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Each applicant must apply to the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). CASPA deadline is Sept. 1 for the following July/August. You can begin applying to CASPA as early as April in the year of application.

CASPA is a service that collates materials, computes grade point averages and transmits standardized information to the applicant and the physician assistant program(s) the applicant designates. CASPA takes no part in the evaluation, selection or rejection of applicants. It is the applicant’s responsibility to complete and submit all supporting documentation to CASPA in a timely manner. The application status check, provided to applicants as part of the CASPA service, should be monitored throughout the application process. CASPA will not mail incomplete applications. Please see CASPA Admissions Code of Cooperation for more information.

Step 1 - Eligibility

The physician assistant program has several requirements for admission including prerequisites. Make sure you meet these requirements before you apply.

Step 2 - Applications and Communication

The following materials must be submitted by September 1 to be considered for admission:

  • CASPA Application – Complete, verified applications must be received by the PA program by Oct. 15 to be considered for an interview. We highly recommend submission of all materials to CASPA four to six weeks prior to the September 1 deadline.
  • In addition to the CASPA online application, all applicants are required to pay a $35 application fee. 
    • You must submit the fee by September 1 at the latest, but we recommend payment at the same time as the CASPA application. This will ensure the application moves forward in the review process.
    • All applicants to the USD PA Program are required to submit a $35 application fee the University of South Dakota’s Graduate School by September 1. All questions about the Graduate School application fee should be direct to Graduate Admissions at 605-658-6200 or In order to submit the application fee, please go to and select USD Graduate Application Fee ($35.00).
  • Failure to return all materials by the stated deadline will result in the withdrawal of the application from consideration for interview or acceptance.

The program communicates with applicants exclusively via email throughout the admissions cycle. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the program has the correct email contact information. If you do not receive communication from our program within one week of the date CASPA verifies your application, it is possible that the email communication is being blocked by your service provider or is being placed in your junk mail.

Applicants who do not receive this communication should contact the program to ensure that future communications can be delivered. Failure to follow up with the program may result in withdraw of the application if requested materials are not returned by stated deadlines.

Step 3 – Program Interview

Interview invitations are extended to those applicants that the selection committee perceives to be competitive for admissions. The interview dates are determined by the program and will be communicated with candidates in the offer to interview.

Step 4 – Complete Enrollment Requirements

Instructions for enrollment requirements will be provided by the PA program after acceptance. Enrollment requirements include:

  1. Terms of acceptance
  2. Non-refundable tuition deposit ($400)
  3. Criminal background check
  4. Health screening
  5. Immunization requirements
  6. Proof of health insurance
  7. Proof of completion for any outstanding prerequisites
  8. Proof of conferred degree

Admissions Timeline

  • April 30: CASPA application opens for this cycle
  • May – September: CASPA applications reviewed by faculty and staff
  • September 1: CASPA application deadline (11:59 PM Eastern Time; 10:59 PM Central Time; 9:59 PM Mountain Time; 8:59 PM Pacific Time)
  • September 1: Graduate School Application fee of $35 must be submitted
  • October 15: Applications must be verified by CASPA in order to be considered for this cycle
  • September – October final review of CASPA applications to determine which applicants will be invited for an interview.
  • Late October:
  1. Interview invitations sent via email
  2. Interview wait list offer sent via email
  3. Application declined for this cycle
  • November – December: tentative interviews held on USD's campus dates scheduled
  • December: Offers of admission sent via email
  • July: Orientation for incoming students; classes begin

If you have any questions about these items or the admissions process, please contact the program.