Now more than ever, the world is in need of additional public health professionals. Public health problems include challenges such as infectious diseases such as West Nile Virus and HIV/AIDS, bioterrorism, toxic waste hazards, population health problems, and healthcare accessibility.
These issues are not isolated to one region of the world, but are problems facing people everywhere. Public health programs teach professionals how to solve these pressing issues by implementing solid strategic, communicative, and collaborative skills.
What kind of master’s in public health degree should you get?
A master’s degree in public health enables you to work at a higher, administrative level of the discipline, and to work your way into policy and decision-making roles. However, it can be difficult to find the right degree.
Many people seek master’s in public health after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in a different area, such as social work or anthropology. Therefore, a public health degree should be comprehensive and inclusive of all major elements of the discipline. It should also be flexible and affordable, giving students the ability to complete a degree from anywhere in the world, and at any career sage.
Thinking of other affordable options for a master’s? Take a look at our comprehensive listing of the Most Affordable Schools for a Master’s.
How much money do people make with a master’s in public health degree?
There is a high demand for public health professionals across a range of disciplines, resulting in a wide range of starting salaries. Most graduates with a master’s in public health can expect to earn at least $55,000 a year, with many earning well over $110,000. Salaries increase with experience, as well as with education.
Many organizations like to see employees with additional certifications in areas such as emergency preparedness, mediation, or public policy to help enhance their already broad skillset in public health.
What can you do with a master’s in public health degree?
Unlike other healthcare professions, the goal of public health workers is to prevent disease, instead of treat it. As a public health practitioner, you might help to prevent disease by implementing training and educative programs. You may develop policies or administer services. You could even work in research and regulation.
With a master’s in public health, you will be better prepared to enter into leadership roles in epidemiology, environmental health, health administration, or many other fields.
What are the requirements for a master’s in public health degree?
Whether your passion in public health rests in social work, field work, research, or administration, most master’s in public health programs will require that an undergraduate degree in a related field. Although work experience is not required for most graduate programs, some do give preference during the admissions process, or course credit for prior employment experiences.
While enrolled in a master’s of public health, students will take a set of core courses in health preparedness and planning, as well as a range of specialty courses in a chosen content area. In addition, many programs require field practicums, capstone projects, and final reports.
What are the best master’s in public health degrees?
The best master’s in public health degrees will be affordable and reputed, providing students with the jumpstart necessary to pursue successful careers. Because this is such a broad discipline, you should look for programs that offer a wide range of flexibility and the ability to specialize in a specific discipline. Common areas of specialization include biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, health education or administration, social and behavioral sciences, and disaster management.
See our rankings methodology page.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Average Net Price: $10,077
The Master of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is designed for healthcare professionals who are interested in solving pressing public health issues. The program is offered at the country’s top ranked public school of public health and is offered to both full- and part-time students. An equivalent on-campus program is also available, although the online program still allows students to collaborate with peers, attend study groups, and join an extensive alumni network—all from the comfort of home.
This forty-two credit hour program can be completed in as little as twenty-four months. Students will graduate with the knowledge and skillsets necessary to become policy makers, researchers, practitioners, and educators. Required courses include:
- Understanding Public Health Issues
- Methods and Measures
- Data Analysis for Public Health
- Conceptualizing Public Health Solutions
- Developing, Implementing, and Evaluating Public Health Solutions
A concentration is also available in Leadership and Practice, requiring additional courses such as Leadership for System Transformation and Principles of Public Health Leadership.
This program has an innovative global mindset, allowing students to succeed in over eighty countries. Students will receive training in global and local content and methods and participate in hands-on learning opportunities around the world. A variety of volunteer programs are available, leading students to earn prestigious awards and recognition for their work solving real-world problems. As a result, alumni are highly successful, obtaining positions at leading nongovernmental, governmental, academic, and health institutions around the world.
New Mexico State University-Main Campus
Average Net Price: $10,213
The Public Health program at New Mexico State is designed for professionals who are already working in the industry. In addition to an equivalent on-campus program, the university also offers a Public Health certificate program, and concentrations in Community Health Education and Health Management, Administration, and Policy. Each student is granted a faculty advisor at the beginning of their studies to help them select the best pathway for his or her degree plan.
