2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Mar 02, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

About SDSU

History & Mission: The Land-Grant Heritage

A Brief History

South Dakota State University is the state’s largest, most comprehensive institution of higher education. The land-grant heritage of South Dakota State University, which began with a college founded in 1881, originates from local and national legislation dating back to 1862. The Morrill Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Abraham Lincoln in July of that year, embodied a revolutionary idea in higher education. The legislation created a new type of educational institution, one to give instruction in both liberal and practical arts to people in all parts of the country who needed to work for a living. In 1889, when South Dakota achieved statehood, Congress, acting under the Morrill Act of 1862, granted 160,000 acres of land for the use and support of the “agricultural college.” By accepting this land allocation, the State had to designate the Agricultural College as a land-grant college.

State Agriculture Experiment Stations were formed in 1887 under the Hatch Act of Congress, which provided for establishment of agricultural experiment stations in connection with Land-Grant universities and colleges. The stations were established to conduct research to address relevant agricultural and rural issues for their home states and regions.

The Cooperative Extension Service was established in 1914 to provide useful, current, research based agricultural, home, family, and youth related information to the people of the State. Federal funds are appropriated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which cooperates with state colleges of agriculture and counties in conducting planned programs of extension work.

Historically, the Land-Grant institutions have had the responsibility of training individuals to be U.S. Military officers in the event of war or military emergency, thus, alleviating the need to have a large standing army. During WWII, SDSU as a Land-Grant University served a central role in preparation of students and graduates for military service through ROTC. SDSU continues to have an exemplary ROTC program. Following the war, SDSU and other Land-Grant institutions accepted an international responsibility contributing to economic and agricultural revitalization in war devastated countries. International responsibility has continued to evolve as a part of the Land-Grant mission.

In 1917, the Smith-Hughes Act, provided for the preparation of teachers for secondary-school level instruction in agriculture, industrial arts, and home economics. By 1928 South Dakota State College had been chosen to conduct this program.

As of 1923 South Dakota State College had an instructional program organized under five divisions: Agriculture, Engineering, General Science, Home Economics, and Pharmacy. Thirty years later, General Science was renamed the Division of Science and Applied Arts. The Nursing Division was created in 1956. The following year all graduate work was organized into the Graduate Division.

Status as a university began when the South Dakota Legislature changed the name of South Dakota State College to South Dakota State University on July 1, 1964. At that time the following colleges were created: Agriculture and Biological Sciences, Arts and Science, Engineering, Home Economics, Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Graduate School.

In 1994 the Federal Government granted 29 tribal college (four in South Dakota) land-grant status. Tribal land-grant college extension programs are conducted in cooperation with the traditional (1862) land-grant institutions; therefore, SDSU has an on-going relationship with the tribal colleges through the land-grant linkage.

Today SDSU consists of the following colleges:

  • College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences
  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • College of Education & Human Sciences
  • College of Natural Sciences
  • College of Nursing
  • College of Pharmacy & Allied Health Professions
  • Graduate School
  • Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering
  • Van D. & Barbara B. Fishback Honors College

Mission Statement

(SDBOR Policy 1:10:2)

The legislature established South Dakota State University as the Comprehensive Land-Grant University to meet the needs of the State and region by providing undergraduate and graduate programs of instruction in the liberal arts and sciences and professional education in agriculture, aviation, education, engineering, human sciences, nursing, pharmacy, and other courses or programs as the Board of Regents may determine. (SDCL 13-58-1)

The Board implemented SDCL 13-58-1 by authorizing South Dakota State University to offer a rich academic experience in an environment of inclusion and access through inspired, student-centered education, creative activities and research, innovation and engagement that improve the quality of life in South Dakota, the region, the nation and the world.

The institution is also charged with promoting excellence in teaching and learning, supporting research, scholarly and creative activities, and providing service to the State of South Dakota, the region, and beyond.

South Dakota State University facilitates the transference of knowledge through the Cooperative Extension Service with a presence in every county and through other entities, especially to serve the citizens of South Dakota.

South Dakota State University is unique within the South Dakota System of Higher Education because of its comprehensive land grant mission. The mission is implemented through integrated programs of instruction, the Cooperative Extension Service, the Agricultural Experiment Station, and numerous auxiliary and laboratory services.


