College of Health Sciences and Human Services

Master of Science Physician Assistant


The CSUMB MSPA student competencies required to enter clinical practice were developed and modeled after the PAEA Core Competencies for New Physician Assistant Graduates which incorporate the following ARC-PA Competency domains:
  • Medical knowledge
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Clinical/technical skills
  • Professional behavior
  • Clinical reasoning/problem-solving and CSUMB institutional learning outcomes representing continuum of knowledge, skills and behaviors expected of all graduates of the CSUMB PA Program. Moreover, the concepts of cultural resonance and service to underserved communities are found throughout the domains.
These core program competencies are assessed within the final four months of the program to ensure that each and every student meets the program-specific competencies required to enter clinical practice. Upon completion of the CSUMB MSPA Program, students are expected to demonstrate the following competencies:

Patient-Centered Practice Knowledge
  1. Utilize medical knowledge of acute and chronic conditions with integration of clinical reasoning skills and problem-solving abilities through all aspects of patient care.
  2. Analyze and synthesize history, physical exam findings, and diagnostic/lab studies to formulate a differential diagnosis for major diseases/conditions and determine appropriate plans to include: assessments, prognoses, and develop a well-reasoned acute and chronic treatment plan.
  3. Elicit and understand the stories of individual patients and apply to the context of their lives (including environmental influences, cultural norms, socioeconomic factors, and beliefs)
Society and Population Health
  1. Recognize the cultural norms, needs, influences, socioeconomic, environmental, and other population-level determinants and disparities affecting the health of the individual and community being served
  2. Demonstrate accountability and responsibility for removing barriers to health
  3. Use appropriate literature to make evidence-based decisions on patient care
Health Literacy and Communication
  1. Interpret and convey information so that patients can understand and make meaning out of the information conveyed to them.
  2. Communicate effectively with patients, families, and the public
  3. Provide effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful quality care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other communication needs in the local community
Interprofessional Collaborative Practice and Leadership
  1. Articulate one’s role and responsibilities to patients, families, communities, and other professionals
  2. Recognize when referrals are needed and make them to the appropriate health care provider
  3. Develop relationships and effectively communicate with physicians, other health professionals, and health care teams
Professional and Legal Aspects of Health Care
  1. Demonstrate respect for the dignity and privacy of patients while maintaining confidentiality in the delivery of team-based care
Health Care Finance and Systems
  1. Recognize the financial implications to the provision of health care
  2. Understand the collaborative nature of the PA/physician relationship

See the attached PDF for additional information on how the CSUMB MSPA Program Competencies are aligned with the ARC-PA Standards, and how the domains are integrated into the courses and assessments.

CSUMB MSPA Program Competencies for New PA Graduates