Points of Excellence:
Mines is recognized for outstanding education and value

Mines makes headlines – from a Bloomberg feature on our graduates out-earning Harvard's to the Wall Street Journal naming the university as the best return on investment nationwide.

It's not a coincidence. We've made the list of America's Best College Buys for nearly 20 years and been a national leader in preparing world-class engineers and scientists for over 100. Since 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has provided award-winning undergraduate education enhanced by graduate education and research and development in areas of critical need to South Dakota, the nation, and the world. Our graduates design, construct, and operate the most modern technology to meet today's complex challenges and are held in the highest regard by their fellow leaders in industry, consulting, government, health, research, and education.

Superior Early-Career Salary: $65,600

*Each year, the SD Mines Career Center calculates average starting salary for past graduates.  For the class of 2013-14, the average starting salary was $63,358.  SD Mines made headlines in 2012 when it was first established that our graduates outearned Harvard graduates, on average, when entering the workforce.

Other institutions also calculate this number. Average early-career salary for graduates is $65,600 with a 98% placement rate, as determined by the 2014-2015 Payscale College Salary Report.  

Payscale Starting Salary Graph


Annual pay for bachelor’s graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting graduates have two years of experience; mid-career graduates have 15 years.
See full list here (ordered by Payscale by Mid-Career Salary) 


Exceptional Return On Investment

  • Ranked #19 nationally by PayScale’s 2014 College ROI Report with a 20-year net return on investment at $664,400 for in-state tuition.
  •  Designated a 2015 STEM JobsSM Approved College by Victory Media,  the first of its kind to rate universities, colleges, community colleges and trade schools on their responsiveness and relevance to high-demand, high-growth science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations.
  • The Huffington Post places the School of Mines as fourth in the country for “The Public Schools that Pay Off the Most.”

A Consistent 'Best College Buy'

America's Best College Buys

The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has been named one of America’s 100 Best College Buys for the 17th consecutive year. This year’s America’s 100 Best College Buys is the 18th list published by Institutional Research & Evaluation, an independent research and consulting organization that specializes in the recruiting and retention of students. Each year the organization identifies the 100 colleges and universities in the U.S. that provide students with the highest quality education at the lowest cost.

To be considered for the America’s 100 Best College Buys designation, institutions must offer four-year undergraduate degree programs and have an entering freshman class with an average high school grade point average or college entrance exam score equal to or above the national average. This year, 1,069 accredited U.S. colleges and universities participated in the survey.


Placement (98%), Advanced Studies, and Internships (79%)

  • Average starting salary for graduates is $62,400 with a 98 percent placement rate.
  • 22% of graduates go on to graduate schools.

  • More than 79 percent of graduates had internships, co-ops, or research experiences in 2013. Students worked for 165 employers in 34 states, Canada and Germany, earning an average of $17.01 per hour.

Military and Veteran Friendly

Best For Vets, Military-Friendly Icons


The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is ranked among the top 15 percent of the most military friendly schools nationwide by G.I. Jobs magazine for 2015, our sixth consecutive year.

Mines has ranked in the top ten "Best for Vets: Colleges" for five consecutive years. The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to recruit and support America's veterans.

Outstanding Faculty

  • Five SD Mines faculty have been named US Carnegie Professor of the Year for the state of South Dakota, a prestigious award for educators.
    — James Feiszli, D.M.A., 2013 (Music)
    Jon Kellar, Ph.D., 2008 (Materials & Metallurgical Engineering)
    Daniel Dolan, Ph.D., 2009 (C.A.M.P., Mechanical Engineering)
    Stuart Kellogg, Ph.D., 2003 (Industrial Engineering)
    Alfred Boysen, Ph.D., 1998 (Humanities)

  • The university was named a 2012 Fulbright Top Producing Institution.

Community Service

  • During the 2012-2013 academic school year, Hardrocker athletes volunteered 3,714 hours, exceeding their goal of 2,500.

  • This summer on a single day of service, more than 400 new students volunteered more than 1,000 service hours to make an impact on campus and in the community.

How CAMP Sets Us Apart

Our exceptional Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing and Production (CAMP) is a competitive, nationally-recognized program that brings together students, faculty, and industry leaders to partner on real-world projects.  Teams compete nationally on projects like building alternative fuel vehicles, a concrete canoe, an unmanned aerial vehicle, or a mini Indy or Baja car, or working on projects involving robotics or hydrogen fuel cells. Learn more about CAMP.

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