2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
    Jul 18, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Admission Information

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This section outlines Graduate School admission policies at South Dakota State University. The South Dakota State University Policy and Procedure Manual is the definitive source for the most current South Dakota State University policies.  Policies duplicated on other websites or in print may not be the most current version. All policies documented on the site are official and supersede policies located elsewhere. South Dakota State University is governed by state and federal law, administrative regulations, and policies of the South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR) and the State of South Dakota.

Admission to Graduate School

For pursuit of an advanced degree or certificate, students must be admitted to the Graduate School before enrolling in graduate courses. A completed application must be submitted to the Graduate School. Students should check with their program of interest for specific admission deadlines. Students not pursuing an advanced degree, but wishing to enroll in graduate coursework should apply as a non-degree seeking student by completing a non-degree seeking application prior to the start of the semester.

Application for Admission

Application Form

A completed online application must be submitted and accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of $35.00. Certain programs may have additional application fees. 

Official Transcripts

Applicants must provide official academic transcripts from all post-secondary institutions where a degree was earned, or will be earned, and where graduate level coursework was completed. As a courtesy to the applicant, the Graduate School will retrieve all required South Dakota regental transcripts.

Applicants who have completed a degree outside the United States must provide a professional transcript evaluation from an evaluation service accredited by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE). Examples of acceptable services include, but are not limited to: Educational Perspectives, World Education Services (WES), and Foreign Credits. Evaluations must include transcript authenticity, Grade Point Average (GPA) calculation, and U.S. degree equivalency and be sent directly from the evaluation service. Submitted transcripts become the property of South Dakota State University and will not be returned. Official transcripts/transcript evaluations can be sent electronically (gradschl@sdstate.edu) or by mail. The Graduate School mailing address is as follows:

Graduate School
South Dakota State University
130 Morrill Hall, Box 2201
Campanile Drive
Brookings, SD USA 57007

Baccalaureate Degree

Admission to the Graduate School requires that the applicant have a baccalaureate degree, or equivalent, from an institution of higher learning. The baccalaureate-granting institution must be one of recognized standing (including U.S. institutions accredited by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education) whose requirements are substantially the same as those of South Dakota State University program(s) in which the advanced degree will be taken.

If applicants are enrolled in U.S. institutions, and if the application is submitted before the Bachelor’s degree is complete, an incomplete transcript must be filed. However, a transcript indicating the Bachelor’s degree has been awarded must be received no later than the end of the first semester of graduate work.

Program Requirements

Individual programs may have additional admission requirements. Applicants should inquire about such requirements from the program of interest. Additional admission requirements for each program are provided under Academic Programs.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The Graduate Record Examination is not a Graduate School requirement; however, some programs may require test scores to be submitted. Please review the admission requirements for the program of interest. For the location of testing centers and more information regarding the GRE, please contact the Educational Testing Service.

Immunization Requirements

All university students (domestic and international) must provide documentation proving two (2) properly administered measles (rubeola), mumps, rubella (MMR) immunizations OR immune titers for measles, mumps and rubella. Exemptions to this requirement are considered. Furthermore, all international students are required to submit to a tuberculosis skin test upon arrival. For more information contact: Student Health Clinic and Counseling Services, Box 2818, Wellness Center, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD USA 57007, Telephone: 605-688-4157, Fax: 605-688-6450 or the Office of International Affairs, Briggs Library (SBL) Suite 119, Box: 2115, Brookings, SD USA 57007, Telephone: 605-688-4122.

International Students must also submit the following:

English Proficiency Scores

The Graduate School accepts TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo scores as proof of English proficiency. A score of 71 Internet-based or higher is required by the Graduate School for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 6.0 is required for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum score of 100 is required for the Duolingo English Test.  Some programs may require higher test scores for admission and are listed within each program section in this catalog. Also, programs may require additional testing upon arrival.

Financial Support

Evidence of available financial support for at least one year must be submitted to the Office of International Affairs, Briggs Library (SBL) Suite 119, Box: 2115, Brookings, SD USA 57007, Telephone: 605-688-4122. Applicant must also show evidence that the financial support will be continued throughout their program, at least two years for master’s degrees or four years for doctoral degrees. For any financial assistance from this institution, the applicant must contact the program.


Documents for entry into the U.S. will be issued by the Office of International Affairs after academic admission and financial certification are complete. Students applying for a visa cannot be admitted conditionally into any graduate program. For inquiries please contact: Office of International Affairs, Briggs Library (SBL) Suite 119, Box: 2115, Brookings, SD USA 57007, Telephone: 605-688-4122.

