Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) Admissions

If you are ready to make a difference as a PA, St. Catherine University welcomes your application for admission into our Physician Assistant Studies program (MPAS). Apply via CASPA (details below) to start in Fall (September) semester.

If you have questions along the way, don’t hesitate to contact your admission counselor. They’re here to help!

St. Catherine University seeks PA students who:

  • Have the will and the vision to make a difference in the world.
  • Believe that healthcare is a combination of art, science, compassion and teamwork; it's more than just making the right diagnosis or prescribing the right medication.
  • Have the intellectual capacity to master learning a highly challenging body of knowledge and skills and the drive and dedication to be a lifelong learner.
  • Meet all technical standards for the program, with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Want to be part of a dynamic, professional healthcare team.
  • Have the flexibility to learn and work in a wide range of environments addressing a variety of healthcare needs for people of diverse cultural, age and socioeconomic backgrounds

Eligibility and prerequisite course requirements

To be considered for admission into the MPAS program, applicants must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Degree. A completed bachelor's or graduate degree from an institution that is accredited by one of the regional accrediting organizations (e.g. Higher Learning Commission). Applicants who have a bachelor's degree from St. Catherine University and who meet the admission criteria are given priority in the selection process.  Applicants with a foreign medical degree should contact the MPAS admission counselor prior to beginning the application process.

  • Grade Point Average. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

  • Volunteer/Work Experience. A minimum of 2,000 hours of experience in a health, wellness or patient care setting prior to application

  • Prerequisite courses.  Specific prerequisite courses are required; review the next section for details.

The goal of the admission process is to compare all applicants on the same coursework, as much as possible. The Admission Committee requires basic-level courses in each prerequisite field, which all applicants are likely to have taken, and computes a cumulative prerequisite GPA. Not all courses taken in a prerequisite field are used to compute a prerequisite GPA. Only enough credits to satisfy the minimum requirement are counted in the prerequisite GPA. High-level electives may be used to meet credit requirements, but they are not necessarily used in the prerequisite GPA calculation, because the Admission Committee has no information about how other applicants would perform in those courses. If a prerequisite is retaken, only the grade received in the most recent course is calculated into the prerequisite GPA.

Prerequisite coursework must be completed with a grade of C or above (pass/fail or S/U grading is not acceptable), with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. 

Credit Status

At the time of application to the MPAS program, no more than three courses may be "in progress" or yet to be taken. During the summer prior to initial fall enrollment in the graduate program, applicants are allowed to complete no more than 4 semester/5 quarter credits of prerequisite coursework, plus a medical terminology course. All other prerequisite coursework must be completed by the end of the winter/spring term prior to fall enrollment in the graduate program.

If an applicant appears to be missing the required number of credits in several prerequisite areas, the Admission Committee may deem the applicant ineligible to continue in the review process. 

Biochemistry and Microbiology must be completed within ten calendar years prior to the start of the graduate program. It is strongly recommended (but not required) that all other prerequisite courses be completed within the past ten years. Please note that prerequisite course content does not fulfill MPAS degree requirements. 

We will consider courses completed in an online format from a regionally accredited institution. However, we encourage students to complete courses that include a lab component in a face-to-face format, if possible. 

We will accept AP credits for the following prerequisites: Pre-Calculus, Statistics and General Psychology. To verify results, applicants must submit official CollegeBoard scores directly to St. Catherine University (not CASPA) using the code 6105.

  • Human or Vertebrate Anatomy (4 semester credits)
    Courses in order of preference are: human anatomy (often first half of combined anatomy and physiology sequence), mammalian/vertebrate anatomy, comparative anatomy. These credits must be from an anatomy, biology, zoology, physiology or kinesiology department.
    St. Kate’s equivalent: BIOL 2400, BIOL 2510, BIOL 2610 or BIOL 3120
  • Human or Vertebrate Physiology (4 semester credits)
    Courses in order of preference are: human physiology (often second half of combined anatomy and physiology sequence), or mammalian physiology. These credits must be from a biology, zoology, or physiology department.
    St. Kate’s equivalent: BIOL 2410, BIOL 2520, BIOL 2620 or BIOL 3140
  • Organic Chemistry with lab (8 semester credits)
    An organic chemistry sequence for science or health-science majors is preferred.
    St. Kate’s equivalent: CHEM 2010 and CHEM 2020
  • Biochemistry (3-4 semester credits)
    Must be completed within ten calendar years prior to the term of intended enrollment.
    St. Kate’s equivalent: CHEM 4400 (preferred) or CHEM 2400
  • Microbiology (3-4 semester credits)
    Must be completed within ten calendar years prior to the term of intended enrollment.
    St. Kate’s equivalent: BIOL 3210 (preferred) or BIOL 2200
  • Pre-Calculus (3-4 semester credits)
    These credits must be at the level of pre-calculus or higher.
    St. Kate's equivalent: MATH 1090 or MATH 1130
  • Statistics (3-4 semester credits)
    Course content should include: reliability, validity, experimental control and design, statistical inference and comparison of group means, correlation and regression. These credits must be from a math, psychology or statistics department.
    St. Kate’s equivalent: ECON 1080, ECON 1090, HLTH 1090, PSYC 1090, STAT 1090
  • General Psychology (3-4 semester credits)
    St. Kate’s equivalent: PSYC 1000/1001
  • Lifespan Developmental Psychology or Understanding Psychological Disorders (Abnormal Psychology) (3-4 semester credits)
    If completing Lifespan Developmental Psychology, content must cover the entirety of the human lifespan from birth through late adulthood. Multiple courses can be completed to fulfill the requirement (i.e. Child Psychology, Adolescent Psychology, Adulthood and Aging); however, only one course is necessary if it covers all of the components.
    St. Kate’s equivalent: PSYC 2025 or PSYC 3010
  • Medical terminology (one course)
    St. Kate’s equivalent: HIMP 1050 or IPE 1020

