Apr 14, 2024  
2020-2021 ATSU University Catalog 
2020-2021 ATSU University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Medical Science (Online), DMSc

Doctor of Medical Science - online

The Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc) program is a post-professional distance learning PA-specific program culminating in a Doctor of Medical Science degree. The DMSc program is designed for physician assistants who are currently, or have previously been, certified or licensed to practice as a PA. Courses are designed with an emphasis on academic rigor using an asynchronous learning model, The entire PA doctoral program provides highly flexible online learning, which minimizes career disruption while maximizing new opportunities. PAs can continue to practice full time while obtaining their degree.

The DMSc program offers three concentration tracks in education, leadership, and clinical. The education track prepares graduates for an expanded career in teaching and research. The leadership track prepares graduates to take on administrative leadership roles in healthcare. The clinical track provides graduates with advanced clinical training; allowing them to develop additional clinical acumen without the location-specific requirement of a clinical or academic residency.

Length of Program

The DMSc program is a 36-credit hour program and can be completed in as early as two years.


Distance programs’ tuition is due the first day of class. For programs with payment per credit or course, the tuition covers the payment for the coming quarter. Delinquent tuition penalties accrue at 1.5% per month, which is 18% per year. $500.00 per credit hour. Current tuition and fees can be found at: https://www.atsu.edu/finance/tuition/ashs#physician-assistant


Admission Deadline

Applications for the DMSc program may be submitted at any time during the academic year to Online Admissions. The program has two intakes per year, July and January. For a July start, completed application materials must be submitted at least 4 weeks prior to the start of the fall semester. For a January start, completed application materials must be submitted at least 7 weeks prior to the start of the spring semester.

Application Process

Applicants will need to create an account at https://apply.atsu.edu for access to the online application. Instructions are included on how to complete the application and provide us with all required documentation. If you have any questions regarding the online application, please contact Admissions at 877.469.2878 or by email at onlineinquiry@atsu.edu.

Admission Requirements

The Doctor of Medical Science program is designed to be a postgraduate program for PAs who are, or have previously been (if retired), certified or licensed to practice as a PA. Persons eligible to matriculate in this program must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  1. The applicant is a currently certified/licensed physician assistant or, if retired, previously certified/licensed to practice as a PA.
  2. Completion of a master’s degree from an accredited university recognized by the Department of Education.
    1. Applicants who graduated from a university outside the United States may be required to provide a degree equivalency evaluation.
    2. PAs without a master’s degree may be eligible for the master’s equivalency option*. See below for equivalency requirements and contact an Enrollment Counselor for additional information.
  3. Candidates must have achieved a minimum overall graduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
  4. The applicant must submit transcripts from qualifying degree institution(s), to include at least:
    1. Transcript showing completion of physician assistant program of study
    2. Transcript showing completion of a graduate degree (if physician assistant program did not confer a graduate degree)
  5. Applicants who have graduated from a foreign college or university should submit acceptable evidence of U.S. degree/course equivalency. All course work taken at the foreign institution must be evaluated for American institution equivalence by one of the following services:
    1. World Education Services P.O. Box 5087 Bowling Green Station New York, NY 10274-5087 p: (212) 966-6311 f: (212) 739-6139 info@wes.org
    2.  Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. P.O. Box 514070 Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470 (414) 289-3400
    3. American Assn. of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 520 Washington, DC 20036-1135 (202) 293-9161
    4. Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. International Education Consultants 7101 SW 102 Avenue Miami FL 33173 p: (305) 273 -1616 f: (305) 273 -1338 info@jsilny.com
    5. Intl. Education Research Foundation, Inc. PO Box 3665 Culver City, CA 90231-3665 (310) 258-9451
  6. The applicant must complete an admissions application, to include at least:
    1.  A current and comprehensive curriculum vita
    2. Non-refundable application fee
  7. The applicant must be fluent in English (the language of instruction of this program). When the applicant speaks and/or writes in English as a second language, the applicant must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores for review.
    1.  Acceptable minimal TOEFL scores for ATSU-ASHS applications are:
    2. Internet-based total score = 80
    3. Acceptable IELTS score is an overall band score of 6.5
  8. Applicants who speak and/or write English as a second language who have previously graduated from a college or university accredited by the U.S. Department of Education with a bachelor’s degree (or higher) are exempt from this requirement.
  9. Applicants who believe the TOEFL requirement should be waived may petition the Physician Assistant Department chair in writing.
  10. The applicant must be able to meet University technology requirements during the entirety of the doctoral program.

