As the world collectively takes stock of revelations induced by the worldwide pandemic, the field of public health takes a position of increasing prominence in many countries around the world. What does this mean for you? It means there are more jobs, more money flowing into research initiatives, and–perhaps most importantly–there are more degree programs than ever before to choose from, particularly for students considering online education.
While online education was trending toward mainstream adoption, COVID-19 has bumped the timeline forward. And as a result, today many of the top public health programs are now offered entirely online. So whether by innovation or by necessity, many top-end universities now offer fully online graduate-level public health degrees. And as more programs enter the online education space, competition drives each program to improve their value propositions.
As such, many online Master’s of Public Health programs offer surprisingly competitive tuitions or generous financial aid packages and in some cases, both. In order to help you identify the best opportunities available, our researchers have ranked online master’s of public health programs according to the metrics that matter most to prospective students: graduation rate, tuition costs, financial aid packages, and recognition in trusted publications. Read on to find out which 20 programs take the top spots.
1 University of Florida
The University of Florida is an exemplar for a school that has effectively leveraged existing infrastructure and successful degree programs to expand into online education. Faculty who offer online courses are specially trained to work with online students and know how to make the most of digital learning technology.
The University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions is helmed by world class faculty who hold the highest degree in their field, and have demonstrated success as both professionals and clinical researchers. In short, students at the College can enjoy the confidence that they are learning from the best of the best.
The College of Public Health offers a fully online Master of Public Health program with a number options for students to tailor the program to match personal interests and career goals. Specifically, students can enroll in any of the six following concentration tracks (note: not all concentrations are offered online):
- Biostatistics (On Campus Only)
- Environmental Health (On Campus Only)
- Epidemiology (On Campus Only)
- Population Health Management (On Campus Only)
- Public Health Practice (Campus and Online)
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (Campus and Online)
2 University of Washington
The University of Washington School of Public Health is quickly becoming one of the world’s premier destinations for earning a public health degree–be it online or on-campus, or at the undergraduate or graduate level. The School of Public Health offers leverages over 50 centers and institutes to involve students in real-world experiential learning opportunities as well as paradigm-shifting research. The School of Public Health offers 5 academic departments that have been designed from the ground up to represent comprehensive study in the following areas:
- Global Health
- Health Services
- Environ. & Occ. Health Sciences
The Health Services Department offers a fully online Master of Public Health that can be completed in just 18 months, making it one of the fastest programs listed in this ranking. Students of the program will delve into evidence-based curriculums based on cutting-edge research and modern business. Specifically, students can expect comprehensive study in the following subjects:
- Population Health
- Environmental Health
- Health Management and Policy
- Social and Behavioral Health
3 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health has been consistently ranked as one of the best schools of its kind–having earned the #2 and #1 spot on rankings of public health schools in trusted publications. As the name suggests, the Gillings School of Global Public Health frames curriculums in global context, which is evidenced by the Schools outreach to over 100 counties in North Carolina and more than 60 countries around the world.
The Gillings School of Global Public Health offers a fully online Master’s of Public Health provides students with a comprehensive multidisciplinary curriculum which emphasizes the importance of viewing health through a global perspective. Students are also encouraged to step outside their comfort zone in order to conduct research or work with communities out in the world. The program offers four excellent tracks to choose from that are designed to represent the most prominent areas of need in the job market and in terms of industry trends:
- MPH Leadership
- MPH Nutrition
- Applied Epidemiology
- MPH/Registered Dietitian
4 University of South Florida
The University of South Florida (USF) College of Public Health offers more than 100 fully online courses packaged in 6 distinct degree programs. The USF College of Public Health has earned national recognition for the impressive career outcomes among its program graduates, as well as for the highly competitive tuition costs. Specifically, the USF College of Public Health Online Master of Public Health ranks as the third most affordable program of its kind.
