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Physician Assistant

Program Offered

Master of Physician Assistant Studies

University of the Pacific is pleased to announce its Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree program. This full-time, 27-month program is designed for professionals currently working in other areas of health care, individuals interested in a second career opportunity, and pre-health students interested in entering the fast-growing physician assistant (PA) field. The program is planned to start in January 2017 at Pacific’s campus in Sacramento.

Pacific’s PA program will provide numerous opportunities for interprofessional education through involvement with Pacific’s highly regarded health-related schools, the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and through student clinical training experiences at community hospitals and clinics.

What is a Physician Assistant?

Physician assistants (PAs) are healthcare professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. In an interprofessional setting, Pacific PA students will become proficient in the full array of skills involved in completing medical histories, performing physical examinations, performing clinical skills and procedures, providing treatment, and counseling patients.

As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PA students will work with patients to:

  • Obtain, compile and record patient medical data, including health history, progress notes and results of physical examination.
  • Instruct and counsel patients about prescribed therapeutic regimens, normal growth and development, family planning, emotional problems of daily living, and health maintenance.
  • Perform, order and interpret diagnostic test results, correctly identifying any results that fall outside of normal range.
  • Make tentative diagnoses and decisions about management and treatment of patients.
  • Perform therapeutic procedures, such as injections, immunizations, suturing and wound care and infection management.
  • Prescribe therapy and/or medication.
  • Provide physicians with assistance during surgery or complicated medical procedures.
  • Supervise and coordinate activities of technicians and technical assistants.
  • Visit and observe patients on hospital rounds or house calls, updating charts, ordering therapy and reporting back to physician.

In addition to successfully completing their program, Pacific PA students are required to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) as required by regulatory agencies in order to enter into practice.

Pacific has applied for Accreditation—Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Pacific anticipates matriculating its first class in January 2017, pending achieving Accreditation—Provisional status at the September 2016 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation—Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program's ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Admission Requirements

Disclaimer: Admissions policies for the 2016-2017 admissions cycle beginning September 1, 2016 - March 1, 2017 are currently under review and subject to change. Final admissions criteria for the upcoming admissions cycle will be posted to the website no later than September 1, 2016.

Prerequisites for the Master of Physician Assistant (MPAS) Degree

All of the following admission requirements must be completed and submitted to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) by the application deadline (March 1, 2017):

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.0 (on 4.0 scale)
  • Minimum science GPA of 3.0
  • Minimum of 1,000 hours of health care experience
  • Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) - use Designated Institution (DI) code 7363.  GRE scores are valid for five years (per GRE website).

Prerequisite Course Work

All requirements must be completed, in progress or planned before your application for admission will be reviewed.

Important! Pacific will NOT accept online courses to fulfill science prerequisites.

Science Courses

General Chemistry—Two courses with lab. Total of 8 semester or 12 quarter units with labs. Should be a course sequence designed for chemistry majors. (Pacific does not accept AP for this requirement.)

Biological Sciences—Two courses with lab. Total of 6 semester or 9 quarter units with labs. Should be a course sequence designed for biology majors. (Pacific does not accept AP for this requirement.)

Human Anatomy—One semester or quarter with lab is required.  Total of 4 semester or 5 quarter units with lab (or combined A&P).

Human Physiology—One semester or quarter with lab is required. Total of 4 semester or 5 quarter units with lab (or combined A&P).

Microbiology—One semester or one quarter course. (Lab recommended but not required.)

Non-Science Courses

Math—One course in Statistics (3 semester or 4 quarter units).

Psychology—Minimum of one 3-semester unit course or one 4-quarter unit course. Must be a course in General or Introductory Psychology, or Abnormal Psychology, or Life Span/Developmental Psychology.

English Composition—Minimum of two 3-semester unit courses or two 4-quarter unit courses. English as a Second Language courses will not fulfill this requirement.

Additional Recommended Courses:

Science Courses

  • Immunology
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular & Cell Biology
  • Physics

Non-Science Courses

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Life Span/Developmental Psychology
  • Additional Math - Algebra and/or Calculus
  • Additional Writing or English Composition
  • Medical Terminology

Student Health Admission Requirements

Students must fulfill the requirements listed below in compliance with the Program’s policy for health and communicable disease clearance protocol.

