Online MPH programs help advanced students in the public health field earn an advanced degree in a flexible learning environment. Many offer a wide range of resources, specialization opportunities and even job placement to facilitate the transition from college to career. The following 50 schools have online MPH programs truly stand out, from affordable tuition and fees to faculty and support services that truly make a difference. See which colleges earned a place on our list of the Best Online MPH Programs for 2015.
To learn more about the ranking, please visit our methodology page.
The online Master of Public Health (MPH) program from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University helps students succeed in advancing the health of populations locally and globally.
Delivered through a dynamic blend of online interactions and real-world experience, MPH@GW prepares public health professionals to make a difference in communities around the world. Students benefit from:
- Live classes, hosted online by renowned GW faculty
- Self-paced, highly produced course content available 24/7
- Social interactions with peers and faculty
- Hands-on, customized field experience based on career interests
- Access to resources from the Washington, D.C. area and GW Alumni network
Rollins School of Public Health
Emory University's Executive Master of Public Health (MPH) degree offers distance learning in three concentrations. MPH degree students may choose from applied epidemiology, applied public health informatics, or prevention science. All concentrations require 42 credits. Core courses that all students must complete include:
- Introduction to Public Health Surveillance
- Perspectives in Environmental Health
- Introduction to the U.S. Health Care System
- Public Health Ethics
Full-time students earning their MPH are able to complete the program in seven semesters or a little over two years. Prior to the start of their first semester, all students take a 10-14 day course called Strategies and Resources for Online Learning. This zero-credit-hour course is designed to help students learn how online MPH classes work via simulated activities.
At the end of their coursework, students must complete a practicum that aligns with their academic goals and career interests. Students are also required to prepare a professional portfolio, make a poster, and give an on-campus presentation.
Although most of the coursework is completed online through Blackboard, there are two on-campus sessions required each semester, from a Friday and a Sunday. Therefore over the course of seven semesters, students are expected to visit the campus 14 times.
Keck School of Medicine at USC
The Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California offers an online Master of Public Health degree program designed to educate emerging and current professionals in the field. USC's online MPH students have access to the same types of practicum opportunities as those reporting to classrooms. Online courses strike a balance between core and specialty public health topics, allowing students to customize their education to meet their goals and levels of experience. Potential areas of emphasis include Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Health Education and Promotion, Global Health Leadership or GeoHealth.
Students enrolled in the online MPH program access course assignments and materials through what the university calls a state-of-the-art learning platform. Content is available around the clock and is largely self-paced, though some courses require students to log in to live online sessions or virtual office hours. Students may also coordinate with classmates for occasional group work or study help; interactive tools like online message boards, email and social media encourage personal connections. While offering a flexible schedule, the program was designed to be completed in two years of full-time study or four to five years of part-time study. Online students must meet the same hands-on clinical or practicum requirements as campus-based students, but can do so through local health agencies of their own choosing.
School of Public Health
University of North Texas Health Science Center's Master of Public Health Professional degree can be earned totally online. Students are admitted to the program in the fall, spring and summer semesters.
Students wishing to earn an online MPH from UNT need to meet the requirements of both the MPH program and the MPH Professional Option program. To apply to the MPH program students must submit academic transcripts, scores from graduate exams like the GRE, GMAT or MCAT, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose and a resume. MPH Professional Option students must additionally have either an advanced degree such as Ph.D or J.D., be currently enrolled in a master's or Ph.D. program or have at least three years' experience working in healthcare. An interview may also be required, either in-person or online.
The online MPH degree focuses on health policy and management, professionalism and leadership skills. Over the course of the program, students earn 42 credits in classes such as:
- Theoretical Foundations of Individual & Community Health
- Principles of Epidemiology
- Ethical Issues in Public Health
- Professional and Academic Development
Students also take a practical experience class and a capstone course where they can put their newly-learned skills to use on a real public health issue.
MPH Program - Public Health and Health Education Programs
Northern Illinois University's Master of Public Health degree program is accredited by the CEPH and available completely online as a distance learning degree. The MPH is offered as two specializations: health promotion or health services management.
The first concentration is health promotion. Students will learn about the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs available to people seeking to live a healthier lifestyle. Both social and behavioral sciences are incorporated, and disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, education, and sociology are examined and leveraged in the coursework. This specialization prepares students to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (C.H.E.S.) test, which is administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
The second specialization option is health services management. This is also a multidisciplinary pursuit, but it focuses on health-services structures, including the training and managing of health care workers.
Candidates can apply online for faster consideration. They will be asked to submit the email addresses of their references, who will then need to upload their letters of recommendation. Apart from the statement of purpose, no additional writing samples are required. Students with an average GPA of 3.0 or above can also separately apply for a graduate assistantship position upon completing the GRE.
MPH Program in Community Health Education
New Mexico State University-Main Campus offers their accredited Master of Public Health degree completely online. The program is accredited by the Council for Public Health and is aimed at students who are currently working in the field of public health and are not able to attend the physical campus to earn a traditional MPH.
The online MPH degree prepares students for work in a variety of health-related fields, and students will have the opportunity to participate in real world service activities that benefit the university and the state of New Mexico.
The school also offers a graduate-level public health certificate, which consists of five courses with a total of 15 credit hours.
The online MPH program is meant primarily for residents of New Mexico, but is open to all residents of the Southwest. Most MPH courses are restricted to MPH students only. Not all graduate courses will transfer, and any courses taken prior to acceptance into the MPH program have to be petitioned into the program after the applicant is accepted.
Students are only accepted for the fall semester, whether they pursue their degree online or at the physical campus. Online applications are due March 15.
College of Public Health
The University of Iowa's College of Public Health does not just offer one Master of Public Health degree -- it has several MPH degrees in different specialties: community and behavioral health, epidemiology, policy, health communication, occupational and environmental health, and quantitative methods. The school also offers joint MPH degrees in professions like law, medicine and dentistry.
Students can take most core MPH courses through distance education, but for many programs, at least half of the course work is done in Iowa City. While all specializations require some on-campus attendance, some -- like the MPH for practicing veterinarians -- minimize travel through accelerated two-week, on-campus institutes. Online core courses are generally asynchronous in format, meaning students can access materials and submit work at their own pace.
The University of Iowa's MPH program is designed for both practicing professionals and recent college graduates. Core classes in the five primary disciplines of public health: epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, health policy and management, and social and behavioral sciences--are supplemented with a range of content-specific electives. All students are also required to complete a practicum, meaning they must accrue a minimum number of clinical hours in the field before they can graduate. UI's MPH programs vary in specialty, graduation requirements and online accessibility.
MPH Program - School of Health and Human Services
National University's online Master of Public Health degree teaches both qualitative and quantitative skills needed to work in the field of public health. Students may move on to fields such as health care administration, the promotion of social justice, disease prevention or the promotion of public health. They may work in the non-profit, private or public sectors.
The online MPH program encompasses 16 courses or 72 quarter units. A total of 13.5 quarter units may be applied as transfer credits for equivalent graduate work completed at another college or university.
