Inside the Best Online MPH Programs of 2020

Compare the best online master’s in public health and learn about degree specialization, career opportunities and ways to pay for your MPH.

Last Updated: 08/03/2020
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The public health industry has a wide range of career paths in client care and health research alike. An online master’s in public health is a great degree option for health professionals who are looking to enhance their knowledge and prepare for leadership roles in the field without leaving their current jobs. However, enrolling in an online MPH program takes careful consideration, so doing ample research is essential. On this page, we’ve collected some of the most useful information on online MPH programs, careers for MPH graduates, and financial aid. We’ve also put together a list of this year’s best accredited online MPH programs, accounting for quality, convenience and cost, to make finding the right school a little easier. Explore the top schools of 2020, find the ones that tick all the right boxes for you, and get started on your path toward’s a master’s degree.

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About the ranking

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Methodology for EduMed’s 2020 Rankings

To be considered for this ranking, each school must have the following:

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Program(s) offered at least partially online.

School Metrics Explained

EduMed.org data scientists analyzed government higher education data and created a proprietary algorithm to rank each U.S. postsecondary institution and its online programs using 5 primary factors:

  • Cost: Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Online Program Availability: Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to Department of Education.
  • Academic Counseling: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid: Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Most recent data pull: February 2020

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Oklahoma State University-Main CampusStillwater, OK Public $$ 1

OSU’s 42-hour MPH degree program can be completed in a little as 12 months. The program focuses on healthcare delivery to rural and underserved populations. Prospective students can choose from two plans of study: completion of a thesis or completion of an on-site practicum. The degree courses are available online or through an online/on-campus hybrid plan. Major studies are in biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, leadership, program planning and evaluation. The practicum option requires 200 hours of supervised placement at an approved institution. Thesis students must have their project approved after the first 24 credits. OSU also offers a 15-hour Certificate of Public Health in Rural & Underserved Communities.

Program Overview:

Master of Public Health (MPH)

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: 12 months
  • Cost: $230.45 per credit (resident)
  • Mode: Hybrid/Fully Online
  • Accreditation: CEPH
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
73%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
2 University of Alabama at BirminghamBirmingham, AL Public $$ 1

The University of Alabama/Birmingham’s MPH in Environmental & Occupational Health is a comprehensive scientific study of environmental and occupational factors that influence individual and community well-being. Students combine the 23 required core and elective courses with a three-hour internship. Coursework includes the study of health assessment, the assessment of toxic exposure, and the creation of strategies for interventions and the creation of policies to address and minimize risks. The three-hour, on-site internship can be conducted at the student’s current workplace as long as the experience differs from their current duties. The admission process is conducted through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) system.

Program Overview:

MPH in Environmental & Occupational Health

  • Credits: 43
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost: $549/credit
  • Mode: Online (+ internship)
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
74%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
3 California State University-NorthridgeNorthridge, CA Public $$ 1

The 42-credit MPH degree in Community Health Education at CSU Northridge can be completed entirely online except for the required 300-hour field externship. The curriculum is comprised of studies in environmental and occupational health risks, advanced health behavior, epidemiology, research design, curriculum development, biostatistics, supervised field training, health education administration, health action and promotion. The program culminates with a comprehensive exam. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students who do not meet the GPA requirements must pass a related GRE section in the upper 50th percentile. The practicum may be completed at the student’s workplace if it is in another area than their current role.

Program Overview:

Online Master of Public Health in Community Health Education

  • Credits: 42
  • Field Training: 300 hours
  • Cost: $549/credit
  • Mode: Online (+field training)
  • Accreditation: CEPH
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
57%
AccreditationCEPH
4 Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 1

The MPH degree program at Liberty University can be completed entirely online. The 42-credit degree typically takes 18 months. Each course lasts 8 weeks. Applicants can choose from three MPH specialties with an emphasis on global health, nutrition, and health promotion. There are six foundational health classes common to each emphasis. Studies include biostatistics, environmental health factors, patterns of disease, research methodology, and health policy management. Incoming students may also transfer credits up to 50% of the required MPH curriculum to shorten time to completion of the degree. The university also offers one-year graduate certificates in global health, health promotion, nutrition, and management.

