School of Health Sciences

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Master of Public Health

Promote, Protect, and Improve

the Public Health of Rural America


The University of South Dakota (USD) in collaboration with South Dakota State University (SDSU), will be offering the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree starting in Spring 2015. With epochal changes in health care policy and practices, as well as shifts in demographics toward an aging population, the state of South Dakota and the region will increase professional capacity through the MPH program to address the public health concerns of its citizens.


The MPH degree is the most widely recognized professional credential for leadership and practice in public health. As outlined by the Council on Education for Public Health, which accredits MPH programs, the MPH will include curriculum from the five core areas of public health education:

  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Services Administration
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Environmental Health

USD and SDSU will draw on their strengths addressing the healthcare needs of rural communities and focus the MPH curricula on rural public health, creating a distinct national and regional identity for the program. Ongoing partnerships such as those with the South Dakota Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Indian Health Services, Sanford School of Medicine's Frontier and Rural Medicine (FARM) program, and the South Dakota Department of Health, Office of Rural Health will assist in identifying rural South Dakota issues for integration into the MPH curriculum. 

The MPH adopts an interprofessional approach to preparing graduate students to study public health and to formulate innovative solutions as public health professionals.  Led by the faculty of USD's School of Health Sciences, Sanford School of Medicine, and Graduate School, the MPH program includes curricula and faculty from SDSU's College of Pharmacy, College of Nursing, and College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, College of Education and Human Sciences, as well as the USD College of Arts and Sciences, Beacom School of Business, School of Law, and School of Education.  

The Director of the MPH program and USD's primary MPH faculty will be in the School of Health Sciences at USD.  

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School and specific requirements of the MPH programs. 

Public Health Possibilities

The MPH program will prepare professionals with graduate degrees (e.g., PhD, MD, PharmD, MSW, MS, DPT, JD) or undergraduate degrees (e.g., BS, BSN, BA) to be public health practitioners and leaders.  The MPH program will train graduates for a range of public health positions and public health specialties, including:

  • Public health officer (federal, state, county)
  • Health services administrator
  • Healthcare industry analyst
  • Hospital safety and infectious control
  • Hospital quality improvement and quality assurance
  • Environmental health specialist
  • Occupational safety and health specialist
  • Medical and health services manager
  • Epidemiologist
  • Biostatistician
  • Health promotion and disease prevention
  • Public health policy
  • Public safety and security
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Legal analysis
  • Mental health
  • Maternal-child health
  • Geriatrics
  • Nutrition
  • Higher education
  • Research investigator