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
1University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill$$$$$103 South Bldg Cb 9100
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
(919) 962-2211

Part of the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Public Health, this online master’s in public health program is one of the highest ranking in the country. The global online master of public health (GO MPH) is administered by UNC’s Public Health Leadership Program, which applies contemporary leadership models to worldwide public health issues.

The 42 credit GO MPH is offered fully online, and students must take at least two courses (six credit hours) per semester in order to fulfill enrollment requirements. The curriculum of this online master’s in public health can be completed in two years, and it covers the basics of public health with courses in epidemiology, ethics, and issues facing public health in the U.S. and around the globe. A practicum (for hands-on learning) and a required field of concentration allows students to tailor the program to their interests.

2Emory UniversityAtlanta$$$$$408 Administration Building, 201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-6123

Based in Atlanta, GA, Emory University offers one of the world’s leading health care programs. The Rollins School of Public Health offers a master’s in public health online through its executive master of public health (EMPH) program. The program is designed with working professionals in mind, with two on-campus sessions every semester to supplement interactive online content. The 42-credit program can be completed in two years and students must have a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience to apply.

The curriculum of this MPH develops core competencies in public health, and a practicum experience provides students with a direct application of their coursework. Additionally, students select from one of three concentration options to focus their studies: applied epidemiology, applied public health, or prevention science. Emory also offers online learners enrollment and career services via phone, email, and in person to assist with post-graduation plans.

3University of FloridaGainesville$$$$$
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-3261

As one of the largest public institutions in the state, The University of Florida is a leader in innovation and is committed to solving global problems. The online master’s in public health extends this mission by developing leaders in the healthcare industry. UF’s MPH in public health practice is designed for individuals with previous healthcare experience, such as physicians, nurses, nutritionists, and social workers. The program develops the breadth of knowledge essential to lead in the industry, while allowing students to select a concentration that fits their interests or needs.

UF's MPH curriculum is available fully online in a standard 48-credit workload; or, if a student holds a prior terminal degree, they may apply for an accelerated 42-credit program. Coursework provides a foundation in the U.S. healthcare system and public health, while concentrations in environmental health, epidemiology, management and policy, or social and behavioral sciences prepare graduates to be health care leaders. All students complete a special project and an internship at the end of their degree.

4University of Minnesota - Twin CitiesMinneapolis$$$$$100 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0213
(612) 625-5000

Resting on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities boasts one of the top public health programs in the country. The faculty and staff develop students to be global leaders in public health administration, management, and policy, and the school offers a range of options to accommodate working health professionals. The master of public health emphasizes the practical, public aspects of health, while students can select from nine different concentrations to tailor their education.

The MPH in maternal and child health is delivered fully online and full-time students can finish within two years. The policy-focused executive MPH in public health administration and policy develops leaders in health management, policy, and analysis, and can the degree can be completed mostly online within 25 months. The MPH in public health practice is available partially online, and is designed for professionals who already have a terminal degree and significant experience in the field.

5George Washington UniversityWashington$$$$$2121 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
(202) 994-1000

George Washington University (GW) in Washington, DC is among the nation’s oldest and most renowned universities, and its Milken Institute School of Public Health ranks as the 14th best school of public health by U.S. News and World Report. As the only school of public health in the nation’s capital, students gain access to leading national and international organizations to enrich their education and professional development. GW’s online master’s in public health ([email protected]) blends an online curriculum with a hands-on practicum to develop solutions for the world’s biggest health challenges.

Students in this online master’s in public health choose from five available focus areas: environmental and occupational health, global health, health communication, health policy or program planning and communication. Classes are taught in 10-week modules, and a culminating practical experience facilitates real-world application. Full-time students can earn this 45 credit MPH in as little as one year.

6University of Maryland - College ParkCollege Park$$$$$
College Park, MD 20742
(301) 405-1000

The University of Maryland College Park is one of the top-ranked research institutions in the world, and is hailed as the 25th most innovative school in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Located just outside Washington, D.C., The School of Public Health is the only accredited program of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region. The master’s in public health with a concentration in public health practice and policy features a blended online format for working professionals.

Administered by the Department of Health Services Administration, the 42-credit MPH prepares students to be leaders in local, national, and global health policy. Coursework features intensive leadership training, while a required internship and capstone project translate classroom learning into practical, hands-on settings. Upon completion of degree requirements, students are eligible for board certification exams.

7Tulane University of LouisianaNew Orleans$$$$$6823 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118-5698
(504) 865-5000

Founded as a medical college in 1834, Tulane University in New Orleans, LA is one of the top research universities in the country. Several master’s in public health programs prepare mid-career students to be leader in their industries and specialties.

