Feb 26, 2024  
2009-2010 Graduate Catalog 
2009-2010 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Application Procedures

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General Application Information


Applicants holding baccalaureate or graduate degrees and applicants who have other required credentials are eligible to seek admission to a program of graduate study at The University of South Dakota. Application materials may be obtained from The Graduate School, McKusick Center, 414 East Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069-2390. Prospective candidates can also reach the office of Graduate Admissions by calling (605) 677-6240, e-mailing grad@usd.edu, or referring to the website at www.usd.edu/graduate-school/.

Candidates seeking admission to graduate programs must display evidence of academic aptitude, achievement and motivation. Additionally, previous behaviors contrary to or in violation of ethical or professional standards of the degree program being sought may be cause for denial of admission to a program by the Graduate Dean.

For all programs except Occupational Therapy, the traditional program in Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, Law, and M.D., candidates are to apply to the Graduate School.

For most programs (exclusive of those noted above), the application requires:

  1. Completed Application Form. Application forms may be obtained from The Graduate School and they are available on line at http://www.usd.edu/graduate-school/how-to-apply.cfm. The general application form must be signed and dated. A $35.00 non-refundable fee must accompany the application form. Checks must be to The University of South Dakota. The fee cannot be waived and application packets will not be processed until The University has received the $35.00 fee. The School of Law, School of Medicine and Departments of Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy (traditional program), and Physician Assistant Studies require unique applications. See the information above regarding applying to these programs.
  2. Three Letters of Recommendations. Three letters of recommendation are required of applicants to most graduate degree program; 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 Beacom School of Business. Recommendation forms are available on The Graduate School website at http://www.usd.edu/graduate-school/how-to-apply.cfm. The applicant must complete the first section of the form and sign in the designated area. The person writing the recommendation must 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 School, McKusick Center, 414 East Clark St., Vermillion, SD, 57069-2390 or via e-mail attached to grad@usd.edu.
  3. One Official Transcript. One official transcript verifying all previous college or university credits must accompany an application. Official transcripts must be sent directly to the Graduate School from the issuing institution(s) (see address above). For applicants who have received their baccalaureate degree from USD or from any of the South Dakota Regental institutions, unofficial transcripts will be printed by the USD Graduate School. Applicants who apply before receiving the baccalaureate degree will be required to submit their final transcript  directly to the Graduate School preferably 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.
  4. Official Test Scores. If test scores are required by a department or degree program, standardized test scores should be sent directly to The Graduate School from the testing center.
  5. Admission Deferral: Students who have been accepted to The University of South Dakota Graduate School, but are unable to attend during the term originally intended, may request that their entrance into their graduate program be deferred. Admission deferments will be considered only for one calendar year (3 terms) and must be approved by the Academic Program Advisor, Graduate Director, and the Graduate Dean. The Academic Program must approve an Admission Deferment to save a place for the student in a future term. An Admission Deferment means the students may begin the academic program in a designated future term without reapplying.

NOTE: Once a packet containing the required materials has been submitted, it becomes property of The University of South Dakota Graduate School. Students may request to defer admission for up to one year (three consecutive semesters) using the materials submitted. The Graduate School does not keep transcripts on file from prospective students who do not defer admission.

Classification for Tuition and Fee Purposes


Students enrolling in any of the state institutions shall be classified as either a resident or nonresident student for admission, fee, and tuition purposes by an appropriate institutional officer. The decision shall be based upon information furnished by the student and all other relevant information. The officer is authorized to require such written documents, affidavits, verifications, or other evidence necessary to establish the residence of the student, including proof of emancipation, adoption, or appointment of a guardian. Students have the burden of establishing residency by clear and convincing evidence. For purposes of tuition, residence means the place where a person has a permanent home and intends to remain for an indefinite period.

