Admission to the PA Program

On this page, you'll find current admission requirements for the Detroit Mercy Physician Assistant (PA) Program, as well as answers to many frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about prerequisites, the application process, and other admission issues specific to the PA graduate program.

Admission requirements

Application to the PA Program is a competitive process and meeting the minimum admission criteria does not guarantee admission. All PA Program applicants must apply through the CASPA system. See the FAQs below for details on applying through CASPA, how to compile a competitive application, and more important information.

Admission requirements for the Master of Science degree with a major in Physician Assistant include:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university (or the equivalency of a U.S. bachelor's degree as documented by a foreign transcript evaluation service) and a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0/4.0.
  2. Submission and verification of all official transcripts for college/university education to the CASPA application service. Read more about CASPA later in this page.
  3. Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE), General aptitude scores for the most recent exam taken. (Minimum total score 900 if taken before August 2011 and minimum total score of 291 for exams taken after August 1, 2011) These scores must be received by CASPA directly from the Educational Testing Corp by the admission deadline. When sending these scores, you will need the University of Detroit Mercy's PA Program code: GI 0509. A completed/conferred Master's degree from an accredited U.S. institution with a minimum earned cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 may be used in lieu of the GRE.
  4. Completion of all prerequisite courses with a grade 3.0/4.0 or better for the fall of 2024 application cycle and within the six (6) years prior to application (January 2018 or after). All prerequisite coursework must be completed and documented by the deadline date. See below for details on prerequisite coursework.
  5. Starting for the 2023-2024 admission cycle, Detroit Mercy will require the Casper test as part of our admission requirements. All applicants are required to complete Casper and/or Duet as part of their application. To complete these assessments visit the Acuity Insights website to create an account and register to complete the assessments. NOTE: If you are not using Duet in your program selection, please say "Duet is not required to apply to our program." If you are using Duet in your program selection, please say "Duet is required to apply to our program." 
    • Casper: 90-110 minute online, open-response situational judgment test
    • Duet: 15-minute value-alignment assessment
  6. Evidence of problem-solving ability and communication skills as well as understanding of and commitment to the PA role, as demonstrated on the PA application and in candidate interviews.
  7. One thousand (1,000) hours of approved health care or helping care experience with increasing levels of responsibility, leadership and evidence of community service. For approved types of experience, see the document, Detroit Mercy PA Admissions Healthcare Experience (PDF). Experience must be CASPA-verified by the application deadline.
  8. Two professional recommendations. See details about appropriate evaluators and how recommendations are submitted in the questions below.
  9. A personal interview with the members of the Physician Assistant Graduate Admissions Committee. Personal interviews are by invitation and the class is selected only from among those interviewed.

The CASPA application must be completed and verified by the application deadline
to be considered for regular admission to the program.

Detroit Mercy undergraduates, veterans, applicants from under-served communities and underrepresented minorities in the profession may be given additional consideration in the application process.

Applicants who are granted an interview are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • professional attitude and aptitude
  • understanding of PA practice
  • motivation for completing the program and serving disadvantaged populations
  • past experience in the “helping” professions and extent of relevant carry-over skills
  • interpersonal and problem solving skills
  • personal integrity and maturity
  • leadership potential
  • ability to work well as a professional in a health care team

For more important information, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below.

PA students practicing casting on a volunteer's arm

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Open All | Close All


    What are the CASPA application requirements?

    The Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) is a service of the Physician Assistant Education Association. You will use the CASPA system to build your PA Program application, including all necessary materials. Once received by CASPA, your application and materials go through a verification process before being transmitted to Detroit Mercy. For CASPA-specific questions, refer to the CASPA Applicant Help Center.

    CASPA applicants are responsible for the following:

    • Reading all of the Detroit Mercy Admission Criteria and Academic Policies prior to application to the program.
    • Completing the CASPA application according to the directions, by the deadline.
    • Foreign transcripts must be submitted as described in the section below, 'What if I am an international student?'
    • Official transcripts sent to CASPA do not also need to be sent to the University of Detroit Mercy.
    • Official transcripts for course work completed after submission of the CASPA application will need to be sent to the Graduate Admissions address below.
    • All recommendation submissions and all official transcripts for work completed at the time of admission must be received and verified at CASPA by the deadline. Detroit Mercy will not accept CASPA applicant recommendation submissions or transcripts directly (except transcripts for course work completed after submission of the CASPA application).
    • Request official general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores be sent to CASPA
      • You need a minimum total GRE score of 900 if exam was taken before August 2011 and a minimum of 291 for exams taken after Aug. 1, 2011.
      • These scores must be received by CASPA directly from the Educational Testing Corp. by the deadline.
      • When sending the GRE scores, you will need the University of Detroit Mercy's PA Program Code: GI 0509. This will ensure your scores reach CASPA in a timely manner (before the deadline).

