McMaster University

McMaster University

Health Sciences students at McMaster having a discussion

Current Students


The twenty-four month program begins in September.  The first year will focus on the study of the clinical sciences underpinning health care delivery. In the second year, students will enter clinical placements.

Year I:  Clinical Sciences

The clinical sciences curriculum is modeled on the McMaster Medical School COMPASS Curriculum and is designed to meet the competencies outlined in the “Ontario Physician Assistant Competency Profile” and the Canadian Medical Association accreditation requirements.  The curriculum will be delivered in small group problem-based learning modules with a focus on the physician assistant’s role in health care and the promotion of inter-professional education and training. 

The clinical sciences curriculum consists of five Medical Foundations each composed of four components:

  1. Clinical Sciences
  2. Interviewing, Examination and Reasoning (IER)   
  3. Professional Competencies
  4. Longitudinal Clinical Experience Program

Medical Foundation 1 (MF1)

  • Clinical Science: Oxygen Transport: cardiovascular, respiratory and hematologic physiology and disease.
  • IER: Basic communication skills, history taking and physical examination.
  • ProComp: Professionalism, the role of the PA, principles and structure of the health care system, chronic disease, determinants of health
  • LP

Medical Foundation 2 (MF2)

  • Clinical Science: Homeostasis: energy balance, GI, endocrine, nutrition, fluid and electrolyte balance (including renal, acid base, BP) and reproduction, and pregnancy
  • IER: Continued development of communication skills, history taking and physical examination with additional focus on GI, endocrine and obstetric and gynecologic systems.
  • ProComp: Medical ethics and medical decision making.
  • LP

Medical Foundation 3 (MF3)

  • Clinical Science: Infection, neoplasia, neurologic, psychiatric and musculoskeletal physiology and disease
  • IER: Continued development of communication skills (negotiation and conflict resolution), history taking and physical examination with additional focus on the neurologic, psychiatric and musculoskeletal systems.
  • ProComp: Standards of care, laws and codes relevant to medical practice, institutional policies, mental health and society, breaking bad news, end of life decision-making, resource allocation
  • LP

Year II:  Clerkship

In the second year of the program students will undertake approximately 48 weeks of supervised clinical placements. Core experiences will take place in family medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, internal medicine, surgery, emergency medicine, and psychiatry.  Placements will take place in Hamilton, in the expanded McMaster campuses of St. Catharines and Kitchener/Waterloo, and in the broader Ontario community.  Elective placements will round out the balance of the clinical year and will allow students to pursue additional career interests.    

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