25 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Public Health 2020

| Staff

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With one of Grad School Hub‘s 25 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Public Health, students can improve their career prospects and the lives of others.

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A Master’s Degree in Public Health will deepen an individuals’ understanding of the public field industry, while boosting their career prospects, as well. Online degrees allow students to graduate affordably – with convenience and flexibility – and without having to uproot their lives. The following 25 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Public Health can be completed entirely online or through a blended residential program. Most Public Health degrees require individuals to hold a bachelor’s degree for admission, while others require a few years of relevant, professional experience.

Core Master of Public Health coursework typically covers the areas of biostatistics; epidemiology, or disease control; policy development; and the behavioral, environmental, and social factors of public health. MPH programs tend to be non-thesis programs that require field practicum experiences. Some offer concentrations or specializations in a specific area of public health, such as community health, global health, health promotion, or policy development. Generally speaking, Public Health programs address health issues relating to diverse human communities and populations. While some require individuals to study full-time, many online programs can be completed on a part-time basis.

Career prospects for individuals with MPH degrees may vary depending on the chosen concentration area or elective coursework. Because the majority of MPH programs hold epidemiology as a core component, graduates may go on to work in Epidemiologist positions. Epidemiologists must hold at least a master’s degree. Epidemiologists examine causes and patterns of human disease and injury. They then aim to reduce these negative health outcomes through community education and outreach, policy development, and research. Epidemiologists may work in health-related offices and labs, government agencies, hospitals, or universities. According to the most recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, epidemiologists earned a median 2017 salary of $69,660. The demand for epidemiologists is experiencing a projected nine percent growth rate, which is about as fast as the average across all industries.

Top 10 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Public Health 2020

Rank School Location
1 University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA
2 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
3 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
4 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
5 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
6 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
7 Florida International University Miami, FL
8 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
9 University of Minnesota Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN
10 Emory University Atlanta, GA
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Methodology

The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 25 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Public Health 2020 for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:

  • Alumni Feedback: 20%
  • Continued Enrollment: 20%
  • Degree Selectivity: 10%
  • Graduate Expenses: 25%
  • Projected Annual Salary: 25%

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

Here are the 25 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Public Health 2020 for 2019 – 2020!

  1. University of California-Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of California, Berkeley offers Grad School Hub's top-ranked online master's program in Public Health. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree and a minimum of two years of work experience, not necessarily in the health field. Students can choose between specializations in Community Health Sciences, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Global Health, Health Policy & Management, and Spatial Data Science. The interdisciplinary curriculum includes six required core courses, including Epidemiologic Methods, Health and Social Behavior, and Health Policy and Management. Depending on their chosen specialization, students may also take courses in Cost-Effectiveness Analysis, Global Health Ethics, Infectious Diseases, or Maternal and Child Health Nutrition.

    Founded in 1868, Berkeley is the flagship institution of the 10 research universities in the University of California system. The public university is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and is counted among the nation's "Public Ivies." Berkeley faculty and researchers have been involved in significant developments including the atomic bomb, deep-sea diving, and the wetsuit, the flu vaccine, and the polygraph test. Alumni and faculty have founded companies such as Apple, eBay, Gap, Intel, and Tesla. The university is also noted for its historic student-led Anti-Vietnam War Movement and Free Speech Movement. U.S. News & World Report ranks Berkeley No. 24 in Most Innovative Schools, No. 22 in National Universities, and No. 2 in Top Public Schools. The university is also ranked at No. 9 in graduate Public Health.

  2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Location

    Chapel Hill, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Master of Public Health ranks No. 2 for the 2019-2020 academic year. Offered through the university's Gillings School of Global Public Health, the MPH degree program involves live, interactive online courses each week. Students can choose from five concentrations: Epidemiology, Health Policy, Leadership in Practice, Nutrition, and a Registered Dietitian program. MPH core courses include Conceptualizing Public Health Solutions, Data Analysis for Public Health, and Understanding Public Health Issues. All students must also complete an applied field practicum experience and integrated learning paper. The Leadership and Nutrition concentrated programs can be completed in 20 months of full-time study or 28 months part-time. The Registered Dietitian concentration can be completed in 28 months full-time, or 36 months part-time.

    Established in 1789, UNC is one of three schools allowed to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States. It is the flagship institution of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system. The public research university is counted among the nation's "Public Ivy" universities. It operates its own hospital, UNC Health Care, which specializes in cancer care. The UNC nickname is the "Tar Heels," a nod to the state's historical tar production. Kiplinger's Personal Finance named the university "best value" in the nation among public universities 16 times in a row. U.S. News & World Report ranks UNC No. 30 in National Universities, No. 8 in Best Value Schools, and No. 5 in Top Public Schools. The university also ranks second in Public Health at the graduate level.

