Graduate students talking.

Professional Development

The Graduate School is committed to the professional development of our graduate students through scholarships, research and events.

Thrive in Your Career

Professional development is an essential part of graduate education. The Graduate School, in coordination with departments across campus, provides the necessary resources for graduate students to succeed in both the academic and non-academic world. Outside of the classroom, USD offers a range of development tools through scholarships, research, events and recognition through distinguished awards. You will find scholarships related to your program, participate in student research opportunities and master new skills through quality graduate programs.




Compete for cash prizes

An 80,000 word thesis would take over 9 hours to present... you get 3 minutes!

 

Do you want to compete for cash prizes and the opportunity to participate in the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) 3MT® competition at their spring annual meeting? 


Learn More

Celebrated Research, Creative Scholarship and Academic Engagement

Take advantage of the opportunity to showcase your talent, hard work and passion for your field of study at IdeaFest.

 

Learn More

Grad Research & Creative Scholarship Grants

Graduate students at the University of South Dakota are doing amazing research. Whether it's optimizing a biocompatible nanoparticle delivery system, psychological maltreatment and video game engagement or the development of a thumb-typing keyboard, graduate research at USD is thriving. The Graduate School assists with the funding of research and creative activity projects through grant opportunities in both the fall and spring semesters. Grants are awarded through a competitive application process conducted by the Graduate Council.

Gain Industry-Relevant Experience

A blend of STEM education and real-world training, the nine-credit Technology Development and Entrepreneurship Graduate Certificate is a value-added credential that offers tangible support for graduates facing a competitive job market.

Excellence Awards

The Graduate School is rich with exceptional students, faculty and staff. When possible, we like to take every opportunity to recognize the achievements of our USD community. The Graduate School participates annually in the President’s Celebration of University Leadership and several other recognition opportunities too.

Excellence in Teaching

The Graduate Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes the exemplary contributions of graduate students who support the teaching mission of the University of South Dakota. The award, administered by the Graduate School, recognizes graduate students who have demonstrated excellence in teaching to undergraduate or graduate students at USD.

Two awards will be given to graduate students based on the highest ranking. The first ranked student will receive a $600 honorarium and the second ranked student will receive a $400 honorarium that will be presented at the President’s Celebration of University Leadership in April. If selected, recipients will be nominated for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Excellence in Teaching Award.

The Application Process

Applicants will go through a competitive process that involves a comprehensive overview of their research to the Graduate Council for consideration. 

Applications must be submitted electronically as a single pdf file by e-mail to grad@usd.edu.

2023 DEADLINE: Friday, December 2, 2022

The USD winners will be nominated by the Graduate School to the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) 2023 Excellence in Teaching Award. Additional material and criteria are required. Please visit the MAGS Excellence in Teaching Award webpage for additional details.

Eligibility

The following requirements must be met before submitting your application.

  • The graduate student must be enrolled in credit-bearing courses during the current calendar year and be in good academic standing.
  • The graduate student must have served as a Teaching Assistant (Graduate Teaching Assistant or Graduate Teaching Assistant – Instructor of Record) or taught courses during the calendar year of 2022.
  • The graduate student must demonstrate how their teaching methods, instructional design, or practices in the classroom promote effective student learning and engagement.
  • The graduate student must show evidence of promoting intellectual growth and effective mentorship of their students.
  • The graduate student must indicate efforts to enhance student learning objectives via novel pedagogical research practices, or teaching/learning scholarship.

Application Materials

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of support from the department indicating nominee’s contributions to promoting excellence in teaching (10 points)
  • Nominee’s teaching portfolio (maximum of 6 pages double spaced and 12-point font)
    • Statement of teaching philosophy (20 points)
    • Demonstration of teaching methods, instructional design or practices in the classroom that promote effective student learning and engagement (25 points)
    • Evaluation of teaching performance including information about courses taught, a brief description of responsibilities, number of students and summary of student evaluations (25 points)
    • Evidence of promoting intellectual growth and effective mentorship (15 points)
    • Evidence of teaching/learning scholarship (e.g. pedagogical research/publications, presentations, grant proposals; or evidence of how pedagogical research informs your teaching) (5 points)

Review Process

A committee of the Graduate Council will review applications received by the deadline. This committee will review, score and make final recommendations to the Graduate School.

For more information, contact the Graduate School at 605-658-6173 or by email at grad@usd.edu.

Recognizing Research at the Master's Level

The Graduate School is soliciting nominations for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished Masters Thesis Awards for 2023. The awards are to recognize and reward distinguished scholarship and research at the master’s level.

MAGS awards the Distinguished Thesis Awards in two of four categories that alternate every two years. 

2023 CYCLE: Social Sciences and Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering
2024 CYCLE: Biological / Life Sciences and Humanities

The USD winner from each category will be submitted to the MAGS awards. If chosen as a winner at the MAGS awards a $750 honorarium will be received and a trip to accept the award at the MAGS 79th Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, March 29-31, 2023. The faculty mentor or thesis advisor will also be invited to attend the presentation ceremony, but their expenses will not be covered

Nominate A Student 

2023 DEADLINE: Monday, October 10, 2022, by 11:59 p.m.

Nominating a Student

  • Ask the student if they agree to be nominated.
  • Write a letter of recommendation (to be attached to the nomination form). The letter should include the following:
    • What is the thesis about, summary?
    • What is new with respect to state-of-the-art (or existing) works?
    • Strength of the thesis.
    • What can we take from this thesis? Point out a few domains/disciplines, where the idea/tool can be employed.
  • Include the month/year of the student’s graduation (must be master’s degree)
    • The effective date of the master’s degree award, or the completion of master’s degree requirements, must fall in the period of July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022, inclusive, for each nominee selected. At USD this would be summer 2020 through spring 2022.
  • The Graduate School will locate the thesis and abstract to complete the nomination.

