Online MBA in South Dakota

If you are considering an online MBA program in South Dakota, this page will help you find information about the various programs offered at schools across the state as well as programs based in South Dakota. Regardless of whether you live in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, or a rural township, there is likely a business school that meets your needs. On this page, you will find information about each school and program, including the admission requirements, concentration areas, and core courses, which will help you compare the options available in South Dakota. Whether you are a recent graduate or a working professional, MBA programs offer many study options that can fit your needs and help you learn new skills to develop a career in business and take advantage of growing industries.


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Online MBA Programs in South Dakota

This section describes the only accredited online MBA program in South Dakota, which is offered by the University of South Dakota.

1. University of South Dakota – Beacom School of Business

The Beacom School of Business was created at USD in 1927 and has been awarding AACSB-accredited MBA degrees since 1965. The online MBA program offered at USD is fully accredited by the AACSB and offers similar learning opportunities compared to the on-campus and hybrid degree options; however, it is also designed for students who want to develop academic careers and either teach or conduct research in business schools across the country. While the degree is delivered primarily online, a five-day residency in July or August gives students the chance to connect with faculty and colleagues face-to-face. Each class is typically offered online once or twice per year. The program is open to out-of-state students; however, all students pay in-state tuition fees, which may make this program more affordable compared to the on-campus or hybrid programs. In 2016, US News & World Report ranked the program in a tie for 52nd among all online MBA programs in the country.

Program Admission

Admission requirements to the online MBA program are similar to the on-campus and hybrid programs. You will need to submit an application form with the $35 application fee, transcripts from all previous institutions, two recommendation letters, a resume, a statement of purpose, and GMAT scores. You can begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer term. Fall applications should be received by June 1, spring applications should be received by October 1, and summer applications should be received March 1 to receive priority review by the university.

Foundational Coursework

Foundation Courses for Students Without Business Prerequisites (18-21 credit hours) – Foundations of Accounting, Foundations of Finance, Foundations of Calculus and Statistics for Business, Production Operations Management, Foundations of Marketing and Organizational Behavior, Foundations of Economics, and Foundations of Information Systems (for students in the Business Analytics concentration)

Core Curriculum (18 credit hours) – Managerial Accounting (or Accounting in Governmental & Non-Profit Organizations for Health Service Administration concentration), Managerial Finance, Quantitative Analysis, Leadership Development, Strategic Management, Managerial Economics

Program Concentrations and Specialization Options

  • General Business (15 credit hours) – Operations Management, Business and Its Environment, Managerial Marketing, two electives
  • Business Analytics (21 credit hours) – Operations Management, Business and Its Environment, Managerial Marketing, Data Management and Warehousing, Data Analysis for Managers, Data for Competitive Advantage, Operational Analysis
  • Health Services Administration (15 credit hours) – Advanced Strategic Management of Health Care Organizations, Advanced Health Care Systems, Advanced Health Care Management, Health Care Practicum or elective, general elective


MBA Programs in South Dakota

This section lists the on-campus MBA programs in South Dakota with AACSB accreditation. If you like the structure provided by set class times and prefer to have ongoing face-to-face interactions with your professors and colleagues, an on-campus program may be a good fit. Some programs also offer hybrid options to combine on-campus and online learning. Many concentration options are available to specialize your learning experience, or you can pursue a general business degree to develop a broad business knowledge base.

1. Black Hills State University – School of Business

Black Hills State University (BHSU) offers an MBA degree in Applied Management at the school’s secondary campus in Rapid City. The MBA program requires 36 credit hours of study and has been accredited by the AACSB since 2014. It takes two to three years to complete the degree through part-time study and classes are offered in the evenings to cater to working professionals. The school offers small class sizes and uses an experiential learning curriculum; all students complete a capstone project as part of their graduation requirements. Learning about the local business context of South Dakota is also a focus of the program. The Applied Management concentration helps students learn to cultivate long-term relationships with colleagues and partners and strengthen business opportunities in this region of the country. Students also have the benefit of working with research centers focusing on specific areas of business, including the Center for Business, Entrepreneurship and Tourism, the Center for Economic Education, and the South Dakota Center for Enterprise and Opportunity.

