Students dressed in PPE practice their skills with a manikin

PA Clinical Experience

The primary goal of the clinical year is to provide students with supervised hands-on clinical training in a variety of settings. Prior to the start of the clinical year, students will complete one week of orientation activities followed by 10 months of clinical training.


Students in the Physician Assistant (PA) program will rotate through four core two-month rotations during their clinical year in the following curricular areas:

  • Emergency medicine
  • Family medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • Surgery

General surgery, and internal medicine can be split into two four-week experiences. However, it is required that there is a minimum of four weeks of general surgery and four weeks of general internal medicine. We allow this flexibility to ensure students have the opportunity for experience in a subspecialty within these areas if it is of interest to them.

Students are also required to complete a two-month elective or two one-month electives as their final clinical rotation. This elective rotation can be a repeat of one of the core rotations or in a specialty of interest to the student. Clinical rotations are located primarily in Wisconsin; however, some sites are in Minnesota, Illinois and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Very few sites are located in the city of Madison.

All students are required to complete one rotation at a rural site or with an underserved population. The order of rotations will vary by student during the clinical year.

Students also have the opportunity to take part in international rotations.

At the end of each two-month rotation, students are required to return to campus and successfully complete end-of-rotation activities, which include Physician Assistant Education Association end-of-rotation exams, history and physical examinations on standardized patients, clinical skills workshops and lectures/workshops as part of the professional seminar and capstone course.

Curriculum Overview Electives