*Master’s Equivalency Option:

To meet the master’s equivalency the PA applicant must meet and document in a portfolio at least one (1) of the criteria below:

  • An approved military or civilian post-professional PA residency or fellowship
  • An approved medical specialty certificate program (i.e. public health certificate)
  • A Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) offered by the NCCPA
  • At least 15 credit hours of post-secondary education toward a master’s degree

ATSU MPAS-Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc) Early Entry Admissions Requirements: 

ATSU MPAS students who have successfully completed the fall semester of their didactic year of education may be eligible to apply for the DMSc Early Entry option. Up to 12 credit hours of DMSc courses may be taken during the clinical year of education. Information about the DMSc program can be found at http://www.atsu.edu/dmsc

  1.  Applicant must have an MPAS minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  2. Applicant must be in good academic standing and remain in good academic standing. MPAS students placed on probation will not be allowed to continue in the DMSc program.
  3.  The applicant must complete an admissions application, to include at least:
    1.  A current and comprehensive curriculum vita
    2. Essay (500 word minimum) outlining reasons and goals for taking the DMSc program.
    3. Submit a letter of recommendation from either the Director of Didactic Education or Faculty Advisor.
  4. Early Entry MPAS Students are allowed to take up to 12 DMSc credit hours while still enrolled in the MPAS program:  Medical Writing (core), Community Assessment (core), Research Methods (core), and Capstone I.
  5. Students must graduate from the MPAS program continue enrollment in the DMSc program. Students who are dismissed or withdraw from the MPAS program will no longer be eligible to continue in the DMSc program.
  6. Upon graduating from the MPAS program, graduates must obtain a PA license within six (6) months of graduation to continue in the DMSc program.

Graduation Requirements

To earn a Doctor of Medical Science online, all students must:

  1. Complete all prescribed courses.
  2. Pass all courses with a grade of ‘PASS’.
  3. Discharge all financial obligations to ATSU.
  4. Submit an RSVP for the appropriate Commencement ceremony (found on the graduation website).
  5. Ensure that the mailing address in CampusNexus Student Portal is current. This is the address where the diploma will be mailed.
  6. Attending commencement is not required but highly recommended.

Auditing a Course

DMSc does not allow auditing of courses at this time.

Transfer/Advanced Standing Credits

The DMSc program allows a maximum of 12 transfer/advanced standing credit hours. Applicants requesting transfer/advanced standing credit must submit the transfer credit request form at the time of application.


The DMSc program uses a P/F (Pass/Fail) grading scale and adheres to the University grading scale.

Appealing a Grade

Students who wish to file an academic appeal concerning a course grade should visit the Academic Appeals policy located within the ATSU Policies section of the Catalog.

Incomplete Grade

While it is expected requirements for completion of a course are met at the end of a term, there are times when it is necessary for a student to request an incomplete grade. An incomplete grade may be issued by an instructor if a student presents rationale for circumstances beyond his or her control that prevented completing the class in a timely fashion and the student completed at least 50% of the assigned coursework at the time of request.

Technology Requirements

Please visit http://its.atsu.edu/knowledgebase/ashs-online-programs-technology-requirements to review the minimum technology specifications for students accepted to ATSU-ASHS online programs.

Program Policies


Plagiarism is the presentation of another’s work as if it were one’s original. Proper and complete citation and reference, in accordance with AMA style guidelines, is required of all student work. Specific examples of plagiarism include:

  • Cutting and pasting or re-entering information from another’s work into a document without correct citation or attribution.
  • Information is attributed to a source other than the original Material authored by someone else is submitted as original work.
  • Turning in previously prepared work, in part or in whole, is considered self-plagiarism and is unacceptable. In instances where it may be appropriate to include prior work, the student must obtain permission from the instructor to include the prior work.
  • Information is properly cited but the paraphrasing is not substantively different from the original source Infrequent or missing citations.

Plagiarism Sanctions

All assignments submitted for a grade are subject to review for plagiarism. The consequences of plagiarism vary based on whether the incident is a first, second, or third occurrence.

First occurrence: A first instance of plagiarism is generally believed to result from a lack of familiarity and inexperience using AMA guidelines and is perceived as a misuse of sources.The sanctions for a first offense generally are, but not limited to:

  • Required completion of the University Writing Center’s Proper use of Resources tutorial A grade of zero on the assignment.
  • Resubmission of the assignment for a reduced grade.
  • Students who choose not to participate in the tutorial or fail to complete the tutorial will receive a grade of zero on the assignment.

Second occurrence: A second occurrence of plagiarism is a more serious academic offense and is not attributed to naiveté, ignorance of guidelines, or a misunderstanding of what constitutes acceptable graduate scholarship at ATSU. The sanction for a second plagiarism offense is, but is not limited, to:

  • A grade of F in the course.

Third occurrence: A third occurrence of plagiarism is seen as a student’s chronic inability or refusal to produce acceptable graduate-level scholarship. The sanction for a third plagiarism offense is, but is not limited, to:

  • Dismissal from the program.

