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Physician Assistant BS

Heidi Miller, Program Director
(585) 475-5945, hbmscl@rit.edu

http://www.rit.edu/healthsciences/undergraduate-programs/physician-assistant/

Program overview

The physician assistant major focuses on primary care for patients. Physician assistants provide diagnostic and therapeutic patient care in conjunction with a supervising physician. They elicit medical histories, conduct physical examinations, order laboratory and radiological testing, diagnose common illnesses, determine treatment, provide medical advice, counsel and educate patients, promote wellness and disease prevention, assist in surgery, and perform casting and suturing.

Physician assistant duties vary depending on the state and specialty in which they practice. In most states, including New York, physician assistants may prescribe medication. Examples of specialties include (but are not limited to): internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, general surgery, orthopedics, neurosurgery, and neonatology. Clinical rotations (internships) during students’ last year provide the opportunity to explore these varied disciplines.

Curriculum

The physician assistant major is offered as a BS/MS degree program, which enables students to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in five years. The curriculum is divided into the pre-professional phase (years 1 and 2), which includes course work in the sciences, mathematics, and liberal arts; and the professional phase, (years 3, 4, and 5), which features didactic medical education and culminates in clinical rotations in which students apply their medical knowledge in a series of rotations through various disciplines of medicine.

Clinical internship

Clinical rotations include a five-week experience in various disciplines of medicine, providing students with the opportunity to apply the basic principles of medicine to hospital-based and ambulatory patient care settings. Students are assigned to a primary preceptor (physician/physician assistant) and are exposed to a wide variety of acute and chronic medical problems. The emphasis is on data gathering, physical examination, differential diagnosis, patient management, maintenance of medical records, performance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and the provision of patient education and counseling. Mandatory rotations are in the fields of inpatient medicine, family medicine, geriatrics, orthopedics, emergency medicine, OB/GYN, pediatrics, general surgery, and psychiatry. Students select one elective rotation, which enables them to customize their experience according to their medical area of interest.

Accreditation

The professional phase (years 3, 4, and 5) of the physician assistant major is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Physician assistant, BS/MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year (Pre-professional)
BIOL-101, 103 General Biology I and Lab 4
CHMG-141, 145 LAS Perspective 5: General and Analytical Chemistry I and Lab 4
  LAS Perspective 1, 2, 3 9
  LAS Foundation 1: First Year Seminar† 3
BIOL-102, 104 General Biology II and Lab 4
CHMG-142, 146 LAS Perspective 6: General and Analytical Chemistry II and Lab 4
MATH-161 LAS-Perspectives 7A: Applied Calculus 4
  LAS Foundation 2: First Year Writing 3
  YearOne 0
  Wellness Education* 0
Second Year (Pre-professional)
MEDS-250, 251 Anatomy and Physiology I, II 8
CHMB-240 Biochemistry for Health Sciences 3
  LAS Perspective 4 3
  Free Elective 3
  LAS Immersion 1, 2, 3 9
PHYA-206 Medical Microbiology 3
STAT-145 LAS Perspective 7B: Introduction to Statistics I 3
Third Year (Professional)
PHYA-405, 406 Pathophysiology I, II 4
PHYA-401, 402 History/Physical Dx I, II 8
PHYA-422, 423 Clinical Medicine I, II 10
PHYA-419 Advanced Gross Anatomy 2
PHYA-420 Physician Assistant Seminar 1
PHYA-415, 416 Pharmacology I, II 3
PHYA-409 Clinical Lab Medicine 1
PHYA-430 Medical Genetics 2
Fourth Year (Professional)
PHYA-510 Hospital Practice 4
PHYA-424 Clinical Medicine III 5
PHYA-440 Society and Behavioral Medicine (WI) 3
PHYA-417 Pharmacology III 2
PHYA-421 Diagnostic Imaging 2
PHYA-550 Procedural Clinical Skills 3
PHYA-520 Clinical Integration 4
PHYA-560 Healthcare Policy and Law 2
PHYA-729 Clinical Epidemiology 3
PHYA-730 Research Methods 2
  Free Elective 3
PHYA-750 Pediatrics 4
PHYA-751 General Medicine 4
PHYA-752 OB-GYN 4
PHYA-761 Professional Practice I 2
PHYA-710 Graduate Project I 2
Fifth Year (Professional)
PHYA-753 Emergency Medicine
PHYA-754 Surgery 4
PHYA-755 Orthopedics 4
PHYA-762, 763 Professional Practice II, III 4
PHYA-720 Graduate Project II 2
PHYA-756 Geriatrics 4
PHYA-757 Psychiatry 4
PHYA-758 Family Medicine 4
PHYA-759 Elective Rotation 4
Total Semester Credit Hours 181