Core classes include U.S. healthcare system, biostatistics, epidemiology, theories of health behavior, public health and the environment, public health and research methods, public health internship and public health capstone.
In addition to core courses, there are three available specializations: health promotion, healthcare administration, and mental health.
Students will learn how to analyze the planning and implementation of health policy, as well as analyze the distribution of diseases and disabilities. All coursework is multidisciplinary, and the faculty who teach the online courses are experts in their areas of study.
The MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education in Public Health.
MPH Program in Community Health - College of Applied Sciences and Arts
San Jose State University's online Master of Public Health degree is a rigorous, practice-oriented program designed with flexibility in mind. According to the program's official website, it also happens to be the only online MPH program in California--and one of only two in the country--accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. All courses are delivered online, though students must meet once a year in San Jose for a four to five day intensive, depending on the cohort. Courses are accelerated, lasting between five to seven weeks. The format means students can complete the program in as little as 24 months, but students can still manage their course loads and complete courses at their own pace.
SJSU's online MPH students will complete a balance of core health education and public health courses and a practicum in the field (through a local health agency). Distance learners are required to log in to one live session for each class each week, but all remaining work and materials are available online to download and view as their schedules allow. Classes are managed via the Blackboard Collaborative learning platform and lectures are delivered using state-of-the-art synchronous web conferencing with two-way audio and multi-point video. Interactive whiteboards, application and desktop sharing, session recording, and virtual breakout rooms further enhance learning. All online students are required to pass a comprehensive exam at the end of the program. Prospective students can contact SJSU to learn more about online MPH program and technical requirements.
MPH Program - Division of Life and Health Sciences
The University of West Florida offers a plethora of online degrees, including the Master of Public Health program. The school says its MPH program is intentionally allied with several different academic centers and certificate programs to expand educational opportunities for students in the program. USF's School of Allied Health and Life Sciences offers online learners additional, industry-specific support and networking through the MPH internship coordination program and partnerships with organizations like the Student Association for Public Health.
UWF's MPH program is a fully online program requiring no classroom work, though all students must take and pass a comprehensive proctored exam at an approved testing facility. A key component of the online MPH program is the public health internship, which culminates in a written report regarding the intern's research findings.
Students take many of the same core, specialty and elective courses as they would on campus, but in a distance learning format. Classes are often self-paced, but students are required to complete a certain number of semester units per year. Online students have opportunities to connect and work with instructors and classmates using interactive web-based tools, and have access to many of the same academic support services as traditional students.
MPH Program - Department of Health Sciences
The University of Alaska at Anchorage designed its Master of Public Health in Health Practice degree to prepare future leaders to identify, assess, prevent and mitigate community health challenges. This MPH program offers a blended format: all required courses are available through online learning, although students attend one mandatory meeting each year--typically in conjunction with the Alaska Public Health Summit. Candidates for graduation also present an in-person oral defense of their thesis or final project at the end of the program.
Students enrolled in UAA's MPH in Health Practice program take courses in the areas of health education and behavioral sciences, occupational health, health management, epidemiology, biostatistics and more. They discuss how to research public health issues effectively, evaluate public health programs, and respond to public health emergencies and disasters. Studies explore subjects such as scientific investigation, community engagement and circumpolar health issues.
UAA's hybrid master's program consists of 42 credit hours, and students should complete at least 6 credits each year, preferably 6 credits each semester. Applicants need a GPA of 3.0 as well as a college course in statistics with a grade of C or higher. Other admissions criteria include samples of professional-level writing and a resume.
MPH Program - Kasiska College of Health Professions
Idaho State University launched a fully online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in 2014. This degree program is targeted to working professionals in the public health field. The program goals include instruction, research, community service, and continuing education.
Applicants interested in enrolling need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Most students need to submit GRE exam scores, except those who already hold a professional doctoral degree such as PharmD or Juris Doctorate. Students must submit two letters of recommendation, along with an essay discussing how an MPH would help the student's career goals. In addition, two years of experience working in the healthcare field is preferred. Students who have obtained a health-related bachelor's degree may use that degree to take the place of work experience.
Students at Idaho State take a total of 48 credits of core courses and electives. Core courses include: Leadership and Administration, Environmental & Occupational Health, Health Program Planning and Social & Cultural Perspectives in Public Health. Students must also complete a thesis and an oral exam are also required. They must choose the topic of their master's thesis, in conjunction with their advisor, by the beginning of their third semester. The oral exam, based on the student's thesis work, occurs after a student takes all core courses.
School of Public Health
UIC offers online degree programs that allow students 24 hour access to course materials and assignments and an interactive community for online learners. The University of Illinois School of Public Health offers a choice of online Master of Public Health degrees:
- Community Health Sciences: 42-51 required credit hours, depending on prior experience. Curriculum includes 6 core courses, 5 required credit hours, elective courses and field experience with a capstone project.
- Health Policy and Administration: 42 required credit hours, with 23 credit hours of core courses and 19 credit hours of elective courses. Designed for currently employed health professionals or those with graduate degrees in a relevant field.
- Public Health Informatics: 51 required credit hours, with courses covering the design and use of information systems in the field of health. This program examines health data definitions and standards, management of health information system projects, structure of databases and networks, and operational technologies.
All courses in the MPH online degree program are delivered asynchronously, and there are no more than 20 students per class. Through instructional tools such as multimedia and threaded discussions, as well as tech support services, students can earn their master's degree off campus. Certain MPH programs require participation in experiential learning through field work in the community.
School of Public Health
The University of Alabama at Birmingham has a School of Public Health that offers online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree programs, blending web-based instruction, interaction with faculty and peers, and practical experience. Specialized master's degree programs in public health include:
- Environmental Health & Toxicology (ENHQ)
- Occupational Health and Safety (OHSQ)
- Health Care Organization (HCOP)
- Maternal and Child Health Policy and Leadership (MCPL)
- Maternal Child Health Policy and Leadership/Master of Social Work (Coordinated MPH/MSW)
The curriculum differs for each program, but core courses address topics such as biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, social health behavior, and health care organizations and policy. Participants complete 19-20 credit hours in the MPH core curriculum, including integrative experiences, and an internship (minimum 3 credits). Credit requirements vary -- for example, the ENHQ concentration consists of 42 credit hours.
MPH degree students are required to demonstrate competency in the biological basis of public health, which can be met in a number of ways: a previously earned professional degree in a field such as medicine or nursing, extensive education in biological/biomedical courses with a minimum grade of B, or a score of 70 or above on the Biological Basis of Public Health Exam administered by the university during orientation week. New students can prepare for this exam with a study guide provided as part of the Blackboard online orientation course.
College of Public Health
The University of South Florida's College of Public Health offers several specialized Master of Public Health degrees in a hybrid format. Online MPH degrees are available in the areas of public health practice; public health administration; global disaster management and humanitarian relief; epidemiology; infection control; and health, safety and environment. These programs generally blend fully online courses with brief on-campus residencies. For example, the MPH in public health practice integrates online classes, a fieldwork practicum, and a 5-day on-campus visit to participate in the final seminar and take the comprehensive exam. The degree focused on public health administration features an on-campus capstone course in Tampa. In comparison, an Executive MPH program has weekly on-site classes in addition to elective courses taken online.
