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Office: Medical School Office Building (MSOB), 1265 Welch Road, Ste. 100
Mail Code: 94305-5404
Phone: (650) 725-6959
Web Site: http://med.stanford.edu/pa

Courses offered by the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program are listed under the subject code PAS on the Stanford Bulletin’s Explore Courses web site.

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Physician Assistant Studies program is a 30-month program (with one summer break) that includes streamlined courses with innovative content delivery, a state-of-the-art simulation lab, and world-class clinical anatomy experiences as well as early exposure to patient care. Students receive mentorship and support in their academic and research focus areas by clinically practicing Stanford PAs. During the didactic work, PA students are located at the School of Medicine and enroll as a cohort in a clinically focused curriculum.  A substantial portion of their courses are integrated with medical students, allowing for an invaluable interprofessional education experience. During their clerkship year, students rotate through Stanford-affiliated hospitals and ambulatory practices as well as select sites throughout California. In an innovative approach to PA education that encourages the next generation of PA leaders, students are required to select one area of scholarly concentration and complete a capstone project. The areas of scholarly concentration include:

  • Community Health
  • Health Services and Policy Research
  • Clinical Research
  • Medical Education.

Upon completion of this 30-month program, students are prepared to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE).

The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program is open to external as well as internal applicants. Advanced placement and coterminal degrees for Stanford University undergraduates are not available at this time. Individuals who wish to apply to the program should do so via the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).  The application window typically opens at the end of April and closes on September 1.

The University requirements for the M.S. degree are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

The Master of Science (M.S) in Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program is for individuals who wish to pursue a career as a PA. The program is available to external and internal candidates. Advanced placement and coterminal degrees for Stanford University undergraduates are not available at this time.

The first five quarters of the 30-month program involve acquiring fundamental medical knowledge through course work in clinical anatomy, the basic sciences, pharmacology, and pathophysiology and disease management, as well as attaining core skills in medical interviewing and the physical examination. The last four quarters of the program are dedicated to experiential learning through clinical rotations in inpatient and outpatient medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, emergency medicine, surgery, and behavioral medicine, as well as elective rotations.

Admission

  • Applicants must have received an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university by July 15 of the year of matriculation; no specific discipline or major is prescribed.  

  • Prior healthcare experience (> 500 hours) through either prior employment and/or volunteer work is strongly recommended.

  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. Note that GRE scores are only valid for five years and must be current at the time of application.  

  • Candidates are required to submit a personal statement of no more than 5,000 characters and three letters of reference as part of the application process via CASPA.

  • Candidates are also required to answer four questions in CASPA specifically designed for the Stanford School of Medicine M.S. in PA Studies program. The questions relate to future PA practice, leadership potential, area of scholarly interest, and contributions to diversity.

It is strongly recommended that students complete the following coursework prior to applying to the program:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Chemistry
  • General Statistics or Biostatistics
  • Psychology
  • Three upper-division science courses (e.g., in cell biology, genetics, or microbiology) are recommended before matriculation.

Degree Requirements

All students in the program must complete the Master of Science in PA Studies program core curriculum (160 units) and additional work in an area of scholarly interest (6 units).

Upon completion of the didactic coursework (5 quarters), students begin 12 months of clinical clerkship within the Stanford Healthcare Community and in other select clinical sites.

Students choose an area of scholarly concentration which include:

  • Community Health
  • Health Services and Policy Research
  • Clinical Research
  • Medical Education

All students must complete a capstone project in their area of scholarly interest.

Graduate Advising Expectations

The Physician Assistant Studies program is committed to providing academic advising in support of graduate student scholarly and professional development. When most effective, this advising relationship entails collaborative and sustained engagement by both the adviser and the advisee. As a best practice, advising expectations should be periodically discussed and reviewed to ensure mutual understanding. Both the adviser and the advisee are expected to maintain professionalism and integrity.

Faculty advisers guide students in key areas such as selecting courses, designing and conducting research, developing of teaching pedagogy, navigating policies and degree requirements, and exploring academic opportunities and professional pathways.

Graduate students are active contributors to the advising relationship, proactively seeking academic and professional guidance and taking responsibility for informing themselves of policies and degree requirements for their graduate program.

For a statement of University policy on graduate advising, see the "Graduate Advising" section of this bulletin.

