All Questions for

University of South Dakota

« See more reviews of University of South Dakota

What are the academics like at your school?

At USD, I feel that the majority of professors take initiative to get to know their students as well as the unique learning pace that each class will need within the semester. Every professor I’ve ever had has taken the time and effort to remember my name and connect with me, as well as the other students, over the subject matter and any questions I may have had. Personally, I like to make sure that I visit with each professor outside of class; I need the one-on-one attention to make sure I understand the subject. Also, the professors here take notice of who comes to office hours and who does not, and sometimes it can make all the difference when they evaluate final grades and you are sitting between an ‘A’ and a ‘B’. Just like high school, you will see some students who love to participate in class and others who do not speak a word unless forced to, or others who will resist participation and dismiss the importance of what is going on in class to look cool. I would say that you find less of this reluctance to participate once you’ve taken all of your general classes and move on to the classes directly associated with your field of study. Class sizes tend to decrease in the upper level classes and most people seem to realize the importance of in-class participation in regards to achieving success while attending school. Many students seem to be concerned about their personal levels of achievement and I feel that students here are very competitive. The amount of time spent studying really depends on the individual and their intended major/class. In the library or often in the commons, you will find a large number of students studying, especially during finals week! I am an English major specializing in Creative Writing, as well as a Theatre minor. In my experience at USD, the English department seems very well put together and the professors solidly know their subjects. They also offer opportunities such as writing workshops, guest writers, internships, and other job offers related to the field. Within the Theatre department, I am also offered many opportunities and just within the past semester the faculty within the department has helped me realize my potential as well as offered personal guidance on how to achieve my specific career goal. I feel like I am not just taught certain skills in these areas simply just to learn them, but that I am directly taught to use them in the job fields which they are related. The most unique class I have ever taken at USD was Introduction to Acting. The class dynamic was set up quite differently from that of other classes and the traditional learning atmosphere was strongly infused with creativity that pushed new boundaries for me. We started each class with yoga and tai chi warm-ups to relax ourselves and prepare for preforming with each other. The class size was less than half of all other classes I have taken and there was also a large trust factor amongst all the students participating within the class. My least favorite class would have to be Shakespeare, not to say I didn’t enjoy what I have learned from the class or that the teacher wasn’t great, but the difficulty of the class kept me up late nights and the amount of work that I had to do far surpassed that of my other classes. One of my favorite classes at USD was an American Literature class that was taught survey style with a large number of students. The professor did an amazing job of keeping the subject material interesting and also made many connections that pertain to modern day life and especially to the life of a college student. He used humor and common interests to encourage deep thoughts about what we had read that semester and he presented daily power-point presentations to remember the key concepts of his lectures. The subject was not necessarily interesting for me, but this professor found a way to entertain his students and make us find ways in which the works discussed were fascinating when closely examined.

was this helpful? loading... loading...

The academics program at USD is great for students with a wide variety of majors. USD is a liberal arts college, so general classes are required. However, there are a multitude of options. USD has many art programs for drawing, painting, sculpting, etc.-- but for those less artistic students, the fine arts requirement can be filled with classes such as rock and roll appreciation, film appreciation, or art history. Personally, i chose rock and roll appreciation, which engaged my interest in the music scene of Vermillion as well. USD even offers a class to learn to play guitar for credit. Whether you are just starting out or want to improve your skills, this is a unique option that many students love. As a freshman I experienced a variety of classes math, English, philosophy, psychology, science, criminal justice. I always knew i wanted to be a teacher, but I had to decide what subject I wanted to teach. English and psychology are the two subjects that stuck. Currently I am an English education major with a minor in psychology. The education program at USD is excellent. As a sophomore I was already getting in class experience. I studied at the local middle and high school, working with struggling students, for my field experience class. In only my second year I was getting hands on experience that many students don't receive until their fourth year as student teachers. This experience reassured me that education was the right field for me. Many students spend four years studying to be teachers, get in the classroom, and realize the last four years have led up to a career that just isn't right. Early exposure to the education environment is one of the many benefits of the education program at USD. Advisers and teachers are always willing to give advice and help build student portfolios to prepare their students for their future careers. The professors in the English department have been extremely helpful. My main focus in English has always been writing. My professors are always willing to spend time out of class revising papers for their class as well as helping me prove the writing I produce outside of class. This interest in my writing outside of academics exemplifies the interest that faculty at the University of South Dakota have in student improvement. Ultimately, the University of South Dakota is an excellent place to obtain your degree, whether it's from the arts, science, education, Harvard accredited business school, or one of USD's many other majors.

was this helpful? loading... loading...

