The Physician Assistant (PA) is a respected member of the health care team who works interdependently with their supervising physician to provide diagnostic and therapeutic patient care in a variety of medical settings.
PAs are trained to take comprehensive medical histories, perform complete physical examinations, order and interpret diagnostic tests, diagnose illnesses, develop treatment plans, assist in surgery, and perform minor procedures. In addition, PAs promote preventive health care and advocate for patient participation in health care decisions.
Employment opportunities for PAs exist in Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and throughout the United States. According to the U.S Department of Labor, employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2018 to 2028. PAs practice in primary and specialty care at a variety of settings such as community clinics, private practice, medical groups, hospitals, managed care organizations, prisons and other government agencies. In addition to clinical practice, PAs may advance into positions in research, academics, public health, health care administration, and education.
The School of Physician Assistant Studies prepares and mentors students within an innovative curriculum to provide quality primary and specialty care for a diverse global community focusing on primary care for underserved and rural populations.
The faculty, staff, students and alumni of the School of Physician Assistant Studies:
- Advocate for the highest quality of care for all patients.
- Respect the social, emotional, and spiritual needs of the individual.
- Value the diversity of all cultures, people, and lifestyles.
- Support the patient’s right to participate in all healthcare decisions.
- Promote the interprofessional team approach to improve healthcare resource equity and accessibility within communities.
- Honor professionalism through respectful interactions.
- Foster a culture for peer-mentoring and relationship-building.
- Encourage lifelong learning through the application of evidence based concepts.
- Maintain a commitment to self-awareness and well-being.
- Commit to the advancement of the profession through participation in professional, legislative, and community outreach activities.
- Assess and address the health care needs of global populations, locally and abroad.
The School of Physician Assistant Studies will be known as a national leader in PA education, educating highly skilled, patient-centered clinicians committed to community service and leadership, through an innovative curriculum and dynamic learning environment.
Program Purpose and Learning Outcomes
The School of Physician Assistant Studies provides an outstanding curriculum utilizing innovative, alternative and traditional formats in a dynamic learning environment. The focus of the School is driven by the needs of the local and global community with a strong commitment to multilingual, multicultural-, and gender-equitable learning.
As a school, our purpose is to educate and mentor our students in the essential criteria for clinical practice across the lifespan; graduating clinicians should be able to demonstrate knowledge of and skills in:
- Explaining the epidemiology, incidence, and prevalence of disease and disorders.
- Applying basic science concepts, including human anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, genetics, and microbiology/biochemistry.
- Recognizing common signs and symptoms.
- Integrating pertinent patient historical information and physical examination findings.
- Generating differential diagnoses/hypotheses.
- Explaining the rationale for using laboratory and diagnostic studies.
- Interpreting laboratory and/or diagnostic studies results.
- Considering the impact of diversity and ethical principles in clinical practice.
- Applying psychosocial concepts into clinical decision making across the lifespan.
- Defining the mechanism of action, indications, contraindications, complications, side effects, adverse reactions, and drug interactions for relevant pharmaceutical therapeutics.
- Formulating, implementing, and managing appropriate pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapeutic treatment regimens.
- Considering appropriate referral and consultation.
- Providing patient centered counseling and education with regard to preventative principles, risk factors, and overall health maintenance.
- Emphasizing lifelong learning through the practice of evidence based, cost sensitive, quality medicine.
The School of Physician Assistant Studies is located within the Tuality Health and Education District in downtown Hillsboro, Oregon. Classrooms are located in Creighton Hall, Pacific University College of Health Professions. The School has affiliations with hospitals, managed care organizations, medical groups, community clinics, nursing homes, and private practice physicians. Clinical rotation placements are driven by the School’s focus on underserved communities and are located locally, throughout the Pacific Northwest, nationally, and internationally.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Pacific University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Pacific University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.
Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be June 2027. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.
Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies
The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program is designed to provide a comprehensive primary care training program that combines didactic course work with clinical experiences to enable the graduate to work in a variety of practice settings.
The program is offered over seven consecutive semesters taking 27 months to complete. The program emphasizes problem-based, team-based learning, small group sessions, diversity awareness, evidence-based healthcare, interprofessional activities, integration of simulation technology and the use of standardized patients in the educational process. A graduate project provides an opportunity to integrate evidenced-based medicine with a literature review and research process, preparing the graduate to be a critically thinking clinician who can effectively respond to the ever-changing demands of the health care system.
Policies: School of Physician Assistant Studies
Students are expected to demonstrate behavior consistent with the Pacific University Student Code of Conduct, the American Academy of Physician Assistant (AAPA) Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the PA Profession and the School of Physician Assistant Studies Policies. The School reserves the right to define professional competence and behavior, to establish standards of excellence and to continuously evaluate students in regard to them.
