A master of public health (MPH) offers a versatile education tailored to a unique career path, with courses covering the intersection of disease, social and behavioral science, biostatistics, community education, and health policy.
The degree typically takes about two years to complete, though programs might offer accelerated formats for professionals already in the field. Students completing their coursework part-time might need longer to graduate. Earning an MPH degree can help professionals land a variety of roles within the public health field. Many graduates become epidemiologists, conducting work as experts in the spread of diseases.
In addition to interesting work, the epidemiology career path offers lucrative compensation and promising career growth. Epidemiologists earn a median annual salary of $70,990, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also projects the number of jobs for epidemiologists to increase by 5% between 2019 and 2029.
MPH students who specialize in education often become community health educators. The BLS reports that these professionals make median earnings of nearly $47,000, and the projected job growth from 2019 to 2029 could reach 13%, much faster than the national average for all occupations.
Students juggling multiple responsibilities, including jobs and family obligations, may prefer to pursue a master's in public health online. Online MPH programs, which often feature an asynchronous class delivery format, give degree-seekers the flexibility to study at their own convenience. Plus, by cutting out the commute to campus, distance learners can save significant time and money.
To help you select the right online MPH program for you, we've used our ranking methodology to select the top online MPH programs.Read about our ranking methodology here.
Top 10 Online MPH Programs
- University of Florida - Gainesville, FL
- University of California-Berkeley - Berkeley, CA
- New York University - New York, NY
- Samford University - Birmingham, AL
- Oklahoma State University-Main Campus - Stillwater, OK
- The University of West Florida - Pensacola, FL
- West Virginia University - Morgantown, WV
- The University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, AL
- University of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA
- Ohio University-Main Campus - Athens, OH
Best Online MPH Programs for 2021
University of Florida
The master's in public health at UF offers a 48-credit curriculum for individuals who want to work in research or within the community health field.
Students can choose to pursue their degree at UF's Gainesville campus or through online learning. Distance learners do not need to fulfill any on-campus requirements. They watch prerecorded lectures on their own time and take proctored exams online.
Core courses cover statistical methods, epidemiology, and the U.S. healthcare system. The curriculum also requires a public health internship for 3-6 credits and an integrated learning experience or capstone project. Online degree-seekers can choose from two concentrations: public health practice and behavioral health sciences. In addition, students can choose to enroll in a 42-credit MPH program for health professionals who already hold a terminal degree within their field.
Applicants may apply with a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Although UF normally requires GRE scores, the school is currently waiving that requirement because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This online MPH holds accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health. UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.Visit School Site
University of California - Berkeley
UC Berkeley offers a mostly online, part-time master of public health that prioritizes healthcare management, health policy and economics, and community health sciences. The curriculum also relies heavily on qualitative and quantitative research courses.
The program comprises 90% online and 10% on-campus coursework. Distance learning classes follow an asynchronous learning format, and students can expect to spend 15-17 hours on coursework each week. Degree-seekers must complete a 130-hour practicum that allows them to gain real work experience in the field. The full program lasts 2.5 years, and students must pass a comprehensive exam before graduating.
Students may pursue the general public health track or choose between concentrations in health policy and management or epidemiology and biostatistics.
Qualified applicants possess a bachelor's degree and have passed at least one college-level statistics course with a "B+" or better.
The university holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The public health department is also accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
New York University
While NYU offers a general master of public health with several concentrations on campus, the school recently created an online MPH focused on sustainable development goals.
The degree focuses on training students for jobs meant to help global communities reach the health-related sustainable development goals from the United Nations. Graduates often go on to work for government or nonprofit organizations that develop equitable solutions for public health challenges. Distance learners can follow a two-year full-time or 2.5-year part-time format.
Students take 33 credits of required courses like global health informatics and epidemiology along with three electives. Elective courses include HIV/AIDS from a global perspective and perspectives on migrant health and human rights. Additionally, degree-seekers must complete 180 hours of an applied practice experience and a two-credit integrated learning experience.
Interested individuals can apply by submitting their undergraduate transcripts, a personal statement, and two professional recommendation letters. Although NYU does not specify a minimum GPA for admission, the program is competitive. The school recommends applicants possess at least three years of work experience in a national or subnational health system.
