Best Master’s in Public Health Degrees 2021

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to find your fit?

Best Master's in Public Health Degrees Badge

Master’s in public health degrees provide specialized knowledge and skills for careers promoting and protecting population health. These interdisciplinary programs often combine coursework in public health research, health education, health science, and leadership.

Admission to a good public health master’s program typically requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school. Many programs also require prerequisite coursework in biology and mathematics. Some programs look for candidates with relevant professional experience. Application requirements may include recommendation letters, curriculum vitae or resumes, GRE scores, and essays.

mini icon
Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Recommended Schools

Master’s degrees in public health can prepare graduates for various high-level careers or doctoral programs. Common career paths for graduates include epidemiologist, public health analyst, community health program or facility director, and medical and health services manager. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites a median annual salary of $100,980 and a projected 32% job growth for medical and health services managers from 2019 to 2029.

Top 10 Best Master’s in Public Health Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
2 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
3 Columbia University New York, NY
4 Emory University Atlanta, GA
5 George Washington University Washington, DC
6 Boston University Boston, MA
7 Tulane University New Orleans, LA
8 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
9 University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA
10 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC

FAQ


  • What can you use a public health degree for?

    Master’s in public health degrees can lead to careers in public health research, policy, clinical practice, and leadership.


  • Is public health in the medical field?

    Public health focuses on disease and injury prevention, rather than on direct provision of medical care.


  • What does a career in public health look like?

    Public health professionals work to protect the public from various harms, hazards, and diseases. This career often entails research or advocacy supporting effective public health policy and practice.


  • What are examples of public health?

    Public health fields include environmental health, global health, epidemiology, and health promotion.


Best Master’s in Public Health Degrees 2021

  1. Harvard University
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  2. Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  3. Columbia University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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
    • Biostatistics
    • Epidemiology, and much more

    Notables

    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.

  4. Emory University
    Location

    Atlanta, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  5. George Washington University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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:

    • Law
    • Medicine
    • International Affairs
    • And more

    Notables

    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.

  6. Boston University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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

    Notables

    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.”

  7. Tulane University
    Location

    New Orleans, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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.

    Notables

    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.

  8. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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.

    • Law
    • Medicine
    • Social Work
    • Business Administration

    Notables

    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.

  9. University of California-Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  10. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Location

    Chapel Hill, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

What Are the Goals of a Public Health Degree?

Public health students can pursue various master’s degree options, including a master of arts in public health (MPH), a master of science in public health (MSPH), and an MBA/MPH dual degree. The MPH typically serves professionals interested in policy or community health work, while the MSPH often prepares graduates for research careers. MBA/MPH students typically use this degree to qualify for advanced management or administration careers.

Most master’s in public health programs include courses on public health data collection and analysis, clinical practice, and disease prevention. Enrollees typically choose a specialization such as environmental health, health policy, community health education, or epidemiology. Some programs include concentrations in niche fields such as bioethics or biostatistics.

Why Get a Public Health Degree?



Earning a master’s degree in public health can yield many potential personal and professional benefits, including career and salary advancement, specialized knowledge, and professional networking. See below for descriptions of various advantages associated with a public health master’s degree.

Promotion
Many MPH graduates use their public health degree to qualify for upper-level administrative careers such as medical and health services manager or director.
Salary Advancement
Master’s degrees typically lead to higher salaries. PayScale salary data indicates that master’s in public health graduates earn nearly $10,000 more annually than bachelor’s graduates in the same field.
Specialization
Master’s-level public health programs typically encourage enrollees to specialize their degree in preparation for work in a particular role, niche field, population, or employment context. Specialization can increase graduates’ chances of acquiring desired positions.
Networking
Master’s in public health programs introduce enrollees to accomplished public health peers and professors. Internships and cohort-based programs increase opportunities for professional networking.
Research Skills
Graduate students usually take required research courses and create capstone theses or projects involving high-level research. Master’s-level research skills can support research-focused careers such as public health analyst or epidemiologist.

What Are the Requirements for a Public Health Degree?

Master’s programs typically require at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Public health master’s programs may expect math and science prerequisites. Applicants with public health-related bachelor’s degrees or relevant professional experience may receive precedence.

Competitive candidates for master’s in public health programs typically need a minimum 3.0 GPA. Application requirements usually include essays, official transcripts, recommendation letters, and resumes or curriculum vitae. Some programs also require GRE scores.

Once accepted, MPH students in full-time, semester-based programs complete 42-45 credits over 2-3 years. Most MPH programs require internship or practicum experiences focused on community health, policy, or research. Enrollees choose field experiences that align with their interests and career goals. Many programs also require a thesis, capstone project, or examination.

What is Accreditation and Why Does it Matter?

Professional Organizations for Public Health Students



Professional organizations can provide valuable advantages to members, including continuing education, career resources, and networking opportunities. Many professional organizations also advocate for associated professions and work on various equity and public education initiatives. The following professional organizations support public health professionals and students.


  • American Public Health Association APHA focuses on public health policy and advocacy, professional development, and networking. Founded in 1872, this professional organization has served public health professionals for nearly 150 years. APHA provides continuing education, webinars, a public health report, and various significant publications.

  • Society for Public Health Education A nonprofit, international professional association, SOPHE serves almost 4,000 health education students and professionals. SOPHE supports educators and students employed in healthcare settings, schools, and federal agencies. This society also offers a career hub, volunteer opportunities, continuing education, and various financial awards.

Scholarships for Public Health Students

Many college students qualify for scholarships offered by schools, private funders, government, or professional organizations. Scholarships often serve learners from particular backgrounds or in a specified field of study. Additional requirements typically include a minimum 3.0 GPA and full-time enrollment in an accredited program. Many scholarships look for students with financial need. See below for three scholarships available to qualifying public health students.

Indian Health Service Scholarships

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports Alaska Native or American Indian students who belong to a federally recognized tribe and seek full-time clinical public health careers in tribal communities. Qualified applicants have enrolled in eligible health profession programs. Recipients commit to a period of service after graduation.
Amount: Varies

Vivian Drenckhahn Student Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This SOPHE scholarship goes to full-time students in health education. Eligible candidates demonstrate academic merit, financial need, SOPHE membership, and completion of at least one-third of their program. Scholarship recipients must assist with a SOPHE initiative, committee, or task force for at least one year.
Amount: $2,500

Bobbi Ryder Migrant Health Champion Award

Who Can Apply: Funded by the National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH), this scholarship supports community health center staff in pursuing their healthcare education goals. NCFH selects recipients based on career goals, personal experience, and commitment to serving agricultural communities. Applicants with a family history of agricultural work receive precedence.
Amount: $1,500

mini icon

Online College Resources

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.


Best Online Nursing Associate Degree Programs 2021

Best Online Nursing Associate Degree Programs 2021

January 28, 2021   |   Staff Writers

Nursing degrees give learners the skills and experience they need for a career as a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or licensed vocational nurse (LVN). Nursing programs confer...

Best Online Medical Assistant Associate Degree Programs 2021

Best Online Medical Assistant Associate Degree Programs 2021

January 25, 2021   |   Staff Writers

Medical assistants apply clinical and clerical skills to keep doctors' offices, clinics, and hospitals running smoothly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects in the healthcare sector than any other...

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Search schools to find the program that is right for you.