Jul 24, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Admission to Graduate School

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Once the Graduate School has received a complete application packet, the packet is forwarded to the intended department of study. When the designated department(s) receives the application packet, the department will then recommend the admission or denial of the applicant to the Graduate Dean, who will make the final decision on admission status. Students may be accepted to the Graduate School with either full or provisional admission status. Students receive notice of their admission from the Graduate Dean. Applicants who are denied admission have the right to appeal the decision if they have evidence that admission policies and procedures were not considered.

Students applying to the School of Law or Medicine should refer to these schools for instructions. The Deans of these schools are the respective admitting authorities for these programs.

Classification of Graduate Students


The designation “graduate student” applies only to those who have been granted full or provisional admittance. All other students holding a baccalaureate level degree not admitted to a graduate program, yet wishing to take graduate coursework at the University, will be designated as non-degree seeking graduate students.

Full Admission

Full admission to a graduate degree program is granted when the applicant satisfactorily meets all of the following requirements:

  1. Successful completion of a baccalaureate degree or an equivalent degree from an institution with institutional accreditation for that degree.
  2. A minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.7 on conferred degree and/or graduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, based on a 4.0 scale, on all graduate coursework.
  3. All other academic requirements of the specific graduate program are fully met. Such requirements are detailed in this catalog under the departmental listings and may include specific graduate test scores, prerequisite coursework, and/or other admission requirements.

Provisional Admission

Provisional admission is a temporary status which may be granted to an applicant who does not meet the conditions for full admission but who gives evidence that he/she may be capable of graduate level work. Reasons for provisional admission include, but are not limited to:

  1. Successful completion of a baccalaureate degree from an institution not having institutional accreditation.
  2. An undergraduate cumulative GPA below 2.7 on conferred degree and/or graduate cumulative GPA below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, on all graduate coursework.
  3. Deficiencies in departmental requirements for undergraduate education or other prerequisites for study toward a graduate degree in that academic program.

In order to gain full admission, the student must demonstrate that he/she is capable of meeting the provisions stated in the admission letter or maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or better during the first semester of study, whichever is more stringent. Once this has been demonstrated, upon recommendation from the department, the Graduate School will notify the student of full acceptance.

Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy


In accordance with the South Dakota Board of Regents Policy 1:19, the institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents shall offer equal opportunities in employment and for access to and participation in educational, extension and other institutional services to all persons qualified by academic preparation, experience, and ability for the various levels of employment or academic program or other institutional service, without discrimination based on sex, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, gender, gender identification, transgender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status or any other status that may become protected under law against discrimination. The Board reaffirms its commitment to the objectives of affirmative action, equal opportunity and non-discrimination in accordance with state and federal law. Redress for alleged violations of those laws may be pursued at law or through the procedures established by the provisions of 1:18 of this policy. For additional information, please contact the Director, Equal Opportunity and Chief Title IX Coordinator, Jean Merkle, 205 Slagle Hall, Vermillion, SD 57069 Phone: 605-658-3665  Jean.Merkle@usd.edu​

Admission decisions are made without regard to disabilities. All prospective students are expected to present academic credentials at or above the minimum standards for admission and meet any technical standards that may be required for admission to a specific program. 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, Karen Gerety, The Commons, Room 116, USD, Vermillion, SD 57069. Phone: 605-658-3745 Fax: 605-677-3172 E-Mail: disabilityservices@usd.edu

Federal Law prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990), and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2009. The University has designated Cheryl Tiahrt, Chief Information Officer, as the Coordinator to monitor compliance with these statutes. This obligates USD and Ms. Tiahrt to provide equal access for all persons with disabilities. 

Non-Degree Seeking Graduate Student Status


Students with non-degree seeking status are not admitted to a graduate degree program. A public university has an obligation to make its resources available for a broad range of purposes including ongoing education for the interested public. As a result, anyone holding an undergraduate institutionally accredited baccalaureate or professional degree may register for individual courses at the graduate level without submitting an application to a degree program.

The non-degree seeking student is not required to furnish transcripts or recommendations and there is no minimum GPA requirement. A student in this classification may register for classes and must meet prerequisite conditions for courses. A student who is designated as a non-degree seeking graduate student has not been admitted to the Graduate School; he/she has only been given permission to enroll in graduate courses. The Graduate School does not maintain files on non-degree seeking students but has access to the records. Should a non-degree seeking graduate student wish to earn a graduate degree, he/she will be required to apply for admission to a degree program. Students with non-degree seeking graduate student status are not eligible for financial aid, including graduate assistantships.

Courses taken as a non-degree seeking student may be applicable to a graduate degree only by special action of an admitting department and permission of the Graduate Dean. Credit earned by a student enrolled in coursework as a non-degree seeking graduate student may or may not be acceptable toward a degree. Up to twelve graduate credit hours earned as a non-degree seeking student may apply toward a degree once the student has been accepted.

Denial of admission to a degree program does not prohibit the applicant from enrolling as a non-degree seeking student. The non-degree seeking student may enroll for individual courses for which he/she is qualified but he/she cannot pursue a degree as a special student. Regular acceptance is required to pursue a degree.

Undergraduates Taking Graduate Courses


Undergraduate students who have successfully completed ninety (90) credit hours may register for up to twelve (12) graduate credit hours at the 500 or 600 level with the approval of the Graduate Dean serving as designee for the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Such permission does not constitute admission to the Graduate School or graduate program as a degree seeking student.

Moreover, undergraduate students who qualify for and are admitted to a graduate program through a South Dakota Board of Regents approved, fast-track or accelerated graduate program may register for graduate level (500, 600, and 700) courses and these credit hours may apply to both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements.

Students will pay graduate tuition for graduate courses and these courses will be recorded on a graduate transcript. Undergraduate students without a baccalaureate degree enrolled in graduate credit have an undergraduate status and are considered as special students by the Graduate School. Evidence of an earned bachelor’s degree is required for full admission to the Graduate School.

A petition form must be submitted to the Graduate School if you wish to enroll in graduate courses before the completion of your bachelor’s degree. Applications for advanced admission to select graduate programs can be found on the Graduate School website at: www.usd.edu/grad.

Advisor and Committee Assignment


An advisor is assigned to each student at the time of admission and will serve as the student’s advisor for the first registration or until a permanent advisor or committee chairperson is assigned by the department. If applicable, an advisory committee is to be appointed following admission to a program.