Online Master’s Programs in Public Health

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Updated on: 09/20/2018

If you’re already working in a health profession or have a bachelor's degree in a health-related field, you may be interested in pursuing a master's degree in public health to expand your ability to provide public health education, epidemiology, community health programs and health support services. An online degree program allows working professionals to expand their practice. It can also be the pathway to a new career, such as at a government agency or community health program. Learn more about online MPH degrees, including the top schools, what you can expect from the program and possible career paths.

Best Online Master's in Public Health 2018-2019

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Methodology

Best Online Master’s in Public Health 2018-2019

Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our 2018 college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factors

Data Sources: Eligibility Criteria:
  • Each college must be accredited
  • Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
  • Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
  • Each college must have at least one online program 1
  • Each college must have a maximum four-year tuition of $25,000 or a maximum two-year tuition of $5,000
Ranking Factors:
  • Affordability
  • Quality
  • Flexibility
  • Program

Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.

1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.

2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.

Notes:
  • A dash in our Rankings Tool indicates IPEDS data was not available.
  • Tuition displayed in in-state and per year unless stated otherwise.
2-Year Schools

To create our rankings for the best online master's degrees in public health, we rely on information provided by the U.S. Department of Education and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. We also collect information from published materials from the colleges and universities included here. Each of the ranked schools has been accredited to ensure it provides a quality education.

Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Mississippi College Clinton, Mississippi $10,206 99% 49% 54% 1 No Yes Yes

Students working toward a career in middle-level health care administration can enroll in a fully online option to earn a Master of Health Services Administration at Mississippi College. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, this Christian-based private school is the oldest higher learning institution in the state. For program acceptance, students must hold a bachelor's degree in one of the health care sciences with a minimum 2.5 GPA. In lieu of a GRE requirement, the admissions team requests an essay responding to the question, "What does health services administration mean to me?" Prerequisite courses include Accounting Principles and American History or Government. Upon admittance, students will satisfy 30 semester hours with a grade C or above in order to graduate. Core classes explore topics such as research methods, ethics in health care administration, health care marketing and organizational behavior. Students can also choose from a variety of electives, including Dynamics of Group Communication, Professional Writing, Advanced Developmental Psychology, Multicultural Counseling or an internship. Curriculum is delivered through the web platform Moodle, which allows students and instructors to communicate, hold class discussions, complete quizzes and submit assignments. The Student Success Center is host to a number of resources, which are available on campus and online. These resources includes access to the school's library and free tutoring with the Writing Center. The Office of Career Services provides how-to guides for resume writing and interview preparation as well as tools for job exploration. Their updated calendar connects students with networking and career fair opportunities throughout the year.

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2 Independence University Salt Lake City, Utah $15,616 79% - 100% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The online program to receive a Master of Public Health at Independence University builds a strong foundation for students to work in a variety of health-related fields ranging from biostatistics, to environmental health science, to health services administration. Alumni have found work as health promotion specialists, public health policy coordinators and health services administrators. Students typically spend 16 months completing 58 credits in classes such as Nutrition for Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics for Healthcare Professionals. In order to maintain a quick and succinct program, there are no elective options. Students, however, are required to complete a public health internship as well as a thesis. The school is committed to supporting online learners, and students can expect free tutoring and 1-on-1 mentoring from their instructors. Tuition covers any materials needed for classes. This includes textbooks as well as a new tablet and laptop, which are yours to keep following graduation. Career Services assists in job placement, networking and interview skills. Following degree completion, students can audit classes in their field at zero cost. All coursework, which is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, begins once every month. As a result, applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For those interested in the program, the first step is to contact an admissions consultant, who will help you begin the admissions process with a short career assessment. Your consultant, as well as a financial planner, is available to assist in registration, tuition questions and financial aid opportunities throughout the remainder of your academic journey.

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3 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, Alabama $7,588 77% 58% 59% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers an online option to earn a master's degree in a variety of public health concentrations. Students interested in appraising the effectiveness of wellness treatments can work toward a Master of Science in Public Health. The standard Master of Public Health offers 6 concentrations, which include populations health, environmental and occupational health, epidemiology or maternal and child health policy and leadership; the maternal and child health policy and leadership choice can be combined with a program for completing a Master of Social Work, which prepares students to work as advocates for wellness improvement in diverse populations. Although coursework varies by program, core curriculum covers topics such as management and policy in public health systems and services, biostatistics, epidemiology and the fundamentals of environmental health. Students take an average of 2 years to satisfy 43-44 credits in order to graduate. During this time, they can find online and field-specific resources through the university's resources webpage. The UBA Career Center assists students in writing curriculum vitae, searching for open jobs and practicing for interviews. Student Counseling Services showcases resources for online self-help. To help cut down on program costs, there are over 20 scholarships available to graduate students within the School of Public Health. Additionally, online enrollees pay the same tuition rates as residents and non-residents. Prospective students will need to submit GRE scores, 3 letters of recommendation, transcripts, a resume and a statement of purpose. Each specific program requires a different application, so students should be sure to find their desired program's application when applying.

