10 Most Affordable Master’s in Public Health Online 2021

10 Most Affordable Master’s in Public Health Online 2021

If you are interested in the field of public health, an online Master’s in Public Health (MPH) degree, can help you qualify for meaningful and lucrative careers in healthcare, as well as nonprofit organizations and the public sector. Given the expansive nature of healthcare work, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the field to grow by 15% and add 2.4 million jobs by 2029 — this includes a list of various jobs that require post-secondary education in public health. 

And while a bachelor’s degree is enough to enter the field, a graduate degree will provide you with the opportunity to make a lasting impact and earn a higher wage. If you’re a working professional seeking a career change or advancement, read our guide to learn more about affordable programs, admission and licensure requirements, cost of tuition, and common areas of study.

Accredited Online College Programs

Most Affordable Master’s in Public Health Online 2021

  1. New Mexico State University
    Location

    Las Cruces, NM

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    New Mexico State University delivers professionals a cheap public health master's degree online that is accredited by the Council of Education for Public Health. The degree was created for working professionals who are unable to attend class on campus and follows an asynchronous format for its courses. It was designed so that even working professionals could reasonably complete the degree in three years. This degree does require a field experience; online students can complete this in their home community under the supervision of a preceptor that is approved by the department. Other requirements include 42 credit hours of coursework, a thesis, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Health Program Planning, Health Services Organization and Deliver, and Evaluative Approaches in Public Health.

    • Graduation rate: 44%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $
    • City location: Las Cruces, NM
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE: 294
    • Av. grad salary: Not available
    • Contact: gradinfo@nmsu.edu
    • Website
  2. East Tennessee State University
    Location

    Johnson City, TN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students at East Tennessee University will be offered the chance to take on an online master's in public health that focuses on community health. It was a degree that was designed for working professionals and is geared to enhance their knowledge of their specific field. Courses are delivered wholly online by the same professors who teach the degree on campus. While an exhaustive degree, students can expect to complete all the requirements within three years with part-time study. Students will have to complete a two-term internship that is part of their culminating experience. Other requirements for the degree include 42 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Community Health Assessment Research, Consulting and Implementation of Health Programs and Services, and Rural Health Research and Practice.

    • Graduation rate: 39%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $
    • City location: Johnson City, TN
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: No minimum
    • Av. grad salary: Not available
    • Contact: gradschool@etsu.edu
    • Website
  3. University of West Florida
    Location

    Pensacola , FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of West Florida confers an online Master's in Public Health that is accredited by the Council of Education for Public Health. This degree is interdisciplinary in nature and heavily relies on competency-based courses and projects. Students can choose between a general MPH or take the Health Promotion, Education and Behavior concentration. The curriculum is delivered online through asynchronous and synchronous formats and can be completed in three years with part-time study. Students will be required to complete a two-term internship for graduation, which must be completed after the core curriculum has been successfully completed. Other requirements include 42 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health, Principles of Public Health, and GIS Applications in Public Health.

    • Graduation rate: 65%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $
    • City location: Pensacola, FL
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE verbal: 150. GRE quantitative: 146
    • Av. grad salary: Not available
    • Contact: gradadmissions@uwf.edu
    • Website
  4. South Dakota State University
    Location

    Brookings, SD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online master's in public health at South Dakota State University is offered in conjunction with the University of South Dakota, enabling students to take courses at both universities and earning a degree from just one. The degree is accredited by the Council of Education for Public Health. It is delivered wholly online and covers the five basic tenets of public health education: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Health Services Administration. Students will undertake a comprehensive curriculum that will take three years to complete with three years of part-time study. This degree requires 42 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, a special project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Advanced Health Care Management, Biostatistics for Public Health, and Rural Health Policies and Education.

