Master of Physician Assistant Studies

The mission of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies is to prepare primary health care providers who will contribute to the improvement of the mental, social, and physical well-being of the undeserved and vulnerable people of South Texas.  This mission is accomplished through culturally appropriate, socially relevant education, service, and scholarship.

The vision of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies is to be a recognized leader in primary health care education, scholarship, and service. This vision includes the education and training of competent and caring primary health care providers who will meet the needs of society, faculty, staff, and student service to the community and region; and scholarship that will impact, advance, and add to the knowledge of humanity and health.

Students who successfully complete the program receive a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree. Graduates are eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) given by the National Commission for Certification of Physician Assistants. Passing the PANCE is required for licensure in all states.

The Master of Physician Assistant Studies program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA), 12000 Findley Road, Suite 150, Johns Creek, GA, 30097; phone (770) 476-1224, fax (770) 476-1738.

 

 

Master of Physician Assistant Studies Admissions Requirements

Applications for the MPAS program are accepted for fall (July) admission between April 17 and September 1.  Two separate applications are required: one must be made through theCentral Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) and one must be submitted directly to the HSC Office of the Registrar via the PAS Supplemental Application. Both applications are required.

The CASPA application (online) and the PAS Supplemental Application, official transcripts, reference letters, and all other supporting documents must be received by September 1 for admission the following July.  Submit the  PAS Supplemental Application, the supplemental application fee, and all supporting documents directly to the HSC Office of the Registrar:  UT Health Science Center, Office of the Registrar– Health Professions, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, MC 7702, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900.  Prior-year applicants must submit a new application.  Questions about re-application should be directed to the School of Health Professions Office of Advising, Admissions and Recruitment Support and/or CASPA.

Applicant orientations are offered monthly between April and August.  Additional information about orientation is available on the department web site (http://www.uthscsa.edu/shp/pa). Orientation reservations can be made by contacting the department by phone at (210) 567-8810 or by e-mail at pastudies@uthscsa.edu. Applicants are encouraged to seek advisement from their college counselors or the Health Professions Office of Advising, Admissions and Recruitment Support at (866) 802-6220 (toll-free) or (210) 567-8569.

In addition to non-academic factors that are considered, admission requirements for the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program include:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Completion of the CASPA application
  • Completion of the PAS Supplemental application
  • Payment of the non-refundable application fee
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Science GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • A grade of C or better in prerequisite coursework
  • Completion of all prerequisite coursework by the application deadline of September 1 (Note: no prerequisites can be in progress after the deadline date):
    • Biology I and II with labs (no Botany, Ecology or Environmental Science), 8 hours
    • Human Anatomy with lab, 4 hours
    • Human Physiology, 3 hours
    • General Chemistry I & II with lab, 8 hours
    • Organic Chemistry with lab, 4 hours
    • Microbiology, 3 hours
    • Genetics, 3 hours
    • Statistics, 3 hours
    • Psychology, 3 hours
  • International Applicants only: Submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores; minimum scores 560 (paper) or 68 (Internet).

Master of Physician Assistant Studies Degree Requirements

The Physician Assistant Studies program is an intense didactic and clinical program that consists of 116 semester credit hours. The curriculum is designed to prepare primary care Physician Assistants who will meet the needs of the people of South Texas. The program begins in the fall semester and runs continuously for 25.5 months. The didactic component of the curriculum consists of classroom, laboratory, and clinical preparation. This professional phase of the program is offered on the Health Science Center’s Main Campus in San Antonio.  Didactic instruction is designed to prepare the student to successfully complete the final year of supervised clinical practice and, ultimately, for practice as a Physician Assistant.

The MPAS program is based on 24-week super semesters; fall semesters begin the first week of July and end in mid-December; spring semesters begin in early January and end June 30th.  The final months of the program include supervised clinical practice (clinical rotations) and occur in sites throughout South Texas. All students must complete a minimum of two rotations in rural or medically underserved locations. Students must be prepared to assume the expense for these rotations. 

Rotations are full-time clinical experiences (minimum of 40+ hours per week).  A pass-fail summative evaluation is administered during the final semester; students must pass the summative examination to qualify for graduation.

