Master’s in public health online programs are perennially popular degrees for individuals interested in improving the health of local communities. Unlike individual care doctors, public health practitioners typically create systems, programs, studies, and policies that better the health of large groups. Some students may be more interested in careers focused on public health research, while others aspire to manage and oversee large public health programs. Regardless of your interest, there’s a public health career that fits your needs. Common roles for graduates of an online master’s degree in public health include epidemiologists, researchers, public health educators, healthcare administrators, and policy advisors. An online MPH degree is also a suitable path for individuals aspiring to doctoral level studies. Students interested in learning more about Ph.D programs in public health can review this guide.

Top Online Master's in Public Health Programs

According to The Public Health Workforce, a report compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, online learning is becoming an important tool for graduate level public health departments and continuing education providers.

The ranking below highlights the top programs in the nation, all of which are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. While this ranking provides introductory guidance, students should conduct additional research on prospective schools before making a final choice.

  1. Johns Hopkins University

    State: MD Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $59,160
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    Contact Email

    School at [email protected]

    Department

    Bloomberg School of Public Health

    Financial Aid Office

    https://apply.jhu.edu/finaid/

    Program Highlights

    • Johns Hopkins offers an online MPH program that most part-time students complete in two to three years. The curriculum requires 80 quarter credits, and emphasizes topics such as epidemiology, public health practice, environmental health, and biostatistics.

    • Students earning the online MPH degree progress through the program in cohorts of 50 to 60 students. The university delivers online coursework asynchronously; distance learners view recorded lectures and complete coursework at their convenience.

    • Students can complete most coursework, including a capstone project, online. However, the university requires distance learners to complete at least 16 quarter credits in person in Baltimore, the District of Columbia, and/or Barcelona. Online students have opportunities to conduct research in more than 130 countries.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • General

    Average Program Length

    11 months
    • #1 Best Graduate Programs in Public Health
    • #2 Best Global Universities for Social Sciences and Public Health
    • #11 Best Graduate Programs in Health Care Management
    • #2 Best Graduate Programs in Health Policy and Management
  2. University of Florida

    State: FL Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $14,761
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    Contact Email

    at

    Department

    College of Public Health & Health Professions

    Financial Aid Office

    http://mph.ufl.edu/prospective-students/costs-and-financial-aid/

    Program Highlights

    • Students earning UF's master’s in public health online concentrate in either public health practice or social and behavioral sciences. Learners complete the fully online program asynchronously, adhering to weekly due dates.

    • Most students complete the 48-credit program within two years. The curriculum includes 15 to 21 concentration credits and up to 6 elective credits. Students undertake a public health internship, during which they gain practical skills. While the program does not require a thesis, students must complete a special project resulting in a major paper and presentation.

    • Distance learners complete tests through an online proctoring service. Students have access to online seminars and forums that provide professional development and networking opportunities.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • Public Health Practice
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences

    Average Program Length

    1-2 Years
  3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    State: NC Accreditation: ACEND, CAHME, CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $25,904
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    Contact Email

    Michele Fulton, Student Services Manager at [email protected]

    Department

    Gillings School of Global Public Health

    Financial Aid Office

    http://studentaid.unc.edu/

    Program Highlights

    • In 2018, UNC-Chapel Hill began offering an online MPH program with a public health leadership concentration. The flexible curriculum is designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. The program features multimedia coursework to develop both practical skills and a comprehensive understanding of the field.

    • Applicants must have at least two years of relevant work experience, and the university expects students to apply previous professional knowledge as they complete program requirements. Most coursework is available asynchronously, but some courses include synchronous elements, such as live lectures. Most students complete the 42 required credit hours in one and a half years.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • Leadership
    • Occupational Health Nursing

    Average Program Length

    2 years including summers (7 semesters)
    • #2 Best Graduate Programs in Public Health
    • #3 Best Graduate Programs in Health Care Management
    • #9 Best Global Universities for Social Sciences and Public Health
    • #14 Best Graduate Programs in Health Policy and Management
  4. George Washington University

    State: DC Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $33,750
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    Contact Email

    Dr. W. Douglas Evans at [email protected]

    Department

    Milken Institute School of Public Health

    Financial Aid Office

    http://financialaid.gwu.edu/

    Program Highlights

    • George Washington University offers an online master's of public health with six available focus areas: environmental and occupational health, epidemiology, global health, health communication, health policy, and program planning and evaluation. Students can concentrate their elective studies in one of the focus areas or select courses from across focus areas for a holistic education.