Program Overview:

Online Master of Public Health

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost: $565/credit
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: CEPH
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
89%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
5 University of Nevada-RenoReno, NV Public $$ 1

At UNR, the Master of Public Health Practice has no residency requirement. The program is 100 percent online except for a 3-unit practicum. The 45-credit degree requires completion of all coursework culminating in a practicum and Capstone project. The core courses include research methodology, epidemiology, behavioral aspects in public health, health and the environment, health leadership and policy, and biostatistics. The 3-credit specialization courses focus on program development, finance, GIS/spatial analysis, management principles, emergency preparedness, information systems and health law. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA. Students with a lower GPA may be considered if they take the GRE.

Program Overview:

Online Master of Public Health Practice

  • Credits: 45
  • Length: 24 months
  • Cost: $634/credit
  • Mode: Online (+practicum)
  • Accreditation: CEPH
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
44%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
6 Ferris State UniversityBig Rapids, MI Public $$ 1

At Ferris University, students and complete the 42-credit MPH degree in 24 months.
Core courses make up 21 of the required graduation credits. Twelve units of electives are required in program electives. Three courses totaling 9 credits comprise the Capstone comprised of Grant & Research Proposal Writing and a Capstone research project. An accelerated BSPH to MPH is available for students who want to complete both degrees online in five years. MPH admission requirements include completion of a bachelor’s degree and an undergraduate/graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. You must have completed college-level studies in mathematics and statistics. Applicants must take the GRE.

Program Overview:

Public Health MPH Online

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: 24 months
  • Cost: $634/credit
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: CEPH
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
74%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
7 New Mexico State University-Main CampusLas Cruces, NM Public $$ 1

New Mexico State’s accredited MPH program uniquely offers the entire degree curriculum online, with a three-credit field experience. The program is designed for working public health practitioners who cannot attend courses in Las Cruces. The 42-credit MPH requires completion of 18 concentration credits; 15 core credits; 3 cultural foundation credits, and the field experience. The 18 concentration credits include studies in program management; finance and budgeting; health law and ethics; program planning and evaluation; and policy analysis. A master’s theses or 3-credit elective is required for graduation. Students may also opt for an MPH/MSW dual degree program as well as non-degree Graduate Certificate in Public Health.

Program Overview:

On-Line MPH

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: 26-36 months
  • Cost: $244.80/credit
  • Mode: Online (+field experience)
  • Accreditation: CEPH, AAPHP
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
65%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
8 University of Southern MississippiHattiesburg, MS Public $$ 1

The 42-credit MPH at Southern Miss requires successful completion of 18 health core requirements, 21 credits in health policy and administration. All coursework is done entirely online, but a 400-hour field work component is completed at an off-site facility in the final semester. Core courses are in environmental health, epidemiology, biostatistics, social and behavioral aspects of health, and a 6-hour internship. Health administration courses are in health policy, financial management, law/ethics, economics, strategic planning, human resources, and marketing. No thesis is required, however there is a final comprehensive exam. all online students pay in-state tuition. Applicants must take the GMAT or GRE.

Program Overview:

MPH in Health Policy and Administration

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: 15 months
  • Cost: $494/credit
  • Mode: Online (+internship and fieldwork)
  • Accreditation: CEPH
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
73%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
9 Indiana State UniversityTerre Haute, IN Public $$ 1

Indiana State’s Master of Public Health degree can be completed entirely online except for a 3-credit internship in Community Health Promotion. The 42-credit program includes a 1-6 credit master’s thesis or 3-credit culminating project in health sciences. No on-campus visits are required but general requirements include a 20-hour/week, on-site internship and an option of a thesis or research project. Didactic requirements call for 12, 3-credit courses. These include Research Methodology in Health Sciences; Statistical Methods in Health Sciences; Applied Communications in Health Professions; Epidemiology; Principles of Environmental Health; Health Behavior Theories; Seminar: Advanced Health Program Planning and Coordination; Supervision and Management in Health Professions; Seminar: Advanced Program Evaluation in Health Professions; Internship in Community Health Promotion; and Internship in Community Health Promotion.