Eligibility

  • Original works accepted by an institution “in lieu of thesis” (such as musical compositions, published books, works of art, computer software, etc.) may not be nominated.
  • To be considered, a thesis must contain original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to the discipline. It must be in a format that conforms to accepted disciplinary standards, and it must have been accepted as final by the degree-granting institution.
  • Since the intent of the competition is to recognize scholarship by students who are pursuing their first graduate research degree, individuals who received a Ph.D. (or comparable research degree) in any discipline prior to the writing of the master’s thesis are not eligible. However, recipients of a first professional degree awarded prior to the writing of the thesis may be nominated.

Categories

Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering
Mathematics, statistics, computer sciences, data processing, systems analysis, chemistry, earth sciences, physics, geology, meteorology, astronomy, metallurgy, geophysics, pharmaceutical chemistry; aeronautical, architectural, biomedical, ceramic, chemical, civil, and electrical engineering sciences; environmental health engineering; geological, mechanical, mining, nuclear, and petroleum engineering

Social Sciences
Agricultural economics, geography, anthropology, archaeology, economics, education, sociology, government (political science), demography, and psychology

Biological Sciences/Life Sciences 
Biology, botany, zoology, ecology, embryology, entomology, genetics, nutrition, plant pathology, plant physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, biophysics, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, physiology, and related fields (health sciences). Also included are agriculture, forestry, zoology, and related fields

Humanities and Fine Arts
History; philosophy; language; linguistics; literature; archaeology; jurisprudence; the history, theory and criticism of the arts; ethics; comparative religion; and those aspects of the social sciences that employ historical or philosophical approaches

For more information, contact the Graduate School at 605-658-6173 or by email at grad@usd.edu.

Recognizing Original and Significant Contributions

The Graduate School is soliciting nominations for the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards for 2023. These dissertation awards are made annually to individuals who, in the opinion of the award committee, have completed dissertations representing original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to their disciplines.

The Council of Graduate Schools allots the Distinguished Dissertation Awards in two of four categories that alternate every two years. 

2023 CYCLE: Biological Sciences/Life Sciences and Humanities and Fine Arts
2024 CYCLE: Mathematics, Physical Sciences & Engineering; and the Social Sciences

The USD winner from each category will be recognized at the annual President's Celebration of University Leadership. Additionally, the USD winners will be submitted to the CGS awards at the CGS Annual Meeting in December 2023. If chosen as a winner at the GCS grants a $2,000 award  and a trip to accept the award at the annual meeting. Reasonable travel expenses of award recipients will be covered by CGS.

Nominate A Student

2023 DEADLINE: Friday, April 28, 2023 by 11:59 p.m.

Nominating a Student

  • Ask the student if they agree to be nominated.
  • Three letters of recommendation evaluating the significance and quality of the nominee’s dissertation work. One of these letters is to be from the nominee's dissertation supervisor, another from a member of the nominee's dissertation committee, and the third from a person of the nominee's choice. These letters are to be attached to the nomination.
  • An abstract of the nominee’s dissertation (not to exceed 10 double-spaced pages). Appendices containing other material, such as charts, tables, and/or references, may be included as additional pages (not to exceed 10 pages). The Graduate School can retrieve this information.
  • The nominee’s curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages).

Eligibility

  • The effective date of the degree awarded, or the completion of doctoral degree requirements and dissertation, must lie in the period of July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2023, inclusive, for each nominee selected. At USD this would be summer 2021 through spring 2023.
  • To be considered, a dissertation must contain original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to the discipline. 
  • If a dissertation is multi- or interdisciplinary in nature, a significant portion of the work must be comprised by at least one of the 2023 fields of competition.

Categories

Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering
Mathematics, statistics, computer sciences, data processing, systems analysis, chemistry, earth sciences, physics, geology, meteorology, astronomy, metallurgy, geophysics, pharmaceutical chemistry; aeronautical, architectural, biomedical, ceramic, chemical, civil, and electrical engineering sciences; environmental health engineering; geological, mechanical, mining, nuclear, and petroleum engineering.

Social Sciences
Agricultural economics, geography, anthropology, archaeology, economics, education, sociology, government (political science), demography, and psychology.

Biological Sciences/Life Sciences 
Biology, botany, zoology, ecology, embryology, entomology, genetics, nutrition, plant pathology, plant physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, biophysics, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, physiology, and related fields (health sciences). Also included are agriculture, forestry, zoology, and related fields

Humanities and Fine Arts
History; philosophy; language; linguistics; literature; archaeology; jurisprudence; the history, theory and criticism of the arts; ethics; comparative religion; and those aspects of the social sciences that employ historical or philosophical approaches.


For more information, contact the Graduate School at 605-658-6173 or by email at grad@usd.edu.

Take the Next Step