The requirements for admission are minimum requirements. Because admission is competitive, the program has designed a number of selection criteria for applicants. In considering applicants for admissions, the admissions committee will give preference for admission to applicants who possess the following at the time of application:
- An overall grade point average (as calculated by CASPA) of 3.2 or higher (on a 4.00 scale). Grades obtained in repeat courses are averaged into this GPA by CASPA
- A GPA of 3.2 or higher in the last 40 semester hours of coursework (on a 4.0 scale)
- Grades for coursework taken following submission of the CASPA application are not considered in the GPA calculation and therefore not considered in selecting qualified applicants.
- Direct patient care experience is expected with the average admitted student having more than 1,000 hours. Beginning in the April 2018 admissions cycle, applicants will be required to have a minimum of 500 patient care experience hours prior to submission of their CASPA applications.
- Desire for future practice in primary care or in a medically underserved area.
- Significant extracurricular, professional, research, or service organization involvement and activity.
- Motivation to become a physician assistant based on a thorough understanding of the PA profession.
- Ability to communicate effectively in the personal written statement, in the application, and in the interview.
- Personality and motivational characteristics that are conducive to success as a physician assistant, student and practicing provider.
- Personal qualities relating to maturity and professionalism as demonstrated in the interview and letters of recommendation.
- Resident and non-resident students are selected for admission.
Over half of the matriculants are South Dakota residents or those with strong ties to the state:
- One or both parents South Dakota residents
- Graduated from high school in South Dakota
- Graduated from an accredited South Dakota university or college
- Member of a federally recognized tribe from a bordering state
For any other consideration of ties, applications are reviewed by the program and interviews are offered at their discretion. An example of this would typically be applicants who are non-residents who lived in South Dakota previously but have moved out of state.
The program continues to accept non-resident students and encourages them to apply.