The USF Online Master of Public Health (MPH) program offers students a selection of unique specialization track options, some of which seem to be totally unique to this program (meaning they are concentrations not offered in similar online MPH programs):
- Public Health Practice
- Global Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief & Homeland Security
- Infection Control
- Social Marketing
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Health, Safety & Environment
5 The University of West Florida
The University of West Florida specializes in providing adult learners and working students with affordable career-focused degree programs. In the case of the Online Master of Public Health program, it is the most affordable of all the programs listed in this ranking. The program is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, which is the premier accrediting body for this type of program.
The Online Master of Public Health program prepares students to build successful careers in a range of industries–at the local or even international level. To help students fine-tune their professional aspirations, the program offers three distinct concentration tracks:
- Generalist MPH
- Global Health or Health Promotion
- Education and Behavior
6 University of Arizona Global Campus
The University of Arizona (UA) Zuckerman College of Public Health offers a number of top-tier degree programs. Its programs have ranked among the best of the best for servicing minority populations, specifically ranking in the top 5 for American Indian and Hispanic graduates–according to data from the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). The College of Public Health blends evidence-based practices and study with strong foundations in theoretical problem-solving and critical thinking.
Students at the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health can earn a fully Online Master of Public Health. The program can be completed in just two years, and is structured on a modular schedule with each course taking 7.5 weeks to complete. Students will choose from a selection of program concentrations, which will make up about 50% of the program’s curriculum. Students can choose any one of the three following specializations:
- Applied Epidemiology
- Health Behavior Health Promotion
- Health Services Administration
7 University of Maryland – College Park
The University of Maryland School of Public Health is located at one of the nation’s fastest growing universities, and offers online students a number of innovative degree programs. The School of Public Health program curriculums are designed to represent the real world needs of the industry, which students will become accustomed to through evidence-based inquiries into current research and normative models of public health.
The School of Public Health faculty are industry experts who specialize in developing public health solutions at the state level and even the national level. Specifically, students at the School of Public Health can earn a unique graduate degree online–a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Public Health Practice and Policy. As the name of the program suggests, it distinguishes through an emphasis placed on public health policy at the state, federal, and national level.
Students will also dive into a comprehensive exploration of foundational topics as well. The program’s curriculum is organized as follows:
- Public Health (6 courses, 14 credits)
- Public Health Practice and Policy (8 courses, 24 credits)
- Internship and Capstone (2 courses, 6 credits)
8 Oklahoma State University
The Oklahoma State University Graduate College prepares students to pursue the upper echelon of their career–be that through a graduate level education, or even a doctorate level education. The College offers more than 200 master’s and doctorate programs as well as professional graduate certification tracks that position students to capitalize on high-value skill sets that are sought after in the job market.
This career focus is further demonstrated in the College’s 360° Critical Skills for Career Success (CSCS) Program. This program looks to develop each student into a well-rounded professional who is able to demonstrate aptitude and mastery over the 6 skills that are fundamental in any profession:
- Research Services
Students at the College can earn a Master’s of Public Health online that carries forth the College’s career-focused mission in education. Students of the program will learn how to apply traditional and innovative models of thought and problem solving to public health issues at the national and even international level.
9 University of Southern California
The University of Southern California (USC) is one of the nation’s premier private research universities, and acts as an international hub for globally-conscious business, technology, and health programs. The USC Keck School of Medicine is the oldest medical school in California, and has modernized itself to cater to new kinds of students and learners. Today the Keck School of Medicine offers a number of world-class degree programs that can be completed entirely online through curriculums helmed by industry-leading faculty and researchers.
The Keck School of Medicine offers an online Master’s of Public Health that distinguishes itself by offering a unique format that empowers students with choice. Specifically, students can choose from one of six specialized concentration tracks that represent the areas of most prominent need in the job market, as well as areas of prominent professional opportunity.