Leadership

Associate Dean for PA Education and Program Director: Susan Fernandes
Associate Program Director: Rhonda Larsen
Medical Director: Andrew Nevins
Associate Medical Director: Ian Nelligan

Core Faculty

Director of Pre-Clerkship Education: Nicole Burwell
Director of Clerkship Education: Andrew Chastain
Early Clinical Experience Coordinator: Lucinda Hirahoka

Educators for Care PA (E4C-PA) Faculty

Chad Anderson
Camille Bloom
Jennifer Hunter
Courtney Nelson
Kendra Patton
Adam Seligman

Courses

PAS 201. Foundations of Clinical Medicine. 4 Units.

This course explores fundamental concepts of biochemistry, genetics, microbiology, and immunology as applied to clinical medicine in a mostly "flipped classroom" format. This course will help to establish a foundation for understanding the pathophysiology of disease and the targets for therapeutic interventions. Disciple-specific topics include: Biochemistry: thermodynamics, enzyme kinetics, vitamins and cofactors, metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and nucleotides, and the integration of metaboloic pathways. Genetics: basic principles of inheritance and risk assessment, illustrated with the use of clinical examples from many areas of medicine including prenatal, pediatric, adult and cancer genetics. Microbiology: Basic bacteriology, virology, mycology and parasitology, including pathogenesis and clinical scenarios associated with infectious diseases. Immunology: concepts and applications of adaptive and innate immunity and the role of the immune system in human disease.

PAS 212. Principles of Clinical Medicine I. 10 Units.

This is the first in a four-course sequence presenting organ-system based physiology, pathology and pathophysiology. Each organ-specific block includes a review of the anatomy and related histology, normal function of that organ system, how the organ system is affected by and responds to disease, and how diseases of that organ system are treated. In PAS 212, the focus us on the structure, function, disease and corresponding therapeutics of several "primary care" topics, particularly the musuloskeletal and dermatologic systems. In addition, basic neurology otorhinolargyngology, and ophthalmology will be covered.

PAS 213. Principles of Clinical Medicine II. 10 Units.

This is the second in a four-course sequence presenting organ-system based physiology, pathology and pathophysiology. Each organ-specific block includes a review of the anatomy and related histology, normal function of that organ system, how the organ system is affected by and responds to disease, and how diseases of that organ system are treated. In PAS 213, the focus is on the structure, function, disease, and corresponding therapeutics of the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems.

PAS 214. Principals In Clinical Medicine III. 12 Units.

This is the third in a four-course sequence presenting organ-system based physiology, pathology, and pathophysiology. Each organ-specific block includes a review of the anatomy and related histology, normal function of that organ system, how the organ system is affected by and responds to disease, and how diseases of that organ system are treated. In PAS 213, the focus is on the structure, function, disease, and corresponding therapeutics of the Renal, Gastroenterology, Endocrine and Reproductive Health systems.

PAS 215. Principles of Clinical Medicine IV. 10 Units.

This is the fourth in a four-course sequence presenting organ-system based physiology, pathology, and pathophysiology. Each organ-specific block includes a review of the anatomy and related histology, normal function of that organ system, how the organ system is affected by and responds to disease, and how diseases of that organ system are treated. In PAS 214, the focus is on the structure, function, disease, and corresponding therapeutics of the Neurologic, Psychiatric, Hematologic, Oncologic, and Autoimmune/Rheumatologic systems.

PAS 222. Clinical Therapeutics I. 2 Units.

This course will provide a foundation for learning pharmaceutical therapies related to subjects covered in the Principles of Clinical Medicine I course. In addition to general pharmacokinetic principles, the first segment of the course will cover the use of drugs applied to the skin and topical and systemically administered drugs for dermatologic diseases. Pharmacology of the autonomic nervous system, both sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions, will be overviewed in addition to gaining an understanding of how drug manipulation on cholinergic and adrenergic receptors modulate nerve activity. The course will conclude with an examination of drugs acting on the allergenic and pathogenic pathways as they pertain to ENT conditions.

PAS 223. Clinical Therapeutics II. 2 Units.

This course will provide students a detailed comprehension of drug mechanisms and clinical drug therapies for cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases as covered in the Principles of Clinical Medicine II course. The course will examine anti-hypertensive agents, drugs used for cardiovascular therapies. Clinical treatment for common pulmonary diseases including emphysema and asthma, in addition to the pharmacology of medications including bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory drugs will be discussed.

PAS 224. Clinical Therapeutics III. 2 Units.

This is the third course of a 4-part series focused on pharmacology and clinical therapeutics with topics related to subjects covered in the Principles of Clinical Medicine III course. Topics will include renal, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and men¿s/women¿s health. The pharmacology component will focus on mechanism of action, clinical use, contraindications, adverse reactions, and clinically significant drug interactions of various drug classes. The clinical therapeutics component will focus on medical management of diseases with an emphasis on patient specific drug management.