Program Admission

To be eligible for the BHSU MBA program, you need either a bachelor’s degree in business with a minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA) or a bachelor’s degree in any other subject with 18 credit hours of prerequisite courses in Principles of Accounting I and II, Business Finance, Organization and Management, Marketing, and Principles of Microeconomics. These courses are offered by BHSU or equivalents can be taken for credit at other institutions. Your application package must also include a graduate studies application form (both online and paper copies are accepted), transcripts from your former institutions, three recommendation letters, a resume, and a personal essay. GMAT scores are recommended but not required as part of your application. Applications are accepted for both fall and spring start dates. The deadline for fall applications is early June and classes begin in August. The deadline for spring applications is early December with classes beginning in January. If you previously studied in an MBA program at another institution, it may be possible to receive up to nine hours of transfer credit.

Foundational Coursework

Core Curriculum (36 credit hours) – Law and Ethics, Applied Management, Applied Organizational Behavior, Marketing: Establish Presence and Demand, Using Technologies for Competitive Edge, Advanced Business Finance, Linking Business to Global Markets, Managerial Decision and Control, Economics: Insights and Applications, Applied Management Science, Strategic Planning: Mapping the Future, Capstone Experience: Theory to Practice Project

Program Concentrations and Specialization Options

The only concentration option offered at BHSU is Applied Management; therefore, all students take the same required courses. No electives are offered.

2. University of South Dakota – Beacom School of Business

The University of South Dakota (USD) offers ACSB-accredited MBA programs on campus in Vermillion and through hybrid on-campus-online learning in Vermillion and Sioux Falls. The number of required credit hours will depend on whether your bachelor’s degree is in business or an unrelated subject. It will likely range between 33-60 credit hours including prerequisite business courses. Prerequisite courses can be taken online through USD prior to beginning the core MBA curriculum. The MBA core curriculum can be completed in one year of full-time study in Vermillion or longer through part-time study in the hybrid program. You can complete a general business degree or specialize in either Health Services Administration or Business Analytics. Each option has a different core curriculum. A thesis option is available to students in the General Business or Health Services Administration concentrations, but it is not a requirement to graduate.

Program Admission

You need to have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.7 GPA to apply. Your application package will include the graduate application form and $35 fee, transcripts from all other institutions, GMAT scores, and two recommendation letters. If you have taken prerequisite business classes, you can also apply for “advanced standing” to waive the foundational courses.

Foundational Coursework

  • Foundation courses for students without business prerequisites (18-21 credit hours) – Foundations of Accounting, Foundations of Finance, Foundations of Calculus and Statistics for Business, Production Operations Management, Foundations of Marketing and Organizational Behavior, Foundations of Economics, and Foundations of Information Systems (for students in the Business Analytics concentration)
  • Core Curriculum for General Business (27 credit hours) – Managerial Accounting, Managerial Finance, Quantitative Analysis, Operations Management, Leadership Development, Business and Its Environment, Managerial Marketing, Strategic Management, Managerial Economics
  • Core Curriculum for Health Services Administration (30 credit hours) – Accounting in Government and Non-Profit Organizations or Managerial Accounting, Managerial Finance, Quantitative Analysis, Leadership Development, Strategic Management, Managerial Economics, Advanced Strategic Management of Health Care Organizations, Advanced Health Care Systems, Advanced Health Care Management, Practicum or elective course
  • Core Curriculum for Business Analytics (39 credit hours) – Managerial Accounting, Managerial Finance, Quantitative Analysis, Data Management and Warehousing, Data Mining for Managers, Data Mining for Competitive Advantage, Operational Analytics, Operations Management, Leadership Development, Business and Its Environment, Managerial Marketing, Strategic Marketing, Managerial Economics

MBA Concentrations and Specialization Options

  • Students in the General Business and Health Services Administration concentration must complete the core curriculum and choose either the thesis option or additional coursework.
  • Thesis option – six credit hours for General Business or three credit hours for Health Services Administration concentration.
  • Non-thesis option – six credit hours of elective courses for General Business or three credit hours of electives for Health Services Administration concentration.
  • Business Analytics concentration students are not required to complete a thesis or take any additional courses.

3. University of Sioux Falls – Vucurevich School of Business

The University of Sioux Falls is a Christian institution that has offered an MBA degree since 1993. If you prefer to study full-time, a new degree program in Organizational Leadership, beginning in June 2016, requires 36 credit hours and can be completed in as little as one year. This MBA is designed for early-career applicants. This program has three-week-long intensive classes to allow you to progress quickly. A part-time, two-year MBA program offered in the evening or online is also available and caters to the needs of experienced working professionals. This program offers a General Business degree and specialization options.

