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

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*Printable Graduate and Graduate Certificate applications available upon request to

Materials Required to Complete a Graduate Application at USD

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.

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. These programs require applications to be submitted directly to those departments.

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 and/or were not approved for a leave of absence 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: