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  • Applicants to the program must have completed a bachelor's/master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university before entering. No preference is given to any specific major.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Clinical and work experiences will not be accepted in place of coursework.
  • Applicants must complete all prerequisite coursework by June 1 of the year of intended enrollment.
  • Required coursework graded pass/fail, survey courses and CLEP credits will not be accepted for any of the hours.
  • An exception for general psychology may be permitted. Requests for this exception must be approved by the program director.
  • The minimum requirement for application to the PA program is a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. For additional information see the selection criteria.
  • Grades below C are not accepted for prerequisite coursework.
  • All students must meet the technical standards required for program entry.
  • Completed 500 patient care experience hours prior to the submission of the CASPA application.
  • The GRE is not required at this time.


Survey courses will not be accepted for prerequisite requirements. The following prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of C or better.

  • Two semesters of biology - Eight credit hours
  • Two semesters of chemistry with lab - Eight credit hours
  • Two semesters of anatomy and physiology with lab - Eight credit hours*
  • Microbiology - four credit hours (lab required)**
  • Biochemistry - Three credit hours***
  • General Psychology - Three credit hours
  • Abnormal Psychology - Three credit hours
  • Statistics - Two credit hours; e.g., biostatistics, general statistics, psych statistics, etc.

*If anatomy and physiology are taken separately, a minimum of one lab is required if not offered with both courses.
**USD graduates - please note USD’s MICR 230/232 (Basic Microbiology) are not accepted for this requirement. Only MICR 420/421 are accepted from USD; MICR 320/321 will be accepted from previous catalogs.
***Combined organic/biochemistry courses are not recommended, but if taken must be 300 level (Junior) or above.
****Beginning with the April 2016 application cycle, calculus will no longer be accepted for statistics.

Advanced Placement

The University of South Dakota PA Program’s curriculum is administered in a sequential fashion with each subsequent semester of coursework building upon the previous one. Consequently, the program does not routinely consider applicants for advanced placement.

Applicants are not considered for advanced placement unless they have successfully completed a University of South Dakota course that is identical to those taken in the University of South Dakota PA Program.  Individuals who have previously completed courses that are a part of the PA Program's current curriculum may request advanced placement for these individual courses. Applicants must meet the Graduate School time limit and validation of credits policy to be considered for advanced placement.

Individual’s requesting consideration for advanced placement must complete all traditional application materials utilized by the PA Program. The Chair will consider and act upon all requests for advanced placement of any individual selected for admission to the program who has requested advanced placement. The Chair may request additional information in making a determination regarding a request for advanced placement. Additional assessment techniques may be utilized in assessing the appropriate level of advanced placement for candidates. The Chair may accept or reject all or any portion of a request for advanced placement. Individuals requesting advanced placement will be enrolled in the program in a manner that will serve to synchronize the student with one of the currently enrolled classes.

The PA program does not provide advanced placement or credit for individuals based upon experiential learning.

Graduates of Foreign Institutions

Applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents may apply. Applicants with a degree outside of the U.S. must have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree as verified by World Education Services, and a minimum of 40 semester hours from a regionally accredited U.S. higher education institution. It is highly recommended that these 40 hours include the majority of the required prerequisites and/or upper level science courses.

The PA program requires a course-by-course evaluation including verification of lab components where required to be completed and included in the CASPA application. Admission will not be considered and credit will not be reviewed for possible transfer acceptance until a report is received.

The Graduate School requires the Proficiency Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and other international graduate admissions requirements.