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University of South Dakota


University of South Dakota: Mentoring Successful Fine Arts Professionals

Dr. Larry Schou, Dean and Professor College of Fine Arts University of South Dakota

Dr. Larry Schou, Dean and Professor College of Fine Arts University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota’s (USD) College of Fine Arts boasts remarkable student success and highly acclaimed faculty. Located in the small town of Vermillion, South Dakota, USD offers the opportunities of a large university with the warmth of a welcoming community.

Fine Arts Programs

USD’s Department of Theater offers an exceptional diversity of skills in dance, acting, musical theater, and set and costume design. Click here to contact Chair Department of Theatre, Dr. Raimondo Genna.

The Department of Music provides excellent education in musical performance and an outstanding music education program, helping prepare the next generation of music teachers. Click here to contact Chair Department of Music, Dr. David Holdhusen.

The Department of Art not only features classic areas of study, but also a highly successful B.F.A. in Art Education. Click here to contact Chair Department of Art, Cory Knedler.


The USD College of Fine Arts was recently ranked #86 out of 419 colleges and schools of fine arts for the amount of talent scholarship money awarded to students annually. In 2015 over $456,000 was provided to talented students to major in the fine arts at USD.

Each year the College of Fine Arts awards approximately $330,000 in talent-based scholarships to support high-achieving students. International students are eligible for both program-specific and University Merit Awards.


The USD faculty is comprised of practicing fine arts professionals. Internationally recognized for both research contributions and their artistic records, professors take pride in bolstering students’ aspirations to achieve success.

In the past year, faculty members have been honored with multiple distinguished accolades. An international panel selected photography professor John Banasiak as a top 100 artist; three music professors won national awards; and faculty members were invited for performances, exhibitions, and collaborations worldwide.

Student and Alumni Achievements

Success is expected for USD students and alumni. One alumnus, in the cast of the Book of Mormon, has appeared on and off Broadway. Three theatre graduates are signed with Disney for the international tour of Beauty and the Beast. A voice major won last year’s national Glen Miller scholarship competition, and an alumnus won $50,000 for a short film he began while studying at USD.

Facilities and the USD Experience

The University Art Galleries host important Native American art among other works. Students studying 3D and 2D art can gain exhibition experience in student galleries. Summer internship placements are available at the Black Hills Playhouse. Education track students are placed in local schools for supervised teaching experience.

Also, USD is home to the National Music Museum, which features over 15,000 musical instruments. It is the most important collection in the world for classroom study, formal research, and preservation of these historic instruments. Students have opportunities to be involved with performances and research at the museum.

In every way, USD students benefit from the enriching resources of a large campus while thriving in the close-knit community of the College of Fine Arts.

Click here to learn more about USD’s International Undergraduate Admissions.


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