NSU Catalog 2013-2014 
    Jun 16, 2024  
NSU Catalog 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Information


A student is eligible to enroll in classes once the application file is complete and she or he has been accepted. Current students may register for classes the following semester during a pre-registration period. Transfer and re-entry students enroll by appointment any time after the preregistration period for enrolled students. New freshmen are invited to the campus on selected spring and summer dates for academic advising and enrollment. New freshmen who are unable to come to the campus during scheduled preregistration may enroll by appointment.

Pre-registration consists of program planning with an advisor and enrolling in a schedule of classes. Registration is completed when fees are paid at the beginning of each term. Enrollment and fee payment deadlines are published in the online class schedule for each semester or summer session. Students who have not completed registration with fee payment by the published deadline will have their class schedule canceled.

Auditors. Students may audit any course with permission of the instructor. An auditor is not permitted to take an examination for credit and must pay the regular tuition rate. Auditors pay all fees usually collected for the course. Veterans and dependents may not receive educational benefits for audited courses. Decision to audit a class must be processed prior to the end of the add/drop period. Courses audited will be recorded on the academic transcript with a notation of AU. Audited courses are counted in the calculations of overloads, but are not counted toward full-time student status. Auditors are not eligible for financial assistance.

Registration Changes. Students may add and drop classes within time frames published for each semester on the class schedule webpage www.northern.edu/pages/academics.aspx. Changes will not be permitted after the published deadline.

Late Enrollment. Students who enroll after the final scheduled registration day must pay a late fee. The schedule of charges is included in the section of this catalog relating to Tuition, Fees and Expenses .

Program Planning

A bachelor’s degree program consists of system general education courses, institutional graduation requirements, degree requirements, major requirements, optional minor requirements and general electives required to meet the minimum hours for graduation. The Registrar’s Office will provide the student and advisor with a program evaluation detailing the selected curriculum and program via WebAdvisor. Substitutions in major or minor must be approved by the appropriate department coordinator and substitutions in other program requirements must be approved by the Registrar.

An official program approval must be filed with the Registrar’s Office once a student makes a firm decision on an academic program. The program evaluation generated from the official program approval will detail the requirements for graduation.

Academic Load

The unit of credit is a semester hour representing one lecture period a week for the semester. Three hours of laboratory work is considered the equivalent of one hour of lecture. For each hour of credit, a student should expect to spend up to three hours a week in class or study.

Undergraduate. The recommended student load is 15 semester hours with a maximum of 18 semester hours. Students with a grade point average above 2.70 or higher may enroll for a maximum of 19 semester hours. The recommended student load is 5 semester hours for each 4-week summer session with a maximum of 7. Any enrollment above these maximum load limits is considered to be an overload and requires permission of the advisor and appropriate academic administrator.

For financial aid eligibility, athletic eligibility, deferments and enrollment verification, full-time undergraduate enrollment is 12 semester hours; three-quarter enrollment is 9 to 11.5 semester hours; and half-time enrollment is 6 to 8.5 semester hours. All enrollments for interim and summer sessions are combined when determining enrollment status for summer school.

Graduate. The recommended graduate student load is 9 semester hours. Students may exceed 9 hours with permission of the Director of Graduate Studies. For financial aid eligibility, deferments and enrollment verification purposes, full-time graduate enrollment is 9 semester hours; three-quarter enrollment is 7 to 8 semester hours; and half-time is 5 to 6 semester hours. All enrollments for interim and summer sessions are combined when determining enrollment status for summer school. The maximum for summer is 6 credits per session; 7 for CGPS program.

Classification of Students

Freshmen must have met all entrance requirements and have earned fewer than 30 semester hours of college credit.

Sophomores must have earned at least 30 but fewer than 60 semester hours of college credit.

Juniors must have earned at least 60 but fewer than 90 semester hours of college credit.

Seniors must have earned at least 90 semester hours of college credit.

For purposes of registration, social activities, publications, etc., classification will be determined by the total credits earned by a student at the close of the previous semester.

Special students are those who have been admitted to the university but are not candidates for a specific degree. Students who are not seeking a degree at NSU are not eligible for financial aid.

