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This section outlines academic policies as well as general information related to academics 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.
Academic Integrity & Academic Appeals
(SDSU Policy 2:4, SDSU Policy 3:1, SDBOR Policy 2:33, SDBOR Policy 3:4)
South Dakota State University has taken a strong and clear stand regarding academic dishonesty. Academic integrity embodies ethical principles to act responsibly and take responsibility for one’s actions. Integrity and honor function as forms of a “social contract” where individuals have a duty to follow the rules and norms of academia as well as a duty to ensure their peers also follow such rules and norms. Undergraduate and graduate students at the university are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic conduct; if violated, the university takes a strong and clear stand regarding academic dishonesty. The consequence of academic dishonesty ranges from disciplinary probation to expulsion. For additional information on the academic dishonesty and academic appeals process and procedure reference SDSU Policy 2:4, SDSU Policy 3:1, SDBOR Policy 2:33, and SDBOR Policy 3:4.
Academic Performance & Progression
Full time students are required to take a minimum of 9 credits. Half-time students are required to take a minimum of 5 credits. Three-fourths time students are required to take a minimum of 7 credits. Students may take a maximum of 12 credits per semester. Domestic students must be enrolled at least half-time (5 credits) to receive Federal Aid. Loan deferment may also require full or part-time status. Eligibility varies with financial aid programs and students should contact their lender for requirements.
(SDSU Policy 2:19)
All graduate assistants must register for a minimum of one (1) credit (including summer) in order to receive an assistantship.
Credits needed for full-time student status for graduate assistants:
25% time assistantship 7
49% time assistantship 5
*For financial purposes, students need to be enrolled in at least 5 credits regardless of semester of study. Students with financial aid questions should e-mail the Financial Aid Office or visit their website.
Graduate assistantships are designed to provide financial support and intellectual guidance in support of the student’s education. The primary goal of an assistantship is to facilitate progress toward the graduate degree. Assistantships are not the form of compensation for the time graduate students spend on their thesis or dissertation research. Students on research assistantships are expected to work on their own research over and above the time for which they are compensated. Graduate Research Assistants must complete a work log documenting compensable hours.
See the Graduate Assistant website for more specific criteria, guidelines, and more information regarding Graduate Assistantships.
International Graduate Student Credit Requirements
International graduate students are required to pursue a full time course of study to maintain non-immigrant status in accordance with the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. International students without an assistantship must register for nine (9) credit hours per semester to pursue a full course of study. Students with an assistantship would need to enroll in the appropriate number of credits corresponding with the percentage of their assistantship. Students who fail to maintain a full course of study will be considered out of status and may be terminated. The exceptions to a full course of study are limited but very important. Students must seek the approval of a Designated School Official (DSO) in the Office of International Affairs for authorization to drop below nine (9) credits per semester. See the International Student Handbook for more information.
Full time enrollment is required when the summer session is an international student’s first semester. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), international students who begin their studies during a summer session must be enrolled full time in order to maintain their F1/J1 status. It is a violation of USCIS regulations to permit an international student to begin a program and only register for 1 credit the first semester they are here. Graduate programs that intend to admit international students for the summer session/term must ensure that students will be able to enroll in enough credits to maintain their full time status. Students without an assistantship would need to register for 9 credits. Students with an assistantship would need to enroll in the appropriate number of credits corresponding with the percentage of their assistantship. International students are allowed to register for less than a full time course load during all subsequent summer terms. This policy only pertains to international students who are beginning their programs during a summer term.
Registration & Status
To maintain active status, students must be registered each semester of the academic year (excluding summer). Students completing their final oral exam or other degree requirements during a summer semester must be registered. All graduate assistants must register for a minimum of one (1) credit (including summer) in order to receive an assistantship.
Students who are not registered each semester (excluding summer) will be moved to inactive status and will be required to reapply before continuing their graduate studies.
Continual Registration for Dissertation, Thesis, Research/Design Paper
All graduate students who have completed the dissertation/thesis/research-design paper credits specified on their plan of study are required to do one of the following each semester during the academic year and summer term until the degree is awarded:
- Students who have completed the required number of dissertation/thesis/research-design paper credits on the plan of study, but are still involved in research work as part of the degree requirement, must continue to register for one credit for each succeeding semester, including summer.
- Students who miss the deadline for graduation in a given semester, but successfully complete their final oral exam and all other requirements prior to the start of the next semester, do not have to enroll in that semester in order to graduate.
Registration is the student’s responsibility and must be completed and payment made by the appropriate deadline each semester. Failure to register may delay award of the degree and thereby require additional registrations.
(SDSU Policy 2:26)
Graduate students whose plan of study cumulative grade point average drops to less than 3.0 will be placed on academic probation and a hold will be placed on his/her registration for the subsequent semester. This hold can be removed only after the student and his/her advisor submit a plan of improvement form to the Graduate School indicating how the GPA will be brought up to 3.0 or better. In the semester following the hold, the student must have a GPA of 3.0 or better. If students do not meet the GPA criteria, they may be subject to dismissal from their program or the university.
Academic Progress of Thesis & Dissertation Coursework
(SDSU Policy 2:26)
All students pursing a master’s degree (Option A) or a Doctor of Philosophy degree must complete a thesis and dissertation, respectively. Each semester a student is engaged in activities in support of these objectives the students must be enrolled in the in x798 or x898 (or equivalent). The instructor, in consultation with the student, will determine the goals of the coursework for that semester. The student should be notified of the goals in writing sufficiently early in the semester to allow for completion of the goals. Each x798 or x898 credit hour will be graded with either an “S” or “U”, for Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory, respectively. Written explanation of any “U” grade should be delivered to the student no later than the final day of instruction. Students receiving a “U” grade for x798 or x898 in two (2) semesters may be dismissed from the program. Recommendation for dismissal will be communicated from the instructor and Department Head to the Director of the Graduate School who will conduct the review. The review will consider the student’s entire academic performance weighed against a) the necessary research, clinical, and/or scholarly abilities to complete the student’s chosen graduate degree and (or) b) the rate of progress toward degree completion.