    Official transcripts for course work completed after submission of the CASPA application should be sent to:

    Graduate Admissions
    Physician Assistant Program, CHP 115
    University of Detroit Mercy
    4001 West McNichols Road
    Detroit, Michigan 48221-3038


    What if I am an international student?

    Complete your CASPA application by the deadline. See above for CASPA information.

    If you are an international student seeking a student visa to study at University of Detroit Mercy, contact the Detroit Mercy International Services Office for information about application, immigration and other matters for international students.

    International transcripts

    The Detroit Mercy PA program requires applicants to submit official foreign transcripts to an approved (WES and ECE) foreign transcript evaluation service for a course-by-course U.S. equivalency report. Arrange for foreign transcript reports to be sent directly to CASPA from the foreign transcript evaluation agency. Contact the foreign transcript evaluation service as early as possible. The service may take several weeks to process your foreign transcript once it is received. In order to be considered for admission, the foreign transcript evaluations will need to be received by the CASPA application deadline.

    English language requirements

    If English is not your native language, or if you have not successfully completed a four-year degree program from an approved U.S. school, you are required to take Detroit Mercy's own academic English language proficiency test upon arrival at the University. Go to Detroit Mercy's American Language and Culture Program page for more information. Demonstration of spoken English proficiency may also be required.

For undergraduates

Open All | Close All


    What if I don't have a bachelor's degree?

    If you are still a high school student, check out the accelerated five-year PA track, which is an option for incoming college freshman at Detroit Mercy.

    If you have some college credit or an associate's degree, you may want to look into the Pre-PA program for students in any major.


    I am an undergraduate. What are my application requirements?

    Undergraduate students at the University of Detroit Mercy can prepare for the PA program by completing the Pre-PA program. This program awards a bachelor's degree, requires the student complete 1000 hours of health or helping experience (paid or volunteer) and includes specific course work in preparation for the graduate PA program.

    Entry into the Pre-PA program does not guarantee admission to the PA program, but it does offer advantages. For more details, see the Pre-PA program page.



    What is "Contingent Admission"?

    If your bachelor's degree has not been completed by the application deadline but will be completed before beginning classes in the fall, your application may then be considered for contingent admission. Transcripts for your bachelor's degree not completed by the deadline are the ONLY part of the application you may submit after the deadline in a contingent application. All other application materials MUST be submitted by the deadline to be considered for admission.


    What type of bachelor degree should I get?

    There is no preference when it comes to applying to the PA Program. We do recommend if you are just starting to take classes that you consider a medical/health or science-related degree.


Open All | Close All


    Prerequisite coursework

    For every prerequisite listed below, you will be asked to supply information in your application regarding when, where and which course you have taken. A copy of the catalog course description and/or course syllabus for all 6 prerequisites must be attached to the application check list if it is NOT listed below. It is highly recommended that applicants have course descriptions approved prior to submission with the application. Non-approved prerequisites or incomplete prerequisite information will render an application incomplete. Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission. Course descriptions can be emailed or mailed.

    • NUTRITION: Course work which concentrates on physiologic requirements for human growth and development. Role of nutrition in health and disease. General concepts of diet as a therapy.
    • MEDICAL ETHICS: An exploration of moral issues specific to health care delivery and medical research. This course will have examined issues such as euthanasia, abortion, human experimentation, assisted suicide and bias in access to health care.
    • STATISTICS: Statistical methods and their applications to human science research. Includes probability models, descriptive, correlational and basic inferential statistics. Students should be familiar with use of statistical software packages for the analysis of both descriptive and inferential statistics.
    • ADVANCED PHYSIOLOGY:Course explaining the functional organization of all organ systems of the body, its metabolism, and the application of physiologic principles to living organisms. Focus on human/medical physiology only, combination physiology and anatomy courses are not acceptable, pathophysiology is not acceptable. Usually a 300 level course or greater.
    • MICROBIOLOGY: A survey of microorganisms with emphasis on bacterial, parasitic and viral pathogens, must include laboratory techniques.
    • DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY: A life span perspective on developmental and maturational tasks from birth to death. The Committee may consider a series of courses to meet this requirement provided it minimally includes: Child Psychology; Adolescence and Psychology of Aging.