Grades and Grade Point Averages

Grades are recorded at the end of each semester as follows:

A Exceptionally high achievement. Four honor points per credit hour.
B Above average achievement. Three honor points per credit hour.
C Average achievement. Two honor points per credit hour.
D Below average achievement. One honor point per credit hour.
F Quality of work does not merit credit. Zero honor points per credit hour.
S Satisfactory performance, not computed in GPA.
U Unsatisfactory performance, not computed in GPA.
I Incomplete work, not computed in GPA.
W Withdrew from the class.
RS Remedial Satisfactory
RI Remedial Incomplete
RU Remedial Unsatisfactory
AU Audit
EX Pass-Credit by Exam
TR Credit received by transfer
CR Credit
LR Lab grade linked to recitation grade
NR Grade not reported by instructor
IP In Progress
DEF Used at midterm only to denote a deficiency

A grade point average (GPA) is calculated by dividing total honor points for completed courses by total hours attempted (registered courses after the final add/drop date). If a course is repeated, only the final grade of the most recent course is computed in the GPA although all grades will appear on the transcript. Only courses for which A-F grades are assigned are computed in the GPA.

Academic Amnesty

The goal of academic amnesty is to respond to the academic needs of matured individuals as they develop newly identified potential. Through the application of academic amnesty, the student’s prior academic record can be excluded from current work under certain circumstances.


The student must:

  1. be an undergraduate, full-time, degree-seeking student at one of the universities in South Dakota Regental system.
  2. not have been enrolled in any Postsecondary institution for a minimum of three calendar years (9 consecutive terms including Fall, Spring, and Summer) prior to the most recent admission to the home institution. Exceptions may be granted in rare cases only by the BOR Senior Administrator upon recommendation by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  3. have completed a minimum of 24 graded credit hours taken at any Regental university with a minimum grade point average of 2.0 for the 24 credit hours after the most recent admission to the home institution.
  4. not have earned a baccalaureate degree from any university.
  5. not have been granted any prior academic amnesty at any Regental university.
  6. submit a formal Academic Amnesty Petition to their home university following the procedures established by that university.


  1. Academic amnesty does not apply to individual courses. Academic amnesty may be requested for either (a) all previous post-secondary education courses, or (b) all previous post-secondary education courses at a specific institution, or (c) a specified time period not to exceed one academic year (fall/spring).
  2. Academic amnesty, if granted, shall not be rescinded.
  3. Courses for with academic amnesty is granted will:
    1. remain on the student’s permanent record.
    2. be recorded on the student’s undergraduate transcript with the original grade followed by an asterisk (*).
    3. not be included in the calculation of the student’s grade point average because no credit is given.
    4. not be used to satisfy any of the graduation requirements of the current degree program.
  4. Academic amnesty decisions will be made by the student’s home institution, will be honored by all programs within the home institutions, and will be honored by all other institutions within the South Dakota Regental system.
  5. Universities outside of the South Dakota Regental system are not bound by the academic amnesty decisions made by the South Dakota Regental system.
  6. Regental graduate programs and graduate professional schools may consider all previous undergraduate course work when making admission decisions.

Incompletes and Withdrawals

Incomplete. The grade of “incomplete” (I or RI) may be assigned to a student at an instructor’s discretion. The incomplete grade allows a student to complete a course without repeating the semester’s work. It may not be assigned when a definite grade can be given for the work done. The incomplete grade is given to indicate that some part of the work has, for good reason, not been completed, while the rest has been satisfactorily completed. Whenever a grade of I or RI is assigned, the instructor is required to submit an incomplete grade request form indicating the circumstances of the incomplete, including the deadline (expire date) for removing the I or RI, which must be not later than one semester from the end of the semester in which the incomplete is given. Exceptions to the time limit include courses designated as workshop, practicum, internship, independent study, independent research, seminar, thesis, or project paper. The limit can be extended with the instructor filing Extension of Incomplete Grade with the Registrar.

The course instructor files a Request for Grade Change form with the Registrar to remove the I or RI grade once the student has completed all course requirements. A grade of I or RI that is not removed by the deadline converts to an F or RU. Should the student re-enroll in a course in which the I or RI has been recorded, the grade received for the re-enrollment is computed for grade point average and graduation purposes and tuition and fees are again charged. Any student with an I or RI on his/her record cannot be considered for academic honors for that term.

Withdrawal. Withdrawal is initiated by the student and processed through the Registrar’s Office. Faculty may access updated rosters electronically.

If a student withdraws by the census date of the term (within the first 10% of the term), registration is canceled for that class. The instructor is not required to approve the withdrawal.