    • The curriculum includes coursework in biostatistical applications for public health, environmental and occupational health, and management and policy approaches to public health. Students complete a practicum at an approved local site and a two-course culminating experience during which students demonstrate mastery of concepts. The online MPH degree is also available in an accelerated format, which students can complete in one year.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • General Studies

    Average Program Length

    1-2 years
    • #16 Best Graduate Programs in Public Health
    • #10 Best Graduate Programs in Health Policy and Management
  5. Florida International University

    State: FL Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $12,966
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    Contact Email

    Zoraya Arguello, Public Health Coordinator at [email protected]

    Department

    Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work

    Financial Aid Office

    http://fiuonline.fiu.edu/tuition-and-aid/financial-aid/index.php

    Program Highlights

    • FIU's online master's of public health is the only MPH program available in South Florida or through the state university system. The program requires 45 credits, which most students complete in 18 months, and the curriculum addresses the changing needs of the public health sector.

    • In addition to public health core coursework in areas such as epidemiology and public health statistics, distance learners explore topics such as AIDS epidemiology, health promotion in culturally diverse communities, and biostatistics. Students complete a practicum and a culminating experience. All faculty members are leaders in the field and are available to meet with students online and in person.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • Generalist

    Average Program Length

    18 months
  6. University of Southern California

    State: CA Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $32,932
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    Contact Email

    at [email protected]

    Department

    Keck School of Medicine of USC

    Financial Aid Office

    https://mph.usc.edu/financial_aid.php

    Program Highlights

    • USC offers a fully online MPH degree that requires no campus visits. The program offers five concentrations: health education and promotion, biostatistics and epidemiology, geohealth, global health leadership, and health services and policy.

    • Distance learners complete a practicum at an approved site, such as a local clinic or an overseas health facility. USC offers three start dates per year. Online students have access to tech support at all hours, live tutoring sessions, and mentorship opportunities.

    • Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA and must submit GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • Biostatistics and Epidemiology
    • Health Education and Promotion
    • Global Health Leadership
    • Geohealth
    • Health Services and Policy

    Average Program Length

    2 years
  7. University of West Florida

    State: FL Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $11,175
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    Contact Email

    Justice Mbizo, DrPH, Chair and Associate Professor at [email protected]

    Department

    MD College of Public Health

    Financial Aid Office

    https://uwf.edu/offices/financial-aid/

    Program Highlights

    • UWF offers an interdisciplinary online MPH program that requires 42 credit hours. The curriculum includes coursework in biostatistics for public health, public health policy, and environmental health. Students also take classes exploring applied data analysis, GIS applications, and disease surveillance and monitoring. Students can pursue an optional concentration in health promotion, education, and behavior.

    • Students in the fully online program learn from the same professors who lead on-campus courses. Distance learners work with an advisor to identify a site at which to complete a two-semester internship that accounts for six credit hours. After completing coursework, students take a proctored, comprehensive exam.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • Generalist
    • Health Promotion
    • Education & Behavior

    Average Program Length

    2 Years
  8. University of California, Berkeley

    State: CA Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $17,885
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    Contact Email

    School at [email protected]

    Department

    School of Public Health

    Financial Aid Office

    http://financialaid.berkeley.edu/

    Program Highlights

    • Distance learners can complete UC Berkeley's online master's of public health in 27 months. The MPH online program comprises 14 courses. Students can choose to specialize in health policy and management or global health. UC Berkeley's expert faculty have both professional experience and academic knowledge to prepare students for academic and career success.

    • The fully online program requires no campus visits, but learners can elect to take some classes in person at Berkeley at no additional cost. Students take two classes per semester, a schedule that allows learners to work while earning the degree. Maryland residents are not eligible for UC Berkeley's online programs.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • General

    Average Program Length

    3 years
    • #3 Best Graduate Programs in Health Policy and Management
    • #8 Best Graduate Programs in Public Health
    • #12 Best Global Universities for Social Sciences and Public Health
  9. University of Minnesota

    State: MN Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $23,680
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    Contact Email

    School at [email protected]

    Department

    School of Public Health

    Financial Aid Office

    http://www.onestop.umn.edu/finances/financial_aid/basics/index.html

    Program Highlights

    • Based in the Twin Cities, the U of M offers an online MPH degree with a concentration in maternal and child health. The program is designed for both learners entering the field and for current professionals who want to advance their career.