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4 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, Illinois $8,624 85% 65% 52% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Students interested in completing a master's degree in public health via a fully online format can choose from 3 different options at the University of Illinois in Springfield. The general Master of Public Health requires 48 total semester hours and covers topics of community health research, occupational health, public health policy and epidemiology. A second opportunity, which involves the same number of credits, emphasizes environmental health. Although students participate in the same core classes, the electives for this option focus on environmental toxicology, risk assessment, hazardous waste policy and environmental policy. U.S. physicians who have earned a doctorate and are currently in their residency program can enroll in the Master of Public Health professional option. This program is composed of 36 hours of core curriculum, an internship and electives. For all programs, students must possess a minimum 3.0 GPA in both undergraduate and graduate work in order to be admitted as well as to graduate. Degree completion also entails passing the comprehensive examination at the end of your graduate studies. Throughout the 2-year average it takes to finish a program, there are a number of resources to help along the way. Information regarding scholarship and internship opportunities specific to the Department of Public Health can be found through the university's resources webpage. Students can also take advantage of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service's online tools, which work to acquaint learners with the web platform Blackboard Learn and offer technical assistance. Online students also have access online to the library, career guidance and free tutoring services. Interested students will need to submit GRE scores, an essay, transcripts and 3 letters of recommendation to be considered for admission. Graduates with a Master of Public Health are prepared for careers such as administrators, public health project managers and epidemiologists.

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5 East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina $4,656 42% 70% 61% 3 No Yes Yes

Accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, East Carolina University affords students the opportunity to earn a Master of Public Health. Although most of the program takes place on campus, there are a growing number of courses available online. Upon registration, enrollees will choose from 3 concentrations, which include epidemiology, health administration or health behavior. All students will complete 24 credits of core coursework covering topics in public health administration, social and behavioral sciences, environmental health, epidemiology and biostatistics. An additional 21 elective and internship-based hours leads to a total of 45 credits necessary for graduation. The internship experience involves 240 hours of fieldwork in the student's chosen area of study and is usually completed during the summer between the first and second year of the program. A final requirement for degree completion is the presentation of a professional paper at the medical school's annual research day. Depending on whether you engage in a part-time or full-time workload, students move through the program in 2-4 years. After graduation, students can pursue careers including public health directors, disease investigators and environmental health specialists. Students can apply to and begin programs for both the fall and spring terms. Eligibility is based on transcripts, test scores, 3 letters of recommendation, a letter of intent and a resume. A minimum 2.7 GPA and a GRE score of 300 or above is encouraged. The Master of Public Health Manual provides information regarding curriculum, admissions, graduation and important forms. Students can also take advantage of online resources such as the writing center, math tutoring, career services, web tutorials, exam proctoring and online library access to assist in their studies.

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6 University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, California $11,220 53% 17% 93% 1 No Yes Yes

Enrollees in UC Berkeley's online program to receive a Master of Public Health will work through 27 months of coursework via the cohort model, in which a group of students follows a similar plan of study to begin and end their studies together. During the first and second year, all students satisfy 6 core classes, which include Health and Social Behavior, Environmental Health Science, Health Management, and Introduction to Probability and Statistics. From there, students will have to option to choose from concentrations such as health policy, global health, infectious disease or regulatory science. During the month of June in both the first and second year, students will visit the Berkeley campus for 10 days as a requirement of the core curriculum. Additional expectations for graduation involve participation in 110 hours of a practicum field experience as well as the passing of a comprehensive exam. Students who graduate with this degree will be prepared to work in a variety of settings in the health care field, including government organizations, for-profit businesses and nonprofit agencies. Some online courses can be accessed at a student's convenience, while others entail real-time, scheduled interaction. All coursework is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. The Student Hub is a go-to spot for finding online course registration, exam access, financial aid information and student resources. Distance learners can take advantage of the library, technical support, free software programs and services for students with disabilities. Prospective students must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA, submit GRE scores, have completed a college-level math or statistics course with a grade B or above and demonstrate proof for 2 years of post-undergraduate work experience in any field.

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7 University of South Florida-Main Campus Tampa, Florida $8,350 69% 47% 71% 1 No Yes Yes

At the University of South Florida, graphic and instructional designers from the Office of Educational Technology and Assessment team up with faculty members to continually improve online education. A combination of podcasts, web conferencing and media streaming is used to deliver curriculum for a number of programs, including one to receive a Master of Public Health. Students can select from concentrations in epidemiology, social marketing, nutrition and dietetics or global disaster management. Regardless of degree choice, all students complete 18 hours of core work in topics such as History and Systems of Public Health, Population Assessment and Translation to Practice. In order to graduate, you must receive a C or above in each class as well as pass a comprehensive examination at the end of your studies. A final requirement is to satisfy a field experience, which begins after the second semester. Depending on your desired workload, degree completion takes an average of 2-2.5 years. Every concentration, with the exception of nutrition and dietetics, is eligible for the Reduced Rate Program, which offers discounted tuition to students enrolled in fully online coursework. Additional resources for online learners include library access, career services and technical assistance. Depending on the area of concentration, graduates can find employment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the military, or as hospital infection preventionists. If you are interested in applying, you will need to provide transcripts reflecting a minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate coursework, GRE scores, 2 letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose and a resume. These materials will be submitted through the SOPHAS application, a centralized tool used for public health programs throughout the nation.

