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

Nursing and Physician Assistant Students Work in the Community

by Mary Ellen Miller, Ph.D., R.N. | Sep 23, 2014

Bridging the Gap Poster Presentation, 2014

Faculty and students at the BTG poster presentation at DeSales on September 17, 2014: (from left) Dr. Mary Ellen Miller, academic preceptor and assistant professor of nursing; Madeline Svrcek and Kristen Purkey, nursing majors; Kathy Griffin and James Whittenburg, medical studies majors; Amanda Tarantino, Jennifer Photiades, and Teresa Mainiero, nursing majors; and Ryan Milloy, Kevin Hixson, and Lauren Rice, medical studies majors. Not pictured: Ghamar Bitar and Alex Slaby, medical students from Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, Pa. 


This summer, five DeSales nursing majors, five DeSales medical studies majors, and two medical students from Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, Pa., participated in the Bridging the Gaps (BTG) Community Health Internship.

Interns worked in interdisciplinary teams at several community sites in the Lehigh Valley that serve vulnerable populations. The community partners are Alliance Hall Summer Camp, Casa Guadalupe, Lehigh Valley Health Network Department of Community Health, The Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley, and The Aids Activities Office.  Students presented their internship projects at two poster symposiums—one in Philadelphia on September 12, and one at DeSales University on September 17.

BTG is a paid seven-week interdisciplinary community-based summer internship program that helps students gain a broader understanding of the factors that affect health in urban communities. BTG matches student interns with non-profit community partners in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. Students' projects are designed in collaboration with the community organizations based on community-defined needs and the professional discipline and interests of the students.

Any graduate-level health professions (social work, medical, nursing) student OR undergraduate healthcare professional student who has completed two years of study can apply.

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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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