Physician Assistant (PA) Program at Methodist University

Physician Assistant Program Curriculum Requirements

The PA Program has one start date a year in August. The program is full-time, 27 month in length (7 semesters) and consists of 2 phases: Didactic and Clinical.

Didactic Phase

The Didactic Phase is 3.5 semesters of classroom instruction. Each didactic semester is broken down in the following way (subject to change due to curricular purposes):

Fall Semester I (Didactic)

  • PHA 5000 Medical Ethics (2 credits)
  • PHA 5010 PA Orientation (1 credit)
  • PHA 5070 History and Physical Exam I (3 credits)
  • PHA 5100 Pharmacology I (2 credits)
  • PHA 5140 Physiology (4 credits)
  • PHA 5150 Emergency Medicine I (2 credits)
  • PHA 5201 Human Anatomy I (4 credits)
  • PHA 5210 Health Promotion/Disease Prevention (1 credit)
  • PHA 5810 Dermatology (1 credit)

Total: 20 credits

Spring Semester (Didactic)

  • PHA 5080 History and Physical Exam II (3 credits)
  • PHA 5090 Lab Medicine I (2 credits)
  • PHA 5110 Pharmacology II (2 credits)
  • PHA 5160 Emergency Medicine II (2 credits)
  • PHA 5220 Behavioral Medicine (2 credits)
  • PHA 5221 Human Anatomy II (4 credits)
  • PHA 5740 Cardiology (3 credits)
  • PHA 5770 OB/GYN (2 credits)
  • PHA 5820 Neurology (2 credits)
  • PHA 5880 Emerging Issues in Clinical Medicine (2 credits)

Total: 24 credits

Summer Semester (Didactic)

  • PHA 5120 Pharmacology III (2 credits)
  • PHA 5130 Lab Medicine II (2 credits)
  • PHA 5190 Surgery (2 credits)
  • PHA 5240 Clinical Skills I (2 credits)
  • PHA 5300 Pediatrics (2 credits)
  • PHA 5410 Research Methods (2 credits)
  • PHA 5720 Endocrinology (2 credits)
  • PHA 5730 Gastroenterology (2 credits)
  • PHA 5750 Orthopedics (2 credits)
  • PHA 5760 Urology/Nephrology (2 credits)
  • PHA 5800 Pulmonology (2 credits)
  • PHA 5860 Infectious Disease (2 credits)

Total: 24 credits

Fall Semester II (Didactic) (8 weeks)

  • PHA 5250 Clinical Skills II (1 credit)
  • PHA 5280 Geriatrics (2 credits)
  • PHA 5710 Clinical Research Project (3 credits)
  • PHA 5780 Ophthalmology (1 credit)
  • PHA 5790 ENT (1 credit)
  • PHA 5830 Hematology (1 credit)
  • PHA 5840 Oncology (1 credit)
  • PHA 5850 Critical Thinking (2 credits)
  • PHA 5870 Clinical Preparation (4 credits)
  • PHA 5900 History & Physical Exam III (2 credits)

Total: 18 credits


Clinical Phase

The Clinical Phase is the final 3.5 semesters and consists of supervised, off-campus clinical instruction. Clinical rotations are generally arranged within Cumberland County and surrounding areas at local medical centers and private doctor’s offices. The majority of rotations are within a 75 mile radius of campus, but students may be expected to complete at least one rotation outside of this radius. Students may accrue additional housing expenses. Clinical rotations required by the program are as follows:

  • PHA 5510 Internal Medicine (4 weeks)
  • PHA 5520 OB/GYN (4 weeks)
  • PHA 5530 Pediatrics (4 weeks)
  • PHA 5540 Family Medicine (4 weeks)
  • PHA 5570 Emergency Medicine (4 weeks)
  • PHA 5580 Psychiatry (4 weeks)
  • PHA 5590 Orthopedics (4 weeks)
  • PHA 5600 General Surgery (4 weeks)
  • PHA 5650 Elective I* (4 weeks)
  • PHA 5680 Elective II** (4 weeks)
  • PHA 5690 Primary Care*** (4 weeks)
  • PHA 5640 Clinical Seminar**** (4 weeks)

Total clinical semester hours: 48 credits

*Students will be able to select from various medical specialties and subspecialties.

** Students will be able to select from the following medical specialties and subspecialties, to include: Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Hematology-Oncology, Infectious Disease, Orthopedics, Pulmonology, and Urology. Additional specialties may be selected for approval by the Program.

***Family Medicine, Pediatrics, or Outpatient Internal Medicine

**** The clinical seminar will occur within four months of graduation. This seminar gives students the opportunity to demonstrate that they are ready to take on the responsibility of a practicing physician assistant. It also supports the physician assistant student in their transition to clinical practice through lectures, activities and independent study.


Total Credits & Additional Notes

Total number of credits for the program: 134 semester hours

Additional notes about the curriculum and academic standards:

  • Students are required to complete a clinical research project during the didactic year. The research paper is based on a topic of interest, but must be approved by the faculty advisor. Both the paper and presentation are a part of the Clinical Research Project course.
  • Students must successfully pass a Summative Exam that is administered at the end of the clinical year to meet graduation requirements.
  • Clinical students attend a PANCE review course in the final semester of the program.
  • It is essential to their development that students adopt and exhibit self-directed responsibility for their mastery of knowledge and skills. It is the policy of the Methodist University PA Program that a student maintains a minimum score of 70% on each examination or written assignment. Any performance less than 70% is interpreted as not obtaining competency. It is the student’s responsibility to maintain the required academic standards and to initiate the necessary interventions to resolve deficiencies in any area of study. The physician assistant program faculty and staff will offer guidance to a physician assistant student experiencing academic difficulties but it remains the responsibility of the student to achieve.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Completion of all requirements for the specified professional phase of the program (didactic and clinical rotations) with a minimum 3.0 GPA and no grades below a C.
  2. The professional phase (didactic and clinical rotations) must be completed in residency.
  3. Good standing in character, conduct, and financial obligation to the University and recommended by the faculty for graduation.
  4. Has met all other graduation requirements of Methodist University as stated in the Academic Catalog.