Physician Assistant M.S.

Cohorts begin each May | Credits 116 | Cost/credit $750 | Program length 27 months | Format In-person, full time

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.  Prepare for a career providing exceptional, compassionate healthcare. Through practice-based learning, you will develop the skills needed to work on healthcare teams in diverse settings, including primary care and family medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, psychiatry and sub-specialty areas. 

Program description

Northwestern College’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) is a faith-based 27-month graduate program that provides training for students seeking certification and licensure as a physician assistant (PA). Students must successfully 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 and will give preference in the application process to graduates of Northwestern College provided they meet all admissions requirements. The PA program builds on the exceptional reputation of Northwestern College’s established biology, nursing and athletic training programs to prepare graduates to serve all patients with exceptional, individualized care. 

Next cohort begins May 2021

Applications open April 30, 2020

See how to apply and prerequisites.

PA program goals

  1. Exceptional training. To prepare students with the knowledge and skills necessary for entry into practice as a physician assistant
  2. Faith integration. To integrate biblical teaching into the medical curriculum so graduates are prepared to serve faithfully, with integrity and compassion
  3. Leadership preparation. To train physician assistants who are collaborative leaders in their field, working with others to provide optimal medical care to patients
  4. Diverse learning. To provide an inclusive learning environment that enhances cultural competence and understanding

The program’s success in achieving these goals in alignment with our  benchmarks and assessment tools will be published following graduation of the first cohort of students. 

PA program mission
The mission of the Northwestern College Physician Assistant Program is to equip students with an exceptional education grounded in a biblical theology of human dignity and flourishing. 

PA program vision
The NWC PA program will be the nation’s leading provider of Christ-centered physician assistants who will serve their communities with excellence, integrity and compassion.

Tuition & financial aid
(For cohort beginning in 2020)

Cost per credit: $750
Total required credits: 116

Financial aid
Northwestern's  Financial Aid Office can provide more information about loans for the PA program.
Policies and Procedures for refunding tuition and fees can also be found in the  Northwestern Graduate Catalog (page 16).

Career potential

PAs are in high demand— U.S. News and World Report ranks physician assistant 4th among best healthcare jobs. As the population increases and ages, the demand for healthcare 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: 37% increase from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations
  • Median salary (2017): $104,860

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

NCCPA PANCE first-time pass rate 
The NCCPA PANCE first-time pass rate summary report will be available when the first cohort of students graduates in 2022.

Program effectiveness data
The program effectiveness data will be available when the first cohort of students graduates in 2022.


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.