USF's online MPH courses allow students to connect and collaborate with instructors -- and each other -- via interactive tools like web conferencing, wikis and discussion forums, while supplementing their studies with blogs, podcasts and other streaming media. Online MPH students also have access to many of the same services and benefits as those enrolled in traditional, campus-based programs, including academic guidance. Current and prospective students can get a sense for how online learning works by viewing COPH's online tutorials for using the Canvas course management system, the Collaborate web-conferencing program and online library tools.
School of Public and Community Health Sciences
The School of Public and Community Health Sciences at the University of Montana offers a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program with a core curriculum available through distance learning. Courses for this program can be taken completely online. Classes use the Moodle courseware learning management system, along with Vidyo video conferencing. In addition to online classes, participants also need to complete a practicum to gain experience in the field of public health.
The University of Montana's online master's in public health program requires completion of 42 credit hours, 36 core credits, a practicum, professional paper, portfolio, and 6 elective credits. In general, full-time students can complete the program within 2 years (21 credits/year) and part-time students can complete it within 3.5 years (averaging 6 credits/semester). MPH students may be able to transfer a maximum of 6 credits to be used towards elective courses. For individuals interested in the field but not yet ready to enroll in a master's degree program, a certificate in public health is available.
The MPH program is offered during spring, summer and fall terms. The application deadline for fall admissions is April 30th, and the deadline for spring admission is September 30th. Applicants are required to submit an online application, which includes a personal statement, CV/resume, proposed plan of study, three letters of recommendations, as official transcripts and exam scores.
MPH Program - College of Osteopathic Medicine
Nova Southeastern University online Master of Public Health program was designed to prepare current-and future-public health professionals for the rigors of the field, but from the comfort of home. Students are required to attend just two on-campus weekend seminars: one at the beginning of the program and the other at the end. All other courses can be completed online using what NSU calls state-of-the-art distance learning technology. While most students can benefit from the convenience and flexibility of NSU's online MPH option, the program can be particularly helpful those who have career and family obligations to tend to.
NSU says its online MPH degree program was designed to meet a growing need for public health officials in a diverse range of settings, including health care facilities, public health departments, and social service agencies. Students will learn how to define, assess, and resolve public health problems on both a local and global scale. They will also learn how to promote health, prevent disease, and develop and evaluate programs, all while mastering the ins and outs of clinical practice, research, and community service. The program was designed to be completed in two years of full-time study, but students can set their own pace.
Consortium of Eastern Ohio
The University of Akron, a comprehensive research and teaching university, offers a non-traditional Master of Public Health (MPH) program with online classes to fit the needs of working professionals who do not have the time or freedom to regularly visit campus. This distance learning degree is available through the Consortium of Eastern Ohio, a partnership between the University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Ohio University and Youngstown State University.
Core courses for this program are offered Saturdays via interactive videoconferencing. Students take electives at the University of Akron, or they can submit a cross-registration form in order to attend any of the other partner institutions. Options for electives include an experiential practicum. Program participants complete a capstone project working with advisors from both the faculty and the community. Candidates for graduation present their final capstone research and a portfolio demonstrating their achievements to a faculty panel. The MPH degree program follows a generalist track rather than specializing and requires 42 semester credit hours.
All applications and materials for this program must be sent by January 15th. Candidates provide official transcripts and academic records, three letters of recommendation, GRE scores (and TOEFL scores for international students), a statement of goals and a $45 non-refundable application fee.
College of Public Health
East Tennessee State University confers a general Master in Public Health (MPH). The program has concentrations in community health, epidemiology and health services administration.
Courses in the community health concentration teach students how to promote public health within communities, create public health evaluations and develop community partnerships. The epidemiology concentration focuses on how to study illness, injury and disease to learn what causes illness and injury and how best to prevent both. A concentration in biostatistics teaches how to analyze public health data. Financing, accessibility and health care services organization are covered in the health services administration concentration. It takes approximately two years to finish the general MPH program.
Students can also pursue dual public health degrees: the Doctor of Medicine and Master's of Public Health (MD/MPH) and the Doctor of Pharmacy and Master's of Public Health (PharmD/MPH). The dual degree programs can take longer than two years. Admission into the public health master's degree programs requires a minimum 2.75 GPA and passing scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
Distance learning courses in the graduate program utilize online tools and resources such as:
- Campus email
- Digital bookstore
- Online library services
In addition to attending live webcasts and lectures, students review recorded videos and complete assigned readings. Tutoring is available via the school's Center for Academic Achievement.
Arnold School of Public Health
University of South Carolina-Columbia's Master of Public Health in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior degree program can be completed online. The program's flexible schedule was designed for working professionals.
Students earning an MPH degree online from University of South Carolina-Columbia can expect to take 22 to 24 months to complete the 45 credit hours required for graduation. Courses for this program include approaches and concepts for health administration, theoretical foundations of health promotion, community health development and consumer health in contemporary society. Students also complete two practicum courses: Public Health Practicum Seminar and Public Health Practicum Fieldwork. The fieldwork class consists of working or volunteering in a public health setting that aligns with a student's career goals.
Potential students should hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited academic institution and a GPA of at least 3.0. They also need at least two years of experience in a healthcare setting. In addition to an application, students should submit academic transcripts, three letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources, a recent GRE score, a resume and a letter of intent. The letter of intent should cover why the student wants to earn an MPH, how they became interested in health promotion and what their professional goals are.
Des Moines University offers a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree online or on campus. Students can earn their degree in as little as two and a half years.
Students interested in applying should already have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Although working experience in the public health field is not required, it is recommended.
Core courses students can choose from include:
- Survey of human health and disease
- Public health law, ethics & policy
- Occupational & environmental health
- Community research methods
Applicants should submit a resume, one recommendation letter, a personal statement, GRE exam scores and official academic transcripts. The personal statement should cover a number of things, including a student's career goals and why they're a good candidate to earn an MPH degree.
In addition to its online MPH program, Des Moines offers a Public Health Internship, where students can obtain get hands-on experience in the public health sector. Students must complete at least 180 hours with the addition of a portfolio and poster by the end of the internship. While earning an MPH online, students will also take the Public Health Capstone course, which allows them to demonstrate everything they've learned throughout their online education. With this course, students will complete a project showcasing the theory and principles they've studied and how those things can translate from the classroom to a work situation.
School of Public Health & Health Sciences
UMass Amherst offers an online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Public Health Practice through its School of Public Health and Health Sciences. This 100 percent online degree program provides a broad introduction to the main areas in public health, consisting of five required core courses, with 18 elective credits, 120 hours in-the-field practicum experience and a capstone project. The program has 14 courses worth 3 credit hours and suggests a three course maximum per semester. Spring and fall semesters are 14 weeks, and the two summer sessions are 6 weeks each.
The MPH program in public health practice covers subjects such as professional best practices, epidemiological approaches, design research protocols, data analysis and research, public health laws and regulations, and planning and evaluating procedures. UMass Online also offers a fully online MPH degree focused on nutrition. Another option is the blended MPH program delivered partly online and partly on-site at the Worcester campus.
