Degree Program Overview

The EMCHS curriculum begins in summer quarter and includes 43 graduate credits delivered over four consecutive academic quarters. Composed of new material, the curriculum does not duplicate entry-level PA coursework. Though the majority of the curriculum will be the same for all students, you may focus on a particular subject for one course requirement as well as the Capstone Project. To graduate from the program, you must maintain a minimum grade of 2.7 or above in each course, an overall average GPA of 3.0 or higher, and complete the Capstone Project and related assignments.

Courses take place on campus and online. The program begins with a two-week, on-campus session in Seattle with classes held between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. After this two-week period, students usually work online at their convenience as long as they meet weekly deadlines. Students may perform the clinical residency at the current job or or gain new experience in a different healthcare or academic setting. The four-quarter program requires only two weeks off from the current job.





Orientation (IC)
Focused Study (IC/OL) 5cr The PA Profession (OL) 4cr Healthcare Policy (OL) 4cr Leadership (OL) 4cr
Investigative Skills
(IC/OL) 5cr
Clinical Residency I (OL) 3cr Clinical Residency II (OL) 3cr Clinical Residency III (OL) 3cr
Capstone Project
(IC/OL) 3cr
Capstone Project
(OL) 3cr
Capstone Project
(OL) 3cr
Capstone Project
(OL) 3cr

Total Credits a Quarter

13 10 10 10

Abbreviations: OL = Online, IC = In Class

Summer Quarter One: 13 credits total

MEDEX 528: Investigative Skills – On-Site/Online (5 credits)

The ongoing changes to healthcare delivery, continued advances in clinical research and publication, and evolution of the PA profession require that clinicians be able to locate, critically appraise, and apply current health research outcomes.  These skills are essential for PAs to remain up-to-date.  This course teaches basic concepts in measurement, biostatistics and epidemiology, and the skills needed to evaluate public health and biomedical research.  Through a series of lectures focused on research concepts, small group exercises, and online assignments, students will acquire skills allowing them to review and evaluate current research results and apply reliable outcomes to their practices.

Focused Study – On-Site/Online (5 credits)

The focused study course will follow a small-group seminar design that allows students to select an area of special interest.  The various sections will share a common theme of providing high quality care within healthcare systems, but will diverge in focus and application. Students will select their subject focus, and may select only one subject focus, as the different subject sections run concurrently.  The course meets several times during the initial two weeks of the program, which are on campus.  Subsequent weekly online meetings with assigned work will complete the quarter.  This course will also equip students with the tools to identify an appropriate subject-related capstone project idea of reasonable scope, and may impact site selection for the clinical residencies.

Focused Study Course Options

MEDEX 510 Healthcare for Rural and Medically Underserved Populations: This course will examine the nature and severity of disparities in health care access and delivery to rural and urban underserved populations.  By comparing and contrasting the issues surrounding delivery of care to these two populations we gain a more complete picture of the systemic issues that inhibit equitable access to care for all.  Students will be challenged to consider these issues from the perspective of policy-makers as well as from the perspective as clinicians.

MEDEX 512 Academic Medicine and Specialty Practice:  Material will include faculty skill development, tools to thrive in an academic environment, interdisciplinary collaboration between primary care and specialty disciplines, and specialty practice at an academic medical center.

MEDEX 513 Global Health:  Material will include international healthcare systems, international models of healthcare professions, disease processes and management tools in developing countries, healthcare in areas experiencing armed conflict, promoting health and managing disease across borders, cultural competency, and national and international government and agency policy-making and its impact on care, quality and access.

MEDEX 511 Public Health and Preventive Medicine:  This course will explore the principles, systems and practices of public health and preventive medicine at the local, state and national levels.  The intent will be to compare and contrast the practice of treating a population versus a single patient.  Students should also recognize the breadth of health professions and how the interdisciplinary teams in which they work provide the structure for public health and preventive medicine at all levels of health care.

