Jul 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]


Students who intend to pursue a career in medicine must carefully plan their undergraduate programs in order to be sure they meet the requirements for admission to medical school. Many medical schools require the B.A. or B.S. degree for admission and all consider a degree to be highly desirable. The University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine may admit outstanding undergraduates who have completed three years (90 semester hours) of pre-medical coursework and fulfilled all entrance requirements. Sanford School of Medicine does encourage prospective applicants to complete the B.A. or B.S. degree prior to admission. The pre-medicine program at USD is designed to permit the student to accomplish two simultaneous objectives: (1) fulfill the requirements for a B.A. or B.S. degree within the student’s academic major and (2) fulfill the requirements for entrance into the Sanford School of Medicine. The significant science emphasis of the prerequisite courses makes it convenient for the pre-medicine student to choose a major in one of the science disciplines; however, it is entirely possible for the student to fulfill the prerequisite coursework while working on an undergraduate major in a non-science discipline. One very workable scenario would be to pursue a B.S. degree from the College of Arts and Sciences consisting of a combination of a major in a science discipline along with a minor in the social sciences or the humanities. Such a combination would provide the student with an excellent academic foundation upon which to enter medical school at USD or elsewhere.

Pre-dental students should take CHEM 326/328/L to satisfy most dental school requirements.Generally, pre-medical students should complete CHEM 310/L, however, some medical schools require CHEM 326/328/L rather than CHEM 310/L. Students intending to apply to a medical school other than the USD Medical School should determine the specific requirements for the schools they intend to apply.

For additional information regarding the pre-medicine program, contact: 

Dr. Jessica Messersmith, 
College of Arts & Sciences/Associate Dean for Academics 
Arts & Sciences 110 

For information regarding the medical school or medical school admissions, please contact:

The Sanford School of Medicine’s Medical Student Affairs Office

The Academic & Career Planning Center


The Sanford School of Medicine, and most other medical schools, requires that the pre-medical student take, as a minimum:

Biochemistry (1 semester)

Additional Considerations

It is highly recommended that students also complete additional course work in Genetics or Molecular Biology, Physiology, Microbiology, Psychology, and Sociology. Please note that some medical schools may require courses in these fields as part of their pre-medicine curriculum.

Pre-medicine students are encouraged to take additional coursework in a number of disciplines in order to provide for a broad-based academic preparation for the study of medicine as well as to fulfill system-wide, institutional, college, or major requirements.

All prerequisite courses taken in the areas noted above should be the same courses required of students pursing the major in those fields. The Sanford School of Medicine does accept Advanced Placement (AP) or credit earned by examination (CLEP) courses in fulfillment of pre-medicine requirements (although other medical schools may not) providing that these courses are listed for credit on the undergraduate transcript.  In the case of AP or CLEP courses credit earned by examination (CLEP), it is expected that students will enroll in advanced courses in these disciplines that would be stimulating and challenging. It is preferred that students complete the prerequisite courses during the regular academic year. Typically all prerequisite courses should be completed before the student takes the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and submits the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application or the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS) application.

Sequence of Courses

The sequence outlined below should allow students to fulfill all pre-med requirements for USD Sanford School of Medicine, prepare to take the MCAT exam, and begin applying for medical school during the summer before their senior undergraduate year. Please note that this outline is not intended for any specific major but is a suggested sequence of courses that demonstrates how students might meet the medicine prerequisites. Often the medicine prerequisite courses may be used to fulfill requirements or electives of the major. Students should consult with their academic advisors about their career and academic plans.


Two semesters of Biology
Two semesters of Chemistry (or one semester of Honors Principles of Chemistry)
One semester of Mathematics
One semester of Psychology


One semester of Organic Chemistry
One semester Structure and Function of Biomolecules (or additional Organic Chemistry or Cell Biology)
One semester of Sociology


Two semesters of Physics
One semester of Biochemistry
One semester of Statistics