Online Master’s in Public Health (MPH)

If you want the edge in a public health career, want to make more money and get ahead in this dynamic field, pursue an online master's degree (MPH). Online graduate programs are perfect for those who "have a life", require time flexibility and want to succeed in public health. Online programs are designed so you can continue to work, spend time with your family and friends and pursue a master's degree at the same time. And these programs are designed to teach you the necessary skill set and knowledge to land those sought after, high paying positions. Graduate students will focus and specialize in courses that will create leaders in the industry, capable of troubleshooting, advancing communities, eradicating diseases and in all cases, making a difference. Achieving an Online Master's in Public Health Programs is a win win for you, your community and our world.

Who Should Get an Online Master's Degree in Public Health?

Professionals who want to help others and make a difference in their local communities and who want to explore their learning and earning potential should pursue an Online Master's in Public Health. Some organizations who need MPH degrees are the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), National Institute for Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Public health careers combine so many different disciplines and is an excellent career choice for those who have an interest in science, anthropology, mathematics, statistics and even epidemiology. A Masters Degree will help you fine tune your skill set, yet broaden your knowledge while you specialize in a field you love.

How to Get A Master's Degree In Public Health Online

Getting your masters degree in Public health Online is as easy as selecting the right online institution and curriculum for you. MPH programs offer specializations in a broad spectrum of degrees so whether your undergraduate degree is in science or business, there is a specialization to meet your interest. Keep in mind that many MPH online programs require you to have a certain GPA and to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Getting to know the best online institutions for you are right at your fingertips. Asking yourself the question, "Do I want a complete online program or a program that offers both an online and on campus experience?"

Online MPH vs On Campus

Regardless of whether you decide to study completely online or a combination of online and on campus students will learn from experts in the public health and related fields. Those seeking a more flexible program will find online MPH degrees more attractive than traditional campus programs. As a matter of fact more and more accredited institutions are implementing their very own online programs to meet the demands of today's lifestyles.

Instructors combine industry knowledge with academic credentials and students will learn first hand from experienced attorneys, first responders, criminal justice professionals, public health experts, researchers and more. The curriculum will be flexible and offer students the opportunity to be a student, yet work the academics into their daily lives. Students will also find on the job internships and positions to put their knowledge to work in a real life situation so upon graduation they are ready to accept highly sought after high level positions.

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What Are the Education Costs for a MPH Degree?

Graduate degrees in this discipline are usually geared toward current healthcare workers seeking promotion to middle and senior-level management positions, as well as those interested in public health research. These programs cover professional knowledge and policy issues in greater depth, and focus on developing the skills required to conduct original research.

A master's degree in public health can cost from $11,000 per year at a public college ($916 per credit hour) to $25,000 per year ($2,083 per credit hour) at a private institution. Five-year combined bachelor's and master's programs are an excellent option for earning a bachelor's degree while paying only one year's worth of additional tuition.

What Coursework is Required for a MPH Degree?

Graduate-level programs in this field include coursework in:

  • biostatistics or bioinformatics;
  • epidemiology;
  • nutrition;
  • organizational leadership; and health policy.
  • the sociological, cultural, and psychological factors that influence health;

What Are the Best MPH Online Programs?

School Spotlight

John Hopkins University

John Hopkins University's Master of Public Health program has been rated the country's best since 1994 by U.S. News and World Report.

John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is considered to be one the best institutions for MPH degree programs. Obtaining this degree is very flexible and offers the exact standards as required by the on campus degree. There are more than 200 online courses that can be completed in up to three years. The John Hopkins online program requires students to attend some on-campus courses (16 credit hours required). The program allows students to customize their courses based on personal interest and career path. Applicants must have completed a minimum of two years of full time employment after earning their bachelor's degree or have a doctorate degree in a public health field. In addition one completed math course, one biology course and one science related course is required.

Core coursework includes biostatistics; epidemiology; the sociological, cultural, and behavioral aspects of health; management; environmental health; and the biological sciences.
Students can choose to specialize in:

  • Child and adolescent health
  • Epidemiologic and biostatistical methods
  • Nutrition
  • Global environmental sustainability and health
  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Health leadership and management
  • Health systems and policy
  • Infectious diseases
  • The social and behavioral sciences in public health
  • Women's and reproductive health

Participants also have the flexibility to customize their course of study. A practicum and a capstone project are required.

The average acceptance rate to the MPH program is 16 percent, the program takes an average of two to three years to complete and both full time and part time programs are available. Full time students taking 12 or more credits per term pay tuition fees totaling over $11,000 per term. Part time and online tuition fees are slightly over $950 per credit. Scholarships are available on a merit basis and students who complete the application process are automatically considered.

CBUonline MPH Online

CBU online program is designed to prepare candidates to advance both personally and professionally in their field of choice and to become innovative and ethical health care leaders. CBU's curriculum is based on core public health disciplines including bio-statistics, behavioral sciences, occupational health, and public health services just to name a few. These courses will prepare graduates not only for a leadership position but to prepare them for emergency service management, disaster preparedness, research methods and even grant writing. In addition, a Christian perspective will be added as it relates to each area.