(SDSU Policy 2:26)
Thesis students (Option A master’s) and doctoral students shall be provided written progress evaluations on an annual basis. The Annual Evaluation should address progress toward completion of formal course work and the thesis or dissertation project.
Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Policy, & Title IX
(SDBOR Policy 1:17, SDBOR Policy 1:17.1, SDBOR Policy 1:18, SDBOR Policy 1:19)
South Dakota State University has a well-established commitment to maintaining a campus environment free from discrimination and harassment, as articulated by federal and state law, and university policy.
Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, Affirmative Action Policy
The institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents shall offer equal opportunities in employment and for access to and participation in educational, extension and other institutional services to all persons qualified by academic preparation, experience, and ability for the various levels of employment or academic program or other institutional service, without discrimination based on sex, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, gender, gender identification, transgender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status or on any other status that may become protected under law against discrimination.
Non-Discrimination, Civil Rights & Affirmative Action
The Board reaffirms its commitment to the objectives of affirmative action, equal opportunity and non-discrimination in accordance with state and federal law. Redress for alleged violations of those laws may be pursued at law or through the procedures established by the provisions of 1:18 of this policy.
Responsibilities of Chief Executive Officers
The chief executive officers of the respective institutions shall be responsible for assuring that the Board’s equal opportunity policies are communicated effectively to members of the institutional community and the public at large. The means for such communication may include seminars and other forms of public service or instructional programming and shall include notices to be posted or otherwise incorporated into institutional promotional materials. Such notices should clearly identify persons who are responsible for the implementation of equal opportunity policies and should advise readers or listeners of how they might contact the responsible institutional officials to obtain further information or to express their concerns about implementation of institutional policies.
The university offers equal opportunities in employment and for access to and participation in education, extension, and other services at the university to all persons qualified by academic preparation, experience, and ability for the various levels of employment or academic program or other University service, without discrimination based on sex, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, gender, gender identification, transgender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, or any other status that may become protected under law against discrimination.
The university, offers equal opportunities in employment and for access to and participation in education, extension, and other services at the university to all persons qualified by academic preparation, experience, and ability for the various levels of employment or academic program or other university service, without discrimination based on sex, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, gender, gender identification, transgender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, or any other status that may become protected under law against discrimination.
The university, in conjunction with state and federal law and applicable SDBOR and university policies, is committed to the objectives of equal opportunity, nondiscrimination, and affirmative action. Redress for alleged violations of those laws may be pursued at law, or through the procedures established in SDBOR Policy 1:17 or Policy 1:18 through the university Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Title IX.
Michelle Johnson, Ed.D., Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Title IX & Affirmative Action Officer
South Dakota State University
Human Resources, Morrill Hall Room 100
Brookings, SD 57007
Harassment including Sexual Harassment Policy
Harassment is a particularly harmful and illegal form of discrimination that breaks down trust within the SDSU community and impedes the ability of students, employees, and others to participate in an environment that allows them to achieve their fullest potential. Furthermore, harassment is a violation of the expectation that every individual at SDSU deserves to be treated fairly, with respect for their dignity as a person.
Sexual Harassment Policy
State and federal laws and policies strictly prohibit sexual harassment, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Such misconduct is not permitted or tolerated at SDSU or during university-sponsored events or activities. SDBOR Policy 1:17 and its procedures set forth standards regarding reports of sexual harassment and the consequences of engaging in such misconduct at the university.
Complainants, respondents, witnesses, and other persons who have assisted, testified, or participated in any manner in any phase of a harassment or discrimination investigation will be protected against retaliation. SDSU’s policy and applicable Board of Regents, state and federal regulations prohibit retaliation, coercion, harassment, interference and/or intimidation, or any other adverse action taken as a direct result of a complaint being brought forth.
All concerns are responded to and/or investigated in a highly sensitive manner. The privacy of the parties involved is protected. The process is neutral, impartial and fair.
What You Can Do To Address Harassment or Discrimination
- If safe, approach the person you feel has discriminated against or has harassed you and communicate your concern directly, in person or in writing. Ask them to stop the concerning behavior or comments immediately.
- Report harassment or discrimination to the Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Title IX (605-688-4128).
Concerns should be reported directly to the Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Title IX.
Michelle Johnson, Ed.D., Coordinator of Equal Opportunity and Title IX & Affirmative Action Officer
Human Resources, Morrill Hall Room 100
Brookings, SD 57007
SDSU has adopted a Compliance Hotline that offers two additional ways to report concerns, including the option to report anonymously, call 1-844-880-0004 or visit the web reporting website.
If a student or employee alleges harassment or discrimination, please encourage them to report the issue or you are required to report on their behalf. The university has a legal obligation to respond to all allegations, and requests that all concerns be brought forth. The university has many resources and wants to support the entire university community.
The complaint process is subject to the South Dakota Board of Regents policies listed below:
What happens if a violation of the policy occurs?
The university will not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or retaliation that violates SDBOR or university policy. Where such violations are investigated and found to have indeed occurred, the university will take steps to end it immediately and remedy its effects. An individual found to have engaged in discrimination, harassment, or retaliation will be subject to appropriate discipline, depending on the severity of the misconduct. Sanctions for employees include but are not limited to formal reprimands, suspensions without pay, reductions in responsibilities, and termination. Sanctions for students include but are not limited to disciplinary probation, suspension, and expulsion. SDSU will provide all involved parties with supportive measures to alleviate the negative effects of the harassment or discrimination allegations. Such measures may be academic, residential, employment, financial and/or transportation in nature.
For More Information
For more information on the policies established to promote equal opportunity and eliminate discrimination and harassment at SDSU visit the website.
