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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 (MPAS) (or equivalent) from regionally accredited university
  • Minimum GPA: 3.20
  • Work experience as a PA preferred but not mandatory
  • Proof of state licensure (or equivalent) and current NCCPA certification (graduate PA applicants only)

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.

COURSE TITLE SEMESTER HOURS

FIRST SEMESTER

HSC 801 Introduction to Doctoral Studies 3
Concentration Course I 3
Semester Total
6

SECOND SEMESTER

HSC 815 Healthcare Research Methods 3

Concentration Course II 3
Semester Total 6

THIRD SEMESTER

HSC 852* Capstone I: Question Development & Search for Evidence
3
Concentration Course II 3
Semester Total 6

FOURTH SEMESTER

HSC 854* Capstone II: Appraisal of the Evidence 3
Semester Total 3

FIFTH SEMESTER

HSC 856* Capstone III: Dissemination of Findings 3
Semester Total 3

Total credits to complete degree requirements

24

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 - Transformational 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

In the second half of the program, students complete a capstone project on a topic of interest focused on applied-learning outcomes. Past capstone projects have included:

  • Implementing and assessing a ventilator associated pneumonia prevention protocol. Outcomes result in the advance practice for the entire facility, and by disseminating the outcomes and process, advance the profession, thereby preventing harm and saving lives at patients’ most fragile stage.
  • Evaluating the best practices and leadership required in the implementation of an antibiotic stewardship program in an acute care hospital. Outcomes result in the leadership required to decrease the potential for infections by reducing indiscriminate use of antibiotics.
  • Reducing central line infections in a surgical intensive care unit through the utilization of the IHI central line bundle. Outcomes result in reducing the potential harm 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 result in getting, translating, and effectively communicating actionable information to the entire care team.
  • Establishing and upholding family and person-centered care for adults with multiple comorbidities in a primary care practice. Outcomes result in recognizing and promoting the patient 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 result in maintaining future health by helping young athletes to actively and safely engaged in sport.
 

Innovation in Education: The DScPAS Program

Physician Assistant student

Discover how we are empowering PAs to meet the evolving needs of today’s healthcare field through one of the first programs of its kind. 

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