Prerequisites - (partial compliance of A3.15a-e, A3.18)

Prerequisites must be completed to verify your application.3 Verification deadline is October 1st.

Please email the Admission Director at with any specific questions not answered below.

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) Prerequisite Courses1

Credits Required
(Semester Hours)

University of Dubuque Equivalent*

Human Anatomy and Physiology I w/Lab 2

4 credits

BIO 211: Anatomy & Physiology I

Human Anatomy and Physiology II w/Lab 2

4 credits

BIO 212: Anatomy & Physiology II

General Biology or Zoology with lab

4 credits

BIO 135: General Zoology

Microbiology (Lab Recommended)

3 credits

BIO 314: Microbiology

Human Genetics (Lab Recommended)

3 credits

BIO 236: Genetics

General Chemistry I with Lab

4 credits

CHM 111: General Chemistry I

General Chemistry II with Lab

4 credits

CHM 112: General Chemistry II

Organic Chemistry I (Lab Recommended)

3 credits

CHM 221: Organic Chemistry I

Biochemistry (Lab Recommended)

3 credits

CHM 331: Biochemistry I

Medical Terminology 3

1 credit

BIO 150: Medical Terminology


3 credits

UDMA 230: Introduction to Statistics

General Psychology

3 credits

PSY 110: Introduction to Psychology

* Course descriptions in the current undergraduate catalog can be used to determine equivalency to courses at other institutions

Prerequisite courses taken at other colleges or universities may be deemed equivalent to courses taken at The University of Dubuque by the MSPAS Admission Committee.

Animal or Exercise Physiology will NOT be considered as a prerequisite course. Applicants are required to complete biology-major anatomy & physiology courses.

Medical Terminology Course may be completed post-admission offer, no later than June 1 of the matriculating year.


  • These courses must be completed with a "C" or higher, there may be no more than two grades of (C), and the grade point average for all of these courses must be 3.0 out of 4.0 or higher. A grade of "C" will be assigned to any grade of "Pass" for Pass/Fail prerequisite courses (see the COVID-19 statement below for exceptions).
  • In-person, hands-on learning is ideal and encouraged for all science prerequisites. All courses with labs are required to be taken in-person. Consideration will be made for labs affected by online accommodations due to COVID-19. For consideration to be made, online labs must have been completed between 2020 and 2022.
  • Experiential learning is not an acceptable substitute for prerequisite requirements.
  • Survey courses will not be considered prerequisite coursework for the program.

Program Requirements

  1. Degree: Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or Canada.
  2. Residency: Applications will only be accepted from U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  3. Preference: Preference is given to applicants who are University of Dubuque or Norfolk State University graduates and will receive an interview if minimum admission requirements are met.
  4. GPA: Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and science prerequisite grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.**
    1. Anatomy and Physiology must be completed within a seven-year period of applying.
    2. All courses completed within seven years of application are considered ideal.
  5. GRE: Not required.
  6. Healthcare Experience: Required.
    1. A minimum of 500 hours of hands-on/direct patient care experience as a paid or volunteer employee is required at the time of application. Visit HERE.
    2. While 500 is the minimum number of hours for admission consideration, favorable consideration will be given to applicants with more than the minimum requirement.
    3. Shadowing experience will NOT count toward the 500 hours.
  7. Shadowing: Shadowing a PA in a primary care setting (family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, ob-gyn) for a minimum of 8 hours is required. Applicants are encouraged to also shadow other providers in a variety of specialty settings. Competitive applicants will have more than the minimum requirement. Points are awarded for shadowing up to 40 hours.
  8. Leadership: The following count toward leadership. (This is not an exclusive list. If there are activities or events you feel should be counted in the category of leadership/service, please list them on the application.)
    1. Intercollegiate athlete of any type - one year for each season (includes dance, cheer and/or athletic trainer/manager for team)
    2. Leadership role in fraternity/sorority or other professional organization/club or student government (must be an executive leadership position such as president, vice president or committee chair - being a member of a club does not count as leadership)
    3. Worked at least 15 hours per week while attending college as a full time student
    4. Service in the military - one year for one year of service
    5. Other non-college related leadership roles within the community or at one's place of employment such as serving on city council or filling the role of manager - one year for one year of service
  9. Community Service: The following count toward community service (this list is not exclusive- please list anything you think should count as community service)
    1. Participating on a religious or other organization-sponsored mission trip either domestically or abroad.
    2. Volunteering at pet, homeless or other types of shelters
    3. Organizing charity events such as Relay for Life, Cancer Awareness, etc
    4. Volunteering at a hospital/nursing home, etc
  10. Letters of Recommendation: Three (3) letters of recommendation must be submitted to CASPA with the application. Strong, unequivocal letters attesting to the applicant's educational background, motivation, analytical skills, and promise as a future medical practitioner are important considerations.
    1. One letter must come from an academic professor who can speak to applicant's scholastic aptitude and overall experience in their course.
    2. One letter must come from the supervisor/manager/director in the applicant's healthcare workplace.
    3. One letter must be a character reference someone who has known the applicant, other than family, who can speak to applicant's personal character.
  11. Health Screening: Successful completion of tuberculosis screening, physical exam, urine drug screen, criminal background check, and all required immunizations prior to matriculation.
  12. BLS Certification: All students will obtain/renew BLS certification during the didactic phase of the program.
  13. Technical Standards: Applicants must be able to meet the technical standards found here.
  14. Advanced Placement: The PA program does not offer advanced placement for students with prior graduate or doctoral work.

**University of Dubuque follows CASPA's process for calculating an applicant's overall and science GPA, which may be different from some colleges. See CASPA's policies about how they calculate an applicant's GPA on their website.

*** Due to COVID-19, many colleges transitioned to online delivery and have given students the option of S/U or Pass/Fail grading for courses since 2020. We recommend students elect letter grades for all courses when the decision is theirs to make. The UDPA Program will accept any S/U or Pass/Fail grading for Spring and Summer 2020 courses where the transcripts identify an assigned value of an S or Pass as equaling a C or higher. Where the value of an S or Pass grade is C or higher, the UDPA program will assign the letter grade "C" and a grade of "F" for any U or Fail grade for purposes of calculating a pre-req GPA or last-60 GPA. This policy will apply to the 2020-2021 CASPA application cycle and beyond when Spring and Summer 2020 courses apply to our prerequisites or GPA calculations. We will revisit this policy and make additional changes, if necessary, in response to COVID-19.