Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

Rigorous preparation for improving patients' lives

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 (latest 3-year average)


first time pass rate on the national certifying exam (latest five-year average)


of students receive DMU-funded scholarships

Program Highlights

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

  • 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 the care and education of patients, community service and professional leadership. You will enjoy close interaction with faculty and classmates in a supportive and collaborative environment.
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  • Graduate among the best

    The DMU PA Program develops highly competent and compassionate physician assistants who are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills to care for diverse patient populations, as evidenced by outcomes such as certifying exam pass rates that are higher than the national average and career satisfaction.
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  • Discover new knowledge

    Throughout the clinical year, PA students complete Capstone Projects, which encourage a mind of inquiry and creativity as each student designs and executes a meaningful project. This longitudinal assignment aggregates acquired knowledge and skills, clinical experiences and peer-reviewed literature. Project examples include such topics as the delivery of efficient patient care, patient or community health education, and an assessment of health care needs and/or resources in a community.

  • Join a great profession

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

  • Innovative teaching

    Students develop clinical, communication and teamwork skills by performing hands-on procedures and assessments in DMU’s Simulation Center. State-of-the-art high-fidelity mannequins and equipment bring clinical scenarios to life, enabling high-quality clinical training in a didactic setting.
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    The Standardized Performance Assessment Lab (SPAL) enables students to interact with and examine standardized patients trained to portray a variety of medical conditions. Students self-reflect through review of their recorded patient encounters and learn from evaluations by instructors and standardized patients.
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    The Surgery Skills Center includes task trainers, simulated operating rooms, and laparoscopic and other specialized equipment. Students train in suturing, surgical instrumentation, dissection, intravenous placements and other clinical and surgical skills. The anatomy lab enables cadaveric dissection at stations equipped with large flat-screen monitors connected to devices with software to augment learning.
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Meet Your Faculty

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


What physician assistant students are saying

“I was often asked during the pandemic if I still wanted to go into health care, to which I replied, 'It makes me want to pursue it more.' PAs were designed for times like this. They are able to step into any specialty where they are needed, and I was reminded why I am so passionate about a profession that can step up in times like these. I even wished I was already in the field, so I could step up, too.”

Elizabeth “Ebby” Dodge, P.A.'23

Diversity at DMU: Your culture creates ours

Cultural competency and humility 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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