Curriculum

Didactic Phase

TOTAL CREDITS DIDACTIC PHASE - 70

Semester 1 Spring

  • PAS 600 - Clinical Anatomy and Radiology with lab (5 Credits)

    This is a clinically oriented course developed to integrate knowledge and understanding of human anatomy and function in health and disease. Anatomical landmarks and findings are correlated with imaging and pathophysiology. The cadaver laboratory sessions will reinforce the student’s knowledge of anatomy and provide the student with the opportunity to visualize the texture, color, location, and three-dimensional relationships of anatomical structures. In conjunction with the cadaver lab session, there will also be corresponding online ‘Virtual Lab’ modules. Embryology and developmental biology will be incorporated into course. This course will also introduce students to the fundamentals of anatomical structure as it correlates to radiologic imaging. Students will learn how to identify and locate key organs through a series of radiographic images. Integration of clinical concepts activities at the end of each body system re-enforces application of anatomical concepts to clinical practice.

  • PAS 601 - Medical Physiology (2 Credits)

    Medical Physiology is an integrated study of normal physiologic function of the cell and organ systems from a clinical perspective. Using a systems-based approach and synchronized with concurrent topics in Clinical Anatomy this course emphasizes normal physiologic function in preparation for Pathophysiology of Disease I and II.

  • PAS 602 - Medical Interviewing, Counseling and Documentation (3 Credits)

    This course will equip the student with the fundamentals of patient-centered communication skills, patient education and basic counseling techniques as well as the components of the medical interview. The student will develop competency in behavioral change counseling strategies such as motivational interviewing. These concepts will be reinforced through the introduction to medical documentation.

  • PAS 603 - Essentials of Medical Genetics (1 Credit)

    This course is an introduction to medical genetics where students will review chromosomes, DNA, RNA, protein synthesis, and inheritance patterns and continues with a clinical focus based on understanding different disease processes. Diagnostic techniques and an overview of embryonic development and teratogens will also be discussed. A variety of genetic diseases are explored, including what is known about the genetics involved, the signs and symptoms of the disease, and prevention and treatment options available. The roles of genetic counseling and screening, as well as the ethical and legal issues related to genetic screening and genetic testing are also discussed.

  • PAS 604 - Medical Microbiology/Infectious Disease Part I (2 Credits)

    This course provides the physician assistant student the principles of medical microbiology and infectious disease. It covers mechanisms of infectious disease transmission, principles of aseptic practice, and the role of the human body’s normal microflora. The biology of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic pathogens and the diseases they cause are also covered. Additionally, the course provides the conceptual basis for understanding pathogenic microorganisms and the mechanisms by which they cause disease in the human body. Relevant clinical examples are provided to facilitate the application, evaluation and correlation of laboratory data used in the diagnosis and treatment of common infectious disease states. Problem solving and communication skills are refined through small and large group clinical case discussions.

  • PAS 605 - The Physician Assistant: Delivering Healthcare in America and Beyond (1 Credit)

    This course offers students a comprehensive overview of the fundamental structure and operations of the of U.S. health care system. The course presents the complex nature in the organization, financing, and delivery of health care services in the US in a systematic fashion. Healthcare systems of other countries and global health challenges and reform are also explored. Additionally, the course will closely examine the history, current issues and future trends of the Physician Assistant profession and their role in the U.S. healthcare system. Students will review legal and regulatory issues in Physician Assistant practice; gaining an appreciation for the importance of active participation in healthcare policy and legislation. The course will also introduce students to the role of other health service professionals and the principles of inter-professional practice.

  • PAS 606 - Epidemiology and Biostatistics: An Introduction to Clinical Research (1 Credit

    This course will explore fundamental concepts of biostatistics and epidemiology necessary to interpret clinical research articles and design clinical studies most commonly encountered in health research.

