University of South Dakota Nursing School Review

Established in 1862, the University of South Dakota (USD) was the first university in the state. The school provides undergraduate and graduate education, in a wide range of fields. Areas of study include liberal arts, business, education, fine arts, health sciences, law, and medicine. Among undergraduate students, nursing is the most popular major.

USD offers nursing programs on its main campus in Vermillion (in the southeast corner of South Dakota), as well as at its satellite sites in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Pierre, Watertown, and through distance learning technology. USD’s nursing programs have approval from the South Dakota Board of Nursing. The associate-degree nursing program has accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), and the bachelor’s-degree nursing program has applicant status with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Associate of Science in Nursing Degree

USD offers the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) Degree program at its sites in Vermillion, Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Pierre. In order to earn an ASN degree, a student must earn sixty-five credits total. The sixty-five credits include thirty non-nursing credits, which a student may complete before entering the nursing course sequence, if he wishes. The course format is hybrid; students attend classes on campus and complete coursework online. A clinical component is included in the curriculum. After earning the ASN degree, a student is eligible to take the National Council Licensing Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Associate of Science in Nursing Degree – LPN to RN Upward Mobility

USD encourages Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) to become Registered Nurses (RN) through the LPN to RN Upward Mobility program. This program is offered on the campuses in Vermillion, Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Pierre, and Watertown. The LPN will receive seventeen advanced placement credits toward the nursing course sequence; she must earn eighteen additional nursing credits in order to finish the ASN program. The LPN must also complete the thirty-credit general education requirement. 

Associate of Science in Nursing Degree – Online

USD does offer an online ASN option, but it is not open to all students. In order to be eligible, a student must work for a healthcare employer who signs a contract with USD. Students in this program must continue to work for their employer. At the same time, they will complete nursing coursework online and hands-on clinical rotations at healthcare facilities in their area. They may study part-time, taking up to four years to complete the ASN program. While students in the ASN online program can take general education courses during any semester, they must start the nursing course sequence in the fall. LPNs may participate in the LPN to RN Upward Mobility program, which allows them to skip the first two nursing courses.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing – RN to BSN

USD’s RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is offered online. Working RNs can complete the coursework at their convenience, and schedule clinical rotations in a facility that is close to them. RNs in the RN to BSN program must earn 120 credits in total. USD will award them thirty-five credits toward the 120 on the basis of their previous nursing coursework; they must complete the remainder of the nursing courses and all the university’s general education requirements in order to earn the BSN degree.  The RN to BSN program begins each fall.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

USD’s newest program (started in 2012) is a four-year BSN program, which is available in Vermillion, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City. The curriculum requires 120 credits total. Students in the program spend the first two years as pre-nursing students, focusing on nursing support classes and general education classes, applying to the BSN program at the end of the second year. The remaining two years of the program include nursing classes and clinical rotations. Graduates of the BSN program are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN.


University of South Dakota
414 E Clark Street,
Vermillion, SD 57069