Program Admission

For the one-year MBA program, you need a bachelor’s degree and proof of taking prerequisite courses in accounting, economics, finance, and statistics. If you have a 3.4 GPA, you may receive unconditional acceptance; however, if you have a GPA between 3.0-3.39, you may still be accepted with conditional acceptance. For the part-time MBA, you must have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA for unconditional acceptance, at least three years of work experience and show proof of prerequisite courses in financial accounting, microeconomics, managerial finance, and statistics within the previous seven years. The application for either program includes a form, personal essay, three recommendation letters, and transcripts. Both programs require you to maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the program to continue.

Foundational Coursework

Core Curriculum for the one-year MBA in Organizational Leadership (36 credit hours) – Managing Organizational Dynamics, Cost Management, Managerial Economics, Financial Planning and Controls, Managerial Communications, Marketing Management, Leadership & Ethical Management, Strategic Management, Leading by Serving, Empowering Others, Leading Innovation, Leading Change, Capstone Project

Core Curriculum for the part-time MBA (24 credit hours) – Managerial Communications, Managing Organizational Dynamics, Marketing Management, Leadership & Ethical Management, Cost Management or Healthcare Cost Management, Managerial Economics, Financial Planning and Control, Strategic Management, Management Internship/Fellowship

Program Concentrations and Specialization Options

Students in the one-year MBA in Organizational Leadership do not take any elective classes or choose any additional concentration areas; however, part-time MBA students may select from the following:

  • General Management (12 credit hours) – Choose four from Human Resource Management, Project Management, Organization Development & Change, Commercial Law, Negotiations, and MBA Colloquium.
  • Business Innovation and Marketing (12 credit hours) – Innovation and Problem Solving, Marketing Research, Sales Management, Business Plan Development
  • Healthcare Management (12 credit hours) – Health Care Systems, Legal & Regulatory Issues in Healthcare, Human Resources Management, Health Care Colloquium


Additional MBA Programs in South Dakota

As only 5% of MBA programs are accredited by the AACBB, you also have many non-AACSB accredited options. South Dakota offers one online non-AACSB Accredited MBA program.

1. National American University – Harold D. Buckingham Graduate School

The National American University (NAU) offers an MBA degree fully online consisting of 45 credit hours with or without a thesis and an Executive MBA online for managers working in leadership roles consisting of 36 credit hours and one weeklong residency. The MBA operates on a quarter term system; you can start the program in the fall, winter, spring, or summer quarters and progress at your own pace through either full-time or part-time study. The Executive MBA operates on a trimester schedule and you can begin in either the fall or spring term. Many concentration options are available in the MBA program, although you can also complete a general business degree and may be required to choose this path if you do not have sufficient undergraduate business education.

Program Admission

You need a bachelor’s degree either from an American institution or a recognized international institution and the degree can be in any subject; however, you will need to show you have taken courses in accounting, statistics, macroeconomics, and finance or take these courses prior to beginning the core curriculum to choose any of the specialization paths. You will submit your transcripts as part of the application process, which should document your prerequisites. Unlike many other MBA programs, the NAU does not require you to submit either GMAT or GRE scores with your application. International students must submit TOEFL scores if applicable, a $45 application fee, and a resume with their application.

Foundational Coursework

Core Curriculum for the MBA (31 credit hours) – Introduction to Leadership and Quality, Managerial Accounting, Managerial Economics, Financial Management, Quantitative Methods for Management Decisions, Marketing Administration, Strategy and Policy

Core Curriculum for the Executive MBA (36 credit hours) – Management Decision Making, Business Statistics and Analysis, Global Macroeconomics, Global Managerial Economics, Corporate Financial Reporting and Financial Statement Analysis, Managerial Cost and Performance Accounting, Corporate Finance, Corporate Financial Management, Global Financial Risk Management, Global Strategy, Leading Change, International Marketing Management, International Marketing Management, International Marketing Strategy, Evaluating & Selecting Core Business Technologies, Global Leadership in International Trade, International Corporate Law, Governance, and Ethics, Managing Human Capital Strategy, Managing Corporate Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Managing Production & Operations Strategy, International Digital Marketing, International Brand Marketing, International Services Marketing, Creating Significant Learning, Executive Business Writing, Executive Business Presentations, Leadership Communications