Students in this program utilize a wide range of educational technologies, such as Zoom Meeting, Adobe Connect, Skype, and Canvas to complete their coursework. They will also have the opportunity to complete field placements in their areas to help them solidify the concepts and skills learned in class. Required classes include:
- Community and Psychosocial Aspects of Public Health
- Biostatistical Applications in Public Health
- Epidemiological Approaches to Disease Control and Prevention
- Health Services System: Administration and Organization
- Environmental Public Health Issues
This program isn’t just accessible to busy students—it is also highly affordable. The state of New Mexico allows out-of-state students to register for up to six hours of online courses at in-state rates, providing a significant savings to most. The department also features several minors to help students specifically tailor their studies to their degree plans or current employment, such as Gerontology or US-Mexico Border Health.
West Virginia University
Average Net Price: $10,814
This program is designed for nurses, nutritionists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals who are interested in preventative medicine and community health. This program may be completed by itself, as an addition to the bachelor’s degree offered at West Virginia, or as part of the Occupational Medicine Residency program for physicians. This multidisciplinary program applies science, research, and theory to the prevention of disease.
Courses are organized around several key disciplines, such as Biostatistics and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Required classes include:
- Data Management and Reporting
- Biostatistical Consulting
- Social and Behavioral Theory
- Health Economics for Population Health
- Public Health Toxicology
- Occupational Injury Prevention
West Virginia University offers the first and only School of Public Health in West Virginia. This program is highly interactive and prepares students for post-graduate success. With students engaging in research and service projects in over forty-four counties, students learn how to serve diverse communities, as well as how to apply their recently acquired skills. As a result, over ninety-six percent of recent graduates are working in their field or continuing their education in public health.
The University of West Florida
Average Net Price: $11,175
The University of Florida, with class sizes smaller than forty students each, is dedicated to providing a student-friendly experience. It is consistently named a top “military friendly” university, a testament to its student services as well as its flexibility and affordability. In addition to the online Master of Public Health, the university also offers five academic colleges with a variety of bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctorate programs.
Students in the University of West Florida’s Master of Public Health have exclusive access to some of the top state public health facilities in the region, as well as to hospitals and the military. Most students will complete a two-semester, six-credit hour internship, as well as classes such as:
- Biostatistics for Public Health
- Epidemiology for Public Health Professionals
- Public Health Policy
- Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health
- Environmental Health
- Public Health Preparedness
- GIS Applications in Public Health
This fully online program was developed with the input of students, industry partners, and faculty in mind. It is competency-based and interdisciplinary, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in effective practices that address public health needs at all levels. Students will be prepared to sit for all competency exams, and to enter directly into the workforce upon graduation.
University of South Florida
Average Net Price: $11,398
This flexible program offers courses at all hours of the day and night, making it flexible for individuals who are already employed. Incorporating a unique international field experience practicum, a requirement for some concentrations of this major, the program is highly interactive and requires students to apply the skills they have learned to a real-world setting. This unique feature, along with many other awards and benefits, is part of the reason why the University of South Florida is consistently ranked one of the top colleges in the country for research, global involvement, and innovation.
The University of South Florida offers a broad and popular degree in Public Health that allows students to complete a core set of courses in public health, while also pursuing a specific concentration. Concentrations include, but are not limited to:
- Health Care Organizations and Management, Policy, and Programs
- Environmental Health
- Toxicology and Risk Assessment
- Safety Management
- Occupational Health
- Maternal and Child Health
Courses are offered in a variety of multimedia methods, offering coursework via blogs, wikis, discussion forums, web conferencing, streaming media, and podcasting. Tuition rates at the university are exceptionally low, with an additional option for Reduced Rate tuition. This program allows out-of-state students to pay a significantly discounted price near the rate of resident tuition for full-time study.
University of Illinois at Springfield
Average Net Price: $11,444
This affordable degree offers a variety of options for students to complete their degrees. The university offers college credit for life experiences and internships, in many situations. Diverse classes are taught by dedicated and experienced faculty who has a commitment to engaging students as active citizens in a global environment.
All degrees in this department require that students complete twenty-eight hours of credit, along with a four-hour internship. Required classes include:
- Biostatistics for the Health Professional
- Community Health Research
- Foundations of Epidemiology
- Environmental and Occupational Health
- Public Health Policy and Administration
- Community Health Education
The university is listed as one of the top two best advanced degrees worth the cost by Kiplinger’s Magazine, as well as the fifth most affordable public health degree by SR Education Group. These rankings are a testament to the university’s experience and success in public health education. With a forty-four year history in providing this program, the university offers students the unique opportunity to intern with top practitioners in the field.
Medical College of Wisconsin
Average Net Price: $11,470
In addition to a fully online Master of Public Health, the Medical College of Wisconsin also provides a range of other hands-on, collaborative programs as well. These include a Certificate in Public Health, a Certificate in Population Health Management, a Certificate in Community Health Assessment and Planning, and several other non-degree options.
