Students on the campus of the University of South Dakota.

The University of South Dakota opened several years before South Dakota officially became a state. Settlers moving to the area saw the need for a college of higher education that would prepare and assist the students who lived in the region. Though officially established in 1862, the university did not actually open until the 1880s. It lasted just one year in its original location before the founders decided to move the college into its own standalone campus. Population increased from less than 100 students to more than 100 students in just a few short years. The university now boasts a population of more than 10,000 students, making it the state’s largest college.

USD, as it is also known, has a strong reputation because of its medicine and political science departments. Its political science program is one of the country’s oldest and encourages students to gain a better understanding of the political world through the use of internships and off campus programs. The medical program offered by the university emphasizes the importance of public health and helping the community at large. Though the university offers a number of events and guest lectures on campus, it also has a large and active online community. Students can get the benefits of great professors and strong programs when they take classes online.

University of South Dakota Accreditation Details

The University of South Dakota has both professional and institutional accreditation. Institutional accreditation refers to the primary type of accreditation that allows the school to grant graduating students with degrees. This type of accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Professional accreditation refers to the specialty accreditation given to some of the programs available at USD. This type of accreditation comes from multiple agencies and organizations, including:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB)
  • Council on the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (ABA)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
  • Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)
  • Administration for Developmental Disabilities (ADD)
  • Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP)
  • International Coalition of Addiction Studies Education (INCASE)
  • Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

USD gained specialty or professional accreditation from some organizations in the 1920s and others from more recent times.

University of South Dakota Application Requirements

Though the University of South Dakota recommends that students use its online application, it offers a paper application as well. Students will need to print a copy of the application, complete the application and send the finished work to the university prior to the admissions deadline. They must also pay a fee of $35 when they submit that application. Online applicants can pay with a credit card or debit card. There are several other requirements for those applying to the USD graduate school, including an official transcript from an accredited college or university in the United States.

Students must also submit a minimum of three letters of recommendation. Those letters should come from professors or supervisors who have some experience with the applicant’s work in the classroom or in the field. Applicants must also take the GRE or a similar test and submit the official scores they received on that test. USD also asks that students write a letter known as a statement of purpose. This short statement explains why the student deserves a place in the graduate school and what they want to do with the degree earned. Representatives from the university will review each application and inform students of the school’s decision.

Is Higher Education Worth It?

Tuition and Financial Aid

USD charges tuition rates of $219.35 per credit hour for South Dakota residents and $464.25 for those living out of state. The fees charged each semester bring the total rate up to $365.55 for residents and $625.10 for out of state students. Those looking to take classes online will find that the university charges separate tuition rates for its online students. Regardless of where the student lives, tuition costs just over $431 per credit hour. Online students will still need to pay miscellaneous fees, textbooks and other school supplies and their own personal expenses.

The University of South Dakota offers some payment plans that let students make lower payments across the semester or school year to pay off the tuition rates. Children of alumni may also receive some discounts when enrolling in a university program. Students who need more help should file the FAFSA. The responses they give and information they list on that forms lets the university determine the amount of financial help they need. Online students typically qualify for unsubsidized student loans, but these loans are only available to those who enroll as a full time student. Students taking classes on a part time basis may want to apply for private student loans, grants and scholarships.

Online Master of Professional Accountancy

The University of South Dakota offers its Online Master of Accountancy through its Beacom School of Business. Though the university offered a higher level accounting program for years, it established the online program to assist students living in other states and those who worked full time jobs who could not move to the state. Students applying to this program must take the GMACT and submit their scores to the university and submit a resume as part of the application process. The founders designed the program as a way to prepare students and ensure they met all the requirements for taking the Certified Public Accounting examination. This program strives to help students better understand the fundamentals of accounting principles and allow them to work in the professional world.

All online accounting students must show that they took 14 specific accounting, business and law classes in the past. Those who did not complete those courses will need to take the prerequisites online before starting the program. The Master of Accountancy program is a 30 credit hour long program that includes courses like advanced accounting theory, contemporary topics in accounting and business policy and strategy. This University of South Dakota program also requires that students take at least three elective courses.