Physician Assistant Studies
Gain the classroom learning and real-world experience you need to succeed as a physician assistant. This master's program will prepare you with important medical concepts and supervised clinical experience in a wide variety of clinical areas as you prepare for your career in health care.
Fill an important role in health care.
Physician assistants (PAs) play an essential role on the health care team. These advanced health care practitioners practice in all areas of medicine, diagnosing injuries or illnesses, creating treatment plans, prescribing medications, researching treatments and ensuring high quality patient care.
As a physician assistant student at USD, you will gain the training, flexibility and agility needed to deliver the highest quality care to your patients. Our program offers a variety of strengths, including an evidence-based approach to patient care, curriculum that centers compassion in the health care setting, and an emphasis on primary care in rural populations. Plus, as a student in the state's only comprehensive health sciences, you'll have the opportunity to learn collaboratively with students in a variety of health sciences disciplines – uniquely preparing you to succeed on the health care team. Over the course of 24 months, you'll take your learning from the classroom to the clinical setting, gaining supervised clinical experience from licensed physicians and physician assistant preceptors in a number of clinical areas.
USD's master's program will equip you with a range of skills as you prepare to fill a critical need in the future of health care. You'll graduate ready to be the competent, compassionate professional your patients need.
Degrees & Offerings
Physician Assistant Studies (M.S.)Master's
Our physician assistant program takes place in two phases: didactic and clinical. Your first 12 months is spent in the classroom on the Vermillion campus learning important medical concepts necessary to succeed. During the final 12 months, you will gain supervised clinical experience from licensed physicians and physician assistant preceptors in a number of clinical areas ranging from family medicine to surgery to emergency medicine.
Start Your Application Today
This graduate program utilizes a specialized CAS online application to complete the admissions process. To learn more about this program's unique application process, requirements and program deadlines, visit Specialty Graduate Program Applications.
Additional requirements exist for international applicants. For more information, visit International Admission Requirements.
Known for Excellence
Graduates from this program have a 100% job placement rate.
USD's M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies is the only accredited program of its kind in the state of South Dakota.
Graduating PAs have a 93% first time pass rate over the past five years on PANCE national exam.
Departments & Facilities
Physician Assistant Studies
The Department of Physician Assistant Studies offers the only physician assistant studies program in South Dakota. Graduates of the program have experienced a 100% job placement rate, with many going on to practice in the state's rural areas. Our faculty provide expert training, preparing our students to become compassionate, competent physician assistants who are leaders and collaborators on the health care team.
Faculty & Staff
Learn in a State-of-the-Art Environment
Become the Leader Your Patients Need
Tuition and Fees
Approved tuition and fees for the 2022-2023 academic year are as follows:
|Estimated Total of Tuition and Fees||Year One, FA, SP, SU||Year Two FA, SP, SU||Total|
|Minnesota Resident Tuition||$30,972.68||$45,099.00||$76,071.68|
|Tuition and Free Breakdown
||Year One FA, SP, SU
||Year Two FA, SP, SU
|Resident Tuition ($340.15/credit hour)
|Minnesota Resident Tuition ($599.90/credit hour for Allied Health Courses, $534.16/credit hour for Non-Allied Health Courses) (2022-2023 rate - this rate changes in August for fall, spring courses.)
|Non-resident Tuition ($888.10/credit hour for Allied Health Courses, $654.05/credit hour for Non-Allied Health Courses)
|Health Sciences Fee ($103.50/credit hour)
|General Activity Fee ($55.30/credit hour) (only charged during Year One)
|Delivery Fee ($46.05) (only charged during Year Two)
|Anatomy & Physiology Course Fee
|Life, Disability, AD&D
|Tuition and fees are subject to change by the South Dakota Board of Regents. *Minnesota reciprocity rates are not set until August and are provided for estimate purposes only.
*Health insurance is required and must meet minimum requirements set by Health Affairs. The amount listed is estimated and not the actual cost of the coverage.
For a detailed estimate of expenses for the upcoming year please view the current budget.
- View Class of 2023 Student Budget
- View Class of 2024 Student Budget
- View Class of 2025 Student Budget
- Tuition and fees are subject to change by the South Dakota Board of Regents
- Questions regarding residency should be directed to the Registrar's Office
- Students will incur additional expenses for travel, lodging and meals during the clinical phase of the program. These costs vary depending on your schedule
We have financial aid programs to assist students who have financial needs. The Office of Financial Aid is prepared to supplement student contributions from its aid sources for qualified applicants. Counselors are available to assist students in obtaining financial aid from outside sources. It is very important that all financial planning arrangements are complete prior to entering the program.
Physician assistant students are advised that employment during the didactic phase of the program is highly discouraged and not allowed during the clinical phase due to the heavy academic demands of the program.
Refunds and Withdrawal
The graduate catalog has more information about USD's refund policy and withdrawal policy.
Quality Educational Experiences
USD's Physician Assistant Studies program has been accredited since 1995. Accreditation fosters quality educational experiences and helps to assure that the program is taught by qualified faculty, has the resources it needs to support the curriculum, meets its mission, has acceptable student outcomes, and provides accurate information to the public.