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The College of St. Scholastica

Prepare for Your Clinical Practice

For more than 100 years, St. Scholastica has been committed to meeting the healthcare needs of rural areas in Minnesota and neighboring states. Those needs led to the creation of our nursing program in the 1930s as well as the development of our PA program.

PA surgical procedure technique being done by a St. Scholastica student.Through a values-based curriculum, our primary care-focused PA program teaches students to provide exceptional primary healthcare in any setting. As a student, you’ll receive advanced training in medical diagnosis, treatment, patient management, and educating patients on health maintenance and disease prevention.

You will learn in the classroom, through hands-on labs and clinical placements throughout the Midwest. You’ll also collaborate with graduate students in several health professions to prepare for clinical practice through interprofessional teamwork. Upon graduation, you’ll be eligible to sit for the PA Boards: PA National Certifying Exam (PANCE) and be practice-ready.

Fast Facts

  • The only PA Medicine program north of the Twin Cities
  • Innovative rural healthcare-focused curriculum and high-tech classrooms
  • Procedure and skills-based training
  • Focus on experiencing continuity of care with 12 weeks of primary care rotations
  • Opportunities for longitudinal pathway with multiple rotations in a rural community
  • 28-month program, including summers

The St. Scholastica Advantage

St. Scholastica PA Students practicing anatomy painting.In this program, you will receive individualized attention from career-focused faculty at the region’s leader in health science education. Learn in a state-of-the-art setting featuring the latest simulation, telehealth and technology-supported patient care equipment. Through the program, you’ll also gain knowledge and skills through:

  • Grant-supported program to enhance and expand rural primary care curriculum using medical simulation software, anatomy body painting and online textbooks
  • Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS), laparoscopic simulation, Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) training and telehealth certification
  • Collaboration with regional health systems known for excellent clinical education — including two local Level I and II trauma-designated, award-winning healthcare systems that offer over 75 specialties


Faculty interactions have been excellent. We work with very lifelike mannequins and we have also had simulated patient encounters.

Jacob Bottelbergh

Degree Details

Tuition and Fees

Tuition: $945/credit*

  • Total tuition cost: ​$104,895 for the 111-credit degree (2024-25 rate)
  • Total program cost (tuition and fees): $111,461
  • For a full description of all program-related costs, view the Estimated Costs.
  • For a full description of the policies and procedures for refunds of tuition and fees, view the St. Scholastica website for details.
  • These figures are for estimation purposes only. Because tuition and fee rates change each year, your costs for the 28-month degree will likely be higher than the total figures quoted here.
  • Additional fees apply for labs, equipment, certification and supplies. These fees are in effect for the 2023-24 academic year and are subject to change. Additional information about current tuition rates and fees is available on our financial aid pages and the 2024-25 PA Student Handbook.

* Tuition rates are for the 2024-25 academic year. Additional fees and costs for course materials may apply. Total program cost and completion time varies depending on transfer credits and individual program plans. Tuition rates are subject to change. View 2023-24 rates

Program Overview

Program Mission

In accordance with our Benedictine values, The College of St. Scholastica’s PA Medicine program’s mission is to educate PA students within a comprehensive, interprofessional and innovative curriculum to provide high-quality care across the lifespan and meet the healthcare needs of our region.

Goals and Outcomes

  • 100% PANCE Pass Rate (2022-23)
  • 39% our graduates work in primary care and 22% in underserved settings (2022)
  • 89% of our graduates practice in the upper Midwest (2022)
  • 82% of our graduates employed within 3 months of passing the PANCE (2022)
PANCE Results

All graduates of an accredited PA program must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) prior to obtaining a license to practice. This exam is developed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). View The College of St. Scholastica’s PA program’s NCCPA PANCE Report.

Graduation and Attrition Rates
ARC-PA Student Attrition St. Scholastica PA Medicine Program
Graduating Year 2021 2022 2023
Maximum entering class
size (as approved by ARC-PA)
38 38 38
Entering class size 30 30 30
Graduates 30 28 28
*Attrition rate 0 7% 7%
**Graduation rate 100% 93% 93%

*Attrition rate calculation: Number of students who attritted from cohort divided by the entering class size.

**Graduation rate: Number of cohort graduates divided by the entering class size.

  • Class of 2022: 1 student decelerated and graduated with the Class of 2023; 1 student withdrew
  • Class of 2023: 1 student decelerated and is anticipated to graduate with the Class of 2024; 1 student withdrew


Visit our Catalog to view the program, course and degree requirements, and learning outcomes. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.


