How to Apply to the MPAS program

Entry into the 29-month St. Ambrose Physician Assistant Studies program is a competitive process. 

We do not allow advanced standing, regardless of previous graduate work in healthcare. All incoming students must complete the entire PA curriculum.

Scroll down for Early Admission requirements for high school students.

Standard Admission Requirements

  • Earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution in a major of your choice.
  • Earned a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • Successfully completed specific prerequisite courses (listed at the bottom of this page) with a grade of "C" or higher. We do not accept prerequisite coursework graded pass/fail or credit obtained by CLEP exam or Advanced Placement (AP).
  • Documented at least 500 hours of healthcare experience with direct patient contact.
  • Document at least 16 hours of shadowing a physician assistant.
  • Meet technical standards for admission, progression, and graduation from the program. See the Technical Standards section below.
  • Beginning with the CASPA 2024-2025 application cycle, St. Ambrose University PA Program will no longer require applicants to submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores.
  • Complete a campus interview
  • Complete the online Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) online application
    • Deadline for verified applications is November 1.
    • Provide three CASPA letters of recommendation
    • Send all official transcripts to CASPA using the CASPA transcript request form. Applicants with coursework or a degree from a college or university outside the United States must submit an official evaluation from World Education Services (

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Applicants whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A passing score of 600 (written), 250 (computerized), or 100 (internet) is required to be eligible for admission to the program. Results should be sent directly from ETS to St. Ambrose University. The institutional code is 6617.

International Applicants
Individuals who are not U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents are not eligible for admission into the SAU MPAS Program.

Material Submission
All materials not submitted online should be mailed to:

St. Ambrose University
Master of Physician Assistant Studies
1320 W. Lombard St.
Davenport, IA 52804

For High Achieving High School Students

Dec. 1

Early Admission Application Due

For high school seniors enrolling at SAU for undergraduate and graduate degrees


Temporary Policy

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MPAS Program will accept Spring 2020 coursework that is graded on a Pass/Fail or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis to fulfill a prerequisite course requirement.

The requirement for a minimum of 500 direct patient contact hours remains the same. You will have until June 1, 2022, to complete these hours. Please make sure your plan to complete this requirement is clear in your application.

Admission and Program Information

We accept students with bachelor's degrees, as well as high school students whose GPA ≥3.70 (unweighted), have an ACT score of ≥28, and have taken physics/AP science courses. Keep reading below.

Early Admission

For High School Students

Early admission to the MPAS program is for high school seniors wanting to enroll at SAU for their undergraduate degree and continue at SAU for their master's degree.

By starting at Ambrose as a first-year student, you'll have the advantage of a seamless transition from undergraduate to graduate. You'll also have two academic advisors: one for your undergraduate coursework and one from the MPAS program.

Early Admission Requirements

  • Meet the entrance requirements for admission to SAU as a First-Year student (see entrance requirements)
  • Minimum ACT composite score of 28, with no section score below 23; or minimum composite SAT score of 1310
  • Minimum, unweighted high school GPA of 3.70
  • Must have taken two semesters each of: Chemistry, biology, and physics; must currently be enrolled in or have completed math through calculus. The student is encouraged to take the highest level of course offered (AP, honors, etc.)
  • Must have shadowed a physician assistant (at least 8 hours)
  • Obtain 2 letters of recommendation with at least one of these from a science teacher
  • Complete an interview

Early Admission Application Procedure

  1. Complete an undergraduate application for admission to St. Ambrose University
  2. Be accepted as a first-year student at St. Ambrose University.
  3. Complete an Early Admission application to the MPAS program by Dec. 1.
How to Maintain Eligibility

In order to progress to the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program, undergraduate students must maintain these eligiblity standards:

  • Maintain an overall GPA of 3.50. This requirement will be calculated after their 2nd semester at SAU and then each subsequent semester.
  • Meet all the prerequisite class requirements needed for regular admission to the MPAS program, with all core sciences to be taken at SAU. See Prerequisite Coursework below.
  • Complete 500 healthcare hours prior to entering the program (matriculation).
  • Document at least 16 hours of shadowing a physician assistant.

