Master of science in Physician Assistant studies

The best preparation for a great career

Hands-on, relevant and real-world: DMU's P.A. program will prepare you to practice with expertise.

Physician assistants are key members of health care teams in hospitals, multispecialty clinics, physician offices, long-term care residences and other settings. Des Moines University’s Physician Assistant Program prepares students to thrive in a growing profession focused on helping people live healthier lives.

The didactic curriculum equips students to work in primary care and medical specialties with well-honed clinical skills, professionalism and the ability to develop and maintain positive patient relationships.

Quick facts:



student : faculty ratio


graduation rate


first time pass rate on the national certifying exam (PANCE) for the classes of 2018 and 2019


of students receive DMU-funded scholarships

Program Highlights

This 25-month program emphasizes the interrelationships of functions and organs and heightens students’ awareness of each patient’s medical, psychological and social needs.

  • Learn from the best

    The DMU PA faculty have clinical experience and share a deep commitment to student success. They are great role models in patient care and education, clinical expertise, community service and professional leadership. You will enjoy close interaction with faculty and classmates in a collaborative environment.
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  • Graduate among the best

    High student outcomes in job placement, certifying exam pass rates and career satisfaction are advantages of the DMU PA program. Students master the knowledge and skills to expertly and compassionately treat patients of all ages with diverse needs.
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  • Discover new knowledge

    In addition to supervised clinical practice experiences during the second year, PA students complete Capstone Projects using skills and information gained from the didactic curriculum. Each student selects a topic and research method, culminating in an in-depth project and presentation. Capstones reflect a wide range of student interests.

  • Join a great profession

    The physician assistant students at DMU are members of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Iowa Physician Assistant Society. Being part of these professional organizations allows you to interact and network with practicing health professionals.

  • Innovative teaching

    You will develop clinical, communication and interprofessional teamwork skills in DMU’s Simulation Center. It combines real-world clinical scenarios with lifelike, high-fidelity mannequins and equipment, allowing students to perform hands-on assessments and procedures.
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    The Standardized Performance Assessment Lab (SPAL) enables students to interact with and examine people trained to portray a variety of medical conditions. Students review videos of their patient encounters and learn from evaluations by faculty and “patients.”
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    The Surgery Skills Center includes simulation model labs, a computer lab, an operating room, laparoscopic and other special equipment. Students train in suturing, surgical instrumentation, dissection, intravenous insertions and other clinical and surgical procedures.
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    In the anatomy lab, students dissect and analyze cadavers at 43 stations, each equipped with a 40-inch flat screen monitor, connected to an iPad that offers instructions linked to anatomical images online.

Meet Your Faculty

We are committed to training competent, passionate professionals. Our expert faculty make DMU a powerful place to learn.

Carlye Marshall, Des Moines University Physician Assistant

“The PA program has done a fantastic job transitioning to online learning. We started in May before the other programs and I was blown away with how prepared our faculty were to teach us over Zoom. They are such role models for us students and we can really tell they care about our learning.”

Carlye Marshall, P.A.'22

Diversity at DMU: Your culture creates ours

Cultural competency is part of the personal and professional development that happens at DMU. Our campus environment is shaped by individuals who bring cultural differences, life experiences and distinct characteristics.

Diversity and Inclusion at Des Moines University
Welcome to Des Moines University

Welcome to campus: See for yourself what we're all about

DMU offers opportunities to get involved in experiences outside the classroom. We are committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all our students.

Living in Des Moines: Your new favorite city

Besides being a great place to live and work, Des Moines is a vibrant city with communities from all walks of life. Ethnic grocery stores, restaurants and year-round events ensure that there’s always something for everyone.

Living in Des Moines
Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant

DMU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Des Moines University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Des Moines 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 September 2025. 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

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