The University of South Dakota School of Law

The University of South Dakota School of Law

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Basic Information

The University of South Dakota School of Law, located in Vermillion, is the only law school in the state and one of the smallest in the nation. The school views that as a huge plus, allowing faculty to know students by name. 

With less than 200 students, the faculty is able to keep track of student progress more comprehensively. If someone is struggling in an area, it’s likely to be noticed, addressed and rectified. It’s not uncommon for faculty to know if a student may have more personal demands — such as having children — and might need a more flexible academic schedule.

Plus, it’s almost impossible for a student to be shut out of any extra-curricular offering, given the student body size. Take the school’s trial team, where more than 33 percent of students participate.

Students at South Dakota Law also enjoy some of the lowest tuition rates and costs of living in the nation. Minnesotans get a reciprocal tuition rate. Students graduate with an average debt of less than $55,000, lowest in the Upper Midwest, and one of the lowest in the nation.

The school also boasts of a strong relationship with the state bar and judiciary that provide access to opportunities to students. 

One of the school’s unique offerings is the American Indian Law Program. Nine tribes are in South Dakota, and 10 percent of the population is Native American.

There’s a need for lawyers in the rural regions of the state, and graduates can earn a $12,000 annual subsidy to work in underserved areas. 

Admission Profile
Application Deadline: 
Application Fee: 


Financial Aid Deadline: 


75th Percentile1533.65
25th Percentile1473.01
Financial Profile
Tuition Part-time$10,438$20,426
Living Expenses
Median grant$1789
Percent receiving grants51.00%
Estimated net tuition
Employment & Bar Exam Profile
Post-grad employment 85.10%
NJ Employment79.4
Bar Passage69.86%
Academic Profile
Business, Corporate, Banking
Criminal Law and Procedure
Employment and Labor Law
Environmental/Natural Resource Law
Estate Planning
Public Interest/Social Justice
Real Estate Transactions
Tax Law
Trial Advocacy