Students may choose to start in a certificate program to gain experience in online learning and the field of public health. This also does not require GRE completion. Students who choose not to begin with a certificate program can complete a degree in under a year. Required core and concentration courses include:
- Environmental Health
- Principles of Epidemiology
- Public Health Administration
- Introduction to Biostatistics
- Behavioral Science and Public Health
- Community Health Assessment and Improvement
- Ethical Issues in Public Health
This flexible and affordable program offers students with a variety of options for culminating their degrees. Field placements allow students to create Action Learning Projects while working directly with a public health organizations. They may alternatively complete a capstone project, which is taken as the last course of the Master of Public Health program. These culminating experiences play a key role in helping students obtain top-paying positions in the field of Public Health upon graduation.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Average Net Price: $11,571
The University of Illinois at Chicago is a pioneer in online education, having provided distance education for over fourteen years. Each class is taught by an experienced professor and fosters extensive instructor and peer interaction. Students can complete this class at home or at work, with the ability to specialize in a concentration such as Community Health Sciences or Health Policy and Administration. An online Doctor of Public Health in Leadership is also available.
Located in a vibrant professional city, the University of Illinois at Chicago emphasizes the importance of multidisciplinary research for both on-campus and online learning. Students collaborate with community groups and larger organizations—even the World Health Organization. Depending on the concentration, several flexible course pathways are available. Regardless, required classes include:
- Analytic and Research Methods in Public Health
- Public Health Systems, Policy and Management
- Determinants of Health
- Logistic Regression and Survival Analysis
- HIPAA Research Training
This degree is the only fully online in Public Health Informatics awarded by a CEPH-accredited school of public health. Courses are offered asynchronously, meaning that they can be accessed at any time. Students will engage in online activities such as Blackboard discussions, exams, and assignments, all at their own pace.
Average Net Price: $12,285
Liberty University provides one of the world’s best graduate online health degrees. The curriculum allows students to develop their leadership, marketing, and critical thinking skills in a program with an emphasis on serving through Christianity. The program provides an integrated, competency- and practice-based approach to help students build successful careers in public health and healthcare.
Forty-two credit hours are required in this one-hundred percent online program. With eight-week classes offering eight different start times per year, the program is easy to begin at any time. Students may choose to specialize their master’s degrees with cognates in Global Health, Health Promotion, or Nutrition. Required courses include:
- Primary Healthcare in Developing Countries
- Cultural Aspects of Health Behavior
- Sanitation in Developing Countries
- Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases
- Health Program Planning
- Health Agency Management
- Diabetes, Obesity, and Eating Disorders
These programs rank in the top five of over 2,100 online colleges, based on their academic quality, affordability, and ease of access. Tuition has not increased within the least three years, and Liberty has dedicated itself to keeping programs affordable for all students. The Online Master’s in Public Health can be completed in under two years and allows students to network with other public health professionals around the country, increasing their chances at finding rewarding jobs upon graduation.
Florida International University
Average Net Price: $12,966
The affordable, flexible online Master of Public Health degree at Florida International is the only one of its kind in the Florida State University System. Students will work with a diverse group of faculty who are actively involved in public health programming, scholarship, and research. Florida International is a top-tier research institution with the highest Carnegie classification for Institutions of Higher Education. Through completion of this program, students gain access to national connections to facilitate practicum experiences all over the country.
This degree is designed to complement any health profession degree, and provides flexibility for working professionals. Students will take classes such as:
- AIDS Epidemiology
- Public Health Management and Leadership
- Global Environmental Health
- Health Promotion in Culturally Diverse Communities
- Practicum in Public Health
Florida International University is dedicated to making graduate study as accessible as possible. Students have access to 24/7 technical support for any issues related to online learning, and may contact faculty members both locally and remotely as well. As a result, the university has received many accolades, including one for Best Online Programs by BestColleges.com, and another for Best Graduate School by U.S. News and World Report.
Florida A&M University
Average Net Price: $13,096
Florida A&M University, recognized repeatedly by U.S. News and World Report for its exceptional academic offerings, aims to challenge students with its diverse programs. The university hosts several satellite campuses around Florida and operates a handful of research institutions and centers. These offerings help students to establish networking connections around the state of Florida and the country, making the transition from graduate studies to employment seamless and enjoyable.
The goal of this program is to develop public health leaders who are trained in cultural sensitivity, best practices, and modern techniques in addressing public health challenges. Students will take a variety of theoretically based classes, along with training, research, and service experiences. Required classes include:
- Biostatistics for Public Health Practice
- Public Health Perspectives of Environmental and Occupational Health
- Applied Community-Based Research Methods
- Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases
- Environmental Toxicology for Public Health Professionals
- Planning and Evaluation of Health Education
The Institute of Public Health at Florida A&M is comprised of dedicated faculty and staff who are committed to providing a top service program. This was the first public health department to offer a Doctor of Public Health degree in the state of Florida, and was also the first accredited public health program in North Florida. The school houses the public health degree in the school of pharmacy, providing a unique perspective on the discipline that give students a leg up on competition when searching for jobs.
University of Memphis
Average Net Price: $13,291
The Master of Public Health at the University of Memphis is designed for mid-career professionals as well as for recent graduates of baccalaureate degrees in areas such as anthropology, medicine, law, and social work. This flexible degree can be completed in less than a year, or attempt as part of a dual degree with another master’s program, if desired. The university also offers related degrees in Health Administration, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Epidemiology, and Health Systems and Policy.
This program is designed with close collaboration between community leaders and faculty. As part of their studies, students will collaborate with local, national, and international health organizations, obtaining top recognition for their work in internships and graduate assistantships at leading health organizations. Other required courses include:
- Biostatistical Methods
- Epidemiology in Public Health
- Health Policy and Organization of Health Services
- Environmental Health
- Social and Behavioral Science Principles
This degree is ranked fifteenth in the nation, with other online programs at the University of Memphis receiving similar recognition. It can be completed full or part-time. The university also hosts a unique Health Care Interpreter Course that allows students to obtain a crucial certification for career advancement and success.
Idaho State University
Average Net Price: $13,301
Idaho State offers the only accredited Master of Public Health program in the state, providing students with a flexible online course format. These courses can be completed asynchronously and at any pace, allowing students to complete flexible domestic and international internships, if desired. These internships allow students to gain hands-on experiences in a public health setting. The university also sponsors research opportunities, to be conducted independently or with faculty assistance.
The program is affordable, offering several scholarships within the department as well as those that are from external sources. Scholarships include the Americorp Education Award, and the Idaho Public Health Association Scholarship. In addition to a final thesis as a culminating experience for the program, the curriculum contains classes such as:
- Social and Cultural Perspectives in Public Health
- Leadership and Administration
- Environmental and Occupational Health
- Technological Applications in Public Health
- Health Program Planning
- Research and Writing
- Health Behavior Change Theory and Application
Online students have access to the same resources as their on-campus counterparts. They may access the Idaho State University Career Center for assistance in finding part-time and full-time jobs and careers. They also may participate in the Public Health Student Association, which organizes graduate students and provides opportunities for networking, educational enhancement, and community service.
San Jose State University
Average Net Price: $13,777
San Jose State University houses its Master of Public Health program within a partnership of health science and recreation. The department regularly makes contributions to public health advocacy and interventions, and alumni regularly serve to develop learning experiences, professional development, and scholarship opportunities for current students.
Courses in the online Master of Public Health program at San Jose are offered via state-of-the-art synchronous web conferencing technologies. Students will have access to audio, multi-point video, interactive whiteboards, and other resources. Courses last anywhere from five to seven weeks and are taught sequentially. Required courses include:
- Groups and Training: Theory and Practice
- Health Promotion Planning and Evaluation
- Leadership for Health Professionals
- Contemporary Practice: Public Health, Health Promotion, and Health Education
- Applied Data Analysis
Originally developed in 1947, this program is highly interactive and connected to the global community. Students are required to complete a local fieldwork practicum as part of this hands-on program. The practicum is a separate experience from the culminating project or thesis, requiring that students actively reflect upon their learning and demonstrate mastery of their skills.
The University of Montana
Average Net Price: $13,894
The University of Montana provides distance-based learning opportunities, scholarships, and service activities to public health professionals via its online Master in Public Health. This program requires completion of forty-two credits, along with a practicum and portfolio. These experiences help students to develop multidisciplinary, collaborative, and communicative abilities. Students graduate from this program prepared to enter into leadership roles in health promotion and disease prevention.
Required courses include:
- Introduction to Epidemiology
- Public Health Administration and Management
- Health Policy
- Social and Behavioral Sciences n Public Health
- Environmental and Rural Health
- Ethical Issues in Public Health
- Rural Health Issues in a Global Context
The University of Montana has a demonstrated track record in producing successful graduates. It is the second largest of the Montana University System, and is ranked fifth in the nation among public universities producing Rhodes Scholars. The university provides students with exclusive access to research opportunities, as well as internship experiences at leading public health organizations.