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Medical Studies to Physician Assistant (3+2 year program), Bachelor's , Master's


The Medical Studies Major at DeSales is 3+2 Program that will prepare you to become a Physician Assistant (PA) in 5 years.

Starting as a Medical Studies major, you'll have the opportunity to automatically transition into the PA program during your fourth year of study.

This fast-paced program is an intensive course of study that requires a minimum of 18 credit hours per semester. Designed for high-achieving students, this "honors"-type program is ideal for students confident in their career choice who enjoy the challenge of rigorous scientific studies.

DeSales Simulation Lab
The PA Program's graduate curriculum is 24 months in length. The first 12 months of the program emphasize didactic instruction, while the clinical year consists of nine, five-week rotations.

Video: Learn More

Admissions Requirements

At DeSales, we not only look at your past academic achievement but also your potential for future growth to determine your admission.

We find that students who have demonstrated significant achievement within a demanding curriculum are best suited for academic life at DeSales. Quality of academic performance plays a critical role in the admissions decision making process. This helps indicate a student's potential for academic growth going forward. We welcome applications from all qualified students regardless of race, religion, sex, national, or ethnic origin.

Application Checklist

  • Application Fee: None
  • Transcripts: Official High School Transcript
  • Standardized Tests: Test-optional, however, an Admissions Interview may be requested
  • Recommendations: Completed Guidance Counselor Form and Teacher Recommendation Form
  • Please refer to the Program Specific Requirements section for any requirements specific to this program

All materials can be mailed to:
DeSales University Admissions Office
2755 Station Ave.
Center Valley, PA 

* SAT scores are highly recommended for students applying for the Nursing and Health Science programs. Please refer to the Program Specific Requirements section for any requirements specific to this program.

Additional recommendations

High School Academics - Remember, there is no single preferred high school academic program, but a college preparatory course of study is highly recommended. Here's an example:

  • Four years of English
  • Three or four years of college preparatory mathematics
  • A minimum of two years of modern, foreign, or classical language
  • At least two laboratory science courses

Visiting DeSales - A personal, on-campus interview is strongly recommended, but is not required. We encourage you to visit so that you'll have a chance to learn more about DeSales, and we'll have the opportunity to learn more about you, too.

Learn more about Undergraduate Admissions & Aid 

When to Apply

We encourage you to apply early in your senior year. We use a rolling admissions system, which means you will be notified promptly about your admissions status—usually within four weeks of our receipt of your completed application.

The application deadline for the Medical Studies program is December 15 of your senior year.

Priority deadline for scholarship consideration is December 1 of your senior year.


Program Specific Requirements

Please note: the Medical Studies (3+2 PA) Program requires a two step admissions process which includes academic acceptance to the University followed by an interview with the Medical Studies Program for qualified applicants.

Academic Requirements

  • A 3.4 cumulative, unweighted GPA is required to qualify for an interview.


Coursework in the program includes meeting the requirements for the undergraduate Medical Studies program during your first three years. In your fourth year, you will begin taking graduate level coursework.

With the way our program is structured, you learn the entire spectrum of disease processes rather than learning about diseases in different classes at different times.

The DeSales MSPAS is a rigorous, fulfilling program supported by many distinct advantages:

  • Technologically advanced training and learning facilities
  • Curriculum fully integrated in clinical medicine, pathophysiology, and pharmacology
  • Winners of the Pennsylvania Medical Challenge Bowl eleven times
  • Clinical year (year two) consists of nine, five-week rotations
  • Labs are shared with nursing students to replicate a real world healthcare delivery setting
  • PANCE rates that are consistently above the national average

Our MSPAS will not only prepare you for the PANCE (national certifying exam) but also to assume your role as a practicing, caring physician assistant.


At DeSales, replicating authentic healthcare delivery environments is critical to successful learning and skills application.

To further this approach, most of our clinic-like facilities and labs are shared with our acclaimed nursing program students. You study and practice in state-of-the-art healthcare settings that emulate actual clinical facilities with your peers—other student healthcare colleagues.

The Area's Only Gross Anatomy Lab

Gross Anatomy Lab
Complete with cadavers, our Gross Anatomy Laboratory enhances the training of physician assistant students, giving them a real understanding of the human body. Most physician assistant programs only have cadaver labs if they are associated with medical schools. However, because DeSales has the only cadaver lab in the region, we offer opportunities for shared use in partnership with area hospitals. New donors are provided so that our PA students have first dissections.

Healthcare Simulation Lab

Simulation Lab
Patient simulation technology has come a long way in recent years, and DeSales University has invested in advanced technological simulators that allow students to perform various medical procedures while receiving real-time feedback in much the same way they would from a human patient. The simulators breathe, have a pulse, have eyes that dilate, and can react to various drugs. Our "sim lab" features four adult simulators, including one that gives birth to an infant simulator, and three pediatric simulators, including two babies and one 6-year-old.

Standardized Patient Area

standardized patient lab
The Gambet Center also features a Standardized Patient Area—a clinic-style suite that mimics a functioning healthcare office, complete with a waiting room and fully equipped examination rooms. Standardized patients are people who are specially trained to act as patients for the instruction, practice, and assessment of the medical examination skills of healthcare students. They will be evaluated by DeSales physician assistant and nursing students and provide feedback.

The Gambet Center

The facility features simulation laboratories to mirror clinical scenarios specific to adult, pediatric, and birthing care for undergraduate and graduate healthcare degree programs.  

Tour the Gambet Center

Careers & Internships

The PA profession is one of the fastest growing healthcare careers nationwide and was recently ranked as a top five healthcare job by U.S. News & World Report. 