Students who withdraw at any time after the census date until the end of 70% class length will receive a W grade. Permission of the instructor is not required.

A grade of W will not affect a student’s grade point average. An instructor’s grade of F for academic dishonesty will override a withdrawal grade.

A grade of W is assigned for all classes when a student is administratively withdrawn from school prior to the end of 70% of a standard semester. An administrative withdrawal can be processed for non-attendance, disciplinary action, or non-payment of financial obligations. The student will be notified by the Registrar when an administrative withdrawal is processed.


Students will be allowed a total of three (3) takes for undergraduate courses (course number 001-499) for which credit is only counted toward graduation once. The student must petition the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs for permission to take an undergraduate course more than three times. When a student repeats a course, only the latter grade, even if it is a lower grade, is used in the computation of the grade point average. If the last grade is a failing grade earlier credit will be lost as well. All grades remain on the transcript.

Students will be allowed unlimited takes for an undergraduate course for which credit toward graduation may be received more than once (e.g., Independent Study, Thesis). All takes will count in grade point average calculations. Individual departments/majors may limit the number of credits allowed toward graduation in certain courses.

The Audit (AU) grade is the only grade that will not be counted as a take of a course. All other grades, including a Withdraw (W), will count as a take of a course.

Transfer courses and non-courses (e.g., CLEP, credit by exam) will count as a take of a course.

Scholarship and Academic Honors

Graduation honors will be determined on cumulative and institutional grade point average. Students who have earned an average of 3.50 honor points shall be graduated cum laude (baccalaureate) or with honor (associate). Those who earn 3.70 honor points shall be graduated magna cum laude (baccalaureate) or with high honor (associate) and those earning 3.90 honor points for each semester hour shall be graduated summa cum laude (baccalaureate) or with highest honor (associate). Honors are only awarded to students who have completed at least 60 semester hours credit (baccalaureate) or at least 30 semester hours credit (associate) in residence.

Based on grade point average at the end of the term prior to graduation and anticipated total credits, qualified students become “candidates for honor,” and will be recognized in the commencement program. Final graduation honors are determined after all requirements have been met and will be shown on the diploma.

Full-time undergraduate students with a system honor point average of 3.50 or better for the semester shall be placed on the Dean’s List. Students must have earned a minimum of 12 graded (A-F) credits during the term. Students with F, U, RU, RI or I grades are not eligible regardless of system term GPA attained.

Part-time undergraduate students with a system honor point average of 3.50 or better for the semester shall receive Academic Recognition for Part-Time Students. Students must have completed at least twelve (12) credit hours prior to the current semester at one or more Regental institutions. Student must have earned at least three (3) and up to eleven (11) graded (A-F) credit hours during the term. Student with F, U, RU, OR I grades are not eligible regardless of system term GPA attained.

The Order of Maroon and Gold is an academic honor awarded during the spring semester to students who meet the following criteria:

  1. must be currently enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours,
  2. have a 3.50 cumulative GPA for all college work including transfer credit,
  3. have at least a 3.50 GPA during the two preceding semesters at Northern State University,
  4. have passed at least 12 semester hours in each of the two preceding semesters at Northern State University, and
  5. been classified as a junior during one of the current semesters (fall-spring).

Graduation Requirements

Candidates for a baccalaureate degree may graduate upon the completion of: major and minor requirements as defined in the catalog in effect at the time of initial registration in residence in a degree seeking program or in any subsequent catalog under which they have enrolled. Students who discontinue enrollment at any Regental University for more than two consecutive semesters are assigned the catalog in effect at the time of re-enrollment as their catalog of graduation. No degree is granted on the basis of requirements listed in a catalog issued more than ten years prior to the date of graduation. The Registrar, in cooperation with departmental faculty, will evaluate coursework completed under a lapsed catalog of graduation for relevance.

The South Dakota Department of Education regularly changes certification requirements. Any requirement changed and reflected in a catalog subsequent to initial registration will be required of the student in order for the student to be certified to teach in South Dakota.

Degrees are officially conferred at the close of each semester. Candidates for degrees or certificates must make formal application for graduation in the Registrar’s Office in the semester prior to the semester of graduation. The student must be enrolled for all remaining academic requirements at the time of application and must have at least a 1.95 GPA.

