Division of Continuing & Distance Education, Summer School Off-Campus & Distance Learning

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Disaster Mental Health

Graduate Certificate in Disaster Mental Health

The Disaster Mental Health Institute (DMHI) at the University of South Dakota is one of the leading agencies in the world in the field of disaster psychology.  The DMHI has been involved in the cutting edge of education, research, and response in the field since 1993.

The Graduate Certificate in Disaster Mental Health has been offered through the DMHI at the University of South Dakota since 1997.  It is now offered as an online graduate level certificate, making it more accessible across the nation and throughout the world.  This graduate certificate is intended to prepare mental health professionals to serve their communities in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disaster, terrorist attacks, and public health emergencies.  It is intended both for existing mental health professionals, and as a supplement to graduate training in the approved mental health professions. 

The graduate certificate is also intended for civic officials, emergency managers, first responders (fire fighters, law enforcement officers, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians), and disaster relief workers to advance their knowledge of this critical field, as recommended by the National Biodefense Science Board.  Participants in this category, however, cannot receive the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Services certificate.

Admission Requirements:

Admission to this Graduate Certificate program requires all of the following:

  1. Successful completion of a bachelor's degree as verified by official transcripts
  2. Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)
  3. Statement of Purpose

Note: Students enrolled in PSYC 656, Disaster Mental Health, can only receive the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Services Certificate if they are either a student enrolled in an accredited graduate mental health program in psychology, counseling, marriage and family therapy, psychiatric nursing, psychiatry, school counseling, school psychology, or social work; or a licensed or certified mental health professional in one of those fields. Those without a license or certification who are operating under tribal authority are covered by the requirements under the "International Students" below. Eligibility for the Red Cross certificate will not affect the grade in the course.

International Students:

Because of international variation in standards and licensing in mental health professions, mental health professional applicants from countries other than the United States may be required to provide a letter from an employer certifying that he/she is authorized to practice independently.

Program at a Glance

Program Brochure

Printable Graduate Certificate Application

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