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8 South Dakota State University Brookings, South Dakota $7,516 57% 91% 60% 1 Yes Yes Yes

South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota have teamed together to offer an online alternative for receiving a Master of Public Health that focuses on the health care needs of rural communities. The program requires 42 total credits, which include 30 hours of core curriculum and 12 hours of electives. Core classes include Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Health Services Administration and Environmental Health. Elective options include topics such as Maternal and Child Nutrition, Public Health and Native American Communities and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Students will also participate in 3 credits of field experience. Conveniently, both schools partner with the South Dakota Area Health Education Center, Indian Health Services and the South Dakota Department of Health to provide opportunities for applied practice. An additional expectation is that students complete a research paper, which is then published in a peer-reviewed journal or presented at a professional conference. Graduates with a Master of Public Health often find careers as health care industry analysts, medical and health services managers and as epidemiologists or biostatisticians. In order to be eligible for this program, you must submit transcripts demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA in your undergraduate degree, a statement of purpose, 2 letters of recommendation and the graduate school application. If accepted, you will need to pass a background check. Following admissions, there are a number of resources for students to take advantage of throughout their academic journey. Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service that provides support for a wide range of subjects. The Office of Career Services guides students through interview processes, job exploration and interview preparation. financial aid, technical support and library access are also available.

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9 Kent State University at Kent Kent, Ohio $11,090 79% 85% 58% 1 No Yes Yes

At Kent State University, prospective students can earn an online Master of Public Health degree with a specialization in either health policy and management or social and behavioral sciences. Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, 3 letters of recommendation, GRE scores, a goal statement about why you want to pursue an MPH at Kent State and a resume or CV. Students who have been accepted into the online MPH program and are ineligible for tuition waiver benefits and maintain competitive GPAs may qualify for tuition offset scholarships worth $500-$4,000. This 46-credit hour program consists of 7 core courses, including a practicum, 5 specialization-specific courses and 2 electives. While the goal of the health policy and management specialization is to help students become effective public health leaders so they can make a difference in their communities, the goal of the social and behavioral sciences specialization is to teach students the skills they need to create community-based health programs. Those who select health policy and management can expect to take courses such as health care systems, public health policy and financial management for public health organizations. Students in the social and behavioral sciences specialization will be required to take courses like quantitative methods in social and behavioral sciences, grant writing and public health programs. After graduating with an online MPH from Kent State University, many individuals pursue careers in health maintenance organizations, health insurance companies, health education, nonprofit organizations, emergency management and health care administration. Online students have access to resources including a 24/7 helpdesk for assistance with online course access and technical issues, library instructional services and career development guidance.

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10 North Dakota State University-Main Campus Fargo, North Dakota $5,570 41% 93% 58% 1 Yes No Yes

North Dakota State University offers an online Master of Public Health. This program is designed for graduates and employees in health-related fields who hold bachelor's degrees or higher. It focuses on rural health, health promotion and prevention, disease-state management and related activities of interest to public health care practitioners and policy makers. Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, GRE test scores, 3 letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose. Students in this MPH program may choose from 4 specializations: American Indian public health, health promotion, management of infectious diseases or public health in clinical systems. This 42-credit-hour degree includes core courses such as leading and managing public health systems, biostatistics, essentials in epidemiology and specialization courses like American Indian health policy, health promotion programming, principles of infectious disease management and advanced community assessment. In addition to completing all coursework, each student is required to submit a master's paper, which provides an opportunity to work on public health projects under the guidance of faculty and community public health practitioners or researchers. The purpose of the master's paper, which contains both oral and written components, is to synthesize, integrate and apply the skills and competencies gained in the degree program to a public health problem. In most cases, students graduate with their MPH degrees in 3-5 years. Once they graduate, they often pursue careers as health care administrators, public health educators, community health professionals and environmental health specialists. Enrolled students have access to useful online resources such as a comprehensive, web-based "Getting Started" guide, online tutoring and the Graduate Center for Writers.

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11 National University La Jolla, California $11,232 4% - 50% 1 Yes Yes Yes

National University gives students who would like to advance their careers within the public health sector or transition into public health professions the opportunity to earn online Master of Public Health degrees. Students who would like to enroll in this program are required to have undergraduate GPAs of at least 2.75, or, if they have lower GPAs, they must also have satisfactory scores on the GRE or GMAT. This degree is designed to help students analyze and interpret health data; describe the distribution and determinants of disease, disabilities and death in human populations; evaluate the environmental factors that affect the health of a community; analyze the planning, organization, administration and policies of health care organizations; and apply the concepts and methods of social justice and social and behavioral sciences to solving public health problems. Students can choose to specialize in health promotion, health care administration or mental health. At least 72 quarter units of graduate work - including the core M.P.H. requirements and 1 area of specialization are required for students to graduate with this degree. Core courses cover such subjects as the US health care system, biostatistics, epidemiology, theories of health behavior, public health research methods and the global health experience, or a public health internship and public health capstone. Following graduation, many students pursue leadership positions in health promotion and disease prevention, community mental health or public health care administration. Courses run on 4-week schedules year round. Students have access to the NU online library, writing and math centers and Student Concierge Services, a sort of "one-stop shop" for online students looking for answers in financial aid, admissions, graduation requirements or other issues.

