If truth be told, when we are sick, we would give just about anything to be well. We would pay just about any price, and in fact, we do. Health is certainly more valuable than wealth. Next consider Churchill’s connection of health and citizenship.
When we are sick, we are unproductive and unhappy, thus, our country suffers. We do less, travel less, and work less—even care less. Extend this line of logic and one quickly arrives at just how vitally important the field of public health is.
What kind of Public Health degree should I get?
The Center for Disease Control defines public health as “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health and efficiency through organized community effort.
This organized effort takes place through public and private institutions, non-profit organizations, charitable groups, religious organizations, communities, and individuals. This community effort, along with a growing global population means that the need for healthcare workers will continue to grow. Additionally, in most developed nations, the population is aging, putting more strain and greater need on public health.”
For example, there are dual Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees like an Master of Art in Bioethics/MPH or an MBA/MPH degree. There are MPH concentrations in dozens of areas, for example in biostatistics, an area devoted to collecting, analyzing, and organizing data to be used to improve public health, or maternal and child health.
How much money does one make with a degree in Public Health?
Our world is faced with many hardships and challenges, yet in the midst of them are opportunities for heroic virtue. Whether your passion is social work, research, management, or field work, public health has a niche for you. Our universities offer numerous programs in public health, and we’ve ranked the Best Online Colleges and Universities for those who need the online flexibility and convenience.
A sample of some job titles and mean wages collected from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics include:
- Medical and Health Services Managers: $103,680
- Health Specialties Teachers: $112,950
- Genetic Counselors: $72,090
- Epidemiologist: $69,500
- Biostatician: $76,000
What can I do with a degree in Public Health?
Graduates from MPH programs go on to various public health practice and research initiatives in academia, governmental agencies, community-based organizations and private industry. As a public health major, you will have specialized knowledge and skills needed to address public health issues.
You will have the ability to analyze, synthesize and evaluate information to make sound decisions and solve problems as well as leadership and communication skills necessary when working in public health.
What are the requirements for a degree in Public Health?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.3 million new jobs over the course of ten years, adding more jobs than any other group of occupations.
To join this work force you will need to allocate two years to advanced study of public health. These master’s degrees ensure you receive both the academic and hands-on experience you’ll need to succeed. While some programs require practicums or internships, others provide competitive research opportunities.
What are the Best Master’s in Public Health degrees?
For this ranking we consulted a variety of sources, including U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and PayScale to produce a list that reflects what we believe are the best programs in the country to earn a Master in Public Health. We believe this list will assist you in finding a program that will offer you a balance in affordability, reputation, and return on investment to start you on your journey of success in the public health profession.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Tuition: $1,264
Known as one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Harvard University was founded in 1636, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Harvard’s 22,000 students enjoy an iconically beautiful campus with one of the best college libraries, and several arts, cultural, and scientific museums.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health offers a wide array of Master of Public Health degrees. In fact, there’s just too many to mention here. There are Dual/Joint Degrees, Summer-Only MPH, 45-Credit MPH (for those with a doctorate or enrolled in a doctoral program), and 65-Credit MPH, all with various sub-choices. Admission requirements vary, but for the 65-Credit MPH degree requirements include a bachelor’s degree, two years of relevant work experience, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, CV or resume, and an acceptable GRE score. The 65-Credit MPH has concentrations:
- Global Health
- Health and Social Behavior
- Health Management
- and Health Policy
Students complete a practicum and culminating experience collaborating with professionals throughout the two-year program. With outstanding quality to be expected at Harvard, there is also great flexibility. On top of world-class faculty there are incredible resources like Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, leaving no doubt that Harvard belongs at the top of list.
Johns Hopkins University
College Choice Score: 94.8
Average Tuition: $1,290
Founded in 1876 by famed entrepreneur and abolitionist Johns Hopkins, the University bearing his name is one of the top universities in the nation. JHU is located in Baltimore, Maryland and known for incredible research. The School enrolls over 20,000 students.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health offers full-time, part-time, online, and dual-degree MPH programs. The traditional full-time degree takes one year and is intense.As far as curriculum goes, JHU follows a comprehensive core, elective/concentration(s) are chosen, proceeding to a practicum and MPH Capstone written and oral presentation. Students choose from one of 12 concentration, including in:
- Aging and Public Health
- Child and Adolescent Health, Food, Nutrition and Health
- Global Environmental Sustainability
- Women’s and Reproductive Health, and much more
Also not for the faint of heart is the online or dual-degree programs. The online is a hybrid style with 80 percent online and 20 percent on campus. The 80-credit degree takes two to three years to complete. For such a stellar program with amazing flexibility and options, it may come as a surprise that the cost per credit is $1,290.
