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Frequently Asked Questions

  • About the Program

    What is the length of the program and what degree is awarded?

    The program is 30 consecutive months. It begins in May and ends 30 months later in November. A Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree is awarded.

    Is UT Southwestern’s Physician Assistant program ranked by U.S. News & World Report?

    The program is ranked 7th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in “America’s Best Graduate Schools 2020.”

    What is the most recent five-year Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) first-time pass rate?

    For the past five years, 98% of students passed the PANCE on their first attempt, meeting or exceeding the U.S. national average each year. Read the official NCCPA First Time Pass Rates Report.

    What are the UT Southwestern PA Program Goals and Outcomes? Is your program accredited?

    Please see the program home page for listed program goals and outcomes along with accreditation information.

    Can I attend this program part-time?

    No. Due to the fixed sequence of the didactic curriculum, all students must enroll on a full-time basis.

    Can I work while enrolled in the program?

    It is recommended that students do not work while enrolled in the program.

  • Application and Admission

    What is the application deadline?

    September 1.

    Is a supplemental application required?

    No supplemental application is required.

    May I apply and interview even though I lack required credits?

    No. All prerequisite coursework must be completed by the time of application.

    Is there a time limit on the required coursework?

    Time limits: All prerequisite courses must have been completed within the past 10 years from the date of anticipated matriculation.

    What is the advanced placement policy for the program?

    With the exception of undergraduate-level courses that meet the University of Texas credit transfer criteria, (such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credit awarded for undergraduate course credits toward a bachelor’s degree), advanced student placement, or waiving of required or department courses are not available for applicants to the physician assistant program. All students must complete all required courses, even if medically related courses have been taken in a previous academic setting.

  • Competitiveness of the Program

    How many candidates are accepted to the Department of Physician Assistant Studies?

    The Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program will admit 60 students each year to begin classes in May.

    How many applications are received and how competitive is acceptance?

    The Department receives a large volume of completed applications annually. Total numbers of applications for the past three years have exceeded 2,000. Applications are welcome regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability.

    What are the characteristics of an ideal candidate for your program?

    An ideal candidate has a strong work ethic and embodies the program’s vision and mission with a commitment to primary care practice and diversity in the workplace. They will have a combination of life, work, and academic experience that demonstrates their ability to perform under the demands of a challenging academic and professional program.

    What are my chances of getting accepted into the program?

    A variety of people with various backgrounds apply to the program each year, and a variety of applicants are accepted. There is no way to say who will or will not be admitted, nor can any guarantee be made about anyone’s admittance. A good strategy is to present yourself as well as possible on paper.

  • Curriculum

    What does the curriculum consist of during each phase?

    The didactic curriculum is designed to provide students with basic science knowledge, concepts of health care and disease, as well as medical history and physical examination skills.

    The clinical curriculum includes rotations in family medicine, internal medicine, women’s health, pediatrics, surgery, psychiatry, emergency medicine, infectious disease, and a primary care preceptorship.

    Does the program require students to provide or solicit their own clinical sites or preceptors?

    No, students are NOT required to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors. They may suggest potential sites/preceptors to faculty for further evaluation of suitability.

  • GPA

    How important is an individual’s GPA in getting an interview and how do I make myself more competitive?

    A required minimum cumulative and science GPA is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. All required courses must be passed with a grade of “C” or better. As with other universities or colleges, higher GPAs make a more competitive candidate. Science grades above a “C” are more competitive. The goal is to be competitive and academically prepared to successfully handle the demands of the program’s curriculum.

    However, the admissions committee does not base its decision solely on grade point averages. It evaluates the application packet as a whole. Therefore, the quality and quantity of academic preparation, strong letters of recommendation, prior “hands-on” health care experience, community service activities, leadership evidence, and awards are all part of the evaluation process.

  • GRE & PA-CAT

    Must I take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)?

    The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required of applicants who have a U.S.-acquired Master’s degree or higher. All other applicants are required to submit GRE scores to the UTSW registrar as part of the application process. There is no minimum GRE score required for admission. Scores from the GRE general examination must be received by the September 1 application deadline. Applicants may choose to submit scores from a previously taken examination if within the past five years.

    In order for my GRE scores to be sent to the Physician Assistant Department at UTSW, what is the GRE code?

    UT Southwestern Medical Center’s institutional and departmental GRE Code is 6686.

    Is the PA-CAT exam required?


  • Housing

    Is housing available on the UT Southwestern campus?

    Yes. The Medical Center has a complex that provides 282 apartments. For information, call 214-956-9300 or visit Campus Housing.

  • Interviews

    Do you interview candidates for your program and what is the format?

    Yes. A multiple mini-interview is conducted for the most competitive applicants to the PA program. Approximately 180 applicants are invited to interview each year.

    Evening “Meet and Greet” and next day interview dates for the cycle of 2023-2024 are as follows:

    • Friday, September 8, and Saturday interview, September 9, 2023
    • Friday, September 29, and Saturday interview, September 30, 2023
    • Friday, October 27, and Saturday interview, October 28, 2023
    • Friday, November 17, and Saturday interview, November 18, 2023
    • Friday, December 8, and Saturday interview, December 9, 2023
    • Friday, January 12, and Saturday interview, January 13, 2024
  • Prior Health Care Experience

    I already have a medical degree from another country. Do I have to complete all required coursework?

    All candidates are required to complete all of the admission requirements, including the GRE, even if you have earned a medical degree in another country. Please refer to the International Applicants section of the program website for more information.

    Is it beneficial to have health care experience prior to application to the PA program?

    Yes, hands-on patient care experience is beneficial, see Pre-Admission Clinical Experience for more information.

    Where can I find Physician Assistant shadow opportunities?

    You can visit Physician Assistant Shadow Online for PA shadow opportunities.

  • Tuition & Fees

    What is the cost of the program?

    The total estimated cost of the 30-month Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program, including tuition and fees, is:

    • $43,791 for Texas residents
    • $89,487 for non-Texas residents

    Please see our Costs and Financial Support page for further detail.

    What are the PA program policies and procedures for refunds of tuition and fees?

    No refund will be made until the expiration of 12 class days after the beginning of classes. A matriculation fee may be deducted from the refund to students who withdraw. Students may appeal a refund within one year after official withdrawal. Please see the school catalog for more information.