NYU holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The MPH is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
Located in Birmingham, Alabama, Samford University offers an online master of public health that lasts about two years. The program takes a multidisciplinary approach, teaching students about global health problems and equipping them with the research skills and scientific knowledge to tackle those problems.
Courses include epidemiology, public health programs in developing countries, biostatistics, and global health systems. During their last semester, degree-seekers finish off the 42-credit curriculum with an integrative learning experience.
The MPH program at Samford does not offer concentrations but covers a broad range of topics. Graduates study topics like the prevention of infectious diseases, the impact of health policies, and environmental contaminants.
Applicants should submit their undergraduate transcripts showing at least a 3.0 GPA and standardized test scores from the GRE or MAT. They should also submit three reference letters. Samford holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.Visit School Site
Oklahoma State University - Main Campus
MPH students at OSU can pursue the university's public health graduate program entirely through online learning. The curriculum considers health problems at the local, national, and international levels. Degree-seekers also learn about improving health services for rural and underserved populations.
The 42-credit degree includes courses covering epidemiology, statistical methods, strategic health communications, and cultural issues in health. Courses last eight or 16 weeks and follow an asynchronous format, meaning that students can complete assignments on their own time. This MPH program does not offer concentrations but instead takes an interdisciplinary view.
To apply, prospective students can submit their undergraduate transcripts and a statement of purpose outlining their interest in the program and professional goals. OSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The MPH holds accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
The University of West Florida
At Pensacola-based UWF, the master's in public health requires 42 credits of coursework and lasts 24-30 months. The program prepares graduates for careers as epidemiologists, health educators, community health workers, and emergency management directors.
The online degree includes asynchronous foundational, concentration, and practicum courses. Students can pursue a generalist MPH or choose a specialty in global health or health promotion, education, and behavior.
The practicum involves a two-part, six-credit internship on location with an approved preceptor. Distance learners can work with faculty members and participate in on-campus research and present the outcomes of their research at national conferences. Incoming students may transfer up to nine course credits.
The MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.Visit School Site
West Virginia University
Morgantown's public, land-grant university runs several graduate and undergraduate programs, including a master's in public health online. Graduates of the program have gone on to work at health departments, clinics, research institutions, and federal agencies.
An applied practice experience at a health-related agency includes 180 contact hours on location. Degree-seekers can fulfill this requirement at university research departments or local community health centers.
The curriculum includes several concentration options, such as those below:
- Health Policy
- Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
To apply, individuals must possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Although they do not necessarily need a degree in public health, they should be competent in math.
WVU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, and the public health master's is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
The University of Alabama
A public research university in Tuscaloosa, UA facilitates several online programs for graduate and nontraditional students through its College of Continuing Studies, including the online MPH program comprising 42 credits.
The program follows a flexible format so that working professionals may enroll. Students take 33 credits of required courses and six elective credits, which include courses like worksite health promotion, sexuality education, and women and health. They must also fulfill a three-hour applied practical experience requirement.
Graduates may sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist, Master Certified Health Education Specialist, and Certified Public Health professional certification exams.
Prospective students may apply by submitting an undergraduate transcript with a minimum 3.0 GPA; those with a lower GPA must send in GRE scores. Applicants should also send in three recommendation letters.
UA is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The public health program holds accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
University of Southern California
The Keck School of Medicine at USC offers an MPH degree with a fast-track option that allows students to graduate within one year.
The online program includes live online discussions and group project work-through video conferencing. Students can enroll from anywhere in the country and complete their required practicum at a local organization. Degree-seekers can take advantage of guidance from public health leaders at groups like the World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency.
While many students take 1-2 courses each term to complete the two-year degree, the fast-track version requires 2-4 courses per term. The degree offers six concentrations:
- Biostatistics and Epidemiology
- Community Health Promotion
- Global Health
- Health Services and Policy
To apply, prospective students need an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They should also submit three recommendation letters and a statement of purpose.
The university holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and the public health program holds accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
Ohio University - Main Campus
At Ohio University, the online MPH program follows a curriculum that covers social, behavioral, environmental, and cultural determinants of health. The program comprises 42 credits, or 14 three-credit courses lasting seven weeks. Students who take one course at a time can graduate in two years.
Courses include epidemiology in public health, environmental health, grant writing, and health disparities. Degree-seekers dedicate 12-15 hours each week to one course. After students finish their coursework, they participate in a capstone project in a community setting. Graduates go on to work as community health coordinators, environmental specialists, and health educators, among other jobs.
