Department of Family Medicine
Primary Care Physician Assistant Program
Unit 7, Building A11, Room 11-150
Alhambra, CA 91803
FAX: (626) 457-4245
Program Director: Kevin Lohenry, Ph.D., PA-C
Medical Director: Ignacio DeArtola, M.D.
FacultyAssistant Professors of Clinical Family Medicine: I. DeArtola; M. Durham; C. Forest; L. Landry-Taylor; J. Mabee
Instructors of Clinical Family Medicine: L. Kirakosian; A. Schultz; A. Walsh; J. Wegler
The faculty listed above are principal faculty with the Primary Care Physician Assistant Program.
The Primary Care Physician Assistant Program prepares students to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. Students earn a Master of Physician Assistant Practice (MPAP) upon completion of the program.
The program is part of the Department of Family Medicine. Didactic instruction is provided by physician assistant program faculty and faculty from other departments within the Keck School of Medicine, the USC School of Pharmacy, divisions within the Health Sciences campus, as well as clinicians from the surrounding communities. Emphasis is placed on primary care medicine. Clinical training occurs at various clinical sites throughout the greater Los Angeles region, including the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Long Beach Memorial Family Practice Residency, private offices and managed-care settings, community-based clinics, VA facilities and specialty settings. Opportunities to train in selected off-site settings serving Native American populations in the Southwest are also available to students upon approval.
Students complete eight, six-week clinical clerkships in emergency medicine and urgent care, family medicine, internal medicine/geriatrics, orthopedics/occupational medicine, pediatrics, general surgery and women’s health. These clerkships emphasize obtaining necessary clinical skills as well as learning to work as part of a health care team. The Physician Assistant Program is committed to recruiting disadvantaged applicants and preparing graduates to practice in medically underserved communities.
The USC Primary Care Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Committee on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), which is sponsored by seven national medical associations including the American Medical Association. The program is approved by the Physician Assistant Committee (PAC) of the Medical Board of California. Graduates must pass a National Certifying Examination to qualify for licensure in California.
Master of Physician Assistant Practice
Admission Requirements and ProceduresApplication to the Physician Assistant Program requires completion of a bachelor’s degree (in any discipline) from an accredited four-year institution and completion of academic prerequisite requirements.
Admission to the program is for the fall semester only. Admission is granted by the physician assistant admissions committee after careful review of all applications. Selections are made on the basis of a formal interview (for competitive applicants) and consideration of a variety of factors which include: academic record, type and amount of clinical experience, multicultural sensitivity, community service experience and personal and professional experience.
Applicants are required to submit an application through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) as well as a USC Supplemental Application by December 1 of each year. Further details regarding admission procedures are provided online at www.usc.edu/pa.
Transfer Students or Advanced PlacementThe Physician Assistant Program does not accept transfer students, nor do we allow advanced placement based on prior education or clinical experience. Each applicant who is admitted is required to complete the full Master of Physician Assistant Practice curriculum in residence at USC. No waivers or substitutions are permitted.
RegistrationStudents receive information regarding registration procedures during an orientation program held the week before classes begin.
AdvisementMonthly information sessions are available for prospective students who would like to receive more information regarding the program. Students who are interested in applying to the program are encouraged to visit the PA Program Website at www.usc.edu/pa or call the PA Admissions Office at (626) 457-4247.
Degree PrerequisitesA bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and completion of all prerequisite course work are required for admission to the Physician Assistant Program.
Science PrerequisitesA one-year general biology sequence with lab and a one-year general chemistry sequence with lab, each for science majors. All science prerequisites must be completed within 10 years of application to the program.
Three semester units or 4 quarter units of each of the following: human anatomy with lab; physiology with lab; and microbiology with lab.
Online science courses are not eligible for consideration as a prerequisite.
Students are expected to have a strong competency in medical terminology.
Non-Science PrerequisitesSix semester units or 8 quarter units: English composition (6) or English composition (3) and critical thinking (3) or logic (3).
Three semester units or 4 quarter units each: general (introduction to) psychology.
Three semester units or 4 quarter units of statistics, preferably statistics for psychology or sociology.