  • PAS 607 - Interprofessional Seminar I: Roles and Responsibilities (NC)

    Physician Assistants must successfully function in a healthcare environment that effectively utilizes the resources and knowledge offered by each member of the healthcare team in the delivery of patient-centered care. Successful inter-professional practice results in improvement in quality, reduction in cost, optimization of efficiency; ultimately achieving the best possible patient outcomes. These seminars will provide the Physician Assistant student opportunities to apply the principles of inter-professional practice to clinical scenarios while interacting with students from other healthcare disciplines. The seminars will be conducted over two days and will focus on the four inter-professional collaborative practice competency domains: Roles and Responsibilities, Interprofessional Communication, Teams and Teamwork, and Ethics and Values.

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  • Semester 2 Summer

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  • PAS 608 - Pathophysiology of Disease I (2 Credits)

    Pathophysiological Basis of Disease I is the first of a two-semester overview of medical physiology as well as an introduction to the underlying pathological basis for specific disease processes common to primary care. The clinical pathophysiology portion of the course serves as a transition from the basic medical sciences to clinical medicine. The student will be exposed to the study of disease, both congenital and acquired with an emphasis on providing understanding pathologic physiology in conjunction with information regarding medical history and laboratory data to solve case-based clinical problems during small group discussions. Students are taught how pathophysiology translates into patient signs, symptoms and laboratory test results. Students are also encouraged to begin the thought processes leading to the development of differential diagnoses. The course content is presented synchronized with appropriate, correlative topics in Physical Diagnosis I, Clinical Medicine I, Clinical Laboratory and Diagnostics I, and Pharmacology I.

  • PAS 610 - Clinical Medicine I (6 Credits)

    This course integrates the epidemiology, risk factors (including genetics, as applicable), pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, history and physical findings, laboratory and diagnostic tests, differential diagnosis, therapeutic management, possible complications, prevention measures prognosis, patient education and follow-up of emergent and non-emergent disorders encountered in primary care across the lifespan. The course utilizes a systems approach and is delivered through a combination of traditional lectures and problem based learning (PBL) sessions. The topics are synchronized with and correlative to topics in Pathophysiology of Disease I, Pharmacology I, Physical Diagnosis I and Clinical Laboratory Medicine I. Organ systems covered in Clinical Medicine I include, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology, Cardiology, Electrocardiography, and Pulmonary Medicine. At the end of each organ system students will engage in critical thinking and integration of clinical concepts exercises through problem based learning.

  • PAS 613 - Pharmacology I (2 Credits)

    This course is designed to prepare the student for the clinical study of therapeutics by providing knowledge of the manner in which drugs modify biological function. It includes a systematic study of the effects of drugs on different organ systems and disease processes, the mechanisms by which drugs produce their therapeutic and toxic effects, and the factors influencing their absorption, distribution and biological actions. The course consists of a combination of lectures and problem based learning (PBL) sessions. The topics are synchronized with and correlative to topics in Clinical Medicine I, Pathophysiology of Disease I and Clinical Laboratory and Diagnostics I.

  • PAS 615 - Physical Diagnosis I (4 Credits)

    This is a course where the student develops a systems based approach to performing a full physical examination and critical thinking skills enabling them to formulate differential diagnoses and treatment plans. The course content has been synchronized and integrated with correlative content in Pathophysiology of Disease I, Clinical Pharmacology I, Clinical Laboratory and Diagnostics I and Clinical Medicine I to maximize student learning. Students will receive instruction through lectures and actively participate in labs where they interact with, interview and examine standardized patients. Students are primarily assessed by Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE); where they will interview and examine a standardized patient then document and present their findings to course instructors.

  • PAS 617 - Clinical Laboratory and Diagnostics I (2 Credits)

    This course is the first of a two part series where the student receives instruction in medical laboratory and radiographic studies used in the diagnosis and management of common disorders of the major body systems. It also provides the rationale for the selection, utilization and interpretation of clinical laboratory, imaging and other diagnostic tests used to evaluate each system's principal functions. The topics are synchronized with and correlative to topics in Clinical Medicine I, Pathophysiology of Disease I and Pharmacology I.

  • PAS 619 - Evidence Based Medicine I (2 Credits)

    This is the first course of a two part series where the basic principles of utilizing research evidence in clinical practice are expounded on. Course I will focus on developing efficient strategies for searching and using available databases to access evidence-based journals and medical literature. Students will also acquire the skill of formulating an answerable research question. Course II will provide students with the requisite knowledge and skill to appropriately interpret and critically appraise research studies of intervention, harm, diagnosis and prognosis in an efficient manner. After appraising the study students will be able to determine if the information is valid and how it will affect the care of the patient. Course III will offer instruction on medical writing as students start to develop the foundation of their graduate research project.

