Top Online MPH Programs with No GRE Requirement

Many online MPH programs are nixing the GRE requirement. Explore 2021’s best schools with GRE alternatives and what that means for you.

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Written By
Edumed Staff

last updated

Last Updated: 09/22/2021
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The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) has long been the most common standardized test for graduate school admissions, including for students who want to earn their master’s in public health. However, given that more and more mid-career professionals are seeking advanced degrees – and they’re pretty far removed from their undergraduate programs – standardized tests like the GRE are becoming less and less important. In fact, some high-quality MPH programs, including those offered online, now waive the GRE score requirement.

To help you find a quality MPH program you can earn online that doesn’t require a GRE and doesn’t break the bank, we’ve put together a list of the best affordable schools offering online MPH programs without a GRE requirement. Let’s take a look at our top-rated programs for 2021 and see which one is right for you.

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About the ranking

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Methodology for EduMed’s 2021 Best Online Programs

1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

2. Assign Weightings

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

Affordability

  • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

# 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 University of North Texas Health Science CenterFort Worth, TX Public $$ 1

The University of North Texas Health Science Center’s master of public health degree, which can be completed entirely online or in a hybrid format, focuses on leadership for supervisory roles in the public health field. The program has a 48-credit hour version for those who have recently earned their bachelor's degree or are training to enter the public health field from another profession. There is also a 42-credit hour version designed for professionals who have worked in the medical or public health fields for at least three years. Students in both versions take classes related to epidemiology, biostatistics, organizational leadership, and public health law and policy. They also participate in practical experiences to apply what they learned to real-world settings and pass a comprehensive examination to graduate.

Program Highlights:

Master of Public Health

  • Credits: 42-48
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $13,500.00 to $16,000.00/program
  • Mode: Fully online or Partially online
  • Accreditation: CCSACS (school); CEPH (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
2 University of South DakotaVermillion, SD Public $$ 1

The online Master of Public Health offered by the University of South Dakota is for those interested in using their knowledge and skills to practice in rural communities. The program, which is delivered in conjunction with South Dakota State University, provides a curriculum based on five core competencies: health services administration, epidemiology, environmental health, biostatistics, and social and behavioral sciences. Graduates provide care to patients in underserved and rural populations through disease prevention programs. They also perform epidemiological health analyses that can influence policy and programs designed to enhance wellness in a community. Coursework covers public health theory and practice, leadership and project management, and social and behavioral sciences.

Program Highlights:

Master of Public Health

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $145.40/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CEPH (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
67%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
3 Purdue University-Main CampusWest Lafayette, IN Public $$ 1

To be admitted into the online public health master’s program at Purdue University-Main Campus, applicants need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, a professional resume, a 500-word personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. In addition, applicants are required to participate in a phone interview with an admissions advisor.

Once they enter the program, students learn advanced concepts related to environmental health sciences, biostatistics, health system administration and management, epidemiology, and behavioral and social sciences. They take synchronous classes that allow them to work at their own pace. Throughout the program, they participate in discussion boards to communicate with classmates and professors and submit assignments via e-mail.

Program Highlights:

Master of Public Health

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $700.00/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CEPH (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
43%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
4 University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC Public $$$ 1

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s online public health master’s degree is offered on a full- or part-time basis and allows students to choose one of three concentrations: leadership in practice, nutrition, and public health/registered dietician. Those in the leadership in practice program learn a combination of communication, research, ethical, and management skills that help them take an administrative role in the field. Those interested in public health as it relates to nutrition can enroll in either the nutrition or public health/registered dietician concentrations. The MPH nutrition program focuses on using communication, counseling, and behavioral change to improve the health of communities through diet. Those who want to become registered dietitians can enroll in the combination Master of Public Health/Registered Dietitian program to learn how to apply advanced dietitian principles to a public health setting.

Program Highlights:

Master of Public Health

  • Credits: 42-57
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $1,997.40/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: SACSCC (school); CEPH (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
41%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
5 University of FloridaGainesville, FL Public $$$ 1

The University of Florida’s online public health master’s degree allows students to virtually watch lectures and complete weekly assignments. Students take examinations through an online proctoring service that monitors their activities. The MPH program allows students to concentrate their studies on public health practice or social and behavioral sciences. The public health practice program, designed for those with previous public health work experience or a doctoral-level degree in another health field, focuses on advanced public health theory and applying these concepts to leadership positions. In the social and behavioral science concentration, students learn about the complicated relationship between public health and psychological, social, cultural, and behavioral factors. Through this understanding, they apply public health principles to address healthcare inequities and disparities.

