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University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Physician Assistant Program (Wisconsin)


Physician assistant interacting with a patient


The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Gundersen La Crosse Hospital, Marshfield Clinic and Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Program requires applicants to complete the following courses by the Aug. 1 application deadline to qualify for admission to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse:

  • Biology. At least 14 semester hours of biology, including at least two laboratory courses, in these areas:
    • Anatomy and physiology. One semester of human anatomy and one semester of human physiology, or a two-semester sequence of combined human anatomy at the 200 (sophomore) level or above. Human anatomy and physiology is strongly preferred, though vertebrate and mammalian anatomy and physiology are acceptable.
    • Microbiology. One semester of microbiology at the 200 (sophomore) level or above.
    • Health-related upper-division biological science. One semester at the 300 (junior) level or above in any of these courses: genetics, immunology, vertebrate or mammalian embryology, endocrinology, histology, pathophysiology, neuroscience, parasitology, mycology, or biology of cancer.
  • Chemistry. A minimum of 11 semester hours of chemistry, including the following courses, at least two of which must include a laboratory component:
    • General chemistry. One semester of general or introductory chemistry.
    • Organic chemistry. One semester of organic chemistry at the 200 (sophomore) level or above.
    • Biochemistry. One semester of biochemistry at the 300 (junior) level or above. Molecular or cellular biology at the 300 level or above is an acceptable alternative.
  • Mathematics. A minimum of two semesters of mathematics, including:
    • Precalculus or calculus. One semester of precalculus or calculus, or one semester of college algebra with trigonometry.
    • Statistics. One semester of statistics.
  • Psychology. A minimum of one semester of general, introductory, developmental or abnormal psychology.

In addition to completing the above prerequisite courses, applicants must have the following:

  • Academic aptitude. A minimum cumulative GPA on all post-high school courses of 3.00 calculated on a four-point scale, as well as a minimum science — as defined by the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) — GPA of 3.00.

    Submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores is required. The following GRE scores must be met:

    • Verbal score = 130-170
    • Quantitative Reasoning = 130-170
    • Analytic Writing = 0-6
    • A minimum score requirement of 1,100

    GRE scores are used as another measure of academic aptitude along with GPA.

  • Degree. A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.
  • Health care experience. Prior direct patient care experience is expected. Such experience provides evidence of a career commitment to health care as a physician assistant. In the program's competitive admission process, the length and depth of health care experience is a selection factor.

Applicants are selected based on grades, work and volunteer experiences, leadership qualities, representation of personal qualities and skills in a personal letter, three letters of reference and a personal panel interview.

Technical standards

In addition to meeting general admissions standards, applicants will be assessed for:

  • Observation, communication and motor function
  • Intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities
  • Behavioral and social attributes
  • Tactical and somatic sensation
  • Functional use of vision and hearing

Diagnostic equipment and tools may provide technological compensation for some disabilities, but the applicant should be able to perform in an independent manner.

Although physician assistants usually work in comfortable, well-lit environments, those in surgery often stand for long periods, and others do considerable walking. Schedules vary according to practice setting and often depend on the hours of the supervising physician. The workweek of physician assistants in physicians' offices may include weekends, night hours or early-morning hospital rounds to visit patients, and physician assistants also may be on call. Physician assistants in clinics often work a 40-hour week.

Applicants must be able to perform the essential functions of the profession and meet the standards of the curriculum. Applicants seeking exceptions to these standards or reasonable accommodations should initiate their request with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Non-U.S. citizen applicants

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 school code for the TOEFL iBT is 5784.

TOEFL results should be submitted to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse:

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Physician Assistant Program
1725 State St.La Crosse, WI 54601
Phone: 608-785-8470

Applicants from outside the U.S. must have their educational transcripts translated (if they are not already in English) and evaluated for U.S. equivalency 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.

More information

See further Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences admissions policy information.