  • PAS 622 - Public Health: Principles, Policy and Advocacy (1 Credit)

    This course offers the student a population perspective on the determinants of health and disease. It will also explore best practices and the tools available to promote health and prevent disease. The student will examine public healthcare systems as well as society-wide systems (i.e. laws and taxation) and their role on health inequities in the United States and abroad. Additionally, the student will be introduced to public health policy: its purpose, how it originated, and how it is implemented. Underlying theories and frameworks, as well as practical analytical tools needed for effective advocacy and communication, will be discussed. The course will also demonstrate how policymaking is a complex, multidisciplinary, and integrated top-down and bottoms-up process that embraces a myriad of public and private stakeholders.

  • PAS 623 - Interprofessional Seminar II: Interprofessional Communication (NC)

    Physician Assistants must successfully function in a health care environment that effectively utilizes the resources and knowledge offered by each member of the healthcare team in the delivery of patient centered care. Successful inter-professional practice results in improvement in quality, reduction in cost, optimization of efficiency; ultimately achieving the best possible patient outcomes. This seminar series will provide the Physician Assistant student opportunities to apply the principles of inter-professional practice to clinical scenarios while interacting with students from other healthcare disciplines. The seminars will be conducted over two days and will focus on the four inter-professional collaborative practice competency domains: Roles and Responsibilities, Interprofessional Communication, Teams and Teamwork, and Ethics and Values.

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  • Semester 3 Fall

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    • PAS 609 - Pathophysiology of Disease II (2 Credits)

      Pathophysiology of Disease II is the second of a two semester overview of medical physiology as well as an introduction to the underlying pathological basis for specific disease processes common to primary care. The clinical pathophysiology portion of the course serves as a transition from the basic medical sciences to clinical medicine. The student will be exposed to the study of disease, both congenital and acquired with an emphasis on providing understanding pathologic physiology in conjunction with information regarding medical history and laboratory data to solve case based clinical problems during small group discussions. Students are taught how pathophysiology translates into patient signs, symptoms and laboratory test results. Students are also encouraged to begin the thought processes leading to development of differential diagnoses. The course content is presented synchronized with appropriate, correlative topics in Physical Diagnosis II, Clinical Medicine II and Pharmacology II.

    • PAS 611 - Clinical Medicine II (6 Credits)

      This course integrates the epidemiology, risk factors (including genetics, as applicable), pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, history and physical findings, laboratory and diagnostic tests, differential diagnosis, therapeutic management, possible complications, prevention measures prognosis, patient education and follow-up of emergent and non-emergent disorders encountered in primary care across the lifespan. The course utilizes a systems approach and is delivered through a combination of traditional lectures and problem based learning (PBL) sessions. The topics are synchronized with and correlative to topics in Pathophysiology of Disease II, Pharmacology II, Physical Diagnosis II and Clinical Laboratory and Diagnostics II. Organ systems covered in Clinical Medicine II include: Hematology/Oncology (Liquid Malignancies), Gastroenterology, Urology/Nephrology, Endocrinology, Rheumatology, Psychiatry, Neurology, and Oncology Medicine. At the end of each organ system students will engage in critical thinking and integration of clinical concepts exercises through problem based learning.

    • PAS 614 - Pharmacology II (2 Credits)

      This course is designed to prepare the student for the clinical study of therapeutics by providing knowledge of the manner in which drugs modify biological function. It includes a systematic study of the effects of drugs on different organ systems and disease processes, the mechanisms by which drugs produce their therapeutic and toxic effects, and the factors influencing their absorption, distribution and biological actions. The course consists of a combination of lectures and problem based learning (PBL) sessions. The topics are synchronized with and correlative to topics in Clinical Medicine II, Pathophysiology of Disease II and Clinical Laboratory and Diagnostics II.