Summary of Graduation Requirements

Before graduating, a student must:

  1. Apply for graduation and a degree audit at the Office of the Registrar.
  2. Satisfy all financial obligations with the University.
  3. Complete the following University requirements:
    1. At least 120 hours for a baccalaureate degree, or at least 60 hours for an associate degree. A student must have earned both cumulative, Northern (institutional) and major grade point averages of at least 2.00. For purposes of major gpa, all credits used to complete course and credit requirements of the major as well as related courses are included. Certain degree programs have higher minimum grade point averages. In addition, some majors require a minimum grade of “C” in each course used to meet major requirements. (See program descriptions for details.)

      Minimum major Requirements above 2.0 are as follows:

      BA English 2.50 cumulative, minimum C in major requirements
      BA History 2.50 cumulative, minimum C in major requirements
      BS Medical Laboratory Science 2.80
      BSED/BME programs 2.60 minimum cumulative and in major requirements
      BA/BSED Art minimum C in major requirements
    2. A minimum of 36 semester hours of credit in courses numbered 300 and above (upper division), for a baccalaureate degree.
    3. Institutional credit is credit offered by Northern State University. A minimum of 30 credit hours must be earned in institutional credit for a baccalaureate degree; 15 for an associate degree. Fifteen of the last 30 hours earned preceding completion of the baccalaureate degree must be earned in institutional credit; 8 of the last 15 hours for an associate degree. A minimum of 50% of credit hours in the discipline must be completed in institutional credit. However, this requirement may be waived for students enrolled in the set of majors offered at the system’s centers which include in the established programs of study common courses offered by one of the other Regental Universities. In addition, the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs may make exceptions to this requirement for individuals based on the student’s prior learning experiences.
    4. Complete all work as outlined to satisfy requirements pertaining to the major and/or minor.
    5. All students are required to show satisfactory performance on the proficiency examination-sometimes referred to as the CAAP exam or Rising Junior exam.
    6. Baccalaureate candidates must complete the appropriate exit exam in the major field. Test results will not affect graduation status but participation is required for graduation.
    7. Maximum of 8 credits PE 100, PE 210 may be applied toward a baccalaureate degree.

Any student who fails to successfully complete all remaining requirements in the semester of graduation must apply for graduation again in a subsequent semester. All graduation requirements including incomplete grades and all correspondence courses must be completed by the verification deadline or the student will be required to reapply.

Additional Baccalaureate Degrees

A student who earned a baccalaureate degree from Northern State University or another regionally accredited college or university may receive an additional bachelor’s degree at a later time in a different major. Such a student continues to be classified as an undergraduate student and must meet these requirements:

  1. Completion of all System General Education Requirements, Institutional Graduation and Degree Requirements. Beyond major/minor, one or more of these requirement categories must necessitate new course work. This distinguishes second degree from second major.
  2. Completion of all requirements for the new major as delineated in the current catalog of graduation. A previous minor may be transitioned to a new major. At least 50% of the course work comprising the major must be earned at Northern State University.
  3. Completion of all requirements for a minor if required by second degree; the student may not transition a former major to a new minor.
  4. Minimum number of new (that is, earned after first baccalaureate degree was earned) credit hours that must be completed at Northern State University: 30.

Simultaneous degrees. Students wishing to complete two undergraduate majors that are not both offered in the same curriculum must complete both curricula corresponding to the declared major, resulting in the completion of two baccalaureate degrees. For two degrees to be awarded during the same commencement, all requirements for both degrees must be met.

Completion of a second degree will not be allowed when both majors can be awarded under the same degree.

Adding Teacher Certification

A student holding a bachelor’s degree from Northern State University or a student with a bachelor’s degree from another accredited institution may seek teacher certification through the NSU School of Education. This program is limited to 7-12 and K-12 teacher education programs and does not include certification in special education. In order to be admitted to the certification only program, the candidate must meet teacher education admission requirements (see teacher education in this catalog) and pass the Praxis II content exam in his/her major as specified by the SDDOE.

The candidate must complete all teacher certification courses including the appropriate special methods course and a ten week student teaching experience. Upon satisfactory completion of the Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching exam and other program requirements, the candidate is eligible to receive a recommendation for the applicable teaching certification in the State of South Dakota.

