Frequently Asked Questions
UND's PA Program is a unique hybrid of online coursework with alternating classroom and clinical experiences.
In total, there are 6 sessions totaling 15 weeks during the two year program when students are required on campus.
Class size: 35
Program length: 24 months
Minimum GPA: 3.0 or more recent coursework showing improvement
Average GPA: 3.4-3.5
Acceptance rate: 4:1 ratio (Qualified applicants: Admitted students)
Q: Can I work during the program?
A: Please see the Employment Policy.
Q: Do you show preference to certain applicants?
Preference is given to applicants who apply as a team with a sponsored clinical site or as a team with a licensed physician (MD or DO) and/or physician assistant who is willing to serve as the primary care preceptor to the student during the clinical portion of the program. More information about applying with a preceptor can be found on the Prerequisites page.
Preference is given to candidates whose core science coursework has been completed within 7 years of the application deadline. In addition, it is strongly encouraged that candidates update prerequisite science coursework older than 7 years.
North Dakota residents as well as residents from the bordering states of Montana, Minnesota, and South Dakota are given admission preference.
Applicants from rural (<25,000 population) or underserved communities are also awarded preference.
Q: I live outside of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Where can I stay during didactic session?
A: Past students have made various housing arrangements including local hotels or rental properties. Upon admission to the program, more specific information will be provided. Please see Tuition and Other Expenses.
Q: Can you look at my transcript and make sure I have all the courses I need?
A: No, we do not evaluate coursework or transcripts until after an application has been received. It is the applicant’s responsibility to evaluate coursework to see if it meets the published standards. If you need help clarifying a standard, please contact our department, but please be aware that we cannot recommend or endorse specific courses.
Q: Can you let me know if a certain course meets your standards?
A: It is the applicant’s responsibility to evaluate coursework to see if it meets the published standards. More competitive candidates are those who have completed higher level courses with higher grades.
Q: There are no level requirements for courses. How do I know what I should take?
A: Upper level university science coursework is preferred. Upper level coursework is non-introductory, typically with course numbers indicating at least junior or senior status. Please make sure your courses are from a regionally-accredited institution within the U.S. (MSA-CHE, NCA-HLC, NEASC-CIHE, NWCCU, SACS, ACCJC-WACS or WASC-SCUC), meet the minimum semester credit requirements, and receive a grade of B or higher (3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale). Admission to the program is highly competitive. Therefore, students whose transcripts demonstrate proven academic success in upper level coursework are preferred.
Q: You recommend that prerequisite coursework be completed within the past 7 years. If my coursework was completed over 7 years ago, will it count?
A: Prerequisite coursework does not have an expiration date. However, the most competitive candidates are those who demonstrate more recent success in completing challenging coursework. Preference is given to candidates whose core science coursework has been completed within 7 years of the application deadline. In addition, it is strongly encouraged that candidates update prerequisite science coursework older than 7 years, in order to demonstrate current success with academic rigor.
Q: My early undergraduate GPA is low. How can I compensate for that to make myself a more competitive candidate?
A: Completion of more recent and rigorous upper level courses with higher grades may demonstrate increased readiness for graduate level courses. However, please be aware that the graduate school requires an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, for non-provisional admittance.
Q: Can I apply to the program if I have one or more prerequisites incomplete? What if I plan to finish them before the program begins?
A: Prerequisite coursework must be completed, posted on official transcripts, and included with your application materials before the September 1 deadline in order to be considered for admission into the program. If you have courses in progress after the application deadline, please delay your application until the next cycle after your coursework is complete. Please review the application process.
Q: What if I haven’t graduated yet?
A: Applicants must have achieved at least a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution within the U.S. by December 31 of the year you apply. Please review the application process for additional details. Once you have graduated, an official transcript showing the conferral of the degree must be sent and postmarked by February 1 to the UND School of Graduate Studies. Once it arrives, it will be scanned and attached to your UND Graduate School application. Do not send transcripts directly to the UND PA Program. For questions regarding where to send your transcripts, the UND School of Graduate Studies created a Transcript FAQ resource.
Q: Can I take courses online? What about at a community/technical college?
