Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Physician Assistant Program

Pre-Admission Clinical Experience

Direct patient care experience is required in order to be eligible for admission; there is no minimum number of required hours. Competitive applicants are recommended (but not required) to have a minimum of six months full-time healthcare employment, or 1,000 total hours of hands-on patient care experience and/or community service in a health care setting. Preference is given to applicants having experience that requires a period of training and results in direct (hands-on) patient care.

Patient Care Experience Overview
Patient Care Experience Overview  (6:22min)

Evidence of community service (i.e. healthcare for underserved populations, medical mission trips) is highly valued.


Applicants are encouraged to "shadow" a PA to become knowledgeable of the role of the physician assistant; this experience does not count as patient care experience. Due to legal issues, the Northwestern Univeristy PA Program is not able to assist PA Program applicants with obtaining PA shadowing experiences. You may consider contacting your local physician assistant organization (in Illinois, the Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants) for assistance and networking opportunities.

Updates and modifications to patient care positions and other experiences are welcome and accepted until November 15 of the current application cycle. Patient care updates should reflect new positions, changes in level of responsibility, and changes in hours worked per week only. To access the update request form contact