    • Graduation rate: 53%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $$$
    • City location: Brookings, SD
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GPA: 3.0 or higher. GRE not required.
    • Av. grad salary: Not available
    • Contact: 1-605-688-4121
    • Website
  5. University of South Florida
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of South Florida has an astounding number of concentrations for its online Master's in Public Health. There are seven concentrations, including Infection Control, Public Health Practice, and Epidemiology. This program is accredited by the Council of Education for Public Health and is delivered 100 percent online. The curriculum is comprehensive and exhaustive, preparing students for the various situations that may arise when they are in the field. Students will have the chance to take part in a field experience that takes place abroad alone or with a group of students; this is the only school in this ranking that provides field experiences abroad. Students will also be required to complete a minimum of 42 credit hours of coursework, a supervised field experience, a research paper, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include History and Systems of Public Health, Translation to Public Health Practice, and Population Assessment.

    • Graduation rate: 69%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $
    • City location: Tampa, FL
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: Not required
    • Av. grad salary: Not available
    • Contact: GradAdmissions@usf.edu
    • Website
  6. University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Location

    Birmingham, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have an incredible amount of options when it comes to finding an online public health master's degree. The MPH available at this school offers two concentrations: Health Care Organization and Maternal and Child Health Policy and Leadership. It is also possible to earn a Master of Science in Public Health in Outcomes Research. The degrees offer students the opportunity to move into management and leadership positions in both the public and private sectors; this is the main focus of each of the curriculums, along with the concentration courses. The degree is delivered online with the exception of the Integrative Experience, which is completed under the supervision of a preceptor. It is possible to graduate within two years of beginning this degree, provided that students study full-time. Students will be required to complete a total of 44 credit hours of coursework, an internship, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Public Health Law, Management and Policy in Public Health Systems and Services, and Health Insurance and Managed Care.

    • Graduation rate: 52%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: Birmingham, AL
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE: 147 verbal, 150 quantitative
    • Av. grad salary: Not available
    • Contact: gradschool@uab.edu
    • Website

  7. Idaho State University
    Location

    Pocatello, ID

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Idaho State University is known for being the home of the only public health master's online degree in the state to hold accreditation by the Council of Education for Public Health. This is an applied degree that focuses students on real-world skills and concepts that will translate into experience once the student moves into doing research and participating in their internships. Even though this is an online program, students are regularly invited to help professors with active research projects as part of their curriculum. The curriculum has a strong focus on public health from a macro point of view, preparing students to look at all parts of the field prior to joining it as a professional. This degree requires 48 credit hours of coursework, a research paper, an internship, a thesis or final project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Technological Applications in Public Health, Leadership and Administration, and Social and Cultural Perspectives in Public Health.

    • Graduation rate: 56%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: Pocatello, ID
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE: 40th percentile
    • Av. grad salary: Not available
    • Contact: gradadmissions@isu.edu
    • Website
  8. San Jose State University
    Location

    San Jose, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online Master's in Public Health at San Jose State University is a hybrid degree that holds accreditation by the Council of Education for Public Health. Courses are delivered to students in the synchronous format and offer students to discuss the course's subject matter in real time with both classmates and their professors. This is a cohort program that requires a five-day residency on the campus every year. Students will also complete a fieldwork experience in their own community under the supervision of a preceptor that is approved by the department. The curriculum has a focus on delivering an advanced but general view of public health, enabling students to understand the various disciplines that affect this field. This degree requires 42 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, and a culminating experience. Sample courses include Principles and Skills of Health Administration, Community Organization and Health Promotion, and Multicultural Communication for Health Professionals.

    • Graduation rate: 62%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: San Jose, CA
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GPA of 3.0 or higher. GRE required, no minimum
    • Av. grad salary:  $81,359
    • Contact: admissions@sjsu.edu
    • Website
  9. Purdue University
    Location

    West Lafayette, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Purdue University confers a Master's in Public Health online that is built to prepare students to identify, analyze, and resolve public health issues and concerns both in America and around the world. This program is currently undergoing the accreditation process by the Council of Education for Public Health. While the degree has several concentrations, only the Family and Community Health concentration can be found online. This degree focuses on health issues related to the family unit and the evolving definition of the term "family." The degree requires a practicum which can be completed in their own community; there are no residency requirements for this degree. Students will also be required to complete 42 credit hours of coursework, a culminating experience, and a comprehensive written exam; all requirements can be met within two-and-a-half years of part-time study. Sample courses include Introduction to Environmental Health, Introduction to Quantitative Methods of Public Health, and Fundamentals of Epidemiology.

