MPH ranked among nation’s most affordable

The online master of public health program offered by South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota ranked fourth among the 50 Most Affordable Online MPH Programs for 2017 by

The Value Score weighs criteria, such as loan default rates, graduation rates and financial aid data, to draw a distinction between the programs that appear cheap up-front and those that will pay off in the long run. When calculating the rankings, the firm used the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Run by the U.S. Department of Education, IPEDS offers reliable and accurate insight into affordability, academic pedigree and online/distance learning programs. Using IPEDS data, it developed a 1-10 rating system. The closer a school is to a 10, the more value it offers its students. The SDSU/USD program’s score was 8.16.

The firm stated the program is widely recognized for its emphasis on rural public health, an increasingly in-need segment of the population. Students delve into the five core areas of public health education: biostatistics, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, health services administration and environmental health.

“A great thing about this program is that it directly addresses public health issues in the state of South Dakota and provides a high-quality degree,” said Jane Mort, interim dean of SDSU’s College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions. “Students benefit from the collective strengths in the health sciences on both campuses and the interprofessional learning that occurs when students with a variety of backgrounds study together.”

Students in this all-online program receive instruction by the same professors who lead classes on campus. However, these online students have the added benefit of participating via webcams, discussion boards and chatrooms.

The MPH program started classes in January 2015 and recorded its first graduates in the 2016-17 academic year. Students can pursue the degree on a full-time or part-time basis, which has interested recent graduates and employed health-care professionals looking for the next level of education. To receive the degree, students must take 42 credit hours—36 coming from core courses.

In addition to South Dakota State’s College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, other colleges across the campus including the colleges of nursing, education and human sciences, and agriculture and biological sciences will also contribute faculty to teach classes and/or review projects. Both USD and SDSU can grant the MPH degree. designed the ranking to help individuals interested in the rapidly growing field of public health find a program they can afford. Its methodology takes into account affordability and return on investment when ranking MPH online programs.


About South Dakota State University
Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is the state’s Morrill Act land-grant institution as well as its largest, most comprehensive school of higher education. SDSU confers degrees from six different colleges representing nearly 200 majors, minors and specializations. The institution also offers 35 master’s degree programs, 15 Ph.D. and two professional programs.

The work of the university is carried out on a residential campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City, and through Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across the state.