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.

What we look for in an applicant

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. 

All things being equal, competitive applicants whose background aligns with our mission and includes any or all the characteristics listed below are a mission match. In alignment with the UW-Madison PA Program and School of Medicine and Public Health mission to address health equity in populations and regions of need, mission match candidates are considered for an interview and admission before non-mission match candidates. Each admitted class will be made up of at least 70% Wisconsin residents.

Mission match candidates are any or all of the following:

  • 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 

In practice, this means that if two applications are each categorized by reviewers as “outstanding” in their preparation for PA school, insomuch as their experiences and academic background instill confidence that the candidate can successfully handle the rigor of PA training, the mission match candidate may be considered for an interview and admission over the non-mission match candidate.

A group of physician assistant students in the casting lab

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.

International students

Applicants 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.

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
  • (New for 23-24 application cycle) The University Wisconsin-Madison PA Program requires that
    applicants have 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.
  • (New for 23-24 application cycle) Applicants must have 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:
    • 3.20 overall cumulative Science GPA
    • 3.20 on the most recently completed 60 semester hours of biological and chemical science coursework
  • A maximum of two outstanding prerequisites are allowed at the time of application, to be completed prior to planned matriculation in May

Prerequisite coursework

Please note: The UW-Madison PA Program requires that both the Human Anatomy and Human Physiology requirements have been completed within 3 calendar years of matriculation into the PA program. If prerequisites were completed beyond the 3-year limit you must update coursework. Options to update are linked below. Courses being updated during the application cycle are not considered outstanding prerequisites.

 UW equivalent course information

  • General biology with lab = Zoology 101 + 102 OR Biology 151 + 152
  • Microbiology with lab = Microbiology 101 + 102 OR 303 + 304
  • Biochemistry = Biochem 301 or 501, 314, or 503 or 507 + 508
  • Human Anatomy = Anatomy and Physiology 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.


  • 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

  • (New for 2023-24 application cycle) 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.

Direct patient health care experience can come from traditional paid employment, volunteer or clinical research experiences. 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

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 — admissions assessment of non-cognitive skills

All applicants are required to complete Casper as part of their application for the current admissions cycle. To create an account visit and complete the following assessments:

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

Transcript review request

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.

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