M.S. Physician Assistant

Cohorts begin early Summer | Credits 116 | Program length 27 months | Format In-person, full time

Earn your Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS)

Prepare for a career providing exceptional, compassionate medical care. Learn evidence-based medicine and develop the skills needed to work on health care teams in diverse settings, including primary care and family medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, behavioral health and sub-specialty areas. Northwestern College is Iowa's faith-based physician assistant program, accredited by the ARC-PA. 

Program description

Northwestern College’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) is a faith-integrated 27-month graduate program that provides training for students seeking certification and licensure as a physician assistant (PA). Students will complete 116 graduate credits over 7 consecutive academic terms, including 4 terms of face-to-face training followed by 3 terms of clinical rotations with concurrent online courses designed to facilitate the integration of classroom material with clinical experiences.

Northwestern's graduate school plans to accept 32 students per year, allowing for meaningful collaboration among students and faculty. The PA program builds on the reputation of Northwestern College’s nationally recognized pre-health, nursing and other health science programs. Through hands-on experiential learning, faith integration, and supportive faculty teaching, you'll be equipped to serve all patients with exceptional, individualized medical care. 

Take a virtual tour of our facilities

Cohorts begin each Summer

Applications close for the 2025 cohort on September 15, 2024.
See more about  how to apply

Start CASPA application

PA program mission

The mission of the Northwestern College Physician Assistant Program is to equip faith-filled providers with exceptional medical education to serve in all communities with an emphasis on rural and underserved populations with excellence, integrity, and compassion. 

PA program vision

The PA program of Northwestern College will be known for excellence in the preparation of primary care physician assistants who live and work in faithfulness to their Christian core values, making significant contributions to the health and holistic wellness of their communities. 

Career potential

PAs are in high demand— U.S. News and World Report ranks physician assistant #2  among best health care jobs. As the population increases and ages, the demand for health care services also grows. Physician assistants play a vital role in independently attending to patients and providing many of the same services as doctors.

  • Employment outlook: 30% increase from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations
  • Median salary (2021): $121,530

Sources:  Bureau of Labor Statistics U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration

NCCPA Certification

Following successful completion of all curricular requirements, graduates will be eligible to take the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). Information regarding the PANCE and eligibility can be found at  nccpa.net. View Northwestern College's NCCPA Exam Pass Rates for more information on the graduate's PANCE performance. 


The ARC-PA has granted  Accreditation-Provisional status to the  Northwestern College physician assistant program sponsored by  Northwestern College

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA  Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the  Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.  Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at  http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-northwestern-college/.

Patient-centered Care

Interested in medicine, Sonia felt called to the PA field for the flexibility in career options, specialty opportunities, and the ability to work collaboratively on a team of healthcare providers. At Northwestern, she’s gaining the medical knowledge and deepening her passion to provide patient-centered care.

Sonia's story

Making a Difference

Jake is passionate about caring for others well and making a difference in their lives. A PA career and Northwestern's program were both a natural fit to do just that.

Jake's story

Caregiver and Patient Advocate

Emma wants to make a difference in this world by educating her patients, empowering them to use their voice for their health needs. Northwestern's faith integrated program equips her to provide holistic health care, caring for her patients' physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.

Emma's story