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Best Online Master's Degree in Public Health (MPH) Programs

Explore 50 of the top schools that offer online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree programs. Learn how to choose an online MPH program and what to expect once enrolled, including program length and coursework.

50 of the Top Online Master of Public Health Programs

Students interested in earning a Master of Public Health online should consider several factors when choosing a school. Things like cost, flexibility, practical requirements and accreditation have been reviewed to create the following list of 50 of the best schools for earning an MPH online.

1. East Carolina University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Greenville, NC $7,485

East Carolina University offers a primarily online Master of Public Health program and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The MPH program has specialized accreditation through the Council on Education for Public Health and consists of 45 credit hours. Students can complete the program in 2 to 4 years, including the 240 hours of hands-on practice. The program allows students to choose one of three areas of concentration: community health & health behavior, epidemiology or health policy administration & leadership. All students take courses in ethics, epidemiology, health education and biostatistics.

2. University of Alabama at Birmingham

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Birmingham, AL $8,100

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is accredited by SACSCOC and has programmatic accreditation on its public health programs by the Council on Education for Public Health. Students can earn a Master of Public Health (MPH) or a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) online with some clinical practice hours during their programs. The credit hours required for each degree varies with the specific concentration chosen but will be no less than 41 credit hours. Students in the MPH program can choose one of the following program concentrations: epidemiology, population health, health behavior, environmental & occupational health, maternal and child health policy & leadership, or health care organization & policy. Students taking online courses in this program have a tuition fee of $549 per credit hour.

3. South Dakota State University

Location Tuition & Fees
Brookings, SD $8,875

South Dakota State University offers an online Master of Public Health program in collaboration with the University of South Dakota. The program consists of 42 credit hours and includes courses in public health practice, environmental health and health systems. Students in the MPH program have a tuition fee of $466 per credit hour, regardless of their state of residency. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and has been recognized by HLC for its faculty, community partnerships and student leadership.

4. Mississippi University for Women

Location Tuition & Fees
Columbus, MS $6,940

Mississippi University for Women is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is authorized to provide distance education by the National Council for State Authorization and Reciprocity Agreements. Full-time graduate students have a flat tuition rate of $3,713 per semester (9 to 13 credit hours) and part-time graduate students have a tuition rate of $413 per credit hour, regardless of student residency. The program consists of 42 credit hours and includes courses in health education, biostatistics, epidemiology and either a thesis or internship at the end of the program. The program has a public health education concentration and emphasizes planning, evaluation and implementation of public health programs.

5. University of Nevada-Reno

Location Tuition & Fees
Reno, NV $5,575

The University of Nevada-Reno has a 100% online Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice program that allows students to complete their required clinical hours at their current employers. Students complete 45 credit hours, taking classes such as health policy, health law, health finance and program development. All students have a tuition fee of $286 per credit hour, regardless of their state of residency, making the University of Nevada's program one of the most economical choices available. The school is accredited by the Northwest Commission on College and Universities, and the MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)
6 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS $8,624
7 Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health Omaha, NE $12,877
8 University of Missouri-Columbia Columbia, MO $10,017
9 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ $13,044
10 University of South Dakota Vermillion, SD $6,835
11 Kent State University at Kent Kent, OH $11,536
12 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV $9,990
13 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA $12,552
14 MCPHS University Boston, MA $22,530
15 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND $9,697
16 University of South Carolina-Columbia Columbia, SC $14,050
17 University of Montana Missoula, MT $6,505
18 Samford University Birmingham, AL $17,865
19 Oklahoma State University-Main Campus Stillwater, OK $8,460
20 University of Vermont Burlington, VT $13,272
21 University of Massachusetts-Amherst Amherst, MA $15,782
22 East Tennessee State University Johnson City, TN $10,315
23 University of Memphis Memphis, TN $10,697
24 University of Florida Gainesville, FL $12,737
25 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL $16,792
26 Concord University Athens, WV $8,960
27 Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI $7,320
28 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI $13,804
29 Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Winona, MN $9,000
30 Creighton University Omaha, NE $17,376
31 Florida International University Miami, FL $11,097
32 Everglades University Boca Raton, FL $19,400
33 SUNY College at Brockport Brockport, NY $12,024
34 New Mexico State University-Main Campus Las Cruces, NM $5,427
35 University of New England Biddeford, ME $20,525
36 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC $12,212
37 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver, CO $8,017
38 Lamar University Beaumont, TX $8,174
39 University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, AK $10,410
40 California Baptist University Riverside, CA $14,130
41 San Diego State University San Diego, CA $8,922
42 Mercer University Macon, GA $14,674
43 Eastern Washington University Cheney, WA $12,381
44 Concordia University-Nebraska Seward, NE $9,250
45 California State University-Northridge Northridge, CA $8,327
46 University of Akron Main Campus Akron, OH $9,363
47 Hawaii Pacific University Honolulu, HI $19,100
48 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH $18,810
49 Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI $27,324
50 Elmhurst College Elmhurst, IL $31,470

