A Curriculum Organized by Body Systems

This 24-month program engages students through an innovative systems-organized curriculum that employs large and small group discussion, hands-on clinical skills labs, simulated patient experiences, lecture and patient scenario discussions. Over the course of the academic year, the patient scenarios and simulated patient experiences will increase in complexity. These will culminate in an Advanced Clinical Reasoning course in the fall that builds on existing learner-centered models by guiding students to reapply knowledge and build competence in all areas of the Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession.

The required Master’s Project supports and promotes professional development in the area of accessing, critically appraising, and applying the best evidence to address a research, patient care, service/education or quality improvement question relevant to PA practice or education. The clinical education phase consists of seven required rotations (Adult Primary Care, Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Inpatient Medicine, General Surgery, Women’s Health and Behavioral Medicine) and one elective. Clinical sites are located throughout the central area of North Carolina.

Year I (beginning January)

Year I consists of a four-week introductory module followed by two progressive modules covering anatomy, pathophysiology, clinical medicine, pharmacology and physical diagnosis of the various body systems and medicine disciplines. The fall modules include population and special populations medicine courses, as well as advanced clinical reasoning, a master’s project and a clinical phase preparation course.

Year II

In Year II, the students complete 18 weeks of clinical education experiences before returning to campus for one week of continued professional development instruction and an opportunity to participate in the AAPA National Conference. Concurrently, they also begin their master’s project under the mentorship of faculty. The student then completes another 12 weeks of clinical education experiences followed by a one-week return to campus. Finally, the students complete their remaining 12 weeks of clinical education experiences in addition to completing the program’s summative evaluation process. The clinical year culminates in a one-week board review course and presentation of their final master’s project. Students graduate in mid-December.