Academic Probation

Progression in the Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc) program is contingent on continued demonstration of satisfactory completion of program objectives and course content. Lack of academic progression will result in the student being placed on academic probation. Students failing one (1) course will automatically be placed on academic probation until they have successfully passed the failed course.


Dismissal from the DMSc program may be determined as the result of, but not limited to, the following conditions: (1) Failure of two or more courses; (2) Continued academic probation; (3) violation of the Student Code of Academic or Behavioral Conduct; or (4) Failure to maintain the minimum cumulative of 3.0 GPA. Additional information on academic probation and dismissal are in the ASHS catalog (catalog.atsu.edu).

If a student meets the requirements of the probationary period, he or she is removed from academic probation and returned to good academic standing. DMSc students in poor academic standing when withdrawing from all courses in a semester block are required to petition the program director for re-entry.

Academic Review Board (ARB)

Students who fail two (2) or more courses and/or fail to maintain the required GPA are referred to the DMSc Program Academic Review Board (ARB). Progression DMSc program is contingent on continued demonstration of satisfactory completion of program objectives and course content. Lack of academic progression is grounds for an academic dismissal from the DMSc program. Students have the right to attend and/or provide a written response to the ARB.

Continuous Enrollment

DMSc students who are finished with all coursework but have not completed all Capstone requirements must maintain continuous enrollment until completion of all graduation requirements. Students will be assessed a continuous enrollment charge for each semester block that the student maintains enrollment until all degree requirements are completed. More information on the University’s continuous enrollment process may be found under the Enrollment Status Definitions within the ATSU Policy section of the University Catalog.

Course(s) or Program of Study Withdrawal

Students who have been inactive one semester may resume their program of study by contacting the DMSc Administrative Manager to register for courses prior to the registration deadline.

DMSc students who are not registered for courses in a semester/block are considered in Incomplete-Withdraw status and must register for courses in the following semester or will be administratively withdrawn from the program. In most instances, students withdrawn from ATSU, regardless of the reason, must apply for re-admission and fall under the most recent academic catalog and admission requirements.

DMSc students in poor academic standing when withdrawing from all courses in a semester block are required to petition the program chair for re-entry.

For the specific policy on voluntary and administrative withdrawal, please see the “Withdrawal from School” section of the University Catalog under “ATSU Policies: Student Policies”.

Academic Standards, Guidelines, and Requirements Academic Standing

In order to maintain good academic standing, students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Academic standing is evaluated after each semester block.

Participation and Attendance in Courses

Attendance for each course is taken the first week of class. Students are required to complete the Acknowledge the Syllabus assignment to have attendance accepted. Students failing to complete this requirement may be removed from the course and administratively withdrawn.

Weekly continuous participation is expected in all class activities. Discussion post assignments are required every week. The academic week is from 12:00 AM Arizona time Monday morning through 11:59 PM Arizona time the following Sunday. Participation is defined as having completed one or more of the activities required in any week. These can include:

  • Discussion postings
  • Submit a paper
  • Complete a quiz or examination
  • Complete some other assignment as presented in the course syllabus

If a student does not complete any activities during the first week of class, he/she is considered absent and will be administratively withdrawn from the course(s).

Course Access

Students are granted course access the Friday prior to the first day of class. Classes begin on Mondays.

Changing Concentration Tracks or Semester Load

Changing Tracks

Upon acceptance of admission, all students sign an Academic Degree Plan (APD) which outlines the 12 required courses to complete the DMSc program. Four of the courses are concentration/track courses. Students wishing to change tracks either before or during the program MUST contact the program to request an updated ADP.

Semester Load

The ADP for each student is either based on a 2-year or 3-year completion plan. Students wishing to change from their current plan to another MUST contact the program to request an updated ADP.

Course Cancellation

In the unlikely event that the institution has to cancel a course, any student enrolled prior to a course cancellation will receive a full refund of tuition paid.

Inclement Weather/Power Outage Policy

In the event a major weather occurrence or wide-spread power outage prevents a student from accessing a class, instructors will work with the student to set reasonable accommodations to accept assignments after a due date. Instructors may request documentation from a student if a weather or power-outage occurrence is not widespread.

Late Assignment Policy

In the event you are unable to submit work to Canvas by the deadline due to technology issues, you must:

  • Notify your instructor; and
  • Open a ticket with IT (service.atsu.edu) or calling 1-800-626-2200.  Be sure to keep the ticket number as documentation the issue has been reported.
  • Once the IT issue has been resolved, you should then submit your work through Canvas for grading.

Program Cancellation

Should the institution cancel a program, currently enrolled students are permitted to complete a program before it is discontinued. No new students are permitted to enroll in a program the institution has cancelled.


Descriptions and Credit Values

Students take all core courses and then select either the education course track or the leadership course track.