    • Graduation rate: 76%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: West Lafayette, IN
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GRE not required
    • Av. grad salary: Not available
    • Contact: gradinfo@purdue.edu
    • Website
  10. University of Illinois at Springfield
    Location

    Springfield, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Public health professionals who opt for the University of Illinois at Springfield will be met with a comprehensive curriculum that is formatted to be completed online. This degree has three tracks: MPH General, MPH Professional, and Environmental Health. Each concentration has their own requirements, but as the MPH General is the most popular, this is the track that will be discussed. Students will complete all of their coursework online. They must also complete an internship that is under the supervision of a preceptor that is approved by the department. Students will also have to complete 48 credit hours of coursework as well as a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Environmental and Occupational Health, Public Health Policy and Administration, and Risk Management and Communication.

    • Graduation rate: 66%
    • School status (public/private): Public
    • Tuition cost: $$
    • City location: Springfield, IL
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: GPA of 3.0 or higher; GRE required, no minimum
    • Av. grad salary: Not available
    • Contact: admissions@uis.edu
    • Website

  • Our Methodology, Explained


    Grad School Hub compiles rankings based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics play a significant role in how we source our educational data. After collecting insight for each institution, we organize information into five weighted categories.

    Metric Data Used Percentage
    Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 30%
    Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 10%
    Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 30%
    Program Offerings Number of program options 20%
    Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 10%

    A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible on our Ranking Methodology page.


Everything You Should Know About Earning an Online Master’s in Public Health


  • How much does an online MPH degree cost?

    The cost of your master’s in public health online will always depend on the school and the program. However, this type of program can share similarities with undergraduate tuition. Some online MPH degrees start at about $7,000 What you pay will depend on the school, the program, and your location.


  • Is a masters in public health worth it?

    Definitely. While you can work in public health and earn a good living with a bachelor’s degree, obtaining your MPH degree opens the door to higher-level opportunities and better pay. Professionals in the public health system are also in high demand, which makes this career path ideal for your professional growth.


  • What can you do with a master’s in public health?

    Pursuing a master’s in public health online grants you greater opportunities than undergrads to work in management and research, setting policies and overseeing change, with the potential to work in data analysis, risk assessment, environmental health, and epidemiology.


  • How much does MPH make?

    According to the BLS, the average salary range for medical and health service managers is $104,280, which breaks down to about $50 per hour. Do keep in mind that salaries will depend on the public and private sector jobs you seek and past work experience. Professionals should also take into account that credentials and licensure plays a large role in salaries.


Career and Salary Outlook for Public Health Graduates 

No matter what your interests or abilities, a master’s in public health online can prepare you for careers in healthcare and nonprofit organizations. Some titles you can hold, depending on your specialist include public health manager, administrator, and epidemiologist. 

Career Median Annual Salary 
Medical and Health Services Manager $104,280
Health Educator and Community Health Worker$48,140
Epidemiologist $76,560
Biostatistician $92,030
Public Health Practitioner $69,870
Source: BLS 

Although there are many fields within the public health umbrella, you can expect an average salary listed below after you’ve graduated with your MPH and worked for about one year in the field. Location in the U.S. (or abroad), company or institution, and specialization within a specific field all determine your final salary. 

One example for MPH grads is the epidemiology career path that offers promising career growth and high compensation. Epidemiologists earn, on average, a median annual salary of $70,990, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The field of epidemiology is also expected to grow by 5% between 2019 and 2029, which is faster than most other career fields.

Online Master's in Public Health Requirements

To enroll in a master’s in public health, you must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university. Most graduate programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0 and competitive test scores like the GRE and the MCAT.