To become a certified PA following completion of a Master’s program, you must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), a computer-based, multiple-choice test comprising questions that assess basic medical and surgical knowledge.

Student Employment

The PA Medicine program is extremely intense and rigorous. The program expects the student’s position in the program to be their primary responsibility and that any outside activity, including student employment, must not interfere with their abilities to accomplish the program expectations. Employment is strongly discouraged during the program. The College will not alter or adjust the program expectations, assignments, deadlines and responsibilities to accommodate working students.


  • Policy on Advanced Placement: Advanced Placement is not accepted or available.
  • Policy on Experiential Learning: No credit will be granted to students for experiential learning performed prior to the start of the program.

Both policies are outlined in the 2024-25 PA Student Handbook, page 23-24.


Clinical Rotations

The clinical training for PA students is similar to that of a medical student. Your first year is almost entirely classroom instruction with some clinical experiences. During the second half of PA training, you will be immersed in the clinical environment with a clinical preceptor as your guide and teacher. The clinical preceptor can be a board-certified PA, NP, MD or DO. The clinical phase of PA education includes core rotations in primary care, inpatient medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, women’s health and general surgery. You will also be involved in an elective rotation in a medical specialty area.

The program maintains over 300 clinical sites with clinicians who work with the program to provide clinical experience and training. The Director of Clinical Education and the program arrange all of your clinical rotation experiences for you.

Although you may not develop or arrange your clinical site/schedule, you may identify potential new sites and/or preceptors. For more information regarding this process, view the Preceptor/Site Contact Information on page 50 of the 2024-25 PA Student Handbook.

Interested in becoming a preceptor?

Clinical preceptors are a fundamental and valued ingredient in the education of the next generation of PAs. If you are interested in participating in the education of future PAs, please complete the form. Thank you for your interest — we will be in touch!

Career Outlook

St. Scholastica PA Medicine graduates group photo in front of the Health Science Center in Duluth, MN.As healthcare providers try to combat the rising costs, the demand for PAs is increasing dramatically. In fact, The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for PAs will grow by 28% percent between 2021 and 2031. As demand for healthcare services grows, PAs will be needed to provide care to patients.


The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to The College of St. Scholastica PA Medicine Program sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2031. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website.

The Health Science Center at BlueStone: A Beautiful Place to Learn

This program is located in the Health Science Center (HSC) at BlueStone, approximately one mile from the main St Scholastica campus in Duluth. The BlueStone development includes retail, restaurants, and housing in addition to the HSC. BlueStone Lofts, The Vue at BlueStone and BlueStone Flats offer convenient high-end housing options for students. The HSC includes state-of-the-art classroom space, meeting rooms, faculty offices, and student lounge areas overlooking Lake Superior. The maurices Community Clinic is also located in the HSC, providing students with mentored hands-on learning opportunities and interdisciplinary training.

The Convenience of BlueStone Living

Connect with a BlueStone housing representative about on-site housing options.

Admission Information

Visit our admissions page for information about transcripts, online application, international admissions and financing.

Application Deadlines

Applications open on April 25 in CASPA for the following fall enrollment period. Deadline: Aug. 1.


  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited college or university
  • Minimum cumulative and prerequisite GPAs of 3.0
  • All prerequisites must have a minimum grade of “C”
  • 750 hours of paid direct patient/client work experience (HCE) is strongly encouraged. A successful applicant will typically have greater than 750 HCE hours. An applicant may still apply while actively completing HCE hours and will have the opportunity to describe plans for completion on the CASPA application. Typical experiences may include CNA, personal care attendant through an agency, EMT, paramedic, scribe, or other healthcare professional. The key part of this requirement is that the experience must involve direct, face-to-face service with the patient/client.
  • The GRE is not required. Any standardized test scores will not be considered (i.e. GRE, MCAT, Casper, PA-CAT, etc.).
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate knowledge of the role and responsibilities of a PA
  • All students must also review the technical standards (pdf) required for program entry
Note: Meeting minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission.


Prerequisite course grades must be C or better; prerequisite GPA of 3.0 or above.

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II
  • Microbiology
  • Lifespan Developmental Psychology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Statistics

Note: Labs are recommended in science-related courses, when applicable. All prerequisites must have been completed within 10 years* from the year of application. All prerequisites must be completed, via official transcript, by Aug. 1 of the program start year. Preference is given to those applicants with the majority of the science prerequisites complete (with a letter grade) at the time of application. Because prerequisite courses establish the framework for the PA program, all prerequisite courses must be completed at an institution of higher learning.

