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Academic Offerings Respond to State Workforce Needs





News Release

Contacts: Janelle Toman, Director of Communications


Tracy Mercer, Information Research Analyst


 Telephone: (605) 773-3455

Fax: (605) 773-5320



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Academic Offerings Respond to State Workforce Needs


BROOKINGS, S.D. – The South Dakota Board of Regents this week approved new academic program requests from four public universities to meet emerging workforce trends across the state. 


The following actions, sorted by the university making the request, were approved:


Dakota State University


  • Transition of existing doctor of science (D.Sc.) degrees in cyber operations and information systems at Dakota State to the doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. No changes to curriculum or coursework are planned. However, DSU officials say the Ph.D. serves as the more commonly accepted terminal degree in these fields.


Northern State University


  • A new minor in legal studies, which will provide Northern students with a stronger foundation for law school admissions. The minor also prepares graduates for careers as law enforcement officers, paralegals, and other positions within the criminal justice system.


  • Creation of a stand-alone major leading to the bachelor of fine arts degree in digital media. NSU will convert an existing specialization in graphic design within its art major to the stand-alone degree. The degree prepares graduates in highly technical areas such as commercial photography, video production and editing, web design and programming, 2-D animation, illustration, graphic design, and product/packaging design.


South Dakota State University


  • New associate and bachelor degree offerings in data science. The programs will utilize data science-centered mathematics, statistics, and statistical computation courses created over the past several years by SDSU’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Studies indicate high job-growth potential for data scientists trained at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Instruction for these degree programs also will be available online.


  • Two new minors in ranch management and sustainability.
    • The ranch management minor aligns with SDSU’s land-grant institutional mission, providing introductory management coursework focused on ranching, finances, grassland, and livestock.
    • The minor in sustainability will prepare graduates to help their employers conserve energy resources and improve efficiencies. It should be of broad appeal to students pursuing careers in business, government, and non-profit organizations.
    • A graduate certificate in community development, intended for students already working in the development field and providing them access to cutting-edge practice and research. The 12 credit-hour certificate is part of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, a partnership of 19 public universities that collaboratively deliver online academic programs in the areas of agriculture and human sciences.


  • An undergraduate certificate in new product and venture development. The certificate, consisting of 9 credit hours of study and available online, provides students with introductory skills needed to identify business opportunities and take products and services to the marketplace. The certificate may serve as a stand-alone credential, as a complement to a student’s major or minor, or as a credential to pair to the entrepreneurial studies major and minor at SDSU.
  • Permission to make both the Spanish minor and the undergraduate workplace intercultural competence certificate available through online delivery. SDSU intends to reach more students, including non-traditional learners and place-bound professionals, across the state and region.

University of South Dakota

  • Three new minors—in sport medicine, linguistics, and non-profit studies.
    • Students in the sport medicine minor will gain knowledge and experience treating and preventing injuries related to sport and exercise. The minor also helps prepare those interested in graduate studies in athletic training or physical therapy.
    • The linguistics minor covers the systematic study of language, including related aspects of human behaviors and knowledge. This minor will be of particular interest to students majoring in world languages, education, sociology, anthropology, and related fields.
    • The non-profit studies minor prepares students to contribute to the non-profit sector as employees, volunteers, board members, and external stakeholders. Non-profit organizations now constitute 13 percent of the private-sector employment in South Dakota.