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

The Physician Assistant Program at Johnson and 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 modules 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 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.

Fall and spring courses in Clinical Medicine, Diagnostic Skills and Pharmacotherapeutics are integrated and presented in a modular format. Students work sequentially through each body system module, one at a time, learning the physiology, pathophysiology, 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 module. In weekly small-group meetings, they develop the critical thinking skills necessary to synthesize and apply the module content to real patient cases. Seminars in the practice of humanistic medicine will begin a life-long journey as a self-reflective and empathetic, patient-centered healthcare provider.

The second 12 months of the program commences with a two-week 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. Students then begin the first of their 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 lifespan
  • 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
PAS5100Applied Anatomy3
PAS5200Foundations of Medicine4
PAS5325Patient Care I4
PAS5344Professional and Health Policy Issues I2.5
PAS5425Patient Care II3
PAS5454Professional and Health Policy Issues II2
PAS5464Professional and Health Policy Issues III2.5
PAS5523Clinical Medicine I4
PAS5533Clinical Medicine II4
PAS5560Pharmacotherapeutics I3
PAS5570Pharmacotherapeutics II4
PAS5620Diagnostic Skills I4.5
PAS5632Diagnostic Skills II3
PAS5643Clinical Medicine III5
PAS5653Clinical Medicine IV5
PAS5735Patient Care III7
Year 2: Clinical Year
PAS6100Introduction to Clinical Practice Course2
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