Master of Physician Assistant Studies Sample Plan of Study

First Year
FallCredit Hours
CSBL 5012Physician Assistant Gross Anatomy 5
PHAS 5001Patient Evaluation 1 3
PHAS 5043Physiology in Health and Disease 4
PHAS 6013Scientific Inquiry 3
CLSC 5040Laboratory Medicine 3
PHAS 6010Pharmacology 1 3
PHAS 5033Clinical Medicine 1 10
Spring
PHAS 5000Physician Assistant Policy and Practice 3
PHAS 5034Clinical Medicine 2 10
PHAS 6015Clinical Skills 2 2
PHAS 5005Clinical Applications in Nutrition 2
PHAS 6014Pharmacology 2 3
PHAS 6004Preventative Medicine-Community Health 3
PHAS 5003Behavioral Medicine 3
EMSP 6135Advanced Cardiac Life Support 1
PHAS 5004Clinical Applications 4
Second Year
Fall
PHAS 6101Supervised Clinical Practice 1 4
PHAS 6102Supervised Clinical Practice 2 4
PHAS 6103Supervised Clinical Practice 3 4
PHAS 6104Supervised Clinical Practice 4 4
PHAS 6105Supervised Clinical Practice 5 4
PHAS 6106Supervised Clinical Practice 6 4
Spring
PHAS 6107Supervised Clinical Practice 7 4
PHAS 6108Supervised Clinical Practice 8 4
PHAS 6109Supervised Clinical Practice 9 4
PHAS 6110Supervised Clinical Practice 10 4
PHAS 6111Supervised Clinical Practice 11 4
PHAS 6112Supervised Clinical Practice 12 4
Summer
PHAS 6113Supervised Clinical Practice 13 6
 Total Credit Hours: 116.0

Master of Physician Assistant Studies Objectives/Program Outcomes

Students graduating from the PAS program will meet the technical standards, possess the required professional competencies and be able to perform the demands and tasks of the profession as noted below:

Observation and Sensation

The PA student will possess sufficient visual, auditory, and tactile sensation to receive appropriate information in the classroom, laboratory, and other educational and clinical settings.  Sensation will be satisfactory to receive verbal and nonverbal communications from patients and others, and to perform inspection, auscultation and palpation techniques during the physical examination.

Communication

The PA student will be able to speak, hear, and observe patients, family members, and other clinicians.  This includes expressive and receptive modes of verbal, nonverbal, and written communication.  The student must have the ability to accurately assess receptive communication in order to make appropriate and timely responses.  The student will be able to communicate attentively, effectively, and sensitively to others.

Motor Functions

Students will have sufficient strength and coordination to perform the activities required of a physician assistant.  These include but are not limited to performing a physical examination utilizing diagnostic instruments and techniques in palpation and percussion.  Students will have sufficient stamina to sit, stand, and move within classroom, laboratory, examination rooms, treatment rooms, and operating rooms for long periods of time. The student will have sufficient coordination to move about patient care environments, and sufficient dexterity to use common medical instruments.  Students will be able to arrange for transportation between educational and clinical settings.

Intellectual Capability

Clinical problem solving and reasoning requires these intellectual abilities and encompass those to accurately measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, learn, and retain information and make decisions in a timely manner.  Students will be able to comprehend two and three-dimensional structures, and will be able to understand diagnostic testing and treatment regimens.

Behavioral and Social Proficiency

Students will possess the ability to establish and maintain appropriate professional relationships. This includes the ability to prioritize competing demands, to function in stressful circumstances, to exercise good clinical judgment, to act ethically, to be compassionate, empathetic, responsible, and tolerant toward patients and others.

The following outlines examples of the demands and performance requirements required of the PA student.