    • The 48-credit standard track is ideal for students with little professional experience in public health. The 42-credit advanced standing track is designed for students with either an advanced degree or at least three years of experience in the field.

    • Faculty members have extensive experience in areas of epidemiology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and genetics. The program offers three start dates per year and JD and MSW dual-degree options. Graduates often pursue positions as health educators, senior clinical data analysts, public health nurses, and international managers for healthcare initiatives.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • Executive
    • Maternal & Child Health

    Average Program Length

    2 years
    • #2 Best Graduate Programs in Health Policy and Management
    • #12 Best Graduate Programs in Health Policy and Management
    • #8 Best Graduate Programs in Public Health
    • #20 Best Global Universities for Social Sciences and Public Health
  10. Dartmouth College

    State: NH Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $21,177
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    Contact Email

    Contact at [email protected]

    Department

    The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice

    Financial Aid Office

    http://tdi.dartmouth.edu/education/admissions/scholarships-grants-loans

    Program Highlights

    • Dartmouth accepts 30 students per year into its online MPH program. Dartmouth offers a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, and the program's faculty members are internationally recognized public health professionals.

    • The program is designed for working professionals, and students spend approximately 15 hours per week completing assignments. Most students graduate in 22 months. The program culminates in an independent practicum project.

    • Approximately 75% of Dartmouth's student body have at least three years of work experience in the public health field, and the average age of students in the program is 33. Applicants must have at least two years of work experience.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    Average Program Length

    22 months
  11. University of South Florida

    State: FL Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $11,025
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    Contact Email

    at [email protected]

    Department

    College of Public Health

    Financial Aid Office

    http://usfweb2.usf.edu/finaid/

    Program Highlights

    • USF's online MPH degree offers seven concentrations: epidemiology; global disaster management, humanitarian relief, and homeland security; health, safety, and environment; infection control; nutrition and dietetics; public health practice; and social marketing.

    • The university's office of educational technology and assessment ensures that online learning technologies remain up to date. USF enrolls more than 5,000 students in its online public health courses and provides access to web conferences, streaming lessons, blogs, and podcasts. Many graduates pursue a doctor of public health at USF.

    • Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and must submit transcripts, GRE scores, at least two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • Public Health Practice
    • Public Health Administration
    • Global Disaster Management and Humanitarian Relief
    • Epidemiology
    • Infection Control
    • Health, Safety & Environment

    Average Program Length

    2 years (42 semester hours)
    • #21 Best Graduate Programs in Public Health
  12. New Mexico State University

    State: NM Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $10,213
    Visit School Site

    Contact Email

    Dr. Sue Forster-Cox at [email protected]

    Department

    Department of Public Health Sciences

    Financial Aid Office

    http://fa.nmsu.edu

    Program Highlights

    • NMSU's online MPH degree is designed for working professionals. The fully online, asynchronous program requires no visits to the university's Albuquerque campus. MPH students concentrate in either community health education or health management, administration, and policy.

    • The curriculum comprises 42 hours, including 15 core hours, 18 concentration hours, three hours in cultural foundations courses, and a three-hour field experience. Students take courses in biostatistical applications in public health, epidemiological approaches to disease control and prevention, and public health finance and budget management. The program does not require a thesis.

    • Many classes in the program are certified by the Teaching Academy. Out-of-state students complete their first six hours per semester at in-state tuition rates.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • Community Health Education
    • Health Management
    • Administration and Policy

    Average Program Length

    1-2 years
  13. University of South Carolina

    State: SC Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $11,158
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    Contact Email

    Mitchell Taylor, Administrative Assistant at [email protected]

    Department

    Health Services Policy and Management

    Financial Aid Office

    http://sc.edu/financialaid/

    Program Highlights

    • The University of South Carolina offers an online master's of public health in in health promotion, education, and behavior. The online MPH degree is designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals; students complete the fully online coursework asynchronously.

    • The program requires 45 credits, and most students graduate within 26 months. The curriculum includes courses such as concepts of environmental health science; theoretical foundations of health promotion; and examining the health inequalities of race, ethnicity, and health. Students complete a practicum seminar and a one-semester field placement.

