University of South Dakota

Updated December 1, 2022 · 3 Min Read

Learn more about the various counseling degree programs available at University of South Dakota. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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The Dakota Territorial Legislature founded the school that would one day become the University of South Dakota in 1862, but it took almost two decades before classes started. Students attended classes in a small courthouse and other buildings around the territory before the school built its own campus. That campus slowly grew over the years to cover more than 200 acres that includes dozens of buildings that house classes, restaurants, study rooms, athletic facilities and other amenities for students. The campus is also home to its own television station, radio station and several newspapers and journals.

The university has seven colleges or schools on-campus that house different departments, including the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Health Sciences and College of Fine Arts. USD, the name most call the university, is also home to the state's only law school and medical school. Former students won prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, and nine alumni also received Rhodes Scholar honors. Though there are less than 10,000 students attending USD, it still ranks as the largest and most active public university in the entire state.

University of South Dakota Accreditation Details

If you earned college credits in high school or at a community college and want to transfer those credits to a new program, you need to ensure that the new program has regional accreditation. Anyone hoping to transfer credits to USD will find that it has regional accreditation from an organization called the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS). With this type of accreditation, you can also look forward to getting a degree when you graduate. The university also has several types of specialty accreditation from specific professional organizations like the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications and the American Physical Therapy Association. Other types of accreditation held by USD comes from:

  • American Psychological Association
  • American Occupational Therapy Association
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • National Association of Schools of Music and Dance
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Liaison Committee on Medical Education

University of South Dakota Application Requirements

USD requires that all incoming freshmen score 21 or higher on the ACT or 990 or higher on the SAT, but those students also qualify for acceptance for maintaining a GPA of 2.6 or graduating within the top half of their high school classes. You should also provide a transcript that shows you took four English classes, three math classes, three lab science classes, three social science classes and two foreign language classes. USD requires that you earned a grade of C or higher in all the core classes associated with each subject. You'll also need to send in a high school transcript and an official test score, submit an online application and pay a $20 processing fee.

There are different requirements in place for those applying to the USD graduate school. You must still apply online and pay a $35 fee, but you'll also need to download a letter of recommendation form, ask someone familiar with your work to fill it out on your behalf and send it back to the university. Graduate students must also submit an official transcript from each college attended and an official test score. USD also asks for a statement of purpose that essentially explains why you want to study at the university.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The University of South Dakota charges around $280 per credit hour, which includes all fees, for both South Dakota residence and the children of alumni. The cost for nonresidents is closer to $390 per credit hour. It has deals in place with both Minnesota and Iowa that allow students in those states to take classes at USD and pay less per credit hour. Cheaper tuition rates are also available for state and local government employees and residents over the age of 65. South Dakota graduate students pay close to $360 per credit hour for tuition and all fees, but this price rises to nearly $650 for nonresidents. As with undergrads, the university charges reduced rates for residents of Minnesota and Iowa, government workers and older students.

Though most students qualify for financial aid, the university will not send out award packages until receiving and processing the FAFSA filed by each student. The amount you can get depends on whether you are an undergrad or graduate student, how much your parents can help you and the number of credits you take. The work-study program is one option for undergrads, but those students can also qualify for scholarships, grants and loans. Grad students may also take out loans, grants and scholarships, but they can also apply for positions working within their departments.

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Degrees Available in Psychology and Counseling

Though USD offers few counseling program options for undergrads, it offers a number of opportunities for grad students. Its general counseling program is available at the education doctorate, doctoral and graduate levels. There is also a mental health counseling certificate available that you can complete at the same time that you finish your degree. Its human development psychology program focuses on how children grow and develop over time and looks closely at issues like developmental delays and working with special needs students. Students can also enroll in the school psychology program, which teaches them how to work as school counselors. You'll learn more about creating unique programs to inform your students, how to identify signs of physical and emotional abuse and even the basics of talking and working with the parents of your students.

The USD Department of Psychology offers a BA and a BS degree in psychology. Though both programs give you a basic understanding of psychology topics, BS students must take more research, math and lab science classes. USD recommends that psych students minor in disaster relief, which teaches them how to react and what to do in emergency situations. The university also offers an MA in psychology program, but the university designed this program to help students easily transition to a doctoral program. The doctoral psychology programs offered by the University of South Dakota include programs in psychology, clinical psychology and human factors.

See also: The Top 10 Online Master’s Degrees in Student Affairs and College Counseling

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