Graduate School

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Graduate School Application Process

Applying to the Graduate School is easy.  Simply follow the steps below. 

Materials Required to Complete a Graduate Application at USD:
  • Application Fee:  An application fee of $35.00 U.S. dollars must accompany each Application for Admission.  The application fee cannot be waived or deferred and it is non refundable. 
  • One Official Transcript: One official transcript verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and previous graduate credit must accompany an application. A transcript verifying receipt of a previous graduate degree may be required for some programs. Official transcripts must be sent directly to the Graduate School from the issuing institution(s).  Please Note: Electronic transcripts are not accepted as official.  For applicants who have received their baccalaureate degree from USD or from any of the South Dakota Regental institutions, transcripts will be printed by the USD Graduate School which suffices for the packet. Applicants do not need to request undergraduate transcripts if graduating from a South Dakota public university.  
  • Letters of Recommendation: The completed and signed forms can be sent directly to the Graduate School by the recommender or mailed to the applicant in a sealed envelope with the signature of the recommender placed across the seal.  In the latter case, the applicant would send the sealed letters of recommendation to the Graduate School.  The requirement is three letters of recommendation for most programs with the exceptions of the MBA requiring only two letters and the PhD in Counseling and Psychology in Education requiring five letters.

          Graduate School Recommendation Form

  • Admission Test Scores:  If test scores are required by a graduate degree program, the test score reports must be sent directly to the Graduate School from the testing center. The applicant may wish to upload a copy of the test scores when completing the online application.
  • Statement of Purpose:  Applicants are encouraged to provide information about their reason for pursuing graduate studies, interest in research or creative activity relevant to their proposed graduate program, and goals for the future.  Not all graduate programs require a formal statement of purpose and instead, require supplemental information.  If the program does not have a statement of purpose requirement, the applicant should submit a general goal statement as to why he or she wants to attend graduate school.  Applicants can upload their statement of purpose when completing the online application or submit via e-mail to
All required application materials should be mailed or returned to:

Graduate School
University of South Dakota
McKusick Technology Center
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD  57069-2390

Once submitted, the Graduate Application and all supplemental application materials become the property of the Graduate School.

Use the following links to find applications and/or application guides for the Occupational Therapy, Law, Medical, Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant Studies Programs.  These applications are to be submitted directly to those departments.

Graduate Program Application Deadlines

Request for Express Readmission

Application Review

The Graduate School forwards completed applications to the appropriate academic department for review.  The department will then recommend the admission status of the applicant to the Dean of the Graduate School, who will make final decision on admission.  Students may be accepted to the University of South Dakota with full or provisional admission.

Non-Degree Seeking Students

The University of South Dakota allows students who are not admitted to a graduate program to take graduate courses.  Anyone holding an undergraduate regionally accredited baccalaureate or professional degree may register for individual courses at the graduate level without applying or being admitted to a degree program. 

Non-degree seeking students are not required to furnish transcripts or recommendations, and there is not a minimum grade point average requirement.  A student of this classification must complete the Online Registration Form and meet prerequisite conditions, as determined by the instructor, for admission into specific courses.

Please note that a maximum of 9 credit hours taken as a graduate Non-Degree seeking student may be transferred in to a graduate degree program at USD.

For more information, visit Non-Degree Seeking Students Information.

If you have questions, please contact the Graduate School at or 1-800-233-7937.

* If you are a prospective student with a disability and need assistance or accommodations during the admission/application process, please contact the Director of Disability Services, 119B Service Center North, USD, Vermillion, SD  57069.  Phone: 605-677-6389  Fax: 605-677-3172