Physician Assistant Scholars

Saint Louis University's PA Scholars program is an exclusive opportunity for freshmen to be guaranteed a position in the Physician Assistant program upon graduation from specific Pre-PA degree programs offered by the SLU Doisy College of Health Sciences.

The PA Scholars program allows students seeking careers as physician assistants to gain valuable health care credentials prior to entrance into the post-baccalaureate PA program. This preparatory education, in conjunction with the PA program's didactic and clinical curriculum, enriches the graduate's expertise and competence. In addition, it allows students the opportunity for a rewarding health care career should they elect not to continue in the graduate PA program upon completion of their bachelor's degree.

DCHS PA Scholars Tracks

Athletic Training*
Health Information Management
Health Sciences
Investigative and Medical Science
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Medical Laboratory Science
Nuclear Medicine Technology
Nutrition and Dietetics**
Radiation Therapy

*Athletic Training is a 3+2, five-year master's program. Students would enter the PA program in their sixth year.

**A degree in Nutrition and Dietetics requires admittance to a post-baccalaureate, accredited internship for eligibility to become a Registered Dietetian. PA Scholars may elect to seek an accredited internship following completion of their bachelor's degree and start in the PA program after the internship or complete the internship following the completion of the PA program.

Application Requirements

The application requirements are as follows:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5, weighted or unweighted, as reported on the high school transcript at the close of junior year
  • Completion of at least three years of high school math and science - four years of math and science highly recommended 
  • Minimum official test score (only one of the following is required):
    - 28 composite ACT with no subsections below 23
    - 1320 composite SAT, Math + Evidence Based Reading and Writing (tests taken since March 2016)
    - 1260 composite SAT, Math + Critical Reading (tests taken prior to March 2016)
  • Complete and submit online application for freshman admission and all required materials (transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, etc.) by February 1 of your senior year of high school. Indicate one of the approved degrees and "Pre-PA" as your pre-professional program.
  • Complete the PA Scholars application through your MySLU portal by February 1 of your senior year of high school
  • Submit two letters of recommendation, postmarked by February 1. The letters  can be emailed to admission@slu.edu or mailed to:
    Saint Louis University Office of Admission
    One North Grand Blvd., DuBourg Hall Room 119
    St. Louis, MO 63103
  • Application Timeline:
    February 1 of senior year of high school: application must be submitted
    March of senior year of high school: admission decisions mailed to applicants
    May 1 of senior year: acceptance of invitation required
  • If you are selected for admission as a PA Scholar, you must confirm your acceptance by completing the PA Scholars Program Invitation Response Form. This form must be signed, dated and returned to the DCHS Recruitment Specialist via email (dchs@slu.edu) or mail to:
    Recruitment Specialist
    Doisy College of Health Sciences
    3437 Caroline Street Suite 3051
    St. Louis, MO 63104
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does the PA Scholars program offer guaranteed admission into the Physician Assistant program?

A: Yes. Students who successfully complete the program’s requirements and maintain the required GPA for the duration of their undergraduate studies as well as complete the required, pre-approved direct patient care hours are guaranteed placement in the Physician Assistant Program where students will work towards the degree of Master in Medical Science.

Q: Does the PA Scholars program shorten the length of time I will spend in school?

A: No. When a PA Scholar obtains admission to SLU’s Physician Assistant Program, that admission is labeled as “contingent” upon successful completion of the pre-PA bachelor’s degree program for which they enroll in the Doisy College of Health Sciences from Saint Louis University. We believe that a traditional, full-length course of undergraduate study remains one of the best preparations for success.

Q: Which majors/programs of study can I pursue as a PA Scholar?

A: See above DCHS PA Scholars Tracks

Q: How will my advance placement credit courses transfer?

A: In keeping with their high level of academic achievement, students who wish to become PA Scholars are encouraged to take Advanced Placement and/or advanced credit courses in high school whenever possible. However, no AP or advanced credit will be awarded to incoming PA Scholars for biology, chemistry or physics. It is in the best interest of every future physician assistant student to take these courses in college regardless of past experience.

Q: Can I wait and become a PA Scholar once I am a current SLU student?

A: No. Only new freshmen applicants will be considered for acceptance into the program.

Q: What if I change my major or decide that I do not want to continue on to the PA program?

A: Students may continue on as PA Scholars provided they choose another approved, pre-PA major within DCHS. Remember that there is no penalty for withdrawing from the program, but applying to become a PA Scholar is an opportunity that you only have as an incoming freshman.  If you withdraw from the PA Scholars program, you will have to apply to the post-baccalaureate PA program through the traditional application process, with no guarantee of admittance.

Q: What are the requirements to remain a PA Scholar?

A: Once accepted as PA Scholars, students are expected to maintain full-time enrollment at Saint Louis University and to meet the following requirements:
1. Maintain cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 through completion of the Bachelor’s program.
2. Obtain a “B” or higher in all prerequisite courses.
3. Complete all prerequisite courses at SLU (Chem I and II, Organic Chem I and II, Anatomy, Physiology, Genetics, Microbiology, Medical Terminology, Statistics).
4. Obtain pre-approved direct patient care hours:
     - 100 hours by August 1 after the sophomore year
     - 250 hours by the end of the junior year
     - 500 hours by the end of the senior year
The method of obtaining these hours must be approved by the DCHS Recruitment Specialist prior to beginning the experience. Documentation of direct patient care hours must be submitted by the last day of each semester to the DCHS Recruitment Specialist.
5. Attend a PA program information session between September of Junior year and November of Senior year at SLU.
6. PA Scholars will be required to complete the online Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) and SLU Supplemental Application by November 1 of the senior year at SLU.  This process ensures students are captured in the national database for PA programs. Current application rate for both applications is approximately $230 (CASPA - $177, SLU Supplemental - $45). 
7. Attend a SLU PA Interview session during January or February of Senior year at SLU.  Dates will vary.  An interview is not conducted, but scholar will meet current students and graduates as well as applicants who are interviewing.
8. Attend additional PA Program activities as communicated via the PA program

Q: Can I study abroad as a PA Scholar?

A: Yes. PA Scholars are encouraged to study abroad.  PA Scholars will work with their DCHS undergraduate academic advisor to determine a time that is most optimal for study abroad. 

Q: What other benefits do PA Scholars enjoy?

A:  PA Scholars enjoy numerous other program benefits, including:
- One-on-one advising through a DCHS academic advisor assigned to their specific undergraduate program
- Participate in the Pre-PA Club
- Opportunity to have a PA program faculty mentor beginning in their Junior year at SLU
- Attend select events hosted by the PA Program student organization beginning in their junior year at SLU

Tuition and Fees

Saint Louis University takes pride in being one of Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges.

For information regarding the upcoming academic year’s tuition rate, fees and financial aid, visit SLU Financial Services.

Curriculum and Program Details

As a PA Scholar, you will take courses in biology, chemistry, statistics, human anatomy, human physiology, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, genetics and medical terminology.

Additional Information

For additional information, contact Doisy College of Health Sciences Recruitment Specialist Katie Smialek at (314) 977-2570 or katharine.smialek@health.slu.edu