Academic Probation and Suspension

Probation. Students will be placed on academic probation at the end of a term (summer is a term) in which the student’s cumulative grade point average falls below minimum progression standard 2.00. Any transfer student whose cumulative grade point average is less than a 2.0, or who has been on probation at or suspended from the transferring institution will enter Northern State University on probation. Re-entry transfers who left Northern on academic probation and return at a later time with a good academic record (cumulative GPA of 2.00) from another accredited institution will no longer be on probation. Students will remain on probation until their cumulative GPA reaches 2.0.

Suspension. Students on probation who fail to maintain a system term GPA of 2.0 will be academically suspended from the University. Academic suspension is for two terms (summer is a term) contingent upon student appeals process outcomes and administrative action by the university.

Notification and Reinstatement Appeal Process. Students will be notified they are on probation by letter at the end of the term. Notification of suspension will be made by letter from the dean of the student’s major area of study or by the Registrar. Appeals for reinstatement must be made to the dean of the major area of study or to the Director of the University College if a major area of study has not been declared.

Transfer Students. All transfer students are required to submit evidence of eligibility to return to their former school. Any transfer student whose total academic record is less than a C average will either be admitted on academic probation or denied admission. Students who are not eligible to return to the school from which they are transferring will not be admitted to Northern State University. Students suspended by another college for academic reasons may be admitted to Northern State University after the lapse of two terms.


A transcript of a student’s academic record will be sent when requested in writing directly to a college registrar, public school superintendent, or other employing officer. Students may be given an unofficial transcript for their own use, but it is not valid for transferring credit to another college. Transcripts are available at the Registrar’s Office for $5 for the first copy, $2.50 for each additional copy at same request.

Class Absence Policies

Northern State University faculty members develop their own policies on class attendance. Copies of the instructor’s attendance policy must be distributed to students within the first week of each course. The policy should be stated in terms of the objectives of the course and should address student absences due to family or individual emergencies, student illness, weather conditions, college-related activities, cutting class and any other conditions. The instructor should also include policies regarding make-up work and how attendance (and/or absence) will affect grades. If a student believes an attendance policy is unfair, he or she may follow the Student Academic Grievance Procedure outlined in the Student Handbook.

The Office of Student Affairs will notify professors only when students must be absent from class due to a death in the family, hospitalization or other illness expected to exceed three class days. Notification merely provides information and does not validate the reason given for the absence. When a student is absent from class because of a Northern State University activity, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will, at the request of the sponsoring faculty, notify the student’s instructors that he or she is permitted to make up the work.

Academic Services

Disability Services. The Office of Disabilities Services is open 40 hours a week to assist students with various needs as mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Possible accommodations include but are not limited to classroom accessibility, adaptive testing, note taking services, readers, taped textbooks and tutoring services. Phone: (605) 626- 2371.

Tutoring Services. The tutoring program, Dacotah Hall Room 201, offers academic assistance related to regularly scheduled coursework. Peer tutors are available for a variety of courses in many subject areas. Phone: (605) 626-2633.

Library. The Beulah Williams Library’s mission is, “Quality resources to enhance student learning and enrich the NSU community.” To this end, the librarians and library staff provide a wide range of services to assist students, faculty, and staff in accessing and evaluating information and in the use of the library resources. Phone: (605) 626-2645

Math Center. The Northern State University Math Center, in Dacotah Hall Room 209, offers assistance to all students at no charge. Phone: (605) 626-7782.

Reading Center. The Northern State University Reading Center, in Dacotah Hall Room 209, offers assistance to all students at no charge. Phone: (605) 626-3427.

Writing Center. Northern State University’s Writing Center, in Dacotah Hall Room 208, offers noncredit assistance to all students at no charge. Phone: (605) 626-7782

Honors Program

The Honors Program is for academically talented and highly motivated students. The Honors Program offers students a chance to challenge themselves and enhance their Northern experience. Honors students benefit by taking Honors general education classes, which are small classes taught by outstanding faculty. Honors students also engage in undergraduate research and have opportunities for service and travel.

Students who successfully complete the Honors Program graduate with the university’s highest distinction, In Honoribus. To graduate In Honoribus, students must be enrolled in the Honors program, complete 18 credit hours in Honors courses, complete an Honors thesis or project, and maintain a 3.5 overall grade point average.

First year and transfer students who have an ACT of 28 or above are automatically admitted to the NSU Honors Program. First year and transfer students who have an ACT between 24 and 27 and who rank in or near the top 25% of their high school graduating class are invited to apply to the NSU Honors Program. Northern State University students who are currently enrolled and have completed 30 credit hours with a 3.5 GPA are also invited to apply to the Honors Program. Applications for the NSU Honors Program are available on the NSU website under Honors Program.

