Accredited colleges and universities have had their educational programs and faculty evaluated by an outside agency. Those agencies ensure that the school provides a high-quality education to its students, so to have your degree recognized by employers, it’s critical to attend an accredited institution. Below you’ll find information on higher education in the state and helpful resources on online colleges in South Dakota.
- School Search
- Accreditation Agencies
- Education Links
- Notable Schools
Accredited Online Colleges Database
These six agencies are some of the recognized accrediting agencies that offer institutional accreditation in the state of South Dakota. This does not include agencies that offer program-specific accreditation, such as for business or nursing programs. For that, you can refer to our subject pages.
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission (NCACS)
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
- Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
- Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
- Council on Occupational Education (COE)
- Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
- Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)
Higher Education Links
For more information on higher education in South Dakota, you can refer to the state’s regents board and department of education. There, you can find the latest on anything from new policies and accreditation to admission requirements and scholarships.
Picking a school can be a daunting task, especially when considering the sheer number of accredited colleges there are in the state. Our database below can help with narrowing down your options for your specific area. In addition, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most notable accredited online and campus-based schools in the state to help you begin your school search.
To find notable schools, go to College Navigator and select your state from the tool. Filter to only show public, 4-year schools. You’ll get a list you can then export and sort by student population size. Always include the biggest school, and use your best judgment for the other two schools. You can check rankings like Forbes or U.S. News (sort by state) to inform your decision.
South Dakota State University
South Dakota State University was founded in 1881. It is the largest university in South Dakota, with more than 11,000 students enrolled, and is one the state’s six public universities. Both Forbes and U.S. News & World Report rank the school among the best in the country. It has graduated Nobel Prize winners, professional football players, inventors, and political leaders.
University of South Dakota
The University of South Dakota was founded in 1862, making it the oldest public university in the state, as well as older than the state itself, which was established 37 years later. It is home to South Dakota’s only medical school and law school. Both Forbes and U.S. News & World Report rank it among the best universities in the country.
Black Hills State University
Black Hills State University was founded in 1883. It has multiple campuses throughout the state, including its main campus in Spearfish, as well as in Rapid City, Pierre, Yankton, Sioux Falls and distance offerings. Forbes ranks the university among the best in the country, as well as in the Midwest, and among the top research institutions.
The top schools in South Dakota have much in common. They tend to be small, liberal arts institutions that have some Christian affiliation. And by small, the biggest school in the state enrolls fewer than 2,000 students.
Augustana College, better known by students as Augie, is the largest private school in the state, with just 1,800 students enrolled. The liberal arts institution is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top colleges in the Midwest, as well as a best value school.
University of Sioux Falls
The University of Sioux Falls is a Christian, liberal arts school founded in 1883. Students can enroll in one of its nearly 50 undergraduate majors and pre-professional undergraduate programs. It also offers many graduate and adult-learning opportunities. The university is ranked among the top schools in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.
Mount Marty College
Mount Marty College is a Catholic Benedictine liberal arts school located on the bluffs of the Missouri River. More than 1,100 students are enrolled in the college, which is also one of the top schools in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report.