The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane offers three MPH programs fully online: Disaster Management, Occupational Health & Safety Management MPH and Occupational & Environmental Health MPH. These 42 credit programs provide opportunities for hands-on learning with a Culmination Experience and Practicum. Students take 18 hours of School of Public Health core requirements, with 24 additional credits in a selected concentration. Courses in the environmental aspects of disaster response, population issues during disaster, or psychosocial aspects of disasters prepare students to manage public health in the wake of disasters; while coursework in toxicology, industrial hygiene, and occupational health develop leaders in occupational health and safety management.

8Medical College of WisconsinMilwaukee$$$$$8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
(414) 955-8296

The Medical College of Wisconsin, located in Milwaukee, WI, has been educating the next generation of scientists, physicians, and health professionals for over 120 years. As a major research institution, their students and graduates care for more than 430,000 patients every year, including more than 1.6 million patient visits. Additionally, the college benefits from close relationships with several major Milwaukee area hospitals.

Housed within the school’s Institute for Health and Society, MCW’s online master’s in public health requires no in-person responsibilities. An emphasis on partnerships with surrounding communities establishes graduates as leaders and collaborators in academics, communities, and governments. The 42-credit program is completed completely online, while a culminating field experience and capstone project allow students to synthesize and integrate the knowledge gained in the program.

9University of South FloridaTampa$$$$$4202 East Fowler Ave
Tampa, FL 33620-9951
(813) 974-2011

With a main campus in Tampa, FL, The University of South Florida (USF) is a global research institution serving more than 49,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
USF offers seven MPH programs fully online, including epidemiology, public health practice, global disaster management and humanitarian relief, health, safety & environment, infection control, and public health administration. Students can complete the degree in as little as two years, while coursework is generally taught asynchronously. Each student meets with an assigned faculty advisor each semester, while a three-credit supervised field experience completes the degree. Due to some state regulations, USF is unable to provide online courses in certain states. Students should check with their program to confirm their eligibility.

10University of Nebraska Medical CenterOmaha$$$$$42nd & Dewey Ave
Omaha, NE 68198-7815
(402) 559-4000

The University of Nebraska Medical Center, located in Omaha, NE, serves as the only academic public health sciences center in the state. UNMC is an intimate campus, serving about 3,700 students in six colleges, two institutes and more than 24 available degree programs.

UNMC offers three different online MPH programs: MPH in biostatistics, MPH in environmental and occupational health and MPH in public health practice. These 45 credit hour master’s degrees are designed for working adults wishing to add to their skill set in public health. Classes provide flexible, asynchronous content for working adults, while highly interactive coursework allows students to learn from world-class faculty and their peers. Admission requires a completed a Bachelor’s Degree with a 3.0 or better GPA, and several prerequisite courses in biology, chemistry, math, and physics. Due to state regulatory restrictions not all programs may be available in all states, and interested students should confirm their program’s availability.

11Loma Linda UniversityLoma Linda$$$$$11139 Anderson Street
Loma Linda, CA 92350
(909) 558-1000

Committed to the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ, Loma Linda University in Southern California prepares medical professionals in the Seventh-Day Adventist tradition. The School of Public Health (LLUSPH) offers 17 master’s and doctoral degrees and emphasizes practical application to prepare graduates for careers in public health.

LLUSPH offers the only three online MPH programs in CA: lifestyle management, population medicine, and health education. Each 56 credit program can be completed in two to three years, and the curriculum is administered via Canvas. Each student, regardless of program, completes an introductory public health core curriculum to develop cross-field collaboration. A 400-hour practicum completes the degree, and provides students a supervised work experience to apply their skills and contribute to a health department or community organization.

12Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing$$$$$
East Lansing, MI 48824-1046
(517) 355-1855

One of the world’s top research universities, Michigan State University (MSU) began as the first land-grant University in the nation, and now boasts over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students from around the world. The College of Human Medicine offers an online master’s in public health for working professionals with a passion for improving large-scale health problems.

MSU’s master’s in public health is completely online. Asynchronous coursework allows students to complete it when most convenient, while online discussion boards and group projects promote collaborative learning. The 42 credit terminal degree can be taken part-time or full-time, and upon completion of required coursework, students participate in a capstone project and 240 hour practicum. The practicum can be completed anywhere in the U.S. or at a variety of international sites convenient for students.

