2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Dec 08, 2023  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

About SDSU

View of the Weary Wil and Dirty Lil statues.

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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.


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
Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET)  
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)  
Hospitality Management B.S.
Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)  
Pharmacy Pharm.D.
Continuing Pharmacy Education Program NA
Accreditation Council for the Education of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)  
Nutrition and Dietetics B.S.
Dietetic Internship NA
Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (ACEJMC)  
Advertising B.A./B.S.
Journalism B.A./B.S.
Mass Communications M.M.C.
Public Relations B.A., B.S.
American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)  
Nursing Continuing Professional Development NA
American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE)  
Agricultural Systems Technology B.S.
American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)  
Biochemistry B.S.
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)  
Pharmacy - PGY1 Residency Program Certificate
Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI)  
Aviation with Specialization in Aviation Education B.S.
Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)  
Athletic Training M.S.
Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)  
Respiratory Care A.S.
Commission on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (CoAES)  
Exercise Science B.S.
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)  
Nursing B.S.
Nursing M.S.
Nursing DNP
Nursing - APRN Post-Graduate Certificate
Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA)  
Interior Design B.F.A.
Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)  
Counseling and Human Resource Development with Specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling M.S.
Counseling and Human Resource Development with Specialization in College Counseling M.S.
Counseling and Human Resource Development with Specialization in School Counseling M.S.
Counseling and Human Resource Development with Specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling M.S.
Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)*  
Teacher Education B.A./B.S.
Principal M.Ed.
*Formerly known as NCATE (name changed 2019)  
Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)  
Public Health M.P.H.
Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB)  
Landscape Architecture B.L.A.
National Architectural Accrediting Board, Inc (NAAB)  
Architecture M.Arch.
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)  
Medical and Laboratory Sciences B.S.
National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)  
Graphic Design B.F.A.
Interior Design B.F.A.
Studio Art (Art Education, Ceramics, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture) B.F.A.
National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)  
Music Education B.M.E.
Music B.A.
National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST)  
Theatre B.A./B.S.
Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) (formerly NASPE)  
Physical Education Teacher Education B.S.
Society for Range Management (SRM)  
Rangeland Ecology and Management B.S.

Academic Accredited Units

Accrediting Agency Degree
American Association of Museums Accreditation Commission (AAM)  
South Dakota Art Museum NA
American Association of Veterinary Lab Diagnosticians (AAVLD)  
Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Lab NA
National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC)  
Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education NA
Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH)  
Nursing Healthcare Simulation Center  

Academic Certified Programs/Units

Accrediting Agency Degree
American Chemical Society  
Chemistry B.S.
Institute for Food Technologists (IFT)  
Food Science B.S.
National Collegiate Honors Council  
Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College  
Department of the Army  
Army ROTC  
College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA)  
Wintrode Tutoring Program is currently certified at Levels I, II, and III for International Tutor Training Program  
Wintrode Student Success Center Peer Mentoring Program holds International Peer Educator Training Program Certification at Levels I and II  
National College Learning Center Association (NCLCA)  
Learning Center Certification  

University Accreditation

Accrediting Agency Degree
Higher Learning Commission (HLC)  
Institution NA

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 reflected 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.