Program Overview:

Master of Public Health Online

  • Credits: 39-42 (variable by thesis hours)
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost: $419/per credit
  • Mode: Online (+internship)
  • Accreditation: HLC
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
64%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
10 San Diego State UniversitySan Diego, CA Public $$ 1

It takes 18 months to complete the online coursework at San Diego State’s MPH degree program. The public health program suggests that student take two, three-credit courses per 8-week session in order to graduate on time. A week separates the 8-week sessions. An additional 180 hours of internship or practical field experience satisfy the on-site requirements. Mid-career students will learn how to create, implement, critique, and evaluate, public health programming. Application requirements include completion of an accredited bachelor's degree in any major with an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.85, GRE scores, three years of relevant full-time work experience, and current employment in a public health role.

Program Overview:

Master of Public Health Online (MPH)

  • Credits: 51
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost: $562/per credit
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: CEPH
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
21%
AccreditationCEPH
11 University of North Texas Health Science CenterFort Worth, TX Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
12 San Jose State UniversitySan Jose, CA Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
35%
Accreditation#N/A
13 Lamar UniversityBeaumont, TX Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
20%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
14 West Virginia UniversityMorgantown, WV Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
68%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
15 University of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbia, MO Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
65%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
16 The University of MontanaMissoula, MT Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
48%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
17 University of South DakotaVermillion, SD Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
67%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
18 University of North DakotaGrand Forks, ND Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
19 South Dakota State UniversityBrookings, SD Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
53%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
20 Idaho State UniversityPocatello, ID Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
69%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
21 University of South Florida-Main CampusTampa, FL Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
62%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
22 American Public University SystemCharles Town, WV Private, For-Profit $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
52%
AccreditationDistance Education Accrediting Commission
23 Concordia University-NebraskaSeward, NE Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
24 Rivier UniversityNashua, NH Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
25 Bryan UniversityTempe, AZ Private, For-Profit $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
Accreditation#N/A
26 University of Alaska AnchorageAnchorage, AK Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
30%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
27 University of ArizonaTucson, AZ Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
28 Capella UniversityMinneapolis, MN Private, For-Profit $$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
50%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
29 Purdue University GlobalDavenport, IA Private, For-Profit $$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
30 Kent State University at KentKent, OH Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
79%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
31 Old Dominion UniversityNorfolk, VA Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
70%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
32 Grand Canyon UniversityPhoenix, AZ Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
97%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
33 Columbia Southern UniversityOrange Beach, AL Private, For-Profit $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
68%
AccreditationDistance Education Accrediting Commission
34 Florida Agricultural and Mechanical UniversityTallahassee, FL Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
65%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
35 University of FloridaGainesville, FL Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
32%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
36 University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC Public $$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
41%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
37 University of Illinois at SpringfieldSpringfield, IL Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
86%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
38 University of South Carolina-ColumbiaColumbia, SC Public $$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
62%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
39 East Tennessee State UniversityJohnson City, TN Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
37%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
40 University of MemphisMemphis, TN Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
39%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
41 University of Massachusetts-AmherstAmherst, MA Public $$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
80%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
42 University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesMinneapolis, MN Public $$$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
43 Creighton UniversityOmaha, NE Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
44 University of Maryland-College ParkCollege Park, MD Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
47%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
45 University of Illinois at ChicagoChicago, IL Public $$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
67%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
46 California Baptist UniversityRiverside, CA Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
92%
Accreditation#N/A
47 National UniversityLa Jolla, CA Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
4%
Accreditation#N/A
48 MCPHS UniversityBoston, MA Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
49 Benedictine UniversityLisle, IL Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
50 Eastern Washington UniversityCheney, WA Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
51%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Online MPH Program Spotlights

Still can’t find that one online MPH program that meets all of your criteria? Not to worry. We’ve profiled three additional programs in detail from three nationally-recognized universities. While they didn’t make our top-50 list of best programs, they may still be the right choice for you. Take a look at what they have to offer in our write-ups below.

