Effective in 2001, the Regents' Scholar Diploma program was established as an academic letter that school districts use to recognize graduating high school seniors who have demonstrated academic excellence through the completion of coursework in the seven content areas. Additionally, high school graduates designated as Regents' Scholars automatically are admitted to all six public universities.
For students to be nominated as a recipients of the Regents' Scholar Diploma, they must have 1) graduated from a South Dakota high school; 2) completed the coursework identified in the six areas outlined above; 3) receive a “C” (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or higher on all required coursework; and 4) maintained an unweighted cumulative grade point average of a “B” (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) throughout high school.
In 1988, the South Dakota Board of Regents identified the Regents' Scholar Curriculum which is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in their high school coursework providing the necessary skills for college and career readiness. This curriculum includes coursework in seven content areas including:
- 4 units of algebra or higher mathematics: Algebra, geometry, trigonometry or other advanced mathematics including accelerated or honors mathematics (algebra) provided at the 8th grade level; not included are arithmetic, business, consumer or general mathematics or other similar courses.
- 4 units of science including 3 units of approved laboratory science: Courses in biology, chemistry, or physics in which at least one (1) regular laboratory period is scheduled each week. Qualifying physical science or earth science courses (with lab) shall be decided on a case by case basis.
- 3 units of social studies: History, economics, sociology, geography, government--including U.S. and South Dakota, American Problems, and similar courses.
- 2 units of a modern or classical language (includes American Sign Language): The two units must be in the same language.
- 1 unit of fine arts: Coursework in art, theatre or music. Such credit may be in appreciation, analysis, or performance.