The following curriculum is approved for South Dakota State University:

  1. Undergraduate Major Level Curriculum
    • Agricultural and Food Sciences, American Indian and Indigenous Studies, Apparel Merchandising, the Arts, Architecture, Aviation, Computer Science (in accordance with SDCL 13-59-2.2), Construction and Manufacturing, Consumer Affairs, Education, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Exercise Science, Fine and Performing Arts, General Studies, Health Sciences, Human Sciences, Humanities, Liberal Arts, Management (non-business fields), Mathematics, Natural Resources, Nursing, Pharmacy, Physical/Biological/Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences, Sport Media and Administration, and Technology.
  2. Master’s Level Curriculum
    • Agricultural Sciences, Architecture, Athletic Training, Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Human Sciences, Humanities, Liberal Arts, Mathematics and Statistics, Nursing, Operations Management, Physical and Biological Sciences, Public Health, and Social Sciences.
  3. Doctoral Level Curriculum
    • Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, Nursing, Human Sciences, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Physical and Biological Sciences, and Social Sciences.

Authorized Degrees

  1. Undergraduate Degrees
    • Associate of Arts (A.A.)
    • Associate of Science (A.S.)
    • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
    • Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
    • Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.)
    • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (B.L.A.)
    • Bachelor of Music Education(B.M.E.)
    • Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
    • Certificates in related fields
  2. Graduate Degrees
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.)
    • Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
    • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
    • Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)
    • Master of Arts (M.A.)
    • Master of Education (M.Ed.)
    • Master of Engineering (M.Eng.)
    • Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
    • Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)
    • Master of Science (M.S.)
    • Certificates in related fields

Strategic Plan - Imagine 2023: Aspire. Discover. Achieve.


South Dakota State University offers a rich academic experience in an environment of inclusion and access through inspired, student-centered education, creative activities and research, innovation and engagement that improve the quality of life in South Dakota, the region, the nation, and the world.


South Dakota State University will be a premier land-grant university recognized for high value, innovation, and bold impact.

Core Values

  • People-Centered: We recognize leadership is derived from service to others. We are committed to creating a culture where all thrive and are supported on their own personal and professional paths toward lifelong learning, growth, and leadership.
  • Creativity: Creativity is our cornerstone to expand knowledge, develop human understanding, and enrich quality of life. We believe that education and research/scholarship/creative activity reinforce one another and the best academic programs bring innovative teaching and rigorous research together.
  • Integrity: We act with organizational and personal integrity, through honest interactions, professionalism, transparent and accountable decision-making, and respect for others.
  • Diversity: We are committed to diversity of community and ideas. We believe in a supportive, inclusive, collaborative, and cohesive environment with a focus on access. We actively seek collaboration and we respect individuals with differing perspectives, backgrounds, and areas of expertise.
  • Excellence: Excellence is achieved through continuous improvement, assessment, and accountability. We embrace bold action and adapt to an ever-changing environment. Individually, we are experts at what we do. Collectively, our impact is even greater.

Goals & Strategies

  • Achieve Excellence Through Transformative Education
  1. Attain academic excellence.
  2. Affirm student success as a foundational University priority.
  3. Increase recruitment, retention and graduation of professionally prepared global citizens.
  • Cultivate and Strengthen Community Engagement
  1. Enhance the academic and work environments of the University by fostering a culture of service, servant leadership and inclusive excellence among faculty, staff and students.
  2. Grow the University’s external engagement through extension, collaborative service, community outreach, alumni relations and public- private partnerships that enhance the quality of life in South Dakota and beyond.
  • Foster Innovation and Increase Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (RSCA)
  1. Strengthen the leadership and personnel infrastructure for innovation, RSCA and economic development to serve the state, region, nation and world.
  2. Increase, optimize and align the physical resources and investments for innovation, RSCA and economic development.
  3. Create an institutional culture of communicating and branding SDSU RSCA and its achievements, outcomes and impacts to the full scope of stakeholder and peer communities.
  • Be a Growing, High-Performing and Healthy University
  1. Infuse core values throughout all levels of the University.
  2. Grow and sustain financial resources aligned with the mission of SDSU.
  3. Allocate the University’s resources to achieve strategic priorities.