With career growth and longevity projected, where you study and earn your master's degree matters. We believe that DeSales MSPAS graduates are a unique, compassionate breed of Physician Assistants. 

Tuition & Fees

DeSales can help make your college expenses affordable through a combination of grants, loans, student employment, and scholarship resources.

View a comprehensive list of financial aid forms and undergraduate program information sheets

Cost of attendance for undergrads for 2023-2024


Resident Students

Direct Costs
Tuition - $43,000
Room and Board - $13,800
Mandatory Fees - $1,800
One-time Orientation Fee for First-Year students and Transfers - $200
Total = $58,800 (including first-year/transfer fees)

Estimated Indirect Costs
Books/Supplies - $1,711
Personal Expenses - $4,605
Total cost for resident students: $65,116

Commuter Students

Direct Costs
Tuition - $43,000
Mandatory Fees - $1,400
One-time Orientation Fee for First-Year students and Transfers - $200
Total = $44,600 (including first-year/transfer fees)

Estimated Indirect Costs
Books/Supplies - $1,711
Personal Expenses - $4,605
Transportation Costs - $1,908
Living Expenses - $2,298
Total cost for commuter students: $55,122


Direct Costs
Tuition - $43,000
Mandatory Fees - $1,400
One-time Orientation Fee for First-Year students and Transfers - $200
Total = $44,600 (including first-year/transfer fees)

Estimated Indirect Costs
Books/Supplies - $1,711
Personal Expenses - $4,605
Transportation Costs - $1,908
Living Expenses - $9,192
Total cost for off-campus students: $62,016
*First-year students are required to reside on campus or commute from home.

Parking Fee - $100

View a comprehensive list of financial aid forms and undergraduate program information sheets

Dual Degree Undergraduate-to-Graduate Programs

If you are enrolled in an undergraduate-to-graduate degree program — for example a 5-year, 3+2, 3+3, program — the undergraduate tuition and fees apply only to the undergraduate portion of the program. As you progress into the graduate phase of your program, graduate tuition and fees apply. Please see your respective graduate program for more information. 

The financial aid process may appear overwhelming at first glance, but don't worry, we'll help you through it.

Accepted students are automatically considered for scholarships upon receipt of a completed application and are awarded regardless of financial need. Funds for scholarships are limited, so we do encourage students to apply early.

Our comprehensive financial aid packages carefully explain the types and amounts of assistance —including federal, state, and institutional — that you may be eligible for to help cover education related expenses.

Total cost of attendance includes estimates for tuition, fees, room, board, books, and personal, transportation, and living expenses.

You can estimate your total cost of attendance with our Net Price Calculator


International Opportunities

The DeSales University physician assistant program is proud to offer 5-week elective international rotations and 1-week mission trips.

Please note all international rotations are subject to change, and are not guaranteed at this time, based on COVID-19 restrictions.

Five-week rotations are offered in Tanzania, Africa and Manchay, Peru.  One-week mission trips are also offered. 
These experiences are offered in support of the DeSales University mission, “to enrich the human community and enhance the dignity of the individual through its educational endeavors.” Because of increasing interest in global health, the DeSales University physician assistant program believes it is vital to offer structured, streamlined, educationally sound, ethically-responsible experiences for students to learn about medical care in developing country settings.

5-Week Rotation: Manchay, Peru
Sudents work at the Centro Médico de Manchay, a semi-desert area of hills outside of the Peruvian capital. It is home to 80,000 people, mainly poor indigenous migrants from the highlands, 55% of whom are living in absolute poverty. In the clinic, students will have the opportunity to work in many areas: pediatrics, psychiatry, physical therapy, outpatient surgery, urgent care, and dentistry. 

5-Week Rotation: Tanzania, Africa
Students work at two locations, a local dispensary at Lumen Christi Institute in Maji ya Chai and Meru District hospital. In the dispensary, they work with a physician and physician-assistant analogue (called a Clinical Officer), and provide basic primary care to local villagers. At the hospital, which serves a population of 300,000, they rotate among many wards: diabetes, mother/baby, pediatric, general medicine, HIV, surgery, and dental. The hospital offers primary diagnostic services like x-rays, ultrasound and laboratory services as well 2 operating theatres.

1-Week Mission Trip
Students may have the opportunity to participate in various mission trips with healthcare providers.  

What You'll Learn Abroad
More importantly than simply learning about how medicine is practiced in a different environment, DeSales physician assistant students who participate in the international experiences will learn the following:

  • The relationship between health and the social determinants of health
  • Barriers to health and healthcare in low-resource settings
  • Major causes of morbidity and mortality in the region in which they are working
  • Healthcare delivery strategies in low-resource settings
  • Cultural and ethical issues in working with underserved populations
  • Adaptability of clinical skills and practice in a resource-constrained environment
  • Humility, flexibility, professionalism, and cultural sensitivity when working within a different healthcare context
DeSales PA students in Tanzania DeSales PA students Rachel Sverchek and Julia Krakauer on clinical rotation in Tanzania.

ARC-PA Accreditation

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the DeSales University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by  DeSales  University. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be June 2027. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

The program's accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at

Visit ARC-PA


The DeSales PA program excels at PANCE preparation, with a near-perfect first-time pass rate since the program began

PANCE is the only exam given to graduating physician assistants and it must be passed in order to be eligible for licensure in all 50 states.

The DeSales MSPAS program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Therefore, when you graduate you are eligible to sit for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certification Examination).

See DeSales' PANCE rates

Contact Us

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS)
Gambet Center