Applicants for MPH programs are generally required to have a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 minimum and 3-5 years professional experience (full-time) in the public health or health care field. Application materials include two letters of recommendation, official transcripts from previously attended educational institutions, a resume/CV, personal statement and GRE scores.
College of Public Health
The University of Nebraska Medical Center offers Master of Public Health degrees in several of key areas of public health, which means students can tailor their training to meet their goals and interests. Programs typically share a set of core classes, then diversify through more specialized coursework. Many of these MPH programs can be completed 100 percent online through the University's OnlineWorldwide program. Students can also earn graduate-level certificates in public health and emergency preparedness online.
Online MPH students are taught by the same faculty and receive the same quality of education as those who learn on campus. Distance learners also have access to many of the same career, academic and financial aid services, and their transcripts are identical. Some courses require online MPH students to log in at set times, but most allow students to access lectures and materials at their own pace (so long as they submit their work on time). Classes are highly interactive—students communicate and collaborate with classmates and instructors through email, discussion forums, and chat groups.
College of Public Health and Health Professions
The University of Florida offers an online master's degree program in public health with two concentrations: public health practice and social behavioral science. The program is offered for fall, spring and summer semesters and can be earned 100 percent online. Degree completion requires participation in a seminar taken concurrently with an internship consisting of 240 contact hours. University of Florida distance learners have 24/7 support and access to all course materials.
The public health concentration is designed for professionals who have already earned a doctorate in a field related to health, or for those who have two or more years' experience in the field. The social behavioral sciences concentration may appeal to diverse audiences, for example, those who have undergraduate majors in sociology or psychology. It is offered in three tracks: general, HIV and aging/geriatric management.
Applicants for the MPH degree program are reviewed on a rolling basis, but they must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and earn a grade of C or above in all MPH courses. The program requires the completion of 16 credits in core courses and 21-27 credits in concentration-focused courses. The Master in Public Health program's length depends on considerations such as prior degrees and experience.
MPH Program in Public Health Sciences
West Virginia University has a Master of Public Health Practice (MPH) degree offered through WVU Online. Designed for professionals currently working in the healthcare industry, the program blends online coursework with practical experience gained through fieldwork. Students complete 44 credit hours and generally earn their MPH degree in four semesters.
Graduation requirements consist of 16 credits of core courses, 17 credits of required courses, and additional credits from seminars and electives. Students submit a paper as part of the mandatory practicum project. Required or core courses include public health epidemiology, survey research methods, program evaluation for the health sciences and foundations of health policy.
Students have choices for specialization while earning an MPH. They can concentrate in women's health or earn a certificate in this field consisting of six additional credit hours. MPH candidates may also opt to have an area of emphasis, such as public health practice or worksite wellness. These tracks can be completed instead of electives with an additional three credit hours required.
West Virginia University accepts new MPH students only in the fall. Along with an application, students submit GRE test scores, three reference letters, a resume, a statement of purpose and all academic transcripts.
Graduate Programs in Public Health - College of Osteopathic Medicine
University of New England's Master of Public Health (MPH) degree can be earned online using Blackboard Learn software, with no campus visits necessary. The program is designed for working professionals, and students can complete it on either a full-time or part-time schedule. Full-time students can potentially earn their degree in as little as 18 months.
The 46-credit MPH program from the University of New England (UNE) focuses on a variety of public health areas. Students must complete 25 credits of core and required courses, including public health policy and management, introduction to environmental health and principles of public health. Also required are seven electives for 21 credits. Possible elective courses include community-based participatory research, applied epidemiology and health information systems. At the end of the program students complete an integrated public health practicum, which includes practical experience and a capstone project.
Potential UNE MPH students must hold a bachelor's degree and have earned a 3.0 GPA. For the math and science prerequisites, applicants need either a grade of B in college-level courses or completion of graduate coursework in those subjects. An application, academic transcripts, three recommendation letters, a resume, and goal and role statements must be submitted. GRE exam scores are required only if the student has not taken the required math and science courses.
Colorado School of Public Health
The University of Colorado Denver offers partially online Master of Public Health degrees through the Colorado School of Public Health, which currently has an enrollment of over 500 students across the country. Working professionals can earn their Master of Public Health in Leadership and Public Health Practice degree through a blend of residencies and online instruction. Three visits to campus offer leadership development sessions to complement the distance education components of the program. For the 42 credit hours required to complete this degree, the curriculum includes:
- Core courses, for example, epidemiology
- Courses in public health leadership and management
- Electives in areas such as aging, school health, survey research or informatics
- A practicum in a public health setting
- A capstone project
Classes for the traditional MPH program may also integrate elements of distance learning via tools such as the Canvas learning platform. These courses are taught at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado State University in Fort Collins or the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Certain public health courses are offered in a hybrid format, integrating limited in-person attendance with online course work. Select courses may also be delivered completely online, as indicated in the course schedule.
MPH Program in Community Health Education
California State University-Northridge offers a master of public health (MPH) in community health education. Focus areas for the program include injury prevention, disease research and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. It typically takes two years to complete the seven terms needed for the Master of Public Health: Community Health Education degree. The program operates in collaboration with the school's College of Health and Human Development.
Five core areas of the curriculum focus on health policy and management, social and behavioral sciences, biostatistics, environmental health and epidemiology. The program incorporates a comprehensive final examination and 400 hours of supervised field training in an agency in the field of public health. Additional studies include research design, communication and issues in health education, and health behavior.
Applicants to the MPH program must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and a bachelor's degree from an accredited college. Those with a GPA between 2.75 and 3.0 can apply if they submit GRE scores.
Online courses generally require live participation one evening a week. The program uses video conferencing, web-based course materials and interactive exercises, delivered via the online learning management system Moodle. Student services are available through systems such as Open University and the Distance Learning Systems Group, and online learners have access to technical specialists via the telephone.
MPH Program - Institute for Health and Society
The Medical College of Wisconsin offers resources to help students determine whether the online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program suits their needs. First there's an interactive PowerPoint presentation titled "Is online learning right for me?" A virtual new student orientation can also help prospective applicants get acclimated to online education.
Students earning their MPH degree online never have to visit campus as classes are conducted electronically using technologies such as the Desire2Learn platform. Interaction between students and instructors occurs via email and message boards. The college recommends that students log on to each course each day, but there's no specific time they need to do so.
The MPH degree program comprises 42 credits of required and elective courses such as public health administration, community health program planning and ethical issues in public health. Elective courses include health communication, public health law and advanced epidemiological methods. Students complete a field placement course, consisting of supervised work in a public health organization, which awards credit for preparation of a related learning project and for the practicum itself. The final capstone course requires a paper that addresses an important health issue of the student's choosing. Program participants may be exempt from certain requirements if they have a degree and five years of continuous professional experience in public health.
