College of Health Sciences and Human Services

Master of Science Physician Assistant

Curriculum and courses

The MSPA program at CSUMB is a full-time, 28-month, year-round graduate program, consisting of 83 credit hours completed over 7 semesters. The curriculum is separated into didactic, clinical, and hybrid semesters. The curriculum structure is specially designed to prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be competent PAs upon completion of the program.

COVID-19 effects on the curriculum: In response to California Governor Newsom’s executive order on March 20, 2020, regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, CSUMB mandated that the university transition from face-to-face instruction to “an alternate modality for instruction and services.” Most courses are now in-person but may contain some online elements as deemed appropriate by the course directors and the university, and in compliance with state and county standards. In California, the COVID-19 state of emergency officially ended on February 28, 2023.

Year 1: Three didactic semesters

The first year of the program consists of three didactic semesters designed to prepare students for clinical experience. Students should expect to be in class Monday - Friday, approximately 9am - 5pm.

The didactic curriculum includes the following:

  • Clinical Medicine
  • Advanced Clinical Anatomy and Physiology
  • Clinical Skills
  • Pharmacology and Pharmacotheropeutics
  • Patient Evaluation and Education
  • Behavior Medicine
  • Medical Conversational Spanish
  • Mission in Practice

Methods of instruction include

  • Lecture presentations
  • Small group demonstrations
  • Laboratory sessions
  • Simulation experiences
  • Small group discussion
  • Group projects
  • Individual assignments
  • Use of standardized patients

During the didactic year, students will become familiar with health issues specific to the local community and patient education and evaluation techniques in both English and Spanish.

Year 2: Clinical rotations

The second year of the program consists of 9 required and 1 selective clinical rotations completed at clinical sites primarily throughout the Tri-County region.

Required clinical rotations include:

  • Family medicine x 2
  • Internal medicine
  • Inpatient
  • Pediatrics
  • Women's health
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Behavioral and mental health care
  • Selective clinical rotation

Selective rotations may include:

  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Infectious Disease
  • ENT/ophthalmology
  • Orthopedics
  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Urgent Care
  • Urology
  • Any primary care rotation

Clinical training sites and preceptors are established and monitored by the CSUMB MSPA program.

Hybrid Semester

The final hybrid semester includes clinical, didactic, and professional components, and the graduate project. The goal of the final semester is to ensure that our graduates are prepared to take national boards, prepared for employment, and prepared to make a difference in their communities.

Hybrid Curriculum

  • Comprehensive Review of Medicine
  • Professional Practice Seminar
  • Community Preceptorship Rotation
  • Graduate Project

Expected time commitment

The MSPA is a full-time program.

During the first year of the program, students will be in class Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm with occasional early morning, evening, or weekend sessions. During the second year of the program, time commitments will vary based on the clinical rotation specialty. This may include 8-, 12-, 24-hour, and weekend shifts. The final semester of the program is designed to provide students with both classes and supervised clinical practice experiences.

Course and Program Deadlines

  • All courses must be completed each semester before students are allowed to progress.
  • The deadline to complete all curricular components is the first day of the next semester.  
  • The maximum amount of time that a student can take to complete the program is 46 months, including any potential decelerations or leave of absence. 


Course Catalog