The Best Online Colleges in South Dakota

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Even though South Dakota is one of the most sparsely populated states, its online colleges offer a variety of degrees in areas such as engineering, health, and general studies. Online programs — including certificates as well as associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees — are available through public and private institutions in South Dakota.

Some South Dakota schools charge online and on–campus students similar tuition, and several online programs cost the same for residents and non–residents. The state university system is also one of the least expensive for nonresidents. Those who live in neighboring states may also qualify for in–state tuition.

Online colleges in South Dakota offer numerous benefits for students. First, most deliver courses asynchronously, meaning that students can log in when it is convenient for their schedule. Second, many programs are designed for working adults, and shorter course terms allow students to complete a year’s worth of credits while only taking a few courses at a time. Third, like their on–campus counterparts, online students receive academic assistance, career services, and advising. Finally, most public and private online colleges offer financial aid for eligible students, including scholarships.

Students working through online degrees never (or rarely) need to visit campus; students working through hybrid programs may combine the convenience of online learning with hands–on teaching through short on–campus residencies. For students interested in taking on–campus classes, some online colleges in South Dakota allow students to mix and match the learning formats that suit them best.

Top 10 Online Colleges in South Dakota 2020

#1 Dakota State University Madison, SD
#2 South Dakota State University Brookings, SD
#3 University of South Dakota Vermillion, SD
#4 Northern State University Aberdeen, SD
#5 Black Hills State University Spearfish, SD
#6 Presentation College Aberdeen, SD
#7 Dakota Wesleyan University Mitchell, SD
#8 South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Rapid City, SD
#9 University of Sioux Falls Sioux Falls, SD
#10 Lake Area Technical Institute Watertown, SD

The Best Online Colleges in South Dakota

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4

Northern State University 

Aberdeen, SD

About this school

Northern State University, established in 1901, came about due to requests from area citizens for an institute of higher education. Several wealthy citizens donated both land and money toward the school’s establishment once the bill approving the school met state senate approval. The university teaches more than 3,500 students and offers more than 50 programs of study.

Northern State University offers associate, baccalaureate and master’s degrees online through its Office of Online and Continuing Education. Online associate’s degrees include general studies, gerontology and financial services. Online bachelor’s degree options include marketing, professional accountancy and business administration. Online master’s degree offerings include teaching, leadership and music education.

Resources available to online students include an online job board and an online library with librarians readily available via live chat, email, text message, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or over the phone.

5

Black Hills State University 

Spearfish, SD

About this school

Black Hills State University is one of South Dakota’s largest universities with more than 4,500 students from 44 states and 29 countries in attendance. Established in 1883, the university sits on more than 120 acres. Some of the majors the university offers include subjects within the arts, humanities, social science, business, natural sciences, education and behavioral science.

Black Hills State University offers baccalaureate, master’s and certificate programs entirely online. Bachelor’s degree options include general studies and business administration. Master’s degree offerings include strategic leadership and Project SELECT. Available certifications include secondary education.

Online student resources include technical support, an online job board and an online library with librarians available via email and over the phone.

6

Presentation College 

Aberdeen, SD

About this school

Presentation College is a Catholic college founded in Mitchell, South Dakota, but moved to Aberdeen in 1951. The institution also operates a campus in Fairmont, Minnesota. Known for its healthcare programs, the college offers an associate of arts degree and associate, bachelor, and master of science degrees in more than 15 academic areas.

PC's distance education program, PC Virtual, offers online bachelor of science and completion degrees in psychology and several other health-related fields. The two BSN programs, LPN-to-BSN and RN-to-BSN, are completion degrees. The radiologic technology degree is available as a completion degree or an online associate or bachelor's degree.

7

Dakota Wesleyan University 

Mitchell, SD

About this school

Dakota Wesleyan University educates nearly 1,000 students through over 40 majors and minors and several graduate programs at its campus in Mitchell. Two bachelor's degrees, two graduate programs, and two graduate certificates are available online, delivered asynchronously through the Canvas platform in eight-week terms.

DWU is among the many online colleges in South Dakota that offer financial aid for students. The institution charges tuition per credit, with rates varying by program. Admission requirements also vary by program, though both online bachelor's degrees -- the bachelor of arts completion degree and the RN-to-BSN -- require prospective students to earn an associate degree. The graduate degrees, the master of business administration and master of arts in education, require 36 credits each; students who attend full time with two courses per term can complete the MBA in 12 months and the MA in 15 months.

8

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology 

Rapid City, SD

About this school

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, founded in 1885, is a leading engineering and science university, as well as one of South Dakota's online colleges. The Rapid City campus offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, while SD Mines Online includes three online master's programs in engineering.

The online programs, construction engineering and management (CEM), engineering management (EM), and mining engineering and management (MEM), require applicants to have a bachelor's degree. Additionally, the CEM and EM programs specify minimum math and science requirements, and the MEM degree requires an undergraduate engineering degree or significant work experience. The EM and MEM degrees require 32 credits each, and the CEM program requires 33 credits. Classes are charged per credit, with the same rate charged for all online programs, and South Dakota residents are eligible for a significant tuition discount. The only other program costs are the application fee and books.

9

University of Sioux Falls 

Sioux Falls, SD

About this school

Nearly 1,500 students are enrolled at the University of Sioux Falls, which offers over 40 undergraduate majors on its Sioux Falls campus. The university boasts that, within six months of graduation, 98% of graduates are employed in their field.

One of the top online schools in South Dakota, USF offers online professional development, certificates, an online RN-to-BSN degree, and bachelor's degree completion programs in accounting, business, and health administration. Online master's degrees are also available in business and education. Application requirements for the degree completion programs include an associate degree or two years of transferable credit with a minimum 2.0 GPA, as well as an interview and three years of work experience.

10

Lake Area Technical Institute 

Watertown, SD

About this school

Boasting over 20,000 graduates, of whom 98.56% are employed or continuing their education, Lake Area Technical Institute offers degrees in over 20 areas including agriculture, business, transportation, and health-related fields. LATI's 12 online degrees are available in similar academic areas. The online programs are hybrid, requiring some training or clinical experiences on the campus in Watertown, though the amount varies by program.

Like some other online schools in South Dakota, application requirements include an application fee, high school transcripts, and required test scores. Most online programs do not have an application deadline, except for the online nursing program. All prospective students should think about applying early, as programs can fill and there are financial aid and scholarship deadlines. Students who earn their AAS degree at LATI can consider pursuing a bachelor's degree through one of the many program-to-program articulation agreements the college has with public universities in South Dakota, private institutions, and public universities in other states.

11

Mitchell Technical Institute 

Mitchell, SD

About this school

Though a fairly new college, founded in 1968, Mitchell Technical Institute offers 33 programs on the campus in Mitchell, as well as five online programs. The online degrees are available in areas including business and health-related fields. While MTI boasts a 99% job placement rate among graduates, several of the online programs have a 100% placement rate: administrative office specialist, small business management, advanced medical imaging, and speech-language pathology assistant. Prospective students should submit transcripts, applicable test scores, and proof of U.S. residency.

MTI is one of the online colleges in South Dakota that charges the same tuition for online and on-campus courses, and both residents and nonresidents of South Dakota pay the same rate. Several of the degrees offer both a one-year diploma and an AAS option, and most are available entirely online. MTI awards credit for previously earned college credits and experiential learning including certain exams and professional certifications.

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Ranking Methodology
Best Online Colleges

Online Colleges in South Dakota Ranking Guidelines

We selected the online schools in South Dakota based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, and faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.

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