(SDSU Policy 2:5, SDSU Policy 2:12)
- Teaching and learning is a reciprocal process involving faculty and students. Faculty members have an obligation of holding classes on a regular basis and students have an expectation to attend and participate in classes on a regular basis. Faculty members determine the specific attendance policy for courses under their direct supervision and instruction. Attendance procedures must be stated in written form, in the course syllabus, and distributed or posted electronically to students at the beginning of each course. If attendance is required and will impact grading, this expectation shall be included in the syllabus.
- Any exceptions to the faculty member’s written attendance policy due to verified medical reasons, death of a family member or significant other, or verified extenuating circumstances judged acceptable by the instructor or the Office of Academic Affairs, will be honored. Absences for vacations, breaks, or personal interviews do not constitute a valid reason for absence.
- Faculty and administration will honor officially approved absences where individuals are absent in the interest of officially representing the university. Appropriate sanctioned activities include: Collegiate club sports and competitions; Conferences and workshops recognized by the university not related to academics; Commitments on behalf of the university (Students’ Association, Band, Choir, etc.); Intercollegiate athletics; and Professional activities recognized by the university related to academics (professional conference attendance, etc.)
- Students with official excused absences: Students with excused absences will be given appropriate make up work or instructor-determined equivalent opportunities for obtaining grades as students who were in attendance. Students with official excused absences are not to be penalized in course progress or evaluation. However, should excused absences be excessive, the faculty member may recommend withdrawal from the course(s) or award an incomplete grade.
- Attendance policies apply in the online classroom. Faculty members determine the specific attendance policy for courses under their direct supervision and instruction. Attendance procedures must be stated in written form and made available to students on the first day of the course. Common strategies for demonstrating “attendance” in an online course include login requirements per week, an identified number of discussion postings per week, consistent contact with peers and instructor, and/or other assignments as determined by the instructor. Also, students are expected to login to their class on the first day of the semester.
- Student-Athlete Class Attendance
- No student-athlete may be absent from more than ten (10) class sessions (including required laboratory sessions) of a given course in a semester.
- Athletic excused absences will not be approved during final examination period with the exception of required conference or NCAA activities.
- In the interest of safety for student-athletes and staff, missed class-time resulting from travel delays associated with inclement weather will be excused.
- If a student has an accident, falls ill, or suffers some other emergency over which they have no control, the student needs to gather whatever documentation is available (e.g., copies of repair or towing bills, accident reports, or statements from health care provider) to show the instructor. Such exceptions must be communicated and negotiated between the student and faculty member prior to the absence whenever possible.
- Requests for excused absences due to approved university-sponsored/recognized trips must be submitted one week prior to the trip or event. Students must present the completed approved trip absence card to the faculty member prior to the trip or event to have an official excused absence. Faculty members are not required to honor incomplete or late cards. Absences for trips or activities will not be approved during finals week.
- Arrangements regarding attendance should be negotiated with faculty members. If this is not possible, the students should go first to the department head, and if necessary, next to the dean. The student may contact the Office of Academic Affairs if conflict cannot be resolved at these levels.
- Waivers to the above rules, as they pertain to student athletes, require the approval of the Intercollegiate Athletics Board or its designee at the time of scheduling or as soon thereafter as is reasonably possible (if circumstances dictate the need for finalizing a contract or schedule prior to gaining Intercollegiate Athletics Board approval).
Awarding of Academic Degrees
(SDBOR Policy 2:17.1)
The Board approves the awarding of academic degrees after receiving the university president’s recommendation on behalf of the university. In recommending that the Board approve the award of a degree to an individual, the President certifies that the student has satisfied, or is expected to satisfy, the applicable degree requirements in Board Policy or in curricular requests approved by the Board.
- Board approval is contingent upon the student’s completion of all of the degree requirements. A degree may be awarded only after the student has completed the degree requirements.
- Approval of institutional recommendations by the Board shall not be to waive any degree requirement for an individual student.
- Recommendations for awarding degrees shall be submitted to the Board through its Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer and shall appear on the agenda of a regularly scheduled Board meeting.
- Universities are authorized to hold commencement exercises prior to Board approval of institutional recommendations.
- The recommendations shall be submitted in a uniform format determined by the Board.
- Recommendations shall be submitted to the Board through its Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer according to the following schedule:
- Recommendations for May commencement exercises or graduation shall be provided to the Board at its regularly scheduled May meeting.
- Recommendations for August commencement exercises or graduation shall be provided to the Board at its regularly scheduled August meeting.
- Recommendations for December commencement exercises or graduation shall be provided to the Board at its regularly scheduled December meeting.
Catalog of Graduation
(SDBOR Policy 2:17.3)
- The catalog of graduation begins with the summer term and ends with the subsequent spring term.
- Every student is required to have a catalog of graduation. New and transfer students are assigned the catalog in effect at the time of their initial enrollment at the university from which they are seeking a degree. Students may elect a catalog of graduation that is later than their initial catalog but may not elect a catalog of graduation that is earlier than their initial catalog.
- In order to receive a degree, a student must meet the program requirements listed in his/her catalog of graduation.
- Students who discontinue enrollment at any Regental university for more than two consecutive semesters are assigned the catalog in effect at the time of their re-enrollment as their catalog of graduation.
- Students are considered to be in continuous enrollment for purposes of the catalog of graduation so long as any break in enrollment at any Regental university is for two or fewer consecutive semesters (excluding summer) and students maintain their degree seeking status at the same Regental university.
- Students who change their degree seeking status from one Regental university to another Regental university are assigned the catalog of graduation that corresponds to the term they are admitted to their new degree granting university.
- Students who are not currently enrolled and who petition to graduate based on coursework previously completed at a Regental university are assigned the catalog in effect during the term they wish to graduate.
