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USD Medical School Among National Leaders in Producing Rural Physicians

Seal o the University of South Dakota According to the U.S. News and World Report, the USD Sanford School of Medicine was ranked No. 6 among the nation's medical education programs for the percentage of its graduates who practice in rural areas.

VERMILLION, S.D. – According to U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 analysis of medical schools in the United States, the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine ranked No. 6 among the nation’s 160 medical education programs for the percentage of its graduates who practice in rural areas.

This impressive ranking is the result of innovative and highly successful programs aimed specifically at introducing USD medical students to rural practice.

“Our mission includes educating South Dakotans to serve all parts of our state,” said Dr. Tim Ridgway, dean of the medical school. “This ranking is a reflection of the dedication and commitment our faculty and partners throughout the state have in providing quality rural experiences for our students.”

Founded in 1907, USD’s medical school enrolls approximately 65 to 70 students each year and offers eight different residencies for post-graduate medical training. About 90% of the school’s students are graduates of a South Dakota high school, and the remaining students have a family connection to South Dakota.

The 2021 graduation ceremony for USD’s medical school occurs May 7 and will include 67 new physicians.


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


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