graduate study in South Dakota, USA, graduate, postgraduate, study, abroad, program

Study for in South Dakota, United States

State overview

South Dakota in the Midwestern region of United States, is overlooked by one of the great icons of America. Four stone faces look down at visitors from Mount Rushmore. The faces of four presidents; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, carved from the rock has become one of the world’s most iconic and enduring images.

Bordered with North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana, South Dakota is split by the Missouri River into two distinct geographic and social halves, known as ‘East River’ and ‘West River’. The east is largely involved in the growth of crops, with ranching being the predominant activity in the west.

A traditional Sioux Indian homeland, South Dakota’s history is filled with the struggles between the native inhabitants and European settlers with a number of Indian wars, ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. The state has been shaped by its turbulent history, also including the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, into the place it is today.

Education profile

South Dakota has a good variety of quality and affordable postgraduate courses to study in America. The state has six public universities and several private institutions offering graduate programs, including:

Professional, or ‘terminal’, masters are designed to lead to employment rather than further study. Popular courses include: Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) and Master of Library Science (M.L.S.).

Academic masters, however, are generally designed to lead the way into doctorate/PhD study. Popular courses include: Master of Education (M.Ed.), and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.).

Both last between one and three years, depending on the subject.

Doctoral degrees are the most advanced level of higher education, and usually take between four and eight years to complete, which includes the time it takes to write and present a dissertation. 

Immigration and visas

Before travelling to the USA to study in South Dakota you will need to apply for a non-immigrant visa.

The most common kind of student visa is the F-1 visa, which entitles the holder to study at any US accredited college or university.
To apply for a student visa for a graduate program in South Dakota, you will need to fill out an application form (found on the US Embassy website) and send appropriate documentation, such as evidence of financial standing and proof of university acceptance and academic qualifications, as well as possibly attending a visa interview at the US Embassy in your home country.

Life in South Dakota

Life in South Dakota is the epitome of ‘small town America’, with its blink-and-you’ll-miss-them towns and vast expanses of countryside and mountains it does not have the constant excitement of other states, but is a true reflection of American living.

However, with larger towns such as Brookings, the home of the South Dakota State University, does come much to attract international students to study undergraduate programs in the state. With large student populations these places are geared towards catering for student life.

Traditionally South Dakota is less ethnically diverse than other states, and this is something you may want to consider before make your choice to study in the state.

Working in South Dakota

The service industry is dominant in South Dakota, with this sector including retail, finance, and health care industries. Citibank also has its national banking operations based in the state.

Agriculture is another major employer in South Dakota along with tourism which manages and maintains the states many historical sites and National Parks.


Most postgraduates coming to South Dakota choose to live in accommodation provided by the universities, as this is the easiest way to get to know fellow students and settle into university life. Most halls of residence in South Dakota provide postgraduates with furniture, cooking appliances and have places to relax like gyms and cafes.

Some students will choose to live privately in rented accommodation.

Weather and climate

South Dakota has a continental climate with four distinct seasons. The state has cold, dry winters and semi-humid summers.
The state is hit by some severe weather conditions including thunderstorms with high wind and hail. The eastern part of the state is considered part of Tornado Alley, and the state as a whole suffers from an average of 30 tornadoes a year. In winter blizzards and ice storms are common.

What to do next

Are you interested in studying a graduate program in South Dakota? If so, you should sign up for our Free Application Service. We'll provide you with tailored information, courses to suit you and the option to apply online for the graduate program you want.