University of Nebraska Medical Center

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most common questions people ask about our UNMC PA program admissions.

1. Do I need to take the “highly recommended” courses on your prerequisite webpage?
Highly recommended courses do not have an influence on program admissions. We encourage you to complete these courses, however, so you are better prepared for our rigorous curriculum.
2. Can I take prerequisite courses in the summer, online, and/or at a community college?
You can complete prerequisite courses  at any accredited institution. Successful prerequisite completion is not contingent on course delivery method, term completed, or type of institution.
3. Does all prerequisite coursework need to be completed before applying?
You may submit your application with uncompleted prerequisites. However, entering students must have all required coursework completed by July 15 of the entering year. Our new cohort starts each year in August. Please note that GPAs are calculated based on completed coursework at time of application submission.
4. Does my coursework expire?
We do not require that coursework be completed within a certain time period prior to enrollment.
5. How do I know if specific courses I am considering meet your prerequisite requirements?
If you are unsure that your courses meet prerequisite requirements, please reach out to us at 402.559.6673 or cahpadmissions@unmc.edu. Survey courses and courses intended for non-science majors are not accepted for pre-requisite coursework. The purpose of prerequisite coursework is for you to be as prepared as you can be for our rigorous curriculum.
6. What can I do to be the most competitive applicant possible?
Read our Preference Factors for admissions. The more of these factors you meet, the more competitive your application will be. It is important to note that even if you meet all of our preference factors, the strength of the applicant pool for that admissions cycle can affect how competitive your application is that year.
7. What is the importance of direct patient care experience in the admissions process? Are there any specific types that you prefer?

We value direct patient care experience. The most competitive applicants will have achieved 2,000 hours. We do not have a minimum requirement of direct patient care experience hours, though.

Prior experience working with patients helps students feel more comfortable with the fast-paced nature of PA training. We value and give preference to applicants with all types of direct patient care experience, but we give greater weight to higher levels of responsibility with patient care. For example, hours achieved as a registered dietitian or registered nurse would be considered more favorably than hours achieved as a dietary aide or nursing assistant.

8. What is the importance of job shadowing in the admissions process? Are there any specific types that you prefer?

It is important that our students are dedicated to becoming a PA, and that starts with a thorough understanding of the profession. Given the ongoing pandemic, shadowing opportunities are currently limited, and we do not want that to be a barrier in applying to our program. As such, we have created the “Discovering PA” experience, which is outlined on our Admission to the Program page.

It is mandatory you complete the Discovering PA experience to be considered for admission. Shadowing can be a component of this experience, however PA shadowing is not mandatory, and it is not given preference over other exploratory experiences. We do encourage applicants to shadow a PA if possible, as we believe it to be a valuable exploratory experience.

9. Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation are best when the writer knows you well and can speak honestly and in detail about your character and abilities. Asking people who know you in different capacities, for example an employer, a professor, and a coach, can highlight many different aspects about you. Strong letters typically have enough detail to be around a page long to offer insight into what makes you a strong applicant and future PA.
10. What is the importance of volunteer experience in the admissions process?
While we do not give preference for a specific number of volunteer hours, we value your contribution to, and involvement with, serving a community. We encourage you to serve or volunteer in an area that is meaningful to you.
11. Does UNMC require standardized testing for consideration in the admissions process?
The UNMC PA Program does not require or utilize standardized aptitude testing, including the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or PA-CAT, in our admissions process.
12. I saw on your website that you practice holistic admissions and value a diverse student body. What does that mean?
Holistic admissions is the practice of evaluating an applicant as a whole person and considering their life experiences, personal attributes, and academic metrics in the admissions process. We want to get to know our applicants as people when making admissions decisions. Because of this, you will be asked to complete an AdMISSION Bio, a series of several short answer questions, when you submit your application so we can learn more about your journey and how it has shaped you. We use this to get to know you in lieu of your CASPA personal statement. Authentic answers are encouraged.

We are committed to developing a diverse student body and a culture of inclusivity on campus. Diversity encompasses many traits, experiences, and perspectives. We encourage individuals from diverse backgrounds to apply. We are also a Yellow Ribbon Program and are committed to helping military veterans enter the PA profession.
13. What are your interviews like at the UNMC PA Program?

We hold admissions interviews in the fall of each year, typically during October and November. You will be notified of interview selection status in September or October.

We use a multiple mini-interview format. If selected to interview, you will rotate through a series of timed stations, each containing a question or situation to complete. Your interview day will also consist of an opportunity to meet our students and faculty, tour our campus, and ask questions.

14. When will I find out about acceptance to the program?
Admissions decisions are sent in December. We do maintain a waitlist, and we will select applicants from the waitlist as seats become available. We continue to offer acceptance from the waitlist to fill our class as needed until the first week of August.
15. Do you offer campus tours? If so, how can I arrange one?
We do offer campus tours and would love to host you in Kearney and Omaha to show you our outstanding facilities. Please know that completing a campus tour has no impact on admissions decisions. If you’re interested in scheduling a campus tour, please visit our Campus Visits webpage or contact us using the information below.
16. I saw you have a campus in Kearney, Nebraska. What is it like to attend PA school there?

We accept up to 16 students each year at the UNMC Health Sciences Education Complex in Kearney. PA students in Kearney receive equivalent education to PA students in Omaha, and the education is delivered simultaneously between the campuses.

We have excellent technology available to live stream lectures, which originate from both the Omaha and Kearney campus, and to have real-time discussions. Additionally, we have three full-time PA faculty at our Kearney campus.

All of the resources available to UNMC students are available at both campuses, and all of our clinical rotation sites are available to all students regardless of campus attended. Students who choose to attend the Kearney campus often do so because they prefer a smaller class size or smaller town living.

Kearney is a vibrant town, offering wonderful amenities, two large hospitals, and many activities to enjoy. Our students report that they love attending the Kearney campus, and the local community is very embracing of our program.

17. How do clinical rotations get selected at your program?

As a PA student, you will meet with the clinical-year team individually to discuss your goals during clinical clerkships. Every reasonable effort is made for your elective rotation requests and geographic preferences to be met.

All clinical clerkships are assigned by the clinical directors, and you are never responsible for securing your own clerkships. We have an extensive preceptor network that spans the region, country, and globe. Since ours is a Nebraska program, expect to complete many rotations in Nebraska and surrounding states.

Our clinical team is happy to work with you to establish new rotations at your request; however, final decisions regarding site placement always lie with the clinical directors. UNMC is fortunate to have an extensive network of talented preceptors in numerous specialties, ensuring a wonderful clinical year experience for our students.

18. What elective rotations do you offer, and how many electives will PA students have?
As a PA student at UNMC, you will complete five 4-week elective rotations. We offer a wide range of elective rotation options in medical and surgical specialties. You are also able to repeat required rotations as electives if you would like additional experience in one of those areas. Additionally, international rotations in many different specialties and locations are available as elective rotations.

Still have questions?

We have a great team standing by to ensure all your questions are answered. Please reach out to the UNMC College of Allied Health Professions Office of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs:

Email: cahpadmissions@unmc.edu
Phone: 402.559.6673