PublicHealth.org's rankings are developed using a unique, student-focused methodology to ensure learners fully understand each option before enrolling in a program. We aim to assess each school's overall merit objectively, weighing factors in student success and affordability. After choosing which factors to emphasize, we pull data and information from national databases and put them into a formula created by our team.

The following sections describe our formula in greater depth, so prospective students can gain a holistic view of colleges and universities before selecting a public health program or school. While the data we compile might not pertain to each and every student, we try to emphasize information that we feel our readers will find relevant during their program search.

Using our unique process, we configure available data and weigh metrics that help students effectively assess schools. Our rankings remain focused on this data and are free from editorial influence. While these lists do not necessarily include every available public health program, we hope students can use our rankings to find a school that meets their individual needs and goals. We also recognize that what makes one school best for one student might not be best for another, so we explore multiple variables to help as many learners as possible.

More About Our Data

We use only the most relevant and appropriate data at PublicHealth.org, ensuring that we evaluate the schools in our rankings according to reputable sources. We regularly refer to the most current datasets available from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

NCES is the nation's primary source for information about colleges, universities, and technical or vocational schools. NCES conducts surveys and promotes research initiatives to better understand the current state of education and educational facilities in the United States.

Our quality assurance team thoroughly assesses all schools in the datasets, ensuring that any schools missing a significant amount of data are excluded from our rankings. This process keeps our calculations as accurate as possible.

All of the data we use is publicly available, and we obtained all of our information in December 2019 to create the most relevant, useful rankings possible.

How We Calculate Our Rankings


A Look Into Our Ranking Factors

There isn't a single or any "correct" way to measure a school's quality or affordability. However, our team reviews specific factors and subfactors that we feel are most relevant and important to students, weighing them accordingly to derive an effective, holistic ranking methodology. This process emphasizes program appeal, student success, and affordability. Our team also explores subfactors like enrollment rate, graduation rate, and average net price. These variables provide degree-seekers with a bigger picture of a college or university.

Subfactors for Program Appeal

  • Enrollment Rate

    This factor looks at the number of undergraduate and graduate learners. Schools with high enrollment rates often indicate student satisfaction and viable program options, which may encourage students to attend the college or university.

  • Full-Time Retention Rate

    Full-time retention rates refer to the number of full-time students attending a particular school who remain enrolled in their program and maintain full-time enrollment status. Retention rates allow students to measure both student satisfaction and the amount of resources available to help candidates succeed in their program.

  • Part-Time Retention Rate

    Part-time retention rates measure the number of students who enroll part time in their program and stay enrolled on a part-time basis throughout the duration of their degree. High retention rates demonstrate solid program opportunities that provide learners with the resources they need to succeed at their chosen institution.

Subfactors for Student Success

Graduation Rate

Our methodology focuses on the number of students at a particular college or university who graduate from their program. Schools that feature higher graduation rates typically offer more tools and resources to encourage student success, making it easier for candidates to complete their degree.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Student-to-faculty ratios represent how many learners are instructed by each individual faculty member. Institutions with smaller class sizes typically cultivate a more individualized learning experience, providing students with more one-on-one attention, which can enhance their overall college experience and facilitate collaboration.

Subfactors for Affordability

  • Average Net Price

    Average net price refers to the total program cost for public health programs, excluding financial aid. Our methodology looks at tuition costs alongside fees and other expenses, such as books and supplies. By reviewing net prices, we are able to pinpoint the schools with the most affordable tuition structures.

  • Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid

    This variable describes the percentage of students at an institution who receive financial aid. This information can indicate the size and scope of a college or university's financial aid opportunities, allowing students to determine if they can afford to enroll at a particular school.

  • Loan Default Rate

    Loan default rates refer to the number of graduates who are unable to make payments on their student loans. If a college or university features a low loan default rate, students can infer that earning a degree from that institution may lead them to a career that allows them to afford their student loan payments after graduation.

Subfactors for Affordability

Percentage of Students Enrolled Online

Evaluating the percentage of students enrolled online provides candidates with a better understanding of a school's online learning opportunities. Institutions that offer a large number of online programs typically also provide productive support methods that allow distance learners to succeed academically.