Columbia University in the City of New York
College Choice Score: 90.8
Average Tuition: $1,446
Not many American schools can say they were established by a King, but Columbia University can. King’s College was born in 1754 by royal charter of George II. Nowadays Columbia’s beautiful and historic campus is enjoyed by 30,000 students.
Mailman School of Public Health has a unique and effective MPH program. In consultation with 150 members of the faculty, as well as students, alumni, and employers, the curriculum is set up for the 21st century. Students first take a core, which is broken down into six “studios” further broken down into 18 modules. Students are strongly discouraged from working during their first year as they are learning fundamental concepts in a cohort of peers. Next is specialization, of which there are more than 20 available certificates in:
- Global Health
- Epidemiology, and much more
Mentorship and community connections are fostered and utilized. One such way is the Integration of Science and Practice (ISP). These small groups of 20 students study cases and work together throughout the program learning collaboration, leadership, and communication. Lastly, the capstone internship applies knowledge and leads to a Master thesis or research project.
College Choice Score: 82.4
Average Tuition: $1,700
The Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University offers a master of public health, which can be earned in under two years. Students may choose from multiple concentration areas including health policy and global epidemiology. Prospective learners should examine the requirements for each concentration as admission and course requirements vary. Public health graduate students must complete a 200-400 hour practicum to acquire real-world experience. Rollins faculty members assist with practicum placement. However, students must get their practicum placement approved. Additionally, students complete a culminating experience to graduate, which may include a thesis, capstone project, or a specialty project monitored by a preceptor.
George Washington University
College Choice Score: 77.6
Average Tuition: $1,580
Founded in 1821, George Washington University educates 15,000 total students only four blocks from the Whitehouse. The School is particularly known for having over 12,000 internship opportunities in places like the White House, Bloomingdale’s, National Institutes of Health, and the World Bank.
The Milken Institute of Public Health at GW offers a slew of MPH degrees. From a traditional on-campus degree with over a dozen concentrations, to a full- or part-time online MPH, to dual-degree MPH programs, there are many ways to study public health at GW. Most of the MPH programs at GW are full-time, 45-credit, on-campus degrees. All programs are CEPH certified and feature the best training in core competencies including real-world application through the practicum and culminating experience. Some ways to earn a dual-degree include in:
- International Affairs
- And more
Another option for those who are motivated is the one-year accelerated MPH. Given the demanding course load, students approved for this program track are not permitted to work while enrolled. If you are accepted to the program, the curriculum and faculty are the same as the traditional on-campus MPH. The MPH at GW is respected, accredited, and affordable at $1,500 per credit. Given these and the incredible location to boot, George Washington University’s MPH ranks #5.
College Choice Score: 77.4
Average Tuition: $1,537
Founded by an ardent Bostonian abolitionist in 1839 as the Newbury Biblical Institute, Boston University is now a premier private research university. The main campus is situated along the Charles River in bustling Boston and the School also has their University Medical Campus in Boston’s South End neighborhood. BU has 33,000 students from more than 130 countries.
At BU’s School of Public Health (SPH) “you’ll gain a strong, integrated, problem-based foundation in the values, history, methods, and functions of public health.” Focused on career preparation and practical experience, BU’s Master of Public Health imparts the knowledge, practiced skills, and leadership to make a real difference in world on day one. and finally the ILE. BU’s integrated core consists of:
- Health Systems, Law, and Policy
- Individual, Community, and Population Health
- Leadership and Management for Public Health
- Quantitative Methods for Public Health
The MPH at BU is different by offering the Integrated Core, then two choices from 17 Integrated Graduate Certificates, which are similar to concentrations, and then proceeding to the Practicum and Integrative Learning Experience (ILE). The Practicum takes place at one of over 300 sites where students spend a minimum of 240 hours in a public health organization. After this they move into Career Development, “a hallmark of the BU MPH.”