Oregon MPH Program
The Oregon Master of Public Health Program is a collaboration between Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University. The program emphasizes innovation, community engagement and specialization: students can choose from seven unique tracks. One track--Primary Health Care & Health Disparities--can be completed 100 percent online through OHSU's School of Nursing. According to the program's official website, it is one of the few accredited online MPH specialties in the country. Students will learn how to assume clinical leadership roles in community health centers, health departments, and other public health settings without ever setting foot inside a classroom.
The Primary Health Care & Health Disparities track may be the only fully online MPH specialty, but even students enrolled in the remaining six tracks can complete at least five of their core public health courses online. The OMPH program also hosts an online Graduate Certificate in Public Health, which is designed for students who want to segue into the public health field despite holding bachelor's degrees in other disciplines. The six-course program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. Prospective students can contact the OMPH program to learn more about its distance learning options.
Public Health Program - Institute of Public Health
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University administers its Master's of Public Health program through the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Services (COPPS). Disciplines covered in the program include allied health sciences, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing and medicine. It takes six semesters to complete the program on a full-time basis. Total hours needed to graduate are 50. During the final semester of classes, students complete a practicum. Specific types of courses built into the curriculum include:
- Behavioral Sciences and Health Education
- Environmental and Occupational Health
- Public Health Practice
- Health Policy and Management
To assist students with their practicum and other academic requirements, the school offers an online practicum coordinator and online academic advisors. Other tools available to students include:
- Audio Lectures
- Video Lectures
- Campus Email
A login and password are required to access Blackboard. To get admitted into the program, applicants must have at least five years of healthcare or public health work experience and a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. During the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate study, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA. Absent the GPA and undergraduate degree, applicants can take the GRE. Passing score for the GRE is 1000. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University's MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
School of Public Health
Loma Linda University offers two Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees online-MPH in Health Education and MPH in Population Medicine. To apply, students need to submit an application, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and academic transcripts. Additionally, international students need to prove English competency with the TOEFL exam. MPH students all start in the fall semester.
For students interested in earning an MPH in Health Education, the degree program will take one and a half to three years to complete. The curriculum focuses on promoting positive health behaviors by looking at scientific data and learning theories. Students who earn this MPH degree are able to take the Credentialing Examination in Health Education, Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Prerequisites for enrollment include college-level writing skills, anatomy or physiology, and two behavioral sciences courses.
The MPH in Population Medicine is designed for professionals already employed in public health and have experience in direct patient care. Students pursuing a master’s degree right after an undergraduate degree may not benefit from pursuing this degree, considering it won’t help with big career changes. Professionals who may find this degree useful include social workers, nurses, psychologists and dentists.
School of Public Health
Distance learning options from the School of Public Health at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities include master's in public health (MPH) degree programs that blend online and in-person attendance for a total of 42 credits. One of these hybrid offerings is the Executive MPH program in public health practice, which incorporates on-campus studies at the Public Health Institute in late May and early June. This program offers approximately 15 of the required credits online, in core areas such as social and behavioral science, environmental and occupational health, epidemiology and public health management.
The MPH degree in maternal and child health also relies on a blended delivery format, encompassing online classes and on-site attendance. Two fieldwork courses require 60 hours each of practical experience in a public health setting. The focus is on human growth and development as well as improving the health of children and mothers, especially in communities lacking in medical care. Courses include:
- Global reproductive health
- Children and youth with special health care needs
- Grant writing
- Biostatistical methods
Admissions criteria vary for the different MPH programs at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Applicants for hybrid programs generally need either an advanced degree or three years of related work experience in a public health environment, in addition to a minimum 3.0 GPA and GRE scores.
Gillings School of Global Public Health
UNC Chapel Hill offers Master of Public Health degrees in different concentrations, some of which can be earned mostly, if not completely online. Online MPH degrees in both the leadership and occupational health nursing concentrations require just one or two intensive campus visit(s). In contrast, the executive MPH program integrates on-campus sessions with real-time online evening classes.
Many MPH programs are intended for both recent graduates and working professionals, even if their education or experience is in a different field. All online MPH students, regardless of goal or concentration, gain exposure to several core areas of public health before specializing their training through focused courses and electives.
Online courses are delivered using UNC’s Sakai platform, and lectures and materials are usually accessed asynchronously, meaning students’ own schedules--not official class times--set the pace. Though programs are designed to be completed in three to four years, the flexible nature of online learning accommodates students' schedules and goals. Students who have already earned graduate certificates in public health--many of which are also online--can apply up to 15 credits toward their MPH requirements. Prerequisites depend on the concentration -- the occupational health nursing specialization targets registered nurses with a BSN degree. Students can contact UNC at Chapel Hill or its Gillings School of Global Public Health to learn more.
Benedictine University, an institution with a Catholic heritage, was founded in 1887. Today, the university offers some of its degrees fully online, including these graduate programs in the field of public health:
- Master of Public Health
- Dual Master of Business Administration/Master of Public Health
- Dual Master of Public Health/Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior
Participants in the online master's degree program in public health complete 66 credits, including 54 credits from foundation courses and an internship, in addition to electives. The internship consists of supervised experience in an organization related to public health. The curriculum explores different areas of public health, for example, the behavioral, social, environmental, cultural and biological aspects of the field.
Four certificate options for the online MPH degree focus on health education and promotion, health management and policy, epidemiology and disaster management. Each specialization requires three foundation classes and one elective. Students who choose not to pursue a certificate fill credit requirements through elective courses. Those who opt for the emergency preparedness certificate in addition to the graduate degree complete 70 credit hours.
Online degree programs at Benedictine University are asynchronous. Students can log in to study at any time of the day, and they have access to admissions counselors, academic advisors and 24/7 technical support.
School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Tulane University is an independent research university that offers online graduate degrees in the public health field. The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is known as the oldest U.S. school of tropical medicine, and its goal is to promote and advance health and well-being, as well as prevent disease and disability.
Core subjects for the online master's degree program in public health (MPH) include biostatistics, epidemiology, health systems administration and management, the biology of disease, and social and behavioral aspects of global health. Tulane provides virtual classes synchronously using tools such as the Blackboard learning management system. The university has a range of academic options in public health, such as graduate certificates available through distance education. Fully online degrees include:
- MPH - Occupational Health and Safety Management: 42 credits
- MPH - Occupational and Environmental Health: 42 credits
- MPH - Disaster Management: 42 credits
- MSPH - Industrial Hygiene: 45 credits
Applicants submit materials such as transcripts for a bachelor's degree from an accredited school with a preferred GPA of 3.0 or higher, a resume and letters of recommendation. Different programs have their own prerequisites -- the master's in industrial hygiene requires 60 credit hours of advanced science, math or engineering and 3 years' work experience in a related field.
Public Health Program - School of Health Sciences and Practice
At the New York Medical College, the online Master of Public Health program is designed to teach students both the business of public health, as well as the planning and implementation of policy.
Faculty members come from a diverse background, including lawyers, researchers, executives, planners, doctors, nurses and other professions in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
NYMC's MPH degree is unique in that an individual plan and program is developed for each student, depending on his or her background, desires, goals, and history. Curriculum is the same for both online and traditional students.
