Become a Physician Assistant

In educational collaboration with Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, Saint Mary's offers a five-year program for PAs.

This highly competitive program for incoming first-year students will put you on the fast track to begin a meaningful and versatile career in the medical field — and to ultimately work within the Midwest for the world-renowned Mayo Clinic Health System.

Program Details

As part of this accelerated program, you will spend three years studying at Saint Mary’s new state-of-the-art Aquinas Hall on our Winona Campus (with limited seats also available at University of Minnesota Rochester).

The following two years, you will learn from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences faculty at Saint Mary’s Rochester Campus and have clinical learning experiences at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and throughout Mayo Clinic Health System.

At the conclusion of your fourth year, you will earn a Bachelor of Arts in Biology - Health Science degree from Saint Mary’s University, and at the end of your fifth year, you will earn a Master of Health Sciences in PA Studies Degree from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.

This allows you to:
  • Complete your degree in five years, saving on time and tuition costs.
  • Put yourself in a position to work for Mayo Clinic, one of the nation’s leading medical care organizations.
  • Learn from the best in the nation, which will give you a tremendous advantage.
  • Gain flexible skills needed in a variety of settings: family medicine, urgent care, pediatrics, surgery, and emergency medicine.

Program Costs

Years 1-3, students will pay Saint Mary’s Physician Assistant program tuition and fees, and qualify for Saint Mary's scholarships and need-based assistance. The 2021-22 tuition for the 3+2 PA program is $42,640. Tuition for the 2022-23 academic year is $44,560.

Years 4-5, students will pay Mayo Clinic tuition and fees.

Admission Information

All applicants must speak with an admission counselor prior to submitting their application.

  • Online application with three essay questions*
  • Transcripts
  • A minimum GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • Submission of the evaluation form by a science teacher.
  • Math ACT sub-score of 26 or higher, or Math SAT sub-score of 610 or higher
  • If unable to submit an ACT or SAT score, applicants will take a Saint Mary's University Math Placement Exam online before the application deadline
  • Personal interview
  • The ideal candidate will understand the roles and responsibilities associated with a career as a PA.
  • Preference will be given to candidates who can demonstrate leadership, commitment to practice locally, maturity, resilience, compassion, service, and military service.
  • Preparations in mathematics are required with courses that prepare students for college calculus.

* The essay questions, teacher evaluation form, and letter of recommendation can be emailed to

Once accepted into Saint Mary's University, your application will be forwarded for consideration for the 3+2 program. 

Applications open: Aug. 1, 2021

Application deadline: Dec. 1, 2021

Recommended application to Mayo Clinic by Dec. 10, 2021

Invitations sent for personal interviews: Dec. 17, 2021

Interview acceptance deadline: Dec. 23, 2021

Personal interviews: Jan. 10 - 14, 2022

Acceptance notifications sent: Jan. 24, 2022

Deadline to accept 3+2 seat: Feb. 4, 2022

New Mayo PA Program earns key approval

Mayo Clinic was notified by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) that its new PA Program has received the desired provisional accreditation. Program Director Michael Huckabee, MPAS, PA-C, PhD, explains, “This accreditation puts us on-track to hire Mayo-trained physician assistants in two years.” The ARC-PA requires new programs to obtain provisional status before the first cohort of students begin the program. Once the first cohort of students graduate, the program is considered for accreditation-continuing status.

The PA Program has already selected its inaugural class of 24 students, including five Mayo Clinic employees, to begin Monday, August 24. The length of the program is 24 months, with the second year involving clinical rotations for each PA student beginning August 2021. Graduates will receive the Master of Health Sciences degree in PA Studies from the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences. The program collaborates with Saint Mary’s University and the University of Minnesota Rochester to offer a unique 3+2 program. This allows selected college freshman to complete the master’s degree program in five years instead of the traditional six, supporting Mayo Clinic’s workforce of the future. Mayo Clinic remains committed to the longstanding collaboration with the University of Wisconsin La Crosse traditional PA master’s degree program.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic that limits in-person education, Mayo’s PA Program continues to develop day-to-day learning strategies of the new curriculum. Active learning principles are at the forefront, with enhancements in place using digital resources and technology, such as point-of-care ultrasound and virtual reality/enhanced reality (VR/ER), among others. With these tools in place, opportunities to move our curriculum to primarily online learning are possible, though at this point it is not an expectation.


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.