Commitment to Freedom of Expression/Intellectual Diversity
(SDBOR Policy 1:32)
South Dakota State University is committed to the principles of expression protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Those principles include a commitment to freedom in learning, academic freedom, freedom of expression, and freedom of association. In addition, the university is committed to intellectual diversity - fostering a learning environment that exposes students to and encourages exploration of a variety of ideological and political perspectives. Any complaints about violations of this commitment can be made to the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX Coordinator.
Complaints & Concerns
South Dakota State University’s primary objective is to assist students meet their academic goals through a positive and rigorous academic experience. In the case that a student has a concern, the university’s procedures should be followed to address these concerns and/or complaints. We strive to resolve these issues at the university level quickly and fairly.
Academic Concern &/or Complaint
Where minor concerns arise, we ask students to raise these concerns with the instructor or appropriate staff member with the goal of resolving the issue at this level. If the concern is not resolved at this level, we recommend visiting with the appropriate Department Head and Dean as needed.
If a complaint cannot be handled through these channels, the students may address the concern/complaint formally through the Academic Affairs office.
South Dakota State University
Administration (SAD) 230
Brookings, SD 57007
Academic Appeals Policy
Non-Academic Concern &/or Complaint
If you have concerns or complaints unrelated to academics, please select the appropriate option below based on the nature of your concern and/or complaint.
If your concern requires immediate assistance, please dial 911 or contact the University Police Department at 605-688-5117 (111 from any campus phone).
To make an online report, visit the web reporting website. You may also call the toll-free hotline at 844-880-0004. The online report and hotline are provided by Lighthouse Reports. You may choose to remain anonymous when providing information.
To make a report in person, please contact the Vice President for Student Affairs Office at 605-688-4493 or visit us in Morrill Hall room 312 or the Office of Title IX/EO at 605-688-4128 or visit us in Morrill Hall, room 100.
If you would like to talk with someone confidentially without making a report, please contact SDSU Counseling Services or Student Health Clinic at 605-688-4157.
Please visit Report It for additional information.
In addition, the following links provide more specific guidance on how to report a concern and/or complaint related to one of the below categories:
EO / Title IX
Crimes or Policy Violations
Grievance Regarding Student Behavior (Contact Dean of Students)
Grievance Regarding Residence Hall Student Behavior (Contact Community Assistant, Residence Hall Director, or University Housing & Residential Life Employee)
State Regulatory Information
Any person may file a complaint with the Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Regents to obtain a review and appropriate action on allegations that an institution governed by the Board:
- Violated South Dakota consumer protection laws;
- Engaged in fraud or false advertising;
- Violated South Dakota laws relating to the licensure of postsecondary institutions or programs;
- Failed to provide an educational program meeting contemporary standards for content and rigor;
- Failed to assign qualified instructors; or
- Violated one or more accreditation requirements.
Where the institution has not already considered and acted upon the complaint, the Executive Director will refer the matter to the institutional president for review and action. If the complainant challenges an institutional disposition of the complaint, the Executive Director will provide for an independent review and disposition of the allegations. The Executive Director may be contacted at:
The Office of the Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Regents
306 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 200
Pierre, SD 57501-2545
Allegations involving violation of consumer protection laws may also be filed with:
Office of Attorney General
Division of Consumer Protection
1302 E Hwy 14 Ste 3
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: 605-773-4400, 1-800-300-1986 (in-state only)
Web: online complaint form
Out-of-State Distance Education Students
Pursuant to the United States Department of Education’s Program Integrity Rule, South Dakota State University is required to provide all prospective and current students with the contact information of the state agency or agencies that handle complaints against postsecondary education institutions offering distance learning or correspondence education within that state.
For students residing in a SARA state, the complaint must be brought to the institution’s home state SARA portal entity. Students may submit complaints to the SD-SARA Portal Entity here.
For students in California, please contact the appropriate entity listed below.
SDSU’s Accreditor Complaint Procedure
SDSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. SDSU’s institutional accreditation along with program specific accreditation can be viewed on the university’s Accreditation webpage.
For more information regarding filing a complaint with the Higher Learning Commission visit their website.
- Dropping or adding courses should be discussed with one’s academic advisor. Courses can be dropped on Self-Service or in the Registrar’s Office.
- The drop/add period is the time period during which students may adjust their academic schedule for the term without financial or academic consequences. The last day of the drop/add period for a course is designated as the census date for that course and is the official date for enrollment reporting. The end of the drop and add period for standard and non-standard courses offered in a semester shall be the date the first 10 percent of the term ends or the day following the first class meeting, whichever is later. When calculating 10% of the term, breaks of five or more days are not included when counting the total number of days but Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays are. Student registrations can only be added to courses after the end of the drop and add period by approval of the chief academic officer (or designee) of the university.
- Students should not discontinue enrollment in a class without processing discontinuance via the official drop procedure. An “F” will be recorded for an unofficial drop.
Grades for Dropped Courses
Graduate students who drop a course shall receive a withdrawal grade if that action occurs anytime between the day after the census day for that course and the day that corresponds with the completion of 70 percent of the class days for that course.
Grades for Withdrawals from the Regental System (see “Withdrawals” for additional information)
Students who completely withdraw from the Regental system from the first day of a class(es) through census date of the class(es) will have a comment on the transcript stating Withdrawal and the date of the withdrawal. Graduate students who withdraw from the System shall receive a grade of “W” if that action occurs anytime between the day after the census day for that course and the day that corresponds with the completion of 70 percent of the class days for that course.
A notation of the date of withdrawal will be included on the student’s transcript if he/she withdraws from the system. (Refer to SDBOR Policy 5:7, section 2)
Last Day to Drop
For standard classes, the last day to receive a grade of “W” is determined by calculating 70 percent of the class meeting days in the term, counting from the first day of classes in the term and rounding up if the calculation produces a fractional value greater than or equal to 0.5.