Academic and Professional Performance Reviews may be initiated by faculty, staff, clinical preceptors, the tutoring director or academic advisors. The goal of these reviews is to establish Action Plans that are clear, explicit and designed to guide the student’s improvement in specifically identified areas.
Agreement to abide by the policies and procedures of the University and the School is implicitly confirmed during each phase of the program. Students are expected to adhere to the various administrative and academic deadlines listed in the academic calendar and in course syllabi. Failure to adhere to School policies, academic and professional standards or an Action Plan may result in dismissal.
Final decisions by the School may be appealed to the College of Health Professions (CHP) Appeals Board for the following reasons only: the student can demonstrate that 1) there was an error in the procedure used by the School’s Academic and Professional Performance Committee, 2) there is new evidence sufficient to alter the decision, or 3) the sanction imposed was not appropriate in relation to the severity of the violation of professional or academic standards. Decisions of the CHP Appeals Board may be appealed to the University Appeals Board.
Details of the professional and academic standards, academic policies and procedures, clinical policies and procedures, the appeals process, and the academic conduct policies, are available for review in the following documents:
- School of Physician Assistant Studies Policies
- Student Clinical Manual
- The University Student Handbook
Prior to beginning the clinical phase of the program, all students are required to undergo a criminal background check and drug urine screen at the student’s expense. Felony convictions, among other violations, may jeopardize the student’s ability to participate in clinical rotations or to obtain a license after graduation. Prospective students are encouraged to contact their State licensing board with questions. Students may also be required to undergo drug screenings or additional criminal background checks prior to a clinical rotation at the discretion of the clinical site.
Student’s progress through the curriculum is monitored on an ongoing and regular basis through assessments, skills testing, and faculty and preceptor evaluations. Summative evaluations must be completed in a satisfactory manner for students to progress to the next phase of the program. Students are required to complete the didactic and clinical curriculum within 40 months from their start date. Students with extenuating circumstances may petition the School Director for consideration of longer timeframes.
Due to the structure of the curriculum, there is no add/drop period. If a student must leave during a semester, courses that have been completed will receive a grade, and the transcript will show no record of courses that have not started. Once a course has started, withdrawing before 60% of the course has been completed will result in a W grade; withdrawing after the 60% point will result in a grade based upon instructor evaluation of completed work.
Enrolling Without Seeking a Degree
Students may not enroll in courses for credit or audit unless they are seeking a degree.
All courses are graded Pass/No Pass based on the achievement of at least 80% of the total possible score for all assessments, skills and rotations.
The School of Physician Assistant Studies does not award honors at graduation.
Time Limits to Completion
All degree requirements must be completed within 40 months. Students with extenuating circumstances may petition the School Director for consideration of longer timeframes.
Once a course grade has been submitted, it is considered final and may be changed only in the case of recording, posting, or computation errors. Faculty members submit Grade Change Request forms to the School Director for approval
An instructor may issue a grade of Incomplete (I) only when the major portion of a course has been completed satisfactorily but health or other emergency reasons prevent the student from finishing all requirements of the course. Prior to submitting an Incomplete grade, the instructor and the student complete an Incomplete Grade Contract detailing the completion and submission of all remaining work, as well as a timeline. After submission of the work, the instructor completes a Grade Change form and submits it to the School Director for approval; the form then is processed by the Registrar.
If agreed-upon work is not completed and no grade change submitted by the deadline (and an extension has not been granted), when the Incomplete expires the grade becomes a N (No Pass). Faculty may request an extension of an Incomplete (before the expiration date of the Incomplete) by notifying the Registrar’s office.
Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Registrar or the School Director.
The School of Physician Assistant Studies does not accept transfer credit.
9 credits or more is considered a full-time course load; 5 credits is considered half-time.
To apply for readmission after an absence of one semester or more, a student must complete a brief Application for Readmission form, and submit official transcripts from all colleges attended during a student’s absence from Pacific University to the School Director.
Tuition and Fees: School of Physician Assistant Studies
|Annual (Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021)
|Medical Equipment (1st year)
|AAPA and OSPA student membership (1st year)
|BLS, ACLS and PALS Certification (2nd year)
|Help CME (2nd year)
|Rosh Review (2nd year)
|Background check and drug screen (approximate per year)
|MyRecordTracker (1st, 2nd, & 3rd year)
|Patient logging system fee (per year)
|Packrat Fee (2nd & 3rd year)
|Audit, per credit hour
|Health & Counseling fee
|Graduation Application fee
Second year students (clinical/project phase) must plan for additional costs for travel and housing estimated at $5000-$9000/semester.
Calendar: School of Physician Assistant Studies
ProgramsBachelor of ScienceMaster of Science