Physician Assistant Program Admissions & Advising

View the brochure.

Admission to the PA Program is based on evaluation of those applicant qualities and experiences which advance the program's mission. Highest consideration is given to those applicants who:

  • Have an excellent academic record;
  • Demonstrate leadership qualities;
  • Have prior health care experience;
  • Have qualitifed personal references;
  • Are residents of New Mexico; and,
  • Have served in the United States Military.

PA Advisement Workshops

The UNM Physician Assistant Program offers pre-matriculation advisement to any students interested in applying to the Program.

Beginning March 2018, all students interested in scheduling a one-on-one advisement appointment with the UNM Physician Assistant Advisor must first attend a group advisement workshop. The PA Program holds monthly advisement workshops to provide students with the basic information on applying to PA school.  In-state and out-of-state students can video conference in to the workshop with the use of our Zoom technology.

Prior to attending a PA Advisement appointment, please complete the Physician Assistant Advising Worksheet as thoroughly as possible and bring it to the advisement workshop.  Advisors will be available after the presentation to provide some individual review.

Please take a moment to register for an upcoming advisement workshop.

Upcoming Advisement Workshops

July PA Advisement Workshop
Date:  Thursday, July 11, 2019
Time:  1:00-2:00 pm MST

August PA Advisement Workshop
Date:  Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Time:  3:00-4:00 pm MST

September PA Advisement Workshop
Date:  Friday, September 13, 2019
Time:  12:00-1:00 pm MST

November PA Advisement Workshop
Date:  Monday, November 4, 2019
Time:  9:00-10:00 am MST

December PA Advisement Workshop
Friday, December 13, 2019
Time:  12:00-1:00 MST

Individual Advisement Appointments

Students who have attended a group advisement workshop and need additional time with the Advisor may schedule a phone or in-person advisement appointment.  You may set up your advisement appointment here

Directions & Parking

The UNM Physician Assistant Program office is located at 2701 Frontier Avenue NE, Albuquerque, NM  87131, Building #226 on the UNM north campus map.  Metered parking is available in the big “M” lot adjacent to the Medical/Legal Library near the Yale & Tucker intersection or behind building #226 off Marble Drive.  If you need additional help, please don’t hesitate to call the PA Program office at 505.272.9864. 

PA Information Session

UNM Physician Assistant Quarterly Information Sessions will provide you with the opportunity to meet PA students and faculty, learn more about the profession, PA curriculum and get a detailed explanation of our admission requirements. An RSVP is not required.

February 25, 2019
Time:  5:00-7:00 pm
Domenici 2410

May 6, 2019
Time 5:00-7:00 pm
Domenici 2410

August 12, 2019
Time 5:00-7:00 pm
Domenici 2410

November 11, 2019
Time 5:00-7:00 pm
Domenici 2410

Overall Prerequisite Summary:

  • BA or BS degree completed by August 1st of the application cycle;
  • Graduate Record Exam by August 1 (UNM PA CASPA code 7347);
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (calculated from the most recent 60 credits);
  • A science GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (calculated from the pre-requisite science and math courses);
  • Grade of C or better on all prerequisite courses;
  • Applicants must have three letters of recommendation in CASPA by the August 1st deadline. Letters of Recommendation should include one personal reference and two clinical references (preferably an MD/DO or PA/NP) who have known you for six months or longer who can speak to your ability to be a PA; specifically, your clinical abilities, and your problem solving, critical thinking and interpersonal skills; and,
  • A minimum of 500 hours of clinical experience.

Required Prerequisite Courses:

General Biology/Molecular Cell Biology with lab* 4 credits
General Chemistry I & II with lab* 8 credits
Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II with lab* 8 credits
Statistics 3 credits
Psychology 3 credits
English: AP credits detailed on transcript will be accepted 6 credits

Prerequisite courses denoted with an * must be completed within the last 10 years. Credit hours are based on the semester system. Additionally, all prerequisite courses must be completed with grades of ‘C’ or better. Unless otherwise noted, Pass/Fail, AP credit, and IB credit will not be accepted to fulfill the prerequisites course requirements. All courses and degrees must be completed at a regionally accredited institution. It is your responsibility to ensure the institution is regionally accredited before taking classes.

The University of New Mexico Physician Assistant Program Admission Committee historically has required that all prerequisite courses be completed by August 1 of the application year. Though this remains preferable, beginning with the 2017 admissions cycle, applicants will be considered for admissions with one prerequisite course outstanding. This course must be completed with a B grade or better by December of the application year. Applicants chosen for admission, who do not complete the prerequisite course with the required grade, will forfeit their admissions status and will be required to reapply.

We strongly recommend that prerequisite science courses be limited to a maximum of two on-line courses. Under unique and special circumstances - active military deployment, living and working in a remote area that does not have a regionally accredited institution - we will consider, on a case-by-case basis, accepting more than two on-line courses.

