What Is a Doctor of Medical Science Degree and Should I Get One? 

PAs can capitalize on their experience by matching it with an advanced degree that translates into enhanced levels of clinical care as well as access to opportunities for leadership in clinical and educational roles.

A Doctor of Medical Science degree is the clinical doctorate degree for PAs. Doctor of Medical Science (DMS) degrees are designed specifically for practicing PAs who want to take the next step in continuing to shape the future of healthcare.

Whether you’re looking to continue your commitment to life-long scholarship, gain a broader understanding of medicine, develop business operation and management skills, or enhance your leadership abilities, a Doctor of Medical Science is the advanced degree that PAs like you have been looking for.

What is a Doctor of Medical Science program? Who is a DMS degree for?

Doctor of Medical Science programs offer post-professional, clinical doctorate degrees for PAs. DMS degrees are for PAs who want to expand their impact and advance their roles in the healthcare field. Many DMS degree programs are designed to provide practicing PAs with the advanced skills necessary for leading in their field through either practice or teaching.

Doctor of Medical Science programs are tailored to PAs who are looking to build upon their previous education and experience to deepen their medical knowledge, supporting safe, up-to-date, and effective care to the patients and communities they serve.

Each DMS program is unique, but generally, Doctor of Medical Science programs focus on developing the skills and competencies that PAs need to advance into leadership, as well as administrative and educational roles within the healthcare field. DMS programs often focus on evidence-based problem-solving skills as well as leadership and even business skills. Many DMS programs offer different tracks that focus on clinical, research, business, and teaching acumen. Today, many Doctor of Medical Science programs are offered either fully or partially online to accommodate the busy schedules of practicing PAs.

The Benefits of a Doctorate for PAs

The healthcare landscape is constantly evolving. As medicine becomes more complex, and the demands on PAs increase, the skills and knowledge necessary to ensure the best patient outcomes have also evolved. This is one reason why many PAs choose to earn an advanced DMS degree.

With a Doctor of Medical Science degree, PAs build on their current knowledge and experience to gain the skills and understanding necessary to expand their professional opportunities, become leaders in the healthcare field, and advance within their workplace.

For PAs interested in adding teaching to their skillset, a Doctor of Medical Science degree can provide clinicians with the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for teaching in the academic setting, preparing them for a career in PA education. PAs with a desire to engage in research and scholarly activity seek a Doctor of Medical Science degree that includes developing those skills.

Doctor of Medical Science Program Requirements

Each DMS program is different. Some Doctor of Medical Science programs require only a bachelor’s degree while other DMS programs require that entering PAs have a master’s degree. Nearly all DMS programs require that all previous degrees are earned from accredited institutions.

Many Doctor of Medical Science programs will require students to be actively practicing and currently licensed or certified. The duration of DMS programs vary as well, with some programs taking just a year to complete, whereas others programs take at least two or more years to complete. In the United States, DMS students will also be required to demonstrate proficiency in English.

One Degree, Two Pathways.

Butler University’s 50-credit hour Doctor of Medical Science degree (DMS) program offers four concentrations: Foundations in Critical Care, Foundations in Orthopedic Care, Healthcare Practice and Administration, and PA Educator. This DMS program is fully online and asynchronous so students can continue practicing while earning their doctoral degree. If you are interested in expanding knowledge in a specific area but are not interested in completing a full DMS degree program, Butler offers 12-hour graduate certificates in several concentration areas. Perhaps most notably, Butler’s Doctor of Medical Science degree program does not require PAs to have a master’s degree.

Butler University also offers a DMS Bridge program specifically for new PAs who have graduated with a master’s degree in the last six months from an ARC-PA accredited program. This first of its kind, cohort-style program builds on the 36 hours of supervised clinical experience that recent PA graduates have to offer fast-track access to the same degree in less time and at a lower cost. Butler’s fully online DMS Bridge program can be completed in just two semesters. The DMS Bridge program is designed to develop a deeper understanding of research, issues in clinical practice, and leadership that can provide opportunities for graduates in a rapidly expanding healthcare environment.

Ready to jump start your PA career? Request more information, start your application or sign up for a DMS degree or DMS Bridge information session today!