Policies and Standards

The Policies & Standards section provides information regarding OHSU PA Program policies and standards related to the ARC-PA Accreditation Standards. For more information on the Accreditation Standards, go to the ARC-PA website where the Standards can be viewed in pdf format.

Accreditation status

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the OHSU Division of Physician Assistant Education Physician Assistant Program sponsored by the Oregon Health & Science University.  Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2025. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-oregon-health-sciences-univ…

Advanced standing

The OHSU PA Program highly values academic preparation and previous health care experience in its evaluation of applicants to the program. However, it is the policy of the program not to award advanced placement or, to accept for credit, any previous academic or other experiential learning. All matriculated students are required to participate in and complete the entire curriculum of the program in order to meet the requirements of graduation.

Licensure Disclosure

OHSU is required under 34 CFR Part 668.43 - Student Assistance General Provisions to make the following notification to students in programs that lead to licensure.

OHSU holds institutional and specialized accreditation, which attests to the educational rigor of its academic programs. As such, OHSU’s programs meet the accreditation standards required by these agencies.  OHSU monitors state requirements for the educational expectations for licensure in every state, but many states have additional requirements beyond just attainment of educational proficiency.  OHSU recommends individuals should always check with the state for the current expectations regarding licensure in that state where they hope to practice.

Additional information regarding licensure can be found on the OHSU out-of-state authorization webpage under licensure - https://www.ohsu.edu/education/out-state-authorization

OHSU PA Program Student Handbook 2023-2024

The purpose of this manual is to provide students and faculty with a comprehensive database of resources and procedures relevant to the PA Program, the OHSU School of Medicine, the OHSU College of Graduate Studies, and other OHSU applicable units within OHSU. This handbook contains information in effect Summer Term, 2023; any subsequent changes are effective as of the date of issuance.

OHSU PA Program Student Handbook 2023-2024

Students with disabilities

OHSU School of Medicine/Division of Physician Assistant faculty believe that a diverse student body enhances the educational opportunities for all students and is beneficial to the profession at large. The OHSU Office of Student Access determines and facilitates reasonable accommodations, including academic adjustments and auxiliary aids, for students with documented disabilities. A qualified student with a disability is a person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in a particular program of study. As defined by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), a person with a disability has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of the individual. This may include, but is not limited to, physical conditions, chronic health issues, sensory impairments, mental health conditions, learning disabilities and ADHD. Student Access works with students with disabilities from all of OHSU's educational programs and at each campus.  It is recommended that you contact the Office for Student Access to consult about possible accommodations if you a) received disability accommodations in the past, b) begin experiencing academic difficulties, and/or c) are given a new diagnosis from your healthcare provider. The Office for Student Access provides accommodations, information, support, advice and resources institution-wide. The Office for Student Access works in conjunction with the program designee to ensure equal access to all the programs and services offered by that individual school.

Health science programs are extremely rigorous and fast-paced. Accommodations that may have worked in your undergraduate program may no longer be effective in this environment. Please contact the Director of the Office for Student Access  or 503-494-0082.

Provision of clinical rotation sites and preceptors

All students participate in clinical training activities in a variety of settings at program-provided sites. Students are not required to supply their own sites or preceptors. 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 and Southwest Washington.

Student employment policy

The OHSU PA Program curriculum is fast-paced and rigorous, and successful completion requires the full attention of students.

Expectations for students

  • Students are prohibited from working for the program while enrolled in the program.
  • Students are strongly discouraged from continuing or accepting employment while enrolled in the program. The program will not make accommodations for students who choose to work.
  • The program reserves the option to require students on academic probation to give up their employment as a condition of continuing in the program.
  • For prospective students who are OHSU employees, per OHSU policy, it is the responsibility of employees seeking to pursue individual courses for academic credit or an academic degree or certificate within OHSU to notify the academic program of their employment status prior to registering or accepting admissions to ensure the activity does not impact their work schedule and to minimize potential conflicts of interest.  
  • For current OHSU students intending to accept an employment offer from an OHSU department, you must notify your academic program prior to accepting the position. 

Expectations for the program

  • Students shall not be required to perform clerical or administrative work for the program.
  • During clinical experiences, students shall not be used to substitute for regular clinical or administrative staff.

Student withdrawal policy

Generally, withdrawal requires action by the student. A student may withdraw from the program whenever he or she no longer wishes to be a student in the program. To withdraw from the program at any time other than the close of an academic quarter, a student must make a formal written request and secure written permission from the Program Director; otherwise, dismissal in good standing cannot be granted. Students will be administratively withdrawn from the program if they do not return from a leave of absence or if they fail to register for classes. In such cases, a student must apply for readmission if he/she wishes to continue his/her studies at a later time.


  1. Written requests for withdrawal from the program must be submitted to the Program Director.
  2. Appropriate forms must be completed and submitted to the Registrar.
  3. Students who withdraw from the program either by their own volition or by administrative process must apply for readmission and be readmitted in order to resume their studies.
  4. Before withdrawing from the program, a student should carefully consider the alternative of taking a leave of absence which does not require readmission to the program in order to be reinstated.

