Three Med Students in White Lab Coats Walking Outdoors.


Pursue your passion and calling to care for others with a strong foundational education in a hands-on environment.

A Career in Medicine is Immensely Rewarding and Exciting

Our medical students complete their training through an innovative three pillar curriculum. This training combines a foundation in biomedical sciences and early hands-on clinical experience.

Diversity enriches our learning environment. Sanford School of Medicine is committed to recruitment and retention of diversity at all levels of our school. We also provide many programs to help us promote and enhance diversity.

Select students are able to complete their clinical training in rural communities through our FARM program. We're focused on rural medicine and want our students to experience this type of practice by living and training in rural communities.

To best prepare our graduates to be skilled and confident physicians, our curriculum focuses on what we call the three pillars of medicine. This curriculum offers more integration rather than individual courses and allows students to individualize their learning.


Degrees & Offerings

Medicine (M.D.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

To best prepare our graduates to be skilled and confident physicians, our curriculum focuses on what we call the three pillars of medicine. This curriculum offers more integration rather than individual courses and allows students to individualize their learning.

Joint Medicine, Business Administration (M.D./MBA)

Master's + Doctorate
  Vermillion Main Campus

Joint Medicine, Public Health (M.D., MPH)

Master's + Doctorate
  Vermillion Main Campus

Program Details




Medical School Admissions

Admissions Requirements

To pursue an M.D. degree at the USD Sanford School of Medicine, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You also must be a South Dakota resident or non-resident with strong ties to the state.

Known for Excellence

At USD, you'll find a high-quality educational experience strengthened by our faculty's research and creative scholarship. See what makes the Sanford School of Medicine exceptional.

Our Three Pillar Schedule

Our curriculum is organized into three pillars that span the course of four years.

Group of Students with Faculty Members Standing Outside Building.The first pillar establishes a strong foundation through 18 months of integrated basic science, in which students will learn anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, pathology and pharmacology interwoven into organ-system blocks, such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal.

Education research shows that students learn and retain basic science better when they can apply it to patient care early in their education. We blend that foundational teaching with regular patient care experiences and cases.

The second pillar focuses on acquiring clinical skills, integrating learning across specialties and focusing on experiential learning. Students work closely with experienced physicians during longitudinal integrated clerkships, where students spend a half day per week in a different discipline, like pediatrics, surgery and neurology. Students may also take part in a rural track, which allows them to experience medicine in a smaller community.

The third pillar includes advanced medical knowledge. It give students an opportunity to delve more deeply into areas of interest through electives and expanded opportunities for research.


The longitudinal integrated clerkships allow students to complete all their clerkships simultaneously instead of instead of spending eight weeks in a block clerkship and then moving on the next.

Through this method, students will:

  • Learn clinical and professional skills at a deeper level because they are applying concepts in several settings at once.
  • Establish longer relationships with patients and be able to take part in a patient's care for the course of an illness or pregnancy.
  • Establish longer relationships with faculty and experience more meaningful mentoring.

We designed a yearlong clinical education experience that begins with short clerkship blocks, primarily focusing on hospital care, followed by nine months of longitudinal integrated clerkships.

Career Pathways

Whether you want to be a primary care physician or a specialist, our flexible curriculum means you  are exposed to many different areas of medicine during your education.

If you're not yet sure what you want to do with your medical degree, our program gives you early opportunities for unique electives in a wide variety of clinical and research areas to help you decide.

USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including several housed in the Sanford School of Medicine. You may be interested in serving as class president or working with the Medical Student Association, developing new skills and connecting with peers.

Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA)

Join your fellow graduate and professional students at USD. We aim to build a sense of community between graduate and professional students. Build your resume, network with others and gain experience and the unique opportunity to represent the interests of graduate students to the greater campus and community. 

Join Now

Medical Student Wellness Committee

Each class selects a wellness officer as part of the Medical Student Wellness Program. Wellness officers determine how to use a budget for promoting wellness in each of their respective classes. Previous events include yoga, picnics, movie nights and other activities.

Women in Medicine/American Medical Women's Association (AMWA)

This group improves the understanding of women’s health issues and addresses issues faced by female physicians. First and second-year medical students of all genders are encouraged to participate. Only female students may be officers for positions involving the AMWA portion of this group.

Your Academic Department

Our faculty and department have served in distinguished hospitals and facilities and are passionate about inspiring the future leaders in medicine. Given our small class sizes, our expert faculty work closely with students like you, enabling discussion-driven classes and hands-on, guided learning opportunities.
School of Medicine faculty in a meeting.

Faculty Affairs

As a community-based medical school, we rely on professionals from hospitals and clinics throughout South Dakota to help us educate our students. At the Sanford School of Medicine, our faculty members are not only educators, but mentors and researchers as well.

School of Medicine alumni smiling for a photo.

Medical School Alumni Relations Office

Cultivating relationships with alumni, students and community partners to support and strengthen the Sanford School of Medicine.

Female Sitting in Front of a Computer with a Brain Diagram on the Screen

Center for Brain and Behavior Research

The Center for Brain and Behavior Research (CBBRe) promotes outstanding training of research students and fellows, feeding the pipeline of creative independent scientists in the fields of neuroscience and behavioral science.

Students Inside the Parry Center.

Parry Center

The Parry Center for Clinical Skills & Simulation is a state-of-the-art learning environment that allows collaboration among students and safely simulates real-patient experiences.

Medical Students Talking on a Staircase.