For any non-standard course, the last day to receive a grade of “W” is based on the number of class meeting days for the course, using the method described above.
Similar proportional dates would be established by the Registrar’s Office for summer, interim and other courses taught outside of the normal nine-month academic year.
Students may not drop a course or withdraw from the System after the time period specified above. (Refer to SDBOR Policy 5:7, section 2)
If extenuating circumstances (i.e., illness) have prevented class participation, a petition for an individual drop may be filed.
Auditing a Course
Registration as an auditor in a course may be permitted. No credit is given. The audit fee is the established tuition and fee rate. Registration for audit may be accomplished only after registration day by presenting an Audit/Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory form to the Registrar’s Office, Enrollment Services Center.
Auditing courses by graduate students will be a matter of record (recorded on their academic transcript). An AU grade is given for Audit. This grade does not calculate into the semester or cumulative grade point average. Audit courses are counted as part of the 12 hour rule for overloads. Audit courses are not counted in calculating undergraduate or graduate full-time student status.
Cancellation of Courses
In general, entry level graduate courses (500 or 600 level courses) will not be offered to fewer than seven (7) students and graduate only (700 or 800 level courses) will not be offered to fewer than four (4) students unless there is some special reason for doing so. Instructors will cancel courses with low enrollment or for other reasons only with the approval of the dean of the academic college concerned.
(SDBOR Policy 2:8, section 3.4)
All courses taken appear on the student’s academic record, but when a course is repeated, only the most recent grade is calculated into the cumulative GPA. This policy applies to both undergraduate and graduate coursework. Relative to number of repeats allowed:
- A student may enroll in a graduate course (for which credit is granted only once) no more than two times without permission of the Director of the Graduate School.
- A student will be allowed unlimited enrollments in a graduate course for which credit toward graduation may be received more than once. An institution may limit the number of credit hours for courses that may be taken more than once that apply toward the requirements for a major.
Please notify the Registrar’s Office, Enrollment Services Center, when a course, whether failed or passed, is repeated.
Transfer of Credits
(SDSU Policy 2:17, SDBOR Policy 2:5)
Graduate credits earned at other institutions may be applied toward an advanced degree if they were awarded a grade of at least “B” (3.0), if they are approved by the advisor or advisory committee and the Graduate School, and if they are not part of a conferred degree. Transfer credit is limited to graduate credit as defined by the institution issuing the transcript. In order to be accepted by the Graduate School, the offering institution must accept the credits toward their graduate program without restriction at the graduate level. Dual-numbered courses offered primarily for upper-level undergraduate credit are not transferable as graduate credit. Requests for transfer of credits are usually made at the time a plan of study is approved and must be supported by an official transcript submitted to the Graduate School. A minimum of sixty (60) percent of all credits in the program must be earned at SDSU unless the program is part of an approved joint or cooperative degree. Credits earned at another institution as a part of an approved joint or cooperative degree program will not count as transfer credits for the purposes of this policy.
Undergraduate Students Taking Graduate Courses
(SDSU Policy 2:22, SDBOR Policy 2:8, section 3.3.1, SDBOR Policy 2:10)
Undergraduate students who have completed a minimum of 90 credit hours may request to enroll in 500/600 level. Students will pay graduate tuition and the courses will be recorded on a graduate transcript. A maximum of 12 graduate credits may apply to an undergraduate degree. SDSU Policy 2:22 Use of Graduate Credit for Undergraduate Degree Requirements designates standards concerning the use of graduate credit to fulfill undergraduate degree requirements as allowed by SDBOR Policy 2:8.
(SDSU Policy 5:28, SDBOR Policy 2:4; SDBOR Policy 2:4:1, SDBOR Policy 2:6.8, SDBOR Policy 2:33, SDBOR Policy 5:5, SDBOR Policy 5:7)
Those finding it necessary to withdraw from the university are urged to consult with a faculty advisor to work out the best plan possible and then contact the Registrar’s Office, Enrollment Services Center to process a withdrawal. Those who leave the university without processing an official withdrawal will be reported as having failed the semester’s work. Grades transcripted are based on the withdrawal date. A student may withdraw from the university until 70% of instruction has been completed (Contact the Registrar’s office for date information). After that date, if extenuating circumstances (i.e., illness) have prevented class participation, a petition for withdrawal may be filed through the Office of Academic Affairs.
A student is considered withdrawn during a term if classes have begun and:
- The student has registered for at least one course and the student has initiated withdrawal from all on-campus and off-campus courses at all Regental universities in which the student was actively enrolled at the time of withdrawal, including courses in progress as well as those that have not yet begun, or;
- The Regental Home University has completed withdrawal procedures for administrative reasons including, without limitation, non-payment of tuition and fees or disciplinary sanctions.
- Students enrolled in two or more Regental universities pursuant to financial aid consortia will be eligible for refunds as set forth herein only if they withdraw, drop out or are expelled from all classes at all Regental universities for which they have enrolled.
Students who withdraw or are administratively withdrawn, suspended or expelled from the Regental system within the drop/add period receive a 100 percent refund of tuition and per credit hour fees. Students who withdraw or are administratively withdrawn, suspended or expelled from the Regental system after the date the first 10 percent of the term ends for the period of enrollment for which they are assessed may be entitled to a refund per BOR Policy 5:7.
Family Education Rights & Privacy Act of 1974
(SDBOR Policy 3:2)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution at any age.) These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the university receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the university official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to ask the university to amend a record should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the university decides not to amend the record as requested, the university will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. As one example, the university discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the university who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent. A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the university.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
The Federal Privacy Act (FERPA) defines some information as Directory Information. SDSU allows the release of the following Directory Information concerning a student upon request, without the consent of the student.