    • PAS 616 - Physical Diagnosis II (4 Credits)

      This is a course where the student develops a systems based approach to performing a full physical examination and critical thinking skills enabling them to formulate differential diagnoses and treatment plans. The course content has been synchronized and integrated with correlative content in Pathophysiology of Disease II, Clinical Pharmacology II, Clinical Laboratory and Diagnostics II and Clinical Medicine I to maximize student learning. Students will receive instruction through lectures and actively participate in labs where they interact with, interview and examine standardized patients. Students are primarily assessed by Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE); where they will interview and examine a standardized patient then document and present their findings to course instructors.

    • PAS 618 - Clinical Laboratory and Diagnostics II (2 Credits)

      This course is the second of a two part series where the student receives instruction in medical laboratory and radiographic studies used in the diagnosis and management of common disorders of the major body systems. It also provides the rationale for the selection, utilization and interpretation of clinical laboratory, imaging and other diagnostic tests used to evaluate each system's principal functions. The topics are synchronized with and correlative to topics in Clinical Medicine II, Pathophysiology of Disease II and Pharmacology II

    • PAS 620 - Evidence Based Medicine II (2 Credits)

      This is the second course of a three part series that where the basic principles of utilizing research evidence in clinical practice are expounded on. Course I focused on developing efficient strategies for searching and using available databases to access evidence-based journals and medical literature. Students also acquired the skill of formulating an answerable research question. Course II will provide students with the requisite knowledge and skills to appropriately interpret and critically appraise research studies of intervention, harm, diagnosis and prognosis in an efficient manner. After appraising the study students will be able to determine if the information is valid and how it will affect the care of the patient. Course III will offer instruction on medical writing as students start to develop the foundation of their graduate research project.

    • PAS 624 - Cultural Issues in Healthcare (1 Credit)

      This course enhances the understanding of culture and its relationship to health, health disparities, disease incidence and prevalence for specific communities and/or ethnic groups. It will also explore historical factors that might shape the health behaviors, beliefs, folk practices, ethnopharmacology, and communication practices of specific communities. Students will be challenged to discover the effect of bias and stereotyping on the delivery of healthcare. Upon completion of this course the student will develop an understanding and value the importance of providing culturally competent healthcare.

    • PAS 625 - Interprofessional Seminar III: Teams and Teamwork (NC)

      Physician Assistants must successfully function in a health care environment that effectively utilizes the resources and knowledge offered by each member of the healthcare team in the delivery of patient centered care. Successful inter-professional collaborative practice results in improvement in quality, reduction in cost, optimization of efficiency; ultimately achieving the best possible patient outcomes. These seminars will provide the Physician Assistant student opportunities to apply the principles of inter-professional collaborative practice to clinical scenarios while interacting with students from other healthcare disciplines such as nursing, health and exercise science, occupational therapy, marriage and family therapy and health administration.

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    • Semester 4 Spring

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      • PAS 612 - Clinical Medicine III (6 Credits)

        This course integrates the epidemiology, risk factors (including genetics, as applicable), pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, history and physical findings, laboratory and diagnostic tests, differential diagnosis, therapeutic management, possible complications, prevention measures, prognosis, patient education and follow-up of emergent and non-emergent disorders encountered across the lifespan in primary care. Students will apply knowledge obtained in Clinical Medicine I and II to specific populations and clinical situations. It is delivered through a combination of traditional lectures and problem based learning (PBL) sessions. Topics covered in Clinical Medicine III: Surgery, Geriatrics, Pediatrics, Infectious Disease Part II, and Emergency Medicine. Throughout each module students will engage in critical thinking and integration of clinical concepts exercises through problem based learning.

      • PAS 626 - Advanced Clinical Pharmacotherapeutics (2 Credits)

        This course provides the opportunity to acquire advanced knowledge and skills in the therapeutic use of pharmacologic agents. The pharmacologic treatment of complex health problems will be explored. It is designed to facilitate the process of teambuilding by making basic knowledge in pharmacology “come alive” in structured case studies. Thus the didactic lecture material taught in Pharmacology I and Pharmacology II will be expanded, reinforced, and made practical through the team based/problem based learning method. Additionally, students will administer medications using patient simulators and will observe the clinical response

      • PAS 627 - Clinical Skills and Procedures (4 Credits)

        This course is designed to introduce students to essential procedures and skills necessary for primary care practice such as phlebotomy; injection techniques; splinting; suturing and more. Students will participate in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support Certification training during this course. Students will demonstrate competence through written and practical evaluations.

