How to apply
Thank you for your interest in applying for graduate study at the University of South Dakota. Once you've explored the possibilities for your degree—it's time to get started on your application.
Start Your Application Today
The USD Graduate School welcomes applications for admission for individuals who have earned a B.A., B.S. or equivalent undergraduate degree. Applying to the USD Graduate School is easy, simply follow the steps below.
Step 1: Begin Your Online Application
Depending on your program of interest you will need to select the appropriate application to submit your required materials. Most graduate programs require the general GradCAS application for admission.
Some Programs Require Special Applications
If you are considering one of the following programs, please use the following application guides to prepare your application materials and answer any questions you may have.
- Audiology/Speech Language Pathology
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Physician Assistant Studies
- Social Work
After you start your application, you will receive updates from your graduate enrollment coordinator to let you know your application status. Once your application is complete, your application is sent to the department for review to determine an admission decision.
Step 2: Provide Required Documentation
Each academic program has its own unique application requirements and program deadlines. Be sure and consult the graduate catalog to check the specific admissions requirements for your program. This will help ensure that your application with all corresponding materials is complete and submitted on time.
Application materials and/or procedures required to apply to the USD Graduate School may be different for each student type. Depending on your student type review the requirements below.
Unless you are applying to a specialty program all graduate applications are submitted through the GradCAS centralized application service. Applicants need to submit all required application materials and pay the $35 application fee. The application fee cannot be waived or deferred and is non-refundable.
Please Note: Once submitted, the Graduate Application and all supplemental application materials become the property of the University of South Dakota's Graduate School and cannot be returned or forwarded to other institutions.
Letters of Recommendation
Some programs require letters of recommendation. Please see specific graduate program requirements for details. The letters of recommendation are requested in CAS and should be submitted by the reference through the CAS Evaluator Portal.
Official transcript(s) verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and previous graduate credit (in English or with translation) from an institution with institutional accreditation must accompany an application. Additional transcripts may be required for some programs.
For transcripts to be considered official, they must be sent directly to the University of South Dakota from the issuing institution or their third party transcript service (i.e. Parchment, National Student Clearinghouse, etc.). A transcript delivered by the student or issued to the student is not official.
If your institution sends official encrypted transcripts, they should be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your institution mails official transcripts, they should be mailed to:
University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
For applicants who have received their baccalaureate or graduate degree from USD or from any of the South Dakota Regental institutions, transcripts are available to USD and are not required to be requested by the student.
Official Test Scores
If test scores are required by a department or degree program, standardized test scores should be sent directly to email@example.com or Graduate Admissions, University of South Dakota, from the test publisher's authorized representative.
Statement of Purpose
Some programs require applicants to submit a statement of purpose or a general goal statement outlining why the applicant wants to attend graduate school. The completed statement of purpose should be uploaded in the documents section in GradCAS. Please see specific program requirements for details.
The University of South Dakota is a diverse campus with nearly 2,000 graduate students from 46 states and 29 countries. USD's commitment to inclusive excellence creates a welcoming community that prepares all students for living and working in a diverse society.
You will study with internationally renowned faculty in programs recognized worldwide for excellence and value. At USD, you will live and learn in a safe and secure environment in one the nations' best small college towns.
If you have questions about the International Student Graduate Application process, please contact International Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of South Dakota Graduate School allows students to apply for express readmission only if they meet all of the following requirements:
- Good standing within a program of study
- Minimum graduate GPA of 3.0
- Within three years of credit-bearing course at the University of South Dakota
- Completed a minimum of 12 graduate-level credit hours within a degree-seeking program or have completed at least 1/3 of the total credit hours within a certificate program
If readmitted through this express readmission process, the student will be readmitted to the original catalog year. The readmission process does not guarantee admission and, if all criteria are not met, the student must reapply through the standard process.
*Express readmission is only for students who have been accepted to a graduate program at USD previously and have been inactivated for more than three consecutive semesters and therefore need to apply and be accepted again in order to continue with their studies. The express readmission process is only used if the student is applying to the program they were previously accepted.
If you satisfy the conditions for express readmission, indicated above, please contact email@example.com.
Since public-university nonresident tuition rates are typically much higher than resident rates – sometimes by 300 percent or more–WRGP increases affordable higher education options for students, and minimizes student loan debt.
The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) is an agreement among WICHE 16 member states and territories, through which participating Western public universities allow WICHE-region students to attend select out-of-state graduate master’s, doctoral and certificate programs – and pay up to 150 percent of in-state tuition. The WRGP tuition rate only applies to on-campus courses.
All participants must apply by the last day to add/drop courses in the semester in which they wish to begin participation.
South Dakota residents need not apply, as they already qualify for the in-state tuition rate.
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.
Director of Disability Services
119B Service Center North, USD
Vermillion, SD 57069
The University of South Dakota Graduate School allows students who are not admitted to a graduate program to take graduate courses. Anyone holding an undergraduate institutionally accredited baccalaureate or professional degree may register for individual courses at the graduate level without applying or being admitted to a degree program.
To experience the University of South Dakota as a non-degree pursuant student, the university offers students the option of learning under a non-degree seeking student classification. Non-degree pursuant students are not eligible for federal financial aid.
Up to 12 graduate credit hours earned as a non-degree seeking student may be applied to a graduate degree from USD at the discretion of the academic department. Enrollment in a course does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
Enrolling as a non-degree seeking student is easy. Simply complete the Online Registration Form.
If you are a graduate student and have questions about non-degree seeking student status, please call 605-658-6140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 3: Submit and Pay Your Application Fee
The $35 Graduate School application fee is included in the general GradCAS application, but the speciality CAS applications (SLP, law, medical, nursing, OT, PT, PA and MSW) require this fee to be paid separately. Applicants need to submit all required application materials and pay the $35 application fee before your application will be processed. The application fee cannot be waived or deferred and is non-refundable.
When are application decisions announced?
Each program has a different deadline. Once an admission decision has been made, applicants will receive notification of their decision.
- A welcome packet on how to get started
- A call from USD with the good news
- An email from the USD Graduate School
Applicants who are admitted will be assigned a faculty advisor. We encourage you to connect with your advisor as soon as possible.
You've been admitted to USD, What's Next?
Decide and accept your admission to the USD Graduate School. Several graduate programs require formal acceptance and/or a deposit to secure your spot. Make sure you formally accept your position by the date listed on page two of your admission letter, or you may lose your spot in the program. For programs without a formal acceptance policy, be sure and contact your enrollment coordinator to formally accept admission to USD.
Connect with the USD Graduate School
Now that you are officially a USD graduate student, the Graduate School is your point of contact for all things pertaining to policies and various grant applications or scholarships, applying for a graduate assistantship or finalizing the filing of your dissertation.
You will work closely with the staff in the graduate school during your time at USD, so don't miss the opportunity to meet the team, complete your onboarding requirement and meet your fellow graduate students during the graduate student orientation.