A: Yes. Courses can be taken online or at a community/technical college as long as they are from a regionally-accredited institution within the U.S. (MSA-CHE, NCA-HLC, NEASC-CIHE, NWCCU, SACS, ACCJC-WACS or WASC-SCUC). Please make sure they meet the requirements listed (such as number of semester credit, grade of B or higher, completed by deadline, etc.) on the Prerequisites page. Please keep in mind that upper level university science coursework, with lab work, are preferred.
Q: How do I know if my courses transfer into UND?
A: Your courses do not transfer into UND. You qualify to apply to the UND PA Program with requirements that meet the published standards. If your courses don’t exactly match a UND course, but they meet the requirements posted on our Prerequisites page, then the course should be found sufficient.
Q: What if I obtained a degree outside the U.S.? Do you evaluate equivalency or accept third party evaluations?
A: No. A bachelor’s degree or graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution within the U.S. is required for all applicants. All prerequisites must meet the same requirements. Degrees or coursework obtained outside of the United States would not be sufficient regardless of equivalency or outside evaluations. Please review our Prerequisites.
Q: When do I need the minimum health care requirements completed?
A: Health care requirements must be completed by September 1 in order to be considered for admission into the program. Please review application deadlines.
Q: Does volunteer health care experience count?
A: Hours accrued in a volunteer role are not acceptable.
Q: Does training as a student or intern count toward my direct patient care hours?
A: Hours accrued in a student/learner role are not acceptable.
Q: I have direct patient care in the past, but I am not currently working with patients in a direct care environment. What do you mean by "recent" health care experience?
A: Direct patient care hours count toward your experience. However, the most competitive candidates are those with more hours completed closer to the application date when compared to other candidates in the same cycle application pool. As stated above, hours accrued in a student/learner role are not acceptable.
Q: When should I submit my application to CASPA?
A: Applications submitted close to the deadline may not give CASPA sufficient time to verify the application before interview decisions are made. Verification of an application can take up to 4 weeks. Please submit your application to CASPA as soon as you have met all prerequisites.
Q: What does a verified application mean?
A: Verification is the process used to ensure all of an applicant's coursework was entered correctly and consistently in CASPA. Once verification is completed, the applicant's application status will move from Complete to Verified. If significant mistakes are found in the applicant's coursework during the verification process, their application will be undelivered
Q: What are the steps to the application process?
A: Please review How to Apply.
Q: Do I need to upload my documents in both CASPA and the Graduate School application?
A: No. You only need to upload them into CASPA.
Q: Should I apply with a preceptor?
A: Preference is given to applicants who apply as a team with a sponsored clinical site or as a team with a licensed physician (MD or DO) and/or physician assistant who is willing to serve as the primary care preceptor to the student during the clinical portion of the program. More information about applying with a preceptor can be found on the Prerequisites page.
Q: Do you require the GRE?
A: No. The GRE is currently not required.
Q: What happens after application?
A: Each application is evaluated following the admissions deadline (How to Apply). Many aspects of the application are reviewed to determine the most qualified applicants each application cycle. Once that process is complete, applicants will be notified regarding their status in the application cycle. An invitation for interview is sent to those selected to move forward in the application process (How to Apply).
Q: How does the UND Department of PA Studies interview selected applicants?
A: The most qualified applicants are invited for interview based on various aspects of the CASPA application. The interview process may vary from one-on-one interviews to panel interviews depending upon the application year. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information at that time.
A: When entering your transcripts through CASPA, you may indicate if a course is in-progress. You may submit your CASPA application with courses in-progress or planned. Once your application is submitted, there are very few things you can change. However, you may update your in-progress course grades by September 1 by manually entering the results of a course in a process called Academic Update. For additional information about Academic Update, please contact CASPA or review the information found at CASPA's website. Please send official transcripts verifying all completed coursework with your UND Graduate School Application, postmarked by September 1. For questions regarding where to send your transcripts, the UND School of Graduate Studies created a Transcript FAQ resource. Please do not send them directly to the UND PA Program. Additionally, do not send updated transcripts to CASPA after your application is submitted.
Q: Do you give preference to applications submitted early?
A: No. We accept applications through the September 1 deadline and may review applications as they come in. However, admission decisions are made after the September 1 deadline regarding all applications and no preference is given to applications that are submitted early.