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Doctor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

Location: Online
Start Terms: Fall, Spring

As a PA, you positively impact the lives of patients every day. Now, you have the opportunity to advance your career through the part-time, online Doctor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (DScPAS) program. This doctoral-level degree prepares you to meet the evolving demands of today’s healthcare field while allowing you to balance your professional workload.

By earning a DScPAS degree, you'll gain the experience and knowledge needed to excel in a competitive and growing field. In the United States alone, more than 120,000 certified PAs deliver professional and flexible care across many practice structures. It’s an exciting time to be a PA—and at MCPHS, we understand how much the profession has evolved, covering more specialties and affording practitioners increased responsibility. We're proud to match the growing field and stand as one of the first universities to offer a doctoral-level physician assistant studies program.

As a student in the DScPAS program, you'll develop skills that are directly applicable to your role as a PA. You'll dive into a curriculum designed by an interprofessional team, one that will prepare you to collaborate effectively with other providers and practitioners. You'll hone in on your professional interests by pursuing a concentration in health system administration, educational leadership, or clinical management. And during the final half of the program, you'll be guided through a hands-on, research-based capstone project, during which you'll apply the knowledge you acquired in the classroom to your real-world practice.

The DScPAS program is a collaborative, immersive, and innovative experience—one that allows you to gain the insight needed to make significant, influential contributions to your community, the lives of patients, and the greater healthcare delivery system.

Applicants to the Doctor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program should use the MCPHS Graduate Application to apply.

  • Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree from a regionally accredited university
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Work experience as a PA preferred, but not mandatory
  • Proof of state licensure (or equivalent)

Transfer credits are not accepted.

The DScPAS curriculum is new and innovative; designed by an interprofessional team to better meet the demands of interprofessional and collaborative practice. Students may choose concentrations from a variety of MCPHS offerings to better meet their personal and professional goals.



HSC 801 Introduction to Doctoral Studies 3
HSC 815 Healthcare Research Methods 3


HSC 852 EBHC Capstone I: Question Development and Search for Evidence 3

Concentration Course I 3
Total 6


HSC 854 EBHC Capstone II: Appraisal of the Evidence
Concentration Course II 3
Total 6


HSC 856 Capstone III: Dissemination of Findings 3
  Concentration Course III 3
Total 6

Total credits to complete degree requirements


DScPAS Concentrations

Health System Administration – Students learn the complexities of the healthcare system from three perspectives: the challenges and needs of leadership, the cyclical nature of reform and the impacts of policy changes, and from the perspectives of managing financial and human resources in the process of healthcare delivery. This concentration helps to provide a grounding in leadership and management at the systems level.

  • HSC 781 - Transformative Leadership
  • HSC 785 - Health Policy and Reform
  • HSC 787 - Financial and Human Resource Management

Educational Leadership – Students are quickly introduced to the challenges of delivering health professions education by considering the relationships between educational theory, course and curricular design approaches, and strategies that support effective and efficient assessments of teaching and learning. Students will appreciate the challenges of delivering educational material to adult learners across the health professions spectrum.

  • HSC 782 - Principles & Theories of Teaching and Learning
  • HSC 784 - Designing Curriculum
  • HSC 786 - Assessment & Evaluation

Global Health Students explore the healthcare system from a global view, analyzing the implications of natural disasters, infectious diseases, and medical resource shortages on the care available to communities worldwide. Through this concentration, students are challenged to broaden their perspectives and develop innovative, top-down solutions to modern health crises—solutions that can one day influence the delivery of compassionate healthcare on a global scale.

  • HSC 771 - Critical Global Health Issues
  • HSC 773 - International Relations and Politics
  • HSC 777 - Disaster Management

The DScPAS program culminates in an Evidence-Based Healthcare capstone project. The capstone project offers students the opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge to advocate for best practices and promote the translation and utilization of the evidence. The Doctor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies prepares graduates to take on leadership roles in healthcare administration, education, public health, global health, research, and clinical practice.

The capstone project is designed to permit a student to explore a topic of personal or professional interest. Capstone projects have included:

  • Implementing and assessing a ventilator-associated pneumonia prevention protocol. The project outcomes could result in enhanced practice for the entire facility, and by disseminating the outcomes and process, advances the delivery of care, and reductions in harm;
  • Evaluating the best practices and leadership required in the implementation of an antibiotic stewardship program in an acute care hospital. Outcomes could include identifying the leadership approaches required to decrease the overall potential for infections by reducing indiscriminate use of antibiotics;
  • Reducing central line infections in a surgical intensive care unit through the utilization of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Central Line Bundle. Outcomes could include reducing the potential harm to patients and the costs associated with an intensive care stay for surgical patients;
  • Increasing high fidelity communication with emergency medical personnel transporting trauma victims to the emergency room. Outcomes could result in getting, translating, and effectively communicating actionable information to the entire care team faster facilitating the right care right away;
  • Establishing and upholding family and person-centered care for adults with multiple comorbidities in a primary care practice. Outcomes could include recognizing and promoting the patient and care partners as the most valuable link in the delivery of safe and efficient care for chronic illnesses;
  • Establishing the PA role in an orthopedic specialty clinic for children injured in sport. Outcomes could include improvements in future bone and joint health by helping young athletes to actively and safely engage in sport.

The student’s capstone project must be approved by the appropriate members of the DScPAS program faculty.

  • Identify, evaluate, and articulate practice-based problems in health professions and education.
  • Apply sound research techniques to answer specific questions, explaining common challenges and considerations in the critical evaluation of evidence.
  • Synthesize findings in support of developing evidence-based solutions.
  • Disseminate evidence-based approaches to address problems of practice and advance the profession.
  • Apply interdisciplinary and interprofessional leadership in pursuit of sustainable change.
  • Demonstrate scholarly writing and professional presentation skills in disseminating evidence in professional focus areas, including health professions education, health administration, or global health.