Dakota Wesleyan University

1200 W University Ave, Mitchell, SD 57301-4398

School Details

Dakota Wesleyan University is a four-year university located in Mitchell, South Dakota, founded by a small band of Methodist settlers in the Dakota Territory in 1885. Built on expansive prairie lands, the campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1904, the institution changed its name from Dakota University to Dakota Wesleyan University, proudly affiliating itself with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. By 1920, Dakota Wesleyan University was the largest independent college in the state, with an enrollment of more than 300. When the Great Depression hit Midwest, DWU, its faculty and staff continued to go to work for students who had no other options, accepting produce and other farm-based goods as tuition, solidifying the schools dedication to good deeds and a solid education. Today, the school is still closely tied to its religious root and promotes and education supported through faith and service, though students of any and all faiths are welcome.

The school went on to become a leader in programs in teacher education, continuing the cycle of education. Nursing and allied health programs were also on the up and up, further serving the community by supplying health care professionals in rural South Dakota. Today, the job placement for those who graduate from the nursing program at DWU is at 100%.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, the school offers 42 majors and minors, including the famed education and nursing programs. Others that rank most popular among the 800 or so students in the student body include accounting, science, psychology, athletic training and criminal justice. For these, the South Dakota Department of Education, the South Dakota Board of Nursing, National League for Nursing, United Methodist University Senate and Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education have given subject-specific accreditation. One very unique offering that the school provides, is programming focused on Native American culture. This is a special tribute to the history and tradition of the environment in which the school was originally built. 

With a student to faculty ratio of 9:1, and such a small, close-knit student body, everyone at DWU receives a quality education and a solid foundation to send them into their careers. In fact, many DWU alumni have gone on to serve high roles in the government of South Dakota, notable among them are Harlan J. Bushfield, George Theodore Mickelson, George McGovern, Clinton Presba Anderson. Other well-known alum include writer Kevin A. Casey, professional golfer Brett Abbotts, and professional baseball player Benjamin Daniel Jukich.

Athletics are a big part of campus life at DWU, and the Weselyan Tigers are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf,soccer, track & field and wrestling. Women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.


North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission


School Overview:

  • Sector Of Institution:
    4-year, Private not-for-profit
  • Religious Affiliation:

    United Methodist

  • Highest Level Of Offering:
    Master's degree
  • Total Enrollments:
  • Adult Age Enrollments:
  • Percent Admitted:
  • Calendar System:



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