Students who take 42 units will graduate in an average of 16 months. The total cost is approximately $35,000. Grants and scholarships are available.

George Washington University MPH Online

Candidates can earn their MPH in as little as one year at the George Washington University MPH Online program. There are also rigorous 18 month and additional programs available. The MPH program is offered through their Milken Institute School of Public Health at the University (MPH@GW). This curriculum offers students the opportunity to complete their courses on either a full time or part time basis. This is great for those needing options due to other commitments in their lives. Additionally, two, three, and four year programs are also available if the accelerated programs are not practical. Tuition is charged via a per credit hour basis and the current rate is $1,500 per credit. 45 credits are required to earn a Master of Public Health Degree through GW. Scholarships and financial aid is available.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University offers an online Graduate Certificate in Public Health. Students complete 20 credits of coursework in epidemiology, biostatistics, health promotion and behavior, environmental and occupational health, and health management and policy. Completion of the certificate program satisfies the state's educational requirements for local public health administrators. The credits can also be applied towards an on-campus Master of Public Health degree.

Kent State University

Kent State University's online Master of Public Health degree includes a specialization in Health Policy and Management. Students must complete a minimum of 46 credit hours, which includes 13 courses, a practicum, and one comprehensive exam. Participants choose a 24 or 27 month program.

Semesters are divided into two terms, and students take one course per term. The curriculum includes core courses on biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, social and behavior science, emerging issues in public health policy and management, and public health administration. The program offers additional courses in health care systems; policy, law, and ethics; financial management; program planning and evaluation; and health care reform. An optional global immersion seminar is also available.

Emory University

Emory University's Executive Master of Public Health program offers concentrations in applied epidemiology, applied public health informatics, and prevention science. All concentrations require 42 credits, including core courses in public health surveillance, environmental health, the U.S. health care system, and public health ethics. Students are required to attend two on-campus sessions per semester, which are held on weekends. They must also complete a practicum. Full-time students can complete the program in a little over two years.

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What Kind Of Jobs Can I do with A Master's In Public Health (MPH) Degree?

A career in public health is as varied as it is satisfying. MPH degrees are required for more specialized positions like the following:

  • Public Health Attorney: Public health attorneys collaborate with all levels of local, state and national legislature to set regulations, pass laws in public health and become advocates for patients. More specialized attorneys will try cases against businesses and organizations that violate public health laws. Salary range for these positions range between $61,490 and more than $208,000 and is based on experience level and reputation within an organization.* Keep in mind these are very competitive positions.
  • Management Policy Advisor: Management Policy Advisors are usually part of the executive team and analyze management activity for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, government agencies and corporations. They are responsible for knowing an organization from top to bottom, recognizing trends outside the organization and suggesting policy changes within the organization. Annual wages for these positions vary based on whether it is a nonprofit or for profit and the individual's experience level. Salaries can range between $50,990 and $156,840 per year.* Keep in mind demand in these positions is growing.
  • Health Care Administrator: Health care administrators manage healthcare facilities like assisted living organizations and coordinate healthcare services within a hospital for example. As a matter of fact nearly 40 percent of health care administrators work in a hospital. Other locations include nursing homes, outpatient clinics, doctor's offices and emergency care locations. The median salary for these positions is $104,280 but can vary by area and responsibility and experience. The high end wage level is over $195,630.* The demand for these positions is expected to grow as well.

These are only three examples of the many careers one with a MPH can explore. Others include Director of Family Health Services, Biostatistician, Legislative Policy Advisor, Infection Preventionist, Epidemiologist, Public Health Consultant and Public Health Planner.

MPH Career Outlook and Average Salary

Jobs with Masters in Public Health are on the rise and there is a growing demand for professionals who not only have experience in this specialized field, but with Masters in Public Health degrees. Just like many jobs, the salary and benefits packages will vary. For example, nonprofit organizations, however very worthwhile objectives, may not offer as high a salary as a for profit will. As mentioned above the salary range of MPH positions range between $50,000 and more than $200,000 per year. And the demand for these specialized positions is growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this area is rising at a higher rate than the national average for all employment types and that by 2030 the United States is expected to have approximately 139,600 new medical and health services management professionals.

* 2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for Lawyers, Medical and Health Services Managers, and Management Analysts reflect national data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed September 2021.

Other Public Health Careers

There are a variety of public health occupations to explore including medical science, public health education, public health statistics, health communication, gerontology, social work, public health specialist and research specialist. This list only touches the service of multiple career opportunities.

How a Masters in Public Health and Environmental Science Coexist

Environmental Scientists with a Master's in Public Health have exactly what it takes to study, protect and inform the public about both the environment and human health. Human health is determined by our environment so there are a variety of links between these two studies. Those who find these fields interesting should combine their course of study because future trends and career demands are growing each year. There are even certificates one can earn, like a Certificate in Clinical Toxicology that keep professionals, many with a MPH, up to date on current scientific data and findings.

