Curriculum - Physician Assistant Program

Department of Physician Assistant

The Physician Assistant Program provides you with the “basic training” necessary to become a physician assistant health care professional practitioner.

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Degree Requirements - Visit Drexel's online Catalog
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Course Descriptions - Visit Drexel's Course Descriptions
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Plan of Study - See Below.


The intensive curriculum consists of 117 quarter credit hours of professionally related coursework over a continuous, 27-month period (the part-time option requires an additional calendar year). Students gain an understanding of both the health care system within which they will work and the functions appropriate to the role of the physician assistant. The curriculum is divided into 12 months of didactic courses followed by 15 months of supervised clinical practice.

Progression Requirements:

Progression to the Clinical Year:

Students must:

  • Successfully complete all didactic phase courses.
  • Demonstrate professional conduct.
  • Achieve a passing grade on the didactic comprehensive examination. 

Graduation Requirements for the Physician Assistant Program:

To graduate students must:

  • Successfully complete all required courses, rotations and preceptorships.
  • Demonstrate professional conduct.
  • Maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
  • Meet all financial obligations to the university.
  • Achieve a passing grade on the summative examinations, the Written Comprehensive Examination and the Objective Standardized Clinical Examination. 


The program is intensely challenging, both intellectually and physically; it requires stamina as well as personal and financial sacrifice on the part of the students. The program demands a high degree of integrity, self-sufficiency, motivation, self-discipline, and highly developed study skills.

Clinical Skills:

Among the most important of all practitioner skills is the ability to effectively gather cogent information from patients, primarily through medical history taking and physical examination. Physical examination skills are taught early in the curriculum in laboratory sections where students learn those examination skills first by practicing on each other as partners prior to attempting examinations on actual patients. Students have long appreciated the advantages of reducing potential anxiety with practicing these new, psychomotor skills under close supervision of experienced, professional instructors, and the ability to both give and receive immediate feedback from the student-partner team afforded by this controlled, private, and “safe” practice setting.


During the didactic (primarily classroom) phase of the curriculum, most classes will be scheduled during the daytime hours; however, it may be necessary to schedule some classes during evening hours. All students are required to attend all classes as scheduled and to subordinate any personal commitments (i.e., employment or family responsibilities) to the training schedule.

In the clinical phase of training, students will be learning in diverse clinical settings with varying daily and weekly schedules that may involve daytime, evening, or weekend hours. Students must give priority commitment to assigned schedules at clinical sites.

Classroom Instruction:

Training begins with four quarters of didactic education, which integrates patient interaction beginning with the first quarter.

Clinical Training:

The clinical training phase consists of six (6), five-credit, five-week clinical rotations in medicine, surgery, women’s health, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and behavioral health, assigned in varying order in locations across the United States. The final portion of the clinical training phase curriculum consists of two (2), 10-credit, quarter-long, primary care practica (preceptorships). During these practica, each student is assigned to primary care sites for individualized clinical training with physician preceptors.

These sites are located in a variety of locations, from rural to urban areas and private clinical practices to large hospital settings. Students may expect to gain exposures in each of these settings in order to obtain the best clinical medicine experience and training.

Training sites during the clinical year are provided by the program and are located throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. Students are welcome to identify and assist in the development of up to two clinical rotation sites and/or one 10-week primary care practicum site. (These sites must have PA Program approval.)

Students are required to relocate during the clinical phase and are responsible for all associated financial costs, including transportation and living expenses.

 Full Time:


First Year - Fall Quarter


Course Course Title    Credits

PA 541

Clinical Anatomy


PA 542

Patient Communication


PA 543

Ethical Issues in Physician Assistant Practice


PA 544

Clinical Assessment


PA 545

Physician Assistant Practice




First Year - Winter Quarter


Course Course Title Credits

PA 547

Evidence Based Medicine for Physician


PA 548

Principles of Medical Science I


PA 551

Pharmacology and Therapeutics I


PA 556

Clinical Medicine I


PA 559

Clinical Skills I




First Year - Spring Quarter


Course Course Title Credits

PA 549

Principles of Medical Science II


PA 552

Pharmacology and Therapeutics II


PA 554

Biopsychosocial Issues in Patient Care