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. Additionally, applicants to any of our community-based options (distance education, wisPACT@UW-Stevens Point at Wausau and wisPACT@UW-Platteville) who are a WI resident will get preference for an interview and admission over non-residents.                        

Mission match candidates are any or all of the following:

  • 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 

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.

COVID-19-related admissions information

The UW-Madison PA Program has enacted several changes to the current application cycle related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please use this page to stay up-to-date on how the pandemic affects your application.

For this admissions cycle, the following changes will be in place as applications are considered:

  • We will accept grades of Pass (P), Satisfactory (S), or the equivalent for required coursework taken in spring 2020 and beyond.
  • The CASPA application gives applicants the opportunity to share how COVID-19 affected their personal, professional, and academic experiences and the Admissions Committee will use the information provided as part of their assessment.

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 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. For example, applicants to the class entering in May 2022 must have both Anatomy and Physiology completed in or after the spring semester 2019. 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 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.


  • 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 recommended at the time of 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.

Altus Suite - admissions assessments of non-cognitive skills

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

  • Casper: 60-90 minute online, open-response situational judgment test (SJT)
  • Snapshot: 10-minute one-way video interview with standardized questions

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.