Student dismissal policy

Because physician assistant students, after graduation, may be licensed to practice medicine and may be required to assume responsibility for the life and welfare of other human beings, every student is expected to demonstrate a level of competence and a pattern of behavior that are consistent with these professional responsibilities.

Academic performance or patterns of behavior that are judged by the faculty to be unacceptable may lead to a recommendation by the Progress and Promotions Committee for dismissal.

Upon acceptance by the committee of a proposal to consider a recommendation for dismissal, the Program Director will convene a special meeting of the committee for the purpose of hearings and decisions. The student for whom dismissal is being considered will be given a written statement of the charges against him or her and notice of the time and place of the hearing at least ten calendar days prior to the meeting. The Dean of the School of Medicine will be copied on this notice to the student. At the conclusion of the special meeting, a final decision will be communicated in writing to the student and the Dean. The student may appeal the decision through the Grievance Policy procedure.

Student grievance policy

Students have the right to grieve matters related to, but not restricted to, the following areas: student-mentor or student-faculty conflicts, discrimination, grading policies, curriculum issues, school policies, laboratory safety concerns. Students may not grieve assigned grades or disciplinary actions. Issues regarding grades may be submitted to the specific Course Director, Academic Coordinator, or Clinical Coordinator only if unfair or unreasonable procedures are alleged.  Disciplinary actions are addressed through the Progress & Promotions Committee. A grievance involving discrimination is referred to the Office of Civil Rights Investigations and Compliance (OCIC).

Informal Procedure
Students who wish to grieve a matter are encouraged to initially discuss the problem with the individuals involved including the Course Director, Faculty Member, etc. These individuals may be able to provide guidance regarding a potential grievance. Students who do not feel comfortable doing so, or otherwise choose not to, can also choose to discuss the potential grievance with the Program Director or Medical Director. If the student feels that the situation is such that the Course Director, Faculty Member, Program Director, or Medical Director, etc., cannot be approached, the student should communicate with the Associate Dean for Medical Education. The individual who is initially approached will meet with the grievant and/or the person or persons complained against in an attempt to reach an informal resolution of the matter.

Formal Procedure
If the parties are unable to resolve the issue to their mutual satisfaction through the informal process, the grievant may file a written formal grievance with the Program Director within 20 days after the termination of the informal grievance procedure. The document should describe the nature of the grievance, the circumstances under which the grievance took place, previous efforts to resolve the problem and the nature of the redress the grievant is seeking.

The Program Director will appoint a Grievance Committee to convene within 20 weekdays. The Committee will consist of School of Medicine faculty, current physician assistant students, and a committee chair. Specifically the committee members will consist of: one student from the curriculum committee, clinical year student class president, academic year student class president, one basic science faculty member, one clinical faculty member, and a non-voting PA faculty committee chair. The Committee will meet within 10 workdays after receipt of a grievance, if feasible. The Committee subsequently sets a time and place for the grievance hearing and sends written notification to the parties involved. The hearing may consist of a series of meetings between the Committee and individuals involved in the grievance or a single meeting with all parties present. At any stage of the proceeding, each party to the grievance may be accompanied by an advisor of that party’s choice. The advisor will not be permitted to speak on behalf of the party or participate in any other manner not approved of by the Committee. The Committee members may, at any time, request additional information or documentation from the grievant and/or others, and may request that individuals appear before it during the hearing process to provide information. All Committee sessions, except for the Committee’s deliberations, will be tape recorded. At any stage of the proceeding, the Committee may attempt to resolve the grievance.

If an acceptable resolution is reached, the Committee will prepare a Statement of Understanding for all parties to sign. A copy of the statement will be provided to the parties, the Program Director, and the Associate Dean for Medical Education.

If a resolution is not reached before the conclusion of the hearings process, the Committee will deliberate privately and reach a decision with respect to the grievance. A decision should be reached within 20 workdays of the conclusion of the hearings process. The Committee will prepare a report summarizing the Committee’s factual findings, the Committee’s conclusions based on the evidence presented at the hearing and the Committee’s recommended solution or determination of the grievance. The Committee should also record the vote for and against the recommendation. Member(s) of the Committee may file a minority report with the Dean. A copy of the report will be forwarded to the Program Director, Associate Dean for Medical Education, and the Dean of the School of Medicine and to the parties to the grievance. The Dean shall reach a final decision on the grievance within 10 days of receipt of the report. A copy of the decision will be sent to the parties and to members of the grievance Committee. The Dean’s decision may be appealed to the Provost in accordance with OHSU policy on appeals.

University Policy - Student’s Right of Appeal
A student may appeal a final grievance decision by their school or applicable program to the Provost as provided in OHSU Policy 02-30-050. Appeals to the Provost may be filed in the OHSU Office of Student Affairs and may only be made upon the following grounds:

  • The school or program failed to follow established procedures with respect to the decision appealed from and the error resulted in prejudice to the student;
  • New material information is available that could not have been presented at the time of the proceedings at the school; or
  • The decision is in conflict with applicable laws, rules or OHSU policies.

Appeals to the Provost must be in writing and the appeal must be submitted within thirty days of the student’s notification of the decision.

The decision of the Provost is final.