Consistent with the missions of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, it is the mission of the Physician Assistant Program to educate professionals committed to the delivery of comprehensive health care in a culturally and ethnically sensitive manner, with a specific emphasis on primary health care for populations and regions in need.

COVID-19 and admissions

The UW-Madison PA Program has already enacted numerous changes for its 2020-21 application cycle related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please use the provided link to stay up-to-date on how the pandemic affects your application.

What we look for in a student

The UW-Madison PA Program seeks applicants with a strong academic background, a demonstrated commitment to clinical practice, robust interpersonal skills and experiences reflecting a high level of maturity and professionalism. The program’s admission process will consider each applicant’s strengths and select for admission those applicants best qualified to meet the program’s mission.

The Admissions Committee gives additional consideration to applicants whose background aligns with our mission. “Mission Match” candidates are:

  • underrepresented in medicine
  • from a Health Profession Shortage Area or medically underserved area/community (HPSA/MUA/C)
  • veterans, currently serving, National Guard, Reserves
  • from an economically disadvantaged background
  • first generation college students

A group of physician assistant students in the casting lab

If you attended a university outside the United States please see our information for international students (pdf).

Note: We are not able to review transcripts or conduct advising appointments once your application has been submitted. All applicants must meet all requirements to be considered for admission.

Transfer students

Summary of our policy: 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.

View the complete health profession student transfer policy (pdf)

Academic performance

View a list of equivalent courses at UW-Madison.

If you are not a UW-Madison student, please request a transcript review to confirm completion of prerequisites.

Minimum requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  • Minimum science and cumulative GPA of 3.20 is recommended for all applicants.
  • A maximum of two outstanding prerequisites are allowed at the time of application, to be completed by the end of the fall semester prior to planned matriculation.

Prerequisite coursework

PLEASE NOTE: Beginning with the 2021-2022 CASPA application cycle (May 2022 matriculation) the UW-Madison PA Program will require that both the Human Anatomy and Human Physiology prerequisites have been completed within 3 years of matriculation into the PA program. For example, applicants to the class entering in May 2022 must have both Anatomy and Physiology completed in or after the summer semester 2019. If your prerequisites are out-of-date you must update coursework with an approved course(s). The Excelsior College online exam will no longer be an option for applicants to the class entering in 2022. Courses being updated during the application cycle are not considered outstanding prerequisites.

 UW equivalent course information

  • Mammalian biology with lab = Zoology 101 + 102 OR 151 + 152
  • Microbiology with lab = Microbiology 101 + 102 OR 303 + 304
  • Biochemistry = Biomolecular Chemistry 301 or 501, 314, or 503 or 507 + 508
  • Human anatomy = Anatomy and Physiologly 337
  • Human physiology = Anatomy and Physiology 335 or 435, or Biocore 485
  • Statistics (one semester) = Any emphasis
  • Intro/general/abnormal or developmental psychology (one semester) = Psychology 202 or 509, or HDFS 362 or 363


  • The GRE is not required.
  • Biology majors are exempt from the mammalian biology prerequisite requirement.
  • 100-level courses from community and/or technical colleges are not accepted for some courses.
  • Organic/biochemistry combined courses are not considered equivalent to our biochemistry prerequisite.
  • Two-semester combined anatomy and physiology sequences must be completed at the same institution.


For applicants who meet the 3.20 minimum GPA recommendation: 

  • Trends in grades
  • Recent coursework
  • Prerequisite coursework
  • Difficulty of coursework
  • Course load
  • Quality of school
  • Graduate work
  • Academic record statement 

Health care experience

Minimum requirements

  • 1,000 hours direct patient care required at the time of application submission.

Direct patient care is defined as the applicant having some degree of direct medical responsibility. Please see the patient care experience document (pdf) for additional information.


  • Patient contact
  • Contact with PAs
  • Quality of experience
  • Quantity of experience
  • Timeline (recent/past)
  • Related health care experience

Community service

Although community service is a scored component of the application, it is not a requirement for admission. We will give consideration to applicants who demonstrate outstanding and an altruistic commitment to service and volunteerism.

Letters of recommendation

Minimum requirements

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 a high level of personal and professional maturity, integrity, dedication, aptitude for the program and profession.

CASPer exam

Please not that as of the cycle opening in April 2020, the UW-Madison PA Program will require applicants to take the CASPer exam. The deadline for taking the exam for this cycle is Aug. 11.

Transcript review request

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

Prospective applicants may send an unofficial copy of transcripts to or fax to 608-265-4973 ATTN: Erin.  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 in/around your home community or online.

Annual security and fire safety report

The Annual Security Report and Annual Fire Safety Report (pdf) contains current campus safety and disciplinary policies, crime statistics for the previous three calendar years, and on-campus student housing fire safety policies and fire statistics for the previous three calendar years. UW-Madison will provide a paper copy upon request; please contact the University of Wisconsin Police Department at or 1429 Monroe St., Madison, WI.