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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.

Due to ongoing concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 is reviewing several additional testing options that are available online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Explore the opportunities below in the “Online Options” section as needed and review the traditional requirements from standard tests. Please reach out to our International Affairs office at 605-688-4122 or for more support related to your individual situation.


iTEP  -

Duolingo –

English3 –

Pearson PTE A -

IELTS Indicator -

TOEFL Essentials - 



 TOEFL  (internet based)

iTEP Equivalent

Duolingo Equivalent

E3PT Equivalent



TOEFL Essentials






















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 527 paper-based, 197 computer-based, or 71 Internet based, or IELTS score of 6.
    • 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 IslandsMontserratSwaziland
Antigua and BarbudaThe GambiaNew ZealandTanzania 
BahamasGrenadaNorfolk IslandTrinidad and Tobago
BarbadosKenyaPhilippinesTurks and Caicos Islands
BelizeKiribatiPitcairn Islands


BermudaIrelandPuerto RicoUnited Kingdom
Cameroon JamaicaSaint HelenaVirgin Islands
CanadaJerseySaint Kitts and NevisZambia
Cayman IslandsLiberiaSaint LuciaZimbabwe
Christmas IslandMalawiSaint Vincent and the Grenadines 
Cook IslandsMarshall IslandsSint Maarten 
DominicaMicronesiaSouth Africa 

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.