Courses

Students must complete all of the requirements (98 Credits) for the Physician Assistant Studies Program at both Towson University to receive the M.S degree and at CCBC (Essex) to receive the PA Professional Certificate.

Tuition and fees for 600-, 700- and 800-level courses are paid to Towson University. Tuition and fees for 200-level courses are paid to CCBC-Essex. Applicants will pay appropriate application fees to both institutions.

A few are held at Towson University while most classes are taken at CCBC-Essex. Students will register for 600-, 700- and 800-level courses with Towson University and will register for 200-level courses with CCBC-Essex.

Course Descriptions

The Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program is comprised of 98 total credits over a 26 month period.  The first 12 months (Year 1) are comprised of didactic courses that build a solid foundation for clinical practice. The program begins Year 1 in June of each year and clinical rotations start the following June. 

Year 2 begins in June with a transition week before starting the clinical rotations.  During the transition week, the clinical handbook is reviewed so that expectations and requirements for the clinical year are clear; several preceptors are invited to give an orientation of some of the sites; and an overview of the 2 didactic classes that are required during the clinical year is presented. The students must complete 2 yearlong courses Clinical Management Seminars I and I (PAST 730 and 731) and the Research Seminars (PAST 801 and 802) that culminate in a capstone project.  However, the main focus for Year 2 is the supervised clinical practice experience (SCPE) practicum courses that are described in more detail below.

Didactic Courses:

Didactic courses are conducted in both year 1 and year 2.  The year 1 didactic courses are taught in collaboration with Towson and CCBC-Essex. The Towson courses are listed below.  Please refer to this link for a summary of the courses by institution:  Summary of Courses (scroll towards the bottom of the page to see the table).  As stated previously, PAST 730, PAST 731, PAST 801, and PAST 802 are didactic courses required during Year 2. 

Clinical Practicum Courses:

There are six (6) clinical practicum (PAST 251; 252; 653; 654; 655; and 756)  courses that include the seven (7) medical disciplines required for the supervised clinical practice experience (SCPE).  These medical disciplines include:

  • Behavioral/Mental Health
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Women’s Health/Ob/Gyn

The clinical practicum course will include one or more rotation(s) to ensure that each student receives the appropriate SCPE and opportunity in the required medical disciplines.  The students also are required to have inpatient, outpatient, emergency department, and operating room experiences as well. In addition, students have a rotation in Community Medicine. There is an opportunity for a student to select a different area of medicine for an elective experience.

Each clinical rotation is 5.5 weeks with the students returning to campus for the last part of the time to attend the year 2 didactic courses. When the students return to campus, they not only attend classes, but also present at Grand Rounds and take the end of rotation exam (EOR) specific to the medical discipline for the rotation that was recently completed. 

The SCPE assignment schedule varies for each student based on the sequencing of the rotations and medical discipline. For example, PAST 251 is the first clinical practicum and includes rotations 1 and 2.  For these rotations, the student could be placed in any of the required medical disciplines as noted above. This process is applied to all of the clinical practicum courses from PAST 251 through PAST 655. The PAST course practicum number determines the semester in which the course occurs, but not the specific medical discipline embedded within the course.  The learning objectives for the courses are outlined in the clinical handbook for students and the preceptors’ clinical handbook.

The final preceptorship (PAST 756) occurs as the very last rotation for all students and is 8 weeks in length allowing the student to focus more in depth on one of the required medical disciplines or another specialty area that the student plans to pursue as a career.

For additional detail, you can view required courses and course descriptions in the Graduate Catalog. Please look up a given course number (see below) to read the corresponding course description in the catalog.

Plan of Study: 98 Total Credits 

Year 1, Summer session Courses: 15 Total Credits

Number Name Credits
PAST 212 Public Health and Preventative Medicine 2
PAST 224 Gross Anatomy 2
PAST 226 Ethics, Issues, and Trends 3
PAST 236 Basic Physical Diagnosis 2
PAST 214 Psychosocial Issues in Medicine I
PAST 225 Human Pathophysiology
PAST 603 Medicine I 

Year 1, Fall Term Courses: 16 Total Credits

Number Name Credits
PAST 216 Psychosocial Issues II 2
PAST 230 Diagnostic Studies I 2
PAST 237 Advanced Physical Diagnosis 2
PAST 604 Medicine II 6
PAST 606 Pediatrics I 2
PAST 609 Pharmacology I 2

Year 1, Winter (MiniMester) Courses: 4 Total Credits

Number Name Credits
PAST 231 Diagnostic Studies II 2
PAST 605 Medicine III 2

Year 1, Spring Term Courses: 19 Total Credits

Number Name Credits
PAST 232 Diagnostic Studies III 2
PAST 250 Introduction to Clinical Practice 4
PAST 601 Research Methods 3
PAST 607 Pediatrics II 2
PAST 608 Medicine IV 6
PAST 610 Pharmacology II 2

Year 2, Summer Session Courses: 6 Total Credits

Number Name Credits
PAST 251 Clinical Practicum I 6

Year 2, Fall Term Courses: 15 Total Credits

Number Name Credits
PAST 252 Clinical Practicum II 6
PAST 653 Clinical Practicum III 6
PAST 730 Clinical Management I 2
PAST 801 Physician Assistant Graduate Seminar 1

Year 2, Winter (MiniMester) Courses: 3 Total Credits

Number Name Credits
PAST 654 Clinical Practicum IV 3

Year 2, Spring Term Courses: 14 Total Credits

Number Name Credits
PAST 655 Clinical Practicum V 11
PAST 731 Clinical Management II 2
PAST 802 Physician Assistant Graduate Project 1

Year 3, Summer Session Courses: 6 Total Credits

Number Name Credits
PAST 756 Final Clinical Practicum 6