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MBA with a Healthcare Specialization from the University of South Dakota
USD offers their MBA program completely online as well as on campus and as a hybrid of the two. Each of these has the same curriculum and graduation requirements. Online students can finish their degree in less than 2 years, and it only requires one 5-day visit to campus. After undergraduate foundation classes, students need to complete 39 credit hours of graduate study in business and health services administration. Most courses consist of a discussion of theory followed by case studies demonstrating their practical applications.
Core business courses include Leadership Development, Managerial Finances, and Quantitative Analysis. Some options for healthcare electives include U.S. Health Services System, Long-Term Care Administration, and Informatics. After completing coursework, students can choose whether to write a thesis or take an extra elective or practicum. With this combination of skills, students can find work in hospitals, clinics, medical device manufacturing, clinical trials, and government.
About University of South Dakota
As the largest university in the state, USD is located in Vermillion, in the southeast corner of South Dakota. From slow beginnings in 1862, the university currently enrolls 10,000 students in nine different colleges including law, medicine, and graduate programs. USD is the only public liberal arts university in the state and focuses on a well-rounded education, teaching how different disciplines are interconnected. There is also a focus on leadership and communication skills throughout every department.
The university has also worked hard to create completely online degree programs in a variety of areas including nursing, education, and even general studies. The Beacom School of Business has also helped transition many business degrees into the online format. The U.S. News and World Report has ranked the University of South Dakota as having the #93 best online MBA program in the country. The school is also rated one of the best for veterans in 2016 by Military Times and one of the top public schools by the U.S. News and World Report.
University of South Dakota Accreditation
The HLC, or Higher Learning Commission, is one of the six regional accrediting bodies of the United States, and it is responsible for all of the post-secondary schools in its 19-state region, primarily involving the Midwest. This organization evaluates the rigor and breadth of subject matter in the curriculum of all degree programs at USD. Accreditation verifies that the education provided meets set standards and that other aspects like faculty-to-student ratio and size and condition of facilities are appropriate. Administrative and organizational branches of a university are also reviewed to ensure that the school is being run effectively from a business standpoint. The University of South Dakota has been accredited by the HLC since 1913 and passed its last evaluation during the 2011/2012 school year with the next one set for 2020/2021. This process is not only beneficial for students but also for the university itself because a major component of the HLC’s mission is to help all schools identify areas of needed improvement and assist in finding solutions.
Additionally, certain professional organizations also provide certification to individual programs or departments. At the University of South Dakota, the Beacom School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The online MBA in Healthcare Management is specifically mentioned along with some other programs.
University of South Dakota Application Requirements
Before being admitted to the MBA program, students first need to apply to the USD Graduate School. This involves completing an application, submitting the $35 fee, and sending all undergraduate transcripts. The primary requirement for admissions is the attainment of a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.75 GPA, but it does not necessarily need to be in business. There are some recommended courses for undergraduates to take during their 4 years of study which provide the framework for more advanced study. These include the following.
- Foundations of Accounting
- Foundations of Finance
- Calculus and Statistics for Business
- Information Systems
- Production Operations Management
- Marketing and Organizational Behavior
Students who have not taken these foundation courses can still be admitted to the MBA program but must either take them first or pass out of them before continuing to the actual curriculum.
Other admissions requirements include a professional resume and statement of purpose outlining one’s career goals, both short and long-term, as well as motivations for enrolling. Specifically for the business school, students are also required to submit GMAT scores and three letters of recommendation.
Tuition and Financial Aid
The cost for the Healthcare MBA program depends on residency status. For in-state students, the courses are $379.70 per credit hour total for both tuition and fees. Out-of-state students pay $680.50. Usually, residency requires living in South Dakota for at least a year for purposes other than education. However, Michigan has reciprocity agreements with South Dakota, and USD students from Michigan pay tuition at a rate of whichever state’s in-state tuition is lowest. A 50% tuition reduction is provided to National Guard and Active Duty military members.
Other opportunities for tuition assistance include federally or state-funded programs for which students become eligible after submitting their FAFSAs. The Financial Aid Office works with each admitted student to determine their eligibility for certain programs and to help explain different types of student loans for grad school including PLUS and Stafford loans. There are also many professional organizations that offer scholarships for students in MBA programs, and these are based on academic ability, financial need, an essay, or a combination of the three. Some offer awards specifically for MBA students with an emphasis in healthcare administration including the Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives which offers scholarships to minorities and The Bachrach Family Scholarship for Excellence in Health Care Administration.
Due to busy schedules, working professions in the business world can find it difficult to switch to a different specialty like healthcare administration. The University of South Dakota makes this transition easier by providing an online flexible healthcare MBA degree program that also grants some credit for experiences in order for students to graduate as soon as possible.