Jun 19, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

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

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
Email: md@usd.edu



Doctor of Medicine

Graduate Certificate


Vice President of Health Affairs and Dean of Sanford School of Medicine: Tim Ridgway, M.D.
Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education: Nedd Brown, Ed.D.
Interim Dean of Medical Student Affairs: Lori Hansen, M.D.
Dean of Medical Student Education: Mark Beard, M.D.
Executive Dean and Dean of Rural Medicine: Susan Anderson, M.D.
Vermillion Campus Dean: William Mayhan, Ph.D.
West River Campus Dean: Matthew Simmons, M.D.
Sioux Falls Campus Dean: Michelle Schimelpfenig, D.O., MPH 
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 Two semester each of, Biology, General (inorganic) Chemistry and Physics. One semester each of; Mathematics, Statistics, Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry.
  • Recommended courses include Genetics, Microbiology, Physiology, 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 1.
  • A Completed American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application. This can be obtained online at www.aamc.org.
  • 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 1 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 three weeks prior to matriculation and receive a refund of their $100.

Tentative start date for classes is the third 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 standing 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.
  • Requirement of at least one Reference Letter speaking of the applicant’s potential to become a biomedical research scientist.
  • 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.
  • The M.D. degree is graded pass/fail for Pillar 1 and the first semester of Pillar 2. The entire Ph.D. degree and M.D. second semester Pillar 2, and all of Pillar 3 are graded based on a 4.0 grade point scales.

Courses or Programs Leading to Professional Licensure or Certification

The educational curriculum for your academic program may or may not meet educational prerequisites for professional licensure or certification in states other than South Dakota. If you are planning to apply for licensure/certification in a state other than South Dakota after completion of your program, please review that state and your program on USD’s Licensure-Track Programs webpage. Licensure-Track Programs

If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference USD’s State Authorization webpage.

State Authorization