Curriculum and Degree Plan

Curriculum and Degree Plan

St. Catherine's Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) is a full-time program, with 110 credits of study and over 2,000 clinical hours. The program offers a rigorous academic education combined with practical applications that prepare students to lead and influence in their careers, their professions, and their communities. 

St. Catherine offers a curriculum that has the breadth and depth necessary to prepare students for success as physician assistants. Students can expect to be in class 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, for seven consecutive academic terms. An occasional evening and weekend day may also be required. Breaks are scheduled into the curriculum periodically and are 1-2 weeks in length. Hands-on learning during the clinical phase of the program will require students to spend a minimum of 40 hours per week in supervised clinical settings.

Caring advisors, knowledgeable faculty, cohort colleagues and the gift of patients sharing their lives for learning make the journey memorable.

The program is divided into three segments, with 14 months of classroom-based learning followed by 14 months of clinical education. All students conclude the program with a senior seminar. Read more about the St. Catherine University MPAS learning goals.

Technical standards

Students will be expected to meet technical standards for the physician assistant profession. Find out more about technical standards »

Work policy

Due to the intensive nature of this curriculum, the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program strongly discourages students from seeking or maintaining outside employment while enrolled. Understanding that certain circumstances necessitate a student to pursue employment against program recommendation, the student must be aware that the program will not make concessions to accommodate a student’s work obligations, nor should the student’s work obligations interfere with the progression of learning and responsibilities the student has while enrolled in the program.


Academic phase

St. Kate's MPAS students are educated using a medical model, through a curriculum that focuses on classroom and laboratory instruction in basic, medical and behavioral sciences. The 14-month academic phase of the program covers traditional medical content that’s organized around body systems, patient populations and practice settings — with an integrated approach incorporating many traditional “stand-alone” medical courses such as anatomy, pathophysiology, clinical medicine, patient evaluation and management.

This holistic approach at St. Kate’s uses a variety of learning paradigms that systematically build a student’s clinical skills and emphasizes both the science and the art of medicine. Our innovative curriculum is designed to systematically weave threads of ethics, social justice, professional responsibility and a global perspective throughout the program, in keeping with the mission of St. Catherine University.

We facilitate learning through lecture, discussions and hands-on experiences and enhance it by frequent and early exposure to clinical experts and a variety of practice settings.

Clinical phase and senior seminar

The 14 months of clinical clerkship is divided among nine clinical clerkships, each consisting of several practice locations and different medical specialties. 

Two of these clerkships are electives and allow St. Kate's students the opportunity to customize their own learning with a focus toward specific areas of interest, global perspectives or strengthening areas of self-assessed weakness. Concluding core clerkships, students have two five-week senior clerkships to prepare them for professional success. Students will use an electronic database to log patient encounters during their supervised clinical experiences. 

Students will have experiences in clinical locations such as:

  • Outpatient ambulatory practices
  • Hospitals
  • Surgical settings
  • Emergency departments
  • Long-term care facilities

Course sequence

The MPAS program is offered in a cohort model — each term's coursework follows a specific order.

For detailed descriptions of each course, consult the university's online Graduate Catalog »

Year One

Fall (16 credits)
MPAS 6000: Introduction/Foundations
MPAS 6010: Dermatology
MPAS 6050: Musculoskeletal
MPAS 6060: Neurology
MPAS 6020: Ear/Nose/Throat
MPAS 8010: Research I

January Term (5 credits)
MPAS 6030: Cardiovascular

Spring (17 credits)
MPAS 6040: Pulmonology
MPAS 6070: Gastroenterology
MPAS 6080: Genitourinary
MPAS 6090: Hematology/Oncology
MPAS 6110: Endocrinology
MPAS 6120: Mental Health
MPAS 8020: Research II

Summer (12 credits)
MPAS 6200: Women's Health
MPAS 6300: Pediatrics
MPAS 6400: Aging and Elderly
MPAS 6500: Special Populations
MPAS 6600: Outpatient/Chronic/Long-term Care
MPAS 8030: Research III

Year Two

Fall (14 credits)
MPAS 6700: Surgical/Hospital
MPAS 6800: Urgent/Emergency/Acute Care
TESTING: Summative exams before clinical
MPAS Clinical Clerkships

January Term (4 credits)
MPAS 7250: Transitions
MPAS Clinical Clerkship

Spring (16 credits)
MPAS Clinical Clerkships
MPAS 8040: Research IV

Summer (13 credits)
MPAS Clinical Clerkships
MPAS 8050: Research V

Year 3

Fall (13 credits)
MPAS Clinical Clerkship
MPAS 7800: Senior Clerkship I
MPAS 7900: Senior Clerkship II
MPAS 7999: Senior Seminar/Capstone
 

Clinical Clerkship Courses

Clinical Clerkship Length
MPAS 7100: Family Medicine 8 weeks
MPAS 7200: Pediatrics 4 weeks
MPAS 7300: Women's Health 2 weeks
MPAS 7400: Internal Medicine 6 weeks
MPAS 7500: General Surgery 4 weeks
MPAS 7600: Emergency Medicine 6 weeks
MPAS 7700: Mental Health 4 weeks
MPAS 7800: Elective I 4 weeks
MPAS 7850: Elective II 4 weeks