Ranking Online Colleges: 2015 - 2016: Methodologies

Public Health Online provides current and future students, as well as young and seasoned professionals, with in-depth research and expert-driven information about college and career opportunities in the field. Part of this mission centers on rankings, which can help PH program seekers make smarter decisions based on individual academic wants and needs. While some rankings can be subjective, data junkies and higher education experts at Public Health Online spent months analyzing cost and quality metrics from the Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the Carnegie Foundation and from the schools themselves to create the most accurate and highest quality product possible. For more information about our rankings processes, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us directly.

Best Degree Programs in Public Health (and Related Fields)

For students looking to begin an education and career in public health, a degree in the broader field may be the best starting point. However, public health also includes a number of related and more niche disciplines that can also lead to a college degree and career success. To help those exploring multiple public health possibilities, our expert research team has collected and analyzed data from hundreds of institutions across the nation to see which schools and programs stand out in 2016. Here’s a breakdown of both the general requirements and the specific metrics used to isolate the best of the best:

General criteria:
  • Must be a four-year degree-granting institution
  • Must be a public or private not-for-profit institution
  • Must have at least one campus-based program in the subject
Key ranking metrics:
  • In-state tuition
  • Number of concentrations and programs available in the subject
  • Academic & career counseling services
  • Job placement services for graduates
  • Undergraduate loan default rate
  • Percent of undergraduate students receiving financial aid
  • Undergraduate acceptance rate
  • Undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio
  • Undergraduate 6-year graduation rate
  • Public Health Online’s Peer-Based Value (PBV)*

*PBV: A metric unique to Public Health Online rankings that compares the quality score of a program to the scores of other programs with similar costs. In turn, it also compares the cost of a program to the costs of others with similar quality scores. In short, PBV illustrates the cost/quality value of an online MPH program.

Top Master’s Programs in Public Health (and Related Fields)

Graduate study in public health can pave the way to more advanced degrees and career paths in the field. Although the MPH remains a top path for PH students, a number of more specific disciplines provide opportunity, as well, including epidemiology and healthcare administration. To make finding the right master’s program a more manageable task, our research team has dissected data from hundreds of programs to identify which colleges have the best balance of quality, quantity, affordability and support services.

General criteria:
  • Must be a four-year degree-granting institution
  • Must have not-for-profit status
  • Must have at least one master’s program in the subject area
Key scoring metrics:
  • In-state tuition
  • Number of concentrations and programs available in the subject
  • Academic & career counseling services
  • Job placement services for graduates
  • Public Health Online’s Peer-Based Value (PBV)*

*PBV: A metric unique to Public Health Online rankings that compares the quality score of a program to the scores of other programs with similar costs. In turn, it also compares the cost of a program to the costs of others with similar quality scores. In short, PBV illustrates the cost/quality value of an online MPH program.

Best Online MPH Programs for 2016

Public Health remains one of the fastest-growing fields in academia. Furthermore, online learning in public health and master’s degrees in the subject continue to grow, with colleges and universities across the country offering one, both or a combination of the two. The schools that earned top spots on our Best Online MPH Programs list showed a winning combination of affordability, quality and support services to help students earn the advanced credential they need. Criteria and scoring details include:

General criteria:
  • Must be a four-year degree-granting institution
  • Must have not-for-profit status
  • Must have at least one online MPH program
Key scoring metrics:
  • Online tuition cost
  • CEPH accreditation
  • Academic & career counseling services
  • Job placement services for graduates
  • Public Health Online’s Peer-Based Value (PBV)*

*PBV: A metric unique to Public Health Online rankings that compares the quality score of a program to the scores of other programs with similar costs. In turn, it also compares the cost of a program to the costs of others with similar quality scores. In short, PBV illustrates the cost/quality value of an online MPH program.