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Medical Studies to Physician Assistant (3+2 year program), BS to MSPAS

Overview

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. DeSales University welcomes applications from all qualified students regardless of race, religion, sex, national, or ethnic origin.

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.

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

Important Deadlines

  • DECEMBER 1 - CASPA VERIFICATION
    To receive full consideration into the MSPAS for the next academic year, your CASPA application must be verified by CASPA no later than December 1.
  • DECEMBER 15 - COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION FILE
    The deadline to complete your application file for the Medical Studies major is December 15. 
  • JANUARY 15 - INTERVIEWS COMPLETED
    All interviews must be completed by January 15.
APPLY NOW THROUGH CASPA

CASPA
The DeSales MSPAS is a recognized participating program through CASPA, a service of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA). CASPA is the only organization representing PA educational programs nationwide, and has been offered to applicants since 2001. The online application is designed to simplify the PA school application process by allowing students to apply to several programs with only one application.

Curriculum

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.


Facilities

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.

Healthcare Simulation Lab

Simulation Lab
Patient simulation technology has come a long way in recent years, and DeSales University has invested in advanced technological mannequins 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 mannequins breathe, have a pulse, have eyes that dilate, and can react to various drugs. Our "sim lab" features four adult mannequins, including one that gives birth to an infant mannequin, and three pediatric mannequins, 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 medical students, nurses, physician assistants, and other health care providers. They will be treated 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.  

Video: 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.

Cost of attendance for undergrads for 2019-2020

Resident Students

Direct Costs Tuition - $37,200

Room and Board - $13,000
Mandatory Fees - $1,500
One-time Orientation Fee for Freshmen and Transfers - $200

Total = $51,900 (including freshman/transfer fees)
Indirect Costs
Books - $1,466
Personal Expenses - $2,808
Total cost for resident students: $56,174

Commuter Students

Direct Costs
Tuition - $37,200
Mandatory Fees - $1,200
One-time Orientation Fee for Freshmen and Transfers - $200
Total = $38,700
Indirect Costs
Books - $1,466
Personal Expenses - $2,304
Transportation Costs - $2,808
Total cost for commuter students: $45,278

Off-Campus*

Direct Costs
Tuition - $37,200
Mandatory Fees - $1,200
One-time Orientation Fee for Freshmen and Transfers - $200
Total = $38,700
Indirect Costs
Books - $1,466
Personal Expenses - $2,808
Transportation Costs - $2,304
Living Expenses - $7,048
Total cost for off-campus students: $52,326
*First year students are required to reside on campus or commute from home.

Parking Fee - $75

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 be 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 and 1-week elective international rotations.

Five-week rotations are offered in Peru and Tanzania, one-week rotations are offered in Honduras.

These rotations 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: Peru
Students work with Dr. Giordano Uchofen 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
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 Rotation: Honduras
The 1-week rotations are generally offered in January and July in Honduras. Students have the opportunity to work with a DeSales University physician assistant alumnus, Jackie Borst, who started the non-profit International Impact through Medicine Foundation. Patients are seen in an on-site clinic in Zambrano, as well as in a remote mountainous region of Honduras where a 2-day mobile clinic is offered.

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-Logo

    ARC-PA Accreditation

    The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (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.

    Visit ARC-PA

    PANCE Rates

    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
    PANCE -SCORES

    Related Programs

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