About

Do you have a genuine desire to help people? Are you interested in working as a front-line primary-care provider in an evolving profession?

The goal of the physician assistant studies program is to provide a primary care-oriented, rural-based training program for entry-level health-care professionals. You must have a bachelor's degree before entering the intensive 27-month PA professional track which begins in August of each year.

As a physician assistant (PA), you will provide health-care services under the supervision of physicians. PAs take medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and X-rays, make diagnoses, and prescribe medications. They also treat minor injuries by suturing, splinting, and casting.

In most states, including North Carolina, PAs have the delegated authority to write prescriptions. Physician assistants' job descriptions may also include patient education, medical education, health administration, and research.

You will study a wide variety of topics related to the profession to prepare you for a hands-on career. Physician assistants do not have to complete a residency or internship.

ECU Advantage

ECU offers the only state-supported physician assistant studies program in North Carolina. The College of Allied Health Sciences is the largest university-based allied-health provider in the state. The college has eight departments: Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies, Biostatistics, Clinical Laboratory Science, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Health Services and Information Management, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Physician Assistant Studies, and offers degrees on the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.


Delivering a comprehensive professional education that will prepare allied-health graduates to make a difference in the health of the region, state, and nation was the primary reason for the creation of the College of Allied Health Sciences and its departments. Fueled by the growth and aging of our population, the demand for these highly skilled specialists is expected to greatly increase as health care continues to be a priority for our citizens.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Alan Gindoff (4310-K Health Sciences Building; 252-744-1700; gindoffa@ecu.edu)

Physician assistant majors must pass all physician assistant core courses with a minimum numerical grade of 70 percent and an overall GPA of 3.0 for the semester. A student earning less than a grade of 70 percent or an overall GPA of 3.0 for the semester must petition the Department of Physician Assistant Studies for probationary continuation. A student must have completed a baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting organization, must have completed the prerequisite requirements as listed below and must have a minimum prerequisite GPA of 3.0 to be eligible to apply for admission into the professional phase of the physician assistant curriculum. Any exceptions must be approved by the department chair. All requirements for continuation in the graduate school must be met. The minimum requirement for the degree is 99 s.h. as follows:

Prerequisite Requirements:

Courses to be completed prior to entering the program with at least a 3.0 GPA.

    Core Courses:
    • PADP 6000 - The Role of the Physician Assistant and the History, Philosophy, and Ethics of Medical Practice
    • PADP 6010 - Diagnostic Methods I
    • PADP 6020 - Diagnostic Methods II
    • PADP 6030 - Clinical Gross Anatomy
    • PADP 6040 - Human Physiology
    • PADP 6050 - Introduction to Clinical Medicine
    • PADP 6150 - Clinical Medicine I
    • PADP 6200 - History and Physical Exam I
    • PADP 6210 - History and Physical Examination II
    • PADP 6220 - History and Physical Examination III
    • PADP 6250 - Clinical Medicine II
    • PADP 6500 - Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics
    • PADP 6640 - Evidence-Based Medicine
    • PADP 6650 - Surgery and Emergency Medicine Skills
    • PADP 6690 - Introduction to Clinical Practice
    • PADP 6800 - Behavioral Medicine and Psychosocial Issues in Health Care
    • PADP 6810 - Medical Ethics and Jurisprudence
    • PADP 6850 - Health Promotion/Disease Prevention
    • Note:

      To continue to the clinical portion of the curriculum, the student must successfully pass all didactic courses listed above with an overall 3.0 GPA and no more than 6 s.h. of Cs.

      Clinical Courses:
      • PADP 6310 - Behavioral Medicine Clinical Practicum
      • PADP 6320 - Internal Medicine Clinical Practicum
      • PADP 6330 - Family Medicine Clinical Practicum
      • PADP 6340 - General Surgery Clinical Practicum
      • PADP 6350 - Emergency Medicine Clinical Practicum
      • PADP 6360 - Pediatrics Clinical Practicum
      • PADP 6370 - Women's Health and Prenatal Care Clinical Practicum
      • PADP 6380 - Geriatrics Clinical Practicum
      • PADP 6390 - International Medicine Clinical Practicum
      • PADP 6395 - Physician Assistant Studies Clinical Practicum
      For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

      Careers With This Degree

      Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

      • Physician Assistant
      • Health and Human Services
      • Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary
      • Physician Assistants
      • Physician Assistant

      Career Opportunities

      ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

      NC Tower

      This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

      • Self-employed;
      • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
      • Work outside of North Carolina.

      US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

      This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

      Degree-specific internships

      For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.

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