Northwestern to Start Physician Assistant Master’s Program

Northwestern College is starting a Master of Science degree in physician assistant studies and expects to enroll the first cohort of up to 30 students in May 2020.

Northwestern is currently approved as an applicant program by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Certified physician assistant Christina Hanson joined the Northwestern faculty this fall and will spend the next two years shepherding the new program through the ARC-PA’s intensive provisional accreditation process, which is the status granted to all new programs. The program will be eligible for continuing accreditation after the first class graduates.

Hanson has been a physician assistant since 2008, providing care at family practice, orthopedic, urology and urgent care clinics in four Midwestern communities. Before coming to Northwestern, Hanson was a physician assistant professor at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn., helping launch that program and participating in a successful accreditation process.

Hanson earned a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Des Moines University College of Health Sciences. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in biology with a psychology minor from Bethel University and is currently completing a doctorate in higher education leadership at Bethel.

Applicants to the physician assistant master’s program must have a bachelor’s degree and have taken prerequisite science courses as an undergraduate. Students do not have to be Northwestern College graduates to apply to the 27-month, on-campus program. For information, visit or contact Hanson at or 712-707-7399.