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Frequently Asked Questions

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Prospective Students

With TOEFL and IELTS closing their test centers during the COVID-19 pandemic, how can I submit an English proficiency test score?

Applicants may not be able to access the more popular testing options for English language proficiency tests (including TOEFL and IELTS), as testing centers around the world have been closed and scheduled examinations have been canceled.  Our International Admissions team has reviewed several additional testing options that are available online during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Standard options and additional resources

Where should my application materials be sent to?

Application materials can be sent electronically to We can accept electronic transcripts and transcript evaluations if sent directly from the institution or evaluation service. Email is recommended when able. 

South Dakota State University
Graduate School
Morrill Hall 130
Box 2201
Brookings, SD 57007

U.S. Transcripts: Can I send my own transcripts if the envelope is still sealed?

No. Transcripts are only considered official when they are sent directly from your institution to our office. Student issued transcripts are not considered official transcripts.

Non-U.S. Transcripts: Is an evaluation of my transcripts required? Can I request for it to be waived?

If your degree was earned outside the United States, you must provide a professional academic transcript evaluation from all universities attended. This requirement will not be waived unless your highest degree was earned in the United States. If you have earned a degree in the United States, then you are only required to provide official transcripts from any previously earned degrees.

Do not send your official transcripts to the Graduate School if they require an evaluation. Please follow the instructions below.

The transcript evaluation must be performed by a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services or Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. - accredited evaluation service member. Common evaluation services used include Educational Perspectives or World Education Services. When ordering your evaluation, be sure to consider the following steps:

Evaluation must include U.S. degree equivalency. Evaluation must include your cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale.


English translations of transcripts must accompany all international transcript evaluations. If the evaluation does not include a copy of your transcript, we will request a scanned copy from you by e-mail. Evaluations will not be accepted directly from the applicant. For added clarity, Educational Perspectives provides an SDSU-specific site.

  • Evaluation does not need to be course-by-course unless you will be transferring in graduate courses that have not already been used toward a previous degree. However, some evaluation services may require you to complete a course-by-course evaluation to have your GPA included as required in Step 2.
  • Request that one official copy be sent to the Graduate School.
Do I need recommendation letters, a personal statement, or a resume?

These documents are not required for admission by the Graduate School. However, each department may require additional application materials. Please refer to the Graduate Catalog. Once you select your program, look under the Additional Admission Requirements section to see what additional requirements your program has.

What are the minimum requirements for the TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo?

A TOEFL score of 71 internet-based is required by the Graduate School. The IELTS equivalent is 6.0 and Duolingo is 100. However, program requirements may be higher. Please refer to the Graduate Catalog and select your program of interest. Once you select your program, look under the Additional Admission Requirements section to see if your program has higher requirements.

What is the minimum requirement for GRE scores?

The Graduate School does not require GRE scores. However, select departments require GRE scores for admission into their program. These include: Biology, Electrical Engineering, Geospatial Science and Engineering, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, Microbiology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Plant Science, and Wildlife & Fisheries. Please contact these departments for GRE minimum requirements.

I submitted my English score/GRE exam to SDSU, but it’s still showing as “Not Received” in my application portal. What can I do?

If the status on your exams is showing as not received after having sent your test scores, this generally means that your overall application has not yet been processed. All application material and status updates are given at the time of processing. It is also possible that the Graduate School has not yet received your test scores from the SDSU Testing Center. Please allow additional time for your scores to be received before contacting the Graduate School. 

How do I contact the department I am applying to? Who should I speak with?

Contact information can be found in the Graduate Catalog under your program. Each program has a 'Program Information' link. The Graduate Coordinator listed under this link can answer specific questions about your program of interest.

What is the cost of tuition?

Cost of tuition and fees can be found on our website.

Do you have financial aid available?

Financial aid is available for domestic graduate students by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

We do not have financial aid for international students. A graduate assistantship may be available in your department. If you are awarded a graduate assistantship, your tuition and certain fees will be waived. Please contact your department regarding the availability of assistantships.

My credit card payment did not go through on the application. What do I do?

Payment can be sent to the Graduate School via mail. We will accept cash, check, or money order. Currently, we cannot take debit or credit cards over the phone or in our office. We do, however, accept Flywire. To use please log in to the website and make a payment using South Dakota State University as your payment recipient’s name. When you get to Info for the receiver section, select Graduate Application Fee and type in the invoice number given to you in your Self Service Center during the application process (311500000XXXXXXX).

When do financial documents need to be submitted (international students only)?

It is recommended that you submit your financial documents at the time of application, although not required. Should you receive an assistantship from your program, you can change your documents to reflect. If you wait until after an admissions decision is made, it may not allow enough time to process your VISA documents and I-20.

When do I need to submit proof of immunizations? What if I don't have proof of immunizations?

Upon acceptance, instructions will be given to you to submit your immunization records to the Student Health Clinic. If you do not have proof of immunizations, you can receive immunizations at the Student Health Clinic upon arrival to campus.

I've submitted my online application. What happens next?

Once ALL required application material has been submitted your application file will be sent to your program's department for review. The department will review your application file and provide an initial admission decision before sending it back to the Graduate School. Allow for a minimum of 3-4 weeks. The Graduate School provides final review and admission decision. You will receive an e-mail notification of the admission decision. You may check the status of your application any time.