U.S. News & World Report ranks Butler University’s current master’s degree program for physician assistants (MPAS) as 37th in the nation, up 60 spots in just six years. Now, starting in January 2020, the University will add to this success and expand its PA offerings with the launch of an online post-professional PA doctorate program—one of only five in the nation. Butler’s new Doctor of Medical Science (DMS) program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
DMS Director Dr. Jennifer Snyder ’97 knows better than most how much PAs need this opportunity, especially via the convenience of online access.
Snyder graduated from Butler’s PA program and has worked in both family and emergency medicine. She said PAs have the full confidence of the patients they treat—but not necessarily of the practice managers and hiring professionals responsible for filling higher positions.
“When we investigated offering this degree, we discovered through focus groups that PAs are missing out on promotions and leadership positions because decision-makers assume that those holding doctorates are more qualified,” Snyder says.
Butler’s DMS program will give PAs the doctoral degree they need, along with business acumen to advance into leadership positions within their institutions or clinics. Additionally, it will give PAs an opportunity to critically evaluate medical literature and extend their medical knowledge to better serve their patients.
The module-based curriculum allows students to enter into the program at any one of six starting points in the academic calendar. And the online structure of the program, with no required campus residency, means that students can take classes in a way that best suits their schedule.
Same Butler rigor, easier access
Butler’s DMS program is a natural evolution of its MPAS degree, developed with the same rigor and quality. Both Snyder and Erin Vincent, Director of Academic Program Development, say living up to Butler’s reputation of educational excellence is paramount.
Vincent points to the structure and success of Butler’s latest online degree program, Master of Science in Risk and Insurance (butler.edu/msri), launched last year.
“Butler faculty is and has been brainstorming ways to creatively address the future of higher education across campus,” Vincent says. “We’re hoping to launch several more graduate programs very soon. The MSRI and the DMS are the start of a great, strong portfolio of advanced degrees at Butler University.”
Individuals are eligible to apply for the DMS program if they have earned an entry-level PA degree from an accredited program and have either a license to practice medicine or hold a national certification from the NCCPA.