Requirements for Physician Assistant Students

  • Health History and Physical Examination (paper form)
    • Complete within 3 months of classes starting or at least once during career at Pacific.
    • Forms are found at http://www.pacific.edu/immunizationcomplience
    • Physical may be done at Pacific Health Services beginning August 1st as long as you are registered for fall classes and Cowell Wellness fee has been paid.  Fees may be charged.
  • Hepatitis B
    • Three documented vaccines (Blood test/titer will suffice if documentation is not available.)
    • HepB Surface Antibody blood test showing immunity (Must have even if you have had 3 vaccines.)
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
    • Two documented vaccines or blood test/titer showing immunity
  • Tdap Vaccine (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis)
    • One documented vaccine in the last 10 years (Td will not be accepted)
    • If Tdap was given more than 10 years ago, then one recent documented Td booster
  • Varicella Vaccine (Chickenpox)
    • Two documented vaccines or blood test/titer showing immunity
    • Documentation of varicella is not acceptable in place of blood test/titer or vaccines
  • Influenza Vaccine
    • Documentation of the flu vaccine for the 2016-17 year
  • Tuberculosis Screening (see Tuberculosis Information below)
    • 2-step PPD screening within 3 months of starting school if no history of positive PPD test or disease
    • Chest X-ray within 6 months of starting school if history of positive PPD test or disease
  • Meningitis Vaccine
    • Must complete the CA Meningitis Disclosure Form or have had the vaccine in the last 5 years
    • Recommended if living in Residence Halls and not updated in last 5 years
    • Submit documentation if you have been vaccinated for meningitis

Recommended

  • HPV Vaccine
    • Recommended for males and females, 26 years or younger.  A series of three vaccines.

CDC Recommendation 2015 — Source: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/hcw.html
 

Mail documents to:

Pacific Health Services
University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Ave
Stockton, CA 95211-0197

All health screening information may be made available, as required, to the Program, clinical preceptors and clinical rotation sites.

Students whose immunizations and titers are not up to date may be removed from classes or from clinical rotation(s) until the deficiency is corrected.  Some clinical training sites require students with positive latent Tb test results to be treated. As a result, students who have not been treated may not be allowed to attend certain clinical rotations, which may result in a delay of completion of the Program.

Tuberculosis (TB) Screening

  1. Have you had a positive TB (or PPD) test?
    • If YES, have a chest x-ray performed no more than 6 months prior to January 2017.  Turn in a copy of the chest X-ray report with the rest of your documents.  Turn in documentation of INH treatment if possible (INH treatment involves taking medicine for 6 to 9 months after a positive test).
    • If NO, go to #2
  2. Have a TB (PPD) test placed by your provider.  The test must be read by a provider or nurse within 48 to 72 hours of being placed.  This must be done no more than 3 months prior to January 2017.
    • If it is negative, go to step #3
    • If it is positive, have a chest x-ray performed no more than 6 months prior to January 2017.  Turn in a copy of the chest X-ray report with the rest of your documents.  You have completed this requirement.  Discuss INH treatment with your provider.
  3. Have a SECOND TB (PPD) test placed by your provider 1 week after the first test was placed.  The second TB test must be placed no more than 3 weeks after the first test.  The test must be read by a provider or nurse within 48 to 72 hours of being placed.
    • If it is positive, have a chest x-ray performed no more than 6 months prior to January 2017.  Turn in a copy of the chest X-ray report with the rest of your documents.  You have completed this requirement.  Discuss INH treatment with your provider.

Background Checks/Toxicology Screens

Satisfactory findings on a background check and toxicology screen are required for matriculation. Please note: felony convictions may preclude you from licensure.

Master of Physician Assistant Studies

Students must complete a minimum of 114 units with a Pacific cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in order to earn a master of physician assistant studies degree.

