Admission Requirements

We know you’re looking for an educational experience of the highest quality. To meet your expectations and satisfy accreditation requirements, we set the bar high for our applicants. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to be considered:

  • Complete a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. or Canadian institution by the end of May of the year you matriculate. (Graduate studies course work will not be accepted or applied toward required prerequisites.)
  • Earn a required minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in science and overall in undergraduate course work.
  • Complete and submit a CASPA online application.
  • Hands-on patient care experience is strongly recommended (pre-admission clinical experience).
  • Your scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to be received by September 1 of the year you apply. The GRE is not required of applicants who have a U.S.-acquired Master's degree or higher.
  • Submit your TOEFL scores to be received by September 1 if you’re an international student.
  • All prerequisite courses must be completed by the date the application is submitted.
Required CoursesCredit HoursRecommended Electives
Human anatomy* 4 Biochemistry
Human physiology* 4 Cellular biology
Genetics 3 Human sexuality
Psychology 3 Immunology
General chemistry* 8 Medical terminology
Organic chemistry* 4 Pharmacology
Microbiology* 4 Spanish
College algebra or higher/Statistics** 3  
TOTAL 33  

*All required science classes must be for science majors and include a laboratory component.
** For applicants applying in the 2020-2021 or beyond application cycles, Statistics will be the required course. College algebra or higher will no longer meet this prerequisite requirement.

Special Notes about Prerequisites

Here are some important points to remember about prerequisite courses.

  • Time limits: All prerequisite courses must have been completed within the past 10 years from the date of anticipated matriculation.
  • Advanced placement: Except for courses that meet the University of Texas credit-transfer criteria, such as advanced placement or international baccalaureate credit awarded for undergraduate courses, we don’t offer advanced student placement or waive required or department courses for applicants to the Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program. You must complete all required courses, even if you’ve taken related courses in another setting or hold a medical degree from another country.
  • Transcript review: Due to the number of applications received, we are unable to review transcript content for prospective applicants. All course requirements and prerequisites are as stated on the web page.
  • All prerequisite courses must be completed by the date the application is submitted.

Pre-Admission Clinical Experience

Clinical experience that includes direct hands-on patient care is strongly recommended. Applicants should demonstrate evidence of completion of patient care experience prior to submitting the CASPA application. We do not require a minimum number of hours.

Examples of acceptable patient care experience include, but are not limited to: EMT, paramedic, nurse, scribe, medical assistant, CNA, ER tech, physical therapy aide, phlebotomist, pharmacy tech, clinical research assistant, etc. Student training experiences such as student nurse, student EMT, student athletic trainer, or other health care student training may be considered as clinical hours. Experiences such as student training, “shadowing,” laboratory testing with no patient contact, nonclinical research, lifeguard, or clerical work are not as valuable as hands-on clinical hours.

We encourage applicants to “shadow” a physician assistant to gain insight into the PA's role, although this experience is not required. Evidence of community service in a health care setting (e.g., in a hospital or hospice, a clinic for underserved populations, or in the medical mission field) is highly valued.

Essential Functions

Everyone who applies for admission to the UT Southwestern School of Health Professions, including people with disabilities, must be able to perform specific essential functions, which differ depending upon the academic program. Essential functions are the basic activities that a student must be able to perform to complete the program’s curriculum.

Applicants who cannot perform the program’s essential functions, either with or without reasonable accommodations, may not be considered for admission. Each UT Southwestern School of Health Professions student must be able to:

  • Attend scheduled classes and laboratory sessions and be present for examination and testing.
  • Travel to practicum sites and have mobility within and around the sites.
  • Assimilate information presented via lecture, handouts, videos, discussions, computer, and/or other educational modalities.
  • Complete assignments such as written assignments, oral presentations, class participation, examinations, and computer-based activities.
  • Apply the assimilated information to appropriate clinical situations.
  • Effectively communicate with patients/clients, their families, faculty, and other professionals using oral, telephonic, written, and computer modalities in private and group settings.
  • Make effective use of learning resources at UT Southwestern and affiliated facilities.

In addition to essential functions for all students, each student in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program must be able to:

  • Participate in supervised clinical activities for extended periods of time, including rotations that require overnight call.
  • Demonstrate sufficient vision to perform tasks such as (but not limited to) interpretation of medical records, inspection of patients, and inspection of wounds and skin lesions.
  • Demonstrate sufficient hearing to perform auscultation of the heart and vessels, breath sounds, and abdominal sounds.
  • Demonstrate sufficient upper- and lower-body strength, coordination, dexterity, and sensation to perform such activities as (but not limited to) prolonged standing, complete physical examination, and surgical and clinical procedures, such as suturing, casting, venipuncture, emergency procedures, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • Demonstrate sufficient problem-solving skills to learn to make a differential diagnosis, establish appropriate treatment plans, determine the effectiveness of those plans, and make appropriate modifications.
  • Demonstrate professional demeanor and behavior; perform in an ethical manner in all dealings with peers, faculty, staff, and patients. Treats all patients equally without regard to ethnicity, race, gender, religion, or any other attributes.