**COVID-19 Exception: We strongly recommend that prerequisite courses (including courses with a lab component) be completed for a letter grade.  However, we will accept a Satisfactory or Pass designation for any prerequisite course completed Spring 2020 through Summer 2021 . PLEASE NOTE: no more than 1/3 of all prerequisite courses can be used with a S/U or P/F designation.**

Use the online Transfer Evaluation System (TES) resource to determine if a specific course you have taken
(or plan to take) will fulfill an MPAS prerequisite requirement. All St. Catherine course equivalencies listed in TES are fully verified by our Registrar's Office.

How to use TES
  1. Make note of the St. Catherine department abbreviation (BIOL, CHEM, MATH, etc.) and course numbers in the MPAS prerequisite list.
  2. Connect to TES
  3. Identify the institution from which you have completed courses (or plan to complete courses). You may search for institutions using the “Find Transfer College by Name” search box, or use the alphabetical index provided.
  4. Enter the course code for one of our MPAS prerequisites (e.g., MATH 1080). Select “Home Course” and click on Search. This will identify any courses from the institution that are equivalent to the St. Catherine prerequisite course. You could also enter the code for the other institution’s course, and select “Transfer Course” and Search. This will identify any St. Catherine courses that might be equivalent to the other institution’s course. Be sure to review any notes with additional information for a given course.

If you have searched via TES and can’t find a specific school or course listing, contact your admission counselor for assistance. Please include the institution, course name and number, and course description in your email.

Technical standards

Physician Assistants (PAs) must possess the knowledge and skills to provide care to patients in a wide variety of health care settings. They must be able to integrate information quickly, accurately and consistently and must possess the intellectual capacity to learn, analyze, synthesize, integrate and communicate data.

For this reason, the MPAS program outlines technical standards which identify the abilities students must possess to successfully complete coursework in preparation for medical practice.

  1. The capacity for observation and participation in academic, clinical, and other medical settings; functional vision, oral-auditory and tactile sensation sufficient to observe and assess a patient’s condition and perform procedures regularly required during patient care.
  2. The ability to read, write, speak and understand English at a level consistent with successful course completion and development of positive patient-provider relationships; effective written and verbal communications skills sufficient for both academic and healthcare settings.
  3. Effective interpersonal skills necessary for productive classroom discussion, respectful interaction with classmates and faculty and the development of supportive patient-provider relationships.
  4. Gross and fine motor function to perform diagnostic maneuvers necessary for patient care, diagnosis and management; for movement in general and emergent patient care and between facilities and buildings in academic and healthcare environments; physical stamina to complete academic and clinical coursework.
  5. Intellectual ability to quickly learn, measure, calculate, integrate, critically analyze, synthesize and reason in the context of clinical medical problem-solving in both academic and patient care settings.
  6. Emotional health and stability required for exercising good judgment, full use of intellectual abilities and prompt completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities; the ability to be flexible, adapt to changing environments and face uncertainty, difficulties and/or sadness inherent in the practice of medicine.

Prior to enrollment, students must certify their ability to comply with the program’s technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, that are associated with attaining the knowledge and skills necessary to practice medicine as a physician assistant, which includes safe and effective patient care in a broad spectrum of clinical scenarios.

Healthcare experience

Patient care and related experiences provide familiarity with the healthcare setting, build medical communication skills, ensure that the PA career is a good fit and enables the student to relate course material to real life practice. Applicants are required to have a minimum of 2,000 hours of experience in a health, wellness or patient care setting prior to application. This may be sought through volunteering or paid employment. Applicants are not required to shadow a physician or a PA for this time. However, they will need to clearly articulate their understanding and desire to pursue a career as a physician assistant.

Reasonable accommodation

St. Catherine University is committed to creating and promoting accessible and inclusive learning environments for all students. "Reasonable accommodation" refers to ways in which the University addresses any barriers to full participation in the academic and co-curricular experience.

Examples of reasonable accommodation include but are not limited to: instructional materials in alternative formats; alternative testing arrangements; and use of assistive technology such as text-to-speech software. While reasonable accommodation does not mean that students will be exempt from required tasks, it does mean that the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program is committed to working with all students to assure their completion of the required tasks.

