Naturalists remind us that a river loses its identity if it ceases to flow. Like a river, a university must continue to change in order to remain alive and vibrant.

Organizations that are still vital a century beyond their founding are those that take guidance about what to do in the future from their experiences of the past.

Dickinson State University was created in 1918 as a normal school to fulfill a dire need for teachers in western North Dakota. Today, Dickinson State University has remained relevant by responding to the ever-changing forces of economics, demographics, and technology in the region. Let’s review a few of our new programs.

Fire Science With the help of the Dickinson Fire Department, this fall we will launch the Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science. Several years of drought and devastating wildfires have demonstrated the critical need for firefighters. In concert with Chief Jeremy Presnell, DSU has developed a program that aligns with the standards of the Dickinson Fire Department. Students can start their studies as early as their sophomore year of high school through the Dickinson High School Career Academies, or attend DSU directly.

Information Technology Two new technology-related programs will be offered in the fall of 2022: the Information Technology Certificate and the Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology. These programs in computer science will provide avenues to well-compensated, flexible jobs in our region, including work-from-home positions—an option of high interest for many.

Addiction Counseling In response to the dire need in North Dakota for mental health professionals, especially those dealing with opioid and other addiction issues, DSU is adding a minor in addiction counseling to our popular psychology major. According to the last several Community Health Needs Assessments, behavioral and mental health is one of our region’s most critical concerns. As North Dakota’s First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum, a champion for continued emphasis on battling addiction, has shared, “The disease of addiction impacts families, businesses, communities and tribal nations across our state.” With the pending arrival of Heartview Foundation’s in-person treatment center in Dickinson, we hope to be partners in providing front-line mental health workers.

Health Education Also this fall, we will be launching the Bachelor of Science in Education in Health Education, to credential teachers in both physical and health education.

Esports DSU will be offering cutting-edge programming in the emerging esports industry in partnership with the University of North Dakota. Through this partnership, students can choose coursework in either the Bachelor of Business Administration in Esports Administration (BBA) or the Bachelor of Applied Science in Esports and Business (BAS). Depending on the tracks selected, these programs can be completed entirely online.

Certified Nursing Assistant We have expanded our highly-regarded health care options to include Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training, including a two-week course offered this summer. Some students will have the opportunity to take advantage of scholarships to receive this training at a free or reduced cost.

Nursing Simulation Lab Our current and future nursing students at all levels will complete coursework in an updated, state-of-the-art simulation center soon, thanks to a generous gift from Glenice and Dale Hansen.

Future Programs Looking ahead, DSU will be offering programs in meat processing and diesel technology. We are currently pursuing approval from our regional accreditor to offer a master’s in sports administration.

Graduate programs have been a great addition to DSU’s offerings. They have allowed us to train teachers, entrepreneurs, business professionals, and soon, coaches and athletic directors.

As we work on curriculum, faculty, facilities, and accreditation for these new programs, please keep an eye out for open houses, ribbon cuttings, and ceremonies at Dickinson State as we would love to have you help us celebrate our evolving campus!

For more information on these and other exciting learning opportunities, please contact us at or 1-800-279-4295.

Hawks are up!