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.

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.
  • Meet technical standards for admission, progression, and graduation from the program. See the Technical Standards section below.
  • Submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores within five calendar years prior to the term of intended enrollment. Official scores must be verified through CASPA by Nov. 1.
  • 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 (
    • Send GRE scores to CASPA (SAU code is 0420). Test scores must be within the past five calendar years. Official scores must be verified and marked official through CASPA by November 1.
    • Submit SAU Supplemental Application to St. Ambrose University PA Program. This Supplemental Application will be sent directly to applicant once CASPA application is received.

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 Street
Davenport, IA 52804

Prerequisite Coursework
  • 16 credit hours in biological sciences with labs covering general biology (4 cr), human anatomy (4 cr), human physiology (4 cr) and microbiology (4 cr). Anatomy and physiology classes may be taken separately or together if part of a two-course section. If transferring these credits, take both at the same college or university.
  • 15-16 credit hours in chemistry with labs to include general (inorganic) chemistry (8 cr, 2 semester sequence), organic chemistry (4 cr) 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.
  • 9 credit hours in psychology to include general psychology (3 cr), abnormal psychology (3 cr) and either lifespan or developmental psychology (3 cr).
  • 6 credit hours in English composition to include an introductory course and one additional writing course.
  • Medical terminology (graded).
  • 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 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.


Angie King

Master of Physician Assistant Studies
Center for Health Sciences Education #287
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

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