The DeSales University Physician Assistant program has a graduation rate exceeding both the regional and national averages.

Medical Studies is an intensive, “honors” type program that completes the undergraduate requirements in three years and leads directly without further application to the two year Physician Assistant Program.  This is designed for high-achieving students who are confident of their career choice and enjoy the challenge of rigorous scientific studies.  The curriculum has at least 18 credit hours per semester and is closely monitored by their advisor, a PA Program faculty member, so that the student receives all the required courses.

The deadline to complete your application file for the Medical Studies major is December 15.
All interviews must be completed by January 15.



Students are encouraged to apply early in their senior year.  The student must first be accepted by the University and identify themselves as interested in the Medical Studies major.  If minimum GPA and SAT/ACT requirements are met, an interview is then scheduled with the PA Program.  The deadline for application to the Medical Studies major is December 15 and all interviews must be completed by January 15.  The PA Program faculty individually select all candidates for this major and, once in the program, a seat in the graduate PA Program is reserved for the student.  Candidates are selected based on their academic record, their motivation for health care, and their potential for future growth.  DeSales University welcomes applications from all qualified students regardless of race, religion, sex, national or ethnic origin. 

There is no single, preferred high school course of study or specific classes required, but a college preparatory curriculum is highly recommended. 

To continue in the Medical Studies major, the student must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in the required sciences and overall each semester.  To matriculate in their senior year to the PA Program, the student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 overall and in the required sciences and have completed at least 250 healthcare hours.  If the GPA requirement is not met in any semester, the student is placed on probation.  The second time this is not met the student loses his/her guaranteed seat in the PA Program and must change into another major.  If the student still wishes to pursue the PA degree at DeSales University, transition into the BA in Biology major is recommended and application to the Master’s PA Program in their senior year through CASPA is necessary. 

Learn more about the Graduate Program

DeSales Physician Assistant Program News

DeSales Physician Assistant Team Wins State Challenge Bowl

by User Not Found | Oct 21, 2011
DeSales students Jess Bowell, Tracy Gould, Melissa Yorty, and Allyse Barlow show off their lucky crayon after winning the 2011 PSPA State Challenge Bowl.

For the second consecutive time, students from the DeSales University Physician Assistant (PA) program won the State Chal

lenge Bowl, held by the Pennsylvania Society Physician Assistants (PSPA) on Friday, October 21, in Erie, Pennsylvania. 

In this highly competitive event, teams compete against one another in a medical question and answer format. In the last round, DeSales won 70 to 10 points against the runner-up Duquesne University. Other teams that competed were: Seton Hill University, Salus University, Chatham University, Saint Francis University, Gannon University, Lock Haven University, Pittsburgh University, and Philadelphia University. In addition to last year’s win, DeSales won the State Challenge Bowl consecutively from 2000 – 2006. 

Members of this year’s team were graduate students Allyse Barlow from Easton, Pa., Jessica Bowell from Trafford, Pa., and Tracy Gould from Skowhegan, Maine. Melissa Yorty from Northampton, Pa., was the team alternate. DeSales academic coordinator and assistant professor Kathleen L. Ehrhardt, MMS, PA-C, has been the faculty advisor for this year’s DeSales Challenge Bowl team. In May, the team will go to the National Medical Challenge Bowl in Toronto. DeSales has previously won 5 National titles, three of which were consecutive. 

Physician Assistants are licensed medical professionals who work under the supervision of licensed physicians. They practice in both general and specialty medicine and surgery, and perform routine duties normally reserved for physicians. 

There are a total of 148 Physician Assistant Programs in the nation, with 16 of those accredited programs being located in Pennsylvania. The highly regarded PA Program at DeSales first admitted students in 1997. Since its inception, a total of 12 classes have graduated from the DeSales PA Program. Graduates of the program have consistently ranked first in the nation in the national standardized in-training examination known as the PACKRAT (Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating Assessment Test). Currently, 100% of DeSales PA graduates pass the board. 

For more information, contact Kathleen Ehrhardt, academic coordinator and assistant professor of the Physcian Assistant Program, at 610-282-1100, ext. 1483. 

--Kara Moran ’13

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The DeSales Free Clinic at the Allentown Rescue Mission

The DeSales Free Clinic at the Allentown Rescue Mission opened in January 2007 in an effort to bring healthcare to the homeless. The clinic is staffed by DeSales students and faculty and has treated more than 900 patients since it opened. No patient is ever turned away or charged for services, and the operation is run entirely on donations. 

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