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How to Apply

Physician Assistant interacting with child patient during exam
Video: Admissions and application information

Video: Admissions and application information

Enrollment options and breakdown

We are committed to preparing PAs that will serve in the Mayo Clinic Health System across the Midwest, as the patient care needs are high. To help reach that goal, we have established two pathway options for students:

Traditional Pre-PA pathway

The PA Program’s first two cohorts entered via the traditional pre-PA pathway by individuals who possessed an undergraduate degree at the start of their PA studies.

Future cohorts are primarily filled by the 3+2 pathway. Beginning with the class starting in 2022, traditional pre-PA candidates will be considered only if seats are available in the incoming cohort. Application for admission is directly through Mayo Clinic, using the application instructions below. The PA Program does not participate in CASPA.

Occasionally, and for a variety of reasons, students in the 3+2 pathway will step away from the program, leaving a vacant seat. Each year, the PA Program opens a limited application cycle to fill any seats that are available. Because each year there are only a few, if any, seats available, it is critical that potential applicants consider the number of seats. These are filled by applicants who clearly meet and often exceed the program’s admission requirements and bring added qualities that meet the goals of our program graduates.

3+2 pathway

The PA Program has collaborated with Saint Mary’s University in Winona, MN, and University of Minnesota Rochester in a 3+2 pathway for admission.

Each year, 24 students are admitted to their first year of undergraduate studies in the 3+2 pathway program. All 24 students are supported to complete three years of undergraduate pre-PA courses and then move directly into two years of the graduate-level Mayo Clinic PA Program. For example, a student would begin their undergraduate studies in 2020 and transition to Mayo in 2023, graduating as a PA in 2025.

Admission to the 3+2 program is through application to either Saint Mary’s University or University of Minnesota Rochester.


Seats available

The table below explains the allotment of seats per path per year. Seats available indicates seats in this two-year Mayo Clinic PA Program. Please note this is pending accreditation approval.

Pre-PA pathway: Those who possess or will earn a four-year undergraduate degree prior to beginning Mayo Clinic PA Program.

3+2 pathway: High school graduates entering Saint Mary’s University or University Minnesota Rochester through the affiliated pipeline programs.

Year of admission to two-year Mayo Clinic PA ProgramSeats in Pre-PA pathSeats in 3+2 pathTotal seats available
2020 24 0 24
2021 24 0 24
2022 1 23 24
2023 3 21 24
2024 TBA 24 24
2025 TBA 24 24

TBA: To be announced as soon as available.

Prerequisites and technical standards

By either path, admission requirements include the demonstration of academic potential, commitment to health care, and familiarity with the role of a PA.


Prerequisites: 3+2 enrollment option

If applying for the 3+2 enrollment option at one of the affiliated institutions, each institution will have individual prerequisite requirements.

Prerequisites: Traditional Pre-PA to master’s degree option

If applying for the traditional two-year program, you must have completed the following prerequisites and prerequisite courses:

  • Baccalaureate degree. A four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. college/university (or equivalent) including all Mayo Clinic PA Program prerequisite courses, completed prior to August 1 of year of admission.

  • Prerequisite courses. The most recent prerequisite courses (though not all) must be completed within seven years of admission. 

    All prerequisite courses must have a grade of C or better. 

    Beginning with the admission cycle of the class entering in 2023, any vacant seats to be filled by the pre-PA pathway will be from candidates who have completed all admission prerequisites at the time of application.

  • Cumulative and science GPA of 3.50 or higher. Cumulative GPA and science (biology/chemistry) GPA each of 3.50 (on 4.00 scale) in all higher education work.

    As an alternative to this prerequisite, at the discretion of PA Program Director, cumulative and science GPAs represented by the last 60 credit hours of higher education coursework may meet this requirement. Directly contact the PA Program Director and request this consideration with an explanation of your circumstances.

    If the GPA requirement is not met by the last 60 credit hours, the applicant who continues to pursue admission at Mayo is advised to explore retaking certain courses or taking additional courses to increase the GPA.

  • At least 500 hours of direct patient care experience. The minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care experience may be met by such roles as a phlebotomist, certified nursing assistant (CNA), emergency medical technician (EMT), nursing, physical therapy (PT) aid, other patient care careers, or volunteer roles, among others.

  • At least two half-days of PA shadowing. PA shadowing sufficient to distinguish characteristics common to PAs compared to other health professions is represented by two or more half-day experiences, depending on the quality of the experiences and the goals of the applicant. You are advised to complete the PA shadowing requirement prior to submitting your application for admission, as that experience will better inform you in your decisions related to your career and education.

Prerequisite courses

Biological sciences: Minimum of 16 semester hours, at least 7 hours upper division*

Required coursesUnits


1 course with lab


1 course with lab

Biology or zoology

2 courses, at least 1 with lab


1 course with lab

Chemistry: Minimum of 15 semester hours, at least 3 hours upper division*

Required coursesUnits

Chemistry (general/inorganic)

1 course with lab

Organic chemistry

1 course with lab


1 course

Additional chemistry

1-2 courses

Math: Minimum of 3 semester hours

Required coursesUnits

Statistics or biostatistics

1 course

Psychology: Minimum of 6 semester hours

Required coursesUnits

Developmental psychology

1 course

Abnormal psychology

1 course

English: Minimum of 6 semester hours

Required coursesUnits

English composition I or writing intensive course

1 course

English composition II or writing intensive course

1 course

Required total: 14-15 courses

Recommended courses: The following courses will better prepare the applicant for their studies in the Mayo Clinic PA Program.