      • PAS 628 - Behavioral Medicine (2 Credits)

        Behavioral Medicine is a course that aims to develop and integrate behavioral, psychosocial, and biomedical science knowledge and techniques relevant to the understanding of health and illness, and the application of this knowledge and these techniques to prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation across the lifespan. It includes the following topics as they pertain to human behavior: children and adolescent health, aging, chronic pain, death, dying and loss, domestic violence, eating disorders, environmental health, human sexuality, HIV/AIDS, obesity, public health, quality of life, rehabilitation, sexually transmitted diseases, stress, substance abuse (alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs) and women's health.

      • PAS 621 - Evidence Based Medicine III (2 Credits)

        This is the second course of a three part series that where the basic principles of utilizing research evidence in clinical practice are expounded on. Course I focused on developing efficient strategies for searching and using available databases to access evidence-based journals and medical literature. Students also acquired the skill of formulating an answerable research question. Course II will provide students with the requisite knowledge and skills to appropriately interpret and critically appraise research studies of intervention, harm, diagnosis and prognosis in an efficient manner. After appraising the study students will be able to determine if the information is valid and how it will affect the care of the patient. Course III will offer instruction on medical writing as students start to develop the foundation of their graduate research project.

      • PAS 629 - Ethics, Law and Social Justice in Medicine (1 Credit)

        This is a highly interactive course where principles of ethics and the law are discussed followed by case simulations that illustrate where social determinants of health (i.e. access to justice), ethics and the law intersect. Students will explore their roles and responsibilities as healthcare providers and discover how interdisciplinary collaboration is key for effective advocacy and changes in health policy that address health disparities and social injustice.

      • PAS 630 - Interprofessional Seminar IV:  Ethics and Values (NC)

        This is a highly interactive course where principles of ethics and the law are discussed followed by case simulations that illustrate where social determinants of health (i.e. access to justice), ethics and the law intersect. Students will explore their roles and responsibilities as healthcare providers and discover how interdisciplinary collaboration is key for effective advocacy and changes in health policy that address health disparities and social injustice.

      • Clinical Phase

        TOTAL CREDITS CLINICAL PHASE - 45

        Semester V Summer, Semester VI Fall, Semester VII Spring

      • PAS 700 - Graduate Research Project (NC)

        The graduate research project is a requirement for graduation. Students may choose one of two options for the graduate research project. The first option is a three part individual graduate research project which entails: a written case report, a literature review related to the case report, and an oral presentation of the case and key findings of the literature review. The second option is a collaborative graduate research project where a small group of students (three students maximum) identify a health disparity in a specific community; conduct a literature review on the subject matter, design, and implement a community health initiative. The report (written and oral presentation) includes a literature review, a description of the project and its outcomes.

      • PAS 701 - Behavioral and Mental Health (5 Credits)

        This five week clinical course introduces the student to Behavioral and Mental Health where the student is exposed to common psychiatric/behavioral conditions treated by health care providers specializing in Behavioral and Mental Health in conjunction with other members of the health care team. Emphasis is placed on further developing and refining the students’ skills in taking a history and performing a physical exam, ordering and interpreting laboratory/diagnostic tests, synthesizing information in establishing a diagnosis, formulating and implementing a cost-effective treatment plan, and promoting patient education in both outpatient and inpatient behavioral and mental health settings.

      • PAS 702 - Emergency Medicine (5 Credits)

        This clinical course introduces the student to Emergency Medicine where the student, with supervision, receives experience in triage, stabilization, in-depth exposure to traumatic illnesses, injuries and surgical scenarios that necessitate emergent care for patients across the life span. Emphasis is placed on the proper evaluation and management of life-threatening illness and injury by refining the students’ skills in taking a history and performing a physical exam, ordering and interpreting laboratory/diagnostic tests, synthesizing information in establishing a diagnosis, learning proper disposition of patients and performing lifesaving techniques in an emergency department setting.

