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Welcome to the Physician Assistant Studies Program

Welcome message from Kristy Altongy-Magee, MPAS, PA-C, Program Director.

Congratulations on your acceptance and decision to attend the Physician Assistant Studies program at MCPHS. We’re excited that you’ll be joining us in the spring. Before the program begins there are some next steps you’ll need to take to get ready. On this page you will find important information and forms that you will need to begin your studies.

Next steps for incoming Physician Assistant Studies students.

A BLS for Healthcare Providers through the American Heart Association must be completed by all students and maintained for the duration of the program. Online BLS training is not accepted; a face-to-face/hands-on training course must be completed prior to matriculation. Please send a copy of your certification to the admission office at admissions.worcester@mcphs.

Beginning January 2019, the Accelerated Physician Assistant Studies Program will be using ExamSoft (electronic testing software) in all first-year courses. All students are required to bring a laptop or iPad meeting the minimum specifications below in order for you to be able to sit for exams.

Each student will be required to purchase a Privacy Screen or Privacy Filter that fits on their PC, MAC or tablet. Minimum technology requirements are listed below.

PC Requirements

Mac Requirements

Ipad Requirements

White coats and nametags will be ordered for each student by the PA department. Please fill out the White Coat Order Form. This form is for Spring 2019 students only.

Sizes should be based on blazers or jackets that you wear over other clothing.

Any questions can be directed to the Sara Miles at

All students in the PA program will be required to take a medical terminology competency test on the first day of classes. The competency test will be a combination of true/false, matching, and multiple choice questions. In order to prepare for this test, review and study the text Medical Terminology: An Illustrated Guide, 7th Edition (or newer) through Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, which will be used throughout your time in the program. 

Students will need to score of 80% or greater to successfully pass the competency test. If a student scores less than 80%, they will need to meet with their assigned advisor for remediation within the first week of classes and will be required to retake the examination within the first 2 weeks of classes and receive a score of 80% or greater on the retake exam. This competency is required to pass your MPA-530 Clinical Medicine course.

If you have any questions please contact Professor Rosanne Washington at or call 603-314-1708

The equipment that each student will need for the PA didactic and clinical year will be purchased with a bulk purchase program through Heine. Each student will receive portable ophthalmoscopes and otoscopes, as well as stethoscopes, reflex hammer, EKG calipers, tape measure, and 2 different tuning forks. The cost of this equipment package will be included as a line item in your tuition bill and this has an advantage in that you may receive financial aid for your equipment purchase just like you do for your tuition. The bulk purchase rate allows us to save you hundreds of dollars on the price in comparison to purchasing each item individually. This also ensures that all students will have high quality professional equipment and your equipment will be ready for you to use at the beginning of the program. Heine will still be able to offer you your choice of color for your stethoscope as well as engraving if you wish.

By having items like an ophthalmoscope and otoscope it also means that students can practice their physical examination skills at home without coming into the patient assessment lab. All of us on the faculty are currently, or have practiced in the clinical setting, and we know from our own experience that once you begin clinical rotations and clinical jobs as working PA’s the ophthalmoscope/otoscope kits you purchased in PA school will come in handy. We are providing you with quality kits. The ophthalmoscope is a valuable diagnostic tool and the knowledge and skill set learned from using this equipment is invaluable in becoming a practicing PA. We know that our students will be pleased with their equipment and we have taken the guess work out of trying to decide what to purchase in an area in which you may not be very familiar. We will have more details for you at orientation.

Each student should also be sure to have a wrist watch with a sweep second hand. Cell phones are not an option. It must be a wrist watch.

Incoming Spring 2019 students may order customized equipment for additional fees through this order form no later than December 14. Those who miss the deadline will receive the general package without upgrades. Questions should be directed to Marj Korbin at or 617.571.0588.

Below is the booklist for Worcester Physician Assistant (PA) students starting their program in January 2019.

Pre-Course Required Reading

  • Kelman, Eugenia G.; Straker, Kathleen C. Study Without Stress, Mastering Medical Sciences. SAGE Publications, Inc., 1999. ISBN: 978-0761916796 (*).
  • Fadiman, Anne. The Spirit Catches you and You Fall Down; A Hmong Child,
    Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures
    . Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. ISBN: 978-0374533403 (*).
  • Cohen, Barbara J.; DePetris, Ann. Medical Terminology: An Illustrated Guide. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 8th edition, 2016. ISBN-13: 9781496318886. (older editions can be used as well)

Program Requirement

  • AAPA Membership (student membership is $75 and is for 2 full years). Visit the following site for more information on student membership benefits.

Health Care Issues I and II (MPA-527/528)

  • Feldman, Mitchell D.; Christensen, John F. Behavioral Medicine A Guide for Clinical Practice. McGraw-Hill Medical, 4th edition, 2014. ISBN: 978-0071767705.
  • Cassidy, Barry A.; Blessing, J. Dennis. Ethics and Professionalism: A Guide for the Physician Assistant. F.A. Davis Company, 1st edition, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0803613386 (*@).
  • Bonita, R.; Beaglehole, R.; Kjellstrom, T. Basic Epidemiology. World Health Organization, 2nd edition, 2006. ISBN 13: 978-9241547079 (*).

