Admission to a Graduate Program
Students wishing to pursue a graduate degree program apply to and are admitted directly to that program. Applications should be sent to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research for processing and a review for deficiencies. Applications must be received in accordance with deadline requirements set for that program.
Minimum Admission Requirements
Dakota State University (DSU) and its graduate programs seek highly motivated individuals with educational and professional credentials that will enable them to be successful graduate students. Minimum admission requirements are established by the DSU Graduate Council. Degree-specific requirements are established by the college offering the graduate program and reviewed and approved by DSU Graduate Council. Additional restrictions and requirements may be based on Board of Regents policy.
DSU bases admission to its graduate programs upon the academic qualifications of applicants. The underlying principle for acceptance is a demonstration of ability to successfully complete the desired program (see Academic Maturity ). Admission to all degree programs is competitive and subject to the resource constraints necessary to provide quality graduate education within each program.
- Completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university;
- A minimum undergraduate grade point average of 2.7 or a minimum graduate grade point average of 3.0;
- Demonstration of sufficient proficiency in written and oral English (applies to international applicants).
Individual programs have additional admission requirements. Please refer to specific program details for additional admission requirements.
Additional Admission Requirements for International Students
International applicants must submit evidence that they are proficient in English and financially self-sustaining. The following documents must be included in the application:
- A baccalaureate degree that is recognized as equivalent to a 4-year bachelor’s degree in the U.S. The credential must have an authorized signature clearly showing the date of entry in the program and date of graduation.
- An English translation of their transcripts with a grade point average or overall percentage calculated and provided, either on the transcript or in a notarized document. The university reserves the right to ask for an evaluation of foreign transcripts by a DSU recognized transcript evaluation agency.
- A minimum GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent. The transcript or grade sheet must describe the grading system and indicate both the grading system used and the highest mark attainable and the lowest passing mark.
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score. The university requires a minimum score of 550 on the PBT, 213 on the CBT, 79 on the IBT, or a minimum of 6.5 on the IELTS.
Proof of an undergraduate or graduate degree from a regionally accredited college/university in the United States.
- Documentation that they are financially self-sustaining. Students must use the DSU Declaration and Certification of Finances form, official bank statements, notarized support letters, or some other official affidavit.
The U.S. Department of Justice expects all international applicants to demonstrate sufficient proficiency in written and oral English to be successful in graduate school. Applicants whose native language is not English and who have not obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited American college or university must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Required minimum score for the TOEFL is 79 for the Internet-based test (IBT), 550 for the paper-based test (PBT), 213 for the computer-based test (CBT), and a minimum of 6.5 for the IELTS. Applicants who score below the minimum required score, but who otherwise meet the academic requirements for admission, will be required to take non-credit concentrated English Language training at the Dakota State University Language Institute or some other similar language program. Those applicants will not be admitted to an academic degree program until they meet the minimum TOEFL score or pass the Michigan Test of English Language.
International students, except for those entitled to establish a legal domicile in South Dakota, are required to purchase the South Dakota Board of Regents’ endorsed student health insurance plan for themselves, their spouses and their dependents. (See BOR Policy 3:14).
Certificate of Visa Eligibility
The University can issue a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 Form) only after the applicant has been admitted to the graduate program, satisfying both English proficiency and financial sustainability. In general, foreign students should not plan to arrive on campus until they have been officially notified of admission and have received the I-20 Form. They should have an F-1 (student) visa issued in their native country.
Applicants are responsible for assembling and submitting all parts of the application for graduate study. Each applicant must provide the following: completed application form, application fee, one official transcript for all college work, three forms of recommendation, official scores of the standardized graduate admission tests, and any required program specific documentation.
Graduate Application Form
A complete application form includes the application form and a separate page of program specific required information. Specific degree programs may require additional documents or statements. A non-refundable application fee, drawn on a U.S. Bank, must accompany the form. If the application fee is not included, the application will not be processed.
Degree seeking students should have one official transcript from all institutions of higher education attended or currently attending (with the exception of transcripts from a South Dakota Regental University) sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. Neither photocopies nor transcripts marked “student copy” are acceptable, except under special circumstances with prior permission. Alternatively, official transcripts can be included in the application packet. To ensure their authenticity, the transcripts must be inside a sealed envelope. The registrar’s signature and the school’s seal must be across the sealed flap.
Students who apply before completing their baccalaureate degree should submit an incomplete transcript with their application. They should make arrangements to have the final transcript sent upon completion of the undergraduate degree. The final transcript should be filed during the first semester of graduate work.
Transcripts in a language other than English must be accompanied by an official translation provided by either a professional translation service or the college/university issuing the transcript. Students may be asked to submit an evaluation or request for evaluation for foreign transcripts. The university reserves the right to ask for an evaluation of foreign transcripts by a DSU recognized transcript evaluation agency.
Forms of Recommendation
Applicants should have three forms of recommendation, sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. If instead the forms are included with the completed application, the references should seal their completed recommendation form inside an envelope and sign across the sealed envelope flap to ensure confidentiality. Forms of recommendation should come from individuals who can comment on the applicant’s academic ability and professional competency.
Standardized Graduate Admission Tests (GRE/GMAT)
DSU Graduate Programs require applicants to submit their scores from the Graduate Record Exam/Graduate Management Admissions Test. See program requirements for which exam is required for specific programs. Applicants must have the test scores sent directly to the DSU Office of Graduate Studies and Research.
