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Curriculum

The Augsburg PA Program’s mission is to educate primary care PAs oriented toward service to underserved populations, both in the rural setting and urban areas. The program is approximately 27 months long with studies beginning each year in May and graduation in the fall.

The Augsburg PA Program will educate students to:

  • Work in primary care (family medicine, general internal medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics and women’s medicine).
  • Possess the foundational knowledge required to support strong clinical and leadership skills.
  • Work with underserved and diverse populations of patients.
  • Practice collaboratively in a patient-centered team with a high degree of competence and professionalism.
  • Develop and maintain our alumni and community partner networks.

We demonstrate achievement of our goals by compiling data* from our graduating students specific to our goals:

  • Over 70% of our new graduates work in primary care.
  • One-third of our graduates, self-reported they are serving in an underserved community.
  • Our graduates have a 100% first-time pass rate on national board examination (PANCE).
  • Our graduates are employed within an average of 3-4 months post graduation.
  • Augsburg PA-C Alumni, community PAs, MDs, DOs, and NPs continually support the program by lecturing or volunteering as clinical instructors.

*Data obtained from surveying graduates from the classes of 1997-2016.


Academic Phase

exam classroomApproximately the first 16 months of the program is didactic, or classroom work, including courses in human gross anatomy, pathophysiology, clinical medicine, pharmacotherapy, history and physical exam skills, research, and professional issues in medicine. In addition, clinical practice seminar is a small-group, case-based course that offers the unique opportunity to integrate and apply material from each of the courses to real-world patient cases. There are also hands-on activities that promote development of practical skills through the use of simulated patients, technical skills workshops and labs.group photo in Nicaragua

The academic phase of the program focuses on active learning and challenges students to develop skills in clinicaldecision making, interpersonal communication, and developing content knowledge needed to provide patient care in the ever-changing healthcare landscape. The program utilizes:

  • lecture-based sessions
  • small-group discussions/activities,
  • simulated patients
  • technical skills workshops (i.e. suturing, casting/splinting)
  • other experiential learning opportunities during the academic phase

A unique opportunity offered at the Augsburg PA Program in the academic phase is the Master’s project component. During the second summer of the program, students have the option to enroll in an elective course offered through another Augsburg department or independently research a clinical topic in-depth. Students complete a clinical research paper based on the course content or specific research question.

Overall, the PA curriculum is structured to facilitate active learning, which is an instructional approach that engages students in applying knowledge (facts, concepts, principles) in real time in front of peers and instructors.


Clinical Phase

Augsburg PA students enter into the clinical phase following successful completion of the didactic phase. The clinical phase is approximately one year of clinical experiential learning Augsburg clinical instructors include physicians, PAs and other health care providers from the Metro Area and beyond. It is comprised of eight 5-week rotations in inpatient, outpatient, surgical and emergency department settings, as well as a preceptorship and Capstone course. Each student is required to successfully complete  7 core clinical rotations in the following:

  • Behavioral Healthpeds clinic
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Women’s Health

The eighth rotation, an elective rotation, may be in any of the core rotation medical settings, or a subspecialty of medicine such as cardio-thoracic surgery, oncology, pediatric trauma, etc. The Augsburg PA Program also offers international elective rotations with clinical partners around the world.

Throughout the clinical phase, students return to campus regularly for examinations and professional development. The examinations are in electronic form or case-based clinical scenarios, including with simulated patients. Professional development occurs throughout the clinical phase and is in collaboration with medical organizations in the Twin Cities area. These activities prepare students for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certification Examination) and build a solid foundation to be an exceptional physician assistant.

surgery dayUpon completion of core clinical rotations, students complete an eight-week preceptorship. Preceptorship is an extended clinical rotation, which offers students a longer and more in-depth clinical learning experience. Students are able to choose a primary care, general medicine specialty or a surgical specialty focus.

The Augsburg PA Program has taken a unique and highly effective approach to clinical rotation placements. We have a dedicated team that seeks student input while working to strategically place students in rotations that align with their personal and professional goals. Augsburg PA Program has maintained long-standing relationships with health systems in the metro, greater Minnesota and beyond, as well as continuous development of new clinical partnerships. A student will be required to complete the clinical phase at site(s) determined by the program to provide the student with the best educational experience.