Recommended coursesUnits


1 course


1 course

Additional upper division* physiological sciences (cell biology, endocrinology, immunology, virology, etc.)

1 course

Scientific inquiry or research course

1 course

*An upper division course is taught at a junior or senior level of college/university instruction, generally indicated by a 300- or 400-level course number. Introductory or survey courses are not considered upper division. Courses that do not clearly reflect upper division status may require the applicant to provide a syllabus for review.

Technical standards

The outlined PA Program technical performance standards must be met by all students matriculating in the Physician Assistant Program.

As individuals may have varying abilities to meet these standards, candidates are encouraged to discuss their abilities with the PA Program admissions committee. Jointly, we will consider technological and other facilitating mechanisms needed in order to train and function effectively as a PA.

Mayo Clinic is committed to enabling its students by any reasonable means or accommodations to complete this course of study.

Non-U.S. citizen inquirers

Admission to Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is open to U.S. workers in the four categories below. Therefore, visa sponsorship is not available.

  1. U.S. citizens
  2. U.S. nationals
  3. Lawful permanent residents
  4. Asylees and refugees

Applicants whose primary language is not English must submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based test (TOEFL iBT). Scores from the speaking portion of the exam are given particular consideration in admission decisions. Learn more about the exam and register online at the Educational Testing Service.

The Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences code for the TOEFL iBT is 5784. The PA Program’s minimum score requirement for the TOEFL, consistent with general recommendations for graduate students in the health professions, includes a total TOEFL score that exceeds 89 with a minimum score of 25 for speaking.

Educational transcripts from schools outside the U.S. must be translated (if they are not already in English) and evaluated for U.S. equivalence by an accredited credential evaluation service company prior to submission. Please refer to the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services for a list of qualified companies. The applicant pays for the examination and credential-evaluation services.

How can I improve my chances of being admitted?

Admission requirements for either admissions path meet the same three goals: applicants must show academic potential, be committed to health care, and be familiar with the PA role.

Applicants will be best suited for the Mayo Clinic PA Program by evidence of any of the following preference factors:

  • Maturity. Evidence of personal growth through life experience leading to responsible behaviors.
  • Compassion and service. Evidence of extracurricular service to others in need.
  • Resilience. Evidence of success despite challenging circumstances.
  • Leadership. Evidence of organizational engagement with meaningful outcomes.
  • Commitment to practice locally. Resident of communities served by Mayo Clinic in the Midwest.
  • Military service. Evidence of current or past military service highlighting the characteristics above (maturity, compassion and service, resilience, leadership).

Application process

Enrollment pathwayApplication windowApply
3+2: Saint Mary’s University See website Visit website for information and to apply 
3+2: University of Minnesota Rochester See website Visit website for information and to apply
Pre-PA: Limited seats available April 15 – June 15, 2021
(Application window closes at 5 p.m. CT)
Apply online
(review instructions below carefully)

Application process: Traditional pre-PA to master’s degree enrollment option

Beginning with the admission cycle of the class entering in 2023, any vacant seats to be filled by the pre-PA pathway will be from candidates who have completed all admission prerequisites at the time of application. Candidates who are or have been employed by Mayo Clinic demonstrate a commitment to practice locally, which is one of the program’s preference factors.

Applicants in the traditional pre-PA admissions path should recognize that that only a few seats, if any, will be available each year. Applicants will be accepted based on the program’s admission requirements and preference factors.

Those who have already earned a bachelor's degree or higher should complete the following steps to apply:

  1. Create an account to begin the online Application for Admission
    • Select - Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences
    • Select – Physician Assistant Program
  2. Complete each section of the application and submit
  3. After submission, view the required Supplemental Items and Documents
    • Upload each required item in the Supplemental Items section
    • Complete the Recommendation Request section

Additional required items

  • Three letters of recommendation are required and must be completed in the Recommendation Request section. Each recommender will receive an email with a link to upload a letter.
    • Academic: One recommendation that reflects your academic potential (from a professor or instructor)
    • Professional: One recommendation that reflects your health care commitment (from someone familiar with your personal and professional character dedicated to health care)
    • Professional: One recommendation that reflects your familiarity with the PA role (from a PA if possible, or other health professional who knows you well)
  • Essay is to include each of the following using no more than 500 words for the total essay. Upload it in the Supplemental Items section.
    • Describe why you want to become a PA as opposed to any other medical professional through your education at Mayo Clinic.
    • Tell us about an experience that offers evidence of your compassion, your resilience, or your leadership.
    • What makes you stand out from the other PA applicants we are considering for admission?
  • Download the following forms, complete the information requested, and upload in the appropriate Supplemental Items section:
  • Official transcripts from each college or university that you've attended must be mailed from the institution directly to:

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences
Physician Assistant Program
Cascade Meadow 2-200
2900 19th Street NW
Rochester, MN 55901

Application process: 3+2 enrollment option

Applicants pursuing the 3+2 enrollment option at one of the affiliated academic institutions should refer to the application instructions at the respective university.