Please see New General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two Wellness courses.
† The First Year Seminar requirement is replaced by an LAS Elective for the 2014-15 academic year.

Admission requirements

In addition to the university’s general admission procedures, the physician assistant major requires the completion of a supplemental data packet, application, and a personal admission interview (by invitation). For more information regarding these additional admission requirements, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. It also is important to note that the minimum grade point average for acceptance into the physician assistant major is 3.0 (on the basis of a 4.0 maximum) for both high school and transfer students. In order to graduate from the major, a GPA of 3.0 or better must be maintained.

Transfer admission

Qualified transfer students are accepted into the major, on a space available basis. Prior health care experience and/or shadowing are strongly recommended. Transcript evaluations and rendering of transfer credit are addressed at the time of admission only. Anatomy and physiology courses must be taken within the last five years prior to matriculation to be eligible for transfer. All pre-professional course work must be completed to continue on, or to be considered for entry, into the professional phase of the major. Please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for information on transfer requirements.

Additional information

Advanced placement

In the pre-professional phase, advanced placement (AP) credit for liberal arts courses is evaluated and approved by the College of Liberal Arts. AP credit for calculus, statistics, and university electives is awarded, as applicable, within the major. AP credit is not accepted for biology and chemistry as course substitutions, but university elective credit is awarded for these courses, as applicable. Advanced placement or credit for experiential learning is not awarded for courses in the professional phase of the major.

[arrow] Click to view program requirements in the Quarter Calendar

Quarter Curriculum - For Reference Only

Effective fall 2013, RIT will convert its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. The following content has been made available as reference only. Currently matriculated students who began their academic programs in quarters should consult their academic adviser for guidance and course selection.

Program overview

The physician assistant program focuses on primary care for patients. Physician assistants provide diagnostic and therapeutic patient care in conjunction with a supervising physician. They perform tasks that include eliciting medical histories, conducting physical examinations, ordering laboratory and radiological testing, diagnosing common illnesses, determining treatment, giving medical advice, counseling and educating patients, promoting wellness and disease prevention, assisting in surgery, and casting and suturing.

Physician assistant duties vary depending on the state and specialty in which they practice. In most states, including New York, physician assistants may prescribe medication. Examples of specialties include (but are not limited to): internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, general surgery, orthopedics, neurosurgery, and neonatology. Clinical rotations (internships) during students’ senior year provide the opportunity to explore these varied disciplines.

Curriculum

The physician assistant program is a five-year BS/MS degree, enabling students to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. The program is divided into the pre-professional phase (years 1 and 2), which includes course work in the sciences, mathematics, and liberal arts; and the professional phase, (years 3, 4, and 5), which feature didactic medical education and culminates in clinical rotations in which students apply their knowledge in the medical field in a series of rotations through various disciplines of medicine.

Clinical internship

Clinical rotations include a five-week experience in various disciplines of medicine, providing students with the opportunity to apply the basic principles of medicine to hospital-based and ambulatory patient care settings. Students are assigned to a primary preceptor (physician/physician assistant) and are exposed to a wide variety of acute and chronic medical problems. The emphasis is on data gathering, physical examination, differential diagnosis, patient management, maintenance of medical records, performance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and the provision of patient education and counseling. Mandatory rotations are in fields of inpatient medicine, family medicine, geriatrics, orthopedics, emergency medicine, OB/GYN, pediatrics, general surgery, and psychiatry. Students also are able to select one elective rotation, which enables them to customize their experience according to their medical area of interest.