MBA Concentrations and Specialization Options

There are no concentrations or electives in the Executive MBA program. If you choose the general MBA degree, you will need to take 13.5 credit hours of electives from any area to graduate. If you choose the thesis option, you will need to take 4.5 credit hours of electives and complete nine credit hours of thesis work. If you would rather choose a concentration area, you have many options:

  • Accounting (13.5 credit hours) – Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination, Accounting Ethics, Accounting Information Systems and Computer Related Fraud
  • E-Marketing (13.5 credit hours) – Internet Marketing, E-Commerce, Social Media Marketing, E-Marketing Analytics
  • Health Care Administration (13.5 credit hours) – Fiscal and Regulatory Issues in Health Services, Global Issues in Health Care, Health Care Administration and Policy Seminar
  • Human Resource Management (13.5 credit hours) – Choose three from Human Resource Law, Managing Human Resources, Training and Development in Human Resource Management, Employee Evaluation and Compensation, Strategic Human Resource Management
  • Information Technology Management (13.5 credit hours) – Choose three from Computer Security, Risk Assessment and Analysis, Critical Infrastructure Control System Security, Computer Forensics and Incident Handling, Foundations of Security, Advanced Security Practices & Risk Management
  • International Business (13.5 credit hours) – Legal Environment for Global Organizations, International Business, International Management
  • Management (13.5 credit hours) – Choose three from Legal Environment for Global Organizations, Legal and Regulatory Environment for Higher Education, Human Resource Law, other approved elective
  • Operations and Configuration Management (13.5 credit hours) – Enterprise Process Management, Optimize Enterprise Operations, Operations and Supply Chain Management
  • Project and Process Management (13.5 credit hours) – Project Management Essentials, Intermediate Project Management, Advanced Project Management


South Dakota MBA Career and Job Outlook

Opportunities for employment in South Dakota appear positive. The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation estimates that the entire workforce will grow from 472,605 to 505,870 by 2022, which is 7% increase overall.1 Much of this growth will occur in metropolitan areas in the state. For example, the workforce in Sioux Falls is expected to grow from 151,535 to 167,250 (a 10.37% increase) and the workforce in Rapid City is expected to increase from 68,015 to 73,940 (an 8.71% increase).1

Several business occupations are have been highlighted as important growth areas. Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists are listed in the state’s top 10 fastest-growing occupations; Management Analysts and Human Resources, Training and Labor Relations Specialists are listed on the state’s High Demand Occupations List; and Financial Analysts and Managers are on the Targeted Occupations List, which identifies areas for the state to invest more resources in post-secondary training opportunities.2,3,4 Pursuing any of the South Dakota MBA programs may make you more competitive for jobs in these growing areas.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 there were 11,440 individuals working in management positions in South Dakota earning a median salary of $100,080.5 Within that group, the largest number of individuals were employed as General and Operations Managers (3,670)5, earning a median salary of $118,7605. Chief Executives had the highest median salary ($203,340), which included 630 people.5 Managers in the state’s largest city, Sioux Falls, earned a slightly higher median salary ($112,440) compared to the state’s second largest city, Rapid City ($98,460).6,7

The US Department of Labor also provides statistics on salary projections and industry growth for various types of management positions in South Dakota.

  • Chief Executives earned a median salary of $182,500 in 2014, which was above the national median ($173,300). These positions are expected to grow by 2% in the state by 2022.8
  • General and Operations Managers also earned a median salary above the national median ($100,900 compared to $97,300) and are expected to grow at the same rate as the national projection (7%) by 2022.9
  • The median salary for the Managers, All Others category is $79,900 and is projected to grow at the same rate as the national projection, by 4%, by 2022.10
  • Management Analysts earned a median salary of $62,500 and are projected to grow by 14% by 2022, the same projected growth nationally.11
  • The median salary for Financial Managers in 2014 was slightly higher than the national median salary ($115,900 compared to $115,300) and the growth rates for the state and nation are both 7% by 2022.12

Payscale.com provides more statistics on salaries and universities:

  • MBA graduates in South Dakota may earn a salary between $41,432 and $144,259.
  • Graduates from the University of South Dakota earn an early career salary of $39,900 and this increases to $68,400 after 10 years of work experience.
  • Graduates from the University of Sioux Falls earn a median salary of $41,800.

Finally, here are a few more resources with useful information:

Other Popular Online MBA Program Pages