I have a very positive opinion of the high academic standards set at USD. Most, if not all of the professors (especially the ones in my major) know my name and remember characteristics about me and my academic performance very well. My favorite class at the school has been Mammalian Physiology. It's a fascinating course, and I learned a vast amount of useful information from a professor that was very good at teaching the information as well as passionate about the subject material. My least favorite class was probably Calculus, because of the way the class was taught and the means of evaluation used. Students study regularly, probably a couple hours a day and more on test weeks. Class participation is highly variable depending on the size and structure of the class, but attendance is generally pretty high and participation is common in smaller classes. Students are competitive, but try to remain modest about personal grades and class effort. The most unique classes I've taken were Psychology of Sexuality and Human Sexuality. Because one was a psychology course and the other an anthropology course, much of the information overlapped, but was taught with completely different approaches: a biological approach vs. a sociocultural approach to sexual behaviors. I'm a Biology major, and as a result spend a lot of time in the Biology department. I have done research with a few professors outside of class, and have come to know several of them very well. They're always more than willing to assist student needs outside of class, and have very flexible office hours that makes them quite approachable. The school's academic requirements I feel are very adequate, and require you to be exposed to a variety of academic fields while still preparing you enough in your field of choice. While some general classes are geared more towards getting you to improve your method of learning, I believe I will be prepared to move on into the job field after graduating from USD.

was this helpful? loading... loading...

The academics are pretty good. Since USD has a smaller population, the classes are smaller. Every one of my professors knows my name. When taking generals, time seems to drag one. It is not the professors fault, it is just a little hill that has to be overcome. It really gets exciting when you take classes that go towards your major. I have had the most fun sitting in my American Literature class. The professor is great, and he makes learning the stuff very interesting. He loves taking people under his wing and giving them advice. I think that makes learning not only easier, but compelling to the student. I have spent a lot of time with my professors outside of class. One of which I play poker with every now and then. I have also been invited to dinner a few times as well. The academic atmosphere is warm and inviting. As far as studying goes, there is a lot of it. The library always has a good number of students in it. You would think with all this studying that there would be a lot of participation in the classroom, but this is not the case. Unless there are students who are very interested in the subject matter, the class roomroom usually stays pretty quiet. Competition does not exist at USD when it comes to grades. Whatever the pace a student decides to go at is acceptable to other students. The requirements are not rigid at all. The school mostly steers students towards a job and the success rate is huge.

was this helpful? loading... loading...

The academics are good. All my professors are very friendly and cheerful and if you are in a smaller class they know everyone's name. Studying time depends on the individual but the library is the biggest library in South Dakota and is open most of the day. Students, depending on who they are, talk about a variety of subjects. I talk about many intellectual topics with my group of friends and also very silly topics.

was this helpful? loading... loading...

Every professor I have had knows my name. It's wonderful that the professors are so willing to know each of their students. My favorite class at USD was my Vietnam War in Film class. My class watched films based during the time of Vietnam, and I learned more about the war than I ever anticipated from my professor. I love watching films, and so having the opportunity to write papers about them was wonderful. My least favorite class was my Survey of Calculus class. This is because I have never liked math, and I had a difficult time with that class my freshman year. Students usually study a few days before exams. Class participation is usually quite high, but it honestly depends on the class and the instructor. Students do have intellectual conversations outside of class, which is wonderful. Students are averagely competitive with one another, but USD focus more on helping one another than trying to beat each other on exams. The most unique class I have taken was my freshman year as part of the Honors program. The class was called "Ideas in History," and our class focused on some of the major philosophical works throughout human history. Class discussion was very intense and interesting, as we were able to hear everyone's opinions and have mannered debates. I am an English education major, so I have the chance to work with both the English department and the School of Education. Professors in both schools are incredibly helpful, and I'm so grateful to be in both departments. I spend time with professors outside of class, because they are so keen to help me with any questions I may have. Since USD is a liberal arts school, it gives students the opportunity to take classes outside of their specified major, which I love. I did not, however, enjoy taking math classes, but I understand why it is important to do so.

was this helpful? loading... loading...

They aren't as challenging as I would like, but I'm only in 100 levels right now. I hope it gets harder. I don't want my degree to be a joke to future employers.

was this helpful? loading... loading...