St. Bonaventure University

PA Program Curriculum

The Physician Assistant Studies program at St. Bonaventure University consists of 122 credit hours divided into three phases that span 28 consecutive months:

  • Didactic Phase, a preclinical year spanning 13 months.
  • Clinical Phase, consisting of 14 months of supervised clinical education and coursework.
  • Summative Phase, a five-week-long evaluation and preparation for your future as a graduate PA.
For descriptions of PA courses, please visit our Courses page.

The curriculum is structured so that courses from semester two build on courses in semester one, etc. Therefore, opportunities for transfer of credit into the PA curriculum or advanced placement are not available.

Supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs) are distributed among nine clinical field experiences. These experiences form the basis of the clinical and socialization processes for adaptation to the roles and functions of a physician assistant. A separate five-week course is designed for student research.

Length of program & a plan of study

Students must complete the program in 28 months unless granted a leave of absence for health or personal reasons. Any student who requests and is granted a leave of absence must complete the program in 40 months (28-month program plus one year).


21 Credit Hours

PA 500. PA Practice (1)
PA 501. Basic Science I (5)
PA 504. Patient Assessment I (3)
PA 507. Pharmacology I (3)
PA 510. Clinical Medicine I (8)
PA 513, Medical Humanities I (1)

21 Credit Hours

PA 502. Basic Science II (5)
PA 505. Patient Assessment II (3)
PA 508. Pharmacology II (3)
PA 511. Clinical Medicine II (8)
PA 514. Medical Humanities II (1)
PA 516. Medical Informatics (1)

20 Credit Hours

PA 503. Basic Science III (5)
PA 506. Patient Assessment III (3)
PA 509. Pharmacology III (3)
PA 512. Clinical Medicine III (8)
PA 515. Medical Humanities III (1)


15 Credit Hours

PA 600. Procedures (4)
PA 610. Master's Proposal  (1)
PA 601-609. Rotation 1 (5)
PA 601-609. Rotation 2 (5)

15 credit hours

PA 601-609. Rotation 3 (5)
PA 601-609. Rotation 4 (5)
PA 601-609. Rotation 5 (5)

15 Credit Hours

PA 601--609. Rotation 6* (5)
PA 601-609. Rotation 7* (5)
PA 601-609: Rotation 8* (5)
PA 611. Master's Data Collection (5)
  *One of these is research


15 Credit Hours

PA 601-609. Rotation 9 (5)
PA 601-609. Rotation 10 (5)
PA 612. Master's Dissemination (2)
PA 613. Summative Review (3)



Program sequence and advance standing

Students are expected to complete the designated professional curriculum in the sequence specified. Each semester's coursework is to be considered prerequisite to the next semester.
  • Students may not enter the program with advanced standing.
  • Students are required to successfully complete, in sequence, all course work as full-time students.
  • There is no opportunity to progress into an advanced semester
  • There is no opportunity to change the order of preclinical coursework.
  • Elective courses are limited to the clinical year.
Students are expected to complete each semester on time as a cohort. Student progression will be a function of successfully passing all required courses in a semester:
  • Didactic Phase: Any course failure after attempts at remediation will result in dismissal from the program.
  • Clinical Phase: One rotation may be failed, but with remediation and a repeat of that rotation once only for the Clinical Phase. In that instance, the student's education may continue five more weeks.
  • Summative Phase: The student must pass both the physical assessment exam and the comprehensive written final to pass PA 613. Summative Review and to be recommended for graduation. If, after remediation, a student cannot successfully pass either or both exams, that student will not be recommended for graduation and will be released from the program. 

Graduation requirements

To graduate from the PA program and earn the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, (MSPAS) candidates must:

  • achieve a grade of C or better for all courses in the program.
  • achieve a minimum overall GPA of 3.00 or better at program completion.
  • successfully complete a multi-station OSCE/history and physical skills assessment by score or remediation.
  • successfully complete the comprehensive written final exam by score or remediation.
  • be recommended for graduation by the program chair and St. Bonaventure University faculty.
    have paid all debts to the university and be in good standing.

Academic performance standards

Standards of acceptable performance (cognitive and psychomotor) for courses are communicated to students in writing via the syllabus and orally reviewed at the introduction of each course.

A student must achieve and maintain the required 3.00 semester grade-point average (GPA) to remain in good academic standing and graduate from the PA program. The policy of 3.00 or better in a graduate professional program has been adopted to better ensure a student’s preparation for future sequential coursework.

Students will be given feedback at the completion of each exam. Performance in Didactic Phase courses is commonly assessed by written exams, oral presentations and/or research papers, as well as final written (cognitive) exams. In designated courses, psychomotor performance may be assessed by target skill competency exams and small-group exercises.

During the Didactic Phase of the program, grades for cognitive performances will be recorded as a raw score and a percentage. At the end of each course the percentage scores will be converted to a grade, A through F, for each of the core PA courses.

Performance in the Clinical Phase of the program is assessed using a combination of targeted behavioral, psychomotor and clinical competencies relative to the supervised practice objectives and opportunities and, when indicated, by the syllabus for the SCPE, grand rounds presentations, and written cognitive exams.

To remain in good academic standing, all PA students must maintain a minimum semester GPA of 3.00 and receive a grade of C or better in all courses (grades of D or F in any course may result in academic dismissal from the program).

Additionally, a student may not progress to the clinical year of the program with a cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 at the end of the third semester of the program.

Faculty will meet formally at the end of each semester to discuss students’ academic progress. Students will be notified of their individual progress in writing. Each bi-weekly faculty meeting will include an agenda item on student progress. Additionally, the department will notify the university's Academic Review Committee in compliance with university policy on satisfactory academic progress.

Program policies

Students in the Physician Assistant Studies Program are not required to solicit sites for SCPE clinical rotations. PA students will not be required to work for the program.