South Dakota State University

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SDSU's athletics - the Jackrabbit logo

South Dakota State University's athletics logo.

South Dakota State University, also known as SDSU, is the state's largest university, with a student population of 12,583. The main campus is located in the town of Brookings, South Dakota, and extension centers throughout the State to reach communities with limited resources. SDSU was founded under the provisions of the 1862 Morrill Act as a public, land-grant college, and is also the originator of the sun-grant program which promotes research on biobased energy technology to increase diversification and sustainability of products that can promote economies of rural American towns. It has a special focus on academic programs in agriculture, engineering, nursing, pharmacy, and the liberal arts, and is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Research University with high activity.

Graduates achievements include:

  • Invention of the Briggs & Stratton internal-combustion engine by Stephen Foster Briggs, who graduated from SDSU in 1907
  • The creation of Cookies and Cream ice cream by the university's dairy science department
  • The development of the IBM 360 computer by Gene Myron Amdahl
  • Establishment of the nation's first on-campus research facility for ethanol fuel production by Paul Middaugh in the 1970s
  • Founding of Daktronics, Inc. in 1968, by electrical engineering professors Aelred Kurtenbach and Duane Sander (1968)
  • Design of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System by civil engineer Carrie Buthe.
SDSU's ethanol-production facility

The nation's first on-campus ethanol production facility, established at SDSU in 1979.

South Dakota State University offers the following degrees: associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral. With 175 study fields, the university is considered the state's most comprehensive academic institution.

As of 2013, SDSU consists of the following colleges and schools:

  • College of Agriculture & Biological Sciences
  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Education & Human Sciences
  • College of Nursing
  • College of Pharmacy
  • Graduate School
  • Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering
  • University College
  • Van D. & Barbara B. Fishback Honors College

In terms of online programs, the school offers associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and certificate programs, all of which may be completed online. In January 2013, South Dakota State's online program was ranked second overall among online colleges in the Guide to Online School's 2013 Online College Rankings.

South Dakota State is accredited by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is considered one of the Midwest's top research universities, particularly in agriculture, biological science and engineering, and was recently ranked in US News & World Report's Top 200 National Universities in the publication's college and university rankings.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

South Dakota State provides financial aid to an estimated 88 percent of its student body. Grants, loans, work-study and scholarships are available to students. Types of scholarships include aid for freshmen, transfer students, music scholarships, and the Jackrabbit Guarantee, which awards an annual minimum of $1,000 to any eligible first-time student earning a score of 24 or higher on the ACT. All applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Library System

The school's Hilton M. Briggs Library is comprised of more than 635,000 bound volumes, 315,000 government documents, 79,000 maps and 1,800 journal titles, with an additional 28,000 titles available online.


South Dakota State's mascot is the Jackrabbit. Both men and women's teams compete in the NCAA Division I; the school transitioned from NCAA Division II in 2009. Most sports are affiliated with The Summit League; other affiliations include the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the Western Wrestling Conference and Valley Equestrian. The school has 21 varsity sports, as well as a number of intramural and club teams.

With more than 300 members, the SDSU Marching Band is known as "The Pride of the Dakotas" and has marched in the 1981 and 1997 Presidential Inaugural Parades in Washington, D.C., as well as in the Tournament of Roses Parade, and A Capital Fourth in 2000. They are the second collegiate band in the Rose Bowl's history to be invited to march twice when their team was not competing. In addition, the band was invited to march at the Korean War Monument Dedication at the state capitol in 2004.

The school's athletic conference affiliations include The Summit League for most sports, the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the Western Wrestling Conference and Varsity Equestrian. In 2003, the women's basketball team prevailed in the Division II Championship, and in spring 2007 and 2008, was invited to compete in postseason play in the WNIT, making them the only transition team in history to receive such an invitation.

SDSU's master plan for athletic-department renovations includes the Dykhouse Student Athletic Center, which was opened in the spring of 2010. In the summer of 2013, ground was broken for the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex, which is slated to include 300-meter track and an 80-yard practice turf. In addition, the expansion of the Frost Arena is on tap as well as a new football stadium, which is expected to be completed in fall 2016.

