Feb 24, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog 2023-2024 
Undergraduate Catalog 2023-2024

About DSU


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.

Mission Statement

DSU is statutorily authorized under SDCL § 13-59-2.2 to offer academic programs computer management, computer information technologies, cyber security, education with an emphasis in computer and technology systems, and other related undergraduate and graduate programs. Students who attend Dakota State University pursue highly technical degrees with a broad focus in current and emerging computing and information technologies/cyber security that emphasize innovation, leadership, application, and research. DSU has the authority to credential certificates, associate degrees, baccalaureate degrees, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees provided formal approval by the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents may authorize academic programs outside of the statutory mission as identified by the Regents due to workforce needs, strategic needs of the state, etc.

Special research focus universities in South Dakota perform a wide range of research initiatives. While Dakota State University has an emphasis in the areas of Computer Sciences, DSU’s educational and research activities address all aspects of current, emerging, and future Computer and Information Technologies/Cyber Security. Dakota State University’s research provides the maximum opportunity to students seeking to study with top researchers and pursue careers related to the technological fields. This is most important for those students pursuing graduate education. DSU conducts (3) three types of research increasing student growth which results in discovery, creativity, or innovation: faculty-driven discipline-specific research; collaborative, problem-driven applied research in all CIT/Cyber Security areas through the Madison Cyber Labs (MadLabs®).

Regionally located in eastern South Dakota provides a unique hub where Dakota State University and South Dakota State University (also regionally located in eastern South Dakota) complement each other in Agricultural Technological fields. Collaborative partnerships continue to evolve between the special focus universities and the research universities. This research pierces the boundaries in generating new innovative ideas. In addition to providing graduate student experience, research is a critical driver of both innovation and economic development.  Working together with business and industry in Madison, Sioux Falls, and all of South Dakota, Dakota State University will foster continued research in South Dakota, economic development in South Dakota, and innovation throughout the United States. Specifically related, Dakota State University offers highly specialized research in support of national security and defense through DSU’s Applied Research Lab (ARL). The research activities of the MadLabs® and ARL drive innovation, workforce development, and economic development for South Dakota.


Degrees are authorized at the associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctorate levels.

The following curriculum is approved for the university:

  1. Undergraduate Major Level Curriculum
    • Artificial Intelligence, Biology, Business Administration, Computer and Cyber Sciences, Computer Game Design, Digital Arts and Design, Education and Secondary Education, English, Exercise Science, General Studies, Health Informatics and Information Management, Information Systems, Mathematics, and Network Security.
  2. Master’s Level Curriculum
    • Analytics, Business, Computer Sciences, Cyber Defense, Educational Technology, Health Informatics and Information Management, and Information Systems.

C. Doctoral Level Curriculum

  • Information Systems, Computer Science, Cyber Defense and Cyber Operations.

Strategic Plan

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.

Equal Opportunity

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.