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We keep our eyes open to industry changes and adapt our curriculum accordingly.

The PA Studies Hybrid Program curriculum combines didactic courses with clinical rotations to equip students with the necessary skills to become health care leaders as PAs at the end of the two-year program.

The courses of the Didactic Component are presented through a mix of traditional lectures, out-of-the-classroom learning opportunities, case-based individual and group activities, and hands-on skills labs. Instruction is provided by PAs and other health care professionals who have expertise in their respective specialties and fields. 

All Didactic Component courses are sequential and should be successfully completed in order to progress to the next term of the curriculum.  Since each course in the program is offered only once during each academic year, any departure from completing a course in its planned sequence (e.g. failure to receive a passing grade of 'C' or better, leave of absence from the program) may result in a delay which may require retaking the course the following year, as well as delays in completing the program and graduating with the Master of Science degree. Each student must complete the program within five calendar years of their first day of class in their first term (see the PA Studies Hybrid Program Policy and Procedure Manual for additional details).

Plan of Study

The University of Pittsburgh PA Studies Hybrid Program is a 24-month program that awards a Master of Science degree upon successful completion.  

The first three terms (12 total months) are made up of didactic instruction.  This didactic component consists of asynchronous and synchronous online didactic courses.   The didactic content is presented using interactive online educational activities to promote knowledge acquisition.  Synchronous, instructor-led, online activities facilitate application and synthesis of the knowledge acquired through the asynchronous online activities.  Onsite intense immersion laboratory experiences support the development of clinical skills necessary for examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and assessment of outcome.  

The last three terms (12 total months) consist of Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPE) in Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Behavioral Health, Obstetrical and Gynecological Medicine, and an Elective.  The PAS 2429 Transition to Professional Practice course must be completed within the final four months of the program.  

The program works to build and maintain a strong pool of clinical sites and preceptors across the United States, including accepting suggestions from prospective and enrolled students. The program evaluates clinical sites and preceptors for educational suitability, among other important considerations.  

Please note the following:

  • Students who are not located in an area near available clinical sites may need to relocate in order to complete the program. Keep in mind the program clinical education team works with students to avoid or minimize this to the best of our ability.
  • Per program policy, prospective and enrolled students are never required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors.

The order in which a student completes all of the below clinical courses may vary, so course numbers are not listed by discipline. 

Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences are required in the following disciplines:

Internal Medicine

A five-week clinical rotation focuses on the evaluation and management of the ambulatory and hospitalized patient on an inpatient medicine service. Students learn how to take an accurate and pertinent history, conduct a physical examination, recognize patterns of illness, and acquire approaches to disease management. The student participates in the full range of inpatient care, formulating a problem list, taking part in daily rounds, performing technical skills, participating in the management of patient problems, and planning for discharge and follow-up care. 

Family Medicine

A five-week clinical rotation focuses on the evaluation and management of the ambulatory patient in a outpatient care setting. The student participates in the full range of outpatient care through the life span, including collecting pertinent patient data and the information from diagnostic studies, developing a differential diagnosis, oral and written case presentations, and formulating management plans including patient education, appropriate referral and follow-up care. This clinical rotation encompasses the comprehensive and longitudinal care of patients with a special emphasis on care of individuals in the context of families and communities.

Emergency Medicine

A five-week clinical rotation focuses on the evaluation and management of patients in the emergency department setting.  The student participates in the appropriate triage, stabilization, diagnosis and management of patients with urgent and emergent problems and develops skills in working with the pre-hospital emergency medical team and secondary referral systems.


A five-week rotation focuses on the evaluation and care of infants and children in an ambulatory setting.  The student participates in well-child preventative care, the evaluation and management of common pediatric problems, and the patient education of children and their caregivers.


The purpose of the surgery clerkship is to provide the student a wide breadth of practical clinical experience in the evaluation and management of the surgical patient. This experience is designed to augment, strengthen and refine the student's surgical skills, as well as their ability to perform pre-operative, intra-operative and post-operative care. The student is expected to gain awareness of the contributions of other health professions in the overall delivery of surgical care as well as for the role a PA may play in its delivery. 

Behavioral Health

A five-week rotation focuses on the evaluation and management of patients with psychiatric and behavioral health problems in ambulatory and/or inpatient settings. The student participates in psychiatric evaluations, monitoring of therapy, and appropriate referral to other health care professionals and facilities.

Obstetrical and Gynecological Medicine

This 5-week rotation provides the PA student with practical clinical experience in evaluation and management of normal and abnormal conditions in OB/GYN.  In addition, students will learn to provide prenatal and postpartum care, gynecologic care, family planning, health education, and counseling.


A five-week clinical rotation that designed to provide the Physician Assistant student with an elective opportunity in any of the previous rotation specialties or a rotation designed by the student, in conjunction with a faculty member, to enhance the students’ knowledge or skill in a specific elective.

Background Checks and Other Screening Requirements

All clinical rotations require screening measures. Prior to final acceptance, those individuals offered a seat in the University of Pittsburgh Physician Assistant Studies Hybrid program, will be required to complete a criminal background check, health assessment and drug screen. Matriculation as a student in the program is conditional upon these results. Failure to complete this process and submission of documents on or before the deadline given will result in forfeiture of your seat. If a student declines to undergo this process, or if findings of a grievous nature are revealed, the offer of admission will be revoked. During enrollment, repeat background checks, health and drug screens will be required. If a student declines to undergo a background check, health assessment or drug screen while enrolled in the program or if findings of a grievous nature are revealed, this will be grounds for dismissal from the program.  

This program requires the student to complete portions of their education (e.g. clinical preceptorship, practicum) at facilities external to the University to meet requirements for graduation. Many of these external facilities require screening measures such as, but not limited to, background check, 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 and/or licensed to practice in the field.