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition & fees represent the 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

How to Choose an Online Master of Public Health Program

If you're considering an online MPH program, it's important to include several factors in your school and program selection.

Programs Available

When reviewing schools that offer online MPH programs, make sure to ask which programs are available specifically online. You may be interested in an MPH program with an administrative focus area, for example, but your school choices might only offer that concentration on campus.

Admission Requirements

Although many programs are open to students with bachelor's degrees in nearly any field, some programs require applicants to have related undergraduate degrees and/or applicable work experience. Ask your school choices what the specific admissions requirements are for your preferred program.

Accreditation

It's important to choose a program that is offered by an accredited institution if you're considering any type of financial aid. Also, some careers require public health professionals to have graduated from an accredited program from an accredited school. See the accreditation section below for more information on accreditation.

Residency Requirements

Another key factor in choosing your online MPH program is what options are available for completing practical requirements. Many programs work with students and allow them to complete their hours at their place of employment, while other programs might require students to complete their hours at a pre-approved site.

Flexibility

Depending on your schedule, you may need a full-time online program or a part-time program. Not all programs will be available as both options, so it's vital to ask your schools which options they offer and how they will work with your schedule.

Faculty

There are two important considerations for online MPH faculty: expertise and availability. It's beneficial if faculty have significant experience in their field because they can offer more insight as you progress through your program. You should also ask about the availability of program faculty; in other words, will your questions be answered within hours or days?

Cost

Online MPH program costs can vary significantly by the school but can cost between $11,000 to more than $45,000. Many schools offer discounted rates to in-state students, and some schools offer flat-rate fees per semester. Although cost is important to consider, keep in mind that online Master of Public Health students can qualify for a variety of financial aid resources.

Prerequisites for Online MPH Programs

Although admission requirements vary by program, students may need to meet specific criteria for previous coursework, degree, work experience and examinations.

Previous Degree

Students applying to online MPH programs need to have earned a bachelor's degree, although most schools do not require the degree to be in a specific field. The undergraduate degree typically needs to have been earned at an accredited institution. Students interested in a fast-track MPH program typically need to have an undergraduate degree in a qualifying field related to public health.

Previous Experience

Some online MPH programs prefer or require students to have completed some undergraduate courses related to public health. These courses can include statistics, behavioral sciences and health subjects. Students may also need to have a specific number of years in a related position (such as 5 years in nursing or community health roles).

Grade Point Average

Most online Master of Public Health programs require students to have earned a qualifying GPA on their undergraduate coursework. The most commonly required GPA is a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale, but some schools accept students with lower GPAs if they complete an entrance exam (such as the GRE). The required GPA may apply to a student's entire undergraduate program or to the latter part of the program (such as the last 60 credit hours earned).

Entrance Exams

Some programs require or prefer students to earn a qualifying score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or an equivalent, and some schools only require students to take the GRE if they don't meet other criteria (such as previous GPA or work experience). Not all schools have GRE requirements for online MPH programs.

Other Requirements

Depending on the school that they're applying to, students may also need to complete a background check, provide references or letters of recommendation, submit a current resume and write a personal essay explaining their educational and professional goals.