The six different program paths are as follows:
- Biostatistics and Epidemiology
- Community Health Promotion
- Global Health
- Health Services and Policy
10 West Virginia University
The West Virginia University School of Public Health positions itself to intervene and to study the public health issues facing West Virginia and the larger Appalachian region. Its programs are designed with this mission in mind, and frame comprehensive degree programs in terms of grounded practical approaches to solving local and regional problems. These programs are ideal for public health students who wish to specialize in localized intervention.
Specifically, students can earn a fully online Master of Public Health (MPH) that employs a multidisciplinary curriculum in order to prepare students for the dynamics of the real world. The program also employs a weighted emphasis on interpersonal collaboration, peer group research, and real world engagement and outreach. The base curriculum however, is built around the following five pillars:
- Health Policy, Management and Leadership
- Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
11 University of Southern California
The University of Southern California (USC) is a world class location for earning any number of degrees. Its programs are recognized around the world for innovation and academic excellence. USC faculty work at the forefront of their fields and often produce paradigm shifting research. As such, graduates from USC programs are primed to take on high-end and respected positions in their careers as well.
Specifically, USC students can earn a Master of Public Health online. It is the only program of its kind to be offered by a top-ranked medical school. The program offers a number of choices to students, the most notable of which being a choice between an accelerated track and a specialization track. Students enrolling in the specialized track are able to choose between one of six concentrations.
12 University of California – Berkeley
University of California (UC) Berkeley is one of those universities whose name carries extraordinary weight and conferrs tremendous clout to graduates of its programs. The UC Berkeley faculty work at the cutting edge of their fields, particularly in the areas of engineering, computer science, social welfare, international development, business, public policy, journalism, and law. The Public Health program however, receives special recognition for its position in the industry.
Specifically, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes the UC Berkeley Public Health program as one of the nation’s nine best health promotion and disease prevention research centers. The program is one of the few of its kind where students learn directly from industry leaders, who are their instructors. Despite the world-class quality on offer, the program is surprisingly affordable as well.
And students can further specialize by pursuing one of the following degree specializations:
- Health Policy and Management
- Community Health Sciences
- Epidemiology and Biostatistics
- Spatial Data Science and Global Health
13 Samford University
The Samford University School of Public Health offers a selection of high-end degree programs. The Wall street Journal recognized the School as the #2 in the nation for student engagement. So while the tuition costs are a bit more intimidating, this is balanced by the extensive resources invested into each student. The Samford School of Public Health is also continually recognized for the career outcomes among its graduates, who often go on to work at the top-end of their field.
The Samford School of Public Health offers an Online Master of Public Health with program start times in summer and in the fall. The program also offers students the flexibility to tailor the curriculum to better match individual interest and career aspirations, which is an excellent selling point for students who may want to pursue an atypical subject of specialty.
14 Johns Hopkins University
John Hopkins University is a name that represents decades of academic excellence and industry dominance in health and medical fields. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been ranked as the #1 public health school in the nation by US News & World Report. The only reason this program is not ranked higher is because we know that the higher than average tuition represents a barrier of entry to many.
For those who are willing to invest in a top-tier degree program however, the JHU Online Master’s of Public Health is one of the best options available. The program allows students up to four years to complete the program, providing students the freedom to enroll in the program while holding down a job. Typically though, students take around two to three years to complete the program.
The program also offers the incredible selling point of allowing students to essentially build their own specialty. Faculty and advisors work closely with each student to tailor a curriculum plan that will maximize their chances for success. Students who choose this route will have more than 100 courses to choose from as well as flexible research options.
15 Harvard University
The Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health is one of the world’s premier hubs for all things related to public health. The School’s faculty are both professionals and academics, who have demonstrated exemplary success in both dimensions of their careers. The Harvard School of Public Health has taken on an active role in intervening in the worldwide pandemic and its resulting consequences, using a catastrophe to train students to know how to better handle future catastrophes.
