Best Online Master’s in Public Health Degree Programs

Graduates with a master’s of public health (MPH) are armed with the skills to make an impact on health at the individual, community and global levels. These professionals participate in the planning, development and implementation of health policies and programs in local and global agencies. Possible settings for employment include healthcare facilities, social service agencies, county and state health departments and health policy organizations.

Students enrolled in an online master’s in public health program are typically working professionals, and these busy individuals benefit from the flexibility of an online program. Completing coursework online allows for common time and budget constraints; students are able to finish their degrees in a more affordable and accelerated format while continuing to work.

An online MPH program also offers a range of career opportunities. Students can tailor their online programs to their interests and specific job needs by selecting a concentration from a number of areas. Through solid core curriculum and various electives and certifications, online programs provide the options of attaining a generalist degree or focusing on an area of expertise within public health.

With healthcare fields continuing to grow, professionals with a masters of public health have an optimistic job outlook. Careers in this field are projected to grow between 10% and 25% by 2022, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

These projections, combined with the range of options available to public health students, make an online master of public health a solid degree choice to further a healthcare professional’s career. To assist you in the next step toward attaining this valuable degree, we’ve ranked the top online master’s in public health programs.

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill
  • in-state tuition: $8,340
  • out-of-state tuition: $30,122
103 South Bldg Cb 9100
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
(919) 962-2211

UNC offers the Global Online Master of Health with two available concentrations: Applied Implementation Science and Water and Population Health. This program is designed for professionals with a bachelor's degree in a related field or a medical degree, plus three or more years of work experience. Completion of the program requires 42 credit hours, with a minimum of six credit hours taken per semester. Students typically complete the degree in two years.

Coursework emphasizes the development of leadership skills, public health solutions and best health practices. Topics covered include global public health, public health leadership, epidemiology and biostatistics. Coursework includes a three-credit practicum and a three-credit master's paper. All work for online MPH programs are accessed through the Blackboard platform.


University of California - Berkeley

  • in-state tuition: $12,864
  • out-of-state tuition: $35,742
200 California Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
(510) 642-6000

The public health program prepares graduates for careers in the areas of: environmental hazard protection, disease prevention, disaster recovery and healthcare advocacy. Core coursework covers epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, social and behavioral science and health service management.

The program is designed for completion in two years, with students taking two courses per semester. Two classes require one week on campus each, usually occurring in June. Students must also complete a practicum, consisting of field placement with a total of at least 110 contact hours. Partial credit may be available for those already working in public health. All other coursework is completed online through the Blackboard platform.


University of Florida

  • in-state tuition: $6,263
  • out-of-state tuition: $28,541

Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-3261

The public health degree is a 48-credit online program with no campus visits required. Coursework is accessed through the Canvas online learning platform.

Students choose one of two available concentrations for their studies: Public Health Practice or Social and Behavioral Sciences. Topics covered by classes include environmental health, health policy, epidemiology and health management. Coursework includes core classes, concentration courses, a seminar and a five-credit internship. Graduates must also complete a major written paper and make an oral presentation of their completed project. Upon graduation, students are expected to have mastered ten core areas of competency, including communication, research, policy and plan development and health services evaluations.


University of South Florida

  • in-state tuition: $6,410
  • out-of-state tuition: $17,324
4202 East Fowler Ave
Tampa, FL 33620-9951
(813) 974-2011

Students considering an MPH online have seven concentration tracks to choose from, including Public Health Practice, Epidemiology, Infection Control and Social Marketing. Each concentration requires supervised field experience, which may be completed in the student's local area. The MPH prepares students to launch careers in diverse places including the Centers for Disease Control, foreign military locations and isolated rural communities.

Depending on concentration, students earn between 42 and 46 credits in order to graduate. Though the courses students take in each specialization differ slightly, every MPH candidate must take the History & Systems of Public Health and a comprehensive exam. Faculty provides online coursework in various multimedia formats such as blogs, podcasting, web conferencing and discussion forums. Students access coursework through the Canvas platform.


