2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
    Sep 24, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Public Health (M.P.H.)

Location(s): Online

Program Coordinator/Contact

Sharrel Pinto, Department Head
Department of Allied and Population Health
Avera Health and Science Center 133, Box 2202C

Program Information

The Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree program is a collaborative degree offering of South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota. The M.P.H. degree is the most widely recognized professional credential for leadership and practice in public health. As outlined by the Council on Education for Public Health, which accredits M.P.H. programs, the M.P.H. curriculum covers the five core areas of public health education:

  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Services Administration
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Environmental Health

Student Learning Outcomes

  • History, philosophy and values: Explain public health history, philosophy and values.
  • Core functions and essential services: Identify the core functions of public health and the 10 Essential Services.
  • Quantitative and qualitative methods: Explain the role of quantitative and qualitative methods and sciences in describing and assessing a population’s health.
  • Morbidity and mortality: List major causes and trends of morbidity and mortality in the US or other community relevant to the school or program.
  • Prevention: Discuss the science of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in population health, including health promotion, screening, etc.
  • Advancing knowledge: Explain the critical importance of evidence in advancing public health knowledge.
  • Environmental factors: Explain the effects of environmental factors on a population’s health.
  • Biological and genetic factors: Explain the biological and genetic factors that affect a population’s health.
  • Behavioral and psychological factors: Explain the behavioral and psychological factors that affect a population’s health.
  • Social determinants of health: Explain the social, political and economic determinants of health and how they contribute to population health and health inequities.
  • Globalization: Explain how globalization affects global burdens of disease.
  • One health: Explain an ecological perspective on the connection among human health, animal health and ecosystem health.
  • Competency #1-4 - Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health
    • Apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health practice.
    • Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context.
    • Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health: Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming and software as appropriate.
    • Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy and practice.
  • Competency #5-6 - Public Health & Health Care Systems:
    • Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings.
    • Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and societal levels.
  • Competency #7-11 - Planning & Management to Promote Health
    • Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health.
    • Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs.
    • Design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention.
    • Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management.
    • Select methods to evaluate public health programs.
  • Competency #12-15 - Policy in Public Health
    • Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence.
    • Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes.
    • Advocate for political, social and economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations.
    • Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity.
  • Competency #16-17 – Leadership
    • Apply principles of leadership, governance and management, which include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration and guiding decision making.
    • Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges.
  • Competency #18-20 – Communication
    • Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors.
    • Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation.
    • Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content.
  • Competency #21 - Interprofessional Practice
    • Perform effectively on interprofessional teams.
  • Competency #22 - Systems Thinking
    • Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue.


The M.P.H. program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

Course Delivery Format

Coursework is provided through distance delivery (online, DDN, etc.) using lecture formats and asynchronous presentations.

Student Engagement and Support Opportunities

The program offers student engagement through research and practice opportunities. Ongoing partnerships exist with entities such as the South Dakota Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Indian Health Services, and the South Dakota Department of Health. Students can also become active in the South Dakota Public Health Association (SDPHA).

Facilities and Services

The Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree program is an interdisciplinary graduate program of the Graduate School, involving departments and colleges across the university.

Available Options for Graduate Degrees

Master of Public Health Option C - Coursework Only 42 Credit Hours

Core Requirements

(Instruction of some courses shared between USD and SDSU campuses)

Supporting Area Coursework

Students must take at least 9 credit hours of supporting area coursework from either USD or SDSU. 6 credits must be from PUBH prefix courses. Credits: 9

Supporting Area Coursework offered by USD

  • ACP 754 - Public Policy and Addiction Credits: 3
  • HSAD 559 - Health Service for Long Term Care Credits: 3
  • HSAD 560 - Administration of Long Term Care Credits: 3
  • HSAD 710 - Advanced Strategic Management of Health Care Orgs Credits: 3
  • HSAD 740 - Advanced Health Care Systems Credits: 3
  • HSAD 770 - Advanced Health Care Management Credits: 3
  • HSC 575 - Process and Outcomes Evaluation Credits: 3
  • OCTH 733 - Promotion of Health and Prevention of Disability Credits: 3
  • PUBH 711 - Topics in Applied Biostatistics Credits: 3
  • PUBH 763 - Casual Inference in Public Health Credits: 3
  • PUBH 765 - Community Health Assessment and Action Planning Credits: 3
  • PUBH 770 - Public Health Immunology Credits: 3
  • PUBH 792 - Public Health Topics Credits: 3
  • SOCW 600 - Social Policy Analysis Credits: 3
  • SOCW 640 - Diversity and Social Justice Credits: 3
  • Other graduate-level electives with advisor approval Credits: 3

Total Required Credits: 42

Additional Admission Requirements

GRE: Not required
TOEFL: 71 Internet-based
TOEFL Essentials: 7.5
IELTS: 6.0
Duolingo: 100 

  1. Successful completion of a baccalaureate degree or an equivalent degree from an institution with full regional accreditation for that degree.
  2. Through no specific major is required, adequate undergraduate preparation in social, health, or biological sciences is recommended.
  3. A minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 on conferred degree and/or graduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, based on a 4.0 scale, on all graduate coursework.  Each institution may admit students on conditional or provisional status per university policy.
  4. Complete the Graduate School application along with the $35 application fee.
  5. Statement of purpose for studying Public Health (include career plans relative to the MPH).
  6. Two letters of recommendation are required.
  7. Successfully complete a criminal background check upon acceptance.

General Requirements

Graduate students should consult with their advisor before registering for graduate coursework.

For additional information refer to the Master’s Degree Requirements .