Curriculum and Coursework


The CWRU PA Program is designed to train well-rounded generalist PAs built on the cornerstones of clinical mastery, professionalism, leadership and community engagement.  Our goal is to challenge students so that they affect positive change through treating disease, promoting health, and understanding the social and behavioral context of illness.

Students are immersed in a graduate-school atmosphere characterized by independent study and collegial interaction with faculty to educate physician assistants, who are prepared to not only treat disease and disease states, but to also promote health prevention and maintenance and to examine the social and behavioral context of illness. Experiential learning, community service, interprofessional learning and clinical relevance inform learning processes. Pre-clinical clerkships and clinical experiences are integrated across the twenty-seven months of the curriculum. 

The innovative program design utilizes a hybrid blend of learning methodologies and styles.  Organization and sequencing of coursework is both horizontally and vertically integrated facilitating a connected flow of systems and conditions, creating a curricular thread intended to enhance the development of critical thinking and problem-solving. Planned redundancies help build a strong pre-clinical knowledge base. Through demonstrations, case discussions and simulation activities, students learn critical thinking and how to synthesize information to formulate and implement a patient management plan. Simulation activities allow the students to participate in scenarios that closely approximate real-life patient encounters and, through a team-based approach (small group), create their care plans. Hands-on activities enhance the student’s ability to develop their critical thinking and technical skills. Experiential learning through community engagement introduces students to some of the concepts of team-based care and population health.

Didactic Coursework

The first 15 months of the program (divided into four semesters) focus on didactic instruction. 

Clinical Rotations

During the second year students complete twelve, four-week clinical rotations.  These rotations provide students with first-hand experience in a variety of specialties and clinical settings. 

There are eight required core discipline rotations, and four clinical elective rotations during the clinical year.  Core rotations include:  Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Geriatrics, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Behavioral and Mental Health, and Surgery. 

Please refer to the CWRU General Bulletin for more details on the program schedule and course descriptions.

First Year Didactic Curriculum

Course Number Summer Semester 1 Credits
PAST/ANAT 410 Anatomy 6
PAST 401 Foundations of Clinical Medicine-Principles of Interviewing 3
PAST 403 Diagnostics Methods – Clinical Lab 1
PAST 404 Clinical Correlations 1
PAST 411 Professional Issues for PAs I–History & Roles of the PA Profession 1
Course Number Fall Semester 1 Credits
PAST 477 Human Physiology 4
PAST 402 Foundations of Clinical Medicine-Physical Diagnosis 4
PAST 405 Medical Microbiology & Infectious Disease 2
PAST 420 Pharmacology I 2
PAST 430 Principles of Internal Medicine 7
PAST 440 Pre-clinical Clerkships 1
Course Number Spring Semester 1 Credits
PAST 406 Ethics in Healthcare Delivery 1
PAST 412 Professional Issues for Physician Assistants II 2
PAST 421 Pharmacology II 3
PAST 431 Principles of Clinical Medicine-Surgery & Emergency Medicine 4
PAST 432 Principles of Clinical Medicine-OB/GYN 3
PAST 433 Principles of Clinical Medicine-Pediatrics 3
PAST 434 Principles of Clinical Medicine-Behavioral Medicine 2
PAST 441 Pre-clinical Clerkships II 1
Course Number Summer Semester 2 Credits
PAST 407 Clinical Procedures 4
PAST 413  Professional Issues for Physician Assistants III 2
PAST 450 Culture and Health 2
PAST 451 Introduction to Public Health 1
PAST 452 Introduction to Evidence Based Medicine 2
PAST 453 Medical Spanish Elective or 1
PAST 454 Research Methods Elective 1
Course Number Second Year Clinical Curriculum Credits
PAST 500 Clinical Residency-Emergency Medicine 3
PAST 501 Clinical Residency-Family Medicine 3
PAST 502 Clinical Residency-Geriatrics 3
PAST 503 Clinical Residency-Internal Medicine  3
PAST 504  Clinical Residency-Obstetrics & Gynecology
PAST 505  Clinical Residency-Pediatrics 3
PAST 506 Clinical Residency-Behavioral and Mental Health 3
PAST 507 Clinical Residency-Surgery  3
PAST 508 Clinical Residency-Primary Care Elective
PAST 509 Clinical Residency-Inpatient Medicine Elective 3
PAST 510  Clinical Residency-Elective  3
PAST 511 Clinical Residency-Elective 3
PAST 600 Capstone Quality Improvement Project & Comprehensive Examination 3
  Total of 102 Credit Hours