Coursework and Standards

Prerequisite Coursework
  • 15-16 credit hours in biological sciences with labs covering general biology (4 cr), human anatomy (4 cr), human physiology (4 cr) and microbiology (3-4 cr). Anatomy and physiology classes may be taken separately or together if part of a two-course section. 
  • 14-16 credit hours in chemistry with labs to include general (inorganic) chemistry (8 cr, 2 semester sequence), organic chemistry (3-4 cr, lab recommended if available) and biochemistry (3-4 cr, lab recommended if available).
  • 3 credit hours in statistics or biostatistics. Additional mathematics class may be needed as a prerequisite for science and statistics.
  • 6 credit hours in psychology/sociology. Applicants may have one psychology and one sociology course, or two psychology courses.
  • 6 credit hours in English/Writing. Applicants may have English composition or writing-intensive courses.
  • Recommended courses: oral communication and biomedical ethics.
Technical Standards

The St. Ambrose University Master of Physician Assistant Studies program is committed to the development of providers who deliver high-quality patient care with compassion and respect. In addition to academic standards, students must be able to meet the required technical standards for admission, progression, and graduation from the program. A student must have adequate ability and skills in the following areas: observation; communication; sensory and motor function; intellectual, conceptual, integrative, and quantitative ability; and behavioral and social attributes.

Students must attest to their ability to meet these standards with or without reasonable accommodations.

General Abilities: The student must possess functional use of the senses of vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell in order to integrate, analyze, and synthesize information in an accurate manner. The student must also have the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, vibration, position equilibrium, and movement that are important to the student's ability to gather significant information necessary to effectively assess patients.

Observation: The student must be able to observe demonstrations and conduct experiments in the basic sciences, including but not limited to chemical, biological, anatomic and physiologic sciences, microbiologic cultures, and microscopic studies of microorganisms. Students must be able to observe demonstrations in the classroom including films, PowerPoint presentations, and other forms of visual presentation. The student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand.

Communication: The student must communicate effectively verbally and non-verbally to elicit information from patients and others. They must be able to describe changes in mood, activity, posture, and perceive non-verbal communications. Each student must have the ability to read and write, comprehend and speak the English language to facilitate communication with patients, family members, and other professionals in healthcare settings. Communication includes speech, writing, reading, interpreting tables, figures, graphs, and computer literacy.

Sensory and Motor Function: The student must be able to perform gross and fine motor movements with sufficient coordination needed to perform physical examinations utilizing the techniques of inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other diagnostic maneuvers. A student must develop the psychomotor skills reasonably needed to perform or assist with procedures, treatments, administration of medication, management and operation of diagnostic and therapeutic medical equipment utilized in the general and emergent care of patients required in practice as a physician assistant. The student must be able to maintain consciousness and equilibrium; have sufficient levels of postural control, neuromuscular control, and eye-to-hand coordination; and to possess the physical and mental stamina to meet the demands associated with extended periods of sitting, standing, moving, and physical exertion required for satisfactory performance in the clinical and classroom settings.

Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: The student must be able to develop and refine problem-solving skills that are crucial to practice as a physician assistant. Problem-solving involves the abilities to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures; to measure, calculate reason, analyze, and synthesize objective and subjective; and to make decisions that reflect sound clinical judgment. A student must be able to read and comprehend medical literature, as well as have the ability to incorporate new information from a variety of sources to formulate diagnoses and develop a therapeutic plan.

Behavioral and Social Attributes: A student must possess the emotional health required for full use of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the prompt completion of all responsibilities in the classroom setting as well as in the clinical environment. The development of mature, sensitive, effective and professional relationships with patients and members of the healthcare team is essential. Students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Flexibility, compassion, integrity, effective interpersonal skills, and concern for others are personal qualities that are desired in a health professional.

The Physician Assistant Program Faculty will consider for admission applicants who have the ability to demonstrate the technical standards of the profession as noted in this document. The PA program must ensure the health, safety, and security of all patients. Eligibility to enter or continue in the program will be based on academic progress as well as physical and emotional capacities to perform the essential functions necessary to meet the requirements of the program's curriculum and become an effective practitioner.

Student Work Policy

St. Ambrose University MPAS Policy on Student Work
Program responsibilities are not negotiable, and will not be altered due to student work obligations. Students may not be hired as employees for any private or public practice, clinic, or other institution to perform any medical services during any time they are part of the physician assistant program. Students may not be given any payments, stipends, or other remuneration for medical services performed as part of the physician assistant educational program. Students may volunteer their medical services to charitable, humanitarian, or community service organizations when such services are assigned or approved within the physician assistant educational program. Students may not substitute for regular clinical or administrative staff during the clinical year.


Angie King

Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Center for Health Sciences Education #287
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52804

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