College Choice Score: 77.2
Average Tuition: $1,208
Founded in 1834 as Medical College of Louisiana, Tulane University now offers degrees in architecture, business, law, liberal arts, medicine, public health and tropical medicine, the sciences and engineering, and social work. The University enrolls a total of 13,581 students on a 110-acre uptown campus in New Orleans.
The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine offers Master of Public Health degrees in a number of concentrations and areas. The MPH programs are 45 credits, and include core competencies, a 300-hour field practicum and final research project in the specialization of choice. Some of the areas you can become an expert in include:
- Community Health Sciences
- Disaster Management
- Health Education and Communications
- Maternal and Child Health, and Nutrition.
If you are fascinated by infectious diseases and have a passion to see them eradicated, you may consider Tulane’s Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (MPHTM). This degree focuses on infectious diseases and public health in tropical regions. With excellent options and quality at an affordable $1,206 per credit, Tulane is worthy choice for an MPH.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
College Choice Score: 74.8
Average Tuition: $2,784
Founded in 1817, and originally located in Detroit, the institution’s home moved to Ann Arbor in 1837. Since those days, the University has grown to include 19 schools and colleges with a total enrollment of approximately 44,000 students and 3,100 faculty.
A leader in public health and research since 1941, the School of Public Health offers a Master of Public Health with concentrations in Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Health Behavior and Health Education, Health Management and Policy, and Nutritional Sciences. Also available are seven dual degrees (see samples below). The traditional on-campus MPH is a two-year 48-credit program and all students participate in a summer internship where they explore areas of interest and become acquainted with community and other public health organizations agencies.
- Social Work
- Business Administration
An Executive MPH degree is available to mid-career health professionals and is convenient and flexible; the program is hybrid and takes 18-25 months. The University of Michigan is one of the best schools in the Midwest and is nationally and globally ranked.
University of California-Berkeley
College Choice Score: 74.2
Average Tuition: $1,056
At the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health students can earn master’s degree in public health in as little as 11 months depending on the concentration area and prior education. However, most programs require two years of study. The Berkeley School of Public Health also offers a MBA MPH combination for relevant concentrations, which allows students to graduate in just over two years with a dual degree. Students may choose from 11 concentration areas including environmental health studies, health and social behavior, and health policy and management. Despite the concentration, students should anticipate internships and culminating experiences.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
College Choice Score: 73.4
Average Tuition: $1,912
Opening its doors in 1795 as the nation’s first public university, the University of North Carolina has been vital to the American university system. Now with 30,000 undergraduates and graduates, UNC offers just about every degree possible. UNC gives back too, with more than $7 billion in economic impact every year.
Accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) the Gillings School of Global Public Health offers a Master of Public Health on-campus, hybrid, and fully online. The Gillings Global Gateway works with faculty and students to coordinate research, teaching, and practice efforts in more than fifty-five countries. The Master of Public Health program a requires a minimum of 42 credits. Every department offers an MPH concentration, including in:
- Health Policy and Management
- Health Behavior and Health Education
- Maternal and Child Health
- Nutrition, and more
The Leadership MPH is targeted at those with at least three to five years of professional experience seeking to gain knowledge and skills to enter the world of management and leadership. Considering the options of on-campus, hybrid, and online, as well as the cost per credit ($1,900) and the academic quality a, UNC is an excellent choice.
University of California-Los Angeles
College Choice Score: 72.1
Average Tuition: $1,309
Founded in 1919, and now one of the most successful and preeminent schools in the nation, UCLA is big and makes a big impact. There are approximately 44,000 total students who study in hundreds of programs and thousands of courses. Notably, UCLA has incredible health care with a neuropsychiatric hospital and a children’s hospital.
The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health has worked to advance public health for over 55 years. One particular way the School accomplishes this is by providing excellent Master of Public Health degrees. The traditional MPH is a highly competitive two-year program that involves coursework in foundational knowledge of the health sector, management and policy, and leadership skills. The capstone field experience is a full-time, 10-week summer internship; this is followed up by a final report and presentation. UCLA offers an MPH with five concentrations
- Community Health Sciences
- Environmental Health Sciences
- Health Policy and Management
UCLA also offers an accelerated MPH, an Executive MPH, and many dual-degree programs. The accelerated MPH is worth mentioning, especially if you have prior doctoral-level training. The one-year program prepares those with an interest in policy, management or quality.
