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Doctor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (DScPAS)

Location: Online
Start Terms: Fall, Spring

As a physician assistant (PA), you positively impact the lives of patients every day. Now, you have the opportunity to advance your career and make your mark in the world of interprofessional and collaborative practice.

One of the first programs of its kind, the Doctor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (DScPAS) program empowers PAs to meet the evolving demands of today’s healthcare field. This part-time program is offered online and allows you to build on your Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree to further your education and career.

Looking to the Future of the Field

Today in the United States, more than 115,500 certified PAs serve across all medical and surgical specialties. It’s an exciting time to be a PA – and at MCPHS, we value the contributions PAs make to the interprofessional healthcare team. We also understand that since the very first PA-specific master’s degree was awarded in 1975, the knowledge and skills required of PAs in the industry have increased. That’s why we are proud to be one of the first universities in the world to offer a Doctor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (DScPAS) degree. By earning a DScPAS degree, students gain the experience, skills, and knowledge they will need to excel in a growing and competitive field.

A Focus on Interprofessional Education

The program prepares students to participate effectively in today’s evolving healthcare workforce. By focusing on better preparing students for collaborative practice, the program’s innovative curriculum enhances the effectiveness of PAs on interprofessional teams. Students gain the experience, knowledge, and skills they will need to make an impact in an interprofessional setting.

Research and Scholarship

Students in the DScPAS program develop skills that are directly applicable to their roles as PAs. During the final half of the program, students are guided through a capstone project that helps them apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills to improve their practice. This hands-on research experience allows students to gain the support, insight, and skills they will need to make significant contributions to interprofessional practice throughout their careers.

Study Online

The DScPAS program is offered online, allowing students to balance career advancement with the rest of their busy lives. Designed for working PAs holding MPAS or equivalent degrees, the DScPAS program provides an online pathway for PAs to enhance their current practice and expand future opportunities. The format of this part-time program allows students to continue working while advancing their education.

Take the Next Step

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.



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


HSC 815 Healthcare Research Methods 3

Concentration Course II 3
Semester Total 6


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


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


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

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 - Leadership in Healthcare Administration
  • 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.

The DScPAS Program at MCPHS

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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