Typical Mental Demands

The PA student will possess the ability to:

  • Process, retain, comprehend, integrate, analyze, synthesize, and apply a large volume of data related to the art and science of medicine, including legal, ethical, and moral concepts
  • Be present during long hours in the following settings: classrooms, laboratories, clinicals, and self-directed study situations and environments
  • Respond appropriately and timely responses to constructive faculty feedback
  • Effectively use written and verbal communication skills
  • Participate in educational activities that include tests, examinations, demonstrations, simulations, and presentations with frequent and exacting evaluations
  • Demonstrate the ability to gather patient data and report, perform the physical examination, conduct patient assessment and evaluation, formulate a treatment patient, and perform patient education

Typical Physical Demands

The PA student will possess:

  • Full range of body motion including assisting patient movement, manual and finger dexterity, and eye-hand coordination
  • Physical capacity to stand and walk for extended hospital and clinic visits, and during frequent and prolonged patient and professional interactions
  • Physical capacity to sit for long periods during classroom and laboratory experiences
  • Capability to work in physically and mentally stressful situation with long and irregular hours and with exposures to communicable diseases and body fluids

Typical Working Conditions

The PA student will be able to:

  • Work in clinical and classroom environments with exposure to frequent to communicable diseases, toxic substances, ionizing radiation, medicinal preparations, hostile individuals, and other such conditions common to the medical and surgical environments
  • Interact with a diverse patient populations of all ages with a range of acute and chronic medical and surgical conditions

Student Performance Requirements

The PA student will be required to perform in the following situations:

  • Medical, surgical, pediatric, obstetric/gynecologic, and other primary care medicine settings (inpatient and out-patient) at both campus and off-campus locations
  • Didactic and clinical education and training
  • Invasive and non-invasive procedures
  • Pre-, intra-, and post-operative activities
  • Emergency care

The PA Student will be required to:

  • Demonstrate a professional ethical demeanor and understanding of medical ethics and medical-legal concepts
  • Exhibit the capacity to work long hours (physical and mental stamina)
  • Complete demanding didactic and clinical evaluations, examinations, etc.
  • Perform at the level determined and required by the faculty
  • Participate in community and/or professional service activities
  • Complete other responsibilities and tasks as assigned or required

Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program Policies and Information

Auditing Courses

Students may be required to audit previously attempted courses as a requirement of remediation. Course instructors, academic or clinical coordinators, department committees, or the department chair set standards of performance.

Computer Requirement

Students are required to purchase a laptop computer from the Health Science Center Computer Store upon matriculation.  The cost of the purchase is calculated as a cost of attendance and is included in determination of financial aid eligibility.

Credit for Experimental Learning

All courses in the physician assistant curriculum must be completed.  No course credit is given for experiential learning. 

Program Costs

In addition to required tuition and fees, there are costs for textbooks, scrubs, and equipment. The full-time clinical fieldwork experiences included in the curriculum may require that students locate outside of San Antonio for the duration of the rotations. Fieldwork expenses will vary according to individual arrangements depending on the cost of travel, temporary housing, maintenance of local accommodations, etc. Students are encouraged to budget for major expenditures that could be associated with these assignments.  Detailed information about program costs can be found on the Department of Physician Assistant Studies website.

Technical Standards

Applicants should review the PA Student Competencies and Technical Standards available at http://www.uthscsa.edu/shp/pa/Technical%20Standards%20of%20PA%20Students%202009.pdf

Courses

PHAS 5000. Physician Assistant Policy and Practice. 3 Credit Hours.

This course will provide the student with an overview of the assistant physician profession. The course will provide the student with an opportunity to develop an understanding of the profession to include history, social and policy issues, medical ethics, liability, educational philosophy, certification/licensure requirements, and professional concepts/issues, including a team approach to health care. Discussion will include intellectual honesty and academic and professional conduct.

PHAS 5001. Patient Evaluation 1. 3 Credit Hours.

This course provides the student with an opportunity to develop a theoretical and clinical basis for assessment of the patient. The process, in which a physician assistant utilizes a comprehensive physical, psychosocial, and cultural assessment across the lifespan to gather specific data relevant to common health problems, is demonstrated. Faculty will facilitate laboratory and clinical experiences that will focus on assessment of patients and presentation of findings in a variety of settings.

PHAS 5003. Behavioral Medicine. 3 Credit Hours.

This course provides the student with an opportunity to develop an understanding of human behavior by providing an overview of major behavioral disease processes and differentiation criteria to include disease presentation, physical examination findings, laboratory testing, and therapeutic approaches.

PHAS 5004. Clinical Applications. 4 Credit Hours.