Students will learn about emerging trends for financing models, the delivery of health services in the United States, differences in how businesses and governments measure the processes and outcomes of healthcare, how to tabulate data and statistics for implementation, as well as how to optimize healthcare organizations for maximum efficiency.
All applicants must hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university with a GPA of at least 3.0. Candidates must also submit a personal statement, as well as letters of recommendation. Relevant work experience, extracurricular activities, and work history will also be considered.
School of Public Health
The University of California, Berkeley's innovative on-campus/online professional Master of Public Health degree program allows students to earn their MPH degrees almost entirely through distance learning. The program requires two accelerated on-campus sessions, each lasting one week, while all remaining coursework can be done online. The degree is designed to be completed in seven semesters (even for students working full-time) and includes a balance of core public health courses and broader interdisciplinary courses. Students can gain a deeper understanding of several areas of public health, like biostatistics, epidemiology, health service management and environmental health.
UC Berkeley's web-based MPH program requires a minimum of 42 units earned with a grade of B or higher. Many courses are asynchronous, meaning students can access lectures, submit homework and complete quizzes any time, day or night, through the school's Angel Learning Management System. Students can connect and collaborate with instructors and peers through a diversity of social tools like VoiceThreads, Blackboard Collaborate and Piazza. Prospective students can contact UC Berkeley's School of Public Health to learn more about the on-campus/online professional MPH degree program, including admissions criteria and technical requirements for participation in digitally delivered courses.
School of Public Health
The University of Washington-Seattle Campus offers an Executive Master of Public Health (eMPH) degree that integrates online and in-person learning. UW has been offering this program for more than 30 years. Certain courses are completed online using electronic delivery methods such as the Canvas platform. There are several mandatory on-campus sessions throughout the program, and graduation requirements include a thesis or a project relating to a public health agency. A practicum in a public health organization is required for most participants except those with extensive experience in the field.
Students are required to have two years of professional experience before they apply to the eMPH program, but the average for applicants is nine years. A bachelor's degree and a 3.0 GPA are required for admission, as are GRE or other standardized exam scores. Students submit academic transcripts, a statement of purpose, three recommendation letters, a resume, a summary of professional activities and honors, and a list of public health-related activities. Applicants also take a quantitative skills test before admission.
The eMPH program focuses on the areas of research-based evidence, health promotion and program development. Students have a number of required courses including environmental and occupational health, health communication, managing health care and financial management for health professionals. Elective classes might include environmental health regulation, clinical epidemiology or writing skills.
School of Medicine & Health Sciences
The master's of public health program at the University of North Dakota blends experiential learning with online class lectures in real-time. Students have the option to attend full-time or part-time. While course work can be done on a student's schedule, there are strict deadlines for homework and exams. MPH students can choose to specialize in health management and policy or population health analytics, though they need not declare a specialization when they apply to the program.
With this degree, students earn 42 credits, typically over the course of two years. A key component of the program is the practicum, consisting of 240 hours of fieldwork in an organization that offers public health services. Students take six core courses; the rest are determined by their specialization. Core courses include leading and managing public health systems, health care systems and epidemiology. Topics for the population health analytics specialization include advanced biostatistics and population health research methods. Subjects for those specializing in health management and policy include political and public policy analysis.
Interested students submit application materials such as a goal statement, three letters of recommendation, a resume and GRE exam scores. An in-person or Skype interview may also be required before admission to the program. In addition, students undergo a background check.
College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services
The Indiana State University Online Master of Science in Public Health program combines academic knowledge and skills with practical, hands-on experience. In addition to the general public health specialization, the program has a public health nutrition concentration. The general public health specialization is comprised of 21 core credits. Students must also complete 12 additional credits for a total of 33 credit hours.
The public health nutrition concentration is made up of 21 core credits and between 12 to 18 nutrition focused credits. Among these credits, adults can choose to participate in a registered or non-registered dietician track. Sample core classes include:
- Research Methodology in Health Sciences
- Introduction to Public Health
- Research Design and Data Analysis in Health and Human Performance
- Health Behavior Theories
Public health nutrition courses include trends in foods, advanced nutrition and food protection. A thesis, seminar and internship are required to graduate from the general public health program.
Before applicants are admitted to the programs, they must complete an undergraduate degree from an accredited school. The minimum GPA allowed is 2.7 for all courses. Students must earn a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 during the last 60 semester hours of their degree training. Two years of work experience in a health care field, a resume and two references are also required.
School of Health Sciences
Liberty University offers an online Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in nutrition. Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, bachelor, master, specialist and doctoral degrees.
The degree is suggested for students seeking a career as public health specialists, health educators, school nutrition and food services specialists and those interested in missionary work. The degree requires the completion of 42 credit hours, with up to nine credits available for transfer.
Following Liberty's faith-based culture, the online MPH specifically targets students interested in addressing food-borne illnesses, disease prevention and nutritional disorders in developing countries through missionary work.
The requirements are a bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college with a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA. Students must provide official transcripts.
Although the program is fully online, all MPH students have to complete a practicum field experience with an entity that provides services involving public health. The practicum is designed to give students the chance to apply academic knowledge to the real world. The program requires a minimum of 120 hours over 15 weeks, or one semester.
School of Public Health
The School of Public Health at the University of Memphis accepts students into the online master's program twice a year, in the fall and spring semesters. Participants examine both the academic and hands-on aspects of public health. Students can choose a general MPH degree or a specialized degree with a concentration in one of the five core areas: biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, health systems management, or social and behavioral science. The program requires 42 credit hours with 3 credits awarded for 240 hours of field experience in a public health community agency. This practicum results in a portfolio that can serve as the basis for thesis research or a master's capstone project.
For the master's degree program in public health, online courses are in UMOnline or Regents Online Degree Program (RODP) format; both types of courses can be completed at the student's convenience. The university typically relies on eCourseware and the Desire2Learn platform for distance learning programs.
Prospective students need to apply to both the University of Memphis and the School of Public Health. For admission to a master's degree program, students must already hold a bachelor's degree. For the School of Public Health specifically, applicants submit academic transcripts, GRE exam scores (unless they already have a doctorate), a statement of purpose, resume and three recommendation letters.
College of Medicine
Students in the University of Vermont's online Master of Public Health (MPH) program can complete their degree without visiting the campus, as they can organize their final project at their own location. Full-time students can often complete a degree in two years, while part-time students who are enrolled in less than nine credits each semester have up to five years to earn their degree.
The university's MPH is a generalist degree, which means that students learn about a variety of issues related to public health, population health sciences and health policy. Six of a student's 42 earned credits come from a culminating project experience. The project is completed in three phases consisting of project proposal design, field research and project presentation. Other required classes for online MPH students include:
- Environmental public health
- Social and behavioral sciences in public health
- Public health law and ethics
Three electives are also chosen from courses such as global public health, health finance and improving the health of patients and populations.
Online classes at UVM usually have 8-25 students. Students should expect to spend five to 20 hours each week on each class. Interaction between students and professors takes place via discussion boards and telephone. Participation and interaction is required, though it can be done at a convenient time for the student.
