South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has a proud heritage of excellence in preparing graduates to serve as leaders in the professions of engineering and science.

The Dakota Territorial Legislature established the Dakota School of Mines at Rapid City in 1885 to provide instruction in mining engineering. The School of Mines opened for instruction on February 17, 1887. Dr. Franklin R. Carpenter was appointed President and Dean of the Faculty. Degrees were initially offered in mining engineering, civil engineering, and general science. When North and South Dakota attained statehood in 1889, the school was renamed the South Dakota School of Mines.

Badlands fossilsand Black Hills minerals was added to the geological museum. Specimens of minerals and rocks were used directly in the teaching program. The first organized trip into the Badlands to collect vertebrate fossils near Sheep Mountain Table was led by geologist C. C. O’Harra in 1899, accompanied by Slagle, mathematician H. L. McLaury, and student H. M. Bowles. By 1903, The Museum of Geologycollection was housed in a 36’ x 47′ room in the main building, and soon regarded as one of the important features of the School.

The university’s reputation as a diversified science and engineering school was confirmed following World War I with the rapid increase of engineering students and the termination of college preparatory courses. In 1943, the state legislature changed the institution’s name to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in recognition of the school’s role in new areas of science and technology.

Since that time, the university has expanded its curriculum to include ten engineering and six science undergraduate degrees, and graduate programs leading to the Master of Science degree in ten engineering and/or science disciplines. SDSM&T offers programs leading to the doctor of philosophy degree in geology and geological engineering, and materials engineering and science. The university also offers a doctorate in Atmospheric, Environmental, and Water Resources (AEWR) through a cooperative program with South Dakota State University.

A diverse enrollment of nearly 2,500 students attends from approximately 30 states and 20 countries. The alumni of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology have established a worldwide reputation of excellence and provide leadership to industry, government, and education.

Undergraduate education is enhanced by award winning graduate research and development studies in areas of critical need to the state, nation and the international community. Technical assistance is offered to regional industries and businesses, assisting the Black Hills area as a whole.


Photos courtesy of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology