University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

State Board unanimously approves joint master’s program for UND-NDSU

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education unanimously approved a first-of-its-kind collaborative master’s degree program between the UND and North Dakota State University in Fargo. The Master of Public Health (MPH) program would address an anticipated need for professionals in the field of public health.

The program will partner UND’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences with NDSU's College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Sciences; and other departments at both Universities.

“I am very pleased with the decision of the State Board of Higher Education,” said Joshua Wynne, dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “This joint program is a milestone in the cooperation between the two Universities. It is going to give our students an amazing and unique opportunity to train in the public health arena.”

According to the proposal, both UND and NDSU agree to split funding for the program. Each University would benefit from the academic strengths of the other in the areas of health and medicine. UND is a national leader in rural health services and research that leads to better access to health care in underserved areas. NDSU has proven strengths in pharmacy studies.

Mary Wakefield, former head of UND’s Center for Rural Health and current member of President Obama’s health and human services agency, and Terry Dwelle, North Dakota health officer, are credited with coming up with the idea for the program. Both identified a need to bolster the number of rural public health professionals in the state and better equip existing rural health workers with the tools they need to improve services.

Charles Peterson, dean of the College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Sciences at NDSU, told the State Board that the new joint MPH program will serve as a model academic collaboration that the “rest of the country will be watching closely.”

Plans call for online classes so that eventually students in the program won’t have to leave their home counties except for short periods to participate in more intensive training better taught in classrooms.

Students will be able to enroll at either UND or NDSU with tuition going toward whichever institution is offering the classes. Tuition is anticipated to be $600 per credit hour.

The North Dakota Legislature next will decide on funding for the program that would allow the two Universities to keep the proposed tuition at the $600-per-credit-hour level.

“We are working very hard to keep tuition as attractive to students as possible,” Wynne said. “We don’t want to price this out of the range of the typical student.”

The total cost of the program is anticipated to be about $1.2 million over the next legislative biennium.

President Robert Kelley and NDSU President Dean L. Besciani say the new partnership in public health is intended to be the first of many such collaborations between their Universities.

-- David L. Dodds, writer/editor, University Relations, 777-5529,

Tagged as: , ,