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University of South Dakota Physician Assistant Program Highly Rated

Wade Nilson, headshot. Wade Nilson, Ed.D., P.A., is chair of the USD Department of Physician Assistant Studies.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The Physician Assistant Studies program at the University of South Dakota has been rated no. 37 among the nation’s 170 accredited physician assistant programs. The rating was determined by U.S. News and World Report.

Physician assistant emerged as a health care profession in the 1970s and have become an increasingly important aspect of health care expertise in the United States. The PA program at USD was established in 1993, and it has produced more than 450 physician assistants. Many USD educated physician assistants are practicing in rural areas of South Dakota.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


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