    • South Carolina residents pay a discounted tuition rate. Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and must have at least two years of health-related professional experience.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • Health Services Policy
    • Management

    Average Program Length

    2 years
    • #23 Best Graduate Programs in Public Health
    • #46 Best Graduate Programs in Health Care Management
  14. University of Southern Mississippi

    State: MS Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $11,916
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    Contact Email

    at

    Department

    Department of Public Health

    Financial Aid Office

    https://www.usm.edu/financial-aid

    Program Highlights

    • Southern Miss offers an affordable, fully online master's of public health with an emphasis in health policy and administration. Graduates of the MPH online program often pursue positions in hospitals, public health agencies, nursing homes, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical corporations.

    • The curriculum comprises 39 hours, including 21 hours in the area of emphasis and a six-hour internship. Students take courses such as environmental health, health law and justice, and health economics. The program does not require a thesis, but students must pass a comprehensive examination prior to graduation.

    • Most learners take four to five classes per term and graduate in about 15 months. All online students pay in-state tuition rates.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • General

    Average Program Length

    1-2 Years
  15. Texas A & M University - College Station

    State: TX Accreditation: SACS Est. Annual Tuition: $15,455
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    Contact Email

    Samantha Payton, Administrative Coordinator at [email protected]

    Department

    Texas A&M School of Public Health

    Financial Aid Office

    http://financialaid.tamu.edu/

    Program Highlights

    • Based in College Station, Texas A&M University offers an online MPH in epidemiology for students planning to pursue careers in disease prevention and researching causes of epidemics.

    • The MPH online program is available completely online and requires no campus visits. Full-time students who enroll in two summer semesters typically complete the program in two years. Because many required courses are offered only once per year, an advisor helps each student plan their course of study.

    • The program requires 45 credit hours and utilizes both synchronous and asynchronous teaching methods. Applicants must be U.S. residents and must have earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • General
    • Epidemiology

    Average Program Length

    2 years
  16. University of Missouri - Columbia

    State: MO Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $16,317
    Visit School Site

    Contact Email

    at [email protected]

    Department

    School of Health Professions

    Financial Aid Office

    https://financialaid.missouri.edu/

    Program Highlights

    • Mizzou's online MPH program requires 45 credit hours and includes no on-campus requirements. Most students take two courses per term and complete the program in two years. Graduates often secure positions as research analysts, prevention coordinators, epidemiologists, HIV case managers, and statewide community organizers.

    • The curriculum covers topics including community-based public health interventions, perspectives in global health, and health program design and management. Learners undertake a practical experience and complete internships at sites such as the Office of Medicaid and Medicare, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Detroit Health Department. MPH students can complete dual degrees and have opportunities to earn certificates in areas of global public health and general public health.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • Health Promotion and Policy
    • Veterinary Public Health

    Average Program Length

    1-2 Years
  17. George Mason University

    State: VA Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $18,032
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    Contact Email

    at

    Department

    College of Health and Human Services

    Financial Aid Office

    https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid/financial-aid

    Program Highlights

    • Mason's interdisciplinary MPH online program combines five core areas of study to provide a holistic public health education. The curriculum explores epidemiology, biostatistics, health administration, social and behavioral sciences, and environmental health.

    • The online MPH with a public health practice concentration is designed for public health practitioners currently working in the field; applicants should have at least two years of professional experience. Most students complete the 42 required credit hours on a part-time basis in two to three years.

    • The curriculum includes general core classes and specialization coursework. Students also complete a practicum involving 200 supervised hours in a public health setting. Graduates often work in organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • Public Health Practice
    • General

    Average Program Length

    1-2 Years
  18. San Diego State University

    State: CA Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $14,344
    Visit School Site

    Contact Email

    Dr. Emily Schmied, Program Director at [email protected]

    Department

    The Graduate School of Public Health

    Financial Aid Office

    https://publichealth.sdsu.edu/student-resources/financial-aid/

    Program Highlights

    • SDSU's fully online master's of public health in health promotion and behavioral science requires 51 units, which most students complete in 20 months.

    • The program is designed for distance learners who are current professionals in the field and who have at least two years of health-related work experience; the plan of study allows learners to continue working while earning the degree. Required classes include motivating health behavior, health promotion communication, and health promotion program planning and assessment. The program culminates in a research project.

