Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

Earning a master's degree in public health can lead to new career opportunities. Here, we list the best online master's in public health programs for 2021.

Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

Are you ready to find your fit?

Public health experts keep communities safe from diseases and promote wellness. Earning a master's in public health online prepares graduates for leadership roles in the field.

A master's in public health degree includes public health education, research methods, epidemiology, and environmental health classes. The courses strengthen the analytical and decision-making skills needed for public health careers. An online master's in public health (MPH) offers a flexible, accessible route to an MPH degree.

Our list ranks the best online master's in public health programs. Prospective graduate students can use the rankings to find the right fit for their schedule, budget, and career goals.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Public Health

How much do people with a public health master's make?

With a public health master's degree, graduates earn above-average salaries. Epidemiologist professionals earn a $74,560 median annual salary, while health services managers earn over $104,000.

Can you become a doctor with a public health degree?

Yes, a master's in public health degree prepares graduates for medical school and other healthcare careers. After earning an MPH, graduates qualify to apply to doctoral programs.

What kind of jobs can you get with a public health degree?

A graduate public health degree leads to opportunities in public health administration, health education, and epidemiology.

Why Get a Master's Degree in Public Health?

A master's degree in public health leads to careers in epidemiology and public health administration. During a public health program, graduate students strengthen their research, program planning, and analytical skills. MPH graduates become health services managers, epidemiologists, public health administrators, and health education specialists.

An online delivery method appeals to working professionals and busy students. The flexible enrollment options and course schedules help graduate students balance school with other responsibilities. Earning an online master's in public health often saves students money. Distance learners benefit from more choices.

How Much Does a Public Health Degree Cost?

Earning a master's degree typically costs $30,000-$120,000. Tuition rates vary depending on the program and delivery format. In general, public universities charge the lowest tuition rates for in-state students.

Choosing an online delivery format often saves graduate students money. Instead of attending a local school or relocating, distance learners compare the most affordable MPH programs for their budget.

Additional Online Student Fees

Besides tuition, master's in public health degree-seekers must consider other fees. The total cost of earning a master's in public health online includes fees, technology costs, books, and other expenses. Some online universities charge a distance learning fee or a graduation fee. Graduate students should expect to spend several hundred dollars each term on books and supplies.

Programs with in-person requirements, including a practicum, add to the total cost. Students need to budget for transportation, parking, and other expenses. Prospective MPH students can contact programs for an estimate of the total degree costs.

How Much Do Public Health Majors Make?

Public health majors work as epidemiologists, health services managers, and health educators. In these diverse roles, they report above average salaries. Besides a strong earning potential, public health professionals benefit from high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 30% more jobs for epidemiologists in 2030 compared to 2020. Medical and health services managers see an even higher 32% projected growth from 2020-2030.

Courses in Public Health

A master's in public health degree strengthens analytical, communication, and research skills. Learners take classes in public health methods, epidemiology, environmental health, and health systems. Master's students may also focus the degree with a concentration or electives.

During an online master's in public health, graduate students often complete a practicum or internship locally. Programs work with enrollees to arrange appropriate placements with community and healthcare organizations.

This section describes common classes for students earning their master's in public health online. While each program sets its own curriculum, many include the following options.

  • Foundations of Public Health

    Many master's in public health degrees include foundational courses introducing public health systems, interdisciplinary methods, and public health delivery. Students explore the history of public health, the relationship between public health and healthcare systems, and current public health issues. The class prepares learners for advanced coursework.
  • Public Health Interventions

    Public health decision-makers design interventions to improve public health and promote wellness. The class focuses on identifying potential interventions, creating and implementing a plan, and evaluating an intervention. Participants examine intervention strategies, outcome evaluation, and monitoring interventions. The assignments may include projects and presentations.
  • Epidemiology

    Epidemiologists study the spread of disease and the best methods to improve outcomes from disease. In epidemiology graduate courses, students examine public health epidemiology, disease distribution, disease measurement techniques, and experimental study design. They learn how to investigate an outbreak, screen for diseases, and analyze epidemiologic research.

Career and Salary Outlook for Public Health

An online master's in public health prepares graduates for many career paths. Public health experts work as epidemiologists and public health administrators. Other career paths include opportunities in community health, health education, and public health policy.

