Students sitting and standing around a table discussing with instructor.

Academic year curriculum

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 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 weekly 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 (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 523 Allergy, Immunity and Infection (4 credits)
PAST 524 Skin, Muscle and Bone (3 credits)
PAST 525 Blood, Cancer and Palliation (2 credits)
PAST 518B Principles of Professional Practice II (2 credits)
PAST 515 Clinical Medicine Tutorials I (3 credits)
PAST 509 Clinical Practicum I (3 credits)
IPE 501 Foundations of Patient Safety and Interprofessional Practice (0 credits)

Total of 17 credits

Course list

PAST 535 Medicine I (5 credits)
PAST 544 Medicine II (4 credits)
PAST 520 Principles of Professional Practice III (2 credits)
PAST 516 Clinical Medicine Tutorials II (3 credits)
PAST 509A Clinical Practicum II (3 credits)
IPE 501 Foundations of Patient Safety and Interprofessional Practice (0 credits)

Total of 17 credits

Course list

PAST 538 Human Development and Reproduction (4 credits)
PAST 539 Brain and Behavior (4 credits)
PAST 540 Emergent and Surgical Medicine (2 credits)
PAST 521 Principles of Professional Practice IV (2 credits)
PAST 517 Clinical Medicine Tutorials III (3 credits)
PAST 509B Clinical Practicum III (3 credits)
PAST 507A Electrocardiography (1 credit)
IPE 501 Foundations of Patient Safety and Interprofessional Practice (1 credit)

Total of 20 credits

Clinical Year Curriculum

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 and urban medically underserved sites throughout Oregon, Southwest Washington and Western Idaho. Supervised clinical experiences 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. Students are required to successfully complete 11 rotations comprised of 9 required rotations and 2 non-core rotations determined by student interests, needs and availability. All rotations are 4 weeks in length. Students participate in a minimum of 1,760 clock hours of supervised clinical practice.

Instructing faculty observes students examining each other.

Required Rotations

Students participate in 9 required clinical rotations:
Behavioral Medicine
Emergency Medicine
Impatient Medicine
Primary Care I-III
Women's Health

Students practicing using ultrasound device.

Non-Core Rotations

Students participate in 2 non-core rotations based on student interests, needs and availability. Below are a few examples of available disciplines:
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Pediatric subspecialties

Fountain in front of Mackenzie Hall

Additional Clinical Year Courses

Applied Clinical Skills 
Applied Clinical Skills II 
Bridge to Professional Practice 
Community Outreach Project


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.