Keystone logo
Northern State University

Northern State University

Northern State University


Northern is recognized for high-quality student-centered education. In addition to rigorous field-specific academic programs, all students complete a liberal arts and sciences curriculum that prepares students with 21st-century critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills that are equally valued in advanced professional and graduate studies as well as the workforce. Both are taught by faculty scholars who personalize teaching and mentoring and are supported by a welcoming staff. Experiential learning is embedded throughout the curriculum including opportunities to complete undergraduate research, internships, and service-learning.

Northern also offers a comprehensive and highly successful athletics program, sponsoring 15 NCAA Division II intercollegiate varsity sports that compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIC), with a supportive fan base and game-day experience that is second to none. You will also enjoy a full college experience in an environment committed to your success in fine and performing arts, student organizations, and intramurals, and by participating in a vibrant schedule of events on campus, study abroad opportunities, and engaging in the wonderful community.

Northern is located on a safe, beautiful campus in the welcoming community of Aberdeen, South Dakota. We’re very fortunate to have an excellent relationship with businesses, organizations, and individuals throughout the community and the entire region.

Points of pride

Learn why Northern is the perfect place to unleash your potential

NSU Points of Pride show you the exceptional campus, supportive community, and outstanding educational opportunities you'll find when you join our pack!

  • Recognized as one of the best public baccalaureate colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for more than a decade
  • Named one of the 100 Most Affordable Colleges and Universities (College Consensus)
  • Home to nearly 3,500 students from across the country and around the world
  • Caring faculty - most with their Ph.Ds - get to know students thanks to an 18-1 student-faculty ratio
  • State-of-the-art Regional Science Education Center provides opportunities for cutting-edge undergraduate research
  • Supportive community of Aberdeen is ranked as the No. 2 best small college town in the U.S. (USA Today College)
  • Brand-new residence halls offer the comforts of home
  • A unique partnership with S.D. School for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides an opportunity for hands-on classroom experience
  • With more than 50 majors, you'll be prepared for your dream career
  • More than 80 percent of students receive some form of financial aid - including ​the WolfPACT, the largest four-year guaranteed scholarship in South Dakota
  • Outstanding student involvement, including dozens of recognized student organizations
  • More than $150 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade
  • No. 1 national attendance leader in men's and women's basketball for 13 consecutive years


Northern State University will provide diverse academic, civic, social, and cultural opportunities that prepare students through the liberal arts, professional education, and E-learning for their future endeavors, while also enriching the local and regional community.


Northern State University will be regionally recognized as a student-centered, diverse community dedicated to excellence in teaching and learning, creativity, and civic and global awareness.


Northern State University’s students, faculty, and staff are committed to the following values:

  • Community
    Building a culture of inclusion, belonging, and collegiality that respects diversity in knowledge, culture, and worldview
  • Discovery
    Pursuing rigor and excellence in education, inquiry, and engagement for the benefit of our students, state, and region
  • Integrity
    Adhering to the highest standards of honesty, fairness, and transparency with a commitment to responsible stewardship of resources

Campus Features

A place that feels like home

With its mix of historic buildings, modern facilities, and park-like green spaces, the Northern campus is one of the most beautiful in the region.

At Northern, you can explore numerous art galleries, relax in front of a Student Center fireplace, study in the library, work out in the Barnett Center, or even feed the squirrels on the campus green. No matter where you go, you'll always feel at home.

You'll also feel safe on our well-lit, secure campus located in a welcoming community. Rated the No. 2 best small college town in America by USA Today College, Aberdeen is a friendly city with a lot to offer Northern students in terms of food, fun, entertainment, and culture.

We take pride in our campus, and we also invest in its future. Look around and you'll see numerous improvement projects taking shape, from new residence halls to a new science center.


Campus buildings except for Williams Library, the Barnett Center, and Avera Student Center are locked by 5 p.m. in the summer unless otherwise listed.

Barnett Center

The Barnett Center is the home of NSU athletics, featuring the 8,000-seat Wachs Arena, pool, indoor track, volleyball and handball/racquetball/squash courts, as well as a variety of classrooms, offices and athletic rooms. An additional feature is the 10,000-square-foot Strength and Conditioning Center.

Beckman Building

The Beckman Building accommodates the NSU Foundation.

Beulah Williams Library

Williams Library includes a variety of books for reference and leisure reading, as well as private and group study spaces; a computer lab; smart classroom; creation lab featuring a 3-D printer; a DDN room; NSU Archives and Special Collections; the NSU Reading Clinic; Testing Center; and the Round Room, which hosts literary lectures and other events. The library subscribes to nearly 80 electronic databases, and provides on- and off-campus services to students, staff, faculty, and community residents.

Dacotah Hall

Dacotah Hall is the location of the NSU Registrar's Office, the Financial Aid Office, the Dacotah Hall Intramural and Student Rec Center, and NSU Art Department studios, classrooms, and offices.

Gerber Building

Northern was founded as a teaching school, and that legacy continues in the H.P. Gerber Building, home of the Millicent Atkins School of Education.

