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:

Apply Online

Printable Graduate Application

Printable Graduate Certificate Application

Materials Required to Complete a Graduate Application at USD:

Application Fee: An application fee of $35.00 U.S. dollars must accompany each Graduate Application.  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).  An electronic official transcript must be transmitted directly between institutions using the electronic transcript service authorized by the sending 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 will be printed by the USD Graduate School which suffices for the packet for inclusion in the application.  Applicants who apply before receiving the baccalaureate degree will be required to submit their final transcript directly to the Graduate School before their graduate studies begin, thereby demonstrating that the degree has been conferred.  Students will not be fully admitted until the Graduate School has received the final baccalaureate transcript.

Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required of applicants to most graduate degree programs; however, five letters are required for application to the Ph.D. program in Counseling and Psychology in Education through the School of Education and only two letters are required for application to the Master of Public Health, and the Transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy program. The applicant must complete the first section of the form and sign in the designated area.  The person writing the recommendation may complete the form, seal it in an envelope and write his/her name across the flap on the back of the envelope.  The sealed envelope is to be returned to the applicant and enclosed along with the application materials.  Alternatively, the recommendation forms may be sent directly to the Graduate Admissions, McKusick Center, 414 East Clark St., Vermillion, SD, 57069-2390 or via e-mail to

Graduate School Letter of Recommendation Form

Admission Test Scores: If test scores are required by a graduate degree program, the test score reports must be sent to the Graduate School from the testing center.  The applicant may wish to upload an unofficial 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 Admissions
University of South Dakota
McKusick Technology Center, Room 211
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD  57069

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

For application to Occupational Therapy, Law, Medical, Social Work, Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant Studies programs, please use the following applications and/or application guides.  These programs require applications to be submitted directly to those departments.

Request for Express ReAdmission

Application Review

The Graduate School forwards completed application 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 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: 605-677-6839  Fax: 605-677-3172  E-Mail: