University of Minnesota Rochester student smiling in a lab coat
Early Assurance

Physician Assistant (PA)

This Early Assurance program is designed to both save students time and money and uniquely prepare them for this challenging and rewarding career.

UMR offers an Early Assurance Physician Assistant Master’s degree program in collaboration with Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.

This program is designed to save students time and money as they prepare for a challenging and rewarding career as a Physician Assistant (PA). UMR's Early Assurance PA program is designed for incoming first-year students only.   

Incoming first-year students apply to both UMR's undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (BSHS) program and the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences (MCSHS) Master's degree PA program. In addition to the normal admissions process, these students will be subject to higher standards and must complete an interview with the MCSHS PA program faculty.

Students will complete the first three years of their coursework at UMR in a specially-designed track that prepares them for the rigorous demands of the PA Master's program. During their fourth year, students will take courses at MCSHS in the PA program that will also count as their senior Capstone experience to complete their BSHS degree at UMR. Finally, in their fifth year students will complete their Master of Health Sciences in PA Studies with MCSHS.

During the first three years, students in this program will benefit from regular contact with the faculty and PAs at Mayo Clinic. This includes opportunities to observe, shadow and interact.

Learn more about the MCSHS PA Program*, and take the first steps toward becoming a PA.

**In partnership with Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, this program is open to U.S. workers in the four categories below. Therefore, visa sponsorship is not available.

  1. U.S. citizens
  2. U.S. nationals
  3. Lawful permanent residents
  4. Asylees and refugees

  • Applicants must be an incoming first-year student

  • 3.5 minimum high school GPA and STEM GPA (math and sciences courses)

  • Strong knowledge of and passion for the PA profession

  • It is recommended that high school students shadow/observe a PA while still in high school to become more familiar with the profession

  • Strong composite and math ACT score, ideal candidates will have an ACT score of 24 and above

  • Preference given to students who can demonstrate the following:

    • Maturity

    • Compassion and service

    • Resilience

    • Leadership

    • Commitment to practice locally

    • Military service

  • Apply to the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (BSHS) program at the University of Minnesota Rochester during your senior year of high school by selecting the major Pre-Physician Assistant. Apply by December 1.

  • Ask your science teacher to complete the evaluation form. Upon consent, you should list the teacher's email in your BSHS application for the Early Assurance PA program. We will send a link to your teacher on your behalf. It is in your best interest to follow up with your teacher about evaluation completion.

  • Students will first be reviewed for BSHS.

  • Following December 1, finalists will be invited to interview for the six available seats. Interviews will be conducted in January with final selections made in early February.

View the Interview Preparation Worksheet for interview practice. 

Applicants will need to submit answers to the following questions for the 2024-2025 application year*:

    • Tell us why you are interested in pursuing a career as a physician assistant and why this major fits your career goals.
    • Tell us about an experience that offers evidence of your compassion, resilience or leadership.
    • Describe a time when you could have done a better job at a task, either at work, school or home. What happened? How did you handle the situation? What did you learn? What have you done to improve in this area?
*Questions are subject to change annually

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Studies Program sponsored by Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.