Interested individuals can apply with a bachelor's degree and minimum 3.0 GPA. They should submit three recommendation letters and a personal statement, and GRE scores are optional.
The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the MPH program is currently an applicant for the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
Florida International University
Located in University Park, FIU operates as the fourth-largest university by enrollment in the country. The school offers several undergraduate and graduate programs, including an online master's in public health for those pursuing a career in public health. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach, covering epidemiology and social and environmental health determinants among various populations.
In addition to core courses, students may choose from electives like AIDS epidemiology, advanced biostatistics, and environmental disaster and human health. Distance learners must complete a final practicum and culminating experience to graduate. They may also add certificates in epidemiology, health policy, or environmental health sciences if they wish to enroll in a few more credits.
Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
The public health program holds accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health. The university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.Visit School Site
University of Illinois at Chicago
The MPH program at UIC focuses on research and public policy and lasts about two years. The classroom work -- which students can complete through distance learning --culminates in a capstone project that students carry out within their communities.
Learners can choose between multiple online MPH programs with different specializations:
- Community Health Sciences
- Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
- Health Policy and Administration
- Maternal and Child Health
- Maternal and Child health Epidemiology
- Public Health Informatics
In addition, students can pursue a joint degree:
- Master of Social Work/MPH
- Master of Urban Planning and Policy/MPH
- Doctor of Chiropractic/MPH
- Doctor of Dental Medicine/MPH
- Doctor of Veterinary Medicine/MPH
Interested individuals can apply by submitting an undergraduate transcript demonstrating at least a 3.0 GPA. They should also submit GRE scores; the school advises applicants to apply with at least a 150 GRE score.
The MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. The university also holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.Visit School Site
University of Missouri - Columbia
As the public land grant university in Missouri, MU offers several undergraduate and graduate programs.
The 45-credit MPH degree focuses on research, interdisciplinary teaching, and practice to prepare students for public health leadership positions. Students can pursue the degree online or on campus. They may choose between two emphasis areas: health promotion and policy, and veterinary public health.
Learners can also opt for a dual degree:
- MPH/Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
- MPH/MA Journalism
- MPH/Master of Public Affairs
- MPH/Master of Social Work
Applicants should possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA in their last 60 undergraduate hours. They must also submit two essays outlining why they want to pursue an MPH.
The university is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the MPH program holds accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
Kent State University at Kent
The online MPH program at Kent State in Kent, Ohio, prepares graduates for careers like clinical research coordinator, behavioral health program coordinator, and public health educator.
Students follow a 46-credit curriculum, taking 14 seven-week courses one at a time. They must also complete a career-centered practicum, and they can opt to complete a global immersion seminar as well. Learners complete the program in 27 months, or they can double up on courses during their last terms and graduate in 24 months.
Degree-seekers may choose between three specializations:
- Health Policy and Management
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
Interested individuals can apply by submitting three recommendation letters, official undergraduate transcripts, and a goal statement. Kent State normally requires applicants to submit GRE scores, but the school has waived that requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kent State possesses regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. In addition, the university's MPH program holds accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
Johns Hopkins University
The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins facilitates a master's in public health designed to help graduates tackle global public health challenges.
The full curriculum consists of 80 credits, and students have considerable flexibility in planning out their own schedules. The online program follows a part-time format, which means distance learners can expect to spend 15-18 hours on their studies each week. Students graduate in 2-3 years.
The program offers 12 formal concentrations:
- Aging and Public Health
- Child and Adolescent Health
- Epidemiological and Biostatistical Methods for Public Health and Clinical Research
- Food, Nutrition, and Health
- Food Systems
- Global Environmental Sustainability and Health
- Humanitarian Health
- Health Leadership and Management
- Health Systems and Policy
- Infectious Diseases
- Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health
- Women's and Reproductive Health
Although JHU does not specify a minimum undergraduate GPA for applicants, the median GPA for successful applicants is about 3.5. The school normally requires GRE scores, but JHU suspended that requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
JHU holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The MPH program also holds accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
University of North Dakota
The online MPH program at UND specifically explores public health promotion in the state's northern plains. Students learn about evidence-based approaches to the healthcare system, health promotion, and systems thinking.