What to Expect from an Online Master of Public Health Program

Online MPH programs usually involve online coursework and clinical practice hours, and some allow students to choose a concentration within their curriculum. Some program concentrations available to online MPH students are:

  • Public Health Education
  • Healthcare Policy and Leadership
  • Environmental Health
  • Community Health
  • Epidemiology

Courses

The coursework within online MPH programs can vary slightly by concentration, but usually include courses from five key areas: biostatistics, health services administration, epidemiology, environmental health and social and behavioral sciences. Students may complete an introductory course or tutorial at the beginning of their program that familiarizes them with their online learning portal.

Online Learning

Online courses may be completed entirely through one online portal or may require some coursework at a separate site, such as an online lab, as well as the main course portal. Students typically use their course portal for tasks such as viewing lecture videos, communicating with their teachers and peers as well as accessing and submitting assignments. Most courses enable students to complete their items asynchronously (at their convenience) while other courses can require students to log in at specific times for synchronous course components.

Practical Requirements

There is no standard minimum practice hour requirement for online MPH programs, but students will be asked to complete a practical component. Students can often complete their practice hours at their place of employment, and schools may also have a list of approved locations. The practice hours are important for giving students real-world experience.

Length of Online MPH Programs

Online Master of Public Health programs usually take two years of full-time study to complete, and students completing their program on a part-time basis may take four or more years to finish. Students who have previously completed some graduate-level courses similar to those required in their MPH program can request to have some courses transferred in. Transferring courses decreases the overall program length and cost.

Students who have earned a qualifying undergraduate or graduate degree may be able to earn their Master of Public Health in as little as 12 months through a fast-track program. These programs still require students to complete 42 credit hours (less any transfer credits) over three or more semesters. Students interested in fast-track options should recognize that they require substantially more time and effort.

Online MPH Program Accreditation

There are two types of accreditation that students should look for when choosing an online Master of Public Health program: programmatic and institutional. Programmatic accreditation applies to actual programs and shows that they meet nationally set criteria. Public health programs can be accredited by the Council for Education on Public Health. Programmatic accreditation is required for some careers (such as local and state government positions) and is one requirement for taking the Certified in Public Health exam.

Institutional accreditation can be awarded through a regional or national accrediting body and shows that the overall institution meets specific standards. These standards can include things like faculty experience, graduation rate and curriculum. Students must enroll at an accredited school to qualify for financial aid.

What Can You Do with an Online Master of Public Health?

Depending on their prior work experience and program concentration (if applicable), MPH graduates can pursue a variety of careers.

Epidemiologists

Epidemiologists study patterns in illness and injury to reduce health problems. Their duties can include managing public health programs, create and implement studies, analyze and present data, and communicate with healthcare providers.

Health Educators

Health educators promote health and wellness and create ways to improve individual and community health. Their duties can include developing materials and programs for health education, assist people with finding appropriate services and supervising staff.

Dietitians and Nutritionists

Dieticians and nutritionists help people improve their health by advising them on their food choices. Their duties can include counseling patients, creating custom meal plans, providing health education classes to groups and creating materials for public health education.

Medical and Health Services Managers

Medical and health services managers oversee and direct services, departments and facilities in healthcare. They can be responsible for duties such as managing finances, recruitment and training, creating employee schedules and improving the quality of services provided.

Job Title Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Epidemiologists $69,660 5%
Health Educators $54,220 10%
Dieticians and Nutritionists $60,370 11%
Medical and Health Services Managers $99,730 18%

Salary and outlook information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Resources for Public Health Professionals

There are several organizations for public health graduates, many of which also offer membership to students.

Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)

SOPHE has close to 4,000 members across the U.S. and the globe. Members can collaborate and network as well as access continuing education resources and job openings.

National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC)

NCHEC promotes the quality and effectiveness of health education by providing certification for health education specialists. NCHEC also offers continuing education resources and job postings for health educators.

American Public Health Association (APHA)

APHA has 32 different member sections that allow members to collaborate with other professionals in their field. The sections include public health education, aging and public health, health administration and food and nutrition.