Mar 25, 2023  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Doctor of Medicine (M.D., M.D./Ph.D.)

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University of South Dakota
Sanford School of Medicine
Office of Medical Student Affairs
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, S.D. 57069
Phone: Admissions (605) 658-6302 or Medical Student Affairs (605) 658-6300


Doctor of Medicine

Graduate Certificate


Vice President of Health Affairs and Dean of Sanford School of Medicine: Mary D. Nettleman, M.D., M.S., MACP.
Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education: Nedd Brown, Ed.D.
Dean of Medical Student Affairs: Dawn Bragg, Ph.D.
Dean of Medical Student Education: Janet Lindemann, M.D.
Vermillion Campus Dean: William Mayhan, Ph.D.
West River Campus Dean: Matthew Simmons, M.D.
Dean of Clinical Faculty and Sioux Falls Campus Dean: Tim Ridgway, M.D.
Yankton Campus Dean: Lori Hansen, M.D.
MD/PhD Director: Xuejun Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Program Description - M.D.

The University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine is a multi-campus program with the first three semesters based in Vermillion (Pillar 1) and the last five semesters (Pillars 2 and 3) based in Sioux Falls, Rapid City or Yankton. There is also a Frontier and Rural Medicine (FARM) program available for selected students during semesters four and five (Pillar 2).

A thorough knowledge of the integrated Basic Biomedical Sciences is emphasized during Pillar 1. The integrated subjects include anatomy, biochemistry, histology, physiology, neurosciences, microbiology, pharmacology, behavioral science and pathology presented in a systems based format with emphasis on clinical applications. The systems include musculo-skeletal, nervous, blood/hemolymphatic, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, and reproductive/endocrine. During Pillar 2, students are trained in a longitudinal integrated clerkship program that includes family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and adolescent medicine, psychiatry, neuroscience, and surgery. During Pillar 3 (the final three semesters), clinical rotations are available in multiple disciplines, with medical education available in many communities throughout the state as well as the major teaching sites.


  • Prerequisites (one year of each, and most including laboratory experience): Biology, General (inorganic) Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics.
  • Highly recommended courses include Biochemistry, Psychology, and Sociology.
  • An official transcript of all college credit earned, indicating at least 90 semester hours.
  • Applicants must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) within the three years prior to the application deadline of November 15.
  • A Completed American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application. This can be obtained online at
  • In preparation for Medical School, students are strongly encouraged to obtain a broad background in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
  • Applicants must be residents of South Dakota, or demonstrate strong ties to the state.

 Application Deadlines - M.D.

  • File application with AMCAS between June 1 and November 15 one year prior to intended start date.
  • If the applicant is placed in the Priority Pool, they will receive instructions for access to a Supplemental Application from the Medical School’s Admissions Office. This will include information about requesting letters of reference.
  • If the applicant is selected for an interview, interviews take place between September and January.
  • Letters of acceptance will be mailed anytime between November and March. Letters for the final group for acceptance, for the alternate list, and for non-acceptances are mailed in no later than mid-March.
  • Accepted students must secure their position in the class within two weeks of receiving their letter of acceptance by signing a notarized form and depositing $100 towards their tuition.
  • An accepted student may withdraw prior to June 1 and receive a refund of their $100.

Tentative start date for classes is the last Monday of July.

Program Description - M.D./Ph.D.

The Physician Scientist program (M.D./Ph.D.) is a separate program that integrates achievement of both the M.D. degree and the Ph.D. degree. There is a separate application process, a separate admissions committee, and a unique schedule, with attainment of both degrees at graduation. Students who wish to be considered for the Physician Scientist program and the M.D. alone program must submit their application through AMCAS with the M.D./Ph.D. designation. Students who are otherwise qualified for the M.D. program, but are not admitted to the Physician Scientist program may request consideration for the M.D. alone program.

The Physician Scientist program has several similarities to the MD program.

  • Application is made through AMCAS.
  • Office contacts for admissions are the same as for the M.D. program.
  • Interviews are scheduled through the same office as for the M.D. program.
  • Students complete the same three Pillars that the M.D. students complete.

The Physician Scientist program has several differences from the M.D. program.

  • When applying through AMCAS, the applicant selects the M.D./Ph.D. program instead of the Regular M.D. program.
  • The applicant must have documented research experience.
  • The applicant does not need to meet the South Dakota residency standards required for the M.D. program.
  • Tuition is at the graduate assistant rate throughout the program.
  • After Pillar 1, the student will become a part of the graduate school and focus on their research for three or four years.
  • After completion of the Ph.D. requirements, the student will return to the M.D. program to complete Pillars 2 and 3.
  • Both the M.D. and the Ph.D. degrees are awarded at graduation for the successful student.

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