Grad School

Are you interested in attending graduate school? You've come to the right place. Many careers in the Behavioral Sciences require a Master's or Doctoral degree. This page will assist you in your graduate school endeavors by providing you with useful information on the process of searching for, applying to, and attending graduate school.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Strategic Leadership

Interested in attending graduate school through Black Hills State University? The Master of Science in Strategic Leadership may be right for you! This program is online and can be completed in two years. For more information, click here.

If you wish to attend a graduate program not offered at Black Hills State University, please review the following information to assist you in the process.

Application Timeline

The timeline of your application is dependent on the application deadline for the specific program you are applying to. For a useful general checklist that should be followed in order to complete all tasks on schedule, follow this link.

Choosing a School

Selecting the right school is an integral part of the application process. It is important that you choose a school that has your specific program of interest. It is also highly beneficial to have similar research interests as the faculty in the program you are applying to. There are several search engines that you will assist you in your search.

Princeton Review Search

Peterson's Search


Choosing a school with the proper accreditation will streamline licensing requirements in specific fields.


CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs) is the nationally-recognized accreditation council for counseling and related education fields. Schools that are CACREP-accredited have streamlined degree/course requirements at the Master's and Doctoral levels.

CACREP Directory


The APA (American Psychological Association) accredits eligible Doctoral programs. Schools that are APA-accredited have streamlined degree/course requirements at the Doctoral level.

APA Search

Social Work

The CSWE (Council on Social Work Education) is a nationally-recognized accreditation council for Social Work. Schools that are CSWE-accredited will have streamlined degree/course requirements at the Bachelor's and Master's levels.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The GRE is a standardized test that is required for most individuals that wish to pursue a graduate degree. The questions on this test will provide schools with a measurement of your likelihood of success in graduate school.

About the Test

Registration Information

Test Fees

Test Preparation

GRE Subject Test

Those wishing to attend graduate school in Psychology may be required to take the GRE Psychology Subject Test. Remember to always check the specific requirements of the school you are applying to!

About the Test

Registration Information

Test Fees

Test Preparation

Letters of Recommendation

You will need several letters of recommendation when applying to graduate school (usually 3). These letters should be written by faculty who know you both inside and outside of the classroom. Be sure to contact faculty far ahead of deadlines when asking for a letter. You should not ask a professor for a letter if you only took a class with them. You should have had several interactions with them.  They should know you in other areas as well, such as work, internships, or research. Remember, a faculty member can only write a strong letter for a student that they know well enough to write about.


1. Ask first. Don’t simply list faculty without asking. They won’t give a good recommendation without being asked first.

2. Ask early. Don’t expect letters written in less than 2 weeks.

3. Provide a packet for your letter writers including the following:

a. List of schools with:

i. Addresses

ii. Deadline dates

iii. Submission instructions (online, hard copy)

iv. Typed, addressed, stamped envelopes if necessary

b. Any forms required by the school

i. Fill out your portion first

ii. Answer whether you will be waiving your rights or not

iii. Sign it

c. Unofficial transcript

d. Statement of purpose

e. Resume

4. Provide friendly reminders

5. Offer time to answer any questions

6. Send thank you notes

Personal Statement/Essay

Graduate applications will require a personal statement (sometimes called a personal essay) submitted with your application. This is not the time to be modest. You need to showcase your skills that separate you from other applicants. Remember, there will likely be hundreds of other applicants for a select few available spots. This is your chance to stand out from the crowd. Address your strengths and weaknesses and be honest about past mistakes. For more information on writing a successful statement, click here.


Getting involved in research or internships is crucial in strengthening a graduate school application. Most grad school candidates have at least some level of research or internship experience. Speak with an adviser for more information on how to get involved in each.

Contact Info

Dr. Emilia Flint
Jonas Skywalk 215 Map
Phone: (605)642-6514

Chair of School of Behavioral Sciences
Black Hills State University
1200 University St. Unit 9004
Spearfish, SD, USA 57799-9004

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