Earning an undergraduate or graduate degree in public health is an excellent way to prepare for a rewarding career in fields like epidemiology, healthcare education, and environmental health. But college isn’t a walk in the park and tuition, fees and other expenses can add up quick. Fortunately, if you’re a public health student (or thinking about becoming one) and you could use some extra financial or academic help to get through college, there’s plenty of places to get it.
In the following guide, you’ll find over 15 scholarship and grants for public health students, tips for winning them, and a list of other useful online and campus-based resources designed to help public health students like you succeed in their academic and career pursuits.
Scholarships and Grants for Public Health Students
Scholarships and grants are money awards made to students based on any number of factors, such as academic achievement, athletic ability, artistic talent, minority or special interest group affiliation, and financial need. Sponsors of these programs include individuals, private companies, professional organizations, federal and state agencies, community and religious groups, and even colleges and universities themselves.
The biggest plus to winning a scholarship or grant is that they’re essentially “free money” for your college education that you don’t have to pay back. Here’s a detailed look at some of the best scholarship programs currently available for public health majors.
School-based Scholarships in Public Health
Probably the single best scholarship resource for public health students is their college. In addition to providing information on scholarship opportunities from outside sources, many top college and universities sponsor their own scholarships exclusively available to their students. To find out about both internal and external scholarship opportunities for funding your degree program, contact your school’s financial aid office or program director. You’ll also likely be able to access scholarship and other funding source information on your school’s website.
The following two spotlights offer examples of schools with programs that feature excellent internal and external scholarship opportunities for their public health students.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health prepares its graduates for education, research, and leadership positions across a broad range of practice areas through degree programs in school departments such as Behavioral and Community Health Services, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management, Human Genetics, and Infectious Diseases and Microbiology. In support of its students, Pitt offers internal scholarship, fellowship, and grant opportunities exclusive to each of these departments. One such program is highlighted below. You can learn more about UP’s public health student funding awards by visiting the school’s grants and scholarships webpage.
Bob Yee Public Health Scholarship
No specific deadline. Awards typically made each July.
Open to Infectious Diseases and Microbiology department incoming students. Two to three awards made each year based on student academic merit and promise.
How to Apply
No application is required. All matriculated Infectious Diseases and Microbiology students are considered.
IUPUI’s Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health is home to undergraduate degrees in several fields, including Health Data Science, Health Services Management, Epidemiology, and Community and Global Health. Master’s and Doctoral degrees in a number of education, research, and management related majors are also available. Fairbanks currently offers 10 scholarships to its public health students, each with its own eligibility requirements (undergrad or grad, specific major, etc.) and award amounts. Visit the school’s scholarships page to find out more on these scholarship opportunities, including the following:
Addison Public Health Scholarship
Open to Fairbanks full-time undergraduate students pursuing a BS in Public Health in the final year of their programs. Awards made based on the student’s academic merit and motivation for completing their degree.
How to Apply
Applicants must provide a completed application, resume, and 600-800 word personal statement summarizing his or her post-graduation goals and how the award will impact those goals.
National and Regional Public Health Scholarships
Association of Accredited Public Health Programs (AAPHP)
$1,000 (Graduate); $500 (Undergraduate)
Open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a public health degree program (at an AAPHP member or affiliate school) currently conducting or about to begin a student-led public health project or thesis.
How to Apply
Contact the program for information on application requirements.
American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)
Applicant must be a minority student entering his/her final year of their studies in a MPH program, or master’s program in a closely-related major. ACHE Student Associate membership is not required, but is preferred.
How to Apply
Complete the online application. Documentation requirements include transcripts, CV or resume, letters of recommendation, and essay.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
$500 to $10,000 (Varies by specific scholarship)
Several awards available to students enrolled in ASCEND-accredited degree programs on every level majoring or planning a career in a dietetics field (including public health majors).
How to Apply
The online application form and full application instructions can be found on the application portal webpage.
Available to students entering or currently enrolled in a full-time master’s degree program in public health or public policy, and intending to pursue a career that advances public policy related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Minimum 3.0 GPA also required.
How to Apply
Visit this Scholarship America webpage for application requirements and to apply.
David A. Winston Health Policy Fellowship
Applicant must be in the second full-time semester or third full-time quarter of the first year of their graduate studies in a public health, health policy, health administration, or health management degree program.
How to Apply
Application information and instructions can be accessed on the scholarship webpage. Documents required include transcripts, resume, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
5 Keys to Winning Your Public Health Scholarship
There are two major elements to winning scholarships. The first is to apply to the right ones, and the second is to make a good impression. Remember, most scholarships competitive, so even if you meet the eligibility requirements, you’ll still have to impress the people choosing the winning applicant if you want to land the award. And the only way to impress the decision makers is with standout application. Here are five important tips to help you do just that:
- Get a head start:
The best time to start your search for public health scholarship opportunities is at the same time you start your degree program search. Finding scholarships you have the best chance of landing, as well as putting together great application packages, takes both time and effort. So get going ASAP.
