The requirements for admission are minimum requirements. Because admission is competitive, the Program has designed a number of Selection Criteria for applicants. In considering applicants for admissions, the Admissions Committee will give preference for admission to applicants who possess the following at the time of application:

  • An overall grade point average (as calculated by CASPA) of 3.2 or higher (on a 4.00 scale)
    • Grades obtained in repeat courses are averaged into this GPA by CASPA
  • A prerequisite grade point average of 3.2 or higher (on a 4.00 scale)
  • Grades for coursework taken following submission of the CASPA application are not considered in the GPA calculation and therefore not considered in selecting qualified applicants.
  • Direct patient care experience is expected with the average admitted student having more than 1,000 hours.
  • Desire for future practice in primary care or in a medically underserved area.
  • Significant extracurricular, professional, research, or service organization involvement and activity.
  • Motivation to become a physician assistant based on a thorough understanding of the PA profession.
  • Ability to communicate effectively in the personal written statement, in the application, and in the interview.
  • Personality and motivational characteristics that are conducive to success as a Physician Assistant, student, and practicing provider.
  • Personal qualities relating to maturity and professionalism as demonstrated in the interview and letters of recommendation.
  • Resident and non-resident students are selected for admission.
    • Over half of the matriculants are South Dakota residents or those with strong ties to the state:
      • one or both parents SD residents
      • graduated from high school in SD
      • graduated from an accredited SD university/college
      • member of a federally recognized tribe from a bordering state
      • For any other consideration of ties, applications are reviewed by the program and interviews are offered at their discretion. An example of this would typically be applicants who are non-residents who lived in South Dakota previously but have moved out of state.
    • The program continues to accept non-resident students and encourages them to apply.