Admission Prerequisites and Requirements


(partial compliance of A3.13, A3.16)

The University of Dubuque Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) Required Prerequisite Courses

  • These courses must be completed with a “C’ or higher, there may be no more than two grades of (C), and the grade point average for all of these courses must be 3.0 out of 4.0 or higher.
  • Prerequisites must be completed prior to application verification. The only exception to this is Medical Terminology3.
 Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies  
 (MSPAS) Prerequisite Courses4
   Credits Required   
(Semester Hours)
 University of Dubuque
 Human Anatomy and Physiology I w/Lab 2 4 credits   BIO 211: Anatomy & Physiology I
 Human Anatomy and Physiology II w/Lab 2 4 credits   BIO 212: Anatomy & Physiology II
 General Biology or Zoology with lab 4 credits   BIO 135: General Zoology
 Microbiology (Lab Recommended) 3 credits   BIO 314: Microbiology
 Human Genetics (Lab Recommended) 3 credits   BIO 236: Genetics
 General Chemistry I with Lab 4 credits   CHM 111: General Chemistry I
 General Chemistry II with Lab 4 credits   CHM 112: General Chemistry II
 Organic Chemistry I (Lab Recommended) 3 credits   CHM 221: Organic Chemistry I
 Biochemistry (Lab Recommended) 3 credits   CHM 331: Biochemistry I
 Medical Terminology 3 1 credit    BIO 150: Medical Terminology 
 Statistics 3 credits    UDMA 230: Introduction to Statistics 
 General Psychology 3 credits    PSY 110: Introduction to Psychology
 * Read course descriptions in current undergraduate catalog to determine equivalency to courses at other institutions

Prerequisite courses taken at other colleges or universities may be deemed equivalent to courses taken at The University of Dubuque by the MSPAS Admission Committee.
2 Animal or Exercise Physiology will NOT be considered as a prerequisite course. Applicants are required to complete biology-major anatomy & physiology courses. 
3 Medical Terminology Course may be completed post-admission offer, no later than June 1, 2022.
For the 2021 admission cycle, the program will accept in-person or online labs.

Experiential learning is not an acceptable substitute for prerequisite requirements.

Applicants who take additional higher-level science courses beyond the minimum prerequisite courses will enhance their application.

Survey courses will not be considered prerequisite coursework for the program.

Program Requirements

  1. Degree: Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or Canada.
  2. Residency: Applications will only be accepted from U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  3. GPA: Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and science prerequisite grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
    1. Anatomy and Physiology must be completed within a seven-year period of applying.
    2. All courses completed within seven years of application are considered ideal.
  4. GRE: All applicants must complete the GRE. Applicants whose GRE scores are more than five years old must retake the exam and submit more recent scores. Official GRE scores should be sent directly by ETS, once the application is submitted to CASPA, using our CASPA GRE code 1620Recommend GRE scores in the 40th percentile or above in all 3 categories.
  5. Healthcare Experience: Required.
    1. A minimum of 500 hours of hands-on/direct patient care experience as a paid or volunteer employee is required at the time of application.
    2. While 500 is the minimum number of hours for admission consideration, favorable consideration will be given to applicants with more than the minimum requirement.
    3. Shadowing experience will NOT count toward the 500 hours.  
  6. Shadowing: Shadowing a PA is required. Shadow hours exceeding 20 hours will enhance your application. (Shadowing requirement waived for the 2021 application cycle)
  7. Leadership: The following count toward leadership. (This is not an exclusive list. If there are activities or events you feel should be counted in the category of leadership/service, please list them on the application.)
    • Intercollegiate athlete of any type — one year for each season (includes dance, cheer and/or athletic trainer/manager for team)
    • Leadership role in fraternity/sorority or other professional organization/club or student government (must be an executive leadership position such as president, vice president or committee chair — being a member of a club does not count as leadership)
    • Worked at least 15 hours per week while attending college as a full time student
    • Service in the military — one year for one year of service
    • Other non-college related leadership roles within the community or at one’s place of employment such as serving on city council or filling the role of manager — one year for one year of service
  8. Community Service: The following count toward community service (this list is not exclusive- please list anything you think should count as community service)
    • Participating on a religious or other organization-sponsored mission trip either domestically or abroad.
    • Volunteering at pet, homeless or other types of shelters
    • Organizing charity events such as Relay for Life, Cancer Awareness, etc
    • Volunteering at a hospital/nursing home, etc
  9. Preference: Preference is given to applicants with prior military service and/or UD graduates.
    1. Applicants with military service or graduates from UD will receive an interview if minimum admission requirements are met.
  10. Letters of Recommendation: Three (3) letters of recommendation must be submitted to CASPA with the application. Strong, unequivocal letters attesting to the applicant's educational background, motivation, analytical skills, and promise as a future medical practitioner are important considerations.
    1. One letter must come from an academic professor who can speak to applicant's scholastic aptitude and overall experience in their
    2. One letter must come from the supervisor/manager/director in the applicant's healthcare workplace.
    3. One letter must be a character reference someone who has known the applicant, other than family, who can speak to applicant's personal character.
  11. Health Screening: Successful completion of tuberculosis screening, physical exam, urine drug screen, criminal background check, and all required immunizations prior to matriculation.
  12. BLS Certification: BLS certification is required prior to matriculation. Documentation must be submitted to verify certification prior to June 1 of the year you matriculate. It is your responsibility to maintain certification and provide documentation to the program. 
  13. Technical Standards: Applicants must be able to meet the technical standards found HERE.
  14. Advanced Placement: The PA program does not offer advanced placement for students with prior graduate or doctoral work.

**Due to COVID-19, many colleges transitioned to online delivery and have given students the option of S/U or Pass/Fail grading from Spring 2020 through Summer 2021. We recommend students elect letter grades for all courses when the decision is theirs to make. The UD PA Program will accept any S/U or Pass/Fail grading for Spring ​and Summer 2020 through Summer 2021 courses where the transcripts identify an assigned value of an S or Pass as equaling a C or higher. Where the value of an S or Pass grade is C or higher, the UD PA program will assign the letter grade “C” and a grade of “F” for any U or Fail grade for purposes of calculating a pre-req GPA or last-60 GPA. ​This policy will apply to the 2021 CASPA application cycle and beyond when the 2020-2021 courses apply to our prerequisites or last-60 GPA calculations. We will revisit this policy and make additional changes if necessary in response to COVID-19.

For more information regarding admission requirements and/or the
application process please contact or 563.589.3662.