Resident Classification:

Persons shall be classified as South Dakota resident students if they have continuously resided in South Dakota for at least twelve consecutive months immediately preceding the first scheduled day of university classes at The University of South Dakota or at another Board of Regents’ controlled institution of higher learning. Physical presence while attending a college, university, or other institution of higher learning does not count towards the twelve consecutive months required for establishing South Dakota residency. However, absence from South Dakota to pursue post-secondary education does not deprive a bona fide resident of resident student status within the regental system. International students whose visas permit them to establish domiciles in the United States or its territories or protectorates may qualify for resident tuition in the same manner as United States citizens.

Residence of Unemancipated Persons:

The residence of unemancipated persons [under twenty-one years of age and under the care, custody and support of parent(s)] follows that of the parent(s) or of the legal guardian(s). The parent(s) of the student are not required to reside in South Dakota twelve months prior to the student’s enrollment for the students to be classified as residents; however, the parent(s) must remain in South Dakota for a minimum of twelve months in order for students to retain residency status.

Retention of Residence While in Military Service:

Persons in military service who list South Dakota as their “home of record” and who, immediately upon release, return to South Dakota to enter college shall be classified as residents.

Nonresident Classification:

Students are considered nonresidents if they did not reside in the state for twelve months prior to enrolling at a Board controlled institution. Again, physical presence in South Dakota for the predominant purpose of attending a college, university, or other institution of higher education does not count in determining the twelve-month period of residence. However, bonafide South Dakota citizens who are absent from South Dakota for higher education purposes are not deprived resident student status.

Changes of Classification:

The following factors shall be considered relevant in evaluating a requested change in the student’s nonresident status and in evaluating whether the persons’ physical presence in South Dakota is for the predominant purpose of attending an institution of higher education controlled by the Board of Regents:

  1. The residence of an unemancipated student’s parent(s) or guardian(s)
  2. The status of the source of the student’s income
  3. To whom a student pays taxes, including property taxes
  4. The state in which a student’s automobile is registered
  5. The state issuing the student’s driver’s license
  6. Where the student is registered to vote
  7. The marriage of the students to a resident of South Dakota
  8. Ownership of property in South Dakota and outside of South Dakota
  9. The residence claimed by the student on loan application, federal income tax returns, and other documents
  10. Admission to a licensed profession
  11. Membership in civic, community, and other organizations in South Dakota or elsewhere; and
  12. The facts and documents pertaining to the person’s past and existing status as a student (The existence of one or more of these factors does not require a finding of resident student status, nor does the nonexistence of one or more require a finding of nonresident student status. All factors shall be considered in combination and resident student status may not result from the doing of acts which are required or routinely done by sojourners in the state or which are merely auxiliary to the fulfillment of educational purposes.)

Classification appeal procedure:

Students may appeal the original classification decision by written petition to the Residency Appeals Committee within 30 days after registration for that semester. After twelve months of continuous presence in South Dakota, students who were initially classified as nonresidents may petition the Board of Regents for reclassification. If a petition for reclassification is granted, the reduced tuition rate shall become effective with the first semester or session following the date on which the petition is granted. Students who fail to request resident status prior to a particular semester or session or to pursue a timely appeal shall be deemed to have waived any claim for reduced tuition for that semester or session.

Application Requirements for International Students


Before a foreign applicant’s file can be evaluated, the following items must be submitted to Graduate School.

  1. Completed application form and non-refundable application fee of $35.00 U.S. dollars.
  2. Three completed recommendation forms.
  3. One official transcripts of all academic work at the undergraduate and graduate levels (with English translation stating a 2.7 or better undergraduate grade point average based on a 4.0 system). Review by an education credentials service is required. Minimally, the credentialing service (e.g. ECE or WES) should provide the U.S. equivalent of the degree and GPA. Some departments may require a course-by-course report evaluation.
  4. Any required test for the program in which the student is applying.
  5. Supplemental application materials for department if required.
  6. Financial Ability Form (form available at http://www.usd.edu/isso) and certified bank statement or sponsor’s letter showing that student is financially self-supported.
  7. Proficiency Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) by scoring a 79 on the Internet-Based TOEFL (IBT), 213 on the written TOEFL, or 550 on the computer-based TOEFL. The International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) Exam is also accepted with a minimum score of 6.0 as is the ELS for students with scores at or above 112.

