Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

Selection for a place in the Physician Assistant Program is very competitive

Admission is based on academic achievement, demonstrated high-quality performance in science and/or health care related courses, demonstrated motivation and professional potential, and strong interpersonal skills.

To qualify for admission into the graduate program you must have submitted your application through CASPA — and it must be verified — by December 1 and have completed, or be in the process of completing, all of the following items:

  • Provide CASPA with official transcripts from all colleges attended and three (3) letters of recommendation.

  • A minimum of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or, for international students, the equivalent degree from a foreign institution. Applicants who completed a baccalaureate degree outside the United States must provide official transcript evaluations to CASPA. Transcript evaluations must be performed by a NACES approved credential evaluation service

  • All prerequisite coursework prior to matriculation into the program. Please note: Anatomy & Physiology I, Anatomy & Physiology II and Microbiology must have been taken within five years of applying to the program, unless an applicant has remained clinically active in the health care arena. Inquire with mspas@desales.edu for more information about prerequisite currency requirements. Challenge exams will be considered on an individual basis.

  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) overall and in the sciences.

  • Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and submit official score report to CASPA using the DeSales University Program code 0540.  MCAT scores may be provided in place of the GRE. There is no minimum score requirement for either exam.

  • A minimum of 500 hours of health care experience (paid, volunteer or shadowing). The experience must be completed within the United States due to the wide variety of health care delivery systems around the world. All 500 hours must be completed prior to matriculation into the Program but does not need to be completed before the application is submitted. We recommend having completed at least half of the minimum required hours by the time you submit your application. The most useful health care hours relate to direct patient contact, e.g., working as an EMT, surgical technician, dietitian, campus health center volunteer, Certified Nursing Assistant, pharmacy technician, medical assistant, medical scribe, etc.. Usually, the more diverse an applicant's experience is prior to entering the program, the better equipped he/she is for clinical work. Shadowing of clinically active physician assistants is also encouraged in order for you to gain an understanding of their role. Hours should be documented by a supervisor but official documentation does not need to be provided as a part of the application process.

  • For applicants who completed their baccalaureate degree in a country where English is not the primary language, an official copy of the TOEFL exam must be provided to CASPA or directly to DeSales University. A minimum score of 100 is required for admission.

Additional information:

  • Potentially qualified applicants will be granted a personal interview by invitation only, attempting to ascertain your awareness of the physician assistant role, willingness to work under the supervision of a physician, motivation for pursuing a physician assistant career, interpersonal and oral communication skills, compassion, problem-solving abilities, and dedication to serving individuals in vulnerable populations. 

  • The Physician Assistant Program at DeSales University is a full-time academic program. Advanced placement is not possible. There is no credit awarded for experiential learning. The courses are completed in sequence as listed in the curriculum.

  • Applicants who are alumni of DeSales University will be granted interviews for admission if they meet the minimum requirements for admission, as outlined above.

  • The Admissions Committee takes into consideration an individual's experience working with and/or serving vulnerable or traditionally under-served populations when evaluating his or her application for admission. This is in keeping with DeSales University's mission of Christian Humanism and service to diverse populations.

  • Because DeSales University participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, the Admissions Committee gives special consideration to applicants who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military.


Physician Assistant students: to receive full consideration for the next academic year, your CASPA application must be verified by CASPA no later than December 1.

Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)

DeSales University Information Sessions

Program Information