Physician Assistant CurriculumĀ 

Our Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) Program takes 27 months to complete the required 130 credit hours. The first 15 months of the program are dedicated to the didactic education, along with the participation in a clinical mentorship program. The last 12 months of the program involves your clinical clerkship rotations, which offer you clinical education experiences in emergency medicine, internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, general surgery, and women's health.

Didactic learning experiences

Our courses and their course descriptions can be viewed in the bulletin. Please be advised, while our program requires specific courses as prerequisites for enrollment, and many applicants may have significant healthcare education and employment experience, we do not award advanced placement in the program.

View the PA Program Courses

Proposed curriculum 2024-2025

Courses with an "x" in the designator number are currently in the curricular process for modification or development.  When the courses are approved, the new curriculum will be effective in the fall 2024 semester.

Year 1

Summer (22 credit hours)
PHA 697:  Regional Anatomy Lecture
PHA 620:  Infectious Diseases
PHA 624:  Issues in Practice
PHA 625:  Clinical Pharmacology I
PHA 645:  Critical Appraisal of Medical Literature and Evidence-Based Medicine
PHA 650:  Diagnostic Tests I
PHA 660:  History and Physical Examination I
PHA 671:  Preventative Medicine
PHA 672:  Applied Ethics for the Physician Assistant
Fall (23 credit hours)
PHA 6xx:  Regional Anatomy Lab I
PHA 608:  Clinical Medicine I
PHA 626:  Clinical Pharmacology II
PHA 630:  Clinical Procedures I
PHA 633:  Scientific Basis of Medicine I
PHA 640:  Clinical Problem Solving I
PHA 651:  Diagnostic Tests II
PHA 661:  History of Physical Examination II
PHA 673:  Psychiatry
Spring (22 credit hours)
PHA 6xx:  Regional Anatomy Lab II
PHA 609:  Clinical Medicine II
PHA 612:  Obstetrics/Gynecology
PHA 616:  Surgery
PHA 62x:  Clinical Pharmacology III
PHA 634:  Scientific Basis of Medicine II
PHA 641:  Clinical Problem Solving II
PHA 652:  Diagnostic Tests III
PHA 662:  Physical History and Examination III

Year 2

Summer (15 credit hours)
PHA 610:  Clinical Medicine III
PHA 614:  Pediatrics
PHA 618:  Emergency Medicine
PHA 631:  Clinical Procedures II
PHA 635:  Scientific Basis of Medicine III
PHA 642:  Clinical Problem Solving III
Fall (16 credit hours)
PHA 690:  Supervised Clinical Practice Education I
*Must complete (3) of the following 5-week rotations:  family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, behavioral health, surgery, emergency medicine, elective
Spring (16 credit hours)
PHA 691:  Supervised Clinical Practice Education II
*Must complete (3) of the remaining 5-week rotations:  family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, behavioral health, surgery, emergency medicine, elective

Year 3

Summer (16 credit hours)
PHA 692:  Supervised Clinical Practice Education III
*Must complete (2) of the remaining 5-week rotations:  family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, behavioral health, surgery, emergency medicine, elective
PHA 69x:  Summative Evaluation*

*All Central Michigan University Physician Assistant students must successfully complete (7) core 5-week rotations and (1) 5-week elective rotation. 

Per the bulletin, graduate students are allowed (7) years to complete the full curriculum for the PA Program.


Our program offers the benefit of a mentorship experience for all first-year students. Although our program shares the critical requirements and expectations of many PA programs, there are two key areas of emphasis which make this program relatively unique.  Specifically, we educate our students with a focus in providing and supporting primary and rural health care.  This is achieved through the clinical problem-solving coursework series with the clinical mentorship experience.

During a portion of the didactic year, each student participates in a one-day-per-week mentorship experience for four months, in which they shadow a primary care practitioner and perform supervised hands-on patient care. The mentorship opportunity allows students to apply their knowledge and skills in a clinical environment, to further enhance their clinical and practical skills and build their confidence before pursuing the second year of studies.

Our unique mentorship program allows students to:

  • Develop and improve patient evaluation skills.
  • Practice effective communication skills in establishing a productive provider-patient relationship.
  • Establish a professional student-mentor relationship.
  • Learn about other disciplines of the interprofessional team.
  • Review and discuss selected cases with their mentor.
  • Observe administrative aspects of office practices.
  • Build confidence and become comfortable in a clinical setting.

Supervised clinical practice experience

You will spend the last 12 months of the program completing 7 core and 1 elective Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPE). After the completion of each 5-week each rotation, you are required to return to campus to complete an end of rotation summative evaluation.  The summative assessment includes an objective, standardized evaluation that measures existing medical knowledge as well as medical knowledge gained from the specific SCPE.

By the end of year 3 and completion of the clinical year, you are required to successfully complete rotations in these core areas: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, women's health, behavioral health, emergency medicine, general surgery, and an elective

Core supervised clinical practice experiences

Emergency medicine

Emergency medicine is an introduction to triage and stabilization of patients with life-threatening conditions and procedures performed in the emergency department. Emphasis is placed on skills required to perform and document a problem-oriented history and physical, formulate a differential diagnosis, order and interpret tests necessary to confirm or rule out a primary diagnosis, and provide patients with appropriate patient education.  The student will also learn strategies for interacting with patients and/or families in various levels of stress.

Family medicine, pediatrics, women's health, and behavioral health

Family medicine, pediatrics, women's health, and behavioral/mental health is a practice of the evaluation, documentation, diagnosis, and treatment of the wide range of problems common in primary care and family medicine. The student will develop proficiency in office procedures commonly performed in a family medicine office.

General surgery

General surgery is the development of the skills necessary to evaluate and manage patients with a variety of surgical problems including the pre-operative period, intra-operative period and post-operative period. This SCPE will provide students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of the role of the surgical PA as well as the surgeon, anesthesiologist, assistant surgeon, circulating nurse, scrub nurse, scrub tech, recovery room, surgery floor nurses, aids, and techs in the care of the surgical patient.

Internal medicine

Internal medicine focuses on in-depth evaluation and ongoing treatment of patients with complex problems and/or chronic illness. Students learn the skills necessary to evaluate and manage the effects of chronic disease on multiple body systems and to perform or assist in procedures commonly done in the internal medicine setting.

Elective supervised clinical practice experience

The elective rotation is designed to reinforce education in an area requiring additional training, enhance clinical education in a specialized area, or to further a student's education in an area of particular interest.


Physician Assistant students are required to complete 40 service-learning hours during their education. Mobile Health Central is one opportunity presented to students to provide sports physicals to local high school schools in the summer and early fall. This service-learning opportunity offers hands-on experience to the students while providing a low-cost option for families in the area. 

Interdisciplinary professional education

Physician Assistants work as part of a clinical and medical interdisciplinary medical team and are instrumental in the rendering of quality and comprehensive patient-centered care management.  Our PA students participate in interdisciplinary professional education activities as part of their didactic learning experiences.  You can learn more about interdisciplinary professional education and training on the interprofessional education collaborative website.

Program policies and handbooks