ABERDEEN, S.D. – Northern State University has been authorized by the South Dakota Board of Regents to start a new nursing program that will address critical workforce needs for the community, region and state.

Northern plans to develop a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program starting in fall 2024, following approval this week by the South Dakota Board of Regents.

This new program will provide students a pathway to becoming a registered nurse, with career ladder steps along the way.

“Northern’s career ladder program is designed to meet critical nursing workforce needs across our region,” said Dr. Neal Schnoor, NSU President. “We look forward to offering this unique new program, which is vital to both the future of healthcare and economic development.”

Through Northern’s program, students will receive excellent clinical experiences in various areas of healthcare, such as long-term care, mental health, obstetrics, emergency care, oncology, orthopedics and cardiology. Students will benefit from the university’s partnerships with Avera Health and Sanford Health.

The effort is driven by the Governor's Workforce Initiative along with nursing workforce needs, which are especially crucial in rural areas. Northern estimates 25 students in the initial fall 2024 cohort, growing each year to a total of over 150 students by fall 2028.

“As rural healthcare demand continues to rise, Northern responded to the Governor's workforce challenge," said Schnoor. "We are excited to bring this opportunity to campus and are grateful for all the partners who made nursing education in Aberdeen a reality.”

Northern will seek approval from the South Dakota Board of Nursing and accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Higher Learning Commission to launch its new nursing program.

For more information about this press release, please contact Chad Hatzenbuhler, Director of Communications and Marketing at


About Northern State University

Northern State University provides students with a transformative education. The Northern Experience is unmatched—emphasizing quality, personalized attention, and accessibility with a low cost of attendance and the largest guaranteed four-year scholarship in the region.

Northern proudly offers nationally accredited academic programs in the Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Counseling, and Fine Arts. NSU is home to Wolves athletics, which sponsors 15 NCAA Division II intercollegiate varsity sports that compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIC).

Northern and the community of Aberdeen, South Dakota, partner to foster a safe, inviting and supportive community; diverse civic, social, cultural, recreational, entrepreneurship and internship opportunities; and leading-edge academic, artistic, athletic, recreational and residential facilities.

To join us on a journey of discovery and endless opportunities, visit