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North Dakota State University


Founded in 1890 as the North Dakota Agricultural College, North Dakota State University was one of the first land-grant colleges in the region. When the university first opened, it offered agricultural classes and programs that taught those moving to the territory how to run their own farms and work for others. Not long after North Dakota officially became a state, the university added more degree programs and shifted its focus away from agriculture, though there are still a number of those programs offered by the university. It officially became NDSU in 1960 and now offers 170 programs at the undergrad level and more than 100 doctoral and master programs.

Located in Fargo, the NDSU campus actually consists of several separate campuses. With more than 250 acres of land and dozens of buildings, its main campus is the largest. Large brick gates with a wrought iron fence outside greet new students and visitors to the campus. Around 4,000 students take classes on the much smaller campus downtown. The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education labeled NDSU as a high research institution, making it the only college in the state to earn that designation. According to Washington Monthly, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report, it also ranks as one of the best colleges in America. Enrollment at NDSU now reaches more than 14,000 every year.

Resource: 50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest

North Dakota State University Accreditation Details

North Dakota State University initially sought regional accreditation but later looked for specialty accreditation that applied to some of its programs. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools granted accreditation after doing extensive research that proved the university was worthy. As with other organizations of this type, the NCACS requires that university officials apply for accreditation renewal and pass the renewal process at least once every decade. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) is one of the organizations that gave NDSU specialty accreditation and accredited its programs in civil, electrical, mechanical and other types of engineering. The specialty accreditation that NDSU has also comes from 14 other accrediting boards that include:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • National Association of Schools of Theatre
  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
  • American Council for Construction Education
  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

North Dakota State University Application Requirements

Tuition at NDSU starts at around $7,000 a year for students who lived in the state before enrolling. Students from most states will see their tuition rise to more than $18,000 a year. NDSU offers discounted rates for Minnesota residents. Students from Minnesota can enroll and will pay around $7,800 a year. The university also participates in a tuition exchange program that allows students from western states like California and Washington and Midwestern states like Indiana and Ohio qualify for discounted rates. Through the tuition exchange program, students pay less than $11,000 a year. All students pay around $1,400 a year for miscellaneous fees, and living on campus will add around $8,000 to their annual costs.

NDSU offers scholarships for incoming freshmen who score a 24 or higher on the ACT or score 1090 or higher on the reading and math sections on the SAT and have a minimum grade point average of 3.5. Those who qualify for one of these scholarships must complete the application packet no later than February 1. While other scholarships are available, prospective students must apply to each one separately. After receiving the FAFSA filed by a student, NDSU will determine the amount of financial help a student needs and will send a financial aid letter that typically includes loans, grants and acceptance into the federal work-study program.

Tuition and Financial Aid

North Dakota State University recommends that students apply by the beginning of January. Those applying to more competitive programs may want to apply as early as September in the year before classes start. NDSU looks for those who completed a college prep curriculum in high school. This type of curriculum should include four years of English classes and three years of classes in math, some type of social sciences and life or health sciences. The majority of students accepted every year earned a minimum of 1020 on the SAT or 22 on the ACT and had a minimum GPA of 2.75. NDSU also accepts students who earned a GED rather than a high school diploma and those who attended a home schooling program.

There are four steps in the NDSU application process. The first is the completion of the online application. After filling out each section on that application, the student must pay the $35 application fee. NDSU will not look at the application until processing that fee. Students will then need to contact their high schools and the testing boards. The testing board must mail an official test score to the university, and the high school must mail the campus an official high school transcript. Any student who took college classes will need to send in an official college transcript too.

Student Experience

While the NDSU main campus offers some more traditional degree programs that students will find on dozens of other campuses, it also offers some more unique programs. One of those is the fisheries and wildlife program, which focuses on the ways in which fish develop and how students can manage and operate fisheries. The university recommends that students complete a summer internship with the Department of Natural Resources or a similar agency. Some of the graduates from this program now work as park rangers with the National Parks Service.

Its unique course offerings are available at the graduate level too. The campus has a graduate degree program in emergency management that trains students for working in disaster and emergency situations. Students learn more about disaster preparedness, mitigation, recovery and response. Emergency management students must also do an internship or some type of field experience that is worth three credits. NDSU also has an advanced program is equine science, which is a precursor to a veterinary science degree. Students will learn more about the anatomy and physiology of horses, nutrition and the reproductive systems of these animals. North Dakota State University-Main Campus also offers a bachelor’s degree in equine science for students who want to enroll in a veterinary science program later.