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12 University of Massachusetts-Amherst Amherst, Massachusetts $13,524 65% 60% 77% 1 Yes Yes Yes

University of Massachusetts Amherst offers a Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice that can be earned 100% online. This degree is created for working public health and health care professionals who would like to further their careers. Its flexible, asynchronous courses allow students to log in and take courses whenever they have a chance. Students may take as few as 1 course per term or as many as 3. Additionally, prospective students may take M.P.H.-P.H.P. courses before they submit their applications, to get a head start prior to admissions, find out whether online learning is right for them or meet M.P.H. requirements from other schools or programs. To enroll in this program, students must hold bachelor's degrees with minimum GPAs of 2.75 and have at least 3 years of professional, full-time experience in either public health or health care. They are also required to submit GRE and TOEFL scores, a personal statement and 2 letters of recommendation. It is important to note that these minimum admission requirements cannot be waived. This 42-credit-hour program involves 5 core public health courses, including intro to biostatistics, environmental health practices, application of social and behavioral theory, intro to the United States health care system and principles of epidemiology. There also are 3 research-based courses, including a 200-hour practicum and a final culminating capstone project, as well as 6 electives. Although there is no order in which students are required to complete courses, it is highly recommended that they complete the 5 core public health courses upon matriculation as those serve as foundation courses for the electives they will take. Students must maintain GPAs of 3.0 or higher to successfully achieve their degrees, and they must earn at least a B- in certain core courses. All students regardless of location pay the same tuition and fees.

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13 University of South Carolina-Columbia Columbia, South Carolina $12,398 59% 68% 74% 3 No Yes Yes

The University of South Carolina offers a Master of Public Health in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior (HPEB) that is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health and offered online. It is specifically created for current practitioners in health department, community, school and worksite environments who are concerned about human welfare and can benefit from the flexibility of online study. The program is intended to prepare students to become leaders and advocates in public health settings, develop programs that promote good health in communities or public policy, evaluate health programs for quality and develop and share knowledge through research and evaluation. It is taught by faculty practitioners in public health and health care who currently are actively involved in research programs. This 45-credit-hour program can be completed in 24 to 26 months. Its curriculum consists or core courses in public health as well as HPEB core and focused courses and a practicum, which includes a seminar and fieldwork. All courses are delivered asynchronously, meaning that students can access materials at times that are convenient rather than at appointed times. Students work at their own pace within a fixed period of time. For admission consideration, prospective students must hold bachelor's degrees from accredited colleges or universities with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, earn satisfactory scores on the GRE within the last 5 years (the average combined GRE score is about 500) and have at least 2 years of health-related professional experience. An applicant must also submit official transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation from academic or managerial professional sources and a letter of intent which outlines his or her professional goals and the development of interest in health promotion, education and behavior. Per-credit-hour tuition is the same for residents and non-residents, and financial aid is available for all online programs.

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14 University of Montana Missoula, Montana $4,135 52% 92% 53% 1 Yes Yes Yes

At the University of Montana, students can earn online Master in Public Health degrees. This degree was established to prepare public health practitioners to who want to work to improve the health of Montana residents and those living in other rural communities. Students who enroll in UM's online M.P.H. program can expect to learn about what goes into the development of legislative and social policies, how to apply solutions to public health problems, how to strengthen their communication skills to work with various populations and how to position themselves in order to become leaders in the fields of health promotion and disease prevention. This M.P.H. program is composed of 42 credit hours, 27 of which are core credits, 6 of which are capstone credits and 9 of which are elective credits. The program is designed so that students may complete coursework within 2 years (if taking 21 credits per year), though students who must take courses part time are likely to take longer. After graduation, many students pursue careers as health educators, medical and health service managers, environmental health scientists and epidemiologists. Additionally, UM offers an M.P.H. with a community health and prevention sciences concentration. This option, which is delivered in a blended online/on-campus format, is composed of 42 credit hours that provide a deeper level of instruction in social and behavioral sciences, which especially targets students interested in health promotion, health education, program planning or program evaluation. Although there are no minimum GPA or GRE requirements for this program, the admissions committee will review each applicant's package as a whole to make decisions regarding acceptance. The only caveat is that if an applicant's GPA is under 3.0 and he or she is accepted, that student is required to attend extra meetings with an academic adviser and maintain a GPA above 3.0 throughout the program. Admission requirements include a baccalaureate degree, GRE scores, 3 letters of recommendation, a personal statement, official transcripts and a CV or resume. Online students have access to online writing tutoring, career services and the Peer Connection Network, KPCN, a series of student-produced videos that provide helpful information for students.

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15 University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri $8,462 64% 75% 71% 1 No Yes Yes

University of Missouri Graduate Studies offers a fully online Master of Public Health degree. This 45-credit-hour program is offered to students available in 2 concentrations: health promotion and policy and veterinary public health. The health promotion and policy concentration focuses on the development and evaluation of community health programs and how policy and advocacy work to ensure their success. It's ideal for students who hold undergraduate degrees in fields like social work, communications, journalism, political science and psychology. Meanwhile, the veterinary public health concentration addresses the connections between human health and that of animals and the environment. Training covers disease prevention, food safety and other issues related to animal health. Students with undergraduate degrees in biology or animal science may benefit most from this concentration. Students in both concentrations are required to complete 360-hour internships in public health agencies, under the supervision of experienced public health professionals. The program is designed to be interdisciplinary, so that issues are explored from multiple perspectives, including environmental health, biostatistics, epidemiology and health services administration. Many courses are self-paced, so students can enroll at any time and take up to 6 months to complete a class, while others are semester-based. Tuition for online students is the same for those studying on campus, and out-of-state students pay additional nonresident fees for distance learning. For admission into the M.P.H. program at the University of Missouri, prospective students are required to possess bachelor's degrees and GPAs of at least 3.0 from their last 60 hours of coursework. Additionally, they need to submit GRE scores as well as resumes (or CVs), personal essays and 2 letters of recommendation. The admissions team may waive the GRE requirement for applicants who have completed master's or doctoral degrees. Online students receive free online tutoring and free online software training, among other resources.