The degree lasts two years and requires 42 credits of coursework. After they complete foundational and elective courses, students take part in a 135-hour practicum experience at a health organization. Degree-seekers also have the option to study system dynamics in Norway through the school's Norwegian Exchange Program.
Learners can specialize in:
- Indigenous Health
- Population Health Research and Analytics
- Health Management and Policy
Graduates may sit for the Certified in Public Health exam. According to UND data, 100% of graduates find employment in health-related careers. They find jobs in biostatistics, epidemiology, health policy analysis, and public health administration. Organizations like the Mayo Clinic and Health Partners Institute have hired UND graduates in the past.
Applicants may apply with a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. They should also submit a written statement and three recommendation letters.
UND is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the MPH degree possesses accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
UM Amherst offers a 42-credit master's in public health especially for experienced healthcare workers who want to solve problems within the public health system.
Along with their normal required courses, degree-seekers participate in an MPH community applied practicum experience. In the past, students have used their practicum to carry out policy research on housing discrimination against people with mental illness and to develop a bloodborne pathogen exposure control plan for a health department.
Learners also complete an interprofessional education experience. This involves students from two or more professions collaborating with each other to improve health outcomes. Undergraduate students may also take advantage of the 4+1 BS/MPH degree, which allows them to graduate with their undergraduate degree and a master's degree in five years.
Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit GRE test scores. However, the university has waived the test score requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
UM Amherst is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. The School of Public Health and Health Sciences is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
East Carolina University
Located in Greenville, North Carolina, ECU facilitates a master of public health program that focuses on practice-based education and offers research opportunities to its students. ECU offers this program both on campus and online.
The curriculum comprises 45 credits, which degree-seekers can complete in two years. Part-time students may take four years to graduate. In addition to taking required courses in rural health, biostatistics, epidemiology, and research methods, learners must also complete an applied field placement and write a professional paper.
The degree offers three concentrations:
- Health Policy, Leadership, and Administration
- Community Health and Health Behavior
Students may join the campus public health students organization, which gets involved in the Greenville community and sends students to academic and public health conferences.
To apply, interested individuals must submit their transcripts, three recommendation letters, GRE test scores, and a letter of intent.
ECU holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MPH program is also accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
Central Michigan University
At CMU's global campus, students can enroll in a 48-credit MPH online. This program emphasizes working with rural health and underserved communities.
Students must take required courses in environmental health sciences, public health leadership, and rural health. For degree-seekers who choose the public health practice concentration, courses include substance abuse services, maternal and child health, and public health and aging.
Students may choose between two culminating experiences. The integrative learning experience allows them to practice their public health skills in their communities. In contrast, a thesis involves research that students must defend to a faculty committee.
Applicants should possess a minimum undergraduate GPA of about 3.0. They must also submit a personal statement, two recommendation letters, and GRE or GMAT scores.
CMU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The MPH program holds accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
University of Nevada, Reno
The curriculum for the MPH degree at the University of Nevada, Reno covers the implications of public health within the context of environmental, economic, and sociological factors. Students pursue the degree entirely online, and full-time students may complete the 45-credit program within two years.
Degree-seekers can choose a specialization in public health practice, which includes a range of elective classes like GIS and spatial analysis in public health, epidemiological surveillance, and public health finance. The MPH culminating experience consists of two parts: a capstone and a field studies experience.
Interested individuals may apply with an accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. The school also considers applicants with a 2.75 GPA and above if they submit standardized test scores. Candidates should submit two recommendation letters and a statement of purpose.
The university holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona offers a master of public health on its many campuses and online. The interdisciplinary degree teaches a broad curriculum in the core areas of public health, but students may also pursue three concentrations:
- Applied Epidemiology
- Health Behavior Health Promotion
- Health Services Administration
Distance learners spend about half of their degree taking required courses and the other half taking concentration courses. Students may also complete an internship to obtain hands-on experience in the field. Graduates of this program have worked at local government health departments, nonprofit organizations, healthcare systems, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In order to apply, interested individuals must submit their undergraduate transcripts and GRE or MCAT scores.
The university holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
University of Illinois at Springfield
At UIS, students can enroll in three different online public health master's programs.
Distance learners can pursue the general program, which requires 48 credits and covers a broad overview of the field. The MPH with an environmental health concentration allows students to take classes like environmental toxicology, environmental policies, and air and water quality.
