BROOKINGS – The online Master of Public Health program at South Dakota State University has earned its initial accreditation, SDSU officials report.
The program, a partnership between SDSU and the University of South Dakota, began in 2014 and has 82 students – 30 at State and 52 at USD. The five-year accreditation is “an important step to validate the high-quality education we provide is meeting national standards,” according to Aaron Hunt, who has been the program coordinator since 2019.
“This will allow students to boost their qualifications and advance their careers.
“Several public health organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, often require students to earn Master of Public Health degrees from accredited programs. Obtaining accreditation will open more doors for our graduates. In addition, our students are now eligible to earn the Certified in Public Health credential by passing an exam,” Hunt said.
Accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health completes a three-year process that included a self-study and an October 2020 site visit.
The College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, in which the Master of Public Health program is housed, was notified of the accreditation March 22.
While there are over 100 accredited online Master of Public Health programs in the country, the SDSU/USD program is unique in the operational partnership, Hunt said. He added, “Ours is focused on improving the health of rural and underserved communities. In addition, we offer students a generalist MPH degree without specialization and our class sizes are smaller, giving students opportunities to get to know each other and the faculty.”
New cohorts begin each fall semester for the program. Admission deadline is May 1. A bachelor’s degree in any field with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is recommended. Strong applications with GPA under 3.0 will be considered.
A certificate program for students wanting to gain valuable public health knowledge but not the full degree was recently added. These students complete 15 of the required 42 credits and can apply those to the full program if they choose.