School of Public Health
SUNY at Albany offers their Master of Public Health to graduate students looking to expand their professional skills and knowledge in the public health field. Students choose from core courses in six areas: epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy and management, behavioral science, environmental health, and biological basis of public health. The university also offers upper level courses in an area of concentration of their choice, as well as internship opportunities that help students gain real world experience in the health industry.
Students can obtain their degree fully online with no in-class requirements. The SUNY MPH program includes:
- 18 credit hours in core classes
- 3 credit hours in First Year Seminar and Capstone
- 21 credit hours of concentration requirements and electives
- 9 credit hours in practice based internship (with up to 6 credits waived for those with previous public health experience)
To earn a MPH degree at SUNY, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher throughout enrollment in the program. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college, university, or graduate degree program, GRE scores, a personal statement and a resume with two references.
Candidates apply online through the centralized School of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS). The deadline for spring admission is October 15th, and the deadline for fall admission is April 15th.
School of Health Sciences
To graduate from Indiana Wesleyan University's online Master of Public Health program, students must complete 46 credit hours of coursework. The curriculum focuses on five distinct categories: epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, health services administration and social and behavioral sciences. After graduating from the program, students should be able to:
- Implement design and analysis methods that address public health issues that exist in a variety of environments, including rural, urban and global environments
- Use academic training and hands-on experience to determine environmental conditions that contribute to diseases and health issues
- Promote cultural understanding and diversity while working in the field
- Understand and explain public health policies, principals and concepts
Class sizes are kept small to allow students and instructors to engage with one another on a personal level. The online curriculum strongly resembles that of the campus-based program.
Video conferencing, live webcasts, campus email, discussion forums and a virtual portal serve as the primary mediums of class materials. Applications are completed online. Adults who want to enroll in the online MPH program must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Through the accelerated track, it is possible to finish the program in one year, versus the standard two-year track.
MPH program via Elmhurst College Online Center
Elmhurst College's Master in Public Health is a multidisciplinary program that examines the connections between health care, political, cultural, environmental, biological and socioeconomic systems. The curriculum is broad based and aims to prepare adults to work as public health specialists. Designed as a part-time program, it is possible to complete the graduate degree within 16 months.
During the first year of the program, the curriculum covers core courses such as environmental health science, biostatistics, clinical prevention and population health and public health policy and politics. Core courses built into the second year curriculum include public health services administration and management, fundamentals of social and behavioral sciences and community health programming. The program finishes with a practicum at a local public health facility.
Online classes are managed through the school's Online Center from which students can access:
- Lectures (live and recorded)
- Their course grades
- Related reading materials
Other tools available to online public health majors include the Campus Portal and Blackboard learning management system. Students also use campus email, text and chatting tools to communicate with their instructors and classmates. Typically, classes run for four to eight weeks. The school's virtual campus is compatible with both the Windows 7 and Mac operating systems. Students may also access classes from mobile devices.
College of Public Health
Kent State University's College of Public Health was the first to offer an online Bachelor of Science in Public Health. After the successful launch of the undergraduate degree program, the university announced it would also offer a competency-based online Master of Public Health degree, with a specialization in Health Policy and Management. The online MPH program at Kent State University teaches distance students the skills and knowledge needed to analyze and address public health risks as well as design plans and models for health promotion. Graduates of the program will be prepared for management positions in a variety of health care settings, or can go on to become policy analysts for health organizations and governmental agencies.
Designed for part- and full-time students, this online MPH program consists of a minimum of 46 credit hours. Nineteen hours are dedicated to core MPH courses that cover relevant topics in the field of public health; 15 hours focus on the health policy management concentration area; six hours consist of advisor-approved elective courses; and six hours are for practicum work.
All courses and discussions are asynchronous, which allows online students to work through course materials in a way that is most convenient for them and their lifestyle. Certain courses may be administered synchronously, depending on the instructor and upon unanimous agreement from enrolled students. Each student will be assigned a Health Policy & Management faculty advisor, and will be required to meet with this advisor every semester via phone, Skype, or in-person prior to registering for classes.
Kent State University's online MPH program has a rolling admissions policy, meaning there is no deadline and accepted students can start the program in any term.
MPH program via MCPHS Online
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers a Master of Public Health degree completely online. Students can take the online program full-time or part-time, and receive instruction from the same professors who teach the campus-based program.
The online MPH is designed for students interested in a career in the prevention of disease transmission, health improvement, and health and wellness promotion. The degree is open to both students emerging from an undergraduate degree, as well as current working professionals.
Candidates must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and either current employment in the public health sector, or the ability to articulate interest in the field. If the applicant graduated within the last five years, they must also submit GRE scores.
Students much achieve a B- in all courses and maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in good standing.
The program is offered completely online, but after students have completed 12 credits, they may register for a five-day, face-to-face seminar. Part-time students may take one to two courses, or three to six semester hours, while full-time students may take three courses, or nine semester hours. Students wishing to take more than three courses must get approval.
MPH program via The Chicago School Online
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers an online Master of Public Health degree program for professionals interested in mental health fields. This non-licensure and non-clinical program is designed to help working adults expand their knowledge and broaden their career opportunities.
The program offers three concentration areas: mental health & behavioral aspects of public health, leadership, and global health. Although this program is not accredited by the Center for Education for Public Health (CEPH), it aligns with the competency standards outlined by the organization.
The Master of Public Health online degree program requires 42 credit hours: 33 in core courses (including a capstone project based on required field experience) and 9 in concentration courses. Students in this program will:
- Be enrolled in 3 credit hours over 2 seminar courses
- Complete a minimum of 75 hours in fieldwork in a 7 week term
- Complete 25 hours in field week during a second 7 week term
Students pursuing this degree full time can complete the program within 2 years, and part time students should be able to within 3 years.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, a resume/CV highlighting 2+ years in post-baccalaureate work experience, a 500-750 word essay answering two specific questions, and all official transcripts. Candidates apply online and will need to pay an application fee of $50.00.
Meet the Expert
Sarah Vincent holds a MPH in Health Policy and Management from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She has several years experience in hospital administration at a premier healthcare institution in New York City. There she was involved in program development, implementation and evaluation, and operations management.
Earning an online master of public health is an ideal format for students who are unable to leave their full-time jobs. Students can “attend” online classes at their convenience, from home or overseas. Assignments are generally research-based and submitted via email, Blackboard, or a similar method online. Classes are flexible and abundant, with students often having the same wide range of course offerings as they would at a traditional campus-based school.
Many programs offer the majority of coursework online. However, students may connect with their peers and professors in short, intensive courses offered in one- to three-week segments for classes that are not suitable for an online format. In an accredited program, online students are held to the same rigorous standards as their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
High-level degree programs often begin with an on-campus orientation and other on-campus requirements spread out over the course of the entire program. By necessity, many master of public health programs are hybrid, with about 20 percent of the program completed on campus. Ideal candidates for an online MPH include those who are motivated and are self-starters.
A master of public health, or MPH, is just one area of focus for those interested in affecting public health and policy. Depending on what your career aspirations are, you might want to pursue a dual degree or specialty.