Accreditations & Affiliations

The University holds institutional membership in a number of educational associations: the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (1307 New York Avenue NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20005-4722; Phone: 202-478-6040) promotes the aims expressed in the Morrill Act of 1862, and in the subsequent acts of Congress relating to Land-Grant Colleges.

South Dakota State University Academic Accreditations and Certifications

Academic Accredited Programs

Accrediting Agency Degree Frequency Last Decision Next Visit
Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET)        
415 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201; Phone: 410-347-7700        
Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering B.S.      
Computer Science B.S.      
Civil Engineering B.S.      
Electrical Engineering B.S.      
Mechanical Engineering B.S.      
Construction Management B.S.      
Operations Management B.S.      
Electronics Engineering Technology B.S.      
Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA)        
P.O. Box 400, Oxford, MD 21654; Phone: 410-226-5527        
Hospitality Management B.S. 7 years 2016 2023
Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)        
190 S LaSalle Street, Suite 2850, Chicago, IL 60603-4810; Phone: 312-664-3575        
Pharmacy Pharm.D. 8 years 2015 2023
Accreditation Council for the Education of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)        
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995; Phone: 312-899-0040 ext. 5400        
Dietetics B.S. 10 years 2018 2025
Dietetic Internship NA 3 years 2019 2026
Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (ACEJMC)        
201 Bishop Hall, University, MS 38677-1848; Phone: 662-915-5550        
Advertising B.A./B.S. 6 years 2018 2023
Journalism B.A./B.S. 6 years 2018 2023
Mass Communications M.M.C. 4 years 2018 2023
Public Relations B.S. 6 years 2018 2023
American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE)        
2950 Niles Road, St. Joseph, MI 49085-9659; Phone: 269-429-0300        
Agricultural Systems Technology B.S. 6 years 2018 2024
American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)        
11200 Rockville Pike, Suite 302, Rockville, MD 20852-3110; Phone: 240-283-6600        
Biochemistry B.S. 7 years 2015 2022
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)        
4500 East-West Hwy, Suite 900, Bethesda, MD 20814; Phone: 866-279-0681        
Pharmacy - PGY1 Residency Program Certificate 3 years 2018 2021
Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI)        
115 S. 8th Street, Suite 102, Opelika, AL 36801; Phone: 334-748-9359        
Aviation with Specialization in Aviation Education B.S. 5 years 2018 2023
Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)        
6850 Austin Center Blvd., Suite 100, Austin, TX 78731-3184; Phone: 512-733-9700        
Athletic Training M.S. 10 years 2012 2021-2022
Commission on Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology (CAPACS)        
3 Fieldstone Drive, Morris Township, NJ 07960; Phone: 973-290-9334        
Sociology Ph.D. 2 years 2017 2019
Commission on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (CoAES)        
401 W. Michigan Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202; Phone: 317-777-1135        
Exercise Science B.S. 9 years 2017 2026
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)        
655 K Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001; Phone: 202-887-6791        
Nursing B.S. 10 years 2011 2021
Nursing M.S. 10 years 2011 2021
Nursing D.N.P. 10 years 2016 2026
Nursing - APRN Post-Graduate Certificate 10 years 2016 2026
Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA)        
206 Grandville Avenue, Suite 350, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-4014; Phone: 616-458-0400        
Interior Design B.S. 6 years 2020 2026
Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)        
500 Montgomery Street, Suite 350, Alexandria, VA 22314; Phone: 703-535-5990        
Counseling and Human Resource Development M.S. 7 years 2017 2025
Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)*        
1140 19th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036; Phone: 202-223-0077        
Teacher Education** B.A./B.S. 2 years 2020 2022
Principal** M.Ed. 2 years 2020 2022
School Counselor** M.S. 2 years 2020 2022
*Formerly known as NCATE (name changed in 2019)        
**Granted Probationary Accreditation Spring 2020        
Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE)        
1699 E. Woodfield Road, Suite 300, Schaumburg, IL 60173; Phone: 847-944-1325        
Counseling and Human Resource Development Specialization in Counseling in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Setting M.S. 8 years 2015 2023
Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB)        
636 Eye Street NW, Washington, D.C. 2001; Phone 202:898-2444        
Landscape Architecture B.L.A. 6 years 2019 2025
National Architectural Accrediting Board, Inc (NAAB)        
1735 New York Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20006; Phone: 202-783-2007        
Architecture M.Arch. 8 years 2019 2027
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)        
5600 N River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018-5119; Phone: 773-714-8880        
Medical and Laboratory Sciences B.S. 10 years 2016 2026
National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)        
11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21, Reston, VA 20190-5248; Phone: 703-437-0700        
Music Education B.M.E. 10 years 2010 2019-2020
Music B.A. 10 years 2010 2019-2020
Society for Range Management (SRM)        
6901 S Pierce Street, Suite 230, Littleton, CO 80128; Phone: 303-986-3309        
Rangeland Ecology and Management B.S. 10 years 2016 2026

