Physician Assistant M.S.  Curriculum

Cohorts begin each May | Program length 27 months | Credits  116 | Format In-person, full time

Program course rotation

Course number Course   Credits
HCP 500 Gross Anatomy for Health Care Providers 4
HCP 511 Human Physiology 3
PAS 601 Patient Care Skills I 3
PAS 611 Biomedical Science 3
  Term Total  13
Course number Course   Credits
PAS 612 Clinical Medicine I 6
PAS 602 Patient Care Skills II 3
PAS 622 Clinical Reasoning I 2
HCP 602 Pharmacology I 2
HCP 612 Medical Pathophysiology I 2
HCP 510 Research Methods 3
PAS 632 PA Profession I: History and Healthcare Delivery Systems 3
  Term Total  21
Course number Course   Credits
PAS 613 Clinical Medicine II 6
PAS 603 Patient Care Skills III 3
PAS 623 Clinical Reasoning II 2
HCP 603 Pharmacology II 2
HCP 613 Medical Pathophysiology II 2
PAS 630 Evidence-Based Practice and Preventative Care 3
PAS 633 PA Profession II: Ethics and Culture 3
  Term Total  21
Course number Course   Credits
PAS 614 Clinical Medicine III 6
PAS 604 Patient Care Skills IV 3
PAS 624 Clinical Reasoning III 2
HCP 604 Pharmacology III 2
HCP 614 Medical Pathophysiology III 2
PAS 634 Introduction to Clinical Practice 1
  Term Total  16
Course number Course   Credits
PAS 700 Family Medicine Rotation* 8
PAS 720 Emergency Medicine Rotation 4
PAS 710 Internal Medicine Rotation 4
PAS 635 PA Profession III: Practice Issues and Integration 2
  Term Total  18
Course number Course   Credits
PAS 700 Family Medicine Rotation 8
PAS 750 Pediatrics Rotation 2
PAS 760 Women’s Health Rotation 2
PAS 740 Psychiatry Rotation 4
  Term Total  16
Course number Course   Credits
PAS 730 General Surgery Rotation 4
PAS 770 Elective Rotation 3
PAS 770 Elective Rotation 3
PAS 701 PA Capstone: Certification, Licensure, and Summative 1
  Term Total  11

Program total: 1 16 credits

*Each student will have an individualized schedule for clinical rotations.  Every student must complete the core rotations (PAS 700 twice, 710, 720, 730, 740, 750 and 760) as well as 8 weeks total of any combination of elective rotations (PAS 770 – 4-week, and 795 –2-week rotations). Students may complete clinical rotations at any institution with an established affiliation agreement with Northwestern College. All students should expect to complete a minimum of 30% of their rotations outside of Northwest Iowa. This requirement provides students with a variety of practice settings to ensure that each student receives a well-rounded education. 

NCCPA Certification

Following successful completion of all curricular requirements, graduates will be eligible to take the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). Information regarding the PANCE and eligibility can be found at The program’s first-time pass rate will be published following graduation of the first cohort of students.

Student employment policy
The physician assistant curriculum is very demanding and is designed for full-time students. Various lectures and labs will be scheduled outside of normal business hours, and students will be expected to flexibly adjust their schedules to be available during these times. We encourage students to avoid any routine work schedules so they can commit themselves to this demanding, full-time course of study. 

Advanced placement policy
The Northwestern PA Program does not grant advanced placement to any applicants. All students in the program must complete all curricular requirements through Northwestern College. 

Courses that are required as prerequisites to enrollment in the PA program cannot be substituted for any content within the program.  


The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Northwestern College Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Northwestern College

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.