Physician Assistant Studies - M.S.P.A.S.

The Physician Assistant Program at Johnson & Wales University is a 24-month, 104-credit, full-time course of study. The program is offered at the university’s Providence, Rhode Island, campus. One new class is enrolled each year which begins in the summer graduate term. Upon successful completion, a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies is awarded.

The first 12 months of the program are devoted to preclinical studies, and the remaining 12 months to clinical experiences in primary care and medical and surgical specialties.

The summer semester provides a foundation upon which the following fall and spring body system courses are constructed. In Applied Anatomy, small groups of students dissect cadavers, view prosections and utilize virtual anatomy software to learn gross anatomic structures that are essential to the understanding of medicine and the practice of general surgery. Applied Anatomy is integrated with Patient Care I where techniques specific to the adult history and physical examination are taught; the anatomy of a body system immediately precedes the lectures and practice labs where students learn the physical examination skills required to examine that same area of the body.

In Foundations of Medicine, students are introduced to the basics of cell physiology and genetics that are essential to the understanding of pathophysiologic mechanisms of disease and clinical medicine. A primer in microbiology and immunology prepares students for the study of infectious disease and the basics of pharmacology are a prelude to courses in pharmacotherapeutics.

Three semesters of Professional and Health Policy Issues commences in the summer with discussions ranging from the history of the PA profession, types of healthcare settings, healthcare and public health policy to the expectations of a medical workplace relative to ethical and professional behavior. Students explore the role that diet has on health and wellness across the lifespan in the Food is Medicine course series, including practical application of the principles in culinary labs.

Fall and spring courses in Clinical Medicine are body-system based encompassing all aspects of clinical medicine,  diagnostic skills and pharmacotherapeutics for the particular body-system. Students work sequentially through each body system course, one at a time, learning the physiology, pathophysiology, clinical medicine, evidence-based medicine, diagnostic skills and treatment specific to that system. In Patient Care, students learn the history and physical examination skills specific to the body system being studied in that course. In weekly small-group meetings, they develop the critical thinking skills necessary to synthesize and apply the course content to real patient cases. Seminars in the practice of humanistic medicine will begin a lifelong journey as a self-reflective and empathetic, patient-centered healthcare provider. The final systems course is Emergency Medicine which includes an introduction to clinical practice. Students learn skills they will apply during their clinical rotations; they are taught phlebotomy and injection skills and how to suture, knot-tie, perform surgical scrubbing and gowning and apply splints.   

The second 12 months of the program provides the experiential learning in nine clinical rotations. Each rotation is five weeks in length. These rotations occur at off-campus clinical sites (hospitals, community health centers, medical offices, etc.) to be developed by program faculty and administrators. The seven required rotations include Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatric Medicine, Women’s Health, Behavioral and Mental Health, Emergency Medicine, and Surgery. There are two five-week electives that allow students to further develop skills in the area in which they plan to practice.  

The Master's Course runs the length of the clinical year. It includes lectures and discussions that prepare students for the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination, job searches and clinical practice. In the spring semester, this Master’s Course culminates with the summative evaluation that ensures the student possesses the knowledge, interpersonal skills, patient care skills and professionalism required for entry into the profession.

Upon completion of the program, graduates are expected to:

  • Develop rapport and an atmosphere of trust with patients and families while providing patient centered humanistic care.
  • Recommend and perform clinical procedures for common medical disorders.
  • Utilize and apply evidence-based medicine principles and skills to guide decision making in clinical practice.
  • Engage and employ lifelong learning skills through ongoing self-reflection, active engagement, and professional development.
  • Utilize effective interpersonal skills in oral and written communication with patients and families and work collaboratively with members of the healthcare team.
  • Accurately elicit a medical history, perform a physical examination, formulate a differential diagnosis, and appropriately select and interpret diagnostic studies to diagnose medical conditions.
  • Develop and manage appropriate treatment plans for preventative, acute, chronic and emergent disorders of patients across the life span.
  • Conduct oneself in a professional and ethical manner consistent with the role and responsibilities of a physician assistant.

Physician Assistant Studies

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies 

Year 1: Didactic Year
PAS5110Applied Anatomy4
PAS5200Foundations of Medicine4
PAS5325Patient Care I4
PAS5345Professional and Health Policy Issues I2
PAS5425Patient Care II3
PAS5456Professional and Health Policy Issues II1.5
PAS5470Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice1
PAS5480Food is Medicine I1
PAS5515Clinical Hematology1
PAS5525Clinical EENT2
PAS5540Clinical Pulmonology3
PAS5565Clinical Dermatology1
PAS5575Clinical Behavioral Medicine1
PAS5580Clinical Cardiology4
PAS5736Patient Care III3
PAS5767Professional and Health Policy Issues III1.5
PAS5782Food is Medicine II1
PAS5810Clinical Nephrology and Urology3
PAS5825Clinical Orthopedics and Rheumatology3
PAS5830Clinical Gastroenterology2
PAS5845Clinical Neurology2
PAS5860Clinical Endocrinology2
PAS5870Clinical Infectious Disease1
PAS5880Clinical Gynecology and Obstetrics3
PAS5891Clinical Pediatrics2
PAS5910Emergency Medicine2
PAS5930Problem-Based Learning2.5
PAS5950Clinical Geriatrics1
PAS5960Surgical Principles1
Year 2: Clinical Year
PAS6200Family Medicine Clinical Course4.5
PAS6250Internal Medicine Clinical Course4.5
PAS6300Pediatric Medicine Clinical Course4.5
PAS6350Women's Health Clinical Course4.5
PAS6400Emergency Medicine Clinical Course4.5
PAS6450Behavioral and Mental Health Clinical Course4.5
PAS6500Surgery Clinical Course4.5
PAS6600Clinical Elective Course I4.5
PAS6700Clinical Elective Course II4.5
PAS6800Master's Course *1
Total Credits104.0

This course spans the clinical year; credit is awarded only in the spring semester.