      • PAS 703 - Family Medicine (5 Credits)

        This five week clinical course introduces students to the Family Medicine setting where they will experience the continuity, comprehensiveness, complexity, context, and coordination of care across the life span provided by Family Medicine clinicians in conjunction with other members of the health care team. Emphasis is placed on further developing and refining the students’ skills in taking a history and performing a physical exam, ordering and interpreting laboratory/diagnostic tests, synthesizing information in establishing a diagnosis, formulating and implementing a cost-effective treatment plan and promoting patient education in an outpatient family medicine setting.

      • PAS 704 - General Surgery (5 Credits)

        This is a five week clinical course where students are introduced to General Surgery. With supervision, the student is provided with practical experience in the evaluation and management of major and minor surgical problems. Emphasis is given on the longitudinal management and care of the surgical patient. Students will have the opportunity to follow patients in the preoperative confirmation of clinical impressions through history taking, appropriate physical examination, ordering and interpreting laboratory/diagnostic tests. Subsequently, students will further develop their surgical skills and experience basic operating room procedure during the intra-operative care of the patient. Finally, the student will participate in the post-operative management of the patient. The student will develop an increased understanding of how to effectively communicate and function as an integral member of the surgical team.

      • PAS 705 - Internal Medicine (5 Credits)

        This is a five week clinical course where students will be assigned to the inpatient medical/hospitalist service. The purpose of the Internal Medicine rotation is to provide the student with practical clinical experience in working with the hospitalized patients with acute or chronic diseases that are routinely seen by internists. Under the supervision of a licensed provider, students will participate in a wide variety of inpatient care activities. Medical history review, physical examination, diagnostic testing, and management are emphasized, as is the importance of functioning on a multidisciplinary team.

      • PAS 706 - Pediatrics (5 Credits)

        This is a five week clinical course where students are assigned to private practice offices or to community health centers where they will participate in the care of pediatric/adolescent patients. Through supervised exposure to patients in a pediatric/adolescent practice setting, students are given the opportunity to become familiar with the parameters of normal growth and development, newborn assessment, immunizations schedules, and the evaluation and management of common problems in the pediatric/adolescent population. Students will participate in well child/adolescent preventive care as well as in the evaluation of acute and chronic pediatric/adolescent illnesses. In addition, the students will advocate parental counseling regarding immunizations, preventive health care visits, growth and development, nutrition, and common psychosocial problems.

      • PAS 707 - Women’s Health (5 Credits)

        This clinical course introduces the student to the Women’s Health setting where the students, with supervision, will participate in routine well-woman screening and examinations, family planning and birth control, recognition and treatment of sexually transmitted disease, the evaluation of common gynecologic problems, cancer detection and prevention, and prenatal care. Exposure and participation in the surgical management of gynecological and obstetrical concerns may also be provided. Emphasis is placed on further developing and refining the students’ skills in taking a history; performing a physical exam; ordering and interpreting laboratory/diagnostic tests; synthesizing information in establishing a diagnosis; and formulating and implementing a cost-effective treatment plan and promoting patient education in a Women’s Health setting.

      • PAS 708 - Orthopedics (5 Credits)

        This clinical course introduces the student to the Orthopedic setting where the student is exposed to common injuries and disorders treated by Orthopedic practitioners (Physicians, board-certified and licensed, Physician Assistants (PA), and/or other health care providers) in conjunction with other members of the health care team and their application to community practice. Emphasis is placed on further developing and refining the students’ skills in taking a history and performing a physical exam, ordering and interpreting laboratory/diagnostic tests, synthesizing information in establishing a diagnosis, formulating and implementing a cost-effective treatment plan and promoting patient education.

      • PAS 709 - Elective (5 Credits)

        These are 5 week clinical courses in any medical or surgical subspecialty where the Pfeiffer University Master of Science Physician Assistant Studies Program has fully executed affiliation agreements. Students are encouraged to select specialties that will augment clinical knowledge applicable to the primary medical care setting. Students who are participating in scholarly concentration tracks will complete two electives in their field of study. These rotations must be approved by the student’s Academic Advisor and the Program Director

TOTAL CREDITS FOR THE PROGRAM - 115