The Capstone Project

The EMCHS is a professional, rather than a thesis program.  The capstone project is the primary academic product of the program, and related coursework runs throughout the length of the program.  Students will select a topic within the theme of their Focused Study course (described above).  Students will produce a finished product of sufficient depth and analytic rigor to demonstrate the independent thought appropriate to clinical master’s-level work.  In the winter quarter, students will submit a 12–15-page (minimum) paper that has been developed in consultation with the capstone advisor.  At the end of the final quarter, students will make an online presentation to their colleagues and faculty. Capstone project credits will be required in each quarter, and will be graded on a credit/no credit basis.

MEDEX 521 Capstone Project I – On-Site/Online (3 credits)

Each student’s Capstone project will relate to his or her focused study area.  Students will work on their Capstone Project over four quarters.  The first quarter (summer) will include two weeks of in-class lectures, seminars and small-group work, followed by six weeks of continuation online.  By the end of the first quarter, students will submit a structured proposal accompanied by an annotated bibliography and a 5-page partial draft paper.  The proposal will include a description of activities required over the course of the following academic year as well as a timeline that must be approved by the capstone supervisor. 

Autumn Quarter: 10 credits total

MEDEX 538: The Physician Assistant Profession – Online (4 credits)

The course on The PA Profession is intended to provide students with an expanded understanding of the PA role and profession.  Topics focus on the history of the PA profession, education, economics, legal political and professional aspects of the PA profession, current and future PA roles, and hot topics within the profession.  Students will be expected to acquire a broad view of the PA profession.  This will assist them in working effectively with other types of providers in interdisciplinary teams and will provide additional background that will be helpful in clinical practice.

MEDEX 531: Clinical Residency I – Online/Clinic Site (3 credits)

The three-quarter Clinical Residency course series provides students in the extended degree program an opportunity to apply new skills in their current employment setting or to explore new areas of specialty practice in approved domestic or international clinical settings.  The MEDEX Clinical Residency courses (offered for three consecutive quarters) will provide the opportunity for students to accomplish one of three selected goals each quarter.  Students will make their own individual arrangements for these experiences, which must be approved by the Extended MEDEX Degree Director and the MEDEX Clinical Training Office.  Students will be responsible for any training and travel costs involved in their chosen experience.  Students are also responsible for obtaining appropriate liability coverage, immunizations and background checks for any residency experience not based at their current place of employment.

Focus options: 1) gain clinical expertise in a new area or specialty, 2) expand perspectives in the current practice setting by applying theories of practice-based learning and improvement, 3) provide healthcare and complete projects in the public health arena or in global health settings.  Students may choose any mix of these types of experience (e.g., all three quarters in a new clinical area, one quarter in each type of opportunity, two quarters in the current practice site and one in a new area, etc.).

MEDEX 522: Capstone Project II – Online (3 credit)

See overall Capstone Project description.  During this quarter students will continue with the activities described in their project plan and begin work on reporting about the project.  A partial draft is required.

Winter Quarter: 10 credits total

MEDEX 536: Health Policy for Practicing Clinicians – Online (4 credits)

This course provides an overview of how US health policy is developed and the politics involved in the decision-making process.  Insight into the legislative process combined with a broader understanding of the major healthcare issues facing the country will help to situate an individual’s clinical practice within the context of our nation’s health delivery system.

MEDEX 532: Clinical Residency II – Online/Clinic Site (3 credits)

See Clinical Residency course description under MEDEX 531.

MEDEX 523: Capstone Project III – Online (3 credits)

See overall Capstone Project description.  During this quarter students will continue with project activities and submit a final paper.

Spring Quarter: 10 credits total

MEDEX 537: Leadership for Practicing Clinicians – Online (4 credits)

This course is designed to increase the leadership knowledge base and skill set of practicing physician assistants as a strategy for increasing the impact of the profession on the health care delivery system and thereby increasing access to care.  Course methods will include online learning and discussion as well as community-based assignments and analyses.  Presentations by role models will be used to provide specific relevance for currently practicing physician assistants.

MEDEX 533: Clinical Residency III – Online/Clinic Site (3 credits)

See Clinical Residency course description under MEDEX 531.

MEDEX 524: Capstone Project IV – Online (3 credits)

See overall Capstone Project description.  During this quarter students will create a slide presentation and present the project online.