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16 University of Maryland-College Park College Park, Maryland $11,718 52% 48% 85% 1 No Yes Yes

Established in 1856, the University of Maryland is a public research university serving over 39,000 students. Its Department of Health Services Administration features a Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice and Policy. Whether part time or full time, you determine how many classes you take each semester. Courses for this degree are delivered in a hybrid format and can be completed in as few as 18 months while minimally disrupting your personal and work life outside of school. In addition to online courses, you are required to attend a total of 6 weekends of residency where you'll combine your online learning with leadership driven practice. This 42-credit hour degree covers the core principles of public health, practice and policy and includes an internship and capstone project. Internships take place at approved health or allied health organizations that are conveniently located for your travel needs. The capstone serves as the culminating final project and displays the totality of your work and research interests you developed while at Maryland. The skills you gain in this hybrid degree program make you a competitive candidate for careers all across the public health field. In addition to increasing your marketability and earning potential, the master's degree further develops your professional flexibility and mobility, executive leadership skills, professional network and ability to contribute to society in meaningful, positive ways. GRE scores taken within the last 5 years are required for admission. Applicants must submit official transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation, current resume and a statement of purpose.

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17 San Jose State University San Jose, California $6,738 34% 53% 61% 1 No Yes Yes

San José State University is the oldest public university on the west coast and serves over 33,000 students. Through the Department of Health Science and recreation, distance learners can pursue a Master of Public Health in a hybrid format. In the spirit of recognizing the increasing cultural diversity of the school's home state of California, SJSU is committed to training culturally sensitive health educators whose skills and backgrounds reflect and support changing demography. MPH students in this program learn to apply concepts and theories of behavior analysis, ecological frameworks, health education, health promotion interventions and policy. Over the course of 24 months, online students complete 42 credit hours. For part-time students, the program could take up to 5 years to complete. Course length varies from 5 to 7 weeks, depending on the class, in a synchronous format. Using the Blackboard system, SJSU's course delivery technology is state of the art, with interactive whiteboards, virtual breakout rooms and session recording features. In most courses, students meet online once a week for a live class session. In addition to online classes, MPH students meet once a year in San Jose for 4-5 days. Applicants should have at least a 3.0 GPA in previous coursework and must submit GRE scores, official transcript and a statement of purpose to be considered for admission. This is a competitive program with a max capacity of 25 students per cohort. MPH students have access to on-campus and online student services, tutoring and academic advising, as well as an exclusive internal scholarship that awards students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in promoting LGBT equality or HIV prevention.

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18 Cleveland University-Kansas City Overland Park, Kansas $11,500 - - 100% 1 No No No

At Cleveland University – Kansas City, students can enroll in a fully online Master of Science in health education and promotion degree program. The program trains students to pursue careers as health educators or wellness practitioners and to motivate others to participate in health promotion and prevention activities. Additionally, students receive complimentary chiropractic care and complimentary membership to the Cleveland Fitness Center. The program is designed for those who desire to initiate organizational and cultural change in order to create environments that enhance health. To apply, prospective students must complete their bachelor's degrees from regionally institutions. Also required for admission are official transcripts from all colleges attended, a professional statement, a resume and references. Students who enroll in this M.S. program can expect to take 36 credit hours of coursework, 21 of which are core courses, such as research methods, applied health behavioral theory and intro to epidemiology. It's important to note that all courses are required in sequence and no transfer credits are accepted. To fulfill graduation requirements, each student is expected to sit for a respected certification exam, which may include Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), Level 2 Diabetes Educator, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) or American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist (ACSM HFS). After graduation, students may obtain positions in a number of environments including hospitals, doctors' offices, colleges, nonprofit organizations and private businesses. Students at Cleveland have access to a number of helpful resources, including career counseling and academic support.

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19 Jacksonville State University Jacksonville, Alabama $8,904 61% 53% 34% 1 Yes Yes Yes

At Jacksonville State, prospective students can earn Master of Public Administration degrees either partially or fully online. This program offers 5 concentrations: administrative management, criminal justice, education, emergency management, environmental science management, geographical information systems and political science. Regardless of which concentration a student selects, the goal of the program is to prepare students to pursue careers in public service or nonprofit management. The program helps to develop the skills and theories managers use to implement policies and projects or create programs that resolve vital situations within their organizations or in society at large. This program is accredited by the Network of Schools and Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), meaning that JSU has submitted to the peer-review, quality-assurance process for graduate-level programs in public policy, affairs and administration. Prospective students who wish to enroll in this degree program must hold undergraduate degrees with GPAs of at least 3.0 in any field and submit GRE or GMAT test scores, along with 3 graduate reference forms and the student's statement of purpose explaining why the M.P.A. is important and how it may benefit career aspirations. The program consists of 39 to 40 credit hours and is available in the fall, spring and summer semesters. Several examples of courses a student may take include research methods, policy analysis, public personnel, public finance and diversity in the workplace. Internships are required for some concentrations. Tuition rates for online students mirror those for in-state residents completing coursework on campus. Students receive free online tutoring services, access to an online writing lab and tools to assist with study skills. After graduation, many students work for government contractors and nonprofit organizations, making a positive difference in the lives of others.