Applicants must report every college course attempted in the Coursework section of the CASPA application, including those courses later repeated for a higher grade. CASPA GPAs include ALL courses completed with grades/credits, even if they were later repeated for a higher grade.

Due to the high volume of interest in the PA Medicine program at The College of St. Scholastica, the Office of Graduate Admissions does not review unofficial transcripts to determine the completion of prerequisite coursework. If you have specific questions about a particular course, please reference the prerequisite equivalency tables to determine if the course meets the stated requirement.

*Any student may request a waiver of the prerequisite ten-year time frame requirement through a written request to the Graduate Admissions Office. This request must be received by the Graduate Admissions Office by July 1 to allow ample time for review prior to the Aug. 1 application deadline. The Admissions Chair may determine prerequisite course equivalencies and grant waivers for time limitations without full PA Admission Committee involvement. Other waiver requests may require a committee vote. Waiver of GPA, course grade minimum and course prerequisite requirements will not be considered. The Admissions Chair notifies the applicant and the Graduate Admissions Counselor of waiver decisions in writing.

Policy regarding Pass/No Pass (P/F, C/NC, S/U) and online coursework due to COVID-19 impact

Any prerequisite course taken for credit (pass/fail, credit/no credit, satisfactory/unsatisfactory, etc.) between spring 2020 — spring 2021 will be accepted; however, it will not count toward the prerequisite GPA. We have always accepted grades from regionally accredited online courses and will continue to do so.

Selection Process

The admissions committee will consider:

  • Cognitive factors: cumulative and prerequisite GPA. Additional consideration is given to applicants who exceed the minimum GPA requirements.
  • Admissions preference will be given to applicants with a St. Scholastica undergraduate degree, and/or demographic factors which include those from rural/urban communities, those from underrepresented and underserved populations, and those from the upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota and South Dakota, with an emphasis on students from Minnesota and Wisconsin)
  • Interest in underrepresented populations and primary care as demonstrated by healthcare and volunteer experiences that indicate a commitment to service
  • Desired qualities include student career goals that fit the program’s mission, professionalism, interpersonal skills and dedication to lifelong learning
Veteran Preference

The College of St. Scholastica has a long-standing history of supporting veterans in reaching their career goals. The PA Medicine program at St. Scholastica is committed to our nation’s veterans. We offer admissions preference to all veteran applicants. While this does not guarantee admission, it is an acknowledgment of the College’s dedication to veterans and their needs.

Online Application

  1. Submit a CASPA application. The program does not interview applicants for admission.* We may contact you by email or phone to clarify the information in your CASPA application.
  2. Transcripts: Official transcripts from every post-secondary institution attended or where credit was earned must be sent to CASPA. Instructions are indicated on the CASPA application.
  3. In the CASPA application, enter contact information for three people to submit recommendation information/letters on your behalf. Applicants will be asked to provide a personal statement and a response to three program-specific essay questions.
  4. After the application deadline, completed and verified applications from CASPA will be reviewed by the admissions committee.

*Interviews may contribute to bias in the candidate selection process. To minimize this effect, the St. Scholastica PA Medicine program uses a holistic admissions approach and does not interview applicants. We have found this supports a more diverse and inclusive student body.

Accepted Students

  • Submit a $500 non-refundable deposit and Decision Response Form. Upon matriculation, this deposit is applied to the student’s tuition.
  • Meet specific health requirements of the PA Medicine program prior to Matriculation:
  • Pass mandated criminal background checks prior to the first day of classes. Background checks will be completed during orientation.
  • It is required that students take and pass the American Heart Association (AHA) Basic Cardiac Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers course prior to the beginning of Orientation. Certification must be current through December of your graduating year. This is a prerequisite for the AHA Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) course and BLS refresher which will be taken in the spring of the didactic phase prior to clinical rotations. The BLS for Healthcare Providers course offered by the American Heart Association (AHA) is the only acceptable basic life support certification.

Meet Our Faculty

Experienced, Dedicated and Distinguished Educators

Expect to be heard, to be challenged and to be involved. St. Scholastica faculty are world-class scholars and experts in their field who invest in your success. Our values of community, respect, stewardship, hospitality and love of learning reflect our faculty’s commitment to lifting up others and celebrating our common humanity.