    University of Detroit Mercy Physician Assistant Program Pre-Requisite Course Equivalencies

    Should a prospective applicant wish to pursue any outstanding prerequisite(s) at the University of Detroit Mercy, they may complete a free, online application, selecting "Transfer" as the application type and "Unclassified Science Undergraduate" as the major.


    What is the healthcare/helping experience requirement?

    By the application deadline, you'll need a minimum of one thousand (1,000) hours of healthcare experience demonstrating personal maturity and knowledge of healthcare systems. Refer to the Approved Healthcare Experience Chart (PDF) for the types of experience accepted. You should demonstrate leadership or increasing levels of responsibility in your work experience. The work may be paid or volunteer, full- or part-time. It may or may not include direct patient care. At minimum, it should be service- and health-related. 


    How do I "test out" of a prerequisite?

    There is no option to demonstrate competency by exam (e.g. NLN or CLEP), nor is Advance Placement coursework acceptable for pre-requisite coursework.


    How will I know if a prerequisite course I plan to take will meet the program requirements?

    You can see a list of some courses in our Prerequisite Course Equivalency Table (PDF). For courses not included in the table, follow the instructions below.

    It is highly recommended you have courses approved prior to your UDM application, and that you include a copy of our course approval(s) with your application. For each prerequisite course in question, send us the following for review:

    • name of the institution offering the course
    • course name and number/code
    • course syllabus
    • number of credit hours
    • course catalog description

    You can send the above prerequisite course information via postal mail or email it to


    What type of bachelor degree is preferred?

    There is no preference.


    Would you consider just my "last two years" of undergrad GPA?

    If your cumulative undergraduate GPA (uGPA) falls below the minimum of 3.0 required by the PA Program, you may request the Program use only your junior and senior years' cumulative grade point average as calculated by CASPA.* 

    This may be helpful if you struggled in earlier years of your undergraduate studies, but achieved a strong GPA for your final two undergraduate years (i.e. your junior and senior years).

    To request this last-two-years uGPA calculation, you must check the box that says “Please consider my last 2 years of undergraduate GPA” in your CASPA application.*

    We will only look at your last two years of undergraduate coursework if your overall uGPA is below 3.0.

    * For more on CASPA, see elsewhere on this page.


    What is meant by "upper division" courses?

    Usually courses with course numbers 3000 or higher are considered upper division courses.


    When do I have to have all my prerequisites completed?

    Official transcripts for prerequisite courses must be received by the CASPA deadline date.


    How recent do my six pre-requisite courses need to be?

    Prerequisite course work must have been completed within six years prior to the year of admission to the PA program e.g. for application for fall of 2024 they must have been taken January 2018 or after.

GRE - Graduate Record Exam

Open All | Close All


    Who must take the GRE?

    You must submit official GRE scores, unless you meet the graduate degree requirements specified in the next question.

    GRE scores must be sent directly to CASPA from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) by the admission deadline. When sending GRE scores, use the Detroit Mercy PA program code: GI 0509. This will ensure your scores reach CASPA in a timely manner. To schedule the GRE exam visit the GRE web site at

    (MCAT scores are not accepted for admission.)


    What if I have a U.S. graduate degree already?

    You will not need to submit GRE scores if, by the application deadline, you have completed a graduate degree with a cumulative GPA (CGPA) of 3.0 or better from an accredited U.S. university or college.

    Your official graduate transcripts must be sent directly to CASPA, as part of your application. The transcript must indicate completion of your degree and your CGPA. Your CGPA will be used in place of your GRE score to evaluate your ability in a graduate program.

    Degrees in progress or transcripts without a GPA (i.e. those with Pass/Fail grades) cannot be used in place of the GRE.


    What is an acceptable score on the GRE?

