OF PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT STUDIES
Chair: George L. White, Jr. (434-3641)
Medical Director: Richard H. Esham, M.D.
Associate Professor: Henderson
Assistant Professors: Nenstiel, Vetrosky, Dixon
PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROGRAM
MASTER OF HEALTH SCIENCE DEGREE
The Physician Assistant program serves as an entry into the profession and
is designed for the student who holds a baccalaureate degree in a field other than
Physician Assistant. Although the studentĘs undergraduate major is not specified, certain
prerequisites are required. These prerequisites are delineated under the section
Prerequisite Requirements and Criteria for Admission.
The program is designed to prepare the student for
Physician Assistant practice in a variety of clinical practice settings following
graduation. The major aim of the program is to prepare primary care practitioners who will
provide health care to rural and urban medically under-served areas.
Physician Assistants are highly skilled practitioners who
work under the general supervision of a physician. Physicians play a major role in the
teaching program in order to assure that the patient-care provided by Physician Assistants
is equivalent in quality to those of the Physician. Physician Assistants provide many
medical services traditionally performed only by physicians. The services provided by
Physician Assistants are both diagnostic and therapeutic. Diagnostic procedures can
include taking medical histories, performing physical examinations, ordering and analyzing
diagnostic studies such as laboratory tests, electrocardiograms and imaging studies.
Therapeutic procedures such as suturing, removal of minor lesions and casting are also
part of the services provided by Physician Assistants. Once diagnostic procedures are
completed, the Physician Assistant reports pertinent findings to the supervising physician
and develops a diagnosis. A treatment plan is implemented and appropriate referrals are
made, if necessary to other health professionals. Physician Assistants are also able to
Patient education and counseling are important aspects of a
Physician AssistantĘs daily activities. Physician Assistants educate and advise patients
concerning disease prevention, health promotion, and help direct patients toward
appropriate psychological and social resources.
The complete program consists of seven consecutive
semesters (27 continuous months) of study and is divided into two components: The
Preclinical Component and the Clinical Component. The Preclinical Component consists of 4
semesters (15 consecutive months) of study of basic and clinical medical sciences. The
Clinical Component is 3 semesters (12 continuous months) in length and consists of
clinical preceptorships in each of the major areas of medicine and surgery. During the
clinical component, the student increases medical knowledge and refines clinical skills
which are needed for professional practice as a Physician Assistant. The entire curriculum
is outlined below.
PREREQUISITE REQUIREMENTS AND
CRITERIA FOR ADMISSION
Listed below are minimum criteria including course prerequisites necessary
to be considered for admission to the Physician Assistant Program. The Department of
Physician Assistant Studies and the Office of Academic Advising can address questions
concerning these prerequisites. The selection of students for entry into the program is
competitive, and thus successful applicants will generally exceed the minimum criteria
listed below for admission.
The following are minimum criteria for admission:
Completion of a Baccalaureate degree with a minimum
cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from a regionally accredited institution prior to the
starting date of the program.
Course work in science and mathematics
including the following: biology I and II with laboratories, microbiology, anatomy, and
physiology; two courses in general chemistry; 1 course in mathematics (college level
algebra minimum); and 1 course in statistics. Extra points will be given to applicants who
have completed any of the following courses: organic chemistry, medical microbiology,
immunology, anatomy, medical physiology, genetics, biochemistry, physics, pathophysiology,
pharmacology, and medical terminology.
Course work in behavioral sciences to
include at least 2 courses in psychology and 2 courses in other social sciences, and 1
course in computer science or documented computer proficiency.
Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
First preference will be given to residents of the State
of Alabama. State residency is defined as those students who qualify for in-state tuition.
Preference will be given to applicants with health care
Two letters of reference (one from an M.D.) mailed
directly to the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.
Interview: Following the
initial review of applications, a limited number of applicants will be invited to campus
for a personal interview after February 1. The interview score is an important component
in deciding admission to the program.
LENGTH OF STUDY
Twenty-seven consecutive months.
PROGRAM ENTRANCE DATE
Early June of each year.
PROGRAM APPLICATION DATE
Program Application Date: January 15. The Completed
Application, and all supporting documents (transcripts, reference letters, GRE
scores) and a $75.00 application fee must be received by January 15. The
application form and application instructions and detailed program information are
available upon request by contacting: University of South Alabama, Department of
Physician Assistant Studies, 1504 Springhill Ave., Suite 4410, Mobile, Alabama 36604-3273,
The program has been granted provisional accreditation by the Accreditation
Review Committee on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and Committee on
Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Graduates are eligible to sit
for the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Examination.
Certification is required by most State Boards of Medical Examiners to practice as a PA.
REQUIREMENTS FOR DEGREE
The Physician Assistant program leading to the Master
of Health Sciences degree requires 121 semester credit hours with a minimum of 7 semesters
of study. Three of the seven semesters (12 consecutive months) are spent in full-time
preceptorships in clinical settings.
Program requirements and course sequence are listed below.
PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS AND COURSE
|Clinical Medicine I
Human Gross Anatomy
|Clinical Medicine II
|Clinical Medicine III
Patient Ed in Clinical Practice
|Clinical Medicine IV
Interpretation of Diagnostic Data & Studies
Fall, Spring and Summer
|Int Med Preceptorship (8 wks)
Pediatrics Preceptorship (8 wks) 8 PA 570 Primary
Care/Fam Prac Preceptorship (8 wks)
Surgery Preceptorship (4 wks)
OB/GYN Preceptorship (4 wks)
Em Med Preceptorship (4 wks)
Elective Clinical Preceptorship I* (4 wks)
Elective Clinical Preceptorship II* (4 wks)
Research Project Presentation
Comprehensive Review & Exam
*Choose Elective Clinical Preceptorships I
and II from the following:
Expected employment practice, Orthopedics, Geriatrics, Endocrinology, Behavioral Medicine,
ENT, Genito-urinary, Radiology, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Neonatology, Surgery
subspecialities, Pain management
At least 16 weeks of the clinical rotations must
service rural/urban underserved populations.
Lab Fee for Human Gross Anatomy: $195.00 (one time charge).
In addition to expenses associated with textbooks, food, and lodging, students will be
required to purchase their own laboratory coats, stethoscope, otoscope, ophthalmoscope,
soft reflex hammer, and tuning fork. Also, students should anticipate extra expenses,
particularly related to housing and transportation, during the clinical preceptorship
The University reserves the right to change tuition and fees, as deemed necessary by the
Board of Trustees, without prior notice.
Description of all
Physician Assistant Studies (PA) courses
College of Allied Health
||UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA
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Last changed: Wednesday, June 16, 1999 03:11:05 PM