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Preparation + opportunity = success

That's the DSU equation. We're a four-year university with nationally recognized programs, cutting-edge facilities, and the brightest thinkers. But we're also a tight-knit, inclusive community. Small class sizes mean hands-on training and individualized attention. All this with an affordable, public school price that's among the best values in the region.

Majors & Degrees

Timelines & Requirements (PHDCD)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Cyber Defense (PHDCD) program accepts students in the Fall and Spring semesters, although classes are offered in the Fall Spring, and Summer semesters. 

Dakota State University seeks highly motivated individuals with education and professional credentials that will enable them to be successful doctoral students.

Admission Requirements

Requirements to apply

  • A bachelor's (and master’s degree preferred) from an institution of higher education with full accreditation for that degree.
    • Students must have a bachelor, or master's degree in cyber, data privacy, computer science, or a technology-oriented degree.
  • Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent on an alternative grading system).
  • Knowledge areas
    • Knowledge exhibited by degrees, coursework and/or experience in cyber, data privacy, computer science, or technology,
    • If you don’t have the degrees, coursework or experience needed to meet the knowledge requirements, you may still be admitted to the program, if you meet the other minimum requirements. You may need to complete additional coursework or demonstrate competency. 
  • No GRE scores required

Application deadline

  • April 1 for admission for the following Fall semester
    • All application materials must be received by April 1st for admission for the following fall semester. Students enter the program in the Fall semester only.

Apply Now  Academic calendar 

Application materials checklist

  • Completed online application
    • Submit the $35 application fee.

    • After submitting your online application, you can log into your application portal to complete any remaining application documents and check the status of your application.

    • Select a specialization area
      When you apply, choose a specialization from Data Privacy, Managerial, or Technical. 
  • Purpose Statement (in online application) 
    • In 200 to 300 words, share your purpose for choosing this graduate degree and how you feel prepared. Our admissions committee wants to know:
      • Why are you choosing to pursue this degree?
      • What role does this degree program play in your career objectives?
      • What special knowledge, skills, or experiences prepare you to succeed in this program?
    • This is also an opportunity to expand on how you meet the program admission requirements.
  • Official transcripts
    Official transcripts should show a conferred bachelor's degree. Transcripts with graduate credit can be submitted for credit-transfer consideration. 
    Official transcripts can be submitted to DSU-GraduateAdmissions@dsu.edu.
  • Certifications (optional)
    Please upload any current certifications or licenses you hold. 
    Certificates are not typically eligible for course equivalencies, but they may strengthen your application. 


How much does the program cost? 
DSU bills tuition per credit hour and the cost varies between online coursework and on-campus coursework. You can review the breakdown of costs per credit here: DSU Tuition Costs On-Campus costs are determined by your residency status.

Does this program require the GRE to apply?  
No, DSU does not require a GRE score for graduate program applications.

The GRE is only required if you are applying for a graduate assistantship (outside of athletics). We like to see scores of 320 or higher to be considered for graduate assistantships.

Does DSU require English proficiency scores for international applicants? 
Yes, please visit International Admissions Requirements for more information on English proficiency requirements and additional application materials required for international applicants. 

How long does the degree typically take to complete? 
For part-time students who take 1 class at a time, the program coursework can take 5 years to complete. For full-time students who take 2 or more classes at a time, the program coursework can take 4 years to complete. The dissertation phase takes doctoral students about 1-2 years to complete. This program can look different to each student, depending on how your goal for completing the degree. The DSU Graduate Office and faculty are here to support you in all your academic endeavors and guide you at whatever pace works for you.  

Can I review what research or dissertation topics DSU doctoral students are currently working on? 
Absolutely! The DSU Beadle Scholar Archive has an extensive backlog of recent Dissertation/Research Topics completed by DSU doctoral and master’s Students.

Can the application fee be waived? 
The $35 application fee is required for all programs and cannot be waived by University Policy.

When can I expect to hear if my application has been accepted?
Depending on the program, admission decisions may take up to several weeks after submitting all application materials or after the application deadline. 
You can always refer back to the portal to check on your application status, or if there are any remaining requirements needed: apply.dsu.edu/apply.

Have a question not answered here?
Contact GradOffice@dsu.edu for additional support.

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Contact Us

Office of Graduate Studies and Research
(605) 256-5799

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