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 Students Participate in Mass Casualty Training

by Katherine Bortz '15 | Oct 27, 2013
DeSales students participate in an emergency drill.Students treat a "victim" outside of Dooling Hall during the University's mass casualty drill. Nursing and physician assistant students cooperated with local EMS providers. (Photo by Amy Herzog '10)

On Sunday, October 27, DeSales University hosted a mock emergency event—the aftermath of a school shooting.

The simulation, set in and outside of the main classroom building of the University’s Center Valley Campus, focused on the triage and treatment of multiple victims of a mock tragedy.

“While the DeSales University Police Department was involved in the coordination of the event, this was not a police exercise to disarm or disable a person with a weapon,” said Steven Marshall, DeSales University Chief of Police. “The simulation was for the treatment of victims.”

Marshall had also ordered that no live weapons were to be carried by anyone other than DeSales University police during the drill.

The simulation will help develop the skills of the students who are in the University’s nursing and physician assistant programs as well as DeSales’ student-run emergency medical service (EMS).

Working with the University, Lehigh Valley Health Network set up a mobile triage center in the Dooling Hall parking lot. Students learned how to treat patients in a field hospital setting, extending their skills beyond what they learn in a traditional classroom.

Dr. Mary Ellen Miller, associate professor of nursing states “sadly, these events are becoming far too commonplace in our nation. A simulation exercise such as this drill prepares our students to quickly assess, triage, and provide pre-hospital care to victims. This experience is something you can not provide in a classroom setting.”

Members of the DeSales community and students from the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts acted as victims of the simulated mass casualty event. They were triaged and treated according to their assigned injuries, which were created through the use of theatrical make-up.

In addition to the DeSales EMS team, local EMS organizations that also participated include the Upper Saucon Township Ambulance Corps; Cetronia, Macungie, Hellertown, Emmaus, and the City of Bethlehem EMS; and the student-run EMS of Villanova University.

At the completion of the drill, a debriefing discussion was held to review the strengths and weaknesses of the event, which will assist in planning for future drills.

“It’s one thing to go in and take your classes and take your exams and graduate,” said Dennis Rasley, emergency services specialist and controller for the event. “We’re providing them with real-world experiences while they’re in an educational setting.”

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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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