Program Highlights:

Master of Public Health

  • Credits: 48
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $35.75/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: SACSCC (school); CEPH (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
32%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
6 University of ArizonaTucson, AZ Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
7 University of Massachusetts-AmherstAmherst, MA Public $$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
80%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
8 Simmons CollegeBoston, MA Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
9 George Washington UniversityWashington, DC Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
75%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
10 Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, MD Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
52%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
11 Baylor UniversityWaco, TX Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
97%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
12 Walden UniversityMinneapolis, MN Private, For-Profit $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
13 University of New EnglandBiddeford, ME Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education

Additional No-GRE Schools to Consider for Your Online MPH

Ashford University

The Master of Public Health through Ashford University is designed with affordability in mind; that’s one of the reasons the school doesn’t require the GRE. Admitted students can dive right into their education with one course at a time, each lasting for six weeks. Major core requirements come first, totaling up to 27 credits. Of those 27, three credits are for the capstone project, and another three are for the practicum, which will be completed during the last semester.

Then students can choose from Generalist Track Courses and Health Care Administration Track Courses; each track requires 15 credits. These credits will move you from the major courses to specialized ones, preparing you to move into the public health area that most interests you. Typical courses include those in applied behavioral science, environmental health, health services administration, and principles of biostatistics.

All courses must be completed with a 3.0 or above in order to graduate with the MPH from Ashford. This goal is aided by 24/7 tech support, round-the-clock library and writing center help, and a student-teacher ratio of 13 to one, helping assure more individual attention during the pursuit of the degree. Nineteen student organizations help ensure that students are engaged outside of class while a career center helps prepare you to move into the workforce upon graduation, including customized career planning and one-on-one coaching.

Boston University

The Online Executive Master of Public Health through Boston University’s School of Public Health takes one year of full-time study to complete. Beginning with the 2019-2020 admissions cycle, the GRE is no longer required under a three-year pilot program that looks at phasing out the test altogether. Boston University makes the case that the GRE is financially prohibitive, a poor predictor of academic success, and biased against women, minority students, and those from underprivileged backgrounds. In lieu of the GRE requirement, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree and have at least five years of experience in the public health field.

The program is designed for working professionals. The courses that make up 42 credits focus on the biological, social, economic, political, behavioral, cultural, and environmental factors that affect the health of a variety of populations. The seven-week courses are entirely online and include live weekly sessions, cohort-based learning, practice-based teaching, and focus on leadership skills necessary to make a go at working in public health. Advanced fieldwork is required to ensure students can apply what is learned in the classroom to real-world situations. For those who need a little boost, financial aid – including scholarships – is available through the school.

Drexel University

The Online MPH in Global Health is offered through the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. The program holds a commitment to diversity and equity; thus, GRE test scores are not required with the application. The school actively seeks out students who round out the diversity of the school, especially from underrepresented minority groups. Students in this program will be prepared to apply ethical approaches and human rights principles to public health issues, design public health interventions for diverse populations, and develop strong monitoring and evaluation strategies.

Courses in Public Health Foundations and a three-course sequence on Public Health Methods begin the educational journey. Fifteen credits in core courses are then required before the student branches off into a specialization: Maternal Child Health or LGBT Health. The practical experience requirement includes depth (120-140 hours of field placement) as well as breadth (one experience per month). This can include everything from long-term learning experiences to short-term volunteer work. The program ends with the Integrated Learning Experience (ILE), conducted as a capstone course, which culminates in a written report that proves mastery of public health subjects.

Ohio University

Offered through the College of Health Sciences and Professions, the Online Master of Public Health at Ohio University offers 100% online coursework and the ability to graduate within two years. Given that this program is designed for working professionals in the field, the school does not require GRE scores to apply.

This MPH program is one of the few in the country that provides a strong understanding of rural health disparities, which helps prepare students to work with underprivileged populations on a variety of issues that matters in local communities. The comprehensive program requires 42 credit hours for graduation; courses include topics such as Program Planning and Implementation in Public Health, Biostatistics in Public Health, MPH Seminar, Grant Writing in Public Health Practice, and Chronic Disease Epidemiology.

The twelve three-credit courses are each seven weeks long, taught by faculty with many years of practical experience and a research background. Students can take one course at a time if they choose to do so. Once the coursework is complete, students must complete the capstone project by applying their education to real-world issues in their local communities.

