Curriculum & Assessment
Learning Objectives and Competencies
- Our faculty have defined the Medical Student Educational Objectives for the M.D. educational program, which serve as a guide for curriculum content.
- To evaluate student progress in developing the physician competencies expected by the public, the faculty have also adopted a set of Clinical Clerkship Competencies.
Medical School Curriculum
- Our students spend their first two years in Vermillion, taking classes in basic biomedical sciences. They then receive two years of clinical training in Rapid City, Sioux Falls or Yankton. The approximate sequence and length of courses and clerkships is provided in the overview schematic of the four years of medical school.
- Learning through clinical simulation is a critical aspect of medical education. Activities include simulated patient encounters using standardized patient actors, and skill practice on simulation equipment.
Special Curricular Programs
- The Scholarship Pathways Program is an optional four-year program for students to accomplish a scholarly project in education, research, or service.
- We are a leader in emergency preparedness training for students in the health professions. Trained in mass casualty triage and pandemic management, students are prepared for emergency deployment in the event of a disaster.
- Professionalism is taken seriously at our medical school and emphasized through curriculum, evaluation, and faculty role modeling. The administration is responsible for assuring that the learning environment for our students promotes appropriate professional attributes.
- Each course and clerkship assesses student performance through cognitive examinations. In most cases, this includes the subject examination provided by the National Board of Medical Examiners. Clinical clerkships also measure students’ clinical skills and professional progress through a variety of evaluation methods.
- Clinical skills testing is accomplished through Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE), where students encounter common clinical cases portrayed by standardized patients. In addition to practice OSCEs and course and clerkship OSCE’s, the medical school requires that students pass an OSCE at the end of the third year.