South Dakota Nursing Programs and Degrees Guide

The following guide is designed to provide you with essential information on the nursing programs available in the state of South Dakota. Several of South Dakota’s colleges and universities, including Dakota Wesleyan University, offer online nursing program options while students can specialize in such areas as clinical nurse leader, nurse educator, pediatric nurse practitioner, and adult geriatric nurse practitioner. In addition to the online nursing programs offered in South Dakota, many online universities, such as Capella University, offer bachelor’s and master’s in nursing programs entirely online. However, students generally must fulfill clinical practicum requirements in their hometown.

South Dakota School Facts:

  • 5 colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree in nursing.
  • 8 colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • 3 colleges and universities offer a master’s or advanced degree in nursing.
  • Highest graduation rate: Augustana College 66%.1
  • Highest transfer-out rate: Mount Marty College 39%.1
  • Highest net price: National American University Rapid City $19,924.1
  • Lowest net price: Oglala Lakota College $2,510.1
  • Annual undergrad tuition range for schools in South Dakota with a bachelor’s in nursing program: $9,350 – $27,380.2
  • No schools in US News Best Nursing Schools (2011) Top 100.

Continue reading below where you will learn more about the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs in South Dakota.

Bachelor’s in Nursing Programs in South Dakota

University of South Dakota
The University of South Dakota’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) 120 credit program spans four years and combines in-classroom coursework, clinical laboratories, and clinical practicums. Nursing majors begin taking nurse courses in the junior year with coursework focusing on pharmacology, physical assessment across the lifespan, population-based healthcare and disease prevention, organizational systems leadership, and informatics. Graduates of the BSN program possess the necessary qualifications to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The nursing department also features an online RN to BSN program that caters to current registered nurses who already hold an associate’s degree in nursing.

Dakota Wesleyan University
Current registered nurses, who already possess an associate’s degree in nursing, may pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) through Dakota Wesleyan University’s RN to BSN program, which is offered entirely online. Students must complete 126 credits to fulfill degree requirements with 83 of those credits generally transferred from the associate’s degree. The 43 remaining credits are divided into general college courses and nursing coursework. The nursing curriculum covers pharmacology, health assessment and promotion, nursing research, and family, community, and populations. Practicums are also mandatory. Successful applicants must have an associate’s degree in nursing with a minimum 2.5 GPA and be CPR-certified.

Master’s in Nursing Programs in South Dakota

South Dakota State University
South Dakota State University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program allows students to specialize in nursing education or clinical nurse leadership. Students choose from one emphasis in the clinical nurse leadership track: clinical nurse leader or administrator. Both full-time and part-time study are permitted with students fulfilling degree requirements predominately online. In addition to mandatory practicums, nursing students must complete such core courses as research methods for advanced practice nurses, introduction to roles and issues in advanced practice nursing, and health policy, legislation, economics, and ethics. Applications are due March 15 with successful applicants beginning the program in the fall.

Mount Marty College
Graduate students in Mount Marty College’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Family Nurse Practitioner program prepares students for an advanced nursing career with many different age groups. In addition to general adult nursing education, coursework in the program also covers topics relevant to children, women, older adults, and families. Applicants to the MSN program can submit an application and application materials – including a copy of a current registered nurse’s license, official transcripts, and three letters of recommendation – online. Accepted candidates can begin the program in the fall or in the spring semester.

Student Reviews

My experience at the SDSU Accelerated Nursing program was great. I chose the program because it was still accepting applications last minute when I had missed deadlines at other programs. After applying, I realized that I would be moving over 1700 miles away for nursing school. What really got me was the fact that this program is only 11 months. It is labeled as a 12 month program but we started January 5 and graduated December 10. That is moving at an incredible speed. After a month of the program, I knew I loved it. There are two main staff members that are instructors for the majority of your nursing theory and skill based classes. What’s great about them is that they still know what they are doing. Even while being full time instructors, they are ICU and ER nurses still practicing. For specialty classes like OB or Psych, nurses from that field are brought in to teach giving you great insight with what they deal with daily. The program flies by and you find yourself taking boards with information that is only a year old at the very oldest, much better than a traditional four year program. It’s more than I could ask for and I feel lucky to have spent my time there.” – Student at South Dakota State University

My time at SDSU for their Accelerated Nursing program was fantastic. On the first day, you look forward and think about how much further you have to go. Only 11 months later you are looking at graduation and thinking about how much you’ve done in such a short time. While it seems daunting at first, the best part about the program is that the instructors actually want you to succeed and are personable. I found myself several times texting an instructor asking for advice, not only on class related projects but also once I began looking for a job. This was actually the easiest part about the program. In my fourth semester I applied to my dream hospital, a huge level 1 trauma center. Not even being done with my program yet I got a call back for an interview two days later. Three days after my interview I had a position locked in for 4 days after I graduated working on a temporary license. The program has led me to where I am today and prepared me for anything ahead. New jobs, grad school, or whatever it may be, I know my year at SDSU has made me prepared.” – Student at South Dakota State University

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/?degree=4-year&state=SD&major=nursing&sort=best