Tulane University of Louisiana

New Orleans
  • annually: $46,929
6823 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118-5698
(504) 865-5000

Tulane offers three online MPH programs, each requiring 42 total credit hours for completion: Disaster Management MPH, Occupational Health and Safety Management MPH and Occupational and Environmental Health MPH. Students may also pursue a Master of Science In Public Health, Industrial Hygiene, which requires 45 credit hours to complete.

Core curriculum for each specialty includes coursework in policy, social and behavioral sciences, public health medicine, environmental health and biostatistics. Each program also involves completion of a culminating learning experience, in the form of a writing project or comprehensive exam, and a practicum. The practicum requires 200-400 hours of field work; prior experience may be applied toward these hours. All online classes are completed with the use of the Blackboard learning platform.


Michigan State University

East Lansing
  • in-state tuition: $12,862
  • out-of-state tuition: $33,750

East Lansing, MI 48824-1046
(517) 355-1855

Online MPH programs emphasize applied knowledge. Completion requires 18 credits of core coursework, 18 credits of electives and a six-credit culminating experience project that involves a 240-hour internship and a capstone paper. Students may complete their internship anywhere in the U.S. or internationally, and the paper integrates knowledge gained during this experience with concepts learned in class.

All coursework for the MPH online is completed through the institution's Desire2Learn platform. Core classes include standard MPH coverage of epidemiology, biostatistics, social and behavioral aspects and environmental health. Students may enroll part-time or full-time and must complete the degree in five years or less.


University of Massachusetts - Amherst

  • in-state tuition: $13,443
  • out-of-state tuition: $28,159
374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-0111

MPH students can choose between two online concentrations: Public Health Practice and Nutrition. Completion of the degree includes a three-credit practicum experience, during which students are required to log 200 hours in a public health or healthcare setting. Students with prior experience in the field may be eligible to apply up to 80 hours towards this requirement.

Classes are offered completely online through the Blackboard learning management system. Students of either concentration take the same five core courses; the degree requirements differ slightly after completing the core requirements. PHP students can focus their degrees through the electives they choose; options include: Population Aging and Public Health, Public Health Law and Communicable Disease Epidemiology. Students in the nutrition concentration take 17 credits of required courses, including Nutritional Epidemiology and Nutritional Problems in the U.S.


Des Moines University - Osteopathic Medical Center

Des Moines
  • annually: $5,040
3200 Grand Ave
Des Moines, IA 50312
(515) 271-1400

The public health program emphasizes a practical, problem-based approach based on the integration of theory and experience. Students complete 45 credit hours; core coursework covers topics that include: public health law and ethics, human health and disease and community research methods. Students can complete the degree in two or three years. All online coursework is completed through the institution's Desire2Learn platform.

Studies culminate in a three-credit internship and a two-credit public health capstone. The internship for the MPH online is a supervised and evaluated field experience. Completing the capstone course involves choosing a project that applies the theory and principles of coursework to a professional situation. Students will complete a project that is beneficial to their learning experience and the partner public health agency/organization.


University of South Carolina

  • in-state tuition: $10,816
  • out-of-state tuition: $28,528
Columbia, SC 29208
(803) 777-7000

USC offers an online Master of Public Health in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior program. Graduates must complete 45 total credit hours, including a three-credit Practicum Seminar and a three-credit Practicum Fieldwork course. Core classes include epidemiology, biostatistics and health administration. Focus courses cover topics such as health promotion programs, community health and research methods.

The program creates health professionals who are trained in leading, advocacy, health program development and evaluation and research. The program is designed for current professionals in community, school and health department settings. Courses are eight weeks long, and the degree typically takes 22-24 months to complete. Classes are accessed through the Blackboard online learning management system.


Loma Linda University

Loma Linda
  • in-state tuition: $18,937
  • out-of-state tuition: $21,677
11139 Anderson Street
Loma Linda, CA 92350
(909) 558-1000

Loma Linda's learning philosophy is to integrate health, science and the Christian faith. MPH candidates have the choice of nine degree concentration areas, including Environmental and Occupational Health, Global Health, Health Policy and Leadership and Lifestyle Medicine. Graduates of this program are ready to launch careers in a variety of fields, including health and public organizations at all governmental levels, as well as advocacy organizations, community organizations and healthcare facilities.