The School of Public Health offers a Master of Public Health program that offers a number of entry-points for students as well as numerous opportunities for specialization. Specifically, students of the program can enroll in any of the following specialty tracks:
- Clinical Effectiveness (CLE 45-credit academic year and summer-only options)
- Epidemiology – Online / On-Campus (EPI 45-credit)
- Global Health (GH 45-credit)
- Health and Social Behavior (HSB 45-credit)
- Health Management (HM 45-credit)
- Health Policy (HP 45-credit)
- Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH 45-credit)
- Quantitative Methods (QM 45-credit)
- Health and Social Behavior (HSB 65-credit)
- Health Management (HM 65-credit)
- Health Policy (HP 65-credit)
- Nutrition (NUT 65-credit)
16 New York University
The New York University School of Global Public Health offers a top notch degree program that presents perspectives in both the domestic and global context. The School of Global Public distinguishes itself through a commitment to building programs around three core tenets: health equity, ethics and social justice.
The NYU Master of Public Health program can be completed entirely online. The program’s curriculum combines elements of comprehensive study in foundational subjects with innovative research into burgeoning areas of interest. Students of the program can choose to specialize by enrolling in any of the following concentration tracks:
- Community Health Science and Practice
- Environmental Public Health Sciences
- Global Health
- Public Health Nutrition
- Public Health Policy
- Public Health Management
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
- Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
17 The University of Alabama
The University of Alabama’s “Bama by Distance” program offers online degree programs helmed by the same faculty who oversee on-campus programs. The University has worked hard to ensure that they can guarantee its online students the same quality that has become expected of its traditional programs on campus. Online students will have 24/7 access to advisors and academic counselors who are specially trained to work with online students. This is an excellent program that might curtail concerns that prospective students might have regarding online education.
The University of Alabama College of Continuing Studies offers a fully online Master of Public Health with a focus in Health Education and Promotion. The program is designed from the ground-up to prepare students for success in the following careers paths:
- Federal Agencies
- State or Community Public Health Agencies
- Consulting Firms
- Nonprofit Organizations
18 Kent State University
Kent State University offers adult learners and working students a number of affordable and actionable degree programs that are fully accredited and are helmed by expert faculty. Kent State University distinguishes itself through a number of student-centric programs and philosophies that look to remove barriers of entry to degree programs for nontraditional students. As such, there are no GRE requirements for Kent State University graduate programs.
Kent State University offers an online Master’s of Public Health (MPH) in Health Policy and Management that is consistently ranked as one of the best programs of its kind. Students can also earn a Master’s of Science in Clinical Epidemiology. Both programs are designed to emphasize the following central subjects:
- Health Services Planning and Management
- Health Policy and Analysis
- Population Health Enhancement
- Local and National Public Health Strategies
19 Ohio University
Ohio University is one of the oldest public research universities in the country, but despite its rich history it has been quick to adapt to the needs and expectations of modern students. Today, Ohio University offers a great selection of career-facing degree programs that are designed to prepare students for success in a competitive job market.
Ohio University offers an online Master of Public Health that is built around a curriculum that reflects the needs of the job market. Specifically, graduates of the program will be prepared to take on any of the following positions:
- Community health coordinator
- Environmental scientist or specialist
- Health administrator
- Health educator
- Medical and health service manager
- Nonprofit manager
- Public health nurse
- Public health specialist
- Social and community service manager
20 Emory University
The Emory University Rollins School of Public Health is located in Atlanta, Georgia–which is often referred to as the public health capital of the world. The Rollins School of Public Health leverages its network and proximity to world-class public health institutions to provide students with learning opportunities and career opportunities. In recent years, the Rollins School of Public Health has demonstrated tremendous success in porting its on-campus program to the online space.
Specifically, online students can an Executive Master of Public Health program (EMPH) that is completed through 42 credit hours over two years. The program is specifically designed to train students for positions of leadership and management. Students can further specialize their program by enrolling in of two specialty tracks:
- Applied Epidemiology
- Prevention Science