Part of the North Dakota University System, Dickinson State University was founded as a normal school in 1918, providing desperately needed teacher’s education at a time when rural North Dakota lacked properly trained educators. Of course, over the past century of growth and development, Dickinson State’s mission has far outgrowth that original mission, and DSU today is a full four-year university dedicated to meeting educational needs of North Dakota’s people wherever they are – on-campus, online, or on one of DSU’s extension campuses throughout the rural areas of western North Dakota. U.S. News & World Report recognized DSU as the #4 best regional public college in the Midwest in its 2017 rankings.
Academic ProgramsDickinson State University has the size and low student/faculty ratio (10:1) of a small liberal arts college, but DSU is preparing students for leadership in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. While business administration is the most popular major, Dickinson State’s heritage as a teacher’s college continues to keep education one of the university’s biggest offerings. In recent years, DSU has developed a Master of Arts in Teaching degree program that allows students with a non-teaching bachelor’s degree earn a teaching graduate degree; the school has also begun developing graduate education courses for transfer, building the foundation for a full M.Ed. degree in the future.
As a regional college, DSU’s most important responsibility has always been making education affordable and accessible, and Dickinson State does both spectacularly. In the 21st century DSU has fully embraced online education, giving North Dakota’s wide-ranging, sparse rural population a cutting-edge way to earn the credentials they need. DSU’s online degree programs include associate’s, bachelor’s, and certificate programs, as well as the Master of Arts in Teaching. Plus, DSU’s low tuition has earned praise from a variety of agencies as a best value and a most affordable institution for the region, and nationally, with the lowest rate of student loan debt in North Dakota.
Student LifeDickinson State’s student body, just short of 3000, is a socially and civically engaged part of life in Dickinson, ND. With the Badlands and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park just a short distance away, outdoor activities and adventure sports are a deeply ingrained part of life in Dickinson, including hiking, fishing, climbing, and camping. With a rapidly growing population since the mid-2000s North Dakota oil boom, Dickinson has also benefitted from DSU’s community service and outreach.
With some 40 student-led organizations and clubs, Dickinson State’s student life is also quite active and dynamic. Besides honor societies and professional networking groups, DSU students have religious, political, service, and special interest groups. Students also get to support the NAIA conference Blue Hawks varsity teams, with 15 men’s and women’s teams including basketball, soccer, baseball, and softball. The Blue Hawks football and track & field teams are particularly renowned, with multiple championships in the conference.