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Awards and Rankings

Numerous entities rank South Dakota State University’s colleges and academic programs among the nation’s best. And the same goes for the Brookings community. Here’s a look at some of our awards and rankings.

Brookings Community
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Brookings scores 100 on equality index for 4th straight year

For the fourth-straight year, Brookings has received a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2021 Municipal Equality Index.

View 2021 MEI rankings


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Recent Awards and Rankings

#1 Best Places to live in S.D. (Niche, 2020, 2018, 2017, 2016)

#1 Best School Districts in South Dakota (Niche, 2020)

#16 in best performing micropolitan in the U.S. (Policom Corporation, 2020)

#2 Best School Districts in S.D. (Niche, 2019, 2018, 2017)

#7 Top 10 Most Arts-Vibrant Small Communities in the U.S. (SMU Data Arts, 2019)

Named National Micropolitan Success Story (Walton Family Foundation, 2018)

#2 Safest Cities in S.D. (, 2018)

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Previous Awards and Rankings

#8 Top College Towns in America (, 2017)

#25 Best Cities for Entrepreneurs in America (Livability/Entrepreneur, 2017)

#5 Safest City in America (ADT Security, 2015)

#1 Safest College Town in America (Safewise, 2015)

1 of 11 communities chosen nationwide (and only non-metro area) for “Case Study for Positive Economic Transformation” (State of Indiana Study, 2014)

#5 Top 10 Best Small Towns in America (Livability, 2013)


SDSU Campus Community
The Safest College Campus in Your State Map

SDSU ranked the safest college campus in South Dakota

For the third-straight year, South Dakota State University has been ranked the safest college campus in South Dakota by, an ADT authorized provider and partner of SafeStreets.

Read more about our safety ranking

2021 College Factual International Value Overall Best (Verified)

College Factual ranks SDSU #5 in Best Value Colleges for International Students (2021)

South Dakota State University ranked No. 5 in College Factual’s Best Value Colleges for International Students ranking. This ranking is out of 1,204 colleges in the U.S. that offer four-year degrees. South Dakota State is in the top 1% for international students seeking quality and affordability in U.S. education.

Read more about our College Factual Ranking

GradReports Best Colleges South Dakota 2021

GradReports ranks SDSU #1 for public South Dakota universities

South Dakota State University was the top-ranked public institution in GradReports’ 2021 Best Colleges in South Dakota by Salary Score. In addition, SDSU’s 52.31 Salary Score is higher than the median for all U.S. colleges.

Read more about our GradReports Ranking

SDSU designated as a Purple Heart Campus

South Dakota State University became the nation's ninth Purple Heart Campus, recognized in a dedication ceremony. Kenneth Teunissen, commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter No. 5355, read a resolution declaring SDState as the state's first Purple Heart Campus.


SDSU recognized as a Tree Campus USA

SDSU has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA annually since 2009. The national program promotes a thriving tree population on university campuses.

Read more about tree campus USA

Additional Campus Awards and Rankings

Named to The Princeton Review’s 2021 ‘Guide to Green Schools’ list

Zippia ranks SDSU as the best total package college in state (2020)

SDSU Colleges, Departments and Programs
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2020-2021 Award and Rankings

Nursing ranks our Nursing program:

  • #1 for Most Popular Online Nursing Schools in South Dakota
  • #1 for Most Popular Online Nursing Bachelor’s Degree Schools
  • #5 Most Popular Online Nursing Bachelor’s Degree Schools in the Plains States Region
  • #7 Most Popular Online Nursing Schools in the Plains States Region

 #11 among nursing schools in the Great Plains Region by Nursing Schools Almanac

College of Nursing ranked #13 in College Factual’s 2021 Best Value Nursing Schools

College of Nursing ranked #19 by Best Nursing Programs in its Best Second-degree Nursing Programs

SDSU ranked in the The Princeton Review Top Online Nursing Programs 2021


South Dakota State University has been named one of 2021’s best schools for online programs and courses in health care education by SDSU earned top honors for distance education in the following areas:

Medical Lab Science

Accelerated Medical Laboratory Science program ranked #2 nationally by in Top Fastest Undergraduate Degrees: Biological and Biomedical Studies

College Factual ranks our Medical Lab Science program:

  • #3 in Best Value Colleges for Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science
  • #5 in Best Online Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science Programs
  • #18 in Highest-Paid Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science Graduates
  • #21 in Best Schools for Clinical Laboratory Science
  • #24 in Best Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science Programs for Veterans

Medical Laboratory Science ranked #25 in the nation by Online Schools Report


Animal Science Department ranked nation’s best for veterans by College Factual

Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science ranked #4 most affordable by Computer Science Degree Hub

Geography program listed as #11 in the 30 Best Bachelor’s in Geography by

Master’s in Mass Communication ranked #18 in nation by College Consensus

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2019-2020 Awards and Rankings


College of Nursing ranked as state’s best, College Factual (Dec. 2019)

College of Nursing ranked as state’s best RN to BSN program (May 2020)

College of Nursing ranked #8 in’s list of 2020 Best Clinical Nurse Leader Programs (March 2020)


Master's in Media Communications Degree Programs ranked #2 by – noted as best public university

Master’s in Communications Degree Programs ranked #3 by

Master's in Sociology Degree Programs ranked #4 by

Most affordable online bachelor’s degrees in geography ranked #5 by Great Value Colleges

Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education degree programs ranked #11 by Affordable Schools

Online Bachelor’s degree programs ranked #12 in the nation by

Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Degree Programs ranked #20 by

Best Online General Studies Degree ranked #21 by Online Schools Report

Awards and Rankings News

See All Our News
The College of Nursing's location at 1011 11th St in Rapid City ranks SDSU No. 15 in nation

South Dakota State University has been named one of 2022’s best colleges for nursing by SDSU was ranked No. 15, climbing 24 spots from its ranking in 2021.
student studying

U.S. News ranks 7 graduate programs

South Dakota State University had seven graduate programs ranked following a survey of online programs by U.S. News & World Report. The 2023 U.S. News Best Graduate Schools rankings are designed to help prospective students research more than 2,000 graduate programs.

SDSU ranked No. 1 for best bachelor’s and master’s degrees offered in South Dakota

University Headquarters has South Dakota State University ranked No. 1 when it comes to offering bachelor's and master's degrees in South Dakota.