USD Launches Doctoral Program in Health Sciences

BROOKINGS, S.D. – A new doctoral program in health sciences at the University of South Dakota, to be delivered online, will prepare practicing health care professionals for leadership roles in academics, research and clinical practice settings.

University officials told the South Dakota Board of Regents this week that many health care practitioners have years of clinical experience but lack an advanced degree needed to teach others. “Standards have shifted in recent years, requiring an advanced practice or research doctorate,” the university’s proposal to the regents stated.

The Ph.D. in health sciences will meet those changing expectations, allowing working professionals to follow their career aspirations and research interests through online course delivery, with minimal time spent on campus.

National labor force data projects a 37 percent job growth for behavioral science and health educators, with an 11 percent increase in South Dakota, through 2020. Positions for medical and health service managers are expected to grow by 22 percent nationally and 14 percent in South Dakota over the same time period.

The doctoral program will launch starting this fall and is expected to graduate 10 students annually after full implementation. USD did not request any new state resources to implement or maintain the program and will fund it through reallocation of existing resources and graduate tuition.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News