South Dakota Area Health Education Center

We connect students to careers, professionals to communities and communities to better health.

A biomedical sciences student doing lab work.

Basic Biomedical Sciences

Housed in the state's only medical school, the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences creates an environment of innovative and interdisciplinary research aimed at examining human disease.

Medical faculty of the Rapid City campus posing for a picture on a mountain.

Rapid City Medical Campus

Located near the Black Hills, in the heart of downtown Rapid City, the campus has been providing training for medical students since 1948.

Three medical school faculty standing together.

Yankton Medical Campus

Home of our innovative Yankton ambulatory program, the Yankton campus offers state of the art learning adjacent to the Avera Sacred Heart Hospital and Yankton Medical Clinic.

Exterior of Lee Medical Building during the day.

Vermillion Medical Campus

The Andrew E. Lee Memorial Medicine and Science Building serves as the home for the Sanford School of Medicine and the School of Health Sciences.

The Sioux Falls medical campus entrance.

Sioux Falls Medical Campus

Located in the heart of South Dakota's largest city, the Sioux Falls campus resides on the campus of Sanford Health and Sanford/USD Medical Center.

Center for Disabilities

Advocating for increased self-determination, independence and a satisfying quality of life.

Graduate medical education team.

Graduate Medical Education

Preparing physicians to become kind, skilled leaders dedicated to fulfilling the healthcare needs of our region.

Students conducting lab research.

Office of Medical Education

To help prepare physicians for careers in the 21st century, we provide faculty support with curriculum design, instructional assistance, teaching skills, learner assessment and program evaluations. We support the functions and actions of the Medical Education Committee and ensure our educational program meets standards set by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).

Female in White Lab Coat Listening to Patient's Heart.

Family Medicine

The vision of the Department of Family Medicine is to improve the health of the people of South Dakota and beyond through leadership in Family Medicine education, clinical practice, research, and community service.

Internal medicine students posing for a picture.

Internal Medicine

The department is a leader in patient care, medical education and research.

Female Researcher Working in Lab.


Providing students with the knowledge and experiences of conditions that effect the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.

Female in Blue Scrubs Delivering a Baby in a Simulation.

Obstetrics & Gynecology

We educate students to provide compassionate health care for women.

Female in White Lab Coat Examining a Medical Slide.


Bridging basic and clinical science to improve the diagnosis, treatment and basic understanding of human disease.

A doctor inspecting a child's ear.


Gentle, honest, sympathetic and respectful children's care.

Psychiatry students talking to adults.


The Department of Psychiatry provides exceptional and quality care, opportunities and education in the field of psychiatry.

Surgeon Performing an Operation Simulation.


Transforming surgery through innovation, compassionate care and developing a life-long commitment to learning for both our students and faculty.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know the faculty and staff in the Sanford School of Medicine. 
Faculty Default

Susan Anderson

Dean of Rural Medicine
Bio Image for Faculty Member Daniel Bird

Daniel Bird

Assoc Dean of Basic Sciences
Bio Image for Faculty Member Donis Drappeau

Donis Drappeau

Crd, Diversity & Pipeline Prog
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jerome Freeman

Jerome Freeman

Bio Image for Faculty Member Janet Fulk

Janet Fulk

Assistant Director, FARM
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Carolyn Gilbertson

Clinical Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Keith Hansen

Keith Hansen

Chair, OB/GYN
Bio Image for Faculty Member Michael Koch

Michael Koch

Faculty Default

Eric Larson

Chair, Internal Medicine
Bio Image for Faculty Member Damon LeaderCharge

Damon LeaderCharge

Director of Tribal Outreach
Bio Image for Faculty Member Pasquale Manzerra

Pasquale Manzerra PhD

Asst Dean, Med Student Affairs
Faculty Default

William Mayhan

Dean, Basic Biomedical Science
Faculty Default

Timothy Soundy

Chair, Psychiatry
Bio Image for Faculty Member Xuejun Wang

Xuejun Wang

Group of Individuals Doing Yoga on Campus Lawn.

Well Students, Well Doctors, Well Patients 

The Sanford School of Medicine Wellness Program provides students with the resources to recognize the need for and to foster self-care, allowing them to better provide compassionate patient care. The program is part of a curriculum designed to support personal growth and reflection over the four years of medical school.

Student-Directed Wellness Program

Wellness officers are elected for each class. They oversee their budget and how they want to use it to promote wellness for each of their respective classes. Examples of activities include: 


  • Yoga and other fitness classes
  • Self-defense classes
  • Study-a-thons with snacks and massages

View Our Retreat Photos
 Student Working in Lab with Faculty Member.

Mentoring and Advising 

As  a student, you also have a support system including basic sciences advisors, clinical mentors and advisors, and peer mentors from the class above. In addition, you'll have access to a learning specialist, supplemental instructions and one-on-one tutoring. As the Step 1 licensure exam is one of the greatest causes of stress, several sessions are devoted to Step 1 prep. Career advising is another component and starts in the first year of your medical training and continues until you are matched.

Career Advising

Study Skills
Students in White Lab Coats Listening in Classroom.

Stress Management and Resilience Training

The Stress Management and Resilience Training program provides students with skills to promote lifelong optimal health. This involves programs built into the curriculum, such as:

  • Daylong retreats that address the stress points of medical education, including the transition to medical school and Step 1 prep
  • Sessions on mindfulness meditation practice, addressing cognitive distortions and the impostor syndrome, relaxation techniques, breathing techniques to reduce anxiety and more

Take the Next Step