Jun 25, 2024  
2017-2018 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2017-2018 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Education Policies

Admissions Policies   General Degree Requirements  
     General Requirements for Graduate Admissions      Supervision of Advanced Degree Programs
     International Student Admissions      Program of Study
          English Proficiency      Certification of Degree Requirements
          International Transcript Evaluation Requirements  
          Visa Requirements M.S. Degree Requirements  
          Medical Insurance      Master of Science Program Requirements
       Thesis Option Requirements
Funding Policies             Thesis Submission Requirements
     Graduate Assistantships           Thesis Defense Requirements
     Assistantships with Tuition and/or Fee Support      Non-thesis Option Requirements
     Graduate Fellowships and Other Resources      Accelerated M.S. Option Requirements
       Final Examination
Registration Policies        M.S. Participation in Commencement
     Graduate Student Registration      Time Limitation for M.S. Degree
     Definition of Full Time & Half Time Registration  
     Continuing Registration Requirements Ph.D. Degree Requirements  
     Minimum Academic Load      The Qualifying Examination
     Maximum Academic Load      The Comprehensive Examination & Admission to Ph.D. Candidacy
     Leave of Absence      Dissertation Submission Requirements
       Dissertation Defense Requirements
Enrollment Policies        Ph.D. Participation in Commencement
     Dual Enrollment in Ph.D. & M.S. Programs      Residence Requirements
     Dual Credit for Multiple Programs      Time Limitation for Ph.D. Degrees
     Accelerated Master’s Programs  
     Change of Program  
     Transferring Credits from Outside Institutions  
     Applying Undergraduate Level Credits toward an Advanced Degree 
     Applying Graduate Level Credits Taken as an Undergraduate toward an Advanced Degree
     Non-degree Seeking Graduate Students  
Grade Policies    
     Graduate Grading System  
     Advanced Degree Grade Requirements  
     Course Retake Policy  
     Pass-Fail Option for Graduate Studies  
     Probation and Reinstatement Policy  
     Appeal Procedure  


Graduate Student General Information

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSM&T) offers graduate degree programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. The graduate programs provide opportunities for advanced study and research in the fields of engineering and science. Each individual degree program of study is designed to broaden and extend the student’s knowledge within the chosen field, to develop the power of independent critical thinking, and to promote individual and cooperative research skills.

The first master’s degree program was authorized at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in October 1935, and the first degree was granted in 1937. Permission to offer the first Ph.D. program was granted in January 1967 to the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering. Seven additional Ph.D. programs have been authorized since that time with the most recent addition being a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2014. The Office of Graduate Education was created in the 1950-51 academic year.

The policies of the Office of Graduate Education are formulated by the Council of Graduate Education, which is advisory to the dean of graduate education. The policies are approved by the SDSM&T administration, the SDSM&T Faculty Senate, and the South Dakota Board of Regents when applicable and are administered by the dean of graduate education. This catalog provides the rules which apply to graduate students.

In the following descriptions the term “program” refers to a department, a division in a department such as the Construction Engineering and Management program within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, or a non-departmental unit such as Biomedical Engineering, Materials Engineering and Science, or Nanoscience and Nanoengineering. Forms mentioned in the catalog are available at the Office of Graduate Education and on the Office of Graduate Education website.

Nature and Purpose of the Graduate Programs

The non-thesis and professional masters programs are designed to build a student’s depth and breadth of knowledge and to enhance the student’s preparation for a career in industry.  Development of technical and managerial knowledge through course work is the primary focus of these degree programs. Programs typically include a combination of required and elective courses outlined in an individualized program of study supervised by a program coordinator. Some degrees may also encourage or require the completion of an independent project.

The MS thesis and PhD graduate programs are designed to prepare a student for a lifetime of intellectual inquiry that manifests itself in creative scholarship and research, often leading to professional careers in academia, government, business, and industrial organizations.  These programs emphasize freedom of inquiry and expression and development of the student’s capacity to make significant contributions to knowledge.  An essential element is the development of the ability to understand and evaluate critically the literature of the field and to apply appropriate principles and procedures to the recognition, evaluation, interpretation, and understanding of issues and problems at the frontiers of knowledge.  These goals are most effectively accomplished in close association with those experienced in research and teaching.

A central purpose of doctoral programs and Master of Science thesis programs is the extension of knowledge, but this cannot be accomplished on all fronts simultaneously. Students must choose an area in which to specialize, a faculty member with whom to work, and a research topic of mutual interest to the student and the faculty advisor.  Individualized programs of study are then developed and committee members are selected cooperatively as coursework and research are undertaken.  When all coursework has been completed, the research finished, the thesis or dissertation written, and all examinations passed, the student will have acquired the knowledge and skills expected of a scholar and will have expanded the knowledge and research capability in the field.

The Council of Graduate Education

Graduate education and graduate research are among the most important functions of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. They constitute an important element of the vitality of scholarly inquiry and intellectual achievement in the university.  An important responsibility for all matters pertaining to graduate education and graduate research rests with the faculty. To provide for an important mechanism for the faculty to create, foster and maintain graduate education and graduate research programs of high quality and accomplishment, the Council of Graduate Education (CGE) is formed to: 

  1. Advise the dean of graduate education on all matters pertaining to graduate education
  2. Establish and revise policies of graduate education
  3. Review and approve/disapprove proposed graduate programs, courses and revisions
  4. Review and approve/disapprove student applications of fellowships and scholarships sponsored by the Office of Graduate Education.

Graduate level curricula developments proposed by departments will be submitted to the Council of Graduate Education for review and appropriate endorsement for consideration by the Faculty Senate. Policies of graduate education will be approved by the CGE and submitted to the Faculty Senate for its approval.

The chairperson of the Council of Graduate Education is the dean of graduate education. The chair reports the results of the CGE recommendations on graduate education curricula, courses, and programs to the Curriculum Committee, and subsequent consideration by the Faculty Senate, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The chair reports CGE policy recommendations directly to the Faculty Senate for its consideration and approval, and subsequent consideration by the provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The membership of the Council of Graduate Education shall consist of voting representatives from each department with a graduate program. Members are to be elected by each academic department. Departments with one, 2, or more graduate programs will have one representative. Graduate programs that do not yet have a home department may also have a voting representative. Departments that do not have graduate programs may appoint non-voting representatives.

Graduate Programs 

Master of Science degrees are offered in:

Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences  
Biomedical Engineering 
Chemical Engineering 
Civil Engineering 
Computational Sciences and Robotics 
Construction Engineering and Management  
Electrical Engineering 
Engineering Management 
Geology and Geological Engineering 
Materials Engineering and Science 
Mechanical Engineering 
Mining Engineering and Management  

Master of Engineering degrees are offered, with emphasis areas in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Materials Engineering and Science.

Doctor of Philosophy degrees are offered in:

Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences 
Biomedical Engineering 
Civil and Environmental Engineering  
Chemical and Biological Engineering 
Geology and Geological Engineering 
Materials Engineering and Science 
Mechanical Engineering 
Nanoscience and Nanoengineering