Physician Assistant Prerequisites
Admission to the Physician Assistant Program 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 1 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.
Physician Assistant Degree Requirements
- Four-year bachelor’s degree or graduate degree at a regionally accredited institution within the United States (regional accreditation by HLC, MSCHE, NECHE, NWCCU, SACSCOC, WSCUC).
- 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 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 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 HLC, MSCHE, NECHE, NWCCU, SACSCOC, WSCUC).
- 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 applicants who have completed upper level science prerequisite courses within the past 7 years. The most competitive applicants are those who demonstrate recent proficiency in progressively rigorous prerequisite core science coursework.
Human Anatomy (At least 3 semester credits). Lab preferred.
Human Physiology (At least 3 semester credits). Lab preferred. 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.
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 must be completed by time of application in order to be considered for admission into the program. Please review application deadlines.
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. Direct patient care hours count toward your experience. However, the most competitive candidates are those who demonstrate their commitment to direct patient care through their recent and current work experience.
Dedication and experience with rural and underserved populations including:
- Prior clinical health care experience with rural and underserved populations
- Residence in rural and/or underserved geographic areas
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 professions that would not count towards the minimum health care hours for admission include:
- Administrative assistant, receptionist or other clerical position
- ACLS/CPR instructor
- Hospital chaplain
- Pharmaceutical/medical supply representative
- Medical scribe
- Student intern
Students may not apply with a preceptor. To maintain compliance with the most recent ARC-PA standards, prospective and enrolled students must not be required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors. Upon acceptance into the program, students will work with the UND DPAS clinical education team for all primary care and specialty rotation placements.
Students may not contact any known or prospective preceptors, or attempt to establish their own clinical rotations. Clinical rotations may occur in any geographical area that the program deems fit to meet program requirements and national accreditation standards which are of utmost priority.
Questions About Prerequisite Coursework
Can you look at my transcript and make sure I have all the courses I need?
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.
Can you let me know if a certain course meets your standards?
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.
There are no level requirements for courses. How do I know what I should take?
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. (HLC, MSCHE, NECHE, NWCCU, SACSCOC, WSCUC), 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.
You recommend that prerequisite coursework be completed within the past 7 years. If my coursework was completed over 7 years ago, will it count?
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 applicants who have completed upper level science prerequisite courses within the past 7 years. The most competitive applicants are those who demonstrate recent proficiency in progressively rigorous prerequisite core science coursework.
My early undergraduate GPA is low. How can I compensate for that to make myself a more competitive candidate?
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.
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?
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.
What if I haven’t graduated yet?
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, contact the UND School of Graduate Studies.
Can I take courses online? What about at a community/technical college?
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. (HLC, MSCHE, NECHE, NWCCU, SACSCOC, WSCUC). Please make sure they meet the requirements listed (such as number of semester credit, grade of B or higher, completed by deadline, etc.). Please keep in mind that upper level university science coursework, with lab work, are preferred.
How do I know if my courses transfer into UND?
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, then the course should be found sufficient.
What if I obtained a degree outside the U.S.? Do you evaluate equivalency or accept third party evaluations?
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.
For questions regarding the UND PA Program, please contact und.med.paprogram@UND.edu or 701.777.2344.