEs) or rotations will ensure students will acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Rotations will provide experiences in outpatient and inpatient settings, emergency departments and the operating room, with patients seeking medical care across the life span, prenatal and obstetric care, surgical management (pre, intra, and post-operative care) and care for behavioral/mental health conditions.

All rotations are 4 weeks in length. Students participate in a minimum of 1,100 clock hours of supervised clinical practice during the Clinical Year.

Instructing faculty observes students examining each other.

Required SCPE Rotations

Students participate in 9 required SCPE rotations (all 9 required, 5 credits each):

Emergency Medicine
Inpatient Internal Medicine
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Primary Care I

Primary Care II
Primary Care III
Behavioral Health                                                        

Students practicing using ultrasound device.

Elective SCPE Rotations

Elective SCPE Rotations (2 rotations, 5 credits each) are determined by student interests, needs and availability. Abbreviated list of disciplines; many more options are available:
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Pediatric subspecialties

Fountain in front of Mackenzie Hall

Additional Clinical Year Courses

Applied Clinical Skills I (2 credits)
Applied Clinical Skills II (4 credits)
Bridge to Professional Practice (3 credits)
Community Outreach Project (5 credits)


OHSU adopted Sakai in 2007 as the preferred university course management system.  Sakai is an online course management system similar to Blackboard, WebCT and eCollege.  Most academic year and clinical year courses have a complementary Sakai course where the syllabus, grading information, course resources and websites, assignments, handouts, and other course materials are posted.  A few courses are entirely online and have no classroom component.