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 submitted online to the Office of Graduate Studies 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. Admission to all degree programs is competitive and subject to the resource constraints necessary to provide quality graduate education within each program.
Requirements for full (unconditional) admission into a graduate program include:
- 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 as noted below (applies to international applicants only).
Individual programs have additional admission requirements. Please refer to specific program details for additional admission requirements.
Additional Admission Requirements for International/Foreign Students
The Department of State and SEVP (the Student and Exchange Visitor Program) requires all international applicants to demonstrate sufficient English proficiency. 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 demonstrate English proficiency by one of the following:
- TOEFL iBT: 76
- TOEFL PBT: 550
- IELTS: 6.0
- PTE Academic: 53
- Completion of ELS Level 112
- GTEC CBT: 1200
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. (See BOR Policy 3:14). F-1 visa holders are requite to have health insurance during their entire state in the United States, as well.
Upon admission, the Certificate of Financial Responsibility and official proof of financial ability (official bank statements and notarized letters of support) must be received before the University can issue Form I-20. It is strongly suggested that applicants submit these document along with the rest of their application materials to reduce any delay in arranging their F-1 visa appointment.
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).
Applicants are responsible for assembling and submitting all parts of the application for graduate study. Each applicant must provide the following: completed online 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. 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. 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)
The following Graduate Programs require applicants to submit their scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE):
- Ph.D. in Information Systems
- Ph.D. in Computer Science
- Ph.D. in Cyber Defense
- Ph.D. in Cyber Operations
- MS in Computer Science (international students only)
- MS in Information Systems
- MS in Cyber Defense
- MS in Analytics (international students only)
- MS in Health Informatics and Information Management
- MS in Educational Technology
The following Graduate Programs require applicants to submit their scores either from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT):
- MBA in General Management
Applicants must have the test scores sent officially to the DSU Office of Graduate Studies.
Information, including sample test questions and hints for taking the test, is available at these addresses: www.ets.org/gre and http://www.gmac.com/.
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 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 submitted online to the Office of Graduate Studies. 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 coordinates the admissions process with the graduate program committees. The Graduate Office first reviews the 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 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.
Regular Admission (Full or 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. An I-20 cannot be issued for any student conditionally admitted. 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/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 Program Coordinators and Office of Graduate Studies, 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 at least one month prior to registration for that semester. Readmission forms are available in the Office of Graduate Studies. If any graduate work was undertaken at another institution during the intervening time, those transcripts must be furnished to the Office of Graduate Studies. 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 - Post-Graduate 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 graduate degree program, may seek permission from the Program Coordinator offering the course. These students will be designated as holding special students-post-graduate status.
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. To apply for admission to specific courses, the student must complete the Special Student Post-Graduate Status online application and then meet prerequisite conditions for the specific course(s), as determined by the course instructor.
If a special student decides to work toward a graduate degree he/she must apply for admission into the degree program. 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.