PublicHealth.org develops its rankings using a unique, student-focused methodology to ensure learners fully understand each option before enrolling in a program. We assess each school’s overall merit objectively, weighing factors like student success and affordability. After choosing which factors to emphasize, we pull information from national databases and use it in a formula created by our team.
While the data we compile might not pertain to every student, we try to emphasize information our readers 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 benefit 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 2020 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 school quality, cost, reputation, and program offerings. 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 Quality
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.
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 ratios represent the number of learners per faculty member. Institutions with smaller class sizes typically cultivate an individualized learning experience, providing students with more one-on-one attention, which can enhance their overall college experience and facilitate collaboration.
Subfactors for Cost
Subfactors for Reputation
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.
Admission rates provide insight into a college’s selectivity. Schools with low admission rates tend to be more selective, and by association, more prestigious. Schools that admit every applicant typically do not enjoy the same reputation. Admission rates can give students a general idea of an institution’s prestige.
Average Earnings of Students Working
This factor refers to the average income that students earn annually by the sixth year after their initial enrollment. Generally speaking, high-earning students and graduates indicates that they obtained a valuable education from a quality school. Schools whose graduates enjoy greater financial success rank more highly in terms of reputation.