College Choice Score: 71.9
Average Tuition: $4,180
To mention Yale is to imagine history, tradition, excellence, and beauty. In 1701 the charter was granted for Yale, making it one of the country’s oldest school. Indeed, as the third oldest institution of higher learning, this Ivy-league powerhouse offers myriads of options for its 12,000 students.
Yale offers a Master of Public Health, Advanced Professional MPH, Accelerated MBA/MPH in Health Care Management, a Five-Year BA-BS/MPH, and 10 joint degree programs from business, to forestry, to nursing and more. The traditional MPH is a two-year program that includes core coursework, a summer internship, and a Master’s thesis. There are seven concentrations available:
- Chronic Disease Epidemiology
- Environmental Health Sciences
- Health Policy
- And much more
The Advanced Professional MPH Program is for those already in the public health field seeking professional development and career advancement. The innovative and first-of-its-kind Accelerated MBA/MPH in Health Care Management is a 22-month program with an international internship preparing individuals to take up leadership in global health care.
University of Pittsburgh
College Choice Score: 71.7
Average Tuition: $1,726
The University of Pittsburgh has accolades stretching back to when U.S. Constitution was signed. Pitt offers a world-class education to 33,000 students. Sitting on 132 urban acres in Pittsburgh’s historic Oakland neighborhood, most of the main campus is a National Historic District and is known for having great architecture from Neo-Gothic to modern, like its centerpiece 42-story “Cathedral of Learning.”
The Graduate School of Public Health is organized into seven departments. Each department offers an Master of Public Health degree with specializations in a range of areas, from behavioral and community health science to biostatistics, environmental and occupational health, and more. Students are trained and evaluated in core competencies of public health, but also leadership, diversity, and planning. Joint degrees are available in
- Social Work
- Public and International Affairs
- And more
Unique to Pitt is the opportunity to earn a combined MPH in Public Health Genetics and MS in Genetic Counseling. Further, there is also a self-designed MPH program called the Multidisciplinary MPH open to physicians, dentists, and veterinarians or holders of doctoral degrees in the health sciences.
University of South Florida
College Choice Score: 71
Average Tuition: $877
There are 49,000 students in the University of South Florida System, which is comprised of three schools in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee. There are countless academic options in 14 colleges offering more than 180 undergraduate and 40 graduate programs. USF is one of 40 public research universities nationwide with “very high research activity” designated by the Carnegie Foundation.
The College of Public Health serves nearly 1700 students and offers a multitude of Master of Public Health options. There is the traditional MPH with about 20 concentrations (some are for USF Pediatric Residents and Fellows only); odds are though, if you want it, USF has it. There are many online options for the MPH, which has a choice of nine concentrations. There are also dual MPH programs in:
- Master of Health Administration
- Physical Therapy, and more
In addition to excellent options and quality, a USF degree is very affordable at $877 per credit. The program (traditional and online) is about 42 credits and includes a field experience, special project and comprehensive exam. The College of Public Health is fully accredited by the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH).
Texas A & M Health Science Center
College Choice Score: 68.9
Average Tuition: $1,200
The Texas A&M University Health Science Center (TAMHSC) is part of Texas A&M University and was founded in 1999. It is a comprehensive health science center “transforming health through innovative research, education and service in dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health and medical sciences.” There are over 600 students earning degrees through five colleges.
The School of Public Health offers the Master of Public Health degree that leads students through a core into areas of specialization ending with a capstone project and practicum for a total of 45 credit hours. There are also many ways to specialize, in:
- Environmental Health
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Health Policy and Management
The cost per credit is reasonable comparatively at $1,200, and financial aid is available through assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships. Students also have access to help fund their MPH through the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health.
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
College Choice Score: 67.1
Average Tuition: $3,071
The University of Minnesota was established in 1851 in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) as a land grant university. The university is organized into 19 colleges and schools, and has sister campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester. This School has 30,500 undergraduate students on the Twin Cities campus, and 16,300 graduate and professional students.