    • Students complete two courses per eight-week session, with a one-week break between each session. SDSU enrolls new students for the fall semester.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • Health Promotion
    • Behavioral Science

    Average Program Length

    20 months
  19. University of North Dakota

    State: ND Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $14,693
    Visit School Site

    Contact Email

    Zauna Synnott at [email protected]

    Department

    School of Medicine & Health Sciences

    Financial Aid Office

    http://med.und.edu/master-of-public-health/financial-aid.cfm

    Program Highlights

    • Unlike other master’s of public health online degree programs, UND's online MPH program delivers lectures through live broadcasts, allowing distance learners to participate in real time.

    • The program requires 42 credits, which most full-time students complete in two years. UND emphasizes collaboration; MPH students work with peers and faculty to complete research projects. Students complete a 240-hour practicum. Learners can pursue an optional certificate in population health analytics or general public health.

    • The university offers an exchange program with the University of Bergen in Norway, which is ideal for students with global public health aspirations. The Indians Into Medicine program assists American Indian students who intend to focus their health careers on meeting the needs of tribal communities.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • General

    Average Program Length

    1-2 Years
  20. North Dakota State University

    State: ND Accreditation: CEPH Est. Annual Tuition: $14,581
    Visit School Site

    Contact Email

    Stefanie Meyer at [email protected]

    Department

    Department of Public Health

    Financial Aid Office

    https://www.ndsu.edu/onestop/finaid/

    Program Highlights

    • North Dakota State University is the only institution in the nation to offer an online master’s degree in public health with a specialization in American Indian public health. The specialization prepares students to address the health disparities of the American Indian population.

    • The online MPH program also offers specializations in health promotion, management of infectious diseases, and public health in clinical systems. The program comprises 42 credits, and each specialization requires 18 credits. Students complete an analytical master’s paper and undertake a 240-hour practicum in a clinical setting.

    • NDSU offers the degree in a blended format; students must take some on-campus classes. The university accepts transfer credit on an individual basis.

    Fully-Online Public Health Concentrations

    • American Indian Public Health
    • Community Health Sciences
    • Management of Infectious Diseases

    Average Program Length

    1-2 Years

Related Resources

The MPH Application Process


Online master’s of public health programs require rigorous, in-depth study. As a result, applicants should be dedicated and focused learners. While all online MPH programs have different requirements, the following section gives degree seekers insight on what might be expected. Many, but not all, programs require students to have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to public health. Numerous schools mandate that learners must have at least a few years of experience in the field before being considered for admission. Even if you didn’t study a health-related topic at the baccalaureate level, there are things you can do to be competitive. For starters, not all health jobs require a health degree, so consider finding work at a community clinic or physician’s office. Another step is to ensure that you’ve taken any prerequisite requirements – and kept your GPA high – before applying. Some other application requirements include:

  1. Transcripts: Admissions departments review transcripts to confirm that applicants have an acceptable GPA. Schools also evaluate the type of coursework taken at the undergraduate level. Students should provide these for all schools attended.
  2. Resume/Work Experience: Because many programs are tailored to early-career and mid-level public health practitioners, the resume helps the admissions panel get a sense of whether or not applicants have enough relevant work experience to succeed in the program.
  3. Test Scores (GRE and TOEFL): The GRE is a standardized test similar to the ACT/SAT but for graduate school. The exam helps schools decide if the student is prepared for the rigorous study of a graduate program. Most schools require TOEFL scores for international students whose first language is not English.
  4. Statement of Purpose/Essay: Statements of purpose call on applicants to clearly and succinctly explain why they want to study public health. Students also describe their strengths and why they want to study at a specific school. In some cases, students can explain any shortcomings in their application materials such as a low GPA in a particular semester or lack of work experience.
  5. Letters of Recommendation: Admissions panels use letters of recommendation to get a broader sense of who an applicant is. Students should request letters of recommendation from people who know them well in academic, professional, or personal settings. These letters include details about achievements, character traits, aspirations, and work ethic.

Public Health Specializations


In addition to the general core curriculum required in all online MPH programs, many schools offer additional areas of specialization. By choosing a particular concentration, students can focus their studies and influence their future career path. There are many concentrations available, but not every school offers every concentration. If you’re interested in a particular field, research schools that offer a related program.