  3. Harvard University
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Harvard University offers a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology through its Harvard Chan School Department of Epidemiology. The department was rated the most prolific research department in the world by the National Research Council. The program is designed to be completed on a part-time basis within a blended classroom format. Students can expect to earn two-thirds of the program's credit requirements through online case studies, interactive exercises, and video sessions. Online courses include Decision Science for Public Health and Design and Conduct of Trials in Preventive Medicine. The program also includes two intensive on-campus sessions and a self-designed, faculty-mentored, year-long practicum experience. The field experience culminates in a research project and presentation. The 45-credit degree program spans two years.

    Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. A private Ivy League research university, it is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world based on its history, influence, and wealth. It was a founding member of the Association of American Universities. Worth $39.2 billion as of 2018, Harvard has the largest endowment of any academic institution. The Harvard Library is the largest private and academic library system in the world. The university has a main campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and additional campuses throughout the Boston metropolitan area. Several U.S. presidents are among Harvard alumni, including John Adams, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama. U.S. News & World Report ranks Harvard No. 2 in National Universities, Best Value Schools, and graduate Public Health.

  4. University of South Florida
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of South Florida offers several online programs leading to a Master of Public Health Degree. All applicants should have at least three years of full-time health-related work experience. Students can concentrate in Epidemiology; Global Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief & Homeland Security; Health, Safety & Environment; Infection Control; Nutrition and Dietetics; Public Health Practice; or Social Marketing. Students must complete a supervised field experience, written report, and comprehensive exam. The field experience can be completed at a location of students' choosing or as part of a group experience with faculty and peers. Such groups have previously traveled to sites in Hawaii, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Panama. The MPH degree program can be completed in two and a half to five years.

    Founded in 1956, USF is a member institution of the State University System of Florida. Located in Tampa, it is the fourth-largest public university in Florida by student enrollment. A space-grant institution, USF is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a doctoral research university with very high research activity. USF Health researchers conduct significant research in fields including Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart health, and prosthetics. The USF campus is also home to the Shimberg Health Sciences Library. U.S. News & World Report ranks USF No. 124 in National Universities, No. 71 in Best Value Schools, and No. 58 in Top Public Schools. The university is also ranked No. 16 in graduate Public Health.

  5. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Southern California awards a Master of Public Health through its highly-ranked Keck School of Medicine. The program has no residency requirements and can be completed entirely online, with the exception of the field practicum, which can be completed in students' own local communities. Students can choose from six concentrations: Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Community Health Promotion, Generalist, GeoHealth, Global Health, and Health Services and Policy. The Generalist concentration requires four core courses: Foundations in Health Education and Promotion, Health Service and Delivery in the U.S., Principles of Biostatistics, and Principles of Epidemiology. Students may complete the degree through an accelerated format, which involves a 40-hour-per-week course workload throughout one academic year.

    Founded in 1880, USC is the oldest private research university in the state of California and the largest private employer in Los Angeles. A sea- and space-grant institution, USC has a very high level of research activity. The university's technological developments include antivirus software, DNA computing, and the Domain Name System. Notable alumni include astronaut Neil Armstrong, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and actors John Wayne and Will Ferrell. USC is ranked by U.S. News & World Report at No. 22 in National Universities, No. 37 in Best Value Schools, and No. 28 in Most Innovative Schools. It is also ranked No. 37 in Public Health at the graduate level.

  6. Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Johns Hopkins University offers a Master of Public Health through its Bloomberg School of Public Health. Applicants should have a health-related doctoral degree or two or more years of full-time health-related work experience. The online program is designed to be completed on a part-time basis. It requires about one to two weeks of on-campus residency each year, which can be completed in Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, D.C.; or Barcelona, Spain. The curriculum consists of 80 quarter credits, which is equal to approximately 53-semester credits. Course offerings include Fundamentals of Health, Behavior & Society; Pharmaceuticals Management for Underserved Populations; and Problem Solving in Public Health. The degree program consists of five eight-week terms per year and can be completed between two and three years.

    Founded in 1876, JHU is considered the nation's first research university. It was named after its benefactor, Quaker abolitionist, and entrepreneur Johns Hopkins. Today, JHU is a private research university and founding member of the Association of American Universities. The university's research centers include the Berman Institute of Bioethics, the Center for a Livable Future, and the Space Telescope Science Institute. JHU operates learning facilities in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, as well as in China, Italy, and Singapore. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university No. 18 in both Best Value Schools and Most Innovative Schools, and No. 10 in National Universities. The site also ranks Johns Hopkins No. 1 in Public Health at the graduate level.