    A combined GRE score of 291 is the minimum to be considered for admission to the Detroit Mercy PA program.

Application process

Open All | Close All


    What is rolling admission?

    Beginning May 2024, the Detroit Mercy PA Program will adopt rolling admissions. Verified applications will be evaluated once received from CASPA. Applicants who fulfill the mission and all requirements will be considered for entry into the program. We encourage applicants to apply early as possible. Once all spots are filled, later applications will only be considered for our waitlist.


    Can I apply through CASPA (Centralized Application Service for PAs)?

    Yes, in fact all Detroit Mercy PA applicants must use CASPA to apply. See information above for CASPA application details.


    Can I choose whether I am admitted to the 2 year or 3 year program?

    Applicants to the program are asked at the time of application to submit a preference for the 2 or 3 year program. The selection committee makes an attempt to give each applicant his or her first choice but we have limited seats in each class. Applicants accepted may be accepted into the alternate track with the option to change based on space coming available.


    For my recommendations, who is appropriate and how is it done?

    A professional recommendation comes from a supervisor, co-worker or academic advisor, i.e. someone who can evaluate your professional skills. This does not include people you have shadowed for a short time, family members or friends.

    We would prefer at least one recommendation from a practicing PA or a physician familiar with the role and responsibilities of a physician assistant, but only if they are able to evaluate your professional skills, including work ethic, character, leadership abilities and communication skills.

    Recommendations (sometimes called letters of evaluation or reference letters) are submitted directly by the evaluators themselves via the CASPA-related 'Letters by Liaison' system. See the CASPA guide on how to handle recommendations.


    What does a successful applicant profile look like?

    For the class entering 2022, the cumulative undergraduate grade point average was 3.75. The average cumulative graduate degree GPA used in lieu of GRE scores was 3.63. The average Graduate Record Exam score was 307.41.


    What if I am an international student?

    International students should be familiar with the Detroit Mercy International Services Office

    Foreign transcripts

    If you are a permanent resident/U.S. citizen, you may apply through CASPA. Applicants must submit official foreign transcripts to an approved foreign transcript evaluation service for a course-by-course U.S. equivalency report including degree equivalency (i.e. specifically stating the coursework is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree). If evaluation of the foreign transcript does not specify the equivalency of a U.S. bachelor's degree, the applicant must be able to document a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution.

    Please arrange for foreign transcript reports to be sent directly to CASPA from the foreign transcript evaluation agency by the application deadline. Contact the foreign transcript evaluation service as early as possible. The services may take several weeks to process your foreign transcript once it is received. If you are not  permanent resident/U.S. citizen, you must apply using the International Physician Assistant application (select International Physician Assistant at the bottom of the Select Application page)


    What happens after I submit my application?

    1. Applications are reviewed for completeness.
    2. Applications that are complete by the deadline are forwarded to PA faculty for review and selection for interviews.
    3. Interviews are usually scheduled in March (give or take a couple weeks), with the goal of contacting all applicants by mid-April.

For more information

Open All | Close All


    How can I talk with someone at the PA Program?

    Attend a PA Program information meeting! See details for our next scheduled meeting date. Our info meetings provide lots of information and a chance to ask questions of PA Program personnel.  

    The vast majority of questions are also answered:

    If you still need further information, you can also email Be sure to put "I have a PA question" in the subject line of your email. Email sent to this address is answered by a member of the PA Program staff. Bear in mind, the PA Program receives hundreds of emails each week, which is why we've tried to answer as many questions as possible on this page and the webpages linked above.

    Interested candidates are advised that there are no "walk-in hours" for guidance either with the faculty or with the PA program administrators for admissions. Candidates are best served when they submit their questions in writing and will receive a written response to which they can refer.


    Where can I find information on financial aid?

    For more information, see the financial aid page.


    How do I find out more about PAs?

    You'll find numerous links under "Resources" section of the main PA Program page, including to PA professional organizations, employment information, academic resources and more.


    How well do students meet the goals and objectives of the PA Program?

    For the past five years, student were rated by their clinical supervisors in their final clinical experience, on average, to always meet expectations and usually or frequently exceed them in all areas evaluated including, medical knowledge; technical skills and professional ethics, conduct and attitude. Please visit our PA Program Goals & Outcomes page for details.