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USD Offers Dental Hygiene Degree Online

Image Dental Hygiene The South Dakota Board of Regents approved USD's request to offer its dental hygiene bachelor's degree online.

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The University of South Dakota will soon offer its bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene online in response to changing entry-level standards for the dental hygiene profession.

The South Dakota Board of Regents this week approved USD’s request to offer the degree through online distance delivery starting this fall. USD is the only public university in South Dakota with a dental hygiene program. Officials said online delivery will help practicing dental hygienists earn a bachelor’s degree, which is now the recommended entry-level degree within that profession.

Programs of this nature are often termed “BS Degree Completion” and likely have a market for students for the next five to 10 years, as the field transitions to the standard of a bachelor’s degree from the two-year associate degree, USD officials said.

Individuals targeted for this online offering will be those who have already graduated with an associate degree in dental hygiene or who are currently enrolled in an accredited program anywhere in the country. In the upper Midwest alone, programs in North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming and Minnesota grant associate degrees in dental hygiene and could offer new prospective students for the USD degree. For some students, completing an online degree through USD may be less expensive and more convenient than completing a degree at another institution in their state, the regents noted.


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 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson 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 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News