Student Housing

Sylvan Theater

Sylvan Theater

Residential life is broken into three areas on campus: the Medary complex in the northwest corner, which has the traditional residence halls Hansen, Waneta and Wecota Annex, as well as apartment-style halls Meadows North and Meadows South; the Grove complex near the student union, which consists of traditional residence halls Brown, Mathews, and Pierson along with the newer residence halls Spencer, Thorne, and Abbott (also known as the Jackrabbit Village); and the Larson complex on the east side of campus, which consists of traditional halls Binnewies and Young, and suite-style living at Caldwell Hall.

With the exception of Caldwell, all residence halls are co-ed by wing. Each floor in Caldwell is co-ed. Married students may reside with their families in State Court and State Village.

With the exception of Wecota Annex, furniture in all halls is movable and beds may be lofted. All halls also feature washers and dryers. In fall 2013, the newest residential halls, Reifel, Hyde, Schultz and the Honors Hall (known collectively as the Jackrabbit Grove) opened. The Performing Arts Community is located in Reifel, while the Ag/Rural and Wellness Living Communities are in Schultz. Amenities are similar to Jackrabbit Village.

General Information

Admission Office

Box 2201 SAD 200

Brookings, SD 57007-0649

(605) 688-4121

(800) 952-3541

Fax: (605) 688-6891

Contact: Tracy Welsh

Director of Admissions and High School Relations
Main Address

Box 2201 SAD 200

Brookings, SD 57007

(800) 952-3541

Total undergrads: 10,532

First-time degree-seeking freshmen: 2,101

Degree-seeking undergrads: 9,516

Graduate enrollment: 1,334


Rural setting

Large town (10,000 – 49,999)

Commuter campus

Degrees offered:
First Professional

Admissions Information

Application Fee

College has an application fee: Yes

Regular application fee: $20

Online application fee: $20

Enrollment Rates

Percent applicants admitted: 93%

Percent students who return sophomore year: 77%

College Majors

Agriculture & Related Sciences

Agribusiness Operations B
Agricultural Economics B
Agricultural Mechanization B
Agriculture – General A,B
Agronomy/Crop Science B
Animal Sciences B
Dairy Science B
Horticultural Services B
Landscaping B
Range Science/Management B

Arts, Visual & Performing

Arts – General B
Graphic Design B
Interior Design B
Music – General B
Music Management/Merchandising B

Biological & Biomedical Sciences

Biochemistry B
Biology B
Microbiology B

Business, Management, & Marketing

Entrepreneurial Studies B,C
Hotel/Motel Management B

Communications & Journalism

Journalism B

Computer & Information Sciences

Computer/Information Sciences – General B,C


Agricultural Education B
Early Childhood Education B
Music Teacher Education B
Secondary Education B


Agricultural Engineering B
Civil Engineering B
Electrical/Communications Engineering B
Engineering Physics B
Mechanical Engineering B
Software Engineering B

Engineering Technologies

Construction/Building Technologies B
Electrical Engineering Technologies B
Engineering/Industrial Management B
Industrial Safety B
Manufacturing Technologies B

English Language & Literature

English Language & Literature – General B
Speech/Rhetorical Studies B

Family & Consumer Sciences

Apparel/Textile Marketing Management B
Consumer Economics B
Family Resource Management Studies B
Foods/Nutrition Studies B
Human Development/Family Studies B

Foreign Language & Literature

French B
German B
Spanish B

Health Professions & Clinical Sciences

Athletic Training/Sports Medicine B
Clinical Laboratory Science B
Nursing (RN) B
Pharmaceutical Sciences B


History – General B

Liberal Arts & Sciences

General Studies A
Liberal Arts & Sciences B


Mathematics – General B

Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

Global Studies B

Natural Resources & Conservation

Natural Resources Management/Policy B
Wildlife/Wilderness Management B

Parks, Recreation & Fitness

Health promotion B
Health/Physical Fitness B
Parks/Leisure Facilities Management B

Physical Sciences

Chemistry B
Physics B


Psychology – General B

Social Sciences

Economics B
Geography B
Political Science/Government B
Sociology B

Transportation & Materials Moving

Air Transportation B
Aviation Management B
Flight Instruction B

Degree levels for each major are designated by the following letters:

    A = Associate degree
    B = Bachelor's degree
    C = Certificate or diploma

*We do not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.

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