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Registration and Records
Butler University Bulletin

Doctor of Medical Science

The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers a 50-credit-hour, completely online, post-professional academic degree program for physician assistants leading to the Doctor of Medical Science degree. Each of the program’s 17 modules is six weeks in length and taught by doctorate-level faculty. The modules cover a range of important medical specialties/topics and include best practices, evidence-based decision-making, new guidelines for care, and critical thinking. PAs practice in all specialty fields; 28 percent of all PAs provide primary care services, especially in family and general internal medicine. Their job descriptions are diverse, and they serve in both clinical and nonclinical roles. While these nonclinical positions do not involve patient care, they depend on a strong clinical knowledge base.

 Module  enrollment is self-paced to meet the needs of working PAs. PAs can enter the program at any one of six starting points throughout the year—each of the three semesters (summer, fall, and spring) is divided into two terms. All modules are independent of each other so a student can take modules in any order.

The Program requires all students to complete a scholarly activity to earn a degree. The activity may be started after 13 of 17 of the modules have been completed.  All students must complete Citi requirements before commencing scholarly activity.

Programmatic Goals

The degree provides an avenue for those Physician Assistants interested in expanding their understanding of medical knowledge, developing their leadership and business skills, and promoting lifelong learning. After completing the program, the student will be able to:

  • Appraise and assimilate relevant scientific and clinical evidence addressing a problem or issue
  • Design and implement strategies to assess an issue or measure the impact of a change or intervention
  • Draw relevant conclusions from this scholarly activity using an evidence-based approach
  • Exhibit the ability to apply concepts or practices to novel problems or apply newly discovered knowledge to serve the patient’s or institution’s needs
  • Demonstrate professionalism and a commitment to advancing the practice of medicine through communications and interactions

Eligibility and Admission

Applicants must have successfully graduated from an accredited PA Program (Accreditation Review Commission on the Education of a Physician Assistant) and must currently hold a National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants certification/recertification or license to practice as a PA. A previously earned master’s degree is not required.

Application Requirements

Persons eligible to matriculate in this program would be required to satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The applicant must be a physician assistant graduated from an accredited, entry-level PA program and currently certified or licensed to practice as a PA.
  • Complete an application form, including
    • A current and comprehensive curriculum vita
    • Active state license number and/or NCCPA certification number
    • A 250-word essay describing the goals for enrolling in the DMS program
    • Official transcripts sent to Butler University from the  post-secondary institution(s) where degrees were earned
  • 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.
  • International students must have a TOEFL score and evaluation of any international transcripts. Please note that this takes additional time. A TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based test) or 79 (internet-based test) meets Butler University’s English language proficiency requirements. Butler’s TOEFL school code is 1073. World Education Services or Educational Credential Evaluators must evaluate all international transcripts.
  • Applicants who believe the TOEFL requirement should be waived may petition the University Office of Admission via email.
  • The applicant must be able to meet University technology requirements during the entirety of the doctoral program. Students will need access to a reliable computer and high-speed internet. Strong computer skills and or the ability to quickly learn and adapt to new technology is necessary for success.

Admission Notification

DMS program admission is competitive and seeks highly qualified PAs. The DMS Program has a rolling admission process, and applicants will be considered as they apply to the program. Following receipt of all necessary information, the admissions committee will review the applicant’s file. Applicants will then be assigned to one of the following categories: 1) Accept, 2) Defer, or 3) Reject. Once files are complete, applicants will be notified as soon as possible following the committee’s decision. Admission decisions are made by the program and are considered final.  Selected candidates will be extended a conditional offer of admission into the Butler University DMS program, generally via email, with a formal letter sent by the University. The candidate must meet all University requirements to enter into the program.

Application Timeline

The following timeline should provide guidance to those interested in applying to the DMS program. Applications must be completed one week prior to the start of the session; otherwise, if accepted, the applicant will defer to the following session. The program follows the University calendar, begins at the start of each session, and lasts six weeks.