This course provides the student with an opportunity to experience clinical practice and further develop an appreciation for the art and science of medicine as it relates to physician assistant practice. The student will have an opportunity to apply those skills taught in Patient Evaluation I including physical examination, medical history, patient education, documentation, and medical record keeping. Faculty will facilitate laboratory and clinical experience that will focus on assessment of patients and presentation of findings in a variety of settings. Activities will range from observation to participation in patient care. Basic problem solving, group discussion, and literature review will be included.

PHAS 5005. Clinical Applications in Nutrition. 2 Credit Hours.

The student will have the opportunity to develop knowledge of the role of nutrition in healthy and disease states. Emphasis will be on nutrition as a component of patient care and treatment.

PHAS 5033. Clinical Medicine 1. 10 Credit Hours.

This course provides students with all aspects of medical care based on an organ system approach. It will provide students with an opportunity to develop an understanding of human disease states. Instruction will include recognition of disease state through data collection, assessment, management, patient education, and disease prevention. Health disparities will be included. Special topics will include pediatric and geriatric applications. The organ systems to be covered are genetics, dermatology, renal/male reproductive, cardiovascular, respiratory, and hematologic.

PHAS 5034. Clinical Medicine 2. 10 Credit Hours.

This course provides students with all aspects of medical care based on an organ system approach. It will provide students with an opportunity to develop an understanding of human disease states. Instruction will include recognition of disease state through data collection, assessment, management, patient education, and disease prevention. Health disparities will be included. Special topics will include pediatric and geriatric applications. The organ systems to be covered are gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, neurologic female reproductive, endocrine, and special topics.

PHAS 5043. Physiology in Health and Disease. 4 Credit Hours.

This course shall provide students with the opportunity to develop a knowledge base of human physiology in health and diseased states. Emphasis will be on the pathophysiology of human disease processes. Course content includes organ system physiology and general disease processes of degeneration, inflammation, neoplasia, and changes associated with major tissue/organ diseases.

PHAS 5091. Special Topics. 1-10 Credit Hours.

This special topics or directed study course is a faculty-directed, didactic opportunity for students. Specific course objectives and study plans will be developed based on student needs and faculty decisions. The course may be used for special projects, additional coursework, or remedial education. It may be repeated for credit.

PHAS 6003. Patient Evaluation 2. 1 Credit Hour.

This course provides the student with an opportunity to experience clinical practice and further develop an appreciation for the art and science of medicine as it relates to physician assistant practice. Students will have the opportunity and will be required to see patients in the hospital setting and become more proficient at performing and reporting the complete medical history and physical examination.

PHAS 6004. Preventative Medicine-Community Health. 3 Credit Hours.

The student will have an opportunity to develop an understanding and knowledge of epidemiology and preventive medicine across a number of topics. An introduction to community health, with an emphasis on needs assessment and project development, will be done.

PHAS 6010. Pharmacology 1. 3 Credit Hours.

The student will have an opportunity to develop an understanding and knowledge of the pharmacological basis of therapeutics with special emphasis on the biochemical and physiological functions in disease. Majors areas covered include drugs active in the cardiovascular, autonomic, and central nervous systems. General principles of drug action and specific coverage of drugs used in the treatment of bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases are provided.

PHAS 6011. Problem Based Learning 2. 1 Credit Hour.

This course is a continuation of Problem-Based Learning 1.

PHAS 6013. Scientific Inquiry. 3 Credit Hours.

This course is a general introduction to research design, statistical reasoning, and interpretation of medical/scientific literature. Topics include scientific method, theory, development of research questions, issues of measurement, models of experimental and non-experimental designs, and an overview of parametric and non-parametric statistical techniques. All topics will be in reference to understanding the literature and to evidence for practice decisions. The learner will have an opportunity to critically analyze medical and scientific literature/ research.

PHAS 6014. Pharmacology 2. 3 Credit Hours.

A continuation of Pharmacology 1, the student will have an opportunity to develop an understanding and knowledge of the actions and therapeutic uses of drugs. The topics include principles of pharmacology and pharmacokinetics. Topics will center on drug action, autonomic and cardiovascular pharmacology, neuropharmacology, endocrine pharmacology, GI and respiratory pharmacology, and an introduction to chemotherapy and toxicology. Special topics will include basics in prescription writing.

