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The UND Physician Assistant Studies Master's Program is 24 months in length. The Program begins with an on-campus orientation in May followed by two semesters of online coursework focusing on basic science content. While the coursework is delivered entirely from a distance, there are scheduled dates and times for online examinations, videoconference sessions and/or phone conferences.
In January, the primary care course series begins. For the full calendar year, the student will experience rotating classroom instruction and clinical experiences in a sequential approach. Classroom instruction (referred to as didactic) is conducted on the UND campus for three separate occasions of 4-5 weeks each. This instruction is followed by supervised clinical practice experiences in a longitudinal primary care clinical setting. Alternating classroom and clinical learning, where each content session is followed by a clinical practice experience, provides immediate application of concepts resulting in greater development and retention of clinical competencies. During this time the student also completes additional online courses in diagnostic studies, evidence-based medicine and professional issues.
The final semester consists of 16 weeks of specialty clerkship clinical rotations, completion of a scholarly project, and a final didactic session on campus for testing, review, and additional instruction on medical practice and management.
During each clinical phase, a member of faculty communicates with the student/preceptor team to monitor specific areas of experience needed by the student to meet the educational goals of the Program and to facilitate role development. This is done by site visit, video conferencing and/or phone conference. The Program is individualized as much as possible to meet the needs of the each student.
The Program is competency-based, which means that in order to graduate, each student must be able to demonstrate competencies in performing patient assessment and patient management functions, successfully complete comprehensive testing, and have completed a research project.
Employment While Enrolled
The PA Program is a very intense 24 month curriculum that demands a great amount of time. It is important that students remain well balanced by allowing sufficient time for social activities, recreation and rest. Students are strongly advised to forego employment during the first two semesters of online coursework. Employment beyond the first two semesters is not allowed. Students are encouraged to take advantage of financial aid opportunities or other funding options.
The PA Program does not follow the University schedule and would make it difficult to maintain employment during the didactic and clinical sessions. Students may be assigned to sites that are distant and/or have irregular schedules including evenings, nights, and weekends. A conflicting work schedule will not be considered just cause for a change in academic/clinical schedule. Employment will not be considered an acceptable excuse for violation of the attendance policy.