Dartmouth College

DARTMOUTH-COLLEGE

Dartmouth offers a 22-month hybrid master’s in public health. While the program combines online and on-campus work, Dartmouth’s MPH is a low-residency program, with students spending three weeks per year on campus. This time on campus is minimal enough that professionals don’t have to leave work for extended periods but still gives students the opportunity to meet their peers and instructors in person and have live, face-to-face classes. The rest of their program is completed online using virtual classes, video lectures, case studies and problem sets as modes of learning. Dartmouth admits students in cohorts of about 40 peers and boasts a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Students take one course at a time in addition to a practicum course that spans the duration of the program. Dartmouth’s practicum combines elements of a traditional master’s thesis with internship. Students address a healthcare issue and produce an academic product, like a grant proposal or policy white paper, which they present at the end of their program.

The George Washington University

WASHINGTON

George Washington University offers multiple online MPH programs to meet the needs of different students, including two accelerated tracks. The 18-month accelerated online track gives students the opportunity to earn their MPH faster than usual while still being able to work part-time. Students who want to finish their degree in an even shorter amount of time or fill a gap year before starting med school can enroll in GWU’s 12-month accelerated program. Prospective MPH students who prefer to take as little time off work as possible have options at GWU, too. The school’s customizable master of public health program allows students to earn their degree on a full-time or part-time basis over 2-5 years. All programs have the same curriculum; the number of credits taken each term is the only thing that changes. After choosing the right program length, MPH students can choose courses from six specialization tracks. Students can take all courses from the same track, giving them a highly specialized degree, or they can build a broader degree and choose courses from multiple specializations. Students must also complete a practicum at a local, national or international organization.

University of California Berkeley

CALIFORNIA

UC Berkeley’s online MPH program is designed for mid-career professionals who want a flexible degree program that doesn’t take them away from work. The program takes about 27 months to complete, but with permission from an academic advisor, students may be able to graduate in as few as 20 months. Berkeley combines synchronous and asynchronous elements to give students a dynamic online learning experience. Along with live video interactions each week in small working groups and larger lecture set-ups, students access readings, take quizzes, post to discussion boards, listen to lectures and watch videos online on their own time. Berkeley’s MPH features two on-campus learning experiences in the program’s summer terms and provides opportunities for degree specialization. Students may choose from five interdisciplinary concentrations: health policy and management (HPM), global health, community health sciences, epidemiology and spatial data science for public health. The required practicum is self-directed but with structured guidance from the school. Students gain in-field experience at partner organizations both nationally and internationally.

CEPH Accredited Online MPH Programs

When browsing online MPH programs, students should make sure their potential schools and MPH programs are accredited. Accreditation shows that institutions and programs of study have undergone standardized quality assessments determined by a board of field experts. Regional accreditation is one of the most widely recognized forms of accreditation in the U.S. Seven regional accrediting bodies governed by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) evaluate colleges and universities holistically. This is known as institutional accreditation, and it plays an important role in students’ financial aid. Students must be enrolled in a regionally accredited school in order to receive federal financial aid.

Individual programs of study within an institution can also undergo accreditation. The organization in charge of accrediting public health programs is the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). CEPH accredits both schools of public health and specific public health programs, like online Master of Public Health degrees. Those who enroll in a CEPH-accredited online MPH not only get an education evaluated on multiple levels by public health academics and professionals, they may also have more job opportunities. Many public health careers limit employment or give strong preference to applicants who have graduated from CEPH-accredited programs and schools. Also, those looking to earn the Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential may not sit for the CPH exam unless they graduated from a CEPH-accredited program.

Understanding the Master’s in Public Health Online

Applying to an online master’s in public health program is an important decision that should be given careful thought. All programs are different, so prospective MPH students should take time to familiarize themselves with different options. Being adequately informed can help ensure students enroll in an online MPH that works for them. Here are some key things to consider when comparing online master’s of public health programs.

What will you learn in online MPH programs?

A helpful way to determine whether or not an MPH is the right program of study for you is to check out the curriculum and see if the courses may help you in your educational and career goals. Curriculum specifics vary between programs, but many online MPH programs have some core courses in common.

Epidemiology

Introductory epidemiology courses introduce students to basic epidemiology principles and methods, like creating research questions and assessing the distribution of health and disease within populations. Students may learn about causal relationships, study design methods and other practical epidemiological techniques and concepts.