Two semester units or 3 quarter units: Spanish language composition and speech.
Students who intend to apply to the Physician Assistant Program should contact the admission office for evaluation of previous baccalaureate and/or post-baccalaureate course work.
Standardized TestsThe GRE (Aptitude) or the MCAT is required. Either test must be taken within five years of application to the program.
Clinical Experience PrerequisiteA minimum of 1,000 hours of “hands-on” patient care experience is strongly recommended. Successful applicants typically have 2,000 hours or more of paid clinical hours and have worked as one of the following: emergency medical technician, licensed vocational nurse, medical assistant, medical scribe, medical technologist, military medical corpsman, paramedic, psychiatric technician, physical therapy aide, radiological technician, respiratory therapist or registered nurse. Other health care experience is equally acceptable as long as the experience is “hands-on” in nature.
Physician Assistant Shadowing ExperienceShadowing a physician assistant in a clinical setting is strongly recommended. This activity provides the applicant with the up-close experience needed to understand the role and responsibilities of the PA and may help the applicant make a better informed decision in choosing a career as a PA.
Community Service PrerequisiteCommunity service activities/projects are strongly recommended of all applicants. Service which benefits medically underserved or disadvantaged populations is preferred.
Curriculum RequirementsThe completion of a 33-month professional curriculum is required to earn the Master of Physician Assistant Practice degree. Students do not have choices of courses to take nor are they permitted to drop any course or courses during the semester. Progress is permitted only when the prior semester is successfully completed. Students should view the curriculum outlined here as advisory only and subject to modification.
Summative EvaluationA summative evaluation is conducted on each student during the sixth and final semester of the program to verify that each student is prepared to enter clinical practice.
Degree RequirementsAll students in the Master of Physician Assistant Practice degree program must meet course and grade point average requirements. All course requirements must be completed with a grade of “B” or better. The degree will not be conferred until the student has successfully completed all degree requirements. Students are subject to the degree requirements in the catalogue current for the semester of their admission into the program.
Physician assistant students are enrolled in a standard curriculum during their 33 months in the program. The following courses must be successfully completed in order to earn the Master of Physician Assistant Practice. Only physician assistant students may enroll in these courses. Departmental clearance is required to enroll.
|Year I, Fall Semester||units|
|PCPA 503||Behavioral Sciences I||4|
|PCPA 523||Clinical Skills I||4|
|PCPA 530||Basic Medical Sciences||6|
|PCPA 543||Topics in Medicine I||4|
|Year I, Spring Semester||units|
|PCPA 506||Behavioral Sciences II||4|
|PCPA 526||Clinical Skills II||6|
|PCPA 546||Topics in Medicine II||6|
|Year II, Fall Semester||units|
|PCPA 509||Behavioral Sciences III||4|
|PCPA 529||Clinical Skills III||6|
|PCPA 549||Topics in Medicine III||6|
|Year II, Spring Semester||units|
|PCPA 561||Clinical Assignment I||3.5|
|PCPA 562||Clinical Assignment II||3.5|
|PCPA 564a||Clinical Assignment IV||3.5|
|PCPA 565a||Clinical Assignment V||3.5|
|Year II, Summer Session||units|
|PCPA 564b||Clinical Assignment IV||0|
|PCPA 565b||Clinical Assignment V||0|
|Year III, Fall Semester||units|
|PCPA 563||Clinical Assignment III||3.5|
|PCPA 566||Clinical Assignment VI||3.5|
|PCPA 567||Clinical Assignment VII||3.5|
|PCPA 568||Clinical Assignment VIII||3.5|
|Year III, Spring Semester||units|
|PCPA 532||Clinical Skills IV||3|
|PCPA 583||Advanced Topics in PA Studies: Education||4|
|PCPA 586||Advanced Topics in PA Studies: Research||4|
|PCPA 589||Advanced Topics in PA Studies: Medical Care Organization||4|
Requests for further information may be addressed to: USC Physician Assistant Program, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 1000 South Fremont Avenue, Unit 7, Building A11, Room 11-150, Alhambra, CA 91803, or accessed at the program Website at www.usc.edu/pa.