Clinical Curriculum

During the second year of the PA program, students complete 10 rotations. These clinical experiences are composed of eight required and two elective rotations, and a senior seminar capstone course that runs longitudinally. All students are required to complete at least one of these rotations in a medically underserved area. Reliable transportation is necessary for clinical year students. Clinical year students will return to campus throughout the second year to participate in Call Back days and evaluation exercises as part of the Senior Seminar course. Students will complete 51 course credits for the clinical year. Successful completion of the clinical year includes demonstrating achievement of all clinical year benchmarks, course requirements, learning outcomes, and program summative assessments. Successful demonstration of all clinical year course elements and competencies, as well as successful completion of program summative assessments.

Clinical Year Example Schedule

Clinical Year Schedule

Duke PA program has over 200 clinical sites located in the state of North Carolina, with limited out-of-state opportunities. Faculty clinical coordinators match each student with a schedule that best meets each student’s learning needs and elicits input from each student about their elective and rotation preferences. Students should plan to be out of the local area for a minimum of two rotations and housing is provided for rotations greater than 50 miles from the PA Program.

Assigned Clinical Experiences

Prospective and enrolled students are not expected to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors for their clinical training.  All clinical sites and preceptors are evaluated and approved by the PA Program faculty.  Students may suggest clinical sites or preceptors to faculty for consideration of new site development.  All students must adhere to assigned clinical and patient experiences in both the preclinical and clinical years of the program.   

Technology in the Clinical Year

Clinical year schedules and objectives can be accessed via the web for all second-year students. On each rotation, students are required to log each patient care experience using a web-based program. Web-based end of rotation exams are given at the conclusion of each required rotation. Students will also be required to complete evaluations of each clinical rotation site.

Courses of Instruction

Refer to the Bulletin of the School of Medicine for full course descriptions.

Required Clinical Courses

  • PHYASST 299. Bridge: The Path to Patient Care
  • PHYASST 300A and 300B. Primary Care 1 & 2
  • PHYASST 305. Evidence-Based Practice II
  • PHYASST 310. Behavioral Medicine
  • PHYASST 320A and 320B. Internal Medicine 1 & 2
  • PHYASST 340. Principles of Surgery
  • PHYASST 350. Emergency Medicine
  • PHYASST 360. Pediatrics
  • PHYASST 370. Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • PHYASST 390. Practice and the Health System III

Elective Clinical Courses

In addition to the above required core rotations, each student is required to complete two electives that can be chosen from among the following rotations. All are four weeks long. Each of these electives is 4 credits.

General Electives

  • PHYASST 300E. Primary Care
    Topics include 1) Family Medicine or 2) Urgent Care 3) Healthcare for the Homeless
  • PHYASST 301. Occupational Medicine

  • PHYASST 302. Geriatrics

  • PHYASST 303. Global Health (International)

  • PHYASST 306. Integrative Medicine

  • PHYASST 307. Medical Informatics

  • PHYASST 309.  Public Health & Healthcare in Cuba

  • PHYASST 310E. Behavioral Medicine
    Topics include 1) General Behavioral Medicine or 2) Pediatric Behavioral Medicine
  • PHYASST 311. Clinical Research
  • PHYASST 312. Community Health
    Topics include 1) General, 2) Service-Learning
  • PHYASST 313. LGBTQ Health
  • PHYASST 320E. Internal Medicine
    Topics include 1) Inpatient Internal Medicine or 2) Outpatient Internal Medicine
  • PHYASST 340E. General Surgery
  • PHYASST 350E. Emergency Medicine
  • PHYASST 360E. Pediatrics
    Topics include 1) Inpatient pediatrics or 2) Outpatient pediatrics
  • PHYASST 370E. Obstetrics/Gynecology


  • PHYASST 371. Maternal/Fetal Medicine
  • PHYASST 372.  Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility


  • PHYASST 321. Cardiology
  • PHYASST 322. Dermatology
  • PHYASST 323. Endocrinology
  • PHYASST 324. Pain Medicine
  • PHYASST 325. Hematology/Oncology
    Topics include 1) general hematology-oncology, 2)  breast oncology, 3) gynecological oncology, 4) neuro-oncology or 5) hematologic malignancies and bone marrow transplant.
  • PHYASST 327. Infectious Diseases
    Topics include 1) general infectious disease or 2) HIV.
  • PHYASST 328. Gastroenterology
  • PHYASST 329. Palliative Care
  • PHYASST 331. Nephrology
  • PHYASST 332. Neurology
  • PHYASST 333. Pulmonary Medicine
  • PHYASST 334. Rheumatology
  • PHYASST 336. Medical ICU
  • PHYASST 337. Coronary Care Unit
  • PHYASST 338. Radiology
    Topics include 1) general radiology, 2) interventional radiology or 3) neuroradiology


  • PHYASST 381. Ophthalmology


  • PHYASST 308. Pediatric Healthy Lifestyles Program
  • PHYASST 339. Genetics
  • PHYASST 361. Pediatric Cardiology
  • PHYASST 362. Pediatric Surgery/Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • PHYASST 363. Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
  • PHYASST 364. Pediatric Allergy/Respiratory
  • PHYASST 365. Pediatric Endocrinology
  • PHYASST 366. Pediatric Infectious Disease
  • PHYASST 367. Intensive Care Nursery
    Topics include 1) Neonatal intensive care unit or 2) pediatric intensive care unit
  • PHYASST 368. Pediatric Emergency Medicine
  • PHYASST 369. Pediatric Orthopedics


  • PHYASST 341. Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • PHYASST 342. Otolaryngology
  • PHYASST 343. Neurosurgery
  • PHYASST 344. Orthopedics
    Topics include 1) General orthopedics or 2) Hospitalist orthopedics
  • PHYASST 345. Plastic Surgery
  • PHYASST 346. Sports Medicine
  • PHYASST 347. Urology
    Topics include 1) General Urology, 2) Urogynecology
  • PHYASST 348. Pre-Operative Screening Unit
  • PHYASST 349. Surgical Oncology
  • PHYASST 352. Trauma
  • PHYASST 353. Surgical ICU
    Topics include 1) surgical intensive care unit or 2) cardiothoracic intensive care unit
  • PHYASST 354. Vascular Surgery
  • PHYASST 355. Transplant Surgery

As a complement to the clinical rotations, students must complete courses in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) prior to beginning the clinical year.

Visiting Students

Limited opportunities for clinical year rotations are available to non-Duke PA students. A complete application must be submitted at least 180 days in advance of a requested rotation.  More information is available on the Visiting Students page.