Finally, distance learners may pursue a joint degree in MPH and master of public administration. This 70-credit program lasts a big longer, but students graduate with two degrees.
No matter which option they choose, degree-seekers must pass a written comprehensive exam before they graduate. They must also participate in an internship, and MPH/MPA students need to complete a capstone seminar as well.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, GRE scores, three recommendation letters, and an academic essay. UIS is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.Visit School Site
Ferris State University
At Grand Rapids-based Ferris State, the online master of public health degree aims to help graduates find leadership roles within the public health field. The program allows students to graduate within five years.
Courses cover biostatistics, health promotion, environmental health sciences, and cultural diversity in public health practice. Courses like health services administration and management in public health can equip students with leadership skills as well. Degree-seekers complete the program with a two-stage capstone experience that allows them to practice their newly learned skills in the workforce.
Undergraduate learners interested in this field can enroll in an accelerated program, allowing them to earn a bachelor's and master's degree in five years or even faster.
Prospective students may apply with a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Their transcripts must show that they passed math and science courses with a minimum "C" grade. Applicants should also submit GRE scores, a personal statement, and three professional references.
Ferris holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.Visit School Site
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Students at MCPHS can enroll in the college's MPH program either on campus or online. Individuals who choose the web-based option must still travel to the college's Boston campus for an in-person orientation.
Distance learners can study on a full- or part-time basis, and it takes at least two years to complete this degree. The online program involves both synchronous and asynchronous course components, which means that students must log on to class at certain times. The full curriculum comprises 42 credits, including elective courses like public health genetics and community organization. Before students graduate, they complete a culminating experience.
Applicants must submit a 500-word goals statement and an undergraduate transcript with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
MCPHS is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. The MPH program holds accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.Visit School Site
Based in Livonia, Michigan, Madonna University operates as a relatively small school with just over 3,000 students. The university offers a master of public health that students can pursue with an immersive online curriculum.
The degree requires 45 credits of coursework. The curriculum begins with foundational classes and culminates with a capstone exploring theoretical concepts and controversial issues in public health. Learners can choose between two specialty tracks:
- Population Healthcare Management
- Healthcare Informatics and Quality Transformation
The healthcare management track includes an internship that allows students to practice helping vulnerable patients in complicated healthcare systems. In the healthcare informatics track, students can gain experience by working with an interprofessional informatics team.
Applicants should possess at least one year of professional experience. They must also submit an undergraduate transcript with a minimum 3.0 GPA, two professional recommendation letters, and a personal statement.
Madonna holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.Visit School Site
Applying to an Online MPH Program
Each school selects their own admission requirements for public health master's programs. Generally speaking, prospective students should hold a bachelor's degree. They must typically apply by submitting their undergraduate transcripts and letters of recommendation.
Schools do not always require applicants to hold their degree in public health or a related field, but they usually set minimum GPA requirements ranging from 2.5-3.2. Many, but not all, schools require applicants to send in GRE or GMAT scores. Some programs require 1-2 years of work experience within the public health or healthcare field.
Schools may also impose requirements based on an applicant's chosen specialization. Biostatistics students, for example, may need to show a passing grade in calculus on their undergraduate transcript to demonstrate their readiness for the graduate-level coursework.
Frequently Asked Questions
What public health specializations are available for master's degrees?
MPH students can often choose a concentration to specialize their expertise in a certain area. Common specializations include epidemiology, biostatistics, health services administration, disaster management and emergency preparedness, environmental health science, health policy, global health, and community health education.
What is accreditation, and why is it important?
Through the accreditation system, colleges and academic programs receive evaluations intended to ensure the quality of their degrees. Accredited programs demonstrate that students have received a valuable education, giving students and their employers confidence in their degrees. Public health students should look for programs accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
Is a master's in public health a good degree?
A well-respected degree within the field of public health, an MPH gives access to interesting, well-paid career options. For those considering a career in the public health field, whether through research, education, or advocacy, an MPH is a great choice.
What can I do with a MPH degree?
MPH graduates go into many different fields. Public health professionals might become epidemiologists and researchers, studying how diseases and other ailments spread through societies. Others might devote their careers to public health education, or they could become faculty members at colleges. MPH holders might prefer to shape policies and laws relating to public health, becoming policy advisors or congressional staffers.