The program’s curriculum might vary across schools and concentrations. The MPH curriculum requires at least 42 credit hours, according to the ASPPH, and should be similar across most online programs. However, it’s not uncommon to see the number of credits needed for an MPH to range from 42 to 80 credits. 

If you’re seeking admissions into a MPH, expect to submit a statement of purpose, to demonstrate your personal internal and commitment to the program. Each school may have different admissions requirements so it’s essential that you work with an admissions advisor to meet all the requirements.

Online Master’s in Public Health Accreditation 

The only accreditation body that matters in this particular field is the Council of Education for Public Health (CEPH). This council consists of experts who are members of the American Public Health Association and the Association of Schools of Public Health, both professional organizations that tout entities and agencies amongst its members. 

Programs that hold this accreditation are competitive, especially online programs, but they do provide you with a rigorous curriculum and a comprehensive set of field experiences. 

This is not to say that a program without accreditation from the CEPH; indeed, many programs are high quality and even adhere to the council’s public health graduate program guidelines. But in order to seek preference with employers, the successful completion of an accredited program is advised.

What Concentrations Are Offered in Master’s Degree in Public Health Programs?

Environmental Health
Gives you a firm foundation in environmental health and includes subcategories like Occupational Epidemiology, Environmental Infectious Diseases, Regulatory Toxicology, and Risk Assessment.
Leadership and Public Health Practice
This program prepares you for leadership positions in public health organizations in government, health care, government, for-profit, and non-profit industries.
Health Care and Prevention
A degree in this discipline can save lives by helping to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. You will explore the importance of preventive health care from a public health perspective and look at statistics showing the importance of safeguarding your health with frequent checkups.
Occupational Health Nursing
You will explore a wide variety of human health-related topics, such as climate change, emerging infectious diseases, water and food systems, and the environment.
Epidemiology
You will conduct advanced research and cultivate the epidemiological skills you need to pursue senior positions in hospitals, public health systems, academia, the private and nonprofit sectors, and in non-governmental organizations.
Food, Nutrition, and Health
Explores how nutrition impacts the health and well-being of people around the world. It recognizes the influences on nutrition, diet, and health and includes socioeconomic, environmental, cultural, and political factors.
Global Environmental Sustainability & Health
You will discover the relationship between the environment and society and how sustainability affects global health.
Women’s and Reproductive Health
This MPH explores all of the nuances of women’s health and reproduction issues, like infertility.

How Has the Pandemic Affected Public Health Majors?

The global coronavirus pandemic has intensified the appeal for careers in public health and for college-level programs. A staff person at Agnes Scott’s public health department says an MPH has become “one of the most popular majors at the college”.  

In fact, a survey by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), reports that applications to undergraduate programs at member schools have more than doubled in the past five years, with nearly 64% of all public health majors going straight into a job upon graduation, and 26% pursuing graduate education. 

Why Should I Get an Online Master’s in Public Health? 

Besides building confidence and working with people from all walks of life in the public health sector, earning your MPH can also provide a number of skills to carry with you in life and in your career, such as:

  • A better understanding for cultures and populations which are underserved
  • Provide knowledge to successfully change your career goals or go into another field within the public health sector
  • A strong academic foundation to put into practice if you’re interested in teaching at the college level
  • Problem solving and communication skills to help you prepare for leadership roles, as well as future promotions
  • Allow you to explore the various specialties within the public health sector
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AJ Dellinger

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

AJ Dellinger is a writer who covers education topics for Best Value Schools, Graduate School Hub, and Criminal Justice Degree Schools, among others. AJ’s work has also appeared in International Business Times, Newsweek, the Daily Dot, Digital Trends, the Classical, the Escapist, Salon, Business Insider, and others.

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Angelica Leicht

Angelica Leicht is an editor for Grad School Hub. A proud University of Houston alum (go Cougs!), she previously served as an education reporter at Kearney Hub, and an editor at the Dallas Observer and Houston Press. Her writing has appeared in Affordable Colleges Online, Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, and elsewhere.

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