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20 Concord University Athens, West Virginia $7,600 62% 81% 36% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Concord University's online Master of Arts in health promotion emphasizes primary prevention and is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to empower others to make healthy, informed choices. In addition, it can prepare students for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam. Individuals with undergraduate degrees in fields such as public health, health education, psychology, sociology and environmental health studies may benefit from this M.A. in health promotion. To apply, prospective students must hold minimum undergraduate GPAs of 2.75 or higher from regionally accredited institutions and submit 2 letters of recommendation. In order to graduate, they are required to complete 33 credit hours in courses such as program planning and evaluation, epidemiology in health, trends and issues related to health promotion and interventions. They are also required to maintain overall GPAs of 3.0 or better. At the end of the program, students will need to take a 6-credit-hour capstone practicum course in which they will use research to identify problems in health-related work environments and design data-centric proposals to solve them. A graduate seminar is an optional course that students may take to further their knowledge on health education and promotion. Participants progress in cohorts, and the program is designed to be completed in 2 years. A number of resources are available to help online students, including free tutoring (online or in person), online videos of student success workshops and academic coaching. Educating individuals about health behavior, working to change environments to make physical activity more accessible or shaping policy that promotes healthy lifestyles are all examples of health-promotion activities that students may perform once they complete this degree.

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21 Lamar University Beaumont, Texas $6,048 20% 76% 38% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Operating as part of the Texas State University System, Lamar University in Beaumont caters to nearly 15,000 students annually – including a significant number of postgraduate learners. Offering a unique perspective, the institution's online master's in public health offers a specialization in health disparities. This 42-credit program includes 27 core curriculum credits, 9 hours devoted to electives and 6 hours focused on completing a capstone project. Interesting classes included in the health disparities concentration include foundations of health promotion in diverse communities, U.S. and international health disparities and research methods in diverse populations. Some of the electives include economics and financing of health care, obesity prevention and lifestyle interventions, human diseases and current issues in health promotion. New learners begin the program in the fall and full-time learners spend approximately 2 years enrolled before receiving a diploma. The program focuses on public health issues common in Southeast Texas, with specific emphasis on issues such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. No other program in Texas or Louisiana currently provides a health disparities focus. Although the department offers no scholarships, online students can apply for several institutional scholarships if they meet requirements for merit and/or financial need. Students residing in Texas pay $509 per credit while non-residents pay $924 per credit. Lamar offers a tuition lock guarantee for up to 4 years, meaning the price of tuition will not rise while they are in school. Individuals hoping to receive admittance must possess at least a 2.5 GPA but they do not need to submit GRE scores.

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22 Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon $12,150 67% 77% 67% 1 No Yes Yes

Since its founding in 1868, Oregon State University has provided higher education to more than a 250,000 learners. Recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as being a school focused on community engagement, this public research institution offers an online master of public health with a concentration in public health practice for those looking to work in disease prevention and health awareness. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, OSU's program focuses on topics related to community, leadership, management, policy, science and systems. Students enroll during the fall semester as a cohort, meaning they move through programmatic requirements together – helping them to build strong collegial bonds with fellow learners and professors. Applications received by December 1 are given priority, but the department accepts them until March 1. The curriculum, which can be completed by full- and part-time degree-seekers, requires 60 credits and doesn't mandate a thesis. Because of this, most students who select OSU's program don't plan on moving into doctoral programs after graduating. Some of the topics explored include evidence-based leadership in public health, public health law, global health systems and health policy analysis and politics. All students also complete a 6-credit internship to gain real-world experience. While enrolled, online students benefit from support provided by a faculty adviser, internship coordinator, administrative director and program coordinator. They are never required to visit the Corvallis campus, although they are welcome to walk across the stage and receive their diploma during the graduation ceremony.

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23 University of Memphis Memphis, Tennessee $8,820 44% 57% 46% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Although the University of Memphis operated as a member of the public university system in Tennessee for many years, 2017 marked the first year that it was governed locally and independently. This school serves more than 21,000 learners annually through programs offered at the brick-and-mortar campus and online. The master of public health at U of M, offered through distance learning, appeals to students of many different background. Current learners had previous careers in areas of nursing, computer science, social work, journalism, biology and exercise science. Memphis's program requires 42 credits and focuses on study in areas of social and behavioral sciences, biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health and health systems and policy. The core curriculum covers topics such as the foundations of public health, biostatistical methods and the organization of health services. In addition to class requirements, all degree seekers must undertake a 240-hour practicum at an approved health facility. They must also develop a comprehensive final project or research and write a master's level thesis. At the end of the program, those hoping to graduate need to pass an oral examination. As U of M students, all those in the MPH program receive individualized academic advising, assistance finding practicum locations, career services, access to the online library and the opportunity to join several student clubs and organizations. To be considered for admission, all applicants must possess a 3.0 or higher GPA, recent GRE scores (those with doctoral degrees do not need to meet this requirement), 3 letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose. Applicants whose first language is not English must also provide TOEFL or IELTS scores.

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24 University of Vermont Burlington, Vermont $15,096 92% 69% 76% 1 No Yes Yes

Located in the state's largest city of Burlington, the University of Vermont exists as one of the nation's oldest schools, having been founded in 1791. Recognized as 1 of 8 Public Ivy schools, the university maintains competitive admissions. The online master of public health requires 42 credits and is taught in partnership with the Larner College of Medicine. Provided as a generalist program, students graduate with knowledge focused in areas of health policy, epidemiology, environmental public health, quantitative public health sciences and advocacy. Full-time learners finish this program in 2 years while those on a part-time track can take up to 5 years to move from matriculation to graduation. Upon graduating, alumni move on to roles as public health professionals, researchers or clinicians. They also continue on to doctoral programs in numerous cases. Specific titles include infection preventionist, immunization data analyst, asthma program manager and epidemiology coordinator. The school maintains an active blog where learners can see the type of projects current and former students work on. They can also access online portions of the Dana Medical Library while enrolled. Applications are accepted 3 times per year: November 15, July 1 and August 1. Degree seekers residing in Vermont pay $646 per credit while those in other states pay $1,029 per credit. UVM does not require GRE scores but it does mandate certain prerequisites in areas of biology and advanced mathematics. Learners speak with their academic adviser each semester to create a personalized plan of study to suit individual goals. The program receives accreditation through the Council on Education for Public Health.