  • Global Health: This area of study is particularly suitable for learners who want to become experts on health inequalities throughout the world. Learners may focus on specific diseases or specific populations. Students in this track study infectious diseases, epidemics, and causal influences on diseases throughout the world.
  • Epidemiology: An epidemiology concentration helps students identify connections in diseases, gather epidemiologic data, and learn ways of effectively researching these diseases before sharing their findings. Students also learn how to evaluate existing data on disease distribution and control.
  • Environmental health: Individuals who decide to follow an environmental health track are often interested in understanding how our surroundings affect our general health. This concentration emphasizes environmental risk factors that contribute to common illnesses such as asthma, allergies, or food poisoning.
  • Community health sciences: Community health sciences is a branch of public health that uses principles from the social and behavioral sciences to create health programs that benefit local, national, and international communities. These concentrations tend to go less into medical science and more into the macro-level work involved in creating effective public health initiatives.
  • Health policy and management: The health policy and management track is an appropriate option for students who want to direct public health programs. In addition to managing departments or agencies, these professionals also work in legislative capacities to advocate for better public health policies.
  • Infectious diseases and vaccinology: At first glance, the infectious diseases and vaccinology track may look similar to the epidemiology track. Learners in this field study disease distribution and control from a scientific standpoint. However, they also work to understand how vaccines can be used to mitigate the effects of certain diseases on local, national, and international levels.

Earning an Online Degree in Public Health


While earning a master of public health through traditional, campus-based learning is the right decision for many students, there are thousands of others who benefit from online learning. For starters, distance learning is consistently praised for its flexibility. While on-campus classes require students to attend classes at specific times – often multiple times per week – many online MPH programs are taught asynchronously. Asynchronous learning means that lectures pre-recorded, making it possible for students to listen to them whenever their schedule permits. Online students must still meet deadlines for assignments and exams and interact with their peers. However, scheduling flexibility makes it far easier for students to balance their personal and professional lives while pursuing an education.

Online degrees also allow students to access schools that they may not otherwise be able to attend. Students may dream of attending Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for its top MPH program, but might be unable to move to Maryland for a degree. By completing the program online, however, students don’t have to sacrifice academic excellence because they live across the country from their chosen school. Distance learning also makes it possible for students to complete degrees from any location with Wi-Fi. Even learners who travel for work or live abroad can find a suitable program to meet their needs.

Fast Track MPH Degrees


The majority of online MPH programs take approximately two years from matriculation to graduation, but a select few make it possible for students to accelerate their learning. While all schools are different and the time required to graduate will vary, there are a number of programs that can be completed in as few as 11 months. The majority of these programs offer shorter terms – often providing two terms per semester – so students can work through more material in a shorter time frame. Some of these accelerated programs can even be completed by professionals while they continue working.

There are significant differences between fast track and dual degree programs. While fast track programs make it possible for students to complete an MPH more quickly, dual degree programs allow students to work on two master’s programs simultaneously. Popular degrees that are frequently paired with a master’s in public health include master’s in social work (MSW) and juris doctor (JD) programs. To learn more about dual degree programs, interested students should read Public Health’s extensive guide.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Public Health Programs


The Council of Education on Public Health is the body responsible for accrediting public health programs in the U.S. The council conducts a rigorous investigation of every school and program before bestowing its prestigious approval. Schools often have to provide a large amount of data about the program, list details about coursework, and share graduation and employment rates. CEPH representatives also visit the school to observe the program before deciding whether or not to accredit it.

While accreditation may seem like a vague concept for students who aren’t familiar with the process, it’s vitally important for MPH programs. In addition to ensuring that learners receive an education that prepares them for the real world, accreditation helps students find gainful employment and pursue further education. Graduates of unaccredited schools may suffer when trying to find financial aid or jobs. According to the CEPH, issues these students may encounter include:

  • Some fellowships only provide funding to students enrolled at a CEPH-accredited school
  • Some employers only hire learners who graduated from a CEPH-accredited school
  • The National Board of Public Health Examiners, which oversees the national accrediting examination for graduates of public health programs, only allows graduates of CEPH-accredited programs to sit for the exam.

Students may sometimes come across a school that says it’s in the process of receiving accreditation. While this may sound promising, learners need to remember that a) it typically takes three years to become accredited and most programs are only two years, and b) just because the school has applied doesn’t mean it will be approved. Degree seekers who are uncertain whether a program is accredited or not can review CEPH’s list of accredited schools.

Education goes beyond the classroom with these public health blogs, open access journals, and open courseware. Learn more about this growing healthcare sector before applying to an MPH degree program, and supplement your studies once enrolled.