An online MPH, offers a wide range of options for students interested in advanced study in the health field, and some colleges and universities allow students to blend their MPH with a complementary field, such as a master’s in business administration (MBA) or a master’s of science in nursing (MSN), to earn a dual degree. This dual education is a great way for students to focus their public health coursework to an area of personal interest and also allows students to earn both degrees in a shorter timeframe than they would if they pursued each degree independently. Some colleges offer these dual degree options online for even more convenience.
Which type of online MPH program meshes with your academic and professional interests?
ONLINE MPH – GENERAL
Many colleges, including elite universities, offer an online master of public health. Depending on the school, this program may be offered 100 percent online or in a hybrid format with some in-person requirements, and in a full- or part-time basis.
A general master of public health prepares students to become leaders in public health administration and address health issues—locally and globally—using advanced methodologies and the latest research. Many students pursuing an online MPH are already industry professionals with several years of work experience and are looking to transition into leadership roles or a particular specialty field within public health, such as epidemiology for example. An online MPH generally takes two to three years to complete, but some universities offer a fast-track option. A capstone or research project often completes the program, allowing students to focus on their own professional goals and personal interests. Some online programs also require a certain amount of fieldwork hours.
An online MPH combined with an MBA allows students to integrate the philosophies, functions, and competencies of public health and business. For example, students look at cost-saving measures within public health and learn about population-based health, finance management, and strategic planning. Many programs are full time and can be completed in about two years. Most coursework can be completed online, but some programs require the completion of an internship.
Medical students in their final years of coursework may also pursue a dual-degree in public health. These students take a leave of absence from their medical training to complete the MPH, which is offered in an online format at some colleges. Many universities will accept two years of medical training for the two years of experience required for entrance into the MPH program.
In addition to dual degree options, many online MPH programs allow students to customize curriculum by choosing a concentration or area of specialty. Much like a dual degree, this option allows online learners to focus their MPH education on a particular area of interest. Concentrations will vary by institution, but some examples include:
- Environmental Health
- Leadership and Public Health Practic
- Health Care and Prevention
- Occupational Health Nursing
- Food, Nutrition, and Health
- Global Environmental Sustainability & Health
- Women’s and Reproductive Health
Personalize your studies with focus areas that match your interests and career goals with MPH@GW, the online Master of Public Health from the George Washington University. Choose from Health Communication, Health Policy, Program Planning and Evaluation, and Global Health.
Attending an accredited school for your MPH can be just as important as earning the degree itself. Accredited programs are reviewed by experts in the field and ensure that the program is held to the highest standards possible so that graduates are prepared to work in that specialized field. Be sure to research whether your university and public health program are accredited by an accrediting body. MPH programs are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
WHY ACCREDITATION MATTERS
Accreditation is the process through which colleges and universities prove their worth as educational institutions. An accredited school is one that has voluntarily submitted itself to lengthy peer review processes, thus demonstrating a commitment to educational excellence. Choosing an accredited MPH program is important because it tells employers that you attended an institution which was reviewed officially by a third party and approved—it’s proof that your degree is legit.
Accreditation typically comes in two forms: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation—which happens both at the national level and regionally—is the vetting of a college or university’s entire catalog. Everything about the school is considered, including the quality of education offered and the effectiveness of the school’s administration and leadership. This type of accreditation is essential to the reputation of universities and the degrees they offer, but it does not speak directly to the quality the school’s individual programs.
Programmatic accreditation—also called specialized or professional accreditation— is much more narrow. It focuses on specific programs, departments, or subsections of colleges and universities that already hold institutional accreditation. For example, entire institutions may be accredited by a regional accreditation agency, but specific programs such engineering or nursing or colleges such as a university’s School of Business may also be accredited by agencies specific to those fields of study.
ACCREDITATION FOR PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAMS
The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is a programmatic accreditation organization which reviews and approves public health education programs throughout the country. It is the most respected accrediting agency for public health programs in the country. The Council’s stated goal is “to enhance health in human populations through organized community effort,” which in intends to accomplish through these objectives:
- The promotion of quality public health education
- Assuring the public that institutions offering graduate instruction in the field of public health meet standards necessary for the conduct of such educational programs
- Encourage improvements in the quality of public health education through various means, including periodic review, publications, research, and consultation
CEPH has two corporate partners—the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH)—both of which support the Council’s efforts and echo its desire to further public health education.
I’d like to earn a dual degree. Can I take all my classes online?
Dual-degree programs often cross over from one specialized school to another at an accredited university. For example, students wanting to earn a master of public health and a Juris Doctor must take coursework at the college’s school of law, in addition to public health coursework. Some colleges do offer a dual degree options for the MPH online, but not all. Additionally, some dual degrees are blended, where the MPH—or part of the degree—can be completed online, but coursework for the other degree must be completed on-campus. Check with your accredited university for specific details.
Can I finish my online master’s degree in the same amount of time as a traditional degree?
Online programs are often designed for the working professional, someone who can only attend school on a part-time basis. Because of this, some online programs are only offered as part-time, which means it may take longer to complete than a traditional degree. On the other hand, some online MPH programs offer a fast-track option, allowing students to shorten their time to degree completion. Check with a school or program advisor for specific details; some schools may have the schedule you’re looking for.
Is an online master of public health reputable?
Accredited MPH programs are highly reputable, whether they are online or traditional. Check with your university and program administrator to ensure that the school and program you’re interested in are accredited by an agency that is recognized by U.S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
What types of jobs are available for graduates of an accredited online master of public health program?
A wide variety of jobs are available for graduates with an online master of public health. Biostatistician, epidemiologist, environmental health specialist, public health lobbyist, and health policy manager are just a few of the jobs available in this growing field.
Paying for an advanced degree can be a challenge, but with the many scholarship opportunities available, it’s certainly not impossible. A scholarship offers students funds to pay for college without requiring them to pay anything back. Another advantage is that recipients often make valuable connections with the funding institution, connections that might benefit the student in a future career. Below are some examples of potential scholarship opportunities for public health students:
Richard A. Herbert Memorial Scholarship – Graduate students are awarded this scholarship based on academic and/or research performance. Students are selected by the American Water Resources Association’s Student Activities Committee.
Udall Scholarship – Students with an interest in environmental policy, engineering, science, education, health or other related fields are eligible for this scholarship.
Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship – Minority students in their final year of full-time health care management study are eligible for this award.
Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship – Established in honor of Foster G. McGaw, the founder of the American Hospital Supply Corporation, this scholarship gives financial support to students in health care management graduate programs. Students must be in their final year of a graduate program. Preference is given to student associates of ACHE.
Andrea M. Rossiter, FACMPE Scholarship – This scholarship is for students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program relevant to medical practice management.
Harry J. Harwick Scholarship – Sponsored by the American College of Medical Practice Executives, students in a graduate program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education are eligible for this award.
Association on American Indian Affairs – The AAIA offers Florence Young Memorial Scholarships to students pursuing a master’s degree in public health.
Richard J. Stull Student Essay Competition in Healthcare Management – The Richard J. Stull Student Essay Competition was named in honor of its namesake, ACHE president from 1965-1978. It is designed for future leaders in health care management to describe important issues and developments in their profession.