For further information about the NSU Honors Program, please contact the Director of the NSU Honors Program, Dr. Erin H. Fouberg in Tech Center 361 or at ehfouberg@ northern.edu

HON 190 - Seminar  (1 credit)
General Education Honors Courses (6-9 credits)
Contracted Honors Major Courses (3-6 credits)
HON 390  -  Seminar  (2 credits)
HON 498 - Honors Thesis  (3 credits)

Total: 18 credits

Summer School

Northern State University’s summer semester is divided into two terms. The summer schedule includes comprehensive undergraduate and graduate offerings. Students who attend summer school include recent high school graduates, regular students planning to complete the bachelor’s degree program in three calendar years, graduate students and those pursuing non-degree courses or programs.

Applicants who do not meet fall term admission requirements may be admitted on a trial basis during the summer. They enroll in freshmen level courses recommended by the Registrar. Acceptance as a regular student depends on the student receiving a C average during summer session.

The graduate course offering is extensive during the summer and includes elementary and secondary teaching, counseling and administration. Contact the Graduate Office for more information. Phone: (605) 626-2558.

Summer schedules are available online.

Spring Interim

Spring interim classes are scheduled between the close of the academic year and the beginning of the summer terms and is considered part of the summer semester. Enrollment is voluntary with group or individual instruction offered on and off the campus. Specially planned activities may be one to three weeks in duration, for which students can earn one to three credits.

Online and Continuing Education

The Office of Online and Continuing Education offers online courses, onsite and off-site workshops and professional development programs for degree and non-degree seeking students of all ages.

Online Courses. Online courses are available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection. Ideally suited for working adults and students living outside the Aberdeen area, online courses offer a flexible alternative to face-to-face courses. With 24/7 access to their online course, students can create study schedules that don’t interfere with their work and family responsibilities.

Online courses can be taken for college credit if the student has graduated from high school or has completed a General Educational Development (GED) test. Those who have not completed high school but wish to enroll may do so as an audit student or as a dual-student upon recommendation from a high school official.

Online courses through Extended Studies are part of the NSU curriculum; therefore, students can apply the college credit to their degree program, and use their financial aid to pay for some or all of their online course work.

Workshops. A variety of workshops are scheduled throughout the year by the Office of Extended Studies. Most of the workshops provide college credit and fulfill professional development requirements for employers, while several workshops are offered for personal enrichment.

In addition to the scheduled workshops on the NSU website, Extended Studies strongly encourages groups and individuals to request new and additional workshops. Once a request is made, the director will organize and promote the workshop through community outreach and online marketing.

Since the Office of Extended Studies responds to on-demand requests from the public, it is recommended you visit www.northern.edu and click on online courses or call (605) 626-2568 for a current listing of its course offerings.

Undergraduate Programs

Northern State University offers the following degrees:

  1. Certificates are awards certifying the completion of a postsecondary instructional program. Typically certificate programs are a subset of the curriculum offered in degree programs. Courses are included to develop a very specific knowledge base or skill set.
  2. The Associate of Arts (AA) degree is typically a two-year transfer degree, which indicates the completion of a student’s lower division general education requirements and forms the foundation for baccalaureate programs.
  3. The Associate of Science (AS) degree is typically a two-year terminal degree. However, it is transferable when a specific degree articulation agreement exists between a given AS degree and a specific baccalaureate degree.
  4. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree stresses broad preparation rather than specialization. It is preferred for some graduate and professional schools.
  5. The Bachelor of Science (BS) degree offers a specialized course of study with a scientific or technological emphasis.
  6. The Bachelor of Science in Education (BSEd) and Bachelor of Music Education (BME) degrees prepare students to teach in elementary, secondary, or K-12 schools. Students who successfully complete BSEd requirements and the required state certification exams are eligible to receive a recommendation for the applicable teaching certification in the State of South Dakota. All BSEd graduates are encouraged to apply for South Dakota certification immediately upon completion of their degree. BSEd graduates may also be eligible for Northern State University recommendation for certification in other states, but because teaching certification/licensure requirements vary among states, Northern State University cannot guarantee the graduate will be immediately certified in a particular state. To obtain specific requirements, contact the Certification Officer.
  7. The Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) degree is a program intended to accommodate students with a variety of career goals. It is an important option for students who have accumulated significant college credit and who want to complete a baccalaureate degree. But, it is also a viable choice for students who are interested in building their own degree program, to coincide with their career plans and interests. Students are required to complete general education requirements plus 45 credits in three areas of emphasis (15 credits in each area) selected by the student: allied health, business, education, fine arts, humanities, social sciences, wellness, technology and other STEM disciplines (science, engineering, math). Specific coursework in the three areas of emphasis is selected by the student; additional credits for graduation can be selected from any discipline.

