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.

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