Admission to the Physician Assistant Program within the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences is a competitive selection process. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee progression in the application process.
All admission requirements must be completed by the September 1st application deadline unless denoted below. No in-progress requirements will be considered. For additional information regarding the application process, please see How to Apply.
Applications, clinical experience, and previous coursework will not be reviewed until they are made available to us as part of a complete, verified application by CASPA. It is the applicant's responsibility to evaluate if coursework and experience meets the published standards. Transcripts and coursework will not be evaluated prior to application. Also, it is the applicant's responsibility to contact CASPA directly to verify the receipt of all application materials by CASPA and the current status of their application.
Be sure to review the content in each of the requirement tabs below (Academic, Health Care, Preceptor)
- Four-year bachelor’s degree or graduate degree at a regionally accredited institution within the United States (regional accreditation by MSA-CHE, NCA-HLC, NEASC-CIHE, NWCCU, SACS, ACCJC-WASC, WASC-SCUC.).
- Degree must be completed by December 31 of application year. Please see How to Apply for additional instruction.
- Health-related or science-based degrees are preferred.
- Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) is required for nonprovisional consideration. Provisional consideration is given with more recent transcripts showing significant improvement in science coursework.
Prerequisite Coursework Requirements
Prerequisite courses must meet the following criteria:
- Grade of B or higher (3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale) unless denoted below. The UND DPAS recognizes that some applicants may be taking courses this semester which may be affected by COVID-19 pandemic. We strongly encourage a letter grade for all courses. However, given this unprecedented event, we will accept S/U courses in prerequisites taken in the spring/summer ’20 semesters if that grade was mandated by the school without student choice. Our admission process is a holistic review of your application including previous academic performance to determine success. Please provide rationale of S/U courses in your CASPA application under the custom questions section.
- Completed at a regionally accredited institution within the United States (regional accreditation by MSA-CHE, NCA-HLC, NEASC-CIHE, NWCCU, SACS, ACCJC-WASC, WASC-SCUC.).
- CLEP (College Level Examination Programs) or "test out" courses are not accepted.
- Upper level university science coursework is preferred. Upper-level coursework is non-introductory, typically with course numbers indicating at least junior or senior status.
- 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.
Human Anatomy (At least 3 semester credits). Lab preferred.
Human Physiology (At least 3 semester credits). Lab preferred.
Note: If a combined course such as anatomy and physiology (i.e. A&P I and II) is taken, 2 courses of at least 3 semester credits each are required.
Microbiology (At least 2 semester credits). Lab preferred.
Statistics (At least 3 semester credits). Preferably statistics for psychology, sociology, or biology.
Recommended Coursework for applicants in 2020 (required for applicants in 2021)
The following courses are recommended for the current application cycle (April 2020-September 2020); however they will be required for applicants starting April 2021.
At least 6 semester credits of additional upper level University science chosen from the following courses. Examples of courses from UND that would fulfill this requirement are listed here; however, equivalent coursework from other institutions will be accepted. Taking these courses with their respective labs (if offered) is preferred.
- Biochemistry of Proteins and Information Flow
- Cell Biology
- Developmental Biology
- Systems Biology
- Physiology of Organs and Systems
- Molecular Genetics
- Molecular Biology of the Cell
- Organic Chemistry I (*)
- Organic Chemistry II (*)
- Introduction to Immunology
* Courses denoted with an asterisk (*) a grade of C is acceptable
Other Recommended Coursework
- Medical Terminology
- Additional upper level science coursework (with labs)
Additional coursework beyond the minimum academic preparation requirements will strengthen an application, especially if the courses are highly correlated with medicine such as immunology, pathophysiology, gerontology, medical ethics, health care policy, epidemiology, human nutrition, and additional courses in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and psychology.
Health Care Requirements
A minimum of 1000 hours of health care experience must be completed within the United States and be related to direct (hands-on), supervised patient care showing commitment to a career in medicine. Experience should involve assessment and treatment relating to Western (allopathic) medicine and medical professional judgment. Hours accrued in a student/learner role are not acceptable. This ensures foundational knowledge and skills needed for successful completion of this program.
Although all health care disciplines are certainly valuable to the practice of medicine, clinical health care experiences which lack high-level, direct patient care and decision making responsibilities do not prepare students for successful completion of the accelerated program or the professional board exam. Examples of disciplines that would not count towards the minimum health care hours for admission include: Administrative assistant, ACLS/CPR instructor, hospital chaplain, pharmaceutical/medical supply representative, medical scribe, receptionist or other clerical position, student intern, veterinarian, etc.
Applying with a Primary Care Preceptor
It is encouraged for you to apply with a primary care preceptor. Over the past five years, 72% of the accepted students have applied with a preceptor. Preference is given to applicants who apply 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. Medical practice must be in family medicine (excluding urgent care and ER settings) with patients of all ages in an outpatient clinical setting. Preference is given to clinical sites in rural (<25,000 population) and/or underserved populations.
Completion of the Preceptor Profile form is required to be submitted with CASPA application to obtain preference.
Clinical sites that are willing to precept if accepted as a PA student, but are unable to assign a specific preceptor for a PA applicant, can fill out the Clinical Site Profile to submit in lieu of the preceptor profile.
All clinical sites and primary care preceptors must be reviewed, evaluated, and approved for educational suitability by the program.
Applicants applying without a primary care preceptor will be placed within a designated site and complete clinical rotations. The majority will be located in North Dakota and the surrounding area. Flexibility is expected as clinical sites may require adaptability and relocation at the expense of the student.