First Year
Spring
MPAS 200Clinical Medicine I - Foundations (Anatomy)4
MPAS 201Clinical Medicine I - Foundations (Pathophysiology)4
MPAS 211Pharmacology and Therapeutics I3
MPAS 221Behavioral Sciences I2
MPAS 231Professional Practice and the Health System I1
MPAS 241Clinical Skills I4
Summer
MPAS 202Clinical Medicine II8
MPAS 212Pharmacology and Therapeutics II3
MPAS 222Behavioral Sciences II2
MPAS 232Professional Practice and the Health System II1
MPAS 242Clinical Skills II4
Fall
MPAS 203Clinical Medicine III8
MPAS 213Pharmacology and Therapeutics III3
MPAS 223Behavioral Sciences III2
MPAS 233Professional Practice and the Health System III1
MPAS 243Clinical Skills III4
Second Year
Spring
MPAS 205Preparation for Clinical Practice4
MPAS 215Primary Care I4
MPAS 216Primary Care II4
MPAS 219Advanced Clinical Skills4
Summer
MPAS 217Primary Care III4
MPAS 225Primary Care/Pediatrics4
MPAS 235Primary Care/Women's Health4
MPAS 245Primary Care/Behavioral and Mental Health4
Fall
MPAS 255Internal Medicine4
MPAS 265Surgery4
MPAS 275Emergency Medicine4
Elective Rotation4
Third Year
Spring
MPAS 218Periodic and Summative Evaluations/Capstone4
2 Elective Rotations8
Total Hours114

Physician Assistant Courses

MPAS 200. Clinical Medicine I - Foundations (Anatomy). 4 Units.

This course involves a detailed regional analysis of the structure of the human body that includes the lower/upper extremity, head/neck and trunk, thoracic/abdominal and pelvic cavities and the central nervous system. Functional correlates to the structures will also be presented and discussed. This course has a discussion component as well as a laboratory component using physical anatomy models, cadaver prosections, and computer/textbook anatomy programs/atlases.

MPAS 201. Clinical Medicine I - Foundations (Pathophysiology). 4 Units.

This course involves the detailed analysis of the structure, function and pathology of the organ systems of the body. Functional correlates to physician assistant and physical therapy care are included.

MPAS 202. Clinical Medicine II. 8 Units.

This is a two semester course that focuses on the preparation of the student in the etiology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestation, diagnosis and appropriate management of selected medical conditions, syndromes and diseases. The courses will follow an organ system approach including: otorhinolaryngology, dermatology, ophthalmology, neurology, cardiology, pulmonology, nephrology, urology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, hematology/oncology, orthopedics/rheumatology, infectious disease, genitourinary/renal, and reproductive systems. The following specialty areas will be interwoven as threads in applicable organ systems: pediatrics, geriatrics, genetics, nutrition, emergency medicine, and surgery. A case-based approach is used to familiarize the PA student with the variety of presentations seen and the treatment options available. The courses are integrated by organ system with the Pharmacology & Therapeutics, and Clinical Skills courses.

MPAS 203. Clinical Medicine III. 8 Units.

This is a two semester course that focuses on the preparation of the student in the etiology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestation, diagnosis and appropriate management of selected medical conditions, syndromes and diseases. The courses will follow an organ system approach including: otorhinolaryngology, dermatology, ophthalmology, neurology, cardiology, pulmonology, nephrology, urology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, hematology/oncology, orthopedics/rheumatology, infectious disease, genitourinary/renal, and reproductive systems. The following specialty areas will be interwoven as threads in applicable organ systems: pediatrics, geriatrics, genetics, nutrition, emergency medicine, and surgery. A case-based approach is used to familiarize the PA student with the variety of presentations seen and the treatment options available. The courses are integrated by organ system with the Pharmacology & Therapeutics, and Clinical Skills courses.

MPAS 205. Preparation for Clinical Practice. 4 Units.

This course will incorporate specific didactic and skills training during an intensive clinical preparatory period prior to the start of clinical rotations. Instruction will include participation in advanced case-based learning seminars focusing on complex clinical problems in various health care settings, to include transitions of care between settings. Students will participate in simulated clinical encounters that will include communication strategies (e.g. case presentations) for dealing with challenging clinical interactions.

MPAS 211. Pharmacology and Therapeutics I. 3 Units.

This is a three course series that focuses on pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacotherapeutic concepts in the major drug classifications. Problem solving is emphasized through case studies designed to highlight proper drug selection, dosing and administration, legal requirements of prescribing, drug interactions, and physiologic implications. The courses are integrated by organ system with the Clinical Medicine and Clinical Skills courses.

MPAS 212. Pharmacology and Therapeutics II. 3 Units.

This is a three course series that focuses on pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacotherapeutic concepts in the major drug classifications. Problem solving is emphasized through case studies designed to highlight proper drug selection, dosing and administration, legal requirements of prescribing, drug interactions, and physiologic implications. The courses are integrated by organ system with the Clinical Medicine and Clinical Skills courses.

MPAS 213. Pharmacology and Therapeutics III. 3 Units.

