USD School of Health Sciences offers new bachelor's degree

VERMILLION, S.D. -- A new bachelor’s degree at The University of South Dakota will prepare students for careers in one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries, but its long-term benefits should impact health care both regionally and statewide.

The South Dakota Board of Regents approved a new bachelor’s degree in health sciences at USD. The new bachelor of science degree will build upon The U’s already recognized leadership in health-related education, creating opportunities for students seeking careers in physical therapy, occupational therapy, dentistry and public health-related fields.

“We envision a program with an interdisciplinary core curriculum augmented by specializations that will address the needs of these different groups of students,” noted Ron Lindahl, Ph.D., acting dean of the School of Health Sciences and executive dean, Sanford School of Medicine. “The bachelor’s degree in health sciences is designed to prepare students for the healthcare workforce as it adds to our list of successful degree programs at the School of Health Sciences.”

Currently, USD’s School of Health Sciences has eight programs offering bachelor’s degrees in alcohol and abuse studies, medical technology, dental hygiene, and social work; associate’s degrees in dental hygiene and nursing; master’s degrees in occupational therapy and physician assistant studies; and a physical therapy doctorate.

“A bachelor’s degree in health sciences meets the needs of a growing industry,” explained Stephanie Moser, director of Admissions at The U. “Recent surveys indicate that health sciences undergraduate degrees are among the fastest growing programs nationwide and the health professions are, by far, the greatest area of interest for South Dakota high school seniors.”

Students majoring in health sciences will be able to complete courses and electives designed to meet the professional degree programs already available in the School of Health Sciences, including occupational therapy, physical therapy and physician assistant studies. The degree will likely be offered at USD beginning in the fall of 2009 and is expected to have more than 80 students enrolled in the major by 2013.

For more information about the bachelor of science degree in health sciences or any of the degree programs offered by the USD School of Health Sciences, please visit www.usd.edu/med/health/ or call (605) 677-6572.