Dakota State University or specific programs offered are accredited by the following agencies:
- The Higher Learning Commission
230 S. LaSalle St. - Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604-1413 • (312) 263-0456 • 1-800-621-7440
- Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
- Division of Education of the South Dakota Department of Education and Cultural Affairs
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
- National Security Agency (NSA)
- State Approving Agency as programs eligible for veterans benefits
- Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education
This catalog describes the academic programs and student services offered at Dakota State University, helps you select a degree program that suits your career plans and life-long interests, and provides the information you need to pursue a program of study at Dakota State University.
The Legislature established Dakota State University as an institution specializing in programs in computer management, computer information systems, and other related undergraduate and graduate programs. The secondary purpose is to offer two-year, one-year and short courses for application and operator training in the areas authorized. A special emphasis is the preparation of the elementary and secondary teachers with expertise in the use of computer technology and information processing in the teaching and learning process.
The Board implemented SDCL 13-59-2.2 by authorizing undergraduate and graduate programs that are technology-infused and promote excellence in teaching and learning. These programs support research, scholarly and creative activities and provide service to the State of South Dakota and the region. Dakota State University is a member of the South Dakota System of Higher Education.
Degrees are authorized at the associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctorate levels.
The following curriculum is approved for the university:
- Undergraduate Major Level Curriculum
- Artificial Intelligence, Biology, Business, Computer and Cyber Sciences, Digital Arts and Design, Education and Secondary Education, English, Exercise Science, General Studies, Health Information Management, Information Systems, Mathematics, Network Security, Physical and Biological Sciences.
- Master’s Level Curriculum
- Analytics, Business, Computer Sciences, Cyber Defense, Education Technology, Health Informatics and Information Management, and Information Systems.
C. Doctoral Level Curriculum
- Information Systems, Computer Science, Cyber Defense and Cyber Operations.
Dakota State University’s strategic plan begins with our mission, vision, and values. These build a framework for our university goals. It builds on our strengths and focuses our attention and commitment on the most pressing issues we are distinctively positioned to address. As an important initiative, DSU continuously seeks to advance student success through highly engaged, high-impact educational practices.
The ADVANCE strategic plan began in 2022 and will continue to evolve through 2027 and beyond. We will consider our strengths and challenges as we bring stakeholders together to move our University forward. Our strategy focuses on quality, research, engagement, athletics, and student success.
Dakota State University’s History
Dakota State University was founded in 1881 as Dakota State Normal School, the first teacher education institution in Dakota Territory. Its mission was to recruit and educate young adults to become teachers for the growing communities in the region.
Over the decades, the university’s programs of study have evolved. In 1888, commercial studies were added, the forerunner to today’s majors in the College of Business and Information Systems. Humanities courses were added throughout the years as well, now gathered under the College of Arts & Sciences. Future elementary, secondary, and special education teachers continue to study in the College of Education.
Along with these program additions, there were several name changes, including Dakota Normal School, Eastern State Teachers College, General Beadle State College, and Dakota State College.
The biggest change for the university came in 1984, when the South Dakota Legislature and the South Dakota Board of Regents changed the mission of Dakota State to include and emphasize computer technology and information systems. The purpose of this legislative action was two-fold: it addressed economic development in the state, particularly in reference to the growing banking and financial services industry; it also added a technology focus to all program offerings.
To fulfill this mission, DSU faculty developed leading-edge computer technology and information systems degree programs. Several program developments led to new graduate degree programs, so on July 1, 1989, the South Dakota Legislature changed the name to Dakota State University, to reflect the expansion of the university’s degree options.
Dakota State University’s innovative curriculum led to national recognition. In 2004, DSU was one of ten colleges in the country named a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency. The university now has CAE distinctions in cyber defense education, cyber defense research, cyber operations, and is a CAE regional resource center.
Additionally, DSU is one of a few universities in the country that partners with the NSA National Cryptologic School, through which NSA military and civilian employees are able to finish undergraduate and graduate degrees in cyber operations. Dakota State also has articulation agreements with the Community College of the Air Force; students can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree on their way to a Bachelor of Science degree in Cyber Leadership and Intelligence, or take general education courses.
DSU has also focused on applying computer technology to traditional academic fields, leading to the development of unique, technology-focused degree programs in business, English, and art, to name a few. Traditional majors in the College of Business and Information Systems, such as accounting and finance, are infused with technology; new, technology-focused business programs of study include computer information systems and health information administration. English students major in English for New Media; fine arts students major in three specializations under the Digital Arts and Design degree, computer graphics, digital sound design, or production animation. All of DSU’s education majors receive a technology endorsement upon graduation.
To increase student access to the technology-centric programming, Dakota State University was the first university in the state – and one of the few in the country – to implement a wireless mobile computing initiative by providing all students with computer notebooks in 2004. This Wireless Mobile Computing Initiative continues today: all on-campus students receive a laptop when they begin their studies.
For 18 of the last 21 years, Dakota State University has seen steady increases in enrollment. Many are on-campus students, but to reach broader audiences, including non-traditional, rural, and international students, the institution began offering distance course options in 1989. Several undergraduate programs and all DSU’s graduate programs are now offered online.
Whether on campus or online, graduates of DSU programs enjoy enviable status in the national marketplace with an overall 99% placement rate, and in many programs that number is 100%.
In 2019, Dakota State’s leadership in all things cyber continued to rise with the opening of the Madison Cyber Labs, a research, development, and economic opportunity facility that is the first of its kind in the area. Work that will take place in the 40,000 square foot MadLabs building will drive innovation and ideas from DSU into the South Dakota economy, the Great Plains, and the nation, and draw talent to the state and region.
From its start as a small college on the prairie, Dakota State University is on an inspirational and world-changing trajectory to be a forward-thinking, innovative, technology-fueled organization. In the future, Dakota State will continue to foster true innovation and active engagement in teaching, learning, scholarship, research, and service.
Dakota State University is committed to a policy of non-discrimination and equal educational opportunity in all student services and in all staff and faculty employment actions, without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability.