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Higher Education / Research & Development

Educating the Region's Future Leaders

Our higher education and R&D partners help stimulate economic growth by supplying a skilled and educated workforce pipeline to businesses in the region, along with providing innovative technology and techniques to help further company growth.
Black Hills State University, the state’s third largest university, is a four-year university located in Spearfish that offers 80 academic programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels. With more than 3,800 students from 44 states and 29 countries, BHSU has earned a reputation for transforming lives through innovative, high-quality academic programs and a dynamic learning community. – Visit Site
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDSMT) in Rapid City is a four-year university that offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in science and engineering. Founded in 1885, SDSMT is also an engineering research university. In 2018-19, 2,778 students from 44 states and 30 countries were enrolled at the university. – Visit Site
Black Hills State University – Rapid City provides satellite classes and degrees offered in partnership through South Dakota’s six public universities. Students can enroll in certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree programs. – Visit Site

The University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University both offer Schools of Nursing, and provide a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Coursework for both programs is offered through the Black Hills State University-Rapid City campus. Visit USD Site. Visit SDSU Site.

Western Dakota Technical College in Rapid City is the only technical institute serving western South Dakota. With over 2,000 students, WDT offers more than 35 programs in some of the fastest-growing professional fields such as business, information technology, construction trades, health services, legal services, manufacturing, mechanical trades, and science and technology. – Visit Site

National American University, located in Rapid City, is a for-profit institution catering to non-traditional students. NAU offers on-line programs in fields such as accounting, business, legal, technology, and health services, and maintains a satellite campus at Ellsworth Air Force Base for military staff and families. – Visit Site
Oglala Lakota College is chartered by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and provides educational opportunities that enhance Lakota life. These include certificates, GED, associate’s, bachelor’s degrees, and a master’s degree in Lakota Leadership. Campuses are located in Kyle (on the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation) and Rapid City. – Visit Site

Research & Development

Both Black Hills State University and South Dakota School of Mines & Technology offer research centers that allow for collaboration and highly-technical work on specific areas of inquiry, including:

Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF)

The Sanford Underground Science Laboratory is an underground laboratory near Lead that houses multiple physics experiments in areas such as dark matter and neutrino research. It is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) project in partnership with Chicago-based Fermilab. Learn more at

Who to Contact

Mike Headley, Lab Director
Sanford Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory
630 East Summit Street
Lead, SD 57754
Phone: 605.722.4060
email me