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Admission FAQs

Discover answers to some of the frequently asked questions about admission to the PA Program at Mayo Clinic.

Is there a part-time plan of study?

The rigor of the master's PA program curriculum requires that individuals plan to be full-time students throughout their studies and clinical rotations. Nationally, PA education has explored part-time studies to capture non-traditional students (who turn into wonderful PAs). Because of the tight sequence of studies required, it typically then doubles the length of PA education for part-time students to be four years or more, which is too often undesirable for the learner.

We advise PA students to commit themselves as full-time students for the two-year program, avoiding routine employment responsibilities to attend to their own self-care and counter the inevitable stresses of this type of educational program.

Does the PA Program offer "rolling admissions"?

Our PA Program does not participate in “rolling admissions.”

All applicants who submit their application by the due date are fully considered. Early acceptance processes such as “rolling admissions” encourages earlier application submissions. Though our program does not offer early acceptance, there are advantages to submitting your application early, within the application window.

We encourage individuals to submit their applications as early as possible (within the application window) to offer more time for us to evaluate the completeness of the application. Early applicants will receive feedback from our admissions staff should there be missing items or questions that arise from our initial review. As we approach the application due date, we are less likely to manage the time needed for any questions that arise. We recommend submitting your application as early as possible to obtain the benefit of this review as long as the completed application best represents your experience, attributes, talents, and plans.

What is considered appropriate for "direct patient care hours"?

A minimum of 500 hours of direct patient care experience is required, which typically includes work as a certified nurse assistant (CNA), phlebotomist, EMT, PT aid, nurse, or other patient care careers. 

The goal is ensuring that the applicant has generous experience in working with individuals who do not feel well and/or have significant medical needs.

Some health professions do not typically include care of individuals who are ill, such as some health research roles or occupations such as a pharmacy technician or personal trainer. These roles contribute excellent experience for the PA applicant, but evidence of direct patient care is still necessary. Experience as a health care volunteer is acceptable if direct patient care is notable, such as medical mission work directly with patients.

You may have participated in an unusually engaging experience that allowed you to experience patient care first-hand. If that’s the case, please contact the program with a description of the quality of the experience representing direct patient care.

I have shadowed physicians. Do I need to shadow a PA?

Yes, a minimum of two half-days of PA shadowing is required. To best understand the role of the PA, direct experience with a PA in the patient care role is necessary. Because the PA role can greatly vary, shadowing with PAs in different environments enhances the applicant’s understanding of the PA role.

How should I document my direct patient care hours and shadowing?

We recommend you keep a list of your experiences. The Mayo PA Program application will ask you to provide a brief description of your experiences, dates and hours, and a contact name and phone number. At our discretion, we may contact the individual you list to confirm the experience reported.

Can Mayo Clinic help me find a PA to shadow?

It’s a common practice for PAs across the country to anticipate calls from individuals seeking to shadow them. If you find a PA working in an area that interests you, don’t hesitate to reach out. Usually it’s recommended that you establish that contact first, so that you have a shadow experience in an area of your interest.

Many institutions have guidelines for shadowing experiences, including Mayo Clinic. Here is a link to the shadowing programs available through the Mayo Clinic HR Career Awareness.

For the 3+2 enrollment pathway, do you distinguish between candidates from the affiliated universities differently?

Mayo considers all candidates in the 3+2 pipeline equally, and has no preference between Saint Mary’s University or University of Minnesota  Rochester. Each school offers an excellent learning environment that is tailored to the individual student. Applicants should explore each school and determine which school best suits them.

Generally, questions related to 3+2 applications should be directed to Saint Mary’s University or University of Minnesota Rochester so they can respectively speak to their own program’s offerings.

For the Pre-PA enrollment option, does Mayo Clinic use CASPA (Central Application Service for PAs)?

No, Mayo Clinic is not a participating member of CASPA. Applicants will need to submit a unique application to Mayo through our own online admissions system.

If I’m accepted in the 3+2 pipeline enrollment pathway, do I have a guaranteed seat in the Mayo Clinic PA Program?

Yes, as long as matriculation requirements while in the 3 years of undergraduate study are met.

Matriculation requirements are maintained by each school and include academic performance, reflection papers and participation in occasional extracurricular PA professionalism activities.

One example of the academic performance requirements includes obtaining a 3.5 GPA across the junior year of studies.

What happens if I don’t meet the matriculation requirements?

Saint Mary’s University and University of Minnesota Rochester have advisors and coaches that will be supporting your studies at each school. If issues arise that contribute to not meeting the matriculation requirements, your university’s advisor will be counseling you and helping support you toward success. If despite all efforts, you do not meet the matriculation requirements, you may be advised to take additional studies or be involved in related remediation activities prior to moving forward into the Mayo PA Program. This may delay your entry into the Mayo PA Program.

If a student withdraws from the 3-year undergraduate curriculum design, the student may still progress to completing the same PA program prerequisites. That student would then later apply directly to the Mayo Clinic PA Program for admission upon completion of a bachelor’s degree.

How many letters of recommendations are required as part of the application process?

Three letters are requested.

The applicant may choose who is best able to write letters of recommendation. For many applicants, we recommend:

  • One letter reflective of your academic potential (from a professor or instructor)
  • One letter reflective of your health care commitment (from someone familiar with your personal and professional character dedicated to health care)
  • One letter reflective of your familiarity with the PA role (from a PA if possible, or a health professional who knows you well)

Applicants who have additional life experience since their academic coursework may find others are in a better position to write their recommendation letters.

For the Pre-PA enrollment option, is the GRE required for application?

No. Mayo has not found data that supports GRE outcomes as predictors for student success in PA education. However, data on GRE testing supports that GRE outcomes may limit a school’s ability to admit a diverse population of students, which works against one of our priorities.

Do Mayo Clinic employees have an admissions advantage over non-employees?

One of the PA Program’s six admission preference factors is "a commitment to practice locally." If an individual has worked at Mayo Clinic, can speak to a rewarding experience, and has positive references from Mayo Clinic, that offers strong support for this preference factor.

Are pass/fail courses accepted as prerequisites?


Pass/fail courses are accepted if counted toward a degree in a regionally accredited institution. However, a grade of “pass,” by itself, does not speak strongly of a candidate’s academic potential to be successful in our rigorous PA Program. The applicant should present a transcript that demonstrates a representative academic potential. If that is supported by traditional grades in only a few courses, the GPA minimum may be met (so he/she could apply), but this may not reflect well on her/his overall candidacy when compared to other candidates.

A stronger application would reflect at least a handful of upper division science courses, to include courses from other disciplines (e.g., psychology, ethics) to better demonstrate academic potential while meeting the GPA minimum.

Can I work while I'm a student in the PA Program?

PA students are generally discouraged from maintaining employment while in their PA studies, due to the rigorous nature of the curriculum. If academic difficulties arise and the student is employed, academic advisers will include counsel to resign from employment.

PA students are not permitted to work for the PA Program and may not serve as instructional faculty. During clinical rotations, students cannot function as a substitute for clinical or administrative staff, and cannot receive any payment for services provided.

Can I seek advanced placement in the PA Program?

The program does not grant advanced placement to any applicant.