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

Student Group Hosting Fundraiser, Mission Trip to El Salvador

by Janelle Hill | Feb 17, 2017


Members of the DeSales University chapter of the Christian Medical & Dental Association (CMDA) will be traveling to El Salvador over spring break to provide medical care to those in need.

Nani Cuadrado, assistant professor in the physician assistant program, will be heading to the Central American nation along with Cat Rojas, a local sex-trafficking survivor who volunteers at Valley Against Sex Trafficking (VAST) alongside Cuadrado, and Georgina Van Norden, a biology major at DeSales.

“I go because it's therapy for me personally,” says Cuadrado. “It reminds me why I became a PA — to work in underserved areas.” She went to El Salvador last year and will be working with the same medical team this time around. They’ll be providing basic medical care and dental care just outside of San Salvador, the capital city. Team members come from all over the United States and contribute in a variety of ways, so medical experience is not required.

Cuadrado helped found the DeSales chapter of CMDA three years ago. It’s the first chapter in the northeast division to be established by physician assistant and nursing students rather than being associated with a medical school. “It's a way to connect students that have an interest in medicine and dentistry and have a heart for God,” she says.

The organization is also hosting a fundraiser to help victims of human trafficking in countries like El Salvador and Mozambique. It’s collecting gently used bras and donations in collaboration with Free the Girls, an international non-profit organization that helps women rescued from trafficking in developing countries rebuild their lives by selling bras in secondhand clothing markets.

“In general in the U.S., the secondhand clothing market is not very profitable,” says Cuadrado. “Abroad, American stuff is so valued. Intimate clothing like bras are really hard to find. So women pay a decent amount of money to have a pretty, colorful bra that is from America.”

The idea for the Bra & A Buck Drive initially came from Rojas. She had heard of organizations that collect bras to help trafficking survivors. After some digging, she and Cuadrado discovered Free the Girls. Things fell into place from there.

“You can't make that stuff up,” says Cuadrado. “When we saw that they actually send them to El Salvador, we got really excited. We already were planning on going. The drive is something that just kind of connected all three groups together.”

Rojas and VAST are also working to collect donations. While she and Cuadrado are in El Salvador, there’s a chance that they could meet up with a Free the Girls team on the ground and learn more about how the organization is helping victims of trafficking build a better life.

Cuadrado is hoping to collect $1,000 and 1,000 bras. The money will help defray shipping costs. Students, faculty, and administrators have all started donating. A student in the PA program also spread the word to sororities at Muhlenberg College. Even Cuadrado’s mother is collecting bras from her bible study. “It's infectious in a good way,” she says.

The Bra & A Buck Drive runs through March 3 at 5:00 p.m. You can drop off gently used bras and donations Tuesday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., outside Cuadrado’s office (room 105) in the Gambet Center.

Or to donate online, visit here.

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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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