- student’s name
- student class level
- degrees received
- major program of study
- minor program of study
- dates of attendance
- student’s university e-mail address
- photographic material (not including student ID photo)
- full-time/part-time status
- honors and awards
- athletic participation
- graduation date
(SDSU Policy 2:1)
- Among the tasks of instruction is that of evaluation of a student’s performance. Each course has its own particular parameters, and the evaluation procedure in any one course is not necessarily the same as that in another course. However, the most commonly used evaluation technique is that of written examinations or papers periodically due during the course, and a final examination at the end of the course. The final examination procedure has become so universal and accepted that a final examination period is set aside at the end of the semester in most colleges and universities. The Carnegie credit hour is calculated by contact hours with 15 contacts hours equating to 1 credit hour. Finals week is considered an integral part of the 17-week academic semester and critical to the credit hour calculation.
- It is the policy of South Dakota State University to adhere to the following:
- The final examination schedule will be published in the fall or spring course schedules. Courses offered for 2 or more credits will have an examination time determined by the final examination schedule published in the schedule book.
- Multiple section final examinations will be scheduled at 7:00 a.m. as published in the schedule book through a request process from the instructor to the Registrar’s office.
- Final exams for evening courses (any course that begins at 5:00 p.m. or later) must be scheduled at the regularly scheduled time (of the course) during finals week.
- Courses of 1 credit or laboratory only will have the final examination or alternative learning experience during the last week of regular classes before final examination week.
- Every course except as noted in #2, #3, and #4 above is required to follow the final examination schedule.
- Five days are to be scheduled for final examinations at the end of each semester, fall and spring. Due to the variety of summer sessions and other accelerated course formats, the final day of the term will be reserved for the final examination.
- A block of 2 hours will be available for administering individual final examinations. Within the final examination time period, instructors may reduce the time limit of an examination by prior announcement.
- Final examinations are an integral part of the instructional program and should be given in all courses except in some cases such as laboratory, studio, capstone courses, seminars, colloquia and other independent learning credits, where a final examination may not be appropriate. Any instructor wishing to waive the right to a final examination must do so by submitting a request as outlined under Procedures. The right to waive the final examination does not, however, preclude the requirement to hold class during final examination week for an alternative learning experience. The discipline is responsible for defining appropriate alternative learning experiences.
- Take home final examinations are permissible but the course must still meet during final examination week for alternative learning experience.
- Online and hybrid courses must be held to the same standard for final examinations and can only be administered during final examination week.
- If a final examination is used, it should not be given early. The published final examination schedule must be followed and the final examination in a course should be given as scheduled and not at other times, even if the faculty member and all students in a course agree to such a change. This is true even if the final examination is an alternative learning experience. It is understood that some culminating learning assessment may be administered during the last week of classes. This does not preclude the requirement however, for these classes to meet during finals week.
- The week of classes preceding the scheduled final examination period should be used primarily for continued instruction and may include the introduction of new material. No final examinations are to be given during the seven days preceding the start of the examination period (excluding 1 credit courses). However, laboratory practicums, seminar presentations, etc. may be scheduled in that week.
- Individual students may petition in writing for a variance from these policies, provided the instructor is satisfied that the exception is based on good and sufficient reasons, and that such an exception for an early or late examination will not prejudice the interests of other students in the course. Reasons for individual students missing a scheduled examination will be handled by the department. Each department will decide what will, or will not, be an acceptable excuse and deal with individual hardship cases. Note that the SDSU Attendance Policy should be consulted for excused absences. In the event of a department approved excuse, the instructor will decide the procedure necessary to complete the course requirement. Instructors must have the consent of the department head in excusing the student.
- When students have more than three final examinations on the same day, they are entitled to arrange an alternative examination time for an examination or examinations scheduled on that day. Such arrangements must be made no later than the end of the 12th week of the semester. Students are expected to provide evidence to the Registrar’s Office that they have more than three examinations to qualify for exceptions.
- This policy applies to all undergraduate and graduate students, including seniors. Graduating seniors are not exempted from final examinations.
- Each instructor, department head and dean is responsible for enforcing the above policies. The SDSU Attendance Policy will be used to establish acceptable excuses for missing and retaking a final examination.
- Any instructor wishing to request a waiver from administering a final examination must do so by submitting a request to the department head for approval. The department head will then forward such requests to the college dean. A course need only be approved once; however, if substantive modifications are made to a course, it should be resubmitted for approval.
Graduate Academic Standards/Grades
Cumulative 3.0 (B) Average
The student must maintain a 3.0 (B) cumulative grade point average for courses in the graduate plan of study. No credit is given toward a graduate degree for any grade below “C” in 500, 600, 700 or 800 level courses. Students must have a cumulative plan of study GPA of 3.0 in order to graduate.
Dissertation/Thesis/Research or Design Paper Credits
Graduate students usually register for dissertation/thesis/research or design paper credit during several semesters. A grade of satisfactory (S), unsatisfactory (U), or (NP) normal progress may be assigned during the semester of registration, based on progress made. Credits receiving “U” will not be credited toward the plan of study.
A letter grade or a grade of Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) may be assigned at the discretion of the instructor.
When a graduate student is given an Incomplete grade (I) for any course in the student’s plan of study, the instructor may indicate in writing to the student what additional work must be completed and may establish a date at which such work must be completed. If the work is not completed in either the manner or time prescribed, the instructor may change the Incomplete grade to whatever grade is justified as an evaluation of the student’s work or may allow the grade to remain Incomplete. Incomplete grades given without this procedure will remain as Incomplete on the student’s record unless changed because of completion of the remaining work in the course. Incomplete coursework must be completed within one calendar year; extensions may be granted by the Director of the Graduate School.
All courses taken appear on the student’s academic record, but when a course is repeated, only the most recent grade is calculated into the cumulative GPA. Students should notify the Registrar’s Office, when a course, whether failed or passed, is repeated.
(SDBOR Policy 2:10)
Graduate Grades will be assigned to the Graduate Academic Level and to all courses and sections with course numbers of 500 or greater. Plus and minus grades are not used.