University of Nevada, Reno

The Online Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice at University of Nevada, Reno offers a comprehensive curriculum with focus on finance and budgeting, health informatics, epidemiology, public health policy, biostatistics, and social and behavioral health. The program provides maximum flexibility with no residency requirement, 100% online courses, multiple start dates per year, graduation in as little as 24 months, and no GRE requirement for applicants.

Admission to the program is competitive. Students must provide proof of at least a 3.0 GPA in undergraduate work, two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, up-to-date resume or C.V., a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a completed course in statistics, and the completed application form. Those who earned a GPA of between 2.75 and 3.0 can choose to submit GRE or other standardized test scores (GMAT or MCAT) for consideration for admission.

Once enrolled, students must complete 45 credit hours for graduation, including 21 hours of core courses, 18 hours in public health practice specialization, three hours in practicum and three hours in the capstone requirement. A sampling of courses includes Health and the Environment, Health Policy, Organizational Behavior and Leadership in Health Services, Public Health Finance, Public Health Law, and Epidemiological Surveillance.

University of New England

The 46-credit Master of Public Health from University of New England is designed to enhance students’ abilities in a variety of leadership areas, including analysis, communication, ethics, financial management, program health planning, and public policy, among others. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, a 3.0 GPA maintained during that undergraduate pursuit, and consistent performance in science and math courses. Though the GRE is not required by University of New England for the MPH program, those who don’t show proficiency in math and science courses can submit GRE scores instead.

Once enrolled, students can complete their studies in 18 months of full-time coursework. The 100% online courses include 31 credits of core courses, such as Research Methods, Social and Behavioral Health, Public Health Administration, and Biostatistics. Students must then choose among electives to build up 15 credits in areas of interest, such as Community Assessment, Occupational Health, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, and Global Health. Students will then complete the applied practice experience, which requires them to apply their hard-won education to real-world situations in their own community.

University of San Francisco

The Master of Public Health through the School of Nursing and Health Professions at University of San Francisco looks at a wide variety of factors for their competitive admissions process. These include employment background, previous coursework, research interest, long term professional goals, and preparedness. Applicants must offer up a bachelor’s degree earned with a 3.0 minimum GPA, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, resume, and completed application; some students might require more information, depending upon their international status. The GRE is not a requirement for any applicants to the MPH program.

Once enrolled, students can choose from three concentrations: Community and Public Health Practice, Health Policy Leadership, and Behavioral Health; however, only the Community and Public Health Practice concentration is available 100% online. The 14:1 student-teacher ratio allows for close interaction with peers and learned faculty. In addition to high-quality courses in the points that matter most for public health leadership, students will also complete 250 hours of fieldwork placement in a public health organization; this can be completed in the student’s local community if they so choose. The program has been fully CEPH-accredited since 2014.

Types of Online MPH Programs with No GRE

Why do schools offer the very important MPH with no GRE requirement attached? There are several reasons for this, as evidenced by the application requirements. Here’s what to expect from a school that doesn’t require the GRE.

Online MPH Programs with No GRE Requirement

Some programs have phased out the GRE altogether. Though there are some schools that have created other requirements to make up for the information the GRE might be able to provide, many of them have simply done away with the test, claiming it is too biased, doesn’t provide an accurate view of a student’s abilities, and is prohibitively expensive. These schools simply rely on the other traditional information found in an application, such as the GPA earned at the undergraduate level or the coursework completed before applying, to help them make a choice on students to admit.

However, there are some schools that allow students to submit their GRE scores to make up for something they might not have in the application process. This is especially true for those students who might have a lower GPA than the typical 3.0 required by most programs, or those who have not completed certain perquisite math and science courses. In these cases, students are allowed to submit GRE scores for consideration. In some schools, students can simply submit GRE scores if they want to present a more complete package to the admissions office – however, the GRE is considered as part of the overall application, not as something that gives a student an advantage over others who chose not to take the GRE scores.

Online MPH Programs with GRE Waivers

Some schools look to certain other criteria in order to waive the GRE requirement. A good example of this is a school that looks for a certain number of years of experience – often three to five years of work in the field – before the student applies to graduate school. In this case, that experience is considered more than enough to waive the GRE requirement that might otherwise be in place. This might also happen when a student has a certain amount of advanced coursework in public health, enough that they have learned a significant amount of information that holds them in good stead in the field and allows them to move seamlessly into the master’s coursework.