The School of Public Health at UM offers a variety of ways to earn a Master of Public Health: a traditional MPH, online, executive/distance, joint degrees, and an accelerated BS/MPH in Environmental Health. The traditional MPH has many ways to specialize in advanced fields, including in:
- Community Health Promotion
- Environmental Health
- Maternal and Child Health
- Public Health Nutrition, and more
The Executive MPH program in Public Health Practice is designed for professionals with an advanced degree or public health professionals with significant work experience who have completed the School’s Public Health Core Concepts Certificate. One particular reason to consider UM is the international connections; student have participated in their degree program at more than 115 different sites in 15 countries.
University of Florida
College Choice Score: 63.5
Average Tuition: $1,255
With approximately 37,000 undergraduates and 16,000 graduate students, the University of Florida is one of the top universities in Florida. Tracing its origins to 1853 and continuously operating since 1906, this public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university boasts that 56 percent of students graduate with no debt.
The College of Public Health and Health Professions offers a variety of ways to earn a Master of Public Health: traditional MPH, online, accelerated, collaborative & joint MPH programs, and combined bachelor’s & MPH. The traditional MPH is an on-campus, full-time, two-year 48-credit program with a choice of six concentrations:
- Public Health Policy and Management
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
- Public Health Practice, and more
In addition to the traditional program, UF also offers an online MPH, which is comprised of the same curriculum but fully online with no campus visits required. Further, specifically designed for those working in the field, the accelerated MPH requires prerequisite classes, experience, and is 42 credits with the flexibility of full- or part-time.
University of Nebraska Medical Center
College Choice Score: 63.3
Average Tuition: $956
The University of Nebraska Medical Center is located in Omaha and is one of the four campuses in the University of Nebraska System. The School enrolls 3800 total students and offers outstanding medical training contributing with its hospital partner, Nebraska Medicine, an annual impact of $4.2 billion.
The UNMC College of Public Health offers a Master of Public Health program that is 45 credits. It is offered both on campus and online and allows students to explore a diverse range of topics relating to public health. Among the formal concentrations are those in:
- Community Oriented Primary Care
- Environmental and Occupational Health
- Maternal and Child Health, and more
UNMC’s program notably “emphasizes the areas of prevention, scientific knowledge base, interdependency with other areas of knowledge and practice, and social justice.” The MPH is CEPH accredited and guided by UNMC Core Competencies focusing on clear objectives leading a comprehensive and complete education in public health.
Saint Louis University
College Choice Score: 63.2
Average Tuition: $1,075
Located in the historic city of St. Louis, Missouri, just five minutes away from the Gateway Arch on the Mississippi Riverfront, sits Saint Louis University. Home to more than 8,200 undergraduates and 4,600 graduate students, SLU, the second-oldest Jesuit University, offers more than 90 undergraduate programs and nearly 100 graduate programs.
The College of Public Health offers several options for earning a Master of Public Health. The curriculum aims at competence in the five core areas of public health: behavioral science, biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental and occupational health, and public health administration and policy. In addition to this core, students choose one or two of nine concentration areas:
- Behavioral Science and Health Education
- Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness
- Global Health
- Health Management and Policy, and more
Notably, this is the only accredited Catholic, Jesuit school of public health in the nation. The College of Public Health and Social Justice is serious about serving the community and helping foster a more equitable world.
Ohio State University
College Choice Score: 63.2
Average Tuition: $1,093
Ohio State University was originally founded for mechanical and agricultural training. OSU is now comprehensive and the third largest university in the country with 59,000 students. A member of the Association of American Universities and a Public Ivy, academic options, quality, and accolades abound.
At Ohio State, the MPH is offered in two formats: a traditional weekday format and a more flexible part-time format for experienced professionals who desire career advancement. There are eight concentrations at OSU
- Biomedical Informatics
- Clinical Translational Science
- Environmental Health Sciences, and much more
There are too many dual-degrees to mention, however, suffice it to say, if you are drawn to an MPH combined with another OSU offers it. The MPH program includes a practicum, which many students choose to pursue in international settings, and a culminating experience designed for students to integrate and synthesize their knowledge and skills in a real-world situation. OSU is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) and the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).