South Dakota State University

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Updated August 7, 2020

South Dakota State University was founded in 1881 as Dakota Agricultural College. In 1964 the school became a university and is South Dakota's largest and second oldest school of higher education. The US News and World Report ranks SDSU as # 202 of National Universities. The university is organized into seven colleges which offer 73 majors, 33 master's degree programs and 15 doctoral degree programs. South Dakota State has an undergraduate student body of 10,012 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1.

Accreditation Details

The university is accredited by:

  • North Central Association of the Higher Learning Council Commission on Schools and Colleges
  • The pharmacology programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacological Education
  • The nursing programs are accredited by CCNE
  • The teacher education programs are accredited by NCATE
  • The engineering programs are accredited by ABET
  • The business programs at are accredited by the AACSB

Application Requirements

If you are applying to South Dakota State University as a first-time freshman, you should complete the application form. It is found online but may be submitted through standard mail. There is a $20 non-refundable application fee. You should also complete a scholarship application at this time, if you did not get one from your high school counselor. You will need to submit two letters of recommendation for most programs although the nursing degree program and the family financial planning program require three letters. You should have your high school send your final official transcript. You should also arrange for the agency that administered the SAT or ACT test, depending upon which you took, to the school. You will need proof of your immunity to measles and to Rubella. To be admitted to SDSU, freshmen applicants must be in the upper 60th percentile of their high school classes, score 18 on the ACT or 870 on the SAT, or have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.6. Graduate students will need to complete the application, pay a $35 non-refundable fee and submit three letters of recommendation in addition to the other requirements. There are other requirements by department as well.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate tuition at SDSU is $3,585 for South Dakota residents. Those living within the tuition recipricosity area pay $3,990. For non-residents tuition is $5,190. The school housing rate is $1,842 and the meal plan is $1,650. There is an activity fee of $510, and books and supplies are estimated at $500 as well. The average in-state freshman will pay $16,174 for a year at SDSU and a non-resident student will pay $19,384. Graduate students from South Dakota will pay $347.05 in tuition and mandatory fees per credit hour. Non- resident graduate students will pay $635.95 per credit hour. If you are planning college expenses, you should also factor in personal expenses and things like transportation. SDSU is affordable by most standards, but degree programs are a big-ticket item.

Everyone is encouraged to complete a FAFSA form which may qualify them for federal grants, loans or work-study opportunities. South Dakota also has some grants available for underclassmen. Some of these are needs-based and others are based upon academic achievement. The South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship is one of these. The Dakota Corps Scholarship is available to students in degree programs that are preparing them for critical jobs. There is also a South Dakota Needs-Based Grant which is awarded to students with financial need.

There are many scholarships available to SDSU students based upon their programs of study, their participation in athletics or other extra-curricular activities and other criteria. For these university opportunities, you only have to complete one scholarship application. There are other grants and scholarships that are based upon belonging to a certain population demographic such as Native American or other minorities. Private individuals often fund memorial scholarships and other grants to students under differing requirements and some financial aid is provided by service organizations or corporations. To find these opportunities, you can do an Internet search. If you have used all your "free money," and still are short of meeting your financial obligations, you might apply for a student loan from a private lending institution. Although these loans must be repaid, they are typically made at a lower APR and have an option to delay repayment until after graduation.

Related Resource: Top 20 Most Affordable Online Master's in Political Science 2017

Online Degrees Available

South Dakota State University offers several online degrees. Bachelor's degrees are awarded in Geography, Interdisciplinary Studies, Medical Library Science, Nursing and Sociology. If you are looking for an online master's degree program, you can choose from many including Chemistry, Sociology, Educational Administration and others. There are also online certificate programs. The Master's in Sociology degree program is an M.S. in Sociology-Community Development. Some of the areas you will study if you select this program are architecture, Native American studies, economics, community planning and others. What makes this program unique is that it is taught collaboratively across several disciplines and through different institutions. You will learn to look at the "whole picture," in sociology. You can specialize the degree in four ways: gaining an expertise in working with Native populations, building up the economic resources of a community, managing natural resources or managing non-profits.

There are three options for earning this master's degree. Option A is a thesis program with five credits in the thesis and fourteen in electives. Option B is a non-thesis program that features an internship and independent study and Option C is a flexible option with twenty-three credits of electives. Options A and B require thirty-six credits for graduation and option C requires forty. Required core courses for all options include Orientation to Community development, Orientation to Community Change, Community and Regional Economic Policy and Analysis, Community Natural Resource Management, Community Analysis and Principles and Strategies of Community Change. This innovative and comprehensive degree program at South Dakota State University will prepare you for exciting and diverse specialized careers in sociology.

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