PAS 225. Clinical Therapeutics IV. 2 Units.

This is the fourth course of a 4-part series focused on pharmacology and clinical therapeutics with topics related to subjects covered in the Principles of Clinical Medicine IV course. Topics will include neurology, psychiatry, oncology, and rheumatology. The pharmacology component will focus on mechanism of action, clinical use, contraindications, adverse reactions, and clinically significant drug interactions of various drug classes. The clinical therapeutics component will focus on medical management of diseases with an emphasis on patient specific drug management.

PAS 251. Design and Conduct of Clinical and Epidemiological Studies. 3-4 Units.

Intermediate Level. The skills to design, carry out, and interpret epidemiological studies, particularly of chronic diseases. Topics: epidemiologic concepts, sources of data, cohort studies, case-control studies, cross-sectional studies, sampling, measures of association, estimating sample size, and sources of bias. Prerequisite: A basic/introductory course in statistics or consent of instructor.

PAS 280A. Walk With Me: A Patient Centered Exploration of Health and The Health Care System. 1 Unit.

This innovative course for first year medical students places patients front and center in the journey to explore health from the patient¿s perspective, and better understand the challenges of managing optimal health in a complex health care system. In a unique 3 part monthly workshop format, students will learn about national, state, and local perspectives from experts from Stanford and the community and explore the broad impact of the monthly topic on patient care and health. In the second part of the workshop, students will learn about the patient/family perspective from a patient/family, with time to engage in discussion. Students will then actively engage in a workshop activity based on real-world examples of the impact of the monthly topic, and establish a framework for clinical exploration. n nOutside the monthly seminar session, students are matched with a patient/family partner for the duration of the course, and meet on a monthly basis at the medical center or other location key to learning about the patient¿s journey, and explore together the impact of the monthly topic at the individual level. This course is a partnership of the Stanford Healthcare Innovations and Experiential Learning Directive (SHIELD), the Stanford Health Care Patient & Family Partner Program, and the Stanford Medicine Office for Medical Student Wellness.
Same as: INDE 290A

PAS 280B. Walk With Me: A Patient Centered Exploration of Health and The Health Care System. 1 Unit.

Continuation of monthly workshop series begun in INDE 290A, with new monthly topics. Students will continue to follow the journey of their patient partner, and gain further understand the challenges of managing optimal health in a complex health care system. Preference given to MD students continuing from INDE 290A.n nThis course is a partnership of the Stanford Healthcare Innovations and Experiential Learning Directive (SHIELD), the Stanford Health Care Patient & Family Partner Program, and the Stanford Medicine Office for Medical Student Wellness.
Same as: INDE 290B

PAS 280C. Walk With Me: A Patient Centered Exploration of Health and The Health Care System. 1 Unit.

Continuation of monthly workshop series begun in INDE 290A and INDE 290B, with new monthly topics. Students will continue to follow the journey of their patient partner, and gain further understand the challenges of managing optimal health in a complex health care system. n nThis course is a partnership of the Stanford Healthcare Innovations and Experiential Learning Directive (SHIELD), the Stanford Health Care Patient & Family Partner Program, and the Stanford Medicine Office for Medical Student Wellness.
Same as: INDE 290C

PAS 281. A Patient Centered Exploration of Health and The Health Care System Practicum. 1 Unit.

This course is the clinical companion to INDE 290. Students are matched with a mentor at a clinical site where they will gain additional insight into the challenges of working within a complex healthcare system, and an appreciation for the roles of the members of the interdisciplinary team. ½ day clinical immersion, two times monthly, by arrangement with clinical site mentor.
Same as: INDE 291

PAS 291. PAs in Health Care I: Introduction to the Profession. 1 Unit.

This course provides an overview of the PA profession. The first portion of the course covers the history of the PA profession, the role of the PA within the health care team, and an overview of the laws, regulations and committees that provide oversight to the profession. The second portion of the course focuses on health disparities, social determinants of health and undeserved communities, and the role of the PA in the care of these populations. It includes development of the awareness, knowledge, and skills needed in order to practice culturally competent and sensitive health care.

PAS 292. PAs in Health Care II: Introduction to Advanced Skill Training for PAs. 2 Units.

The PAs in Health Care II: Introduction to Advanced Skill Training for PAs course will focus on advanced clinical skills including basic and advanced cardiac life support, imaging skills and interpretation along with additional proceduralnskills in preparation for clerkships.

PAS 293. PAs in Health Care III: Transition to Clerkships. 2 Units.

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