The program requires three years to complete. Online coursework is accessed through the Canvas platform. Students have access to a writing center and resources specific to public health assessments, reports and research.


Benedictine University

  • annually: $25,516
5700 College Rd
Lisle, IL 60532-0900
(630) 829-6000

Students who wish to add a specialization to their 66-credit MPH degree can obtain a certificate in one of the following: Epidemiology, Health Education and Promotion, Emergency Preparedness or Health Management and Policy. Each certificate class includes a mini capstone experience to apply material to real-world public health issues. Those who do not wish to choose a concentration can take 12 credit hours of electives instead.

Students access online coursework and resources through the school's BenUConnect platform. Core course topics include epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy and biological aspects of public health. Classes also merge and overlap with fields such as advocacy, community organization and government policy. Completion of the program requires 240 hours of field experience through an internship, which may be fulfilled with students' current employers.


San Jose State University

San Jose
  • in-state tuition: $7,343
  • out-of-state tuition: $18,503
1 Washington Sq
San Jose, CA 95192-0001
(408) 924-1000

San Jose State's Master of Public Health is an online 42-credit program with a specialization in community health education. Curriculum is made up of 16 credits in health education core, 22 credits in core public health courses and a four-credit practicum. Completion of the program requires passing a comprehensive exam as the student's culminating experience.

Classes are five to seven weeks each, and the degree can be completed in 24 months total. Coursework is delivered in synchronous format through the Canvas learning management system. This platform allows them to access courses with interactive whiteboard, virtual breakout rooms and session recording. Students are also required to meet once a year for four to five days in San Jose.


University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • in-state tuition: $7,206
  • out-of-state tuition: $16,398
Administration Bldg Suite 1070
Birmingham, AL 35294-0110
(205) 934-4011

Students interested in UAB have six MPH degrees to choose from, including programs with concentrations in: Health & Toxicology, Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Health & Safety. Core coursework in the 42-credit program emphasizes competency in areas such as data and policy analysis, ethical and legal issues, program planning and administration and cultural and political factors in health. With the exception of the internship requirement, all classes are completed online over the Canvas learning platform.

Students must meet the Biological Basis of Public Health Competency Requirement for admission to the program. This is accomplished through a previously earned medical degree, prior education or a grade of 70 or better on the Biological Basis of Public Health Exam.


Oregon Health & Science University

  • in-state tuition: $12,492
  • out-of-state tuition: $22,896
3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd
Portland, OR 97239-3098
(503) 494-7800

OHSU offers a Master of Public Health with a Primary Health Care and Health Disparities track. The program emphasizes improving healthcare accessibility and quality for underserved populations. This degree prepares students to take on roles in community health centers, community health departments and health maintenance organizations. Coursework combines content in core public health issues as well as community and transitional care and leadership skills. In addition to core coursework, students complete track classes covering topics such as community based research, program planning and social determinants of community health assessment.

Students complete 58 credits to fulfill graduation requirements, including a six-credit internship providing field experience. All courses are online and are accessed through the Canvas platform.


West Virginia University

  • in-state tuition: $6,456
  • out-of-state tuition: $19,632
Stewart Hall, 1500 University Avenue
Morgantown, WV 26506-6201
(304) 293-0111

WVU offers an online Master of Public Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences major. The 44-credit program ends in a culminating experience project; students either write a thesis or do a capstone project, which consists of a paper and presentation. The thesis option requires engagement in an applied research project, an oral proposal and defense and production of a manuscript of publishable quality to be submitted to a journal.

After completing their first year of study in the MPH program, students are required to fulfill 180 hours of fieldwork. MPH candidates may add a worksite wellness concentration to their degrees by taking: Worksite Wellness, Performance and Economic Evaluation for Public Health, Occupational Injury Prevention and Women and Violence. Students complete all online courses via the Blackboard-based eCampus platform.


Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale
  • annually: $25,430
3301 College Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
(954) 262-7300

Nova Southeastern University offers a Master of Public Health in online format with some residency requirements; students are required to attend an orientation, weekend seminar and exit seminar. All online coursework is completed through the Blackboard learning management system.

In addition to core curriculum, students complete a six-credit field experience, and they must pass a comprehensive exam, in order to graduate. A range of electives is available, including: School Health, Women's Health, Substance Abuse and Tropical Diseases. Upon completion of the program, graduates will have mastered 24 core competencies, preparing them for careers in disease prevention, program evaluation, research and community service.


University of Illinois at Springfield

  • in-state tuition: $9,178
  • out-of-state tuition: $16,498
One University Plaza
Springfield, IL 62703-5407
(217) 206-6600

Students have the option of completing a generalist Master of Public Health degree or pursuing an environmental health concentration. Both are completed online by accessing courses, discussion boards and materials over the Blackboard learning management system.

Completion of the program requires a minimum of 48 credit hours. Students complete 28 credits of core coursework and 20 credits of electives. Core classes include a four-credit internship. In addition to fulfilling degree requirements, electives can be used to complete either an Emergency Planning and Homeland Security or a Risk Assessment Graduate certificate. Studies culminate in a comprehensive exam taken during the final semester.


Medical College of Wisconsin

  • annually: $30,000
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
(414) 955-8296

The Master of Public Health program requires completion of 42 total credit hours. Coursework includes five core courses, three community health courses, an ethics course, three electives, a field placement and a capstone project. The program emphasizes community-based learning and research, community partnerships, advocacy development, professional diversity and principled precepts.

Online coursework accessed through the D2L platform. A student's field placement involves practical experience in a public or private health organization, including an action learning project related to the student's area of interest. The capstone project is the culminating experience which requires students to apply theory and principles to a paper covering a public or community health issue.


Loyola University Chicago

  • annually: $35,573
1032 W. Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 274-3000

Students seeking an online Master of Public Health degree at Loyola have two options: the online Health Policy & Law concentration or the hybrid Epidemiology track. Both programs require the completion of 44 credits, including a practicum experience and capstone project. Practicum experiences involve a minimum of 210 hours in a public health setting. Online courses are completed through the Sakai learning platform.

An emphasis is placed on racial and economic health disparities and bioethics. Student learning involves mentoring, research and community engagement.


Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

  • in-state tuition: $5,785
  • out-of-state tuition: $17,725
1500 S Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Tallahassee, FL 32307
(850) 599-3000

Online learners can complete the Master of Public Health degree at FAMU in five semesters of full-time work. The specialty of the online program is public health practice. An emphasis is placed on health disparities impacting the poor and underserved. The program is 50 credit hours, with a practicum completed during the final semester.

All online coursework is accessed through the Blackboard learning management system. Admission requires three years of professional healthcare work experience, a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum GPA of 3.0.


A.T. Still University of Health Sciences

  • annually: $28,616
800 W Jefferson
Kirksville, MO 63501
(660) 626-2121

The online Master of Public Health program at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences is a 64-credit-hour, 15-course program. Studies culminate in a practicum experience that requires 240 contact hours in a supervised public health setting and completion of a project that evaluates or resolves a service or program in that setting.

Students may choose from eight elective options including Cultural Change in Geriatrics, Global Health Issues, Managing Human Resources and Community Health and Social Media. All online classes for the program are accessed through the Blackboard online learning management system.


Salus University

Elkins Park
  • annually: $21,346
8360 Old York Rd
Elkins Park, PA 19027-6262
(215) 780-1400

The Salus University Master of Public Health program requires 42 credits for completion. Coursework includes 23 credits of core classes, 13 credits of electives and six credits attained through a capstone project. Students can choose from more than 15 elective courses, including Independent Studies, Introduction to Bioterrorism, Health and Human Rights and Public Health Issues of Aging Populations. The capstone project provides professional experience and the application of acquired skills to a public health problem.