Clinical Medicine I and II (MPA-530/531)

Required Texts:

  • Papadakis, M.; McPhee, S.; Rabow, M. Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2017. McGraw-Hill Medical, 56th edition, 2016. ISBN: 978-1259585111 (*@).
  • Kumar Vinay; Abbas Abul K.; Aster, Jon C. Robbins Basic Pathology. Elsevier Health Sciences, 9th edition. ISBN-13: 9780323353175 (@).
  • Collins, Douglass R. Differential Diagnosis in Primary Care. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 5th edition, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-1451118254 (*).

Recommended Texts:

  • Longo, Dan; Fauci, Anthony; Kasper, Dennis; Hauser, Stephen; Jameson, J.; Losalzo, Joseph. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. McGraw-Hill Professional, 19th edition, 2015. ISBN-13: 9780071802154 (*@).
  • Godara, H. The Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics. Lippincott Williams & Williams, 35th edition, 2016. ISBN-13: 9781469890241 (@).
  • Wolff, Klaus; Johnson, Richard; Saavedra, Arturo. Fitzpatrick’s Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology, 7th edition. ISBN-13: 978-0071793025.

Patient Assessment I and II (MPA-538/539)

Required Textbooks:

  • Sullivan PhD RN, PA-C; Debra, D. Guide to Clinical Documentation. F. A. Davis Company, 2nd edition, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0803625839 (*).
  • Fortin VI, Auguste H., et al. Smith’s Patient Centered Interviewing An Evidence Based Method, Third Edition. McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-07-176000-03.
  • Ball, Jane W.; Dains, Joyce E.; Flynn, John A; Solomon, Barry S.; Stewart, Rosalyn W. Seidel’s Guide to Physical Examination, 8th edition. Elsevier, 2014. ISBN-13: 9780323112406.
  • Fischbach, F.; Dunning, M. A Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. Lippincott Williams & Williams, 10th edition, 2017. ISBN-13: 9781496377128.
  • Weber DO; Edward, C. Practical Radiology: A Symptom-Based Approach. F.A. Davis Company, 1st edition, 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0803628328 (@).
  • Dubin D. Rapid Interpretation of EKGs. Tampa, Florida: C.O.V.E.R. Inc., 6th edition, 2000. ISBN-13: 978-0912912066 (*@).

Recommended texts

  • LeBlond, Richard F.; DeGowin, Richard L.; Brown, Donald D. DeGowin’s Diagnostic Examination. New York, New York; McGraw Hill Education, 10th ed, 2015. (@)
  • Moore PhD, Keith L., Dalley PhD, Arthur F., Agur, Anne M. R. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 8th edition, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-1496347213(*).

Pharmacology I, II, and III (MPA-542, 543, and 544)

Required Textbooks:

  • Whalen, Karen. Pharmacology (Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 6th edition, 2014. ISBN-13: 978-1451191776.
  • Gilbert, David, N.; Chambers, Henry F.; Eliopoulos, George M. The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy (pocket edition), 48th edition, 2018. ISBN-13: 9781944272067.
  • Additional articles or handouts may be assigned. If articles are assigned, students will be informed and provided with a paper or electronic copy of the article or a web link to access the article.

Recommended Textbooks:

  • DiPiro, Joseph; Talbert, Robert L.; Yee, Gary; Wells, Barbara; Posey, L. Michael. Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiological Approach, McGraw Hill, 10th edition, 2016. ISBN-13: 978-1259587481. (eBook, available through MCPHS Library).

Clinical Anatomy (MPA-544)

  • Netter, Frank H. Atlas of Human Anatomy. Saunders, 7th edition, 2018. ISBN-13: 9780323554282

Physiology/Pathophysiology I and II (MPA-546/547)

  • McCance, K. L., Huether, S.E. Pathophysiology: The Biologic Basis for Disease in Adults and Children. Mosby, 8th edition, 2018. ISBN-13: 978-0323583473.

General Program Materials

  • Basic calculator without graphing or advanced equation options. (Students will NOT be allowed to use smartphone calculators on exams)
  • TurningPoint ResponseCard RF LCD or ResponseCard NXT: Rcxr-03 Clicker (Must be a RF-03 or higher, NXT or RF-LCD).
  • May be ordered new or used at many vendors online or through the MCPHS online Bookstore. If you already have a RF-03 or higher-end NXT clicker from a previous institution you may use them; however, you will still need to purchase a license to use it on campus. All new clicker purchases come with the required license. The RF-01 and 02 versions are no longer compatible.

Program Recommended Textbooks

  • Venes D. Taber'sCyclopedic Medical Dictionary. Philadelphia, PA: F.A.
    Davis Company, 22nd edition, 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0803629776. (#@) - or -
    Stedman JK. Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 28th edition, Baltimore, MD: Lippincott; 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0781733908. (#@)

(*) Designates books that are available for three-hour reserve in the library. All required
texts should be available for three-hour reserve in the library.

(#) Designates books that are available for use in the library.

(@) Designates books that are available online through the school's website/library access from school and home computers.