Accreditation

The professional phase (years 3, 4, and 5) of the physician assistant program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Physician assistant, BS/MS degree, typical course sequence (quarters)

CourseQtr. Cr. Hrs.
First Year (Pre-professional)
1001-201, 202, 203 General Biology 9
1001-205, 206, 207 General Biology Lab 3
1016-226 Calculus for Management Science 4
1011-215, 216, 217 General and Analytical Chemistry I, II, III 10
1011-205, 206 Chemical Principles I, II Lab 2
1011-227 General and Analytical Chemistry III Lab 1
  Liberal Arts* 16
1105-051, 052 First-Year Enrichment 2
  Wellness Education† 0
Second Year (Pre-professional)
1026-350, 360 Anatomy and Physiology I, II 10
1016-319 Data Analysis I 4
1009-334 Biochemistry 4
1032-406 Medical Microbiology 4
  University-wide Electives 12
  Liberal Arts* 20
Third and Fourth Years (Professional)
1032-501, 502, 503 Pathophysiology of Diseases I, II, III 6
1032-450 Healthcare Policy and Law 2
1032-404 Physician Assistant Seminar 2
1032-509 Diagnostic Lab Medicine 2
1032-424 Advanced Gross Anatomy 2
1026-330 Medical Genetics 2
1032-430 Society and Patient Care 3
1032-408 Behavioral Medicine 4
1032-400 Medical Interviewing in Patient Care 2
1032-401, 402 Patient History and Physical Exam I, II 10
1032-522 Procedural Clinical Skills 4
1032-515, 516, 517, 518 Clinical Pharmacology I, II, III, IV 10
1032-521 Diagnostic Radiology 2
1032-510, 511 Hospital Practice I, II 10
1032-411, 412, 413 Essentials of Medicine I, II, III 15
1032-522, 523 Clinical Medicine I, II 8
1032-729 Clinical Epidemiology 4
  Graduate Electives 8
1032-723 Advanced Clinical Medicine 4
1032-730 Research Methods 3
1032-720 Clinical Seminar 3
1032-810 Graduate Project I 2
1032-761 Professional Practice I 2
1032-750 Pediatrics 4
1032-751 General Medicine 4
Fifith Year (Professional)‡
1032-752 OB-GYN 4
1032-753 Emergency Medicine 4
1032-754 Surgery 4
1032-762, 763 Professional Practice II, III 4
1032-820 Graduate Project II 2
1032-755 Orthopedics 4
1032-756 Geriatrics 4
1032-757 Psychiatry 4
1032-758 Family Medicine 4
1032-759 Elective Rotation 4
1032-764 Professional Practice 2
Total Quarter Credit Hours 259

* Please see Liberal Arts General Education Requirements for more information.

† Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information.

‡ Clinical rotations are completed at various hospitals and ambulatory health care settings approved for training physician assistants.

Admission requirements

In addition to the university’s general admission procedures, the physician assistant program requires the completion of a supplemental data packet, application, and successful completion of an admission interview (by invitation). For more information regarding these supplemental requirements, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. It also is important to note that the minimum grade point average for acceptance into the physician assistant program is 3.0 (on the basis of a 4.0 maximum) for both high school and transfer students. In order to graduate from the program, a GPA of 2.8 or better must be maintained.

Transfer admission

Qualified transfer students are accepted, on a space available basis, into the program. Prior health care experience and/or shadowing are strongly recommended. Transcript evaluations and rendering of transfer credit are addressed at the time of admission only. Anatomy and physiology courses must be taken within the last five years prior to matriculation to be eligible for transfer. All pre-professional course work must be completed to continue on, or to be considered for entry, into the professional phase of the program. Please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for information on transfer requirements.

Additional information

Advanced placement

In the pre-professional phase, advanced placement (AP) credit for liberal arts courses is evaluated and approved by the College of Liberal Arts. AP credit for calculus, statistics, and university electives is awarded, as applicable, within the program. AP credit is not accepted for biology and chemistry as course substitutions, but university elective credit is awarded for these courses, as applicable. Advanced placement or credit for experiential learning is not awarded for courses in the professional phase of the program.