After enrollment, students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodation should contact Resources for Disabilities Center at 651.690.6563, email or visit the Tutoring and Learning Center. Students should also provide appropriate documentation substantiating the disability, meet the requirements of a disability as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and identify the accommodation which is needed.

Reasonable accommodation in classroom and in practice settings cannot be provided without the formal request and the required documentation of the ADA-defined disability.

How do I apply?

Please read the application instructions below before completing the online application.


New students enter the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program each fall.

We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2024 enrollment. Applications for the Fall 2025 admission cycle may be submitted starting in April 2024. The application deadline for Fall enrollment is August 1 (11:59pm Eastern).

We strongly encourage candidates to complete the application process at least one month prior to the deadline to ensure that all materials are received. Only applications that are "complete" or "verified" by the deadline will be considered.

To be considered for admission, all items listed below must be submitted no later than the application deadline. Files that have been verified by CASPA and completed with the accompanying materials required by St. Catherine University will be reviewed for next steps in the process. Selected qualified applicants will be contacted for a personal interview. Interviews will take place in early fall.

If applicants are completing a degree or other requirements in the spring term, we strongly encourage that the application process be completed after spring grades and/or the degree is posted, to have the most up-to-date application possible. We also encourage applicants to complete the application process at least one month prior to the deadline to ensure a timely review of the application. Please note that CASPA needs 3-4 weeks to complete their verification process before releasing the completed application to St. Catherine University.

Submit an application through CASPA

Applications for the MPAS program are submitted through the Physician Assistant Centralized Application Service (CASPA). The following application materials must be submitted directly to CASPA:

  • Official transcripts from every post-secondary institution attended. Transcripts submitted to St. Catherine University as part of a previous application cannot be used to complete the CASPA process. All official transcripts must be submitted directly to CASPA, including an official transcript from St. Catherine for applicants who were previously enrolled here.
  • Official scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) will NO LONGER BE REQUIRED for those applying to Fall 2023 and beyond.
  • Two recommendations. At least one recommendation should be from a healthcare provider; the other can be from a professor or employer. Please review instructions in CASPA regarding recommendation submissions.

Please note that the upcoming CASPA application may include an optional statement that will allow applicants to expand on any impacts COVID-19 may have had on their preparation for application to graduate school.

Credential evaluation

Applicants with a college or university degree completed outside of the United States (with a major unrelated to medicine) must submit a course-by-course evaluation from World Education Services (WES). All costs related to document evaluation are the applicant’s responsibility. Official evaluation results must be reported to CASPA.

Applicants with a foreign medical degree must submit a credential evaluation from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). In addition, applicants must complete a minimum of Step 1 of the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE). Official evaluation results for both must be submitted to CASPA.

TOEFL Scores

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test or 80 on the iBT. This requirement is waived for students who have completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree in the United States. Candidates must report official TOEFL scores in CASPA. If admitted into the MPAS program, official test scores must also be submitted to St. Catherine University directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Application review

The MPAS Admission Committee evaluates an applicant's background, qualifications and potential. Upon receiving a verified and complete file from CASPA, the Admission Committee completes a review of the applicant’s file. Selected qualified applicants will be contacted for a personal interview. Interviews will take place in early fall.

Fulfillment of the admission requirements does not guarantee acceptance to the graduate program. Each application that has been completed by the deadline with the accompanying materials required by St. Catherine University will be considered by the Admission Committee. No credentials will be returned to the applicant. Students are notified via letter about their admission status, which may include accepted, waitlisted, or denied admission.

Enrollment information: Fall 2023 cohort
  • Number of applicants: 369
  • Class size: 32
  • Acceptance rate: 12%
  • Matriculation rate: 9%
  • Average overall undergraduate GPA: 3.69
  • Average prerequisite GPA: 3.67

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that their application is completed by the deadline. The Admission Committee will not review your application until we have received all required documents. Fulfillment of the admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. No credentials will be returned to the applicant.

International Applicants

The following information pertains to applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Please review the information below regarding other application materials that may be required for international applicants.


Earlier deadlines may apply for international applicants to ensure that all immigration requirements can be met in time for you to enroll in the desired term. Contact your admission counselor with questions.

International Student Forms

International applicants for graduate study must complete the International Information section of the CASPA application form.

The U.S. government requires international applicants to provide proof of ability to pay tuition and living expenses before the University can issue forms necessary to obtain a visa. International applicants must submit a Certification of Finances form.

Additional Documentation

Some international applicants may be required to submit additional documentation, such as a credential evaluation, language test scores, etc. Please review the application instructions for your graduate program for more information.

Submitting Materials

Please submit the Certification of Finances form to the Office of Graduate Admission. All other documents should be submitted via CASPA. 

St. Catherine University
Graduate Admission #4027
2004 Randolph Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
Telephone: 651-690-6933

Questions about the application process?

Email your admission counselor at any time, or call us during office hours (8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.).

Contact an admission counselor