Online & Continuing Education Support

Am I Ready? - Want to be sure you're prepared for online study? See our Online Preparation Guide.
Academic Advising - If you're a first-year college student, this office can help you create an educational plan to achieve your academic goals at Northern. You may also contact the Office of Online and Continuing Education for help selecting your online courses each semester.
Admissions Office - Visit the Admissions Office if you would like to learn Northern's admissions requirements for becoming a degree-seeking student - or if you aren't seeking a college degree, but would like to take one or more online courses at NSU.
Avera Student Health - Online students can access Northern's health services by visiting Student Center 240 on the main campus. Online students (living outside the Aberdeen area) are welcome to call Avera Student Health at 605-626-7694 with health-related questions.
Career Services - This office will help you transition from the academic world to the work world.
Counseling Services - This office can provide free counseling services to Northern students.
Desire2Learn - Welcome to the S.D. Board of Regents learning management system, the entryway to all your online course materials.
Financial Aid Office - Online students can request information about grants, scholarships and student loans through this office. You must be taking (or registered to take) at least 6 college credits to qualify for financial aid assistance.
Proctoring - Northern's Testing Center may be able to proctor (supervise) your exam.
Refund Policies and Deadlines - This link provides information for adding and dropping courses. It also explains how to withdraw from school. Additional information is available on myNSU.
Registrar's Office - General information about registration procedures (for degree-seeking students), credit evaluation, graduation requirements, and transcripts
State Authorization (Disclosure Statements) - Northern State University is committed to complying with other states' authorization regulations. The authorization webpage gives contact information for state authorization and complaint agencies to students and potential students living outside South Dakota.
Student Accessibility Services - This office can help provide students with full access to the programs and services available at NSU.
Technology Services - Northern's Technology Support Desk
NSU Tutoring Center - Academic assistance for any Northern student
Smarthinking Tutoring Service - Northern offers some online students access to Smarthinking 24/7 live online tutoring service. The service is accessible through D2L for each online/center course.
Military Veterans and Family Members - Information about veterans' benefits and procedures


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register for an online class?

If you are a current degree-seeking student, you can register for online courses using Self-Service Banner. If you are a non-degree seeking student, complete the online registration form. NSU will register you for the course upon receiving the form, and provide an e-mail confirmation with information for accessing your course.

What is the cost for an online class? 

Tuition rates and other costs are approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents and may be revised during the year when there are circumstances beyond the control of the university.  After you receive your Student ID number, you'll will have access to your account balance (including financial aid amounts) through Banner Self-Service (formerly WebAdvisor).

For current tuition costs and payment options, see Tuition and Costs.

What do I need to consider when using financial aid for an online course?

To be eligible for financial aid, you need to be a degree-seeking student and registered for at least 6 credits. If you are receiving federal financial aid (Pell Grant, SEOG, Work Study, Perkins Loan, PLUS Loan, and/or Stafford (Subsidized or Unsubsidized) Loan, you must complete the course within the term specified.  Your cost of attendance - for calculating your financial need - will include only tuition, fees, and books (excluded are room and board, personal, and transportation expenses).

If you have any questions regarding these policies, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 605-626-2640 or

What financial options do I have if I am a veteran or currently serving in the military?

To learn more about veteran and military financial aid options, visit Military Veterans and Families.

What are the drop and refund policies for an online course?

Students who wish to drop an online course may do so by contacting the Office of Online & Continuing Education at or by calling 605-626-2568.

Students can receive a full refund if their online course is dropped by the census date (10% of the course length).

For more information on the NSU drop and refund policy, visit Records and Registration.

Is there a special drop and refund policy for people activated for military service?

Students required to withdraw from Northern before completing a semester may receive credit or refund privileges if they are regularly enrolled and belong to a military unit called for duty or are drafted and not eligible for deferment; and the discontinuance of class attendance is on the last practicable day before reporting for duty as determined by the University.

Eligible students who are required to report for military duty not earlier than four calendar weeks prior to the date a semester ends as stated in the official catalog of the University, or after completion of at least 75 percent of the enrollment period in a non-standard semester course, may, when authorized by the instructor, be given full credit for all courses for which they have an average of "C" or better.  Eligible students who receive credit or an incomplete for any course for which they are enrolled shall not be entitled to any refund of tuition or fees paid.  Eligible students who do not receive an incomplete or credit for a course in which they are enrolled shall be entitled to a full refund or tuition and academic fees.

Are there placement requirements for taking an online English or math course?

Students who have not completed the equivalent of ENGL 101 (Composition I and/or MATH 102 (College Algebra) are subject to placement requirements for first-time students based on the availability of valid ACT scores. Students without valid ACT scores may take the appropriate COMPASS placement exam at any one of the six South Dakota regental universities or county extension offices.  Their scores will be sent to the institution offering the distance education course.

Is there a maximum number of credits I can take online?

The total enrollment of online (for-credit) courses shall not exceed the maximum number of hours for an academic load as specified in the NSU Course Catalog.

An overload petition must be completed and approved if you wish to take more than the allowed number of credits.  It is the student's responsibility to get an overload petition from the Registrar's Office and obtain the correct signatures.  This petition should then be submitted to the Office of Online & Continuing Education along with your registration form. Students may register on a non-credit basis.  The tuition and fees are the same, but no grade will be submitted at the completion of the course.  The course will be entered on the transcript and designated as an audit (AU). 

If I need extra time to complete my online course, can I receive an extension?

You must request a course extension from your instructor.  When requesting an extension, present to the instructor a plan detailing how you will complete the remaining coursework, including the date you'll complete the work.  The instructor may accept or deny your extension request. 

What is Desire2Learn?

Desire2Learn is the learning management system used by all universities within the S.D. regental system, including NSU.