Highly Recommended for all Applicants:

All highly recommended courses must be taken within the last 10 years. Additional points can be earned by completing up to six of the following course groupings with a grade of B- or higher from a regionally accredited institution:

Category I

  • Microbiology with Lab OR Virology

Category II

  • Organic Chemistry with Lab OR Integrated Organic & Biochemistry

Category III

  • Biochemistry OR Biological Chemistry

Category IV

  • Genetics OR Molecular Genetics OR Molecular Cell Biology

Category V

  • Immunology

Category VI

  • Nutrition

Category VII

  • Regional Language Proficiency (Spanish, Native language, Vietnamese and/or Sign)

We require a minimum of 500 contact hours of direct patient care experience in either a patient care setting or a significant community care environment. Hands-on patient care experience is preferred. The more time invested the better. This can be in a paid position or as a volunteer. More information defining direct patient care experience can be found on CASPA's website. It is also beneficial to gain significant community or cross cultural experience in fields outside healthcare.

Applicants should attempt to work with or shadow a Physician Assistant whenever possible to better understand the details of the occupation. Shadowing is not a competitive manner to fulfill the clinical experience requirement.

Advanced Placement (AP) credit for science prerequisites, statistics and psychology will not be accepted. AP coursework is acceptable for English prerequisites if credits are detailed on applicant’s transcript.

Application for admission is made through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). The University of New Mexico Physician Assistant Program adheres to CASPAs Green Deadline which states that applications must be Verified by 11:59 pm ET on August 1 of the application year.  Applications can only be verified once all payments, transcripts, and letters of reference have been received.  To ensure your application is verified by the August 1 deadline, submit your completed application at least 4 weeks before the deadline. Applicants are encouraged to check the status of their CASPA application on a weekly basis.  Learn more about CASPA deadlines.

The UNM PA Program will send out a supplemental application via email to qualified applicants selected to move on in the admissions process. A separate application to UNM is required upon acceptance into the program, if not currently enrolled in a UNM master’s program.

Students are admitted once a year with classes beginning in June.

CASPA Overview

CASPA for Applicants from PAEA on Vimeo. An overview of the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants for students interested in applying to PA school.
Presented by Danielle Di Silvestro, Director of Applicant & Student Services at PAEA.

CASPA has a dedicated team that will help you with the application process. Please direct your questions to the CASPA Customer Service Team. The Customer Service information is listed below. For CASPA Customer Service:

Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm ET
Telephone: 617-612-2080
Email: - When contacting via email, applicants should include their full name, CASPA ID number and a detailed question.

For more information, please contact the program office.

Technical Standards for the Physician Assistant

The technical standards set forth by the Physician Assistant Program reflect the minimal capabilities considered essential for practice as a physician assistant. Candidates for admission to the Physician Assistant Program must be able to meet the following technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodations:

  • Mental capacity to assimilate and learn large volumes of complex, technically detailed information, to perform clinical problem-solving, and synthesize and apply concepts and information from different disciplines to formulate diagnostic and therapeutic judgment;
  • Ability to maintain composure and emotional stability during periods of high stress;
  • Adequate sensory function to fulfill the minimum competency objectives for observation, palpation, auscultation and percussion in order to perform a competent physical examination;
  • Sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control, and eye-to-hand coordination to utilize standard medical instruments and possess sufficient control of the upper extremities to meet the physical requirements for training and perform competent, complete physical examinations;
  • Ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients from different cultural and social backgrounds, and develop an effective professional rapport with patients;
  • Ability to record examination and diagnostic results clearly, accurately and effectively, and then communicate effectively to the patient and colleagues;
  • Expected to learn and perform common diagnostic procedures (e.g. laboratory, cardiographic, radiologic) and interpret the results with respect to recognizing deviations from the norm and identifying pathophysiologic processes; and,
  • High degree of coordination of motor skills necessary to respond to emergency situations quickly and appropriately.

The PA Program is cognizant of its responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Accordingly, if any applicant with a disability has any questions or needs with respect to the above standards he/she should contact the Director of the PA Program at (505) 272-9864.

PA Class of 2017 PA Class of 2018 PA Class of 2019 PA Class of 2020
Female 65% 71% 76% 59%
Male 35% 29% 24% 41%
Resident 100% 88% 88% 100%
Non-Resident 0% 12% 12% 0%
White 94% 76% 65% 82%
Spanish/Hispanic/Latina/Latino 47% 47% 35% 41%
Black of African American 6% 0% 6% 0%
American Indian or Alaskan Native 6% 6% 0% 0%
Not Reported 0% 12% 12% 12%
Matriculation Age
Average Age 27.7 27 28 28.5
Age Range 21 - 53 22 - 41 23 - 56 24 - 44
Overall GPA 3.74 3.68 3.64 3.79
Science & Math GPA 3.7 3.68 3.66 3.76
GRE Verbal Scores 153 151 154-157 151-156
GRE Quantitative Scores 147 150 150-153 146-154
GRE Analytical Scores 3.9 3.9 4.0 4.0
Clinical Experience Hours
Direct Patient Care Average 5,446 7,199 3,486 5,192
Direct Patient Care Range 500 - 19,000 578 - 50,100 522 - 10,650 923 - 22,218
Community Service Hours 255 667 486 363

If English is not your first language or if English is not the official language of your home country, you must demonstrate English language proficiency. Most applicants will need to submit official English proficiency test scores that are less than 2 years old.

The UNM PA Program adheres to the UNM Demonstrated Proficiency in English policy. Please see English Language Requirements to review the English Proficiency Test Requirements and the exceptions to the English Proficiency Test Requirements.