Course titles to look for: Epidemiologic Methods; Epidemiology of Health & Healthcare

Research Methods

Research courses often provide an essential framework for MPH final projects. Students learn about research design, data collection and analysis for public health research. They may also go over inferential best practices and learn different techniques for qualitative and quantitative research.

Course titles to look for: Research Methods in Public Health; Qualitative & Survey Research Methods

Health Policy

These courses focus on health policy and finance in the United States. Students may examine how concepts from other disciplines, like economics and political science, are applied to health policy as they learn about the nature of policy-making and the effects of implementing health policy.

Course titles to look for: Health Policy and Management; Health Policy

Program Planning

As the name suggests, students in these courses typically learn how to plan public health programs. Planning methods and research techniques may be introduced and assessed to help students create and evaluate health plans. Collaboration and communication are often featured prominently in program planning courses.

Course titles to look for: Program Planning; Program Planning and Evaluation; Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Change

Environmental Health

This entry-level course typically covers common environmental factors that contribute to disease. Students may be introduced to exposure assessment, toxicology and risk assessment. Some courses may also explore occupational health issues.

Course titles to look for: Intro to Environmental Health Science; Introduction to Environmental Health; Environmental and Occupational Health

While taking their public health courses, MPH students also gain a range of skills that may help them in their careers. These skills are often developed throughout the course of a program across multiple classes and capstone experiences. When comparing MPH programs online, students can see whether skills and competencies like the ones below have a significant place in the curriculum.

  • Project development and research
  • Analytical and quantitative analysis of health care data
  • Strategic decision-making
  • Communication, teamwork and leadership
  • Programmatic improvement

What concentrations can I choose in an MPH program?

For many students, a bachelor’s degree provides the foundational knowledge needed to enter a career field, and their master’s degree allows them to deepen their knowledge in a particular area of interest within that field. Focusing their studies on a particular demographic or other aspect of public health may help graduates land jobs that require specialized knowledge and skills. These are just a handful of the concentrations available through different online MPH programs.

Aging & Public Health

This concentration may be good for students interested in studying aging populations and understanding the process of aging from their point of view. This area of focus may include studies in health issues for aging populations, changes in the brain and behavior and assessment of policy to better serve diverse aging populations.

Child & Adolescent Health

Students who focus their studies on child and adolescent health may examine a variety of environmental, socioeconomic, demographic and cultural factors to gain specialized knowledge on health issues that affect young people. Students may use their capstone project to study and address a particular issue that affects children’s health.

Health Policy and Management

Through a health policy and management concentration, students have the chance to gain focused knowledge on organizational behavior and management in healthcare, the systems through which health policy decisions are made, health policy evaluation methods, economics and financing of health policy.

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

This may be a good specialization for students drawn to quantitative data and analysis. Studies in biostatistics help students interpret statistical data and assess its validity and relevance, while epidemiology involves using data to track diseases and study correlations between disease and other factors. Students typically choose a research question to apply data gathering and analysis skills throughout their program to draw conclusions.

Global Health

Students interested in developing skills and gaining knowledge they can use to improve the health of underserved populations around the world may want to pursue an MPH with a global health focus. Students may spend a significant amount of time learning about global health policy development and implementation.

Program planning and evaluation

Those who are particularly interested in developing and improving health programs can focus their studies on creating health promotion and education programs. Students may take marketing classes alongside courses centered around issues that affect specific populations, like reproductive health in low-income areas, to help them develop and implement effective health programs.

How long do online MPH programs take to complete?

Many online MPH programs are designed for students who have jobs and need a flexible way to advance their careers, so they’re often intended to be completed on a part time basis. This often takes around 22-27 months, but MPH programs typically require in-field practicum hours, which may push graduation for students with tight schedules or who currently work outside of healthcare. Some schools offer accelerated degree programs, which can cut completion time to around 18 months, and highly motivated students can seek out full-time online MPH programs, which take about a year to complete.