The BLS reports a strong projected growth rate for many of these roles. The earning potential in public health careers varies depending on the job title, location, and experience. This section introduces some common career paths and salary data.

  • Epidemiologist

    Epidemiologists research the causes of disease in a community. They study public health challenges to reduce risk and minimize the harm caused by disease outbreaks. Epidemiologists use sources like observational data, surveys, and medical samples to track public health problems. They also oversee programs dedicated to public health.
  • Medical and Health Services Manager

    Medical and health services managers oversee health-related services at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings. Sometimes called healthcare administrators, they set long-term goals for their department, supervise staff, and oversee the budget. Medical and health services managers often recommend policies to improve quality in healthcare services.
  • Health Education Specialist

    Health education specialists, or health educators, teach the public about health and well-being. They create programs and plan events to educate people about different health topics. Health education specialists train healthcare providers and supervise health education programs. As part of their job, health education specialists analyze data on community health issues.
CareerMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Epidemiologist$74,56030%
Medical and Health Services Manager$104,28032%
Health Education Specialist$48,14017%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Best Online Master's in Public Health

  1. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $11313

    Based in Gainesville, UF offers an online master of public health. Students may choose from two concentrations: public health practice or social and behavioral sciences. Courses follow a semester schedule and include weekly assignment deadlines. Prerecorded lectures allow for asynchronous learning.

    Core course topics include principles of epidemiology in public health, environmental health concepts in public health, and an introduction to the U.S. healthcare system. Students then pursue electives and requirements based on their chosen concentration. All students must also complete an applied practicum or public health internship.

    Admission into the program requires an average GPA of 3.0 calculated after the first 50 hours of undergraduate courses. Applicants must also possess a completed bachelor's degree. The school also requires students to submit GRE/MCAT scores (waived through fall 2021). Health professionals with a terminal degree in their fields may complete the program with 42 credits.

    UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.

  2. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $9180

    Located in Miami, FIU offers an online master of public health. The program prepares graduates for interdisciplinary careers in public health, teaching skills such as investigating the distribution of diseases and analyzing environmental determinants of health among diverse populations.

    The 45-credit program includes core courses such as public health statistics, health behavior and public health, and environmental health risk assessment. Most students must also complete a practicum in their geographic area; students with three years of relevant professional experience may request a waiver.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and possess a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 credits of undergraduate coursework. Students do not need to submit GRE scores. FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.

  3. University of California-Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $17862

    Berkeley offers an online master of public health (MPH). The program provides a practice-based curriculum for working students seeking to improve their knowledge and skills.

    The 42-credit program typically takes 27 months to complete. Students choose from three program options: epidemiology and biostatistics, health policy and management, or a customizable interdisciplinary option. The program requires two campus visits totaling about 15 days and a field practicum of 130 hours. Completion of the program also requires passing a final comprehensive exam.

    Applicants must complete at least one college-level statistics or epidemiology course with a minimum grade of "B+" before applying to the MPH program. Applicants must also possess a minimum of two years of post-bachelor's work experience.

    Berkeley is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.

  4. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Location

    Chapel Hill, NC

    Tuition

    $11649

    Based in Chapel Hill, UNC-Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Public Health offers an online master of public health. The 42-credit program provides three concentration options: leadership, nutrition, and a registered dietitian option that prepares graduates to sit for the national exam. Students can complete the program in as few as 20-24 months.

    Core course topics include understanding public health issues, data analysis for public health, and conceptualizing data health solutions. Students then take eight concentration-specific electives. All students must also complete at least 200 hours of practicum fieldwork and a culminating experience.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree. The school does not require students to submit standardized test scores. UNC-Chapel Hill is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.

  5. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Based in Los Angeles, USC's Keck School of Medicine offers an online master of public health. The 42-credit program offers six concentrations, including biostatistics, epidemiology, health services, and community and global health. Students can complete the program in about two years (six semesters) or opt for an accelerated path that leads to completion in about four semesters.

    Core courses include health service delivery in the U.S., principles of epidemiology, and public health leadership and management. Students also complete a practicum experience, with more than 400 site options around the world from which to choose.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and possess a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. USC is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.

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