The program has the right to change timelines, as it deems appropriate. Please contact for additional admission questions.


A faculty or administrative staff will be assigned as an advisor. Students sign up for advisement online as soon as they are accepted into the program. Advisement is conducted by phone or in person. A program adviser will help students enroll in the appropriate modules. A virtual orientation will be provided at the beginning of coursework. All students must participate in this orientation prior to the first day of the initial session; otherwise, admission will be delayed. 


The academic degree program’s curriculum consists of 17 modules totaling 50 credit hours and a programmatic required scholarly activity. Students are required to complete all 17 modules to graduate. Each module is six weeks in length. The student’s personal schedule and module availability will determine individual student module selection. A minimum of eight students must be enrolled for a module to be offered. The length of time it takes to complete the program is dependent on the number of modules a student enrolls and successfully completes in a given term and the availability of the module due to enrollment minimums being met (n = 8 students). While more than one module may be offered per session, the program has projected a “standard pace” to be one module per term (or two per semester). This “standard pace” would result in program completion in 9 semesters. Students are required to complete the program in 5.5 years. 

Programs within Butler University use Canvas as the learning management system. Below is a sample schedule of the curriculum for the DMS program, 9-semester completion. Students might take modules during different semesters, as there are not prerequisites beyond enrollment in the DMS program.

9-semester completion—Projected Standard Pace

Fall Semester
Module Number Module Name Credit Hours
Session A: DMS 710 Advanced Clinical Immunology and Genetics 3 credit hours
Session B: DMS 764 Operations Management 3 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 6 credit hours

Spring Semester
Module Number Module Name Credit Hours
Session A: DMS 712 Biochemical Basis of Disease Statse and Drug Action 3 credit hours
Session B: DMS 752 The Healthy Patient 3 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 6 credit hours

Summer Semester
Module Number Module Name Credit Hours
Session A: DMS 720 Neurology Module 3 credit hours
Session B: DMS 736 Infectious Disease Module 3 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 6 credit hours

Fall Semester
Module Number Module Name Credit Hours
Session A: DMS 722 Pulmonary Modules 3 credit hours
Session B: DMS 734 Rheumatology Module 3 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 6 credit hours

Spring Semester
Module Number Module Name Credit Hours
Session A: DMS 750 Aging 2 credit hours
Session B: DMS 732 Hematology Module 3 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 5 credit hours

Summer Semester
Module Number Module Name Credit Hours
Session A: DMS 724 Cardiology Module 3 credit hours
Session B: DMS 730 Endocrinology Module 3 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 6 credit hours

Fall Semester
Module Number Module Name Credit Hours
Session A: DMS 728 Gastroenterology Module 3 credit hours
Session B: DMS 726 Renal/Urinary Module 3 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 6 credit hours

Spring Semester
Module Number Module Name Credit Hours
Session A: DMS 754 Quality and Patient Safety 3 credit hours
Session B: DMS 762 Business of Medicine 3 credit hours

Total Credit Hours: 6 credit hours

Summer Semester
Module Number Module Name Credit Hours
Session A: DMS 760 Self-Leadership and Organizational Leadership 3 credit hours

Overall Total Credits: 50 credit hours

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available. To determine eligibility, a student should fill out the FAFSA form. Visit the Butler University financial aid website for more information. All questions regarding financial aid or student loans should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid.

Transfer Credit

A request for transfer of graduate credit will be considered. In order for graduate coursework completed elsewhere to be applied towards the DMS degree at Butler University, students need to submit the Request for the Transfer of Graduate Credit application. Send completed application requests to the DMS Admission email,


Campus residency is not required. All course content is completed online. However, students are encouraged to participate in students services on campus and to attend graduation ceremonies.


Students who complete all requirements of the Program will earn a Doctor of Medical Science (DMS) degree. All students who have completed requirements must register to graduate.


The Doctor of Medical Science degree is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.