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USD Meets State's Workforce Needs through New Biomedical Engineering Degree Partnership

Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Degree at USD USD will soon offer an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering through a partnership with South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota will soon offer an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, thanks to a new collaborative effort with the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDSM&T).

The new degree option was recently approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents in an effort to meet emerging workforce needs and economic development trends across the state. Bioscience is one of the state’s key industries identified for further development by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

The bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering links the medical and engineering fields to produce new graduates who will advance human health and well-being. For more than a decade, graduate degrees in biomedical engineering have been delivered jointly by USD and SDSM&T; the addition of this undergraduate degree builds on that tradition of success.

The degree program takes advantage of unique expertise available at both institutions: SDSM&T’s expertise in engineering and USD’s proficiency in biomedical fields. With the new undergraduate degree, graduates will gain experience in laboratory settings, data analysis, biomedical problem solving, and foundational engineering and medical research skills.

A strong regional need for biomedical engineers already exists, said Dan Engebretson, chair of USD’s biomedical engineering program in Sioux Falls. The undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering is designed to support the emerging medical technology industry in the state. The launch of USD’s undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering also coincides with the USD Discovery District groundbreaking for SAB Biotherapeutics and Alumend, two Discovery District tenants who are driving growth in the med tech space in Sioux Falls.

“Biomedical engineering at USD is poised to reshape South Dakota’s economy,” Engebretson said. “SAB Biotherapeutics alone plans to hire 35-40 scientists even before they move into their new 100,000 square-foot research and manufacturing buildings in the Discovery District. Alumend plans to add 10 scientists before moving into their new research facility. The biomedical engineering department is excited to help SAB Biotherapeutics and Alumend fill these positions with the next generation of biomedical engineers.”

USD and SDSM&T expect to graduate 26 students a year from the program after its full implementation. Since the graduate program has been offered, more than 20 students have graduated with master’s and doctoral degrees. Six of those students have started med tech companies across the state, and several have competed in and won the Governor’s Giant Vision Business Plan Competition. Two companies, Antimicrobial Materials, Inc. and Tailored Medical Devices, Inc. are developing USD-owned intellectual property and have secured nearly $2 million in federal funding.

The new degree will be available at campus locations in Vermillion and Rapid City, along with delivery online and at University Center-Sioux Falls.

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USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News