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Accelerated Physician Assistant (Biology Health Science) Major

Embark on a direct path to a rewarding PA career with unmatched hospital experience.

Designed as the baccalaureate component of the innovative 3+2 Physician Assistant Studies program in partnership with Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, this major serves as your foundation for a rewarding career as a Physician Assistant (PA).

You’ll experience a continuous educational journey, starting with the first three years at Saint Mary’s Winona campus and advancing to the master’s level at our Cascade Meadow campus in Rochester.  Along the way you’ll develop a well-rounded skill set encompassing scientific knowledge, preclinical expertise, and liberal arts education, preparing you to excel in the graduate clinical curriculum.

Your educational journey follows a dual-degree trajectory.  The completion of the program’s first three years culminates in a Bachelor of Arts in Health Science. As you progress to the master’s level, the conclusion of your fifth year rewards you with a Master of Health Sciences degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences. The Master of Health Science curriculum prepares students to sit for the PANCE exam and seek licensure as a physician assistant in Minnesota.

Build a strong foundation for your future PA role through an integrated blend of theoretical learning and practical experience, setting the stage for your professional success. You’ll feel ready to navigate the dynamic realm of healthcare with confidence, guided by a program that seamlessly integrates education and practice, equipping you to make a meaningful impact as a skilled and compassionate Physician Assistant.

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Program Highlights

  • This unique academic program includes clinical learning experiences across Mayo Clinic facilities in Rochester and the broader Mayo Clinic Health System.
  • Upon acceptance to Saint Mary’s University,  you must apply to the program, with applications open from July 1 to December 1. Finalists will interview in January for the 18 seats available, and selections will be finalized by early February.
  • Students who are not accepted into the accelerated program, may consider the traditional program at St. Mary’s – Biology:  Pre-Physician Assistant Studies Track.

What You'll Learn

  • Understand research methodology and the scientific method
  • In-depth knowledge between disease prevention and health promotion
  • Effective communication skills and collaboration with diverse groups
  • Scientific and mathematical foundations and principles
  • Workplace and issues in healthcare fields and environments
  • Ethical leadership skills and compassionate, competent patient care


Application Requirements:

  • Minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • Preparations in mathematics are required with courses that prepare students for college calculus.
  • Online application with three essay questions* (using a minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 750 total for the three questions).
  • Submission of an evaluation/recommendation form by a science teacher.
  • Preference will be given to candidates who can demonstrate leadership, commitment to practice locally, maturity, resilience, compassion, service, and military service.

Course Catalog

Put your compassion to work.

Connect with patients in a direct way to improve their health and well-being.

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