The College of Health Sciences' Cardiovascular Science Program prepares you to flourish in the ever-changing field of cardiopulmonary surgery. Our curriculum is a full-time professional program of didactic and laboratory education that exposes you to new surgical techniques and technologies, first through clinical observation and then through rotations at affiliated hospitals across the country. We help you master the skills to build a career as a perfusionist.

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Fast Facts



Master of Science in Cardiovascular Science (M.S.)

General Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75
  • Minimum science GPA of 2.75
  • GRE general test scores earned within the last three years
  • Successful completion of prerequisite courses

Length of Program

7 continuous quarters including 48 weeks of clinical rotations

Class Size


2019 Class Profile

  • Female: 50%
  • Male: 50%
  • Average Age: 27
  • Average Overall GPA: 3.44
  • Average science GPA: 3.36
  • Class Size: 32
  • Top Home State: Arizona 28%, Michigan 13% and Texas 13%

Professional Career Opportunities

  • Heart-related surgeries
  • Blood therapies
  • Artificial hearts
  • Mechanical circulatory assist
  • Cancer therapies
  • Heart, lung, heart-lung transplants
  • Blood conservation
  • ECMO
  • Teaching & Research
  • Clinical Education

Graduation Rate

For the Class of 2018, 32 students matriculated and 26 students graduated for an 81% graduation rate.

Board Pass Rate (2004-2017)

The percentages below reflect the average percentage pass rate based on first-time test-takers from 2004-2017

  • MWU graduates: 92%
  • National average: 83%

MWU Outcomes (2018)

Of the 26 graduated students, 26 are actively employed as perfusionists. This represents a 100% hire percentage. 

Median Annual Cardio-Pulmonary Perfusionist salary (2016)

$128,866 ( December 1, 2018)

Admission Requirements


To be considered for admission to the Cardiovascular Science Program, applicants must submit documentation of the following:

  1. Completion of a bachelor's level or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  2. Minimum cumulative GPA and science GPA of 2.75 on a scale of 4.00
  3. Competitive test scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) no more than three years prior to planned enrollment year
  4. Completion of the online application for admission
  5. Two letters of recommendation
  6. Completion of the minimum number of prerequisite courses at a regionally accredited college or university. All prerequisites must be completed with a C or better. Grades of C- are not acceptable for any prerequisite courses
  7. Completion of the Program's interview process (by invitation only)
  8. Passage of the Midwestern University criminal background check
  9. Commitment to abide by the Midwestern University Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy

Application Deadlines

Priority Application Deadline - November 1

Applicants who submit their completed materials on or before November 1 will be given first consideration for admissions and will be notified of the admissions decision on or before January 31. Those who are not accepted in the program at this time will be rolled over into the Standard Application Deadline.

Standard Application Deadline - April 15

Applicants who submit their completed application materials on or before April 15 will be considered for admissions and will be notified of the admissions decision on or before May 31. Students are encouraged to apply during the Priority or Standard Application Deadlines. Applications received between April 15 and May 31 will be considered on a rolling basis for seats that may be available or placement on the alternate list.

Additional Application Information

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Program Description


Program Description

Program graduates are provided with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the demands that will be placed upon them in an ever-changing field where surgical techniques, cardiopulmonary bypass techniques and new technologies are constantly being advanced. 

The 21-month curriculum leading to a Master of Science in Cardiovascular Science degree is a full-time professional program of seven continuous quarters. The program begins with three quarters of didactic and laboratory education at the Glendale, Arizona campus. The student is exposed to clinical medicine during the first three quarters through clinical observation at affiliated hospitals in the Phoenix area.

The summer quarter of the student’s second year begins the four-quarter clinical rotation segment held at various affiliated hospitals located across the country. Relocation during clinical rotations will be necessary. This is a rigorous and demanding program; however, graduates are rewarded with the satisfaction that comes with accomplishment and an excellent start to their professional careers.

Planned Program Improvements

The Cardiovascular Science Program continuously evaluates curriculum and processes to ensure students are receiving appropriate training to adequately prepare them for providing patient care and for certification examinations. Preceptor, alumni, and student evaluations are reviewed and appropriate changes instituted, if necessary. Program improvements for next year include the following:

  • Online learning modules for second-year students to enhance their knowledge of  new clinical technologies and techniques,
  • Implementation of a new software program to facilitate the process of collecting, assessing and reporting data for students during clinical rotations,
  • Student utilization of iPad for some didactic, laboratory and clinical evaluations,
  • Time for first-year students to interface with the Simulator increased,
  • Improved simulation software to provide first-year students an enhanced exposure to simulated patient care during cardiopulmonary bypass.

Definition of a Perfusionist

A perfusionist is a skilled person, qualified by academic and clinical education, who operates extracorporeal circulation equipment during any medical situation where it is necessary to support or temporarily replace the patient's circulatory or respiratory function. The perfusionist is knowledgeable concerning the variety of equipment available to perform extracorporeal circulation functions, and is responsible in consultation with the physician for selecting the appropriate equipment and techniques to be used.

Program Highlights

  • Education in technological services and skills to support or substitute for patient cardiopulmonary function
  • Largest perfusion education program in the country offering a master's degree
  • State-of-the-Art Simulation Technology for cardiopulmonary bypass and ECMO


The Midwestern University Cardiovascular Science Program educates students to be compassionate, competent in behavior skills, clinically proficient and professional members of the cardiac surgery team in the practice of cardiovascular perfusion.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Maintain a high quality perfusion educational program
  • Prepare students to be life-long learners, educators, researchers, and leaders
  • Assess and incorporate current trends in clinical practice and technology
  • Become international leaders in perfusion education
  • Maintain appropriate enrollment of students to balance professional supply and demand
  • Monitor governmental policies related to our business



The Cardiovascular Science Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of the Accreditation Committee–Perfusion Education ( The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is located at 25400 U.S. Highway 19 North, Suite 158, Clearwater, FL 33763, phone number 727/210-2350.

Midwestern University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1413.

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