Physician Assistant M.S.

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) | Expected start  May 2020 

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.  Prepare for a career providing exceptional, compassionate healthcare. You'll graduate prepared to work with physician and surgical teams in diverse settings, including primary care and family medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, psychiatry and sub-specialty areas. PAs are in high demand— U.S. News and World Report ranks physician assistant 4th among best healthcare jobs.

Northwestern's new physician assistant master's degree

Expected start May 2020
Program length 27 months
Format In-person, full-time
Pre-requisites A bachelor's degree and designated science courses. Northwestern College graduates will be given preference in the application process.  Read more about the pre-requisite and admission requirements.
For information

Career potential

As the population increases and ages, the demand for healthcare services also grows. Physician assistants play a vital role in independently serving 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

Preferred application process for Northwestern College graduates

Admission to PA programs is competitive, and the Northwestern College PA Program only plans to accept 30 students per year. Preference will be given in the application process to graduates from Northwestern College.  Read more about the admissions requirements.

Christina Hanson, Northwestern College Physician Assistant Program Director

Program director

Christina Hanson MPAS PA-C, Des Moines University College of Health Sciences

Christina Hanson has been a certified physician assistant since 2008, providing care at family practice, orthopedics, urology and urgent care clinics in four Midwestern communities. She was also a physician assistant professor at Bethel University in St. Paul, helping launch that program and participating in a successful accreditation process.

Hanson says, “I am called to PA education, and that sense of calling gives me joy in my work. My goal is to help students find their individual callings, which, in this new program, involves providing excellent instruction in all areas of medicine, as well as individual mentoring of students to develop them personally and spiritually.” Hanson has a B.S. in biology with a psychology minor from Bethel University and is currently completing a doctorate in higher education leadership at Bethel.


Northwestern College has applied for Accreditation–Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Northwestern College anticipates matriculating its first class in May 2020, pending achieving Accreditation–Provisional status at the September 2019 ARC-PA meeting. 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. Should Northwestern College not receive Accreditation–Provisional, the program will not be permitted to start in May 2020.