School website
25 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, North Dakota $7,185 54% 84% 57% 1 No Yes Yes

The University of North Dakota has positioned itself as a leader in distance learning by harnessing the power of this style of education early on. Today the school provides learning opportunities to nearly 15,000 annually while still maintaining small classroom sizes. The institution provides a master's in public health that requires 42 credits and can be completed in 2 years of full-time study. Courses covered throughout the program include biostatistics, epidemiology, population health research methods and data management in SAS and R software. In addition to generalized classwork, students can also elect to concentrate their studies in either population health analytics or health management and policy. Courses at UND are all taught synchronously through live broadcasts, meaning degree seekers working while enrolled may need to rearrange their schedule to attend classes. Outside of coursework, learners complete a 240-hour practicum at an approved public health agency. They also have the opportunity to take part in a Norwegian Exchange Program to learn about system dynamics modeling. While enrolled, learners can join the Public Health Association at UND. Upon graduating, alumni can sit for the Certified in Public Health examination. Students seeking further credentials can work towards online certificates in geographic information science, policy analysis or social entrepreneurship. The department maintains excellent outcome numbers, with 100% of graduates from the previous cohort finding employment in health-related careers. Areas of focus include public health education, health policy analysis, public health administration and public health statistics. Applications must be sent by August 1 for the fall semester and December 1 for the spring semester.

School website
26 University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona $11,372 74% 79% 63% 1 No Yes Yes School website
27 Idaho State University Pocatello, Idaho $6,789 62% - 36% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
28 East Tennessee State University Johnson City, Tennessee $7,992 29% 92% 46% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
29 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver, Colorado $6,714 45% 61% 45% 1 No Yes Yes School website
30 Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee, Florida $8,019 55% 31% 46% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
31 The University of West Florida Pensacola, Florida $7,088 64% 41% 55% 1 No Yes Yes School website
32 Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, Georgia $13,452 25% 26% 84% 1 No Yes Yes School website
33 University at Albany Albany, New York $10,870 61% 54% 67% 1 No No Yes School website
34 University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, Alaska $9,768 30% 83% 34% 1 No Yes Yes School website
35 Everglades University Boca Raton, Florida $16,800 40% 74% 52% 1 No Yes Yes School website
36 University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha, Nebraska $7,911 - - - 1 Yes No Yes School website
37 The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles Los Angeles, California $24,300 - 44% - 1 No No Yes School website
38 Oregon Health & Science University Portland, Oregon $20,412 - - - 2 No No Yes School website

What Can I Learn in an Online Master's in Public Health Program?

An online master's degree in public health typically takes two years to complete, although there is flexibility to meet students' needs. Most require 42 to 48 credits. Courses focus on science, health and community development, giving students the skills needed to do research, work on policy, provide education and work in disease prevention. The focus is always on health as it impacts groups, communities, countries or the world population at large, so topics such as the environment or statistics are viewed through this lens.

Most students choose a specialization, so they can hone their skills to fit a particular job, such as epidemiologist or public health nurse. Experience gained through internships is a valuable component of this degree as learning hands-on skills is crucial for most public health professionals. Online public health master's degree programs may offer fewer arranged internships and practicum opportunities than on-campus programs, or they may require students to find internship opportunities in their own communities.

What common courses are offered in a master’s in public health program?

Specific course titles vary, but some of the courses you can commonly expect to find include:

Epidemiology

This course teaches students how and why diseases spread. Students learn how to gather and analyze public health data.

Biostatistics

Biostatistics introduces students to the sensitivity and predictive value of medical tests and how to gather and interpret health data. Statistical significance and how to calculate statistical formulas are part of the coursework.

Health Services Administration

Students learn the basics of health delivery systems, leadership and executive skills, strategic planning and organizational communication.

Global Health

Courses in global health focus on exploring international concerns in the health field, including disaster response, treating and preventing pandemic diseases, providing access to health services and the social and biological factors that create global health challenges.

Environmental Health

Students learn how to identify environmental factors that have an impact on health and to develop tools that support an environment that is healthy. The course offers information on assessing risk, evaluating the impact of human activity and more.

What exams or projects should I expect?

Most courses in MPH programs require exams, papers and projects. Many programs require students to complete an internship and/or participate in practicum courses where they can actively apply their knowledge. Graduates are not required to pass a board or certificate exam, however a student can choose to apply for a Certified in Public Health credential from the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE).

What specializations are available in a master’s in public health program?

There are a variety of specialization options available for online master's degrees in public health, particularly because public health is such a multidisciplinary field.

Epidemiology

A specialization in epidemiology focuses on tracking and analyzing trends in public health. Students learn to create and implement public health studies and investigate the origins of health problems. Courses teach how to prevent and intervene at all levels of society.

