PA Admission Requirements

The Physician Assistant (PA) program seeks candidates who strongly align with our program’s mission of delivering comprehensive health care in a culturally and ethnically sensitive manner.

We place special emphasis on primary health care for populations and regions in need. We encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and identities who have strong academic records, a demonstrated commitment to clinical practice, robust interpersonal skills and experiences reflecting a high level of maturity and professionalism.

Competitive Applicants

Competitive applicants whose background aligns with our mission and includes any or all the characteristics listed below are a mission match. Mission match candidates are considered for an interview and admission before non-mission match candidates. It is a UW–Madison PA Program goal that each admitted class will be made up of at least 70% Wisconsin residents.

Mission match candidates meet any or all criteria:

  • From a Health Profession Shortage Area or medically underserved area/community (HPSA/MUA/C)
  • Veterans or currently serving in the U.S. military, including the National Guard or Reserves
  • From an economically disadvantaged background
  • First generation college students
  • Enrolled in a federally recognized tribe
Transfer Students

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health offers innovative and highly integrated courses of study that are not conducive to accepting transfer students. Therefore, it is the School of Medicine and Public Health’s policy that transfer students generally are not accepted.

Student Transfers for Health Professions Programs policy

International Students


Transcript evaluation is required for applying to the UW–Madison PA program through CASPA. We will also use this evaluation to determine an applicant has met minimum requirements; GPA prerequisite coursework, etc. Acceptable foreign transcript evaluation services are:


Applicants who have attended universities outside of the U.S. must provide evidence that they are a permanent resident of the United States. We do not consider applicants who have student or other temporary visas.

English Proficiency

Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score. Your score is considered too old, and will not be accepted, if it is more than 2 years old from the start of your admission term. Country of citizenship does not exempt applicants from this requirement.

Language of instruction at the college or university level, and how recent it has been, are determining factors in meeting this requirement. Applicants are exempt if:

  • English is the exclusive language of instruction at the undergraduate level
  • They have earned a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university not more than 5 years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment
  • They have completed at least two full-time semesters of graded course work, exclusive of ESL courses, in a U.S. college or university, or at an institution outside the U.S. where English is the exclusive language of instruction, not more than 5 years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment

Minimum TOEFL requirement: 92 internet (iBT); 580 paper-based test (PBT)

Visit the TOEFL website

Academic Requirements

The PA program does not require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. In evaluating applications, we consider trends in grades, recent coursework, prerequisite coursework, difficulty of coursework, course load, quality of school, any graduate work and academic record statement.

Minimum Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher on a traditional 4.00 scale — the overall cumulative GPA is calculated from all courses taken at the collegiate level, no matter when the courses were completed
  • A science GPA of 3.20 or higher on a 4.00 scale — an applicant may meet our science GPA in one of two ways:
    • 3.2 overall cumulative science GPA
    • 3.2 for the most recently completed 60 semester hours of science coursework
  • Completion of the prerequisite coursework
    • A maximum of two outstanding science prerequisites are allowed at the time of application, to be completed prior to planned matriculation in May


  • General biology with lab
  • Microbiology with lab
  • Biochemistry
    • Organic/biochemistry combined courses are not considered equivalent to our biochemistry prerequisite
  • Human anatomy (within three years of matriculation)
  • Human physiology (within three years of matriculation)
  • Statistics (one semester)
  • Intro/general/abnormal or developmental psychology (one semester)

Updating Human Anatomy and Physiology Requirements

There are two options for Physician Assistant (PA) program applicants whose Human Anatomy and/or Physiology coursework exceed the three year limit.

Coursera offers a specialization course in Anatomy through the University of Michigan and a Physiology course through Duke University we accept as updates to these requirements.

Anatomy – Start anytime. Takes approximately 5 months to complete at the suggested pace of 4 hours/week. Deadline is flexible. Certificate of completion for all body systems is required.

Physiology – Start anytime. Takes approximately 33 hours to complete. Deadline is flexible. Certificate of completion is required.

The second option is to take an approved human anatomy and/or physiology course and earn a grade of C or better. A two-semester combined course of anatomy and physiology will update both requirements. All science courses taken at a community or technical college must be a 200-level or higher. Course updates must be completed prior to the PA professional program start date in May.

UW Equivalent Courses

  • General Biology with Lab: Zoology 101 + 102 OR Biology 151 + 152
  • Biochemistry: Biochem 301 or 501, 314, or 503 or 507 + 508
  • Human Anatomy: Anatomy and Physiology 337
  • Microbiology with Lab: Microbiology 101 + 102 OR 303 + 304
  • Human Physiology: Anatomy and Physiology 335 or 435, or Biocore 485
  • Psychology (Intro/General/Abnormal or Developmental): One semester: Psychology 202 or 509, or HDFS 362 or 363
  • Statistics: One semester: any emphasis

Notes on Prerequisites

Human anatomy and physiology courses being updated during the application cycle are not considered outstanding prerequisites. 100-level courses from community and/or technical colleges are not accepted for some courses. If you are not a UW–Madison student, please request a transcript review to confirm completion of prerequisites.

Transcript Review Request

Prospective applicants may send an unofficial copy of transcripts to We will respond shortly thereafter letting you know which prerequisites you’ve completed and which, if any, you still need to complete. From there, we are happy to help you determine how it may work best for you to complete any outstanding prerequisites near your home community or online.

Note: We are not able to review transcripts or conduct advising appointments once your application has been submitted.

Additional Requirements

Health Care Experience

The University of Wisconsin–Madison PA program requires a minimum of 1,000 hours of direct patient care experience. The hours are calculated at the time of application submission. Direct patient health care experience can come from traditional paid employment, volunteer or clinical research experiences.

When evaluating health care experience, we consider patient contact, whether you’ve worked with PAs, the quality and quantity of your experience and how recently the experience occurred.

Please see the patient care experience page for additional information.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters are required; up to five can be submitted through CASPA. At least one should come from someone whom you have worked with in a health care setting. Letters should demonstrate that you have a high level of personal and professional maturity, integrity, dedication, and aptitude for the program and profession.

Assessment of Non-Cognitive Skills

All applicants are required to complete Casper as part of their application for the current admissions cycle. Create a Casper account and complete the Casper assessment.

Casper is an online, open-response situational judgment test (SJT) that asks what you would do in a tough situation, and more important, why you would do it. This helps determine behavioral tendencies of applicants pursuing people-centered professions.

Technical Standards

A candidate for the Physician Assistant program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison must have abilities and skills in five categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual and behavioral/social.

Full Technical Standards requirements