The One Year Online MPH

One-year online master’s of public health programs aren’t as common as their part-time counterparts, but options exist for those who want to earn their degree as quickly as possible. While students can earn their degree quickly, one-year online MPHs can make it difficult to work while taking classes. Typical one-year degree course loads are on-par with a full-time job. However, these accelerated programs can be an excellent fit for students taking a gap year while applying to med school.

One program to consider is the University of Southern California’s one-year online MPH. The program is fully online with no residency requirement, and students can choose from six concentrations to sharpen their expertise:

  • Biostatistics and Epidemiology
  • Community Health Promotion
  • Global Health
  • GeoHealth
  • Health Services and Policy
  • Generalist

The course load is about 40 hours per week with students taking 2-4 classes a term. During their final semester, students complete a practicum. The program starts in May, but applicants are accepted on a rolling basis. USC advises that students not work while completing their accelerated MPH. However, a few scholarships are available for the Master of Public Health Online program, which can help offset tuition costs while students are away from work.

How much will a master’s in public health online cost?

The cost of an online MPH degree depends on a mix of factors, like which school you attend, your financial aid package and how long it takes to complete your degree program. Some online programs even have different tuition for in-state and out-of-state students. Berkeley’s online MPH program doesn’t differentiate between in-state and out-of-state tuition, but online students must still pay campus fees each term. Tuition for their online MPH costs $1,277 per credit with a $728 campus fee per semester. Therefore, students who take longer to graduate may end up paying more overall. When determining costs, it’s best to check with individual online MPH programs and seek out cost breakdown details. Our rankings tool can help you get started.

Do I need to take the GRE for an MPH program?

GRE requirements for online MPHs depend on the program. Some schools do require GRE scores while others waive the score requirement if applicants have a certain amount of relevant professional experience. There are plenty of master’s of public health degrees that don’t require GRE scores that may be great fits for mid-career professionals or those who have taken a significant gap between their undergraduate and graduate programs.

What’s does a practicum entail?

As with traditional master’s of public health degrees, online MPH programs have a practicum requirement. The practicum allows students to gain hands-on experience in an area of public health that aligns with their career aspirations, conduct thesis-style research and apply their classroom knowledge in a practical setting. Most master’s of public health online weave the practicum component throughout the entire program, but accelerated degrees may focus on coursework first and dedicate the final semester to research and hands-on experience. Students may work with a faculty mentor to develop their practica, which typically focus on a specific public health issue, and then conduct research and use the skills gained in class to create one or more solutions to their proposed issue. Some practica focus more heavily on in-field work, where students work with public health organizations to apply their knowledge to real issues. Students are usually required to write a report, proposal, grant, plan or other publication and present it to faculty and peers. Presentations may occur during short, on-campus residencies.

Paying for Your Online Public Health Degree

Before enrolling in an online MPH program, prospective students should make sure they have their finances together and can pay for their degree. Figuring out how to pay for college can be intimidating, but getting everything sorted out in advance can be a huge stress relief when it comes time to begin classes. There are a range of financial aid options to help students plan for their MPH degrees.

1

Scholarships

Public health master’s students can apply for a variety of merit- and need-based scholarships. While applying for them can take time, scholarships are a great form of financial aid. They don’t need to be repaid, and many of them can be renewed for multiple terms. Visit our scholarships page to find some of the top scholarships for medical and health students.

2

Financial aid

Filling out the FAFSA is a relatively straightforward way for students to open themselves to multiple federal financial aid opportunities. Students may be eligible to receive grants, scholarships, work-study funds and subsidized loans. Many institutions use the FAFSA to determine their financial aid packages, too, so it’s definitely worth filling out. Learn more about the FAFSA and other forms of financial aid.

3

Grants

The FAFSA considers students for federal grants, but MPH students can seek out grants elsewhere, too. Professional organizations and non-profits can be excellent sources of gift aid like grants.

4

Private Loans

If after pursuing other forms of financial aid students still need tuition assistance, they can apply for private loans. These must be paid back, and they tend to accrue interest even while a student is in school.

