Higher Education in Aberdeen

Northern State University

Today's Northern State University (NSU) is a twenty-first century institution, serving the state of South Dakota, the nation and the world with programs that are supported and supplemented with technology for the globalization age. NSU has its roots in innovative and dedicated educational delivery and services. Founded in 1901, as a normal and industrial school to serve the northern part of South Dakota, Northern State University, today, is a multi-purpose, regional institution offering diversified course offerings to meet the emerging needs of the students, community, and region. In 2001, Northern expanded its mission to include E-learning programs, offering certificates, a minor, and two master's degrees in technological instruction.


While teacher preparation remains an important feature of Northern State University, so are programs in the arts and sciences, business and fine arts. Cited recently by U.S. News and World Report as the number one institution in the entire Midwest with the most education majors, Northern also provides excellent course offerings in business, arts and sciences, and fine arts. Academically, Northern provides a variety of more than 40 major course offerings from which to earn either a bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of science in education or bachelor of music education degree. Graduate programs are offered in teaching and learning, guidance and counseling, and leadership and administration, in addition to E-learning.


NSU's enrollment holds steady at 3,000 plus students each year. Students come from South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota, but the student body also represents students from more than 25 states and more than 20 foreign countries. More than 85% of the NSU faculty have attained the highest degree in their fields of study; the student-to-faculty ratio is 19-to-1. Northern also has one of the best student-to-computer ratios in the nation at 4.1 to 1.

Johnson Fine Arts Center

All students enjoy use of the Johnson Fine Arts Center, which provides classroom space and a recital hall, lecture auditorium and a 1,000-seat theater; and the recently renovated and expanded Beulah Williams Library, which houses more than 200,000 titles and has seating capacity for 400 students.

Barnett Physical Education & Convocation Center

The home of the NSU Wolves is the Barnett Physical Education and Convocation Center, which can seat more than 8,000 people and includes classrooms and laboratories for health, physical education and recreation classes, a 2,500-square foot weight room, and a six-lane swimming pool. The main arena, which was named Wachs Arena in 1990, honors the legendary men's basketball coach Bob Wachs.

Swisher Field

The outdoor athletic facilities include an eight-court tennis complex and a 15-acre complex for football, track, and baseball located just minutes from the residential campus. Swisher Field includes a 6,000-seat football stadium and artificial surface outdoor track. Recent additions include a new computer-operated scoreboard for football and lighted and paved parking lot.

Financial Aid

At Northern, more than 80% of students receive some form of financial aid, totaling more than $10 million. The financial aid comes in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and college work-study. The Northern State University Foundation, through its annual "Northern Fund" campaign, and the NSU Wolves Club provide the vast majority of funding for NSU student scholarships.

Presentation College

Founded in 1951, as a two-year nursing school, Presentation College (PC) has broadened its curriculum and is South Dakota's newest four-year college. Presentation is ambitiously expanding its faculty, student opportunities and its facilities. New student housing has been built, and an indoor athletic complex was recently added to accommodate the PC Saints sporting events. The Saints compete in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. Sponsored by the Presentation Sisters, the college continues to be a leader in health care education, but now offers degrees in over 30 fields. In addition to baccalaureate degrees in nursing, the college offers degrees in business, communications, social work, and many areas of allied health.