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South Dakota State University (SDSU) is a four-year, public university located in Brookings, SD. The university has degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Their undergraduate student body is just under 10,000 and there are around 1,500 graduate students. Undergraduate students can enjoy classes on the Brookings campus but can also take courses online and through the university's study abroad programs. There are 180 degree programs available to undergraduate students.

Overview of South Dakota State University (SDSU)

Undergraduates may spend loads of time on their coursework, but they also have time to enjoy themselves and to form a well-rounded educational experience for themselves. After class, many students are found at the Miller Wellness Center, where they can work out on the cardio and weight machines, take in a few laps, or get active in a fitness class.

For students with a desire for competition, there are intramural and club sports available to all. Intramural sports are somewhat competitive and include leagues in sports such as basketball, ultimate frisbee, and flag football. There are also one-day tournaments that require less time but still pack in loads of fun. Tournaments are held in sports such as spikeball, table tennis, disc golf, pickleball, and E-sports.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Town: Remote
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 17:1
Graduation Rate 60%
Year Founded 1881

Student Enrollment

Total Students11,465


Undergraduate Student

Male 4,431
Female 5,416

Graduate Student

Male 728
Female 890

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SDSU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 2,560
Female 3,187


Male 2,227
Female 2,805

Acceptance Rate87%

Male 87%
Female 88%

Enrollment 2,009

Male 935
Female 1,094
Application Fee $20
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Required
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Program Required
Recommendations Considered But Not Required
SAT/ACT Considered But Not Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline September 1
Common Application Accepted No

SDSU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

As a state funded institution, South Dakota State University can offer South Dakota residents a lower tuition rate. In fact, thanks to the Western Undergraduate Exchange, students from participating states can get a break on their educational costs, as well. Those gross costs start at just over $10,000 for those eligible for in-state tuition. And non-residents don't pay much more, around $14,000 per year. Since students cannot live on knowledge alone, researchers also looked at the cost of living on campus and in Brookings. After living costs are tallied, those paying state tuition pay between $32,000 and $34,000 for a year of college. Non-residents then pay between $40,000 and $41,000, which is still a great bargain in higher education. However, these costs are just the start of the story.

Once the financial aid office applies all available grants and scholarships, the net cost is reduced significantly. Indeed, students receive a great bit of aid and see their net costs fall to an average of only $18,000 for a full year at SDSU, including all living costs. The lowest income earning families see their net costs fall to under $14,000, while households that earn over $110,000 have net costs of under $20,000. Given the level of academic excellence at SDSU, this is a tremendous educational value.

Average net price 2020-2021
Net Price $17,859
Average Total Aid $4,747
Students Receiving Financial Aid 94%
Room & Board $8,054

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $9,299
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $12,809
  • Books and Supplies - $1,200
  • Room & Board - $8,054
  • Other - $4,063


South Dakota State University is well-known for strong academic programs that prepare students for a lifetime of success. Students come to Brookings from all over the state and other western states to earn a top-notch diploma. Our researchers have sought to verify this reputation with statistics such as the retention rate, graduation rate, and student-to-faculty ratio. The retention rate is the figure that measures how many first-time, full-time students return to campus for a second term. This number is important because a high retention rate indicates a high level of satisfaction among students and their families. Since SDSU reports a stellar retention rate of 80%, it's safe to say that students are happy with their professors, campus resources, and even fellow students.

SDSU students do a good job of sticking around for graduation, too. The university reports that 60% of students graduate, which is a bit lower than the national average. This is a figure that shows somewhat lower results than students might want to see and, unfortunately, SDSU did not report its transfer out rates, so there are no extra numbers to boost that view.

The school does report their student-to-faculty ratio, however. That number indicates average class size and researchers view smaller classes as an indication of higher-quality instruction. Since SDSU has a ratio of 17 to 1, it’s clear that students are sure to receive ample attention and have loads of opportunities to ask questions and otherwise interact with their instructors.

Student Population Total

Student Population 11,465

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

Health Professions and Related Programs 430 Total Graduates / 23%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 315 Graduates
Pharmaceutics and Drug Design 64 Graduates
Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology/Technologist 27 Graduates
Community Health and Preventive Medicine 18 Graduates
Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist 6 Graduates
Agricultural/Animal/Plant/Veterinary Science and Related Fields 279 Total Graduates / 15%
Animal Sciences, General 90 Graduates
Agribusiness/Agricultural Business Operations 60 Graduates
Agronomy and Crop Science 38 Graduates
Agriculture, General 34 Graduates
Agricultural Mechanization, General 17 Graduates
All Engineering Majors 130 Total Graduates / 7%
Mechanical Engineering 69 Graduates
Civil Engineering, General 31 Graduates
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 23 Graduates
Agricultural Engineering 7 Graduates
All Business Majors 117 Total Graduates / 6%
Business/Managerial Economics 52 Graduates
Construction Management, General 38 Graduates
Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies 10 Graduates
Hospitality Administration/Management, General 8 Graduates
Organizational Leadership 5 Graduates
Biological and Biomedical Sciences 116 Total Graduates / 6%
Biomedical Sciences, General 66 Graduates
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 23 Graduates
Biochemistry 15 Graduates
Microbiology, General 10 Graduates
Biotechnology 2 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 43%

Outcome & Salary

South Dakota State University students and their families are all interested to learn what sort of return they might see on their educational dollar. While there are no guarantees that a degree will provide any specific job or salary, there are some statistics available. Recent graduates self-report their salaries, and outcomes are looking good. The top-earning degree appears to be in computer and information sciences, whose holders are reporting a median income of over $80,000. At the bottom of the top five, the registered nursing students report solid first-year median earnings that top $60,000.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $44,000
College Grads Average Salary $70,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $64,900
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $700,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,349,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $71,436
10 Year Projected ROI $628,564
20 Year Projected ROI $1,277,564
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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