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Students examining medical chart

The overall goal of the clinical year is to provide students with the essential experiences to apply their knowledge and skills as they develop competence in the care of patients, under the supervision and guidance of clinical preceptors (physicians, nurse practitioners, and PAs who serve as instructional faculty of the PA Studies Program). Our nine clinical rotations are assigned by our clinical education faculty and provide learning opportunities in a variety of settings including inpatient, outpatient and long-term care. 

The Department of PA Studies has a unique relationship with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), a world-renowned acacemic health center and strong supporter of the clinical education of our students. Clinical rotation sites are primarily within the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia), though they span the US, including Alaska and Hawaii; international rotations are also available. As outlined in the breadown of student expenses, students are responsible for travel, housing and parking expenses.

Clinical Rotation Specialties

During the clinical phase of the program students will complete clinical rotations in the following medical and surgical specialties:

  • Behavioral Health
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Medicine
  • General Surgery (including pre-operative, post-operative and intra-operative care)
  • Internal Medicine
  • Obstetrical and Gynecological Medicine
  • Pediatrics

The clinical year also includes two five-week, four-credit, elective rotations. Students can request their electives to occur in any medical or surgical specialty or subspecialty; though these are subject to availability and other considerations, the clinical education team works to incorporate these personalizations to the best of their ability.

Transition Days

After each clinical rotation, students participate in Transition Days, which include evaluations to assess proficiency, participation in oral case presentations, and attendance of educational sessions that prepare our students for clinical practice after graduation.

Placement Considerations

Some clinical rotation sites require screening measures such as, but not limited to, child abuse clearance, health appraisal, fingerprint-based background check, and/or drug test prior to placement at the facility. The results of these requirements may limit and potentially eliminate placement options for the student which can, in turn, result in an inability to meet graduation requirements. Additionally, conviction of a misdemeanor, felony or felonious or illegal act may prevent the student from becoming credentialed by a health care facility and/or licensed to practice in the field.