Jul 17, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate 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
Email: md@usd.edu


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 Senior Academic Dean: Lori Hansen, M.D.
Interim Associate Dean of Medical Student Affairs: Suzanne Reuter, M.D.
Interim Associate Dean of Medical Student Education: Benjamin Aaker, M.D.
Interim Associate Dean of Rural Medicine: Jason Wickersham, 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: April Willman, M.D.
MD/PhD Director: Xuejun Wang, M.D., Ph.D.


Doctor of Medicine

Graduate Certificate



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 and the major teaching sites.


  • Prerequisites Two semesters 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.
  • 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 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 five weeks prior to matriculation and receive a refund of their $100.

The 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 scale.

Program Leading to Professional Licensure

Location Matters. This program allows only on-campus courses during the first semester and is designed to meet the educational requirements for a professional license or certification required for employment in South Dakota. If you intend to apply for licensure or certification outside of South Dakota upon completion of your program, please review and understand the licensure or certification requirements in that state. For more information, visit USD’s Licensure-Track Programs page for links to the USD program websites and state licensure board websites.

This program is authorized to offer supervised field study experiences (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) in South Dakota. Please be aware that there may be some restrictions on your ability to engage in supervised field study outside of South Dakota. If you have questions regarding supervised field study, please contact a program representative.

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