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International Applicants

Faculty and students working in a lab

Thank you for your interest in South Dakota State University! Please read these instructions carefully before beginning your application. Applications will not be reviewed until all required documents are received by the SDSU Graduate School. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions to clarify any of the following documents required for admission.

Admission Requirements

South Dakota State University Graduate School requires:

  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 to receive unconditional admission. 
  • A professional academic transcript evaluation for degrees earned outside the United States (This requirement cannot be waived unless your highest degree was earned or will be earned in the U.S. prior to enrollment at SDSU).
    • If you are completing your bachelor's degree at the time of application, you may submit an incomplete evaluation. If you are accepted, a complete transcript and/or evaluation with completed degree will be required by the end of your first semester of coursework.
  • Official U.S. transcripts where a degree is earned (or will be earned), and official U.S. transcripts where graduate level coursework has been taken.
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 71, TOEFL Essentials score of 7.5, IELTS score of 6 or Duolingo score of 100.
    • SDSU accepts MyBest TOFEL scores. 
    • Some programs have higher minimum requirements. Find program specific requirements by selecting your program of interest in the Graduate Catalog.

Steps to Admission

1. Submit the  Online Application.

2. Pay the Application fee. The application fee can be paid online through the online application system at the time of application submission or by sending a check or money order to the Graduate School:

SDSU Graduate School

Morrill Hall 130

Box 2201

Brookings, SD 57007

3. Submit a Professional Academic Transcript Evaluation. This is a mandatory requirement if you attended a university outside the United States. This requirement cannot be waived unless you've earned a higher degree in the United States. If your highest degree was earned or will be earned in the United State prior to enrolling at SDSU, then you are only required to submit official transcripts of any previously earned degrees.

4. Submit U.S. Transcripts.

  • Request official transcripts from each higher education institution where a degree or graduate level credits were earned in the U.S.

5. Submit TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo scores.

  • Minimum requirements can vary - select your program of interest in the Graduate Catalog, and see the admission requirements section for your program's minimum requirements.
  • The IELTS score can be provided by the student if the TRF number is clearly visible on the bottom of the score sheet.
  • The TOEFL score must be sent directly from ETS. The institution code for SDSU is 6653.
  • The Duolingo scores must be clearly visible on the provided unofficial score sheet and an official copy sent to the Graduate School. 
  • Scores must be within two years of examination date.

The English proficiency requirement can be waived if you meet one of the following criteria:

        1) Citizen of one of the following countries listed below.
        2) Completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning, at which English is the primary language of instruction, located in a country in which English is a recognized, primary language (not necessarily official). 
        3) Completed two full semesters in a degree program within the U.S. – determined on a case-by-case basis, dependent on overall GPA of completed coursework.

Accepted Countries for English Proficiency Waiver: 

List of countries
AnguillaFalkland IslandsMontserratSouth Africa
Antigua and BarbudaThe GambiaNew ZealandSudan
BahamasGrenadaNorfolk IslandTanzania 
BelizeKiribatiPitcairn IslandsTrinidad and Tobago
BermudaIrelandPuerto RicoTurks and Caicos Islands
Cameroon JamaicaRwanda Uganda
CanadaJerseySaint HelenaUnited Kingdom
Cayman IslandsLiberiaSaint Kitts and NevisVirgin Islands
Christmas IslandMalawiSaint LuciaZambia
Cook IslandsMarshall IslandsSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesZimbabwe
DominicaMicronesiaSint Maarten 

6. Submit Financial Support Documents.

7. Submit Proof of Immunity.

  • Medically signed proof of two properly administered measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) immunizations OR immune titers for measles (rubella), mumps, and rubella. A tuberculosis (TB) test is required for students from certain countries of origin and must be performed upon arriving on campus; TB tests done outside the U.S. will not be accepted. More information available on the Student Health Clinic website. 
  • For additional information, contact Student Health Services at 605-688-4157.

8. Submit All Program Required Documents. Individual programs may ask for additional documents above what the Graduate School requires.

Examples may include:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Goal statement
  • Curriculum vita
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Admission Process

Step 1
Complete the online application and pay application fee.

Step 2

Submit all required application materials including:

  • Transcript Evaluation
  • Transcripts
  • IELTS or TOEFL Scores
  • Financial Documents
  • Proof of Immunity
  • Documents Required by Your Program of Interest

Step 3
The Graduate School will review your application file. When all required documents have been received, your application file will be sent to your program's department for review.

Step 4
The department will review your application file and provide an initial admission decision before sending it back to the Graduate School. The time frame for this step varies according to each department's review process. Allow for a minimum of 3-4 weeks.

Step 5
The Graduate School provides final review and admission decision. You will receive an e-mail notification of the admission decision.

Step 6
Upon acceptance, the International Student Affairs office will be the main point of contact for any questions or concerns regarding your visa, travel arrangements, and other issues. Please note, SDSU is not authorized to issue I-20s for certificate level programs. International students must be in an on-campus, master's or doctoral level program to be issued an I-20.