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

Physician Assistant Program Receives Reaccreditation

by Janelle Hill | Aug 22, 2017

DeSales University’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program has received reaccreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

The program will maintain Accreditation-Continued status for the next 10 years, with the next validation review scheduled for June 2027.

“The success of the accreditation is due to the hard work of the faculty, and we also appreciate the support specifically of Father Leonard [dean of graduate education] and of Karen Walton [provost and vice president for academic affairs],” says Wayne Stuart, director of the physician assistant program and head of the Division of Healthcare.

In order to practice, physician assistants must graduate from an accredited program and pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination. “So if we’re not accredited, none of our students would ever be able to practice as PAs,” says Stuart.

Reaccreditation is a two-year process. Faculty members collected a slew of data — everything from pass rates to how students view the faculty and vice versa.

Stuart; Kathy Ehrhardt, assistant program director; and Bobbie Morici, director of clinical education, then analyzed that data and put it into a self-study.   

Stuart submitted the self-study for review in 2015. Three people from the ARC-PA came to campus for a site visit this past April, after the study had been reviewed and updates were made. “Essentially what they do is verify and validate that what you send in is what you actually are doing,” Stuart says. 

The PA program started in 1997 with just 25 students. Today, it accepts 80 students per year. Looking forward, Stuart has two main goals: to ensure graduates pass the national certifying exam and find jobs, and to enhance the program’s national reputation.

For now, the program is gearing up to welcome its newest students and adapt to the latest changes. “What we need to do is now sit, work with those changes, see how things go, and evaluate that,” says Stuart.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant defines the standards for PA education and evaluating PA educational programs within the territorial United States to ensure their compliance with those standards. The ARC-PA encourages excellence in PA education through its accreditation process by establishing and maintaining standards of quality for educational programs. 

Learn more about the PA program at DeSales »


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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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