PHAS 6015. Clinical Skills 2. 2 Credit Hours.

This course is a continuation of Clinical Skills I. Course Fees: Clinical fee $300.00.

PHAS 6016. Problem Based Learning 3. 1 Credit Hour.

This course is a continuation of Problem-Based Learning 1 & 2.

PHAS 6101. Supervised Clinical Practice 1. 4 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation course is the first in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enables students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiences will include preventive, emergent, acute and chronic patient encounters. Students will participate in health care across the life span, women's health, pre-/post and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency and surgical settings.

PHAS 6102. Supervised Clinical Practice 2. 4 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation course is the second in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enables students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiences will include preventive, emergent, acute and chronic patient encounters. Students will participate in health care across the life span, women's health, pre-/post and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency and surgical settings.

PHAS 6103. Supervised Clinical Practice 3. 4 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation course is the third in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enables students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiecnes will include preventive, emergent, acute and chronic patient encounters. Students will particpate in health care across the life span, women's health, pre-/post and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency and surgical settings.

PHAS 6104. Supervised Clinical Practice 4. 4 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation course is the fourth in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enables students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiences will include preventive, emergent, acute and chronic patient encounters. Students will participate in health care across the life span, women's health, pre-/post and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency and surgical settings.

PHAS 6105. Supervised Clinical Practice 5. 4 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation course is the fifth in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enables students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiences will include preventive, emergent, acute and chronic patient encounters. Students will participate in health care across the life span, women's health, pre-/post and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency and surgical settings.

PHAS 6106. Supervised Clinical Practice 6. 4 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation course is the sixth in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enables students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiecnes will include preventive, emergent, acute and chronic patient encounters. Students will particpate in health care across the life span, women's health, pre-/post and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency and surgical settings.

PHAS 6107. Supervised Clinical Practice 7. 4 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation course is the seventh in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enables students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiences will include preventive, emergent, acute and chronic patient encounters. Students will participate in health care across the life span, women's health, pre-/post and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency and surgical settings.

PHAS 6108. Supervised Clinical Practice 8. 4 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation course is the eighth in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enables students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiences will include preventive, emergent, acute and chronic patient encounters. Students will participate in health care across the life span, women's health, pre-/post and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency and surgical settings.

PHAS 6109. Supervised Clinical Practice 9. 4 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation course is the ninth in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enables students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiences will include preventive, emergent, acute and chronic patient encounters. Students will participate in health care across the life span, women's health, pre-/post and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency and surgical settings.

PHAS 6110. Supervised Clinical Practice 10. 4 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation course is the tenth in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enables students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiences will include preventive, emergent, acute and chronic patient encounters. Students will participate in health care across the life span, women's health, pre-/post and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency and surgical settings.

PHAS 6111. Supervised Clinical Practice 11. 4 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation course is the eleventh in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enables students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiences will include preventive, emergent, acute and chronic patient encounters. Students will participate in health care across the life span, women's health, pre-/post and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency and surgical settings.

PHAS 6112. Supervised Clinical Practice 12. 4 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation course is the twelfth in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enables students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiences will include preventive, emergent, acute and chronic patient encounters. Students will participate in health care across the life span, women's health, pre-/post and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency and surgical settings.

PHAS 6113. Supervised Clinical Practice 13. 6 Credit Hours.

This clinical rotation is the last in a series of supervised clinical practice opportunities for students who have completed the didactic phase of the Physician Assistant curriculum. This supervised clinical practice experience enable students to meet program expectations and acquire the competencies needed for clinical PA practice. Students will encounter the types of patients essential to preparing them for entry into practice. At a minimum, these experiences will include preventive, emergent, acute, and chronic patient encounters. Students will participate in healthcare across the life span, women's health, pre-/post- and intra-operative care in outpatient, inpatient, emergency, and surgical settings. This six-week clinical practicum is designed to give the student the opportunity to gain additional experience in an area of practice that is aligned with their intended area of concentration. Additional activities during this rotation may include preparation for professional licensing and certification.