Students may also acquire a Humanitarian and Refugee Health Care Certificate or a Health Policy Certificate. MPH candidates have up to five years to complete their degrees on a part-time basis. All coursework is accessed through the Blackboard learning management system.


University of Memphis

  • in-state tuition: $8,312
  • out-of-state tuition: $23,024
Southern Avenue
Memphis, TN 38152
(901) 678-2000

The Master of Public Health degree focuses on five areas: biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health systems management and behavioral sciences. The program emphasizes urban and global health concerns and advocacy for the underserved. The goal of the program is to develop skills that will enable students to promote healthy communities, prevent chronic disease and protect against the spread of diseases.

Online courses are offered in an asynchronous format, allowing distance learners the flexibility of completing coursework on their own schedule. All classes are accessed through the Desire2Learn online learning management system.


The University of West Florida

  • in-state tuition: $6,357
  • out-of-state tuition: $19,238
11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514-5750
(850) 474-2000

The online Master of Public Health is a 42-credit program, with coursework accessed through the Blackboard learning platform. Students can attain a certificate in one of the the following specialties: Emergency Management, Environmental Health, Infection Control or Occupational Safety and Health. Over a dozen electives allow further personalization of coursework to meet individual career goals and interests. Elective options include Environmental Toxicology, Disease Surveillance and Monitoring, Global Health and Bioterrorism.

Core curriculum includes studies in environmental health, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences and biostatistics. Coursework also includes a six-credit internship involving field experience in a public health-related setting. Students must complete research, submit a written report and defend their conclusions to fulfill the required capstone experience based on this internship. Students must also pass a comprehensive exam to complete the program.


Liberty University

  • annually: $20,768
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(434) 582-2000

Students seeking an online Master of Public Health degree can choose from three concentrations: Global Health, Nutrition and Health Promotion. The Global Health concentration focuses on epidemiology and biostatistics. A sociological perspective is applied to the Nutrition concentration, with coursework focusing on disease prevention, food-borne illness and nutritional health disorders. Those choosing the Health Promotion track will learn how to manage and educate others in health and wellness to impact the health of individuals and communities.

All tracks require 42-credit hours for completion. Coursework is accessed through the Blackboard platform. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree and a minimum GPA of 2.5.

Career Outlook

A master’s degree in public health opens doors to a variety of career opportunities. Specialization options vary; MPH students can focus their degrees on infection control, public planning, nutrition or disease prevention, to name a few. Potential careers include employment with local, national and global agencies; hospitals; or other healthcare facilities. Opportunities exist at all tiers of influence in this growing field.

Following is a sampling of possible career destinations for those with a master’s of public health. Median salaries and projected job growth for 2012-2022 are shown.

Position 2012 Median Annual Wage Job Outlook:
Epidemiologist $65,270 10%
Health Educator $41,830 19%
Community Health Worker $34,620 25%
Medical and Health Service Manager $88,580 23%

Keys To Online Success

Choose a concentration wisely. Public health professionals can specialize in a wide-range of areas. Specific knowledge in a narrow aspect of public health can increase chances for securing and maintaining a job. If you are passionate about a certain aspect of public health, find a program that offers this concentration or certification. Don’t settle for several electives on disease prevention if your interests lie in global disaster management. The range of online programs available likely includes at least one option that suits your interests. Choose the program with the best fit.

Embrace research. Public health professionals examine policies, research health methods, study community issues and typically spend much of their efforts on some form of research activity. From an online program’s capstone project to a career’s daily activities, you will not escape research. Learn to like it, and learn to do it well.

Next Steps

Keep current. Public health professionals must keep abreast of current healthcare policies, developments and concerns. Depending on specific career goals and unique job positions, some may need to be aware of issues worldwide. Whatever your specialty, remain well-read on current events affecting issues related to your area. If needed or available, take continuing professional development courses or attend conferences covering relevant topics.

Prepare for travel and culture. If your work involves national or global health issues, as it does for many with MPH degrees, you should take the necessary steps to prepare for national or global travel, such as getting a current passport and keeping your immunizations current. Learning other languages may even be helpful or necessary to aid in your work and further your career.

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