Environmental Health

MPH specialization in environmental health teaches students to identify and investigate environmental causes of disease that impacts communities and individuals. There may be an emphasis on workplace hazards and how to evaluate and reduce those risks.

Biostatistics

A biostatistics specialty track focuses on statistical models, computing, inference, probability and analysis. It also teaches data collection techniques. This specialization prepares students for careers as researchers.

Health Education/Prevention

Students who choose this specialization learn how to interact with and influence individuals and communities to improve health outcomes by providing information, teaching skills, setting priorities and implementing procedures.

Health Policy and Management/Joint MBA

It is possible to earn a joint degree with an MPH and an MBA (master’s of business administration). This type of specialization focuses on how to apply public health concepts through business models with courses on health budgeting, management of public health entities and public health laws.

What Can I do with a Master’s in Public Health Degree?

A master's in public health opens the door to a wide variety of careers and professional opportunities.

Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists work to determine patterns and causes of illness and disease. They try to reduce negative public health outcomes using research, education, outreach and policy initiatives. An epidemiologist might work in a laboratory doing research, or in an office creating policy and procedures. Other epidemiologists work in the field collecting samples and data. Career paths are often through government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An MPH with a specialization in epidemiology is necessary for this type of work.

Health Educator

The goal of a health educator is to educate people about wellness. Health educators work in schools, community organizations, non-profit organizations, physician's offices, departments of public health or other government agencies. They might teach classes, counsel people individually, plan community programs or handle intakes of patients into programs. Many health educators are Certified Public Health Specialists and focused their MPH degree on health education.

Biostatistician

Collecting and reviewing data is the main responsibility of a biostatistician. Professional biostatisticians conduct research and analyze data to answer questions about public health. They may work with other medical professionals to develop studies. A specialization in biostatistics is required as part of the MPH degree for this career path.

Disaster and Emergency Specialist

When disasters or emergencies strike, these professionals are on hand to coordinate health efforts, create plans to provide for health care and implement procedures to prevent further public health dangers. A large part of their job involves planning for and rehearsing for every foreseeable event that could have a detrimental effect on public health. Specialization in environmental public health is important for this career.

Public Health Nurse

A career as a public health nurse allows professionals to combine a nursing degree with an MPH for a specialized career path. These professionals may work in a government agency, school, correctional facility or business to reduce or eliminate public health risks. Some public health nurses do home visits with patients and refer families to needed services while also providing hands-on nursing care. Others work in the community, creating programs to improve public health or coordinating assessments to evaluate public health concerns.

Environmental Health Specialist

Work in this field focuses on exploring, analyzing, responding to and preparing for public health issues caused by environmental or occupational hazards. Professionals often work for governmental health departments or environmental agencies. Others work for companies or consultant groups who focus on workplace health concerns. Jobs might involve food safety, air quality, water contamination, waste management, noise management or radiation protection. Specialization in environmental public health is required.

Professional organizations in public health provide opportunities for networking, continuing education and advocacy. Here are a few organizations to consider joining.

American Public Health Association (APHA)

The APHA is known for its influence on national and international public health policies. The organization publishes a journal and newspaper that keeps members up to date on key issues. The annual meeting provides an opportunity for continuing education and networking. They offer student and early career memberships to help those starting out in the profession.

American College of Epidemiology (ACE)

ACE sponsors professional publications, educational opportunities and scientific meetings. The organization also advocates for policies that support epidemiology, public health and science. Admission is based on credentials and involves a promotion procedure in which members who are the most experienced receive the highest recognition.

Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)

The focus of SOPHE is supporting health education professionals and students who work in schools, organizations, healthcare agencies and government. SOPHE advocates for health promotion policies and research. They offer conferences, publications, networking opportunities and fellowships to their network. They also certify health education specialists. Student memberships are available.

Global Health Council

The Global Health Council’s mission is to improve global health though investment and policies. It created the Women Leaders in Global Health Initiative to represent the women who make up a large majority of global health workers. They also have a global advocacy hub that provides information, tools and resources for members. Monthly salons allow members to keep in touch.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Public Health?

The career path you choose as a public health professional will directly impact the salary you can expect to earn. Salaries increase with years of experience.

Career Lowest 10% Earned Annually Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Earned Annually Job Growth 2016-2026
Epidemiologist Less than $42,810 $69,660 More than $113,560 +9%
Health Educators Less than $25,150 $38,370 More than $64,500 +16%
Emergency Management Director Less than $38,270 $72,760 More than $141,620 +8%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

Public health-related careers in general are growing as fast or faster than average. The field of health education, in particular, is expected to grow 16 percent which is much faster than average and likely in response to the efforts to reduce healthcare costs. In addition to having more advanced education, workers in this field who speak a foreign language may have an advantage over other job seekers.

Online Master’s in Public Health Program Accreditation

The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for accrediting public health schools and programs. To receive accreditation, each school and program must submit a detailed accreditation criteria report which addresses topics such as student engagement, diversity, graduation rates, ethics, guiding statements, foundational competencies, evaluation practices, applied practice experiences, faculty resources and effectiveness, community involvement, student complaints and technology resources.

The accreditation process involves intensive peer review of the school's operating policies and practices. The decision-making body then makes the accreditation decision based on all of the findings as well as public comments, formal complaints and comments from the school. Programs that receive accreditation are periodically reviewed to ensure they continue to meet the standards of the CEPH.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Public Health Degree

There are a variety of ways students can find assistance paying for an MPH degree. Here are a few options: