International Graduate Admissions
Explore application requirements, the admissions process and additional resources.
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Each graduate program may have different admission requirements; please refer to the current graduate catalog for departmental specific admission information
The Application Process
International applicants will go through a three-step process that involves the academic department, the Graduate School and the International Office.
- No formal review takes place until after the university receives your complete application, application fee and all required documents.
- Complete applications and required documents are sent to the academic programs in electronic folders. Graduate Program Directors do not have access to partial applications.
- The Graduate School also reviews your application, makes the formal admission decision and emails the decision and acceptance letters to students.
- Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantships are decided at the department level. Some departments include an assistantship offer in the letter of admission.
- Other departments make the decision at a later date. Graduate assistantships are competitive and limited in number. Only a small number of master’s level students receive a departmental award.
- The International Office collects official financial ability documents and copies of valid passports. Once everything complete, a DS2019 or I20 is issued to admitted students.
- Submit your completed application
- $35 USD application fee is non-refundable
- Fee must be paid before your application will be processed and must accompany your application. Credit card payment accepted at the end of the online application.
International applicants must meet one of the following requirements:
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
79 or higher (iBT)
8.5 or higher (TOEFL Essentials)
IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing System)
6.0 or higher
Duolingo English Test
105 or higher
Pearson Test of English (PTE)
53 or higher
Native Speakers of English
Applicants who hold a conferred degree from one of the following countries are exempt from providing proof of English proficiency: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cook Islands, Dominica, Fiji, Ghana, Grand Cayman Islands, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Malta, Montserrat, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, United Kingdom.
One official transcript (in English or with translation) verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree or equivalent degree from an institution with regional accreditation and previous graduate credit and degrees 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 University of South Dakota from the issuing institution(s). An electronic official transcript must be transmitted directly between institutions using the electronic transcript service authorized by the issuing institution. A transcript delivered by the student or issued to the student is not official. 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.
Emailed transcripts cannot be considered as official. If you have an attested copy in a sealed envelope from the issuing institution, it can be forwarded through the mail. As long as the original seal is intact, it will be considered official.
While generally not required, we highly recommend all applicants submit a professional academic transcript evaluation. While we are able to evaluate most transcripts in-house, processing times can be lengthy. It is therefore recommend that students submit a professional evaluation that includes transcript authenticity, GPA calculation, and U.S. degree equivalency. SPANTRAN provides an USD-specific site for your convenience. SPANTRAN has reduced rates if this USD specific link is used.
Please note that the University reserves the right to request an official external credential evaluation in order to complete an admission decision. Credential evaluations will only be accepted from organizations/agencies who are approved members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (www.naces.org) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators (www.aice-eval.org). No foreign transfer credits will be accepted without a course-by-course evaluation from World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (www.ece.org)
Official Admission Test Scores
If test scores are required by a graduate program, students may upload a copy of their score report to their GradCAS application. Full admission will require that an official score report is sent to USD directly from the testing body.
Not all departments require exam scores. Refer to graduate catalog department pages.
Letters of Recommendation
All programs require letters of recommendation, but the number of recommendations may vary. Please see specific graduate program requirements for details. The letters of recommendation are requested in the application and should be submitted by the reference through the application (CAS Evaluator Portal).
Statement of Purpose
Applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose or a general goal statement outlining why the applicant wants to attend graduate school. The statement of purpose should be completed and uploaded in the documents section in GradCAS. Please see specific program requirements for details.
Additional Department Requirements
Individual graduate programs have different admission requirements and different deadlines; please refer to the current graduate catalog for departmental specific admission information.
You will need to submit a resume with your application.
The passport is not used by the program or Graduate School in the admission decision. However, your passport name will be the name used if you are issued a visa. Everything works better when we put your name into our systems as it appears in your passport.
Copy/scan the page(s) containing the photo, date of birth, passport number, date of expiration and signature (if any) from your valid, unexpired passport.
Types of Admission Decisions
USD accepts unofficial copies of English proficiency test scores, admission test scores (e.g., GRE, GMAT) and unofficial and unofficial partial transcripts for contingent admission. Full admission is granted only after receipt of official English proficiency documentation, official transcripts for all academic work at the undergraduate and graduate levels (undergraduate documents must verify receipt of degree) and official test score reports (if required).
Financial Ability Requirements
Federal regulations require all students to show that they have the financial ability to pay for at least one full academic year of tuition, fees and living expenses before the University of South Dakota can issue a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status (I-20).
Your admission application is reviewed without any regard to your financial ability, but the university cannot issue your I-20 until you have proven financial ability. You must complete the Financial Ability Form and provide official financial documentation showing the amount of cost to attend USD. Details can be found on the Financial Ability Form. Please send the Financial Ability Form together with your financial documents.
Transfer from American College or University
If you are transferring from an accredited college or university in the USA, please contact International Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mailing Address for Application Materials
University of South Dakota
414 E. Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069-2390
If you have questions about the International Student Graduate Application process, please contact International Admissions at 605-658-6236 or by email at email@example.com.
Still deciding which program is right for you?
With more than 80 graduate program options, there is something for everyone at USD. Check out the degrees we offer, and reach out to us at ISRT@usd.edu with any questions.
A variety of research and teaching graduate assistantships are available across campus. These opportunities can help you pay for your education while you gain invaluable work experience.