Applying for admission

Applying for admission

Each fall, a new cohort of students enters the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program after a selective, competitive admissions process.  Applications are accepted through September 1 to begin the MPAS the following fall. Full details on admissions requirements, application procedures and other details are listed below.

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.

Fall 2013 admission facts

Number of Applicants: 147
Class Size: 32
Acceptance Rate: 22%
Overall undergraduate GPA: 3.44
Undergraduate prerequisite course GPA: 3.43
GRE Verbal: 153
GRE Quantitative: 151
GRE Analytical Writing: 4.0


To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Baccalaureate degree. A completed baccalaureate degree from an institution that is accredited by a nationally recognized, regional accrediting association. Applicants who have a baccalaureate degree from St. Catherine University and who meet the admission criteria are given priority in the selection process.
  • GPA. Undergraduate cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • Prerequisite course work. Prerequisite course work 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.

Technical standards

All students must meet the technical standards set forth by the MPAS program.

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 strongly encouraged to complete a minimum of 250 hours in a health, wellness or patient care setting. (A successful applicant will typically have over 500 hours). 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.

Application process


The application deadline is September 1 for enrollment in the fall of the following year. To be considered for admission, all items listed below must be submitted by the application deadline. Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the application process at least one month prior to the deadline. Please note that CASPA needs 3-4 weeks to complete their verification process before releasing your 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: transcripts, GRE scores, and two recommendations. At least one recommendation should be from a healthcare provider; the other can be from a professor or employer. Access the CASPA application materials and instructions.
  • Submit a supplemental essay. Prepare a personal essay that demonstrates advanced written communication skills and clarifies your purpose in pursuing a graduate degree as a physician assistant. Do not exceed five typed, double-spaced pages. Handwritten essays will not be accepted. Please address the following topics:
  1. What experiences and personal characteristics have allowed you to develop the skills necessary to be successful in PA school and to become an effective PA?
  2. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, or risk that you have taken and its impact on you and your desire to become a PA.
  3. Describe what you have learned from the variety of health, wellness or patient-centered encounters you have observed or participated in and how this has shaped or impacted your interest in pursuing education toward being a PA.
  4. How has your background and experience prepared you to interact effectively with individuals who are different from you in their social, cultural, or economic perspectives?
  5. Describe the roles you have held since graduating from high school (outside of college classroom activities) including leadership, service, jobs and responsibilities, athletics, community activities, family, etc.

If you'd like to be considered for St. Catherine University's Primary Care Scholarship, please also address the following question:

What has motivated your desire to pursue primary care practice? Describe how you plan to make your goal of primary care practice a reality.

Supplemental essays should be submitted via email as attached documents to the Office of Graduate Admission at graduate_study@stkate.edu. Please include your full name at the top of your statement, and "MPAS Supplemental Essay" in the email's subject line.

  • Submit GRE scores

Official scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be submitted to CASPA directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The test date must be within five calendar years prior to the term of intended enrollment.

St. Catherine University has multiple codes on the GRE institutional list. When selecting where to send your GRE scores, use the code 0431 to have your scores sent directly to CASPA.

Selection process and next steps

Each application that has been completed, verified by CASPA and received by St. Catherine University by the deadline will be considered. Selected qualified applicants will be contacted for a personal interview in October with the MPAS Admission Committee, which evaluates the applicant's background, qualifications and potential. Fulfillment of the MPAS admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. No credentials will be returned to the applicant.