Jul 24, 2024  
2009-2010 Graduate Catalog 
2009-2010 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. Students applying to the School of Law or Medicine should refer to these departments for instructions. The Deans of Law and Medical 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 course work at The University, will be designated as special 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 full regional accreditation for that degree.
  2. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or graduate GPA of a 3.0 or better, based on a 4.0 scale.
  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 course work, and/or other admission requirements.

Provisional Admission

Provisional admission 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 full regional accreditation.
  2. An undergraduate GPA of less than 2.7, based on a 4.0 scale.
  3. Deficiencies in departmental requirements for undergraduate education or other prerequisites for study toward a graduate degree in that academic program.
  4. Outstanding admission paperwork.

In order to gain full admission, the student must demonstrate that he/she is capable of keeping a grade point average of 3.0 or better during the first semester of study. 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 race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, gender, sexual orientation , religion, age, or disability. 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 of Equal Opportunity, Room 205 - Slagle, Vermillion, SD 57069. Phone: 605-677-5651 E-Mail: equalopp@usd.edu.

Admission decisions at the U 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, 119B Service Center North, USD, Vermillion, SD 57069. Phone: 605-677-6389 Fax: 605-677-3172 E-Mail: dservice@usd.edu  

Special Graduate Student Status


Students with special 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 regionally accredited baccalaureate or professional degree may register for individual courses at the graduate level without submitting an application to a degree program.

The special-student is not required to furnish transcripts or recommendations and there is no minimum grade-point requirement. A student in this classification may register for classes and must meet prerequisite conditions, for courses. A student, who is designated as a Special 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 special students but has access to the records. Should a special graduate student wish to earn a graduate degree, he/she will be required to apply for admission to a degree program. Students with Special Graduate Student status are not eligible for financial aid, including graduate assistantships.

Courses taken as a special 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 course work as a Special Graduate Student status may or may not be acceptable toward a degree. Generally only nine graduate credit hours earned as a special 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 special student. The special student may enroll for individual courses for which he/she is qualified.

Undergraduates Taking Graduate Courses


Undergraduate students who are within nine credit hours of completing the requirements for their baccalaureate degree at The University of South Dakota and whose undergraduate record is such that he/she could qualify for admission to the Graduate School, may register for a limited number of courses for graduate credit. The total undergraduate and graduate course registration may not exceed the normal limit of graduate registration of twelve credit hours. Permission for an undergraduate to take graduate course work must be approved by the Graduate Dean. Such permission does not constitute admission to The Graduate School. Forms for petitioning to take graduate courses before completion of the requirements for the Bachelor’s degree are available in The Graduate School or on the myU.portal at https://myu.usd.edu. Undergraduate students taking graduate coursework are still considered to have undergraduate status, although their graduate coursework is not credited toward their undergraduate degree.

Advisor and Committee Assignment


An advisor is assigned to each student at the time of admission. This faculty member will serve as the student’s advisor for the first registration or until a permanent advisor or committee chairperson is assigned by the department.

An advisory committee is to be appointed following admission to a program. This committee must include the student’s major advisor and two or more other graduate faculty members, one of whom must be a graduate faculty member from an academic discipline outside the candidate’s department or division. Outside faculty members may be also be adjunct graduate faculty. For Master’s degrees, the committee is comprised of at least three Graduate Faculty members, including the outside member. For most doctoral committees, the committee is comprised of at least five Graduate Faculty members, including the outside member. For doctoral committees in the School of Education, the advisory committee is comprised of four members including the outside member. On behalf of the advisory committee, the student’s adivsor will approve the student’s Program of Study, administer the written and/or oral examinations, approve the thesis or dissertation where applicable, and certify to The Graduate School that the candidate has satisfactorily met all requirements for an advanced degree. The student works closely with his/her advisor in determining who will serve on their advisory committee.