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

Vena La Pena: Physician Assistant Student Does Clinical Rotation in Peru

by Tom McNamara | Jul 22, 2014

Manchay, Peru

DeSales physician assistant student Anthony Ngo did a clinical rotation in Peru. He wrote a blog about his experiences for any student considering international learning.

Follow Tony's blog here.

And in his own words:

“Vena La Pena” is a phrase that my preceptor in Manchay, Peru taught me during lunch, which roughly translates into “it’s worth it.” The friendly people, the smiles at the clinic, and the experience of a new culture are just few of the reasons why my rotation in Manchay was worthwhile.  The local people welcomed me into their homes to eat, to laugh, to dance, and to be a part of their families.  In their presence, the bleak and dusty landscape of Manchay was replaced with feelings of community and optimism.

Manchay is located on the desert outskirt of Lima, Peru.  It was first a squatter community with wooden shacks built on land never meant for human settlements.  Today, Manchay is developing, but its people continue to face issues of inadequate housing, sanitation, and access to clean water.  It is with the help of many organizations, particularly the Catholic Church, which has helped the city survive and progress.

The people of Peru provided me with new perceptions of the world and medicine that has humbled me.  At the very least, I hope that I put smiles on patients’ faces and aided in the clinical decisions of my preceptors. 

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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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