  7. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Florida International University offers an online program leading to a generalist Master of Public Health degree. The 45-credit interdisciplinary curriculum covers areas such as epidemiology and distribution of diseases, social and environmental health factors, and effective policy development for diverse populations. Core MPH courses include Health Behavior and Public Health and Public Health Statistics. General core courses include Community Health Promotion Planning and Research and Health Demography. Elective offerings include AIDS Epidemiology and Health Promotion in Culturally Diverse Communities. The program culminates in a local field practicum and integrative seminar. The degree is designed to be completed in 18 months.

    Established in 1965, FIU has since grown into the fourth-largest university in the United States in terms of student enrollment. It is also the largest university in South Florida and the second-largest in the state. It is a member institution of the 12-campus State University System of Florida. The public university is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university with "highest research activity." In addition to its main campus in University Park, also operates a regional Biscayne Bay campus and branch campuses in facilities throughout South Florida. Its research facilities include the Engineering Library Service Center and the International Hurricane Research Center. U.S. News & World Report ranks FIU No. 187 in National Universities, No. 100 in Top Public Schools, and No. 78 in graduate Public Health.

  8. San Diego State University
    Location

    San Diego, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    San Diego State University offers a fully online program leading to a Master of Public Health in Health Promotion & Behavioral Science. Individuals must have taken the Graduate Record Examination within the five years prior to application. Prospective applicants must also have a minimum of three years of full-time work experience and be currently employed full-time, preferably in a public health-related profession. The rigorous program spans 18 months, consisting of eight eight-week sessions with week-long breaks in between. The 51-unit curriculum includes courses in Environmental Determinants of Human Health, Health Communication, and Motivating Health Behavior. All students must complete a 180-hour field placement experience and complete a capstone project.

    Founded in 1897 as a teacher training school, SDSU is the third-oldest member of the 23-campus California State University system. A public space-grant research university, it is categorized by the Carnegie Foundation among doctoral universities with high research activity. In addition to its main campus in San Diego, SDSU operates two branch campuses: the Imperial Valley Campus in Brawley and Calexico, California, and the SDSU-Georgia campus in Tbilisi, Georgia. The university's off-campus facilities include the Coastal and Marine Institute Laboratory, Mount Laguna Observatory, and the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. U.S. News & World Report ranks SDSU No. 127 in National Universities, No. 60 in Top Public Schools, and No. 45 in Most Innovative Schools. It also ranks at No. 23 in graduate Public Health.

  9. University of Minnesota
    Location

    Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Minnesota offers an executive program leading to a Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice. The degree program is offered in a hybrid on-campus and online format, combining Web-based instruction and on-campus summer courses. Qualified applicants are professionals with an advanced degree such as an MS, JD, or MD. The program also considers public health professionals with significant work experience who have completed the university's Public Health Core Concepts Certificate. Individuals in the program can choose a focus area, such as food safety, global health, or public policy. The program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis in as few as 16 months or as up to five years. The average completion time is three to five years. Students in the program receive in-state tuition rates.

    Founded in 1851, UMN is the flagship institution within the University of Minnesota system and the system's oldest and largest campus. It has one of the largest main campus student bodies in the United States. A land- and space-grant institution, UMN is classified as a doctoral university with "highest research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation. The university's research centers include the Center for Cognitive Sciences, the Institute on the Environment, and the Minnesota Population Center. U.S. News & World Report ranks UMN NO. 86 in Best Value Schools, No. 76 in National Universities, and No. 30 in Top Public Schools. The university is also ranked at No. 9 in Public Health at the graduate level.

  10. Emory University
    Location

    Atlanta, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Emory University provides an Executive Master of Public Health through its Rollins School of Public Health. The EMPH is completable online, although, EMPH students are expected to attend two residential sessions for their degree requirements. Incoming students begin their EMPH in the fall semester and are expected to have a minimum of three years of work experience in the health care industry. Critical inquiry, research methodology, biomedical ethics, sociology, and global health consciousness are all important values encompassing the institution's Core Competencies for EMPH students.

    Overall, the EMPH consists of 42 credits and provides three different concentrations for Public Health majors to choose from. Among these concentrations are Prevention Science, Applied Epidemiology, and Applied Public Health Informatics. EMPH classes are completed through Canvas, an online university platform for distance learning students. The two-week-long EMPH orientation is also completable online and considered a vital component to student success at Emory. Core classes include Fundamentals of Epidemiology, Applied Biostatistics, and Perspectives in Environmental Health. All EMPH students are required to study classes such as Applied Public Health Informatics or Strategies and Resources for Online Learning.

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