Application Processing

When all required admissions documents are received, the application and supporting documentation are forwarded to the program for review. The program makes a recommendation of acceptance or denial to the Director of the Graduate School who, in turn, acts on the recommendation and notifies all concerned parties of the decision in the form of acceptance or denial.

Admission Status


An applicant may be admitted without condition if a Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, has been earned, all undergraduate prerequisites for major and minor (if required) fields of study have been satisfactorily completed, and the applicant has an average of 3.0 or higher on a 4-point grading system (A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = l) . Admission to all degree programs is competitive and limited by the availability of personnel, facilities, and funding.

Conditional Admission

Conditional admission may be granted if the applicant:

  1. meets the requirements for admission but has not completed the last semester of undergraduate study. Admission is conditional until the Bachelor’s degree is granted, OR
  2. lacks prerequisite undergraduate courses specified by the major program. Admission is conditional until these courses have been completed to the satisfaction of the program, OR
  3. has a grade point average between 2.75 and 3.0 cumulative for the junior and senior years.

A student admitted conditionally must satisfy any conditions within the first semester of enrollment in the graduate program. Performance required to meet conditions will be provided to the student in the letter of acceptance. Failure of a student to meet the stated conditions may result in dismissal from the program.  International students cannot be conditionally admitted.

Non-Degree Seeking Student

Students who are not pursuing a degree may register as a non-degree seeking student. There is no application fee to register as a non-degree seeking student, though the student is responsible for tuition and fees. Non-degree seeking students may not receive graduate assistantships, financial aid, or enroll for thesis/dissertation credits. A non-degree seeking student may apply for admission into a graduate program using the normal procedures outlined in this document. No more than twelve credits acquired under non-degree seeking student status may be applied toward a degree.


Students formerly enrolled as graduate students at South Dakota State University and who have not maintained continuous enrollment (excluding summer semesters) must apply for readmission to their program. Graduate School policies in effect for the term of readmission will apply. Official transcripts must be furnished for graduate work taken at other institutions since last enrolled at South Dakota State University. Programs may require the student to update supporting documents for the application. Readmitted students are encouraged to contact their graduate advisor prior to registration. Students who are readmitted may be required to change their advisory committee, file a new plan of study or resubmit other matriculation documents. The application fee will be waived for those applicants applying for readmission as long as they were active within the past three terms; excluding summer.

Residency Requirements

South Dakota State University is required to establish residency status of all applicants. Please review the residency requirements prior to completing an application. A full description of qualifications is available in the Residency Application.

Appeal of Denied Admission Decision

(SDSU Policy 2:26)

Any applicant who is denied admission may request a reconsideration of the decision as follows:

  1. The applicant shall contact the Director of the Graduate School within thirty calendar (30) days of receipt of the admission decision to seek informal reconsideration.
  2. In the request for reconsideration, the denied applicant must cite one or more of the following reasons as the basis for the reconsideration:
    1. The admission decision resulted from administrative error or from misapprehension of some material fact or circumstance; or
    2. The admission decision departed substantially from accepted academic standards for the discipline and/or the University; or
    3. Circumstances suggested that the admission decision reflected the prejudiced or capricious consideration of applicant opinions or conduct unrelated to admission or academic standards, of student status protected under SDBOR policy, state or federal civil rights law, or of other considerations that are inconsistent with the bona fide exercise of academic judgment.

The denied applicant must then explain in detail how one or more of the above bases for reconsideration describe the admissions decision.  If none of the above bases for reconsideration are specifically cited in the request, or if the request offers no explanation as to how the admission decision fits one of the above bases for reconsideration, the request for reconsideration shall be dismissed by the Director of the Graduate School. The Director shall otherwise review the applicant’s concerns, shall provide explanation, and shall reconsider the admission decision if the student provides convincing argument for doing so.  The Director shall document the contact date, decision, and rationale for the decision by and submit the same to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, or designee, within fifteen (15) working days after the applicant makes the contact.  A copy of the document shall be sent to the applicant and Program Officials.

  1. If, after discussion with the Director of the Graduate School, the applicant’s concerns remain unresolved, the applicant may appeal the matter in writing to the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Extended Studies, or designee.  The written request for reconsideration must be submitted to the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Extended Studies, or designee, within ten (10) working days from the date the applicant received the response of the Director of the Graduate School.  The Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Extended Studies will render a decision within fifteen (15) working days of receipt.