PA Doctorate

New Doctor of Medical Science Program at Pacific University

Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon is now offering the Doctor of Medical Science degree (DMSc). Future Pacific PA Doctors will have to complete 4 semesters in “real-life application of healthcare science principles” unless they are direct-admit from Pacific’s 27-month Master of PA studies program.

The Doctor of Medical Science at Pacific mirrors the Doctor of Health Science. It’s the exact same degree, actually. Their website states: “The coursework for the 4-semester Doctor of Medical Science and Doctor of Healthcare Science degrees is the same, but different degrees are awarded because the DMSc degree is associated specifically with physician assistants. The DMSc is only available to licensed physician assistants — all other students will earn the DHSc.”

The PA to Doctor of Medical Science bridge is completed in 4 semesters, consisting of 9 credits each for a total of 36 credit hours. The direct-admit DMSc students complete a single 12-credit semester. Pacific University will be the second PA program to offer a one-semester doctoral option for their Master’s grads paving the way for the entry-level doctorate. The first program to announce such an option was George Fox University. Gorge Fox’s DMSc technically won’t launch until 2022, however.

DMSc Curriculum at Pacific University Oregon

The 4-semester curriculum consists of:

  • Organizational Strategies for Interprofessional Healthcare Leadership
  • The Professional as Researcher and Writer
  • Clinical Practicum I
  • Leadership, Ethics, and Advocacy
  • Applied Scholarly Project I
  • Clinical Practicum II
  • Diversity, Equity, and System Thinking
  • Strategies for Quality Improvement in Healthcare
  • Applied Scholarly Project II
  • Evidence-Based Practice in Lifestyle Medicine
  • Applied Scholarly Project III
  • Clinical Practicum III

The single-semester DMSc requires completing the Pacific University PA program within the last 2 years. The single semester adds:

  • Diversity, Equity, and System Thinking
  • Strategies for Quality Improvement in Healthcare
  • Application for the Scholar Practitioner

The one-semester Doctor of Medical Science option adds an extra $10,000 to the $110,000 students will have spent in their Master’s PA training. At $810 per credit hour for the 2021-2022 academic year, the 4-semester DMSc will run just over $30,000 with books and fees. 

The curriculum will be presented asynchronously in an online format with “limited synchronous instruction”. There will be opportunities for on-campus seminars each semester.

Why Pacific?

Pacific University is the oldest chartered university in the state of Oregon. It was founded in 1849, making it one of the oldest institutions of higher education on the West Coast. Pacific is renowned for its College of Optometry, which was established in 1945. It was the first optometry school west of the Mississippi River and remains one of the leading optometry programs in the United States.

Pacific University has a comprehensive College of Health Professions that offers various professional programs, including physical therapy, pharmacy, PA studies, dental hygiene, and occupational therapy.

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