Lowest Passing Grade
Grade not Reported by Instructor
Credit by Exam
Note for NSE/MEDT
Lab grade linked to Recitation Grade
|4.00 grade points per semester hour
3.00 grade points per semester hour
2.00 grade points per semester hour
1.00 grade points per semester hour
0.00 grade points per semester hour
Does not calculate into any GPA
Does not calculate into any GPA
Does not calculate into any GPA, no credit granted
Does not calculate into any GPA, no credit granted
Does not calculate into any GPA
Does not calculate into any GPA
0 credit tracking course
Does not calculate into any GPA
Does not calculate into any GPA
Does not calculate into any GPA
Does not calculate into any GPA
Does not calculate into any GPA, no credit granted
0 credit course
AU: An audit (AU) grade may be granted only when the student has elected the AU option on or prior to the census date of the term.
CR: A credit (CR) grade may be granted only for non-course credit that is not related to an examination or to equating transfer grades to the BOR grading system. This grade is not used for any Regental university course.
EX: An examination for credit (EX) grade may be granted only for non-course credit validation obtained through a validation process. This grade is not used for any Regental university course.
I: An incomplete (I) grade may be granted at the graduate level only when all of the following conditions apply:
- A student has encountered extenuating circumstances that do not permit him/her to complete the course.
- The student must be earning a passing grade at the time the Incomplete is necessitated. Anticipated course failure is not a justification for an Incomplete.
- The student does not have to repeat the course to meet the requirements.
- The instructor must agree to grant an Incomplete grade.
- The instructor and student must agree on a plan to complete the coursework.
- The coursework must be completed within one calendar year; extensions may be granted by the Director of the Graduate School.
- If the student completes the course within the specified time, the grades that may be assigned are A, B, C, D, F, S, or U.
- If the student does not complete the course within the specified time, the Incomplete grade remains on the transcript.
IP: An in progress (IP) grade may be granted only when all of the following conditions apply:
- The requirements for the course (for every student enrolled in the course) extend beyond the current term.
- The extension beyond the current term must be defined before the class begins.
- The instructor must request permission to award IP grades for a course from his/her Department Head and Dean, and then approval must be obtained from the Chief Academic Affairs Officer.
- A definite date for completion of the course must be established in the course syllabus.
NG: A grade of NG will be used only with those course sections that are designated as Tracking/Program Sustaining (Q) and those that are assigned the code for Master’s Research Problems/Projects Sustaining, Thesis Sustaining, or Dissertation Sustaining (U).
NP: A normal progress (NP) grade may be granted by an instructor when the instructor determines that a graduate student is making normal progress in a graduate Thesis/Dissertation course. If a graduate student does not enroll for a period of one calendar year, the NP grade may change to I (Incomplete) upon approval by the Director of the Graduate School. The NP grade calculates into attempted credits but does not calculate into completed credits or grade point averages.
S/U: A Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grade may be granted only when the entire course requires the S/U grade or the student has elected the S/U option on or prior to the census date of the term.
With the exception of an “I” that has not been completed within the specified time, any grade reported to the Registrar may be changed by recommendation of the instructor and college dean with approval of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Extended Studies.
Any graduating senior or graduating graduate student who receives an Incomplete or In Progress grade in the final semester in a course required for graduation, or who has not removed an outstanding Incomplete or In Progress from a previous semester in a course required for graduation by the date grades are due for the semester, will not be permitted to graduate that semester. He or she will be required to apply for graduation in a subsequent semester. Emergency situations require the filing of a petition by the student to his/her Academic Dean for approval prior to the final grading deadline for the final semester.
Grades of I (Incomplete), NP (Normal Progress), IP (In Progress) and NR (Not Reported) awarded to thesis/dissertation coursework will be changed to S (Satisfactory) upon completion of all other degree requirements. The change of grade will be conducted without specific consent of the instructor. Completion of course work with the 798 or 898 suffix awarded a U (Unsatisfactory) must be changed by standard processes.
Once a student has graduated and the degree has been recorded, the record is considered officially closed and grades can no longer be changed.
The student must submit a graduation application on MyState by the date specified by the Graduate School for the term in which completion of the advanced degree is expected. Failure to submit this application will result in a delay in graduation. Students who submit an application but fail to graduate will be assessed a $50 charge and a registration hold will be placed on their account. The registration hold will be removed once the charge is paid.
All students are encouraged to participate in the spring commencement ceremony; however, attendance is optional. Graduate students who have not completed all degree requirements for graduation may participate in commencement; however, they will need to submit a request to participate form with advisor’s signature approximately 6 weeks prior to commencement. Graduate students will have two opportunities to participate in commencement: 1) the next regularly scheduled ceremony following completion of the degree or 2) the second regularly scheduled ceremony following completion of the degree. Students will only be allowed to attend no more than one commencement ceremony per completed degree. Attendance at commencement or inclusion in the commencement program does not, in itself, constitute completing or receiving a graduate degree.
Diplomas may be picked up or are mailed approximately three months after the degree is awarded.
See the graduation website for more information regarding graduation and commencement guidelines.
(SDBOR Policy 2:17.2)
- The official date of graduation for the term is the last date of the term. For the Fall and Spring terms, this date is the last date of final examinations. For the Summer term, it is the last date of the full summer term. This date of graduation will be recorded both on the academic transcript and on the diploma.
- Commencement ceremonies may be held prior to the official graduation date or after the official graduation date.
- A student’s official date of graduation shall be the official date of graduation for the term in which the student successfully completes all requirements.
- The final graduation verification date for each term will be two days prior to the Clearinghouse certification date.
- The institution’s Vice President for Academic Affairs may make an exception to the final graduation verification date for student teachers who complete their student teaching experience on a date after the verification deadline.
- The Medical School is exempted from the final graduation verification date.