Academic Accredited Units

Accrediting Agency Degree Frequency Last Decision Next Visit
American Association of Museums Accreditation Commission (AAM)        
2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 1005, Arlington, VA 22202; Phone: 202-289-1818        
South Dakota Art Museum NA 10 years 2014 2024
American Association of Veterinary Lab Diagnosticians (AAVLD)        
PO Box 6396, Visalia, CA 93290; Phone: 559-781-8900        
Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Lab NA 5 years 2018 2023
National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC)        
1313 L Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20005; Phone: 800-424-2460        
Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education NA 5 years 2017 2022
Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH)        
2021 L Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036; Phone: 866-730-6127        
Nursing Healthcare Simulation Center   5 years 2018 2023

Academic Certified Programs/Units

Accrediting Agency Degree Frequency Last Decision Next Visit
American Association of Museums Accreditation Commission (AAM)        
2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 1005, Arlington, VA 22202; Phone: 202-289-1818        
South Dakota Art Museum NA 10 years 2014 2024
American Association of Veterinary Lab Diagnosticians (AAVLD)        
PO Box 6396, Visalia, CA 93290; Phone: 559-781-8900        
Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Lab NA 5 years 2018 2023
American Chemical Society        
1155 Sixteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; Phone: 800-333-9511        
Chemistry B.S. NA 2016 2021
Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (formerly American Humanics)        
1801 Main Street, Suite 200, Kansas City, MO 64108; Phone: 816-561-6415        
Leadership and Management of Non-Profit Organizations Minor   2003  
National Collegiate Honors Council        
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 250 Knoll Residence Center, 440 N 17th Street, Lincoln, NE 68588; Phone: 402-472-9150        
Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College     2018 TBD
Department of the Army        
Army ROTC        
College Reading and Learning Association        
Tutoring/Supplemental Instruction (SI) Program   5 years 2016 2020

University Accreditation

Accrediting Agency Degree Frequency Last Decision Next Visit
Higher Learning Commission (HLC)        
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604; Phone: 800-621-7440        
Institution NA 10 years 2019 2029


The University also holds membership in the American Council on Education, the American Council on Education’s Internationalization Collaborative, the American Society for Information Science & Technology, the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), the College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS), the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA), the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the American Association of University Women, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Society for Engineering Education, the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Library Association, Associated Western Universities, Inc., the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, Council of Graduate Schools in the United States, Educause, National Association for Foreign Student Affairs, and several others which are concerned with more limited phases of college work. Through the Board of Regents, the University also participates in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).

Research, Scholarship & Creative Activities

The University is committed to excellence in research, scholarship and creative activities as a key part of fulfilling the University’s mission. Discovery of new knowledge, ideas, and processes are fundamental to the mission of a Land-Grant University and contribute to the state’s economic development and quality of life. Research and scholarly activities are essential for intellectual growth and interactions among faculty and students.

The University encourages and supports research, scholarship and creative activity in all disciplines. To support these activities, the University and its faculty actively pursue funds through competitive grant proposals and through cooperative agreements with other institutions of higher education as well as state and federal agencies. Student participation in university research is encouraged, especially as a way to begin an exciting career path. Students can often conduct research through mentorship with faculty and publish the results of their work.  Additionally, the University conducts an annual event to highlight undergraduate student involvement in research, scholarship, and creative activities.

South Dakota State University is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Doctoral University: High Research Activity and as a national university by most rating organizations. These recognitions are reflect in abundant research opportunities available to students.

For information, contact the Division of Research and Economic Development, South Dakota State University, Box 2201, Brookings, South Dakota 57007-1998, phone: 605-688-5642.