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Graduate programs that require an admission test (ex. GRE) may be waived for upcoming semesters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check with your enrollment coordinator in Graduate Admissions for details.


Graduate students line up at commencement ceremony.

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Applying to Graduate School is easy.

Simply follow the steps below.

Graduate School Application Process

    Graduate School General Application for Admission   

    Graduate School Application Process for Specialty Programs

    For application to Audiology, Law, Medical, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, Social Work and Speech-Language Pathology and programs, please use the following applications and/or application guides.

    Graduate Assistantship Information 

    The University of South Dakota offers qualified post-baccalaureate students financial assistance in exchange for their teaching, research and service efforts to the university – known as a graduate assistantship. Teaching and research assistantships are awarded by individual departments.

    Graduate Assistantship Information and Application

      Materials Required to Complete a Graduate Application

      Complete Application

      All graduate applications are submitted through a Centralized Application Service (CAS). 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.

      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)

      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.

      Official Test Scores

      If test scores are required by a department or degree program, standardized test scores should be sent directly to the or Graduate Admissions, University of South Dakota, from the test publisher's authorized representative.

      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. 

      Please Note: Once submitted, the Graduate Application and all supplemental application materials become the property of the University of South Dakota's Graduate School.

      Request for Express Readmission

      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 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 using the Apply Online link.

      *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

      Non-Degree Seeking Students

      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 regionally accredited baccalaureate or professional degree may register for individual courses at the graduate level without applying or being admitted to a degree program.  For more information, visit Non-Degree Seeking Students.

      Please note that a maximum of 12 credit hours taken as a graduate non-degree seeking student may be transferred in to a graduate degree program at USD.

      If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Admissions 605-658-6200 or by e-mail at

      *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: 605-658-3745  Fax: 605-677-3172  E-Mail:

      Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP)

      The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) is an agreement among WICHE 17 member states and territories, through which participating Western public universities allow WICHE-region students to attend select out-of-state graduate certificate, master’s and doctoral programs – and pay up to 150 percent of resident tuition. The WRGP tuition rate only applies to on-campus courses. Only fill out the application if 1.) you are from a participating U.S. state/territory and 2.) you find the USD program you are interested in is a participant. 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.

      Apply to the Western Regional Graduate Program