This is a three course series that focuses on pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacotherapeutic concepts in the major drug classifications. Problem solving is emphasized through case studies designed to highlight proper drug selection, dosing and administration, legal requirements of prescribing, drug interactions, and physiologic implications. The courses are integrated by organ system with the Clinical Medicine and Clinical Skills courses.

MPAS 215. Primary Care I. 4 Units.

Students will be placed in an outpatient and/or inpatient setting to obtain exposure to primary care medicine, including health maintenance, disease prevention, patient education and continuity of care. The written examinations for these will focus on family medicine.

MPAS 216. Primary Care II. 4 Units.

Students will be placed in an outpatient and/or inpatient setting to obtain exposure to primary care medicine, including health maintenance, disease prevention, patient education and continuity of care. The written examinations for these will focus on family medicine.

MPAS 217. Primary Care III. 4 Units.

Students will be placed in an outpatient and/or inpatient setting to obtain exposure to primary care medicine, including health maintenance, disease prevention, patient education and continuity of care. The written examinations for these will focus on family medicine.

MPAS 218. Periodic and Summative Evaluations/Capstone. 4 Units.

This will be a continuing course throughout the four semesters of the clinical education phase of the program. The periodic evaluations will include end-of-rotation written examinations, OSCEs, and skills assessments. Summative evaluations will consist of a written comprehensive examination and a practical examination (OSCE). All course elements must be completed satisfactorily in order to pass the course and be progressed to graduation. The Capstone Project will continue from the research portion of the Behavioral Sciences course. Under the supervision of a faculty member, students will pose and answer a clinical question on a practice topic of their choice by completing a critical review of the medical literature, and will write a paper suitable for publication on the topic.

MPAS 219. Advanced Clinical Skills. 4 Units.

This will be a continuing course throughout the four semesters of the clinical education phase of the program. Instruction will include the application of advanced physical examination and clinical skills. Patient education and counseling through case-based learning seminars and standardized patient encounters will focus on effective communication, leadership, professional roles, interprofessional teams and scope of practice.

MPAS 221. Behavioral Sciences I. 2 Units.

This is a three semester course is designed to instruct the physician assistant student on major psychiatric and mental disorders. Human development across the lifespan will be reviewed to include both behavior and personality development. The course will examine social determinants of health including substance abuse, domestic violence, poverty, cultural diversity, sexuality, hospice and palliative care. Complementary and alternative medicine, health promotion & disease prevention, public health, evidence-based medicine, research designs, and critical review of the medical literature are discussed.

MPAS 222. Behavioral Sciences II. 2 Units.

This is a three semester course is designed to instruct the physician assistant student on major psychiatric and mental disorders. Human development across the lifespan will be reviewed to include both behavior and personality development. The course will examine social determinants of health including substance abuse, domestic violence, poverty, cultural diversity, sexuality, hospice and palliative care. Complementary and alternative medicine, health promotion & disease prevention, public health, evidence-based medicine, research designs, and critical review of the medical literature are discussed.

MPAS 223. Behavioral Sciences III. 2 Units.

This is a three semester course is designed to instruct the physician assistant student on major psychiatric and mental disorders. Human development across the lifespan will be reviewed to include both behavior and personality development. The course will examine social determinants of health including substance abuse, domestic violence, poverty, cultural diversity, sexuality, hospice and palliative care. Complementary and alternative medicine, health promotion & disease prevention, public health, evidence-based medicine, research designs, and critical review of the medical literature are discussed.

MPAS 225. Primary Care/Pediatrics. 4 Units.

Students will be placed in an outpatient and/or inpatient setting to obtain exposure to pediatric primary care medicine. The written examination for this rotation will focus on pediatric medicine.

MPAS 231. Professional Practice and the Health System I. 1 Unit.

This is a three semester course that explores the factors affecting the development of the profession and the role of the PA in today's health care system globally, nationally and regionally. Emphasis is on credentialing, policies and regulations governing scope of practice, the development of professional organizations for physician assistants, and economics of health care delivery systems and policies. The use of health informatics to include the use of electronic medical/health records (EMR/EHR) will be reviewed. Issues in law and medical ethics will be covered to include challenges in health care leadership at various levels and within various organizational settings.

MPAS 232. Professional Practice and the Health System II. 1 Unit.