- Do your research:
You want to go for the scholarships you have the best chance of winning, so check out those contest requirements carefully. Seek out scholarships specifically for the subfield of public health you’re studying. Also, consider local or regional scholarships with smaller prizes. There will likely be less competition for them, and that means better odds of winning for you.
- Tailor your essays and letters of recommendation:
The best chance you have to set yourself apart from other applicants is with your essays and letters of recommendation. So, don’t wing it writing your essay, and choose your letter writers carefully. Make sure both your essay and letters make clear to the scholarship board your strong interest and passion in becoming a public health professional.
- Go for the tough ones:
Some scholarship contests have applications that require more work, like longer essays, more recommendations, interviews, etc. Maybe even submission of a video. Sound like too big of a hassle? Maybe. But that means others will feel the same way and take a pass on applying. And that, in turn, means less competition. That is, if you make the extra effort and apply.
- Meet your deadlines:
All scholarship contests have deadlines, and they’re not fooling around. The moment you decide to apply for a scholarship, be sure to take serious note of all deadlines involved. You miss a deadline and all of your efforts in pursuit of that scholarship are wasted.
Additional Funding Options for Your Public Health Degree
Scholarships and grants are great sources of money for college, but the vast majority of students receiving them will still need to find additional funding to pay for their degree programs. The most popular source of college funding is the student loan. Most student loans are made through federal or state government programs, although private student loans may also be available. Other popular college financing sources include work-study programs, internships and assistantships (mostly for graduate students), the GI Bill (for active military and veterans), and employee tuition reimbursement programs. Another option for those who’ve already secured a student loan is loan forgiveness through programs like the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program from the federal government.
Visit EduMed’s student loan and financial aid pages to learn more about funding your public health college degree.
Academic and Career Support Resources for Public Health Students
Building your career in public health starts with earning a college degree, but it certainly doesn’t end there. And it doesn’t end after finding your first public health job, either. Career building is a process you’ll be working on throughout your professional life, which is why you’ll need a foundation of support services and resources you can turn to before, during, and after your time as a public health student.
You can begin establishing that foundation with the resources listed below, which include academic services provided by your school and degree program, as well as public health professional organizations, student and professional networking opportunities, and a number of online resources you can take advantage of.
Public Health Student Support Centers and Services
Most colleges and universities today feature a range of useful services for their students packaged together in a one-stop location known as the student support services center. These centers are typically housed in a physical location on the school’s campus, with its resources additionally accessible via the school’s website. And many university public health departments provide their own student support services, both on-campus and through their website.
So, whether you’re a prospective public health student searching for the right degree program, an incoming freshman looking for help choosing your classes or finding a place to live, or an upcoming graduate seeking an internship, your school’s student services team can help. Below, we spotlight three schools with outstanding support services for their public health students to give you an idea of what to look for from your school.
Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University offers bachelor and master’s degrees in public health, as well as a number of other public health-related master’s and doctorate degrees through its New Orleans campus-based School of Public Health. Students in these programs can access dozens of informational resources and a range of school-sponsored academic, employment, health, safety, and student life services by visiting this student resources webpage.
Specific resources and services available include school and program policies and curriculum publications and forms, access to internship and fellowship opportunities, research and library resources, academic writing assistance, computer support, and much more. Public health students additionally have access to outpatient health care through the Student Health Service campus clinic, as well as mental and emotional counseling via the Campus Assistance Program.
University of South Florida
Located in Tampa, the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health is home to degrees on the bachelor, master’s, and doctoral levels, including an online Master of Public Health degree program with seven concentration options. To support students in these degree programs, USF offers a wide variety of academic, financial, extracurricular, and student life services, most of which can be accessed online. Services of note include extensive career counseling (both in-person and online), physical and mental health services, and library and research materials access. Students can also participate in several public health-related student associations, including the Public Health Student Association, USF Infectious Disease Association, Epidemiology & Biostatistics Student Association, and the Delta Omega honorary society for graduate students in public health. Undergraduates can access information on school and program services on this undergraduate student resources webpage. Links to services and resources for public health graduate students can be found on the graduate studies webpage.
University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health offers several undergraduate and graduate degree options in the public health field on its Twin Cities campus, as well as a Masters of Public Health Practice degree presented in a hybrid format that combines online and on-campus coursework. UM and the School of Public Health additionally offer a robust package of student support services that includes academic resources such as online library materials and librarian research and media consultation services, statistical consulting, writing assistance, career and professional development services, IT support, and much more. Full information on all student support services can be accessed through the School and University Resources webpage.
