Feb 25, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Administration (M.S.)

Program Overview

Ideal for early- and mid-career professionals working in governmental agencies, nonprofit and social service organizations, health care and education-or any organization that provides public services. Graduates of the program are prepared to lead and manage organizations; analyze, think critically, solve problems, and make decisions; adequately consider the ethical and legal implications of their administrative decisions and communicate effectively with organizational members and stakeholders. We value your professional experience; we do not require an admissions GRE/GMAT entrance exam. Learn more at usd.edu/msa.

DELIVERY: On campus | Online

Choose one or two specializations in the following areas :

  • Addiction Studies*: According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 20 million Americans struggle with substance use disorder. The Addiction Studies specialization introduces you to the theoretical knowledge regarding the nature, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of alcohol and other addiction issues. The specialization prepares you for a variety of careers in the provision of care and intervention services in this important and growing area of health care. 
  • Criminal Justice Studies: As Americans reimagine the criminal justice system, from policing to sentencing and rehabilitation, communities seek leaders who will innovate as communities evolve and grow. Gain a master’s level education in criminal law, fundamentals of criminal procedures, police administration and criminal justice policy. 
  • Health Services Administration*: As business and social forces drive creative and revolutionary approaches to health care in the United States, the next generation of leaders will innovate in the planning, marketing and management of health care systems. The Health Services Administration specialization prepares you to lead in this dynamic and growing industry. 
  • Human Resource Management: Human resources professionals are the leaders of leaders, those who shape an organization through the management of its most precious resource-its people. Learn how to effectively supervise personnel and implement innovations in human resource management. 
  • Interdisciplinary Studies: Artificial intelligence management, data science, climate change resilience-these and other careers require ethical leaders who think creatively across fields of inquiry. The interdisciplinary studies specialization invites you to create the leadership training that fits your specific career goals. You will work closely with faculty advisors to craft a course of studies that is as innovative and groundbreaking as you are. 
  • Long-term Care Administration*: America is growing older and faces serious health care obstacles, including too few leaders and managers of long-term care services We offer you the opportunity to be a part of the solution, with a career in this booming industry.
  • Nonprofit Management*: Every day, nonprofit organizations partner with government and businesses to solve our communities’ most pressing challenges, from affordable housing to food insecurity. Expand your skills in the nonprofit sector through courses in administration, fundraising, personnel management, grant-writing, team building and budgeting. 
  • Organizational Leadership: Designed to enhance your leadership skills in a variety of organizational settings, this specialization focuses on contemporary theories of leadership to develop your own perspectives when leading an organization. 

*specialization available online only

Master of Science, Administration Plan B only (non-thesis): Total 36 credit hours

Select one of the following specializations:

Addiction Studies specialization required coursework: 15 credit hours*

Criminal Justice Studies specialization required coursework: 12 credit hours

Health Services Administration specialization required coursework: 12 credit hours

Courses delivered online.

Human Resource Management specialization required coursework: 12 credit hours

Interdisciplinary Studies specialization: 12 credit hours

The interdisciplinary studies specialization requires students to work with their advisors to design a specialization consisting of twelve (12) credit hours to suit the students’ specific interest from coursework available in the area. Students are required to submit a list of proposed specialization courses along with an explanation of the appropriateness of the designed specialization in terms of career and personal development. Selected coursework should be interdisciplinary in nature or come from different fields that integrate to represent a cohesive theme.

Long Term Care Administration specialization required coursework: 12 credit hours

Courses delivered online.

Nonprofit Management specialization required coursework: 12 credit hours

Courses delivered online.

Two MSA Specializations

The student can easily complete two specializations in the Master of Science in Administration program. He or she will complete 36 credit hours of required coursework in one area of specialization and complete the additional credit hours of coursework in another area of specialization to obtain two specializations. The diploma and transcript will indicate both specializations.

The Long-Term Care Administration specialization and the Health Services Administration specialization share one three-credit hour course; consequently these two specializations may be obtained with merely nine additional credit hours.

The Organizational Leadership specialization and the Human Resource Management specialization share two three-credit hour courses; consequently, these two specializations may be obtained with merely six additional credit hours.

Students must work closely with their advisors on the dual-specialization program of study.

M.S. in Administration Dual Degree Program

Occasionally students choose to obtain more than one master’s degree. An additional master’s degree may be earned at the University of South Dakota by a student with the following restrictions: no more than nine credit hours from one master’s degree may be applied toward the Master of Science degree in Administration, provided the coursework does not exceed the seven-year time limit. Please note that this requires careful coordination of coursework. Approval of the program must be obtained from the chairperson of the major department, the chairperson of the department in which supporting courses are completed, and the Graduate School Dean. A separate capstone project and/or professional report may be required in one or both programs.

Concurrent M.S. in Administration with Juris Doctor

A student can concurrently pursue a Master of Science in Administration and a Juris Doctor. Admission to the concurrent degree program is a formal process that requires approval from the Knudson School of Law and admission to the Master of Science in Administration. Students admitted to this program must complete their first-year law curriculum with a grade point average of at least 75 percent. Upon successful completion of the first year, they may take courses concurrently leading to both degrees in three years. Students may receive up to nine hours of law credit (from those courses approved as a graduate course for this program) toward the 90 credit hours required for the Juris Doctor degree. Classes taken in a master’s program prior to matriculation in the Knudson School of Law will not receive Law School credit.

The remaining nine credit hours are to be taken in one of the following recommended fields of specialization: Organizational Leadership, Criminal Justice Studies, or Health Services Administration. Other specializations may be approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator.

General Application Requirements

  1. Completed application
  2. $35 application fee
  3. Official transcripts*
  4. Letters of recommendation*
  5. Statement of purpose
  6. Resume/CV*

*Requirements for admission vary by program and may require different documentation and have different deadlines. This list is not all-inclusive, to view specific program requirements and submission deadlines, follow the  “Admissions Information” hyperlink at the top of this page OR visit the specific program/dept. page found here: link.usd.edu/grad-catalog

State Authorization - It Matters Where You Live

If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference USD’s State Authorization webpage.

State Authorization


Department of Political Science
605-658-6755 | polsci@usd.edu | usd.edu/grad-polsci

Graduate Admissions 
605-658-6140 | gradadmissions@usd.edu  | usd.edu/grad