13University of Colorado - DenverDenver$$$$$1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400
Denver, CO 80217-3364
(303) 556-5600

Situated in the heart of Denver, CO, the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) has been at the forefront of online education since 1996, and the School of Public Health is the only accredited school of health in the Rocky Mountain region. The online master of public health in leadership and public health practice is designed for working professionals who aspire to leadership roles in health-focused organizations.

The MPH at CU Denver is offered online with an emphasis on collaborative learning. The 42 credit program develops core competencies in public health, and two on-campus visits are required to fulfill the management and leadership course requirements. A culminating capstone project and practicum emphasizes practical applications, while often providing students further career options. CU Denver is a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which allows for a discounted tuition rate if students reside in one of 15 participating states.

14Des Moines University - Osteopathic Medical CenterDes Moines$$$$$3200 Grand Ave
Des Moines, IA 50312
(515) 271-1400

Founded in 1898, Des Moines University (DMU) in Des Moines, IA is a health sciences university that only offers graduate programs. DMU is one of the largest medical schools in the country with over 1,700 students, three colleges and eight graduate degrees.

DMU’s online MPH programs are fully accredited and offer three concentrations: general public health, health service management and health promotion. The 46 credit curriculum provides a broad training in public health, with concentrations for students to tailor the program to their career goals. A capstone project and practicum allows students to apply their knowledge to real-world health problems. The MPH can be completed in as little as 2.5 years, and financial aid is granted to those in need.

15Salus UniversityElkins Park$$$$$8360 Old York Rd
Elkins Park, PA 19027-6262
(215) 780-1400

Located in Salus Park, PA, Salus University is a health science university with students across the globe. SU is an accredited university and a 501(c)3 non-profit, charitable organization and recognizes the high cost of health disparities around the globe. The online master’s in public health prepares students to be motivated, curious learners to advance worldwide health and well-being.

The 42 credit master’s in public health is offered part-time as a distance option. Coursework in epidemiology, international development and health, and environmental health provide this program a global focus, while a capstone project and practicum integrates classroom learning with real-world application. Certificates in humanitarian and refugee health care and health policy are available for additional credits.

16SUNY at AlbanyAlbany$$$$$1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
(518) 442-3300

State University of New York at Albany (SUNY Albany) is a public state university nestled into New York’s historic capital. This major research university serves more than 17,000 students and offers more than 125 graduate programs. The School of Public Health was founded in 1985, and builds on collaborative research, education, practice between UAlbany and the New York State Department of Health.

A fully online, part time master’s in public health develops core knowledge of the public health field via coursework in statistics, epidemiology, and behavioral aspects of health. Field opportunities provide students with direct application to real-world health problems, and are available at sites convenient for students. The 51 credit program is offered year-round and is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

17Northeastern UniversityBoston$$$$$360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115-5005
(617) 373-2000

Northeastern University is located in historic Boston, MA. Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a worldwide, experiential research university focused on global education and research. With campuses around the country, NU offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees through their nine colleges and schools.

NU’s master of public health in urban health is focused on the effect of the urban environment on a population’s wellbeing with an emphasis on racial and ethnic health disparities. The MPH is offered fully online, and courses in general public health and general urban health provide a foundation in public health competencies, while a culminating practicum and capstone project presents students with direct application of their learning to issues of poverty, violence, and substance abuse. Faculty projects and directed studies provide students with additional opportunities to confront real-world problems.

18New York Medical CollegeValhalla$$$$$Administration Building
Valhalla, NY 10595
(914) 594-4000

Located in Valhalla, NY, New York Medical College (NYMC) was created in 1860 and now features three schools - School of Medicine, Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences and School of Health Sciences and Practice. NYMC features an inclusive and humanistic approach to education and recently joined the Touro College and University System in 2011.

NYMC offers online MPH programs in three areas: behavioral sciences & health promotion, environmental health science, and health policy and management (also offered in an accelerated format). Each MPH can be completed completely online, however students may elect to take a blend of online and in-person courses. The 42 credit program can be completed in two years, however the accelerated MPH in health policy and management allows students to complete the program in a single year over three consecutive semesters. Admission into the online MPH is restricted to those with advanced degrees in healthcare such as physicians, medical students, and other professionals in health-related fields.

19West Virginia UniversityMorgantown$$$$$Stewart Hall, 1500 University Avenue
Morgantown, WV 26506-6201
(304) 293-0111

Based in Morgantown, West Virginia, West Virginia University was founded in 1967. The university has received a R1 Doctoral University classification--the top level acknowledged by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education--and serves more than 31,000 students.