Students from English-speaking countries are not required to submit a TOEFL score if their academic records indicate that English was the classroom language for the majority of their schoolwork. Foreign students who have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from an American college or university are not required to submit a TOEFL score. However, certain programs may have more strict requirements regarding students who have English as a second language.

The Graduate School will send a letter of notification of the student’s admission status to the International Services Student Office (ISSO). The Graduate School will notify the student directly of admission or rejection into the program to which the student applied. If the student has been admitted into The Graduate School, the ISSO will send the the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 Form), and other information to the student who will use these materials to obtain a visa.

Once the student has been accepted to The U, financial ability must be proven to receive the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 Form). The Financial Ability Form, available at http://www.usd.edu/isso, and certified bank statement or sponsor’s letter showing that student is financial self supported are required before the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 Form) can be issued. *To avoid delays, the Financial Ability Form and bank statements should be sent with application materials.

A foreign student should not depart from home to attend The University of South Dakota until notification of admission has been received and the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 Form) has been issued to the student. All non-United States citizens must report to the International Student Services Office, McKusick #202, upon initial arrival to the campus. You can reach the International Student Services Office by calling (605) 677-5332. http://www.usd.edu/isso.

Admission Test Information


Some departments require that all graduate students seeking a degree must submit scores on the Graduate Record Examination, the Graduate Management Admission Test, Miller Analogies Test, or a comparable examination. Such test scores may be required to determine admission to the Graduate School or to specific degree programs. Each department determines the manner in which graduate test requirements, if any, are to be met by applicants. See the descriptive narrative of the various departments for more explicit information concerning these admission tests.

Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

The GMAT is scheduled throughout the United States and in many foreign countries. This information may be obtained from the Educational Testing Service, Graduate Management Admissions Test, P.O. Box 6103, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6103 or at http://www.mba.com/mba. Candidates can register for the exam at http://www.mba.com.

Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).

Students wishing to take the general GRE may register directly with The University’s Division of Continuing and Distance Education at (605) 677-6240. Detailed information and registration forms for the general or subject tests may be obtained from the Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6004, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6000, (800) GRE-CALL, or at http://www.GRE.org. Sylvan Learning Centers also offer the general and subject tests. Contact their center at (800) 967-1100.

The applicant is encouraged to repeat the GRE if the examination was completed more than five years prior to the date of admitting application. Scores more than five years old will not be accepted. Applicants who are required to submit GRE scores, but who have not yet completed the test, should indicate that they are arranging for the test on their application for admission to The Graduate School, and should ensure that scores are available to meet specified departmental deadlines.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

International students, whose native language is other than English, are required to demonstrate competency in English unless they have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from an United States college or university. IELTS scores are valid for two years. Information pertaining to this test may be obtained by writing directly to IELTS International, 100 E. Corson St., Suite 200, Pasadena, California 91103 or email at ielts@ieltsintl.org.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The LSAT is required for admission into the School of Law. This test consists of five sections comprised of comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical-reasoning problems. For more information about this test, contact the USD Law School, or contact the LSAT website at http://www.LSAC.org.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT assesses mastery of basic concepts in biology, chemistry, physics, scientific problem-solving, critical thinking, and writing skills. The MCAT is required for admission into Canadian and American medical schools. More information can be obtained from the USD Medical School, or from the MCAT website at http://www.aamc.org/audienceamcas.htm.

Miller Analogies Test (MAT)

This test is accepted by some programs in the School of Education in lieu of the GRE. For registration and test date information, contact the Office of Certification and Placement at the School of Education (605) 677-5611.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

International students, whose native language is other than English, are required to demonstrate competency in English unless they have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from a United States college or university. TOEFL scores are valid for two years. Information pertaining to this test may be obtained by writing directly to the Educational Testing Service, TOEFL/TSE Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, New Jersey, 08541-6151 or at http://www.ets.org/toefl/.