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 Faculty Members to Receive PSPA Awards

by Janelle Hill | Sep 27, 2016

The Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA) is honoring two members of the DeSales University faculty. Kathy Ehrhardt, assistant director/academic coordinator of the PA Program, has been named the Physician Assistant Educator of the Year. Nani Cuadrado, assistant professor, will receive the Humanitarian Award.

Kathy Ehrhardt and Her StudentsNeither Ehrhardt (pictured center, in pink, with the PA Class of 2017) nor Cuadrado knew about the nominations, which came as a shock. “The students nominated me so I had no idea this was happening,” says Ehrhardt, who becomes the first faculty member at DeSales to receive the PA Educator of the Year Award. “One day I went into class to teach and they said, ‘we have an announcement.’” 

Cuadrado was nominated by a colleague she had done missionary work with. “I didn't know I was actually nominated,” she says. “I got the letter but I didn't know that a colleague had nominated me and collected all the letters of support. It was a complete surprise.”

The PA Educator of the Year Award honors a physician assistant educator who inspires, stimulates, and challenges students and colleagues through outstanding contributions to PA education and the profession.

Ehrhardt, who joined the faculty in 1997 and also works at the DeSales Free Clinic, was floored by the honor and speechless – something she calls unusual. “I'm having trouble processing the whole thing because I'm not a person who likes to receive adulations for what I do. It's just what I do. It's very overwhelming. It was very humbling to be perfectly honest.”

The PSPA Humanitarian Award honors a physician assistant who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to human rights and exemplifies the PA profession’s philosophy of providing accessible and quality health care to the underserved.

nani-cuadrado-mspas-pa-c1Cuadrado (right) graduated from the DeSales PA Program in 2002. She has traveled to Zambia, Uganda, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Guatemala and feels blessed to have the opportunity to take students abroad. “I'm flattered but in my mind, God gives me opportunities and I am blessed to carry them out,” she says. “I'm flattered but there are many others that are well deserving.”

Both Ehrhardt and Cuadrado will receive their awards at the annual PSPA conference in Pittsburgh on Friday, October 21. For Ehrhardt, it’s perfect timing since the Challenge Bowl, which she coaches, is being held there as well. “It will be a nice luncheon for DeSales faculty,” she says. 

Cuadrado agrees and credits DeSales with allowing faculty to pursue the humanistic part of the University’s mission. “DeSales is doing something right. For an entire state to recognize one small university in Center Valley –we’re very lucky and very blessed.” 

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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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