5

Employer Sponsorship

 Sometimes employers will provide tuition assistance to employees who want to advance their educations. Typically, students have to at least be able to explain how the additional education would benefit their employer, but some tuition sponsorship agreements are a little more involve. Berkeley provides some helpful tips on requesting employer sponsorship on your online MPH.

What’s After Your Online MPH?

It’s a smart move to think about what comes after an MPH well before enrolling in an online program. Understanding potential careers and getting a feel for the industry’s future before starting an online MPH can help prospective students make informed decisions about their career and degree paths. Career options, role expectations, industry growth and salary potential are important pre-enrollment considerations.

Are there any certifications or licenses I need with an MPH?

While there aren’t any required certifications or licenses for public health professionals, graduates of online MPH programs may opt to get a Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential from the National Board of Public Health Educators (NBPHE). Those who hold this credential indicate advanced public health knowledge and a commitment to continued professional development and industry advancement. A CPH credential also shows potential employers that MPH graduates maintain national standards for public health professionals and are committed to upholding professional values. To earn the CPH credential, graduates of CEPH-accredited online MPH programs must pass an exam administered by the NBPHE.

mha-certifications
mha-certifications

What can I do with an online MPH?

Public health is a broad and varied industry, so those with advanced degrees like an MPH can explore many career paths upon graduation. With backgrounds in research, policy and healthcare, MPH graduates may pursue a range of careers within non-profit, government and private organizations. After earning their master’s of public health online, students may track and study health data as epidemiologists or biostatisticians. They may conduct essential research and add to the body of public health knowledge. Others might work in the public sector to develop and implement public health policy. Graduates can also continue their educations and pursue a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) or a PhD in Public Health, both of which can open up even more career opportunities. The following chart gives prospective master’s of public health students a small sample of the career possibilities available to MPH graduates.

online-mha-chart
online-mha-chart

How much can you earn with an MPH degree?

Those who hold an MPH degree can take on a wide range of careers, so earnings vary. Healthcare administrators, for instance, had a median annual wage of $99,730 in 2018, while the median wage for epidemiologists was $69,660. (Bureau of Labor Statistics) Regardless of their specific career paths, salaries for public health professionals generally increase with higher education levels and more job experience. Use the table below to see how education, experience and location affect earnings for various public health careers.

Career # Employed Entry-Level Early Career Mid-Career Experienced Late Career
Medical and Health Services Managers 372,670 $58,680 $76,050 $99,730 $130,820 $182,600
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary 199,480 $43,370 $61,280 $97,370 $160,580
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health 80,480 $42,520 $53,580 $71,130 $94,590 $124,620
Epidemiologists 7,060 $42,240 $54,930 $69,660 $89,950 $112,600
Healthcare Social Workers 168,190 $34,210 $43,530 $56,200 $70,280 $84,870
Health Educators 58,780 $32,030 $39,800 $54,220 $74,660 $98,530
Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors 267,730 $28,240 $34,950 $44,630 $57,580 $72,990
Community Health Workers 56,130 $26,070 $32,280 $39,540 $51,650 $65,890

Further Education & Related Degrees

Those interested in public health aren’t limited to online MPH programs, so if a master’s in public health doesn’t seem like the right degree path, there are plenty of other options to explore. Some degree programs hone in on more specific aspects of public health or may have a stronger focus on client care over research and policy. Some prospective students may want to explore their options after completing an MPH. Those who aren’t sure if an online MPH program is the best fit for them may find these other health degrees worth looking into.

mha-education

Continuing Education

Online Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

An Online Doctor of Public Health is a great degree for professionals who have earned their MPH but want to continue their educations and prepare themselves for advanced leadership roles in public health sectors. Students focus their training on a specific area of public health while also developing their leadership, management and communication skills.

mha-education

Related Degrees

Online Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)

Prospective students who are drawn to the business side of healthcare may be better suited to an online MHA. Healthcare administration programs involve study in finance, human resources and marketing essential for keeping healthcare facilities functioning. Students also explore ethics, emerging technologies and leadership issues in healthcare.

Online Master’s in Health Science

Students who want to earn a specialized degree in a specific area of health science may be good candidates for online master’s in health science degrees. Schools offer many different specialization areas to prepare students for subject-specific research or clinical careers.