Information, including sample test questions and hints for taking the test, is available at these addresses: www.gre.org and www.gmac.com/gmac/thegmat.
Other documentation as required by individual college programs
Applicants should check the graduate programs section for this information or contact the specific college or the Office of Graduate Studies and Research for more information on program specific application requirements.
- All students, who reside on campus or who receive instruction at one of the residential campuses, and students who attend classes at the University Center in Sioux Falls must document their immune status for measles, mumps, and rubella. Students are not required to document their immune status to attend classes at other locations or through the Internet. Proof of two doses of measles vaccine or of the presence of an immune antibody titer against measles shall be required. This documentation may be accomplished by either a State Health Department certificate, or it may be included as part of the institution’s physical exam report. A student who fails to provide satisfactory documentation of his or her immune status shall not be permitted to register for or to attend classes. Every attempt should be made to collect this information at the time of admission. For special circumstances, an institution’s president or the president’s designee may grant an extension of the deadline for an amount of time determined necessary. In no case may the extension be longer than one semester. A medical waiver may also be forwarded to the admitting institution for its review and action.
- Students who are unable to ascertain their immunization status may obtain, at their own expense, the necessary tests and vaccination from the Student Health Service of their university.
- In the event the South Dakota State Department of Health declares an epidemic of measles or rubella, the institution involved shall provide to the State Department of Health a list of students who have not submitted immunization documentation. Subsequent campus actions shall consider the advice and authority of the South Dakota State Department of Health. Students who have no vaccination or immunity against the required preventable infectious diseases may be dismissed from the campus.
- Vaccination for hepatitis B is required for students before they can be admitted to certain health profession programs. Each institution will compile information about current program-related vaccination requirements and make this information available to students along with other curricular and registration materials. It will be the responsibility of the department of the specific health profession program to ensure that the vaccination requirement has been met.
- Immunizations for tetanus, diphtheria, poliomyelitis, varicella, and meningitis are recommended.
Submitting the Application
Applications should be sent to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. Admission deadlines and entry semesters may vary. All materials submitted for application become the property of Dakota State University and will not be returned to the applicant. Please see the individual program to determine application deadlines.
Application Review and Evaluation
Only complete application files will be reviewed for admission. The Office of Graduate Studies and Research coordinates the admissions process with the graduate program committees. The Graduate Office first reviews the arriving materials to ensure applications are complete and to determine whether or not minimum admission requirements and prerequisites for admission have been met. Applicants are then notified of receipt of the materials and whether or not there are deficiencies in the package. As soon as an application is complete, it is forwarded to the relevant graduate program admissions committee for evaluation at their next scheduled meeting. The graduate program committee makes admission decisions. The Office of Graduate Studies and Research notifies applicants.
On rare occasions, with well-defined extenuating circumstances, an incomplete application may be evaluated for admission to a graduate program. In such circumstances, the reasons for the deficiency must be documented. The committee has the authority to admit the applicant on a conditional basis or to waive the requirement.
Admission Status/Student Classification
Regular Admission (Unconditional Admission)
Unconditional admission, also referred to as ‘regular’ or ‘full’ admission, is granted to applicants who fully meet the minimum admission standards and the program-specific admission requirements.
Applicants who do not fully satisfy all admission criteria, (e.g. grades, test scores, demonstrated basic knowledge in the discipline, or other credentials) but do show sufficient promise may be conditionally admitted to a graduate degree program. Conditional admission permits the applicant to enter the program on a trial or probationary basis. A student admitted on a conditional basis must:
- Satisfy any condition serving as the basis for conditional admission within the allotted time period as required by their program and/or the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research; and/or
- Demonstrate potential for success by achieving at least a grade of “B” in each course taken during the first 9 credit hours of enrollment.
Students who do not meet these criteria will be suspended. The college offering the degree program, in consultation with the Office of Graduate Studies and Research, is responsible for monitoring and tracking the student’s status.
Graduate students who withdraw from the university or are suspended from their program must apply for readmission through the Office of Graduate Studies and Research at least one month prior to registration for that semester. Readmission forms are available in the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. If any graduate work was undertaken at another institution during the intervening time, those transcripts must be furnished to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.
The degree program’s Graduate Admissions Committee will review the readmission request and make a recommendation for readmission. The student’s advisor and/or advisory committee, in consultation with the program coordinator, may require the student to file a new Plan of Study. Note that the program description and curriculum in effect at the time of readmission applies to the student’s academic program plans.
Special Student (Non-degree seeking) Status
The term ‘graduate student’ applies only to those students who meet minimum standards for admission and/or have been recommended for admission either unconditionally or conditionally. A student who holds a baccalaureate-level degree who wishes to take course work but who does not want to enter (or has not been admitted to) a degree program, may enroll in graduate-level courses provided that the student meets prerequisite conditions for the specific course(s), as determined by the course instructor.These students will be designated as special students-post-graduate.
Any student holding a baccalaureate or professional degree from a regionally accredited institution may register for individual courses at the graduate level without making formal application to a degree program. An applicant seeking special student status is not required to furnish transcripts or recommendations. There is no minimum GPA requirement.
If a special student decides to work toward a graduate degree, he/she must apply for admission into the degree program. Courses taken as a special student will be applicable to a graduate degree only by permission of the program coordinator and the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. A maximum of nine (9) graduate credit hours earned while enrolled as a special student may be applied to a graduate degree program. Students who have been denied admission to a degree program are permitted to apply for special student status and may enroll for individual courses. Special students are not eligible for financial aid.