Some majors are offered in more than one degree.


Accounting (BS)
Art (BA, BSEd)
  Fine Arts
Advertising Design
Multimedia Design
Banking and Financial Services (BS)
Biology (BS, BSED)
Business Administration (BS)
Chemistry (BS, BSEd)
  Forensic Science
Communication Studies (BA)
Criminal Justice (BA)
  See Sociology
Economics (BS)
Elementary Education (BSEd)
English (BA, BSEd)
Environmental Science (BS)
Finance (BS)
French Studies (BA)
General Studies (BGS)
German (BA)
History (BA, BSEd)
Human Performance and Fitness (BS)
Human Services (BA)
  See Sociology
International Business Studies (BA)
Management (BS)
Management Information Systems (BS)
Marketing (BS)
Mathematics (BS, BSEd)
Medical Laboratory Science (BS)
Music (BA, BME)
Musical Theater (BA)
Physical Education (BSEd)
Political Science (BA)
Professional Accountancy (BS)
Psychology (BS)
Sociology (BA)
  Criminal Justice
Human Services
Spanish (BA, BSEd)
Special Education (BSEd)
Sport Marketing and Administration (BS)


American Indian Studies
Banking and Financial Services
Computer Science
Digital Art
Early Childhood Education
Entrepreneurial Studies
French Studies
Health Education
International Business Studies
International Studies
Management Information Systems
Mathematics for Elementary Teachers
Music for Elementary Teachers
Physical Education
Political Science
Professional Writing and Rhetoric
Religious Studies
Science for Elementary Teachers
Social Science for Elementary Teachers
Special Education
Sport Management


Associate Programs

Applied Gerontology (AA)
Banking and Financial Services (AS)
Biotechnology (AS)
Business (AS)
  Business Administration
Management Information Systems
Digital Design (AS)
General Studies (AA)

Pre-Professional Programs - must add to degree program

Athletic Training
Chiropractic Health Care
Mortuary Science
Physical Therapy
Veterinary Medicine

Teaching Endorsements

Birth Through Preschool Education
Kindergarten Education
  Art Education
Braille Education
Comprehensive School Health
Educational Technology
English as a New Language Education
French World Language Education
German World Language Education
Gifted Education
Indian Studies (Lakota Studies)
Library Media Education
Physical Education
Spanish World Language Education
Vocal Music Education
Biology Education
Chemistry Education
Economics Education
Geography Education
History Education
Language Arts-Combination Endorsement Program in Speech/Debate/Drama/Theater
Language Arts-Composition/Grammar Education
Language Arts-Composition/Grammar/Mass Communication Education
Language Arts-Combination Endorsement Program in Literature/Composition/Grammar
Language Arts-Drama/Theater Education
Language Arts-Literature Education
Language Arts-Mass Communications Education
Language Arts-Speech/Debate Education
Mathematics Education
Physical Science Education
Physics Education
Political Science Education
Psychology Education
Sociology Education
Middle Level Endorsements
  5-8 Middle Level Education
English/Language Arts Content Area Education
Mathematics Content Area Education
Science Content Area Education
Social Science Content Area Education
Driver Education
Special Education
  Blind/Visually Impaired

Technology Proficiency Certificates

Computer Maintenance & Configuration for E-learning
Database Management Systems for E-learning Environments
Digital Imaging for E-learning
Digital Video Production for E-learning
E-learning Course Delivery
E-learning Multi-media Design and Production
E-learning Information Technology Management
E-learning Software Applications
E-learning Website Administration
E-learning Website Design & Development
Instructional Design for E-learning
Object Oriented Programming
Research in the E-learning Age
E-Learning Web Application Development


Applied Gerontology
Arts Administration
Executive Banking
Intermediate Banking
Public History
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages



All students can be required to participate in the Regent’s value added testing program. This program requires students to take selected standardized examinations throughout their college careers.