Resources for Online Public Health Students
The growing popularity of distance education and online degree programs brings with it a growing need for online access to student services and resources, such as academic and career counseling, financial aid, and books and other research materials. Fortunately, the availability of these services and resources is also growing. Below are six such resources particularly helpful to public health students pursuing postsecondary studies in a fully-online or hybrid degree program.
- Guide to Online Public Health Degrees
EduMed’s guide helping prospective students find the best online public health degree to suit their unique academic and professional goals. Readers will also find useful advice on launching a successful public health career upon graduation.
- E-learning Resources for Global Health Researchers
Clearinghouse website from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for dozens of free and low-cost e-learning articles, training aids, courses, programs, and more, that online public health students can use for research papers, projects, theses, and more.
- Foundations of Public Health
Presented by the University of California Irvine, Foundations of Public Health is a free online-accessible course that presents an overview of the “framework, principles, and core responsibilities” of public health research and practice that can help prepare online public health students for their degree studies.
- National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
The NCHS website compiles and distributes statistical information useful to physicians, healthcare providers, researchers, policy makers, and other professionals. The website features a highly-useful page dedicated to resources that can be employed by online students in their public health research. Presented by the CDC.
- Public Health Writing Guide (PHX)
Presented by Boston University’s School of Public Health and the Population Health Exchange (PHX), this writing guide provides online public health students with concrete strategies for improving their prose when writing in specific forms common in public health, such as abstracts, executive summaries, grant proposals, policy memos, research papers, and more.
- Transitioning to Online School: A Guide for Healthcare Students
This EduMed guide is designed for healthcare students new to online learning who are currently enrolled or planning to enroll in an online degree program. Students learn about time management, popular learning management systems, how to interact with instructors and peers, and much more.
Student Organizations and Professional Associations
- American College of Epidemiology (ACE)
The American College of Epidemiology is a professional association founded to support and advocate for the epidemiology profession through the sponsorship of publications, meetings and educational activities.
- American Public Health Association (APHA)
With members in over 40 countries, the APHA is a professional association dedicated to improving public health and achieving equity in health status around the world. Its Student Assembly is a 7,000-member student-led organization whose mission is to further the development of the next generation of professionals in public health and related disciplines.
- Delta Omega
With over 20,000 members and nearly 100 chapters, Delta Omega is the nation’s honorary society in public health whose mission is to promote excellence in the public health field and advance the health of people, both in the U.S. and around the world.
- National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI)
The NNPHI is a financial, social, and information network of over 40 member public health institutes, 10 university-based training centers, 40 affiliates, and 4,500 experts throughout the United States. Services provided include educational programs and technical assistance, online tools, and more.
- Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)
SOPHE is a nonprofit professional organization of nearly 4,000 health educators and students located throughout the United States and in 25 countries around the world. Members work with federal, state and local governments, as well as colleges, universities, schools, worksites and other organizations to promote healthy behaviors, communities, and environments.
Online Communities, Networking Sites, and Social Media
- APHA on Twitter
Twitter home for the American Public Health Association providing up-to-date news and information on important public health issues and challenges from the APHA, and other national, regional, and local sources.
- Global Public Health Facebook Page
With a membership approaching 700, this is the Facebook page of the LinkedIn Global Public Health Group, and intended primarily for individuals currently working or studying in the many fields directly related public health.
- Jobs & Educational Opportunities in Public Health/Epidemiology Facebook Group
This 2,200-member Facebook group is dedicated to helping public health professionals locate and share education and job opportunities, as well as providing a forum for discussing education degree options in public health and epidemiology.
- Public Health Professionals LinkedIn Group
LinkedIn networking group with over 63,000 members worldwide, including doctors, nurses, social workers, nonprofit groups, MPH degree-holders, and other professionals in all segments of the public health field.
- Public Health Reddit Community
Reddit Community with 32,000 members featuring professionals and students discussing issues concerning all aspects of the public health field. Includes advice, news, career development, research, and resource flairs.
Podcasts & Videos
- The Future of Healthcare and Public Health
Podcast episode featuring instructor and researcher from Florida Atlantic University’s Health Administration program. Discussion centers on the future of public health and healthcare, and the changes to both sectors that may be caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Nation’s Health
Podcast series produced by The Nation’s Health, a publication of the American Public Health Association. Topics regarding every aspect of public health are covered. Visitors to the website can access both recordings and transcripts of all episodes.
- Public Health Careers (NIH)
YouTube video roundtable discussion on public health careers featuring five panelists in population and epidemiological science backgrounds with academic research institutions, contract research organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and regulatory agencies.
- Public Health Epidemiology Careers Podcast
In-depth podcast series hosted by epidemiologist and consultant Dr. C.H. Huntley with over 150 episodes offering advice and strategies for entering or transitioning into careers in the public health field.
- Why Public Health?
Podcast series produced by the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University featuring brief interviews with Harvard Chan graduates about why they chose to pursue degrees and careers in public health.