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Welcome, Class of 2024. You'll find information below about your admission to the physical therapy program.


Be prepared to attend orientation with required sessions beginning on July 19, 2021. Regular PT classes will begin on July 26, 2021. To help familiarize yourself with the orientation locations, view the campus map. Most events will be held in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center (SCSC), Muenster University Center (MUC) and Lee Medical Building. Parking on campus will require a permit. Students parking near the SCSC are required to either park on the street, the lot to the south of the building (permit required), or in the DakotaDome lot to the northeast of the building (permit required). Students should enter the SCSC through the south door until they have received their USD student ID. Orientation activities require business casual dress code - please view the full dress code information below. Orientation activities will be listed on the Google calendar.


You will want to make yourself familiar with the USD Physical Therapy Student Handbook. This document will provide you with all of the policies and procedures you will need to be aware of during your time at USD. Incoming students are required to read through the handbook prior to orientation. The handbook will be sent to all accepted students once it is finalized in early summer.


Because of the complexity of the anatomy course, an overview of the course and lab component will be held during the first week of PT classes. It is important to know that you will start work on the first day of class. Therefore, to be appropriately prepared you will need, in advance, your textbooks for lecture and dissecting apparel for the laboratory, which immediately follows the lecture. Beginning information will be posted in the D2L course shell. Until then, these are the requirements you will need to know and have complete prior to the first anatomy class session.

  1. White lab coats are required to be worn by the students in the lab, no other color will be allowed. Lab coats used by previous students will be available for purchase during orientation week.
  2. Wearing scrubs in encouraged. Any color is acceptable. Some used scrubs will be available for purchase during orientation week. You may also want to have shoes that will only be used in the lab.
  3. Students will want to have several boxes of latex-free gloves available as lab will be several months long. Gloves will be available for purchase during orientation week.
  4. Students will need to buy one box of scalpel blades per lab table. Scalpel blades will be available for purchase during orientation week.
  5. Dissection tools will be provided.
  6. Mask and eye goggles will be provided.


We strongly recommend the use of a laptop PC during the course of the program. Your laptop will be used for more than just note-taking in class; it will become a critical part of your exams, individual and group research projects, and data collection and manipulation.

The university has negotiated pricing with Lenovo, Apple and HP. Although it is not required, students are encouraged to purchase one of the recommended laptops. The USD IT website details the support levels that USD can provide for student laptops. IT recommends that students purchase their laptop from one of the 3 websites listed under “Ultimate Support.” These computers are businessgrade computers designed to last through your education at USD and have been selected based on quality, value, and durability. If you choose to purchase one of the computers recommended, be sure to do so through the website, using the link above. The university can perform warranty repairs on all of the computers listed on the website, and repairs are typically completed within 3-5 days. If you choose not to purchase one of the recommended systems, you do need to ensure that your laptop does meet the minimum computer requirements.

Throughout the duration of your time as a student at USD, you are entitled to Microsoft Office 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive) at no charge. For information on how to download Office 365, go to the technology homepage.

For any questions regarding laptops or software, contact the USD Help Desk at or 605-658-6000.

Students are responsible for providing any/all adapters and ethernet (internet) cables for use in the program. Come prepared to orientation with an ethernet cable.

Do not try to connect to the USD network as a guest user. USD ITS will assist all incoming students with connecting to the wireless network during orientation.

Program of Study

The Program of Study is the list of courses that you will be enrolled in during your time at USD. PT students will want to make themselves familiar with this list of courses. The Program of Study will be sent to all accepted students once it is finalized in early summer.

Class Calendar

All class calendars are available as a Google calendar. You will use the to access the calendar for your entire program at USD. Please be aware that future semester information will appear on this calendar before it is finalized. Please do not rely on the future semester information to make plans until the semester actually begins.

A list of semester start and end dates can be found below. Please plan on being in class daily from approximately 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Dates are subject to change.

Semester Classes Begin Classes End
Orientation Monday, July 19, 2021 Friday, July 23, 2021
Fall 2021 Monday, July 26, 2021 Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Spring 2022 Wednesday, January 5, 2022 Friday, May 6, 2022


A list of textbooks needed for the fall semester can be found on our campus bookstore website after you are registered for courses.  You will need to purchase your books prior to the first day of class.

Financial Aid

You will not be able to pick up your financial aid until after classes begin. You may contact Lindsay Miller in the Financial Aid Office at 605-658-6250 or by e-mail at with any questions.

APTA has now introduced the APTA Financial Solutions Center. APTA is committed to providing members with the tools and resources they need to make the best financial decisions possible.

APTA Membership

A membership in APTA is mandatory. It also offers discounts on a variety of textbooks. Please join online before the start of classes. Join at the APTA website. In addition to your personal information, you'll need the following:

  • Program Director: Dr. Patti Berg-Poppe
  • Phone Number: 605-658-5999
  • Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2024

Professional Image Policy

We require a specific dress code when attending class, lab, or other related program event. Please take time to read through the Physical Therapy professional image policy and attire guidelines to make yourself familiar with the dress code. Lab coats and scrubs will be available for purchase during orientation. Please come to the program prepared.

Additionally, online purchase of approved polos and department jackets are available. A link will be provided via email when the online store is available for purchases.


There are scholarships available to physical therapy students. You will be notified of these opportunities once classes begin.

APTA has now introduced the APTA Financial Solutions Center. This site has scholarships, awards, and grant opportunities as well as a career center to view the most recent job openings.