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College of Health Sciences

Downers Grove, IL Campus

Degree Description

Physician Assistant Program

The professional curriculum leads to a Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies. This full-time 27-month professional program offers students the opportunity to earn a graduate degree and satisfy the eligibility requirements for the PA national certifying examination. The maximum allotted time for completion of this program is 40.5 months.

The roles and specific clinical duties and responsibilities that graduates can expect to experience will likely vary depending on their chosen career path. PA Program graduates are expected to have the ability to competently perform patient histories and physicals, gather pertinent patient data, order and interpret diagnostic studies, recognize common diseases and disorders, choose appropriate therapeutic modalities, perform surgical procedures, manage emergency life-threatening conditions, promote health through counseling, education, and disease prevention, and demonstrate interpersonal skills consistent with the physician assistant role.

The didactic coursework includes 12 months of basic science coursework in anatomy, biochemistry, neuroscience, physiology, pharmacology, immunology, genetics, and microbiology. It also includes clinical coursework in clinical medicine, behavioral medicine, professional issues, and interpretation of the medical literature. During the remaining 15 months, students are required to rotate through eight core clinical rotations and two elective clinical rotations, in addition to completing advanced clinical medicine courses and a capstone project.

The second-year clinical program is primarily delivered at affiliated clinical sites and facilities within the Chicago metropolitan area. These sites are geographically and demographically diverse, reflecting the broad scope of practice opportunities that exist for PAs in the healthcare delivery system of this country. Sites include ambulatory practice settings, small and large office-based group practices, community health centers, in-patient settings involving large and small hospitals as well as federal and state facilities. These sites are in urban, suburban, and rural communities. In addition, the program has established formal affiliations with clinical facilities and practitioners in a number of other states. As part of the clinical education phase of the program, students enrolled in the PA Program will likely be assigned to clinical rotations that reflect the geographic and demographic diversity described above, including out-of-state rotations. Housing is provided for out-of-state core clinical rotations only. Students are expected to secure their own housing for local and elective rotations, and must provide their own transportation to all core and elective clinical rotations regardless of location.

The PA Program does not offer an extended course of study beyond the usual length of the program.

The PA Program does not grant advanced placement credit for any previously completed coursework.