Entry level placement tests: All students must have current ACT scores and/or COMPASS (taken on campus) scores for placement into English, Reading, and Mathematics courses. It is recommended that these be taken before initial registration.

Students who take the COMPASS but are not enrolling at NSU or another South Dakota institution will be charged in accordance with SD Board of Regents current mandatory fee. Students are allowed to challenge the ACT or COMPASS placement one time only at the current mandated fee.

Remedial Placement

Course Enhanced ACT Scores COMPASS Scores ACCUPLACER Scores
ENGL 033  -  Basic Writing  ACT English 1 to 17 Writing: 1 to 73 Sentence Skills: 0 to 85
MATH 021  -  Basic Algebra  ACT Math: 1 to 17

Pre-Algebra: 0 to 100


Algebra: 0 to 30

Arithmetic: 0 to 120


Elem. Algebra: 0 to 43

MATH 101  -  Intermediate Algebra  ACT Math: 18 to 19 Algebra: 31 to 40

Elem. Algebra: 44 to 75

READ 041 - Reading for College Success  ACT Reading: 1 to 17 Reading: 0 to 77 Reading: 0 to 84


General Education Placement

Course Enhanced ACT Scores COMPASS Scores ACCUPLACER Scores
ENGL 101  -  Composition I  ACT English: 18 to 36 Writing: 74 to 100 Sentence Skills: 86 to 120

MATH 102  -  College Algebra 

MATH 103  -  Quantitative Literacy 

MATH 104  -  Finite Mathematics 

ACT Math: 20 or higher**

Algebra: 41 to 100


College Algebra: 0 to 62

Elem. Algebra: 76 to 120


College Level: 0-50

MATH 115  -  Precalculus 

MATH 120  -  Trigonometry 

MATH 121  -  Survey of Calculus 

MATH 201 - Introduction to Discrete Mathematics

Institutional Chairs of the Math Department (or his/her Designee) have the authority to use ACT or additional information to determine a student’s appropriate placement in courses above MATH 104.

College Algebra: 63 to 100


Trigonometry: 0 to 39

College Level: 51+
MATH 123  -  Calculus I  *** Institutional Chairs of the Math Department (or his/her Designee) have the authority to use ACT or additional information to determine a student’s appropriate placement in courses above MATH 104. Trigonometry: 40 to 100 NA

**Students with an ACT of 20 or higher can enroll in MATH 102  without additional placement testing.

***SDSMT may require students enrolling in MATH 123  to enroll concurrently in MATH 120  based on the results of their Trigonometry COMPASS exam.

Students planning to pursue a teaching degree must take the PRAXIS I test and meet the minimum standard scores before being admitted to teacher education. This test is taken during the freshman or sophomore year.

Proficiency Examination: All students seeking a baccalaureate degree and all students entering an associate degree program are required to take and successfully pass the proficiency examination. For baccalaureate students, this test is taken when the student has completed and passed 48 credit hours. For associate degree students, this test is taken when the student has completed 32 credit hours. All transfer students (with the exception of those transferring from within the South Dakota regental system who have passed all parts of the proficiency test) must take this proficiency test. No degree will be awarded until these tests are taken and successfully passed. A student has two opportunities to retake any part of the examination not initially passed. These retakes must be taken in the following two semesters of enrollment.

To prepare for this examination, the student must have completed at least one course each in English Composition, Mathematics at or above the level of college algebra, Natural Science, Social Science, Humanities and Fine Arts. Failure to take this test when notified of eligibility will result in denial of registration at all South Dakota regental institutions for two subsequent terms. Reinstatement requires the student to take the proficiency examination in the first reinstated term. Failure to take the test at that time results in immediate administrative withdrawal.

Exit Examinations: Upon completion of a student’s major program and prior to graduation the student will be required to participate in selected assessment activities in his/her major. Most majors have as a part of these assessments a standardized test in the major. While the test results will not affect the student’s graduation status, completion of the exit exam(s) is a requirement for graduation.

If the department exit test(s) is not taken no degree will be awarded.

Students preparing to teach will take the PRAXIS II: Principles of Learning and Teaching in addition to their major field exit test. This test will be taken during the student teaching semester. Minimum scores must be met to be recommended for teacher certification.