The WVU school of Public Health offers an online master’s in public health in social and behavioral sciences (SBHS). The program address the behavioral, social and environmental factors which affect population health, and graduates leave with the leadership skills to develop and implement programs to improve public health. The 44 credit program features a courses in core public health and a culminating practicum project. Students can expect to complete the degree in four semesters.

20San Jose State UniversitySan Jose$$$$$1 Washington Sq
San Jose, CA 95192-0001
(408) 924-1000

20. San Jose State University
Located in San Jose, CA, San Jose State University (SJSU) is one of the top 20 research institutions in the country, with 145 areas of study with an additional 108 areas of concentration. SJSU serves more than 30,000 graduate and undergraduate students, all of whom have access to numerous online courses.

SJSU’s online master's in public health program is a 42 credit, 24 month degree available to students across the country. Students take all courses online, and meet with their cohort in-person four to five days once per year. SJSU also offers online MPH programs with a speciality in community health education. Distance students must complete a practicum and pass a comprehensive exam as their culminating experience, while in-person students may opt to complete a project or thesis.

21University of Massachusetts - AmherstAmherst$$$$$374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-0111

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a nationally-ranked public university located in historic Amherst, Massachusetts. UMass serves more than 23,000 undergraduate students, 6,600 graduate students and features 1,300 full-time faculty members.

UMass offers a specialized MPH program -- a concurrent Dietetic Internship with an online master of public health in nutrition (DI/MPH-N). This online MPH is a full-time, 24 month program. Classes are available online, however the Dietetic Internship must be completed in-person. The internship requires a minimum of 1,200 hours in the field, and each intern rotates through different focus areas including nutritional care, food service management and community nutrition activities. In addition to the on-site hours, interns meet two to three times per month for seminar and other dietetic-related networking events.

22Mercer UniversityMacon$$$$$1400 Coleman Avenue
Macon, GA 31207
(478) 301-2700

Located in Macon, GA, Mercer University (MU) is one of America’s oldest institutions of higher learning. The liberal arts university was founded by Baptists in the early 1800’s, and now features 12 schools across three cities, including medical school sites in Macon, Savannah and Columbus, GA.

The MU masters of public health prepares public health professionals to form partnerships across rural and underserved communities. Courses are offered partially online, while many others are offered on-campus during weekends and evenings to accommodate working professionals. The 42 credit MPH program can be completed in two years and classes prepare students in topics like rural health, social determinants of health, minority health and, health disparities. A final capstone project completes the degree.

23University of Alabama at BirminghamBirmingham$$$$$Administration Bldg Suite 1070
Birmingham, AL 35294-0110
(205) 934-4011

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) calls the historic city of Birmingham its home. UAB’s downtown campus is known as an international, public doctoral research university and academic health center. The School of Public Health is the only accredited public health school in Alabama, while students and faculty benefit from over $29 million in research funds from the NIH.

UAB offers seven fully online MPH programs through the School of Public Health: environmental health & toxicology, epidemiology health behavior, health care organization, industrial hygiene, maternal and child health policy and leadership, mph in occupational health and safety. The 42 credit program requires all students -- regardless of concentration -- to complete core coursework in public health, which facilitates collaboration across disciplines. An internship is required to graduate.

24University of South CarolinaColumbia$$$$$Columbia-Campus
Columbia, SC 29208
(803) 777-7000

Founded in 1801 -- and one of the oldest public schools in the nation -- The University of South Carolina Columbia (USC) enrolls nearly 50,000 students each year. The school’s online master’s in public health degree is designed for current health care practitioners in communities, schools, and health departments.

The 45 credit MPH program is takes two to three years to complete, and develops a diverse set of transferable, interdisciplinary skills relevant to today’s job market. Classes on race, ethnicity and health, health inequalities, consumer health in contemporary society, and applied health communication establish a foundation in core public health principles. Students complete a public health practicum and seminar to finalize their degree requirements. Tuition charges are identical for students residing in- or out-of-state.

25Northern Illinois UniversityDeKalb$$$$$1425 W. Lincoln Hwy.
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828
(800) 892-3050

Situated 65 miles west of Chicago, Northern Illinois University (NIU) was founded in 1985 as a teacher's school. Today, NIU features nearly 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students across seven degree-granting colleges.

NIU recognizes the healthcare field benefits from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and the online masters in public health programs is open to those with bachelor’s degrees in all fields. The majority of coursework is completed online, and designed to accommodate working professionals. The 46 credit program features core courses, specialization and elective courses, a five credit internship, and a final comprehensive exam. The MPH program can be completed in 24 months as a full-time student, and offers two areas of specialization: health promotion and health service management.

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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