- Other than the exceptions noted above for student teachers and the Medical School, a student’s date of graduation will not be backdated. If the student does not meet graduation requirements prior to the verification deadline, the student must apply for graduation in a future term.
Postdoctoral students or eminent scholars who desire temporary privileges of the research facilities, staff counsel, library or seminars at the institution and who are not candidates for a degree, must obtain approval of the Department Head, Dean and/or Director concerned.
Students Called to Active Military Service
(SDBOR Policy 2:4:1, section 6, SDBOR Policy 2:30, SDBOR Policy 5:7)
Students who belong to a military unit called for duty or who are drafted and not eligible for deferment and who are required to withdraw from state supported institutions before completing an academic program to which they have been duly admitted will be eligible to resume work on the program after their release from active duty. SDBOR Policy 5:7 sets forth Board policies concerning special tuition refunds and related policies that take effect when students are required to report for active duty part-way through an academic term.
Student Code of Conduct
(SDSU Policy 3:1)
South Dakota State University has established standards for expected and acceptable behavior for members of its campus community. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards and related policies so that they know their responsibilities (what they may be held accountable for) and to protect their rights (what they may hold others accountable for).
Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general support for the well-being of society. Free inquiry and expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on campus and in the community. Students are expected to exercise this freedom with responsibility.
The Student Conduct Code is the basic guideline reflecting university-student relations. The Code defines student behavior, expectations and related university conduct procedures. Refer to SDSU Policy 3:1 for the Student Conduct Code policies and procedures.
Student Complaints - Institutional Record
To comply with federal regulations, the Higher Learning Commission expects SDSU and affiliated institutions to make available an account of the student complaints it has received, its processing of those complaints, and how that processing comports with the institution’s policies and procedures on the handling of grievances or complaints. (HLC Policy Number: FDCR.A.10.030) Records will be kept with Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Human Resources and departments responsible for student support and accountability.
The complaint process is subject to the South Dakota Board of Regents policies, and will follow the institutional policies listed below:
Policy 2:4 Student Academic Misconduct and Academic Appeals
Policy 3:1 Student Code of Conduct
Policy 4:3 Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Affirmative Action
Policy 4:4 Sexual Harassment
Policy 4:5 Prevention of Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking
Policy 4:6 Human Rights Complaints
SDSU’s main objective is to help students meet their academic goals through a positive and rigorous academic experience. In addition to the above-referenced policies, SDSU maintains a webpage outlining the various processes for students with concerns and complaints, whether academic or non-academic.
(SDSU Policy 3:8)
Email messages sent by SDSU to students through university-assigned, jacks email addresses will constitute an official means of communication. It is the student’s responsibility and obligation to access official university email messages in a timely manner. Students will be responsible for maintaining and managing their university e-mail accounts to ensure timely response to notifications and that storage space allotment is not exceeded. As other email accounts may be blocked by the SDSU firewall, SDSU is only able to monitor student emails coming from university-assigned email accounts.
Inappropriate use of the university student e-mail system will be considered a violation of policy, and students who so violate will be disciplined in accordance with the Student Conduct Code. Student violators may also be subject to revocation or limitation of e-mail privileges as well as referral to appropriate external authorities.
Student Recording of Classroom Lectures, Distribution of Course Materials, & Copyright Violations
(SDSU Policy 2:16, SDSU Policy 7:3, SDSU Policy 9:4)
Recording of Classroom Lectures and Distribution of Course Materials policy prohibits or restricts the recording of classroom lectures or redistribution of classroom materials in order to respect the integrity and effectiveness of the classroom experience, protect students’ and faculty members’ privacy, respect faculty and university rights in instructional materials, and to comply with copyright laws, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (“DMCA”). Students are encouraged to report instances of copyright infringement in good faith to the Office of Student Conduct (for students) and SDSU Human Resources (for SDSU employees).
Before a degree is granted, the student must meet all the requirements of the advisory committee, the graduate program, and the Graduate School. Students should note that graduate studies represent advanced work and research in a discipline or interdisciplinary area and should be more than a compilation of course work. Students are responsible for conforming to all published academic policies and degree requirements. They are likewise responsible for the regulations concerning the degree they plan to obtain and any special requirements within the program or academic unit. In addition, it is the student’s responsibility to conform to the university’s policies regarding the standard of work necessary to maintain enrollment in the Graduate School. The university makes every effort to provide accurate advising information. However, it is the student’s responsibility to make certain that he/she has fulfilled all graduation requirements.
Students with Disabilities
(SDSU Policy 4:13)
South Dakota State University (SDSU) reaffirms that it is committed to a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of physical or mental disability/impairment in the offering of all benefits, services, educational, and employment opportunities.
The Disability Services Assistant Director works with students with documented disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act to ensure access to the University’s programs, services, and activities. For information, please e-mail the Office of Disability Services or call 605-688-4504.
The ADA Coordinator is responsible for the effective coordination of ADA procedures, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and serves as a contact for students seeking information concerning the provisions of the ADA and their respective duties and rights provided therein. The ADA Coordinator is designated as the SDSU ‘Responsible Employee’ to coordinate institutional compliance and is committed to ensuring that SDSU provides an inclusive and accessible environment.
Study Abroad & Travel Warnings
(SDSU Policy 2:11)
SDSU Policy 2:11 (Study Abroad and Travel Warnings) addresses the procedures to be followed when the U.S. Department of State or federal government or state agency with authority over aspects of travel issue travel warnings for a country or location in which SDSU undergraduate or graduate students are studying or are planning to study, or where the federal government otherwise takes actions to curtail or prevent international travel.
(SDSU Policy 2:10)
The SDSU Textbook policy and related procedures set forth the requirements for selecting and ordering textbooks and course materials and for making all materials available to students in a timely manner. Refer to SDSU Policy 2:10 for the Textbook policy and procedure.