Graham Hall

Graham Hall includes the Communications and Marketing Department; offices for NSU Dining Services; and the Missouri River Room, the location of a variety of meetings and other events.

Jewett Regional Science Education Center

The NSU Jewett Regional Science Education Center is home to Northern's biology and chemistry programs.

Johnson Fine Arts Center

The center for NSU's music and performing arts, the Johnson Fine Arts Center (JFAC) annually hosts more than 65 concerts, theater performances, and campus and community events. It includes the 1,000-seat Jewett Theater, Black Box Theater, and Berggren Recital Hall; a lecture auditorium, band and choir rehearsal halls, theatrical scene shop, dressing, and costume rooms, plus music and theatre faculty offices and classrooms.

Krikac Administration Building

Krikac is the primary administration building at NSU. Krikac Auditorium hosts fine arts performances, classes, and numerous other campus events.

Lincoln Hall

Historic Lincoln Hall accommodates NSU's School of Business and International Programs.


The Mewaldt-Jensen Building houses the Center for Statewide E-learning, accelerated nursing classrooms, Student Success Center offices, and Technology Services offices, including the Tech Support Desk, which provides free technical assistance to Northern staff, faculty and students.

Spafford Hall

Spafford Hall encompasses Northern's fine arts studios, music offices, practice rooms, meeting rooms, and administrative offices.

Avera Student Center

The Avera Student Center is comprised of NSU dining, the NSU Wolf Shoppe (NSU clothing and giftware, office and art supplies, and snacks), Einstein Bros. Bagels/Caribou Coffee, the Admissions Office, NSU Post Office, the Health and Counseling centers, Veterans' Resource Center and much more. The center also provides settings for a variety of public events and is accessible to people with disabilities.

Technology Center

The Tech Center features three computer labs, two smart classrooms, a complete TV studio and media center, and a conference room with multimedia presentation capabilities. The Tech Center accommodates the Student Success Center as well as arts and sciences and technology services offices.


    Undergraduate admissions requirements

    Is the ACT or SAT required for admittance to Northern?

    No, you may be admitted without an ACT or SAT score. We offer multiple criteria that allow us to admit students to Northern State University. Some options require ACCUPLACER placement testing. Most of our scholarships, however, require an ACT or SAT score.

    Applicants to Northern can be admitted by one of the following criteria:

    • Obtain an ACT composite score of 18 (redesigned SAT score of 960, or concorded equivalent for older SAT scores) or above; or
    • Obtain a high school GPA of at least 2.6 on a 4.0 scale; or
    • Rank in the top sixty (60) percent of their high school graduating class.

    Applicants to Northern may also meet either the Smarter Balanced or curriculum requirements as outlined below:

    • Smarter Balanced: Achieve a Level 3 or higher on the English Language Arts and Mathematics Smarter Balanced assessments.
    • Curriculum: Meet the minimum course requirements with an average grade of “C” or higher (GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale);
      • or demonstrate appropriate competencies in discipline areas where course requirements have not been met; and
        • Obtain an ACT composite score of 18 (redesigned SAT score of 960, or concorded equivalent for older SAT scores) or above; or
        • Obtain a high school GPA of at least 2.6 on a 4.0 scale; or
        • Rank in the top sixty (60) percent of their high school graduating class.
    • The minimum course requirements – and alternate criteria – are:
      • Four years of English; or
        • ACT English subtest score of 18 or above; or
        • AP English language and composition or English literature and composition scores of 3 or above.
      • Three years of advanced mathematics (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, or other advanced mathematics, including accelerated or honors mathematics provided at the eighth-grade level; not included are arithmetic, business, consumer, or general mathematics or other similar courses); or
        • ACT math subtest score of 20 or above; or
        • AP Calculus AB or BC score of 3 or above.
      • Three years of laboratory science (courses in biology, chemistry, physics, or other approved science courses in which there is a weekly lab period scheduled); or
        • ACT science/reasoning subtest score of 17 or above; or
        • AP biology, chemistry, or physics B score of 3 or above.
      • Three years of social science; or
        • ACT social studies/reading subtest score of 17 or above; or
        • AP microeconomics, macroeconomics, comparative or United States government or policies, European or United States history, or psychology score of 3 or above.
      • One year of fine arts; or
        • AP history of art, studio art drawing or general portfolio, or music theory score of 3 or above.

    Scholarships and Funding

    Scholarships may be awarded for academic excellence, to recognize and encourage development in a particular field of study, or for extraordinary artistic or athletic talent.

    Wolfpact scholarship

    Northern's WolfPACT scholarship for incoming freshmen is the largest guaranteed scholarship in the region. We offer more money to college students when they need it the most!

    Financial Aid

    At Northern, more than 81 percent of students receive some form of financial aid, totaling $15.2 million annually. We offer several types of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, loans, and student employment.

    To receive financial assistance, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

    To receive maximum consideration for financial aid, apply no later than March 1 of the year you wish to enroll. Most aid is awarded on the basis of need.

    Please contact us for more information.

    Student Testimonials


    • Aberdeen

      1200 S Jay St, 57401, Aberdeen