This is a three semester course that explores the factors affecting the development of the profession and the role of the PA in today's health care system globally, nationally and regionally. Emphasis is on credentialing, policies and regulations governing scope of practice, the development of professional organizations for physician assistants, and economics of health care delivery systems and policies. The use of health informatics to include the use of electronic medical/health records (EMR/EHR) will be reviewed. Issues in law and medical ethics will be covered to include challenges in health care leadership at various levels and within various organizational settings.

MPAS 233. Professional Practice and the Health System III. 1 Unit.

This is a three semester course that explores the factors affecting the development of the profession and the role of the PA in today's health care system globally, nationally and regionally. Emphasis is on credentialing, policies and regulations governing scope of practice, the development of professional organizations for physician assistants, and economics of health care delivery systems and policies. The use of health informatics to include the use of electronic medical/health records (EMR/EHR) will be reviewed. Issues in law and medical ethics will be covered to include challenges in health care leadership at various levels and within various organizational settings.

MPAS 235. Primary Care/Women's Health. 4 Units.

Students will be placed in an outpatient and/or inpatient setting to obtain exposure to women’s health care. The written examinations for this rotation will focus on women’s health and reproductive health.

MPAS 241. Clinical Skills I. 4 Units.

This three semester course focuses on four main topic areas: 1. History and physical examination - the knowledge necessary to perform a complete history and physical examination including appropriate documentation; 2. Diagnostic studies – ordering, performing and interpreting clinical laboratory, imaging and other procedures (e.g. ECG, spirometry, etc.); 3. Interprofessional education – case-based interaction with students from other disciplines; and 4. Procedural skills - instructs the student in the proper performance of common procedures within the PA scope of practice.

MPAS 242. Clinical Skills II. 4 Units.

This three semester course focuses on four main topic areas: 1. History and physical examination - the knowledge necessary to perform a complete history and physical examination including appropriate documentation; 2. Diagnostic studies – ordering, performing and interpreting clinical laboratory, imaging and other procedures (e.g. ECG, spirometry, etc.); 3. Interprofessional education – case-based interaction with students from other disciplines; and 4. Procedural skills - instructs the student in the proper performance of common procedures within the PA scope of practice.

MPAS 243. Clinical Skills III. 4 Units.

This three semester course focuses on four main topic areas: 1. History and physical examination - the knowledge necessary to perform a complete history and physical examination including appropriate documentation; 2. Diagnostic studies – ordering, performing and interpreting clinical laboratory, imaging and other procedures (e.g. ECG, spirometry, etc.); 3. Interprofessional education – case-based interaction with students from other disciplines; and 4. Procedural skills - instructs the student in the proper performance of common procedures within the PA scope of practice.

MPAS 245. Primary Care/Behavioral and Mental Health. 4 Units.

Students will be placed in an outpatient and/or inpatient setting to obtain exposure to behavioral health care. The written examination for this rotation will focus on behavioral health.

MPAS 255. Internal Medicine. 4 Units.

Students will be placed in an outpatient, inpatient and/or long term care setting to obtain exposure to primary care and chronic disease management. The written examination for this rotation will cover internal medicine and geriatrics.

MPAS 265. Surgery. 4 Units.

Students will be placed with general surgeons and/or surgical specialists to obtain exposure to surgical principles. Student will obtain intraoperative experience during this rotation. Pre- and post-operative care concepts may be addressed in this rotation or any other rotation. The written examination for this rotation will focus on general surgical principles, including pre- and post-operative management.

MPAS 275. Emergency Medicine. 4 Units.

Students will be placed in a hospital based emergency room to gain exposure to urgent and emergent care. The written examination for this rotation will focus on emergency medicine.

Physician Assistant Faculty

Mark Christiansen, Program Director, 2015, BS, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 1977; MPAS, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 1997; MS, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1999; PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2009.

Rahnea Sunseri, Medical Director, 2015, BS, University of California, Davis, 1972; MD, University of California, Davis, 1976.

Tracey DelNero, Associate Professor, 2015, BA, California State University, Sacramento, 1994; PA, Western University of Health Sciences, 1999; MSPAS, Touro College, 2014.

Jessica Garner, Assistant Professor, 2015, BA, California State University, Fresno, 2007; PA, San Joaquin Valley College, 2012; MMS, Saint Francis University, 2012.

Jed Grant, Assistant Professor, 2015, BS, University of Nebraska, 1999; MPAS, University of Nebraska, 2008.