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 six content areas including:
- 4 units of English: Courses with major emphasis upon grammar, composition, or literary analysis; one year of debate instruction may be included to meet this requirement.
- 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) OR Two (2) Units of Career and Technical Education (CTE) OR a combination of One (1) Unit of Modern or Classical Language and One (1) Unit of Career and Technical Education: If taking two language courses, 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.
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 six 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) a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (grade of "B") prior to graduation.
Traditionally, school districts present Regents' Scholar Diplomas to eligible seniors during graduation or academic award ceremonies each year. To receive the Regents' Scholar Diploma, high school administrators must submit the names of all eligible students to the South Dakota Board of Regents. Excel files should include the name of each eligible graduating senior, the student's SIMS ID number, and the anticipated high school graduation date. An Excel template can be found at the link posted below. Upon receipt of the school district list, the Board of Regents will print Regents' Scholar Diploma certificates that can then be presented to students.