Environmental Scientists are specialists in collecting data, developing plans and informing the public and government of the results. There is a growing demand for those with an MPH in Environmental Science degrees, especially as preventable diseases increase, the population gets older and more and more natural disasters occur. Some professionals work as independent consultants, and some work for the government, but their work is very important, if not essential. Essential, because professionals with a MPH in Environmental Science are not only expected to be good communicators, writers and speakers, they are expected to be analytical, problem solvers and exceptional scientists. Some of the areas of understanding include: how the environment effects human health, how the population is exposed to environmental hazards, outcomes of environmental exposures to human health, how society reacts to the outcomes and scientific based policy development on future generations.

Courses that prepare a student to be an expert in both Public Health and Environmental Science are both broad and focused at the same time. As mentioned before a strong science and math background is required as well as humanities like Health Policy and Management. Hands on, field work is also required to complete the degree so the student can apply the principles and knowledge learned in the classroom in an actual professional setting. Not only does it give them hands on experience, it will help them fine tune the area they are most interested in pursuing.

Here are just a few organizations that are hiring locally, nationally and even worldwide:

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Infectious Disease Society of America
  • Astra Zeneca, Merk (and other pharmaceutical companies)
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Department of Health
  • Health Quest Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Department of Animal Science
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Air Pollution Training Institute
  • National Association of Clean Air Agencies
  • National Emergency Management Association (NEMA)

In addition, hospitals, universities, research facilities, law offices, consulting firms and a range of other organizations need MPH and Environmental Science experts.

Alternatives to an Online MPH Degree

A MPH Degree is one of the options to strengthening your position in the Public and Environmental Health marketplace. However there are other courses of action to take to get involved in this growing field.

Public Health Undergraduate Programs

Public health positions typically require a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Most schools require foundational coursework in the five core areas of public health identified by the Council on Education for Public Health, which accredits academic programs in this field. These five areas include biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, health services administration, and the social and behavioral sciences.

What Are the Education Costs for a Public Health Bachelor's Degree?

The cost of your degree will depend heavily on the school you choose. In-state students pay an average of $9,139 per year ($300 per credit hour) in tuition and fees at public colleges and universities, while out-of-state students pay nearly $23,000 ($766 per credit hour). A bachelor's degree in public health from a private college costs approximately $31,231 per year (1,041 per credit hour).

What Are the Entry Requirements for a Public Health Bachelor's Degree?

A high school diploma or GED and SAT/ACT scores are required for program acceptance.

What Coursework is Required for a Public Health Bachelor's Degree?

In addition to the five core areas of public health, some schools also include classes on health informatics and nutrition. All students take courses in math and science, as well as general education requirements in the liberal arts.

What Are My Employment Options With an Undergraduate Degree in Public Health?

Graduates are qualified for entry-level positions in public health. For example, they find work at local health agencies, private health services organizations, and public health organizations.

School Spotlight

University of Illinois - Chicago

At the University of Illinois in Chicago, students must first complete 60 hours of general coursework, including three public health prerequisites: Health and the Public, Public Health and Global Societies, and Public Health and the Study of Disease and Epidemics. Even with a minimum GPA of 2.75, program acceptance is selective. Once accepted to the Bachelor of Arts program, students can pursue either a professional, applied track, or an academic track.
Students take higher level courses such as Critical Thinking in Public Health, Ecologies of Health and Modern Life, Health Literacy, Health Equity and Disparities, Health Systems and Policy, and Community Health Initiatives. The program culminates in a capstone project. Public health fieldwork is required for students in the professional track, and optional for those in the academic track.

University of Texas - Austin

The University of Texas at Austin offers broad training in all core areas of public health through three tracks, or options. Students may choose from the basic Public Health Option, the Public Health Honors Option, or the Advanced Program.
All options include foundational coursework in public health, microbiology, nutrition, physiology, and the social sciences. Each option is based on a public health core curriculum that includes biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, and environmental policy and management. Afterwards, students in the basic track take additional courses in math, biology, chemistry, nutrition, computer science, management, public health, and the human dimensions of health.

Students in the Public Health Honors track take honors courses in environmental biology, environmental chemistry, and statistics, in addition to foundational and core program courses. The Advanced option is a combined bachelor's/master's program. Students develop a solid foundation in the natural sciences as they apply to public health. They also receive advanced training for leadership positions in public health. Graduates earn both a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and a Master of Public Health.

Graduate Certificate in Public Health

Post-baccalaureate certificates are typically intended for working professionals who wish to upgrade their skills or explore a new field. They are usually designed so that certificate credits will easily transfer to a full master's degree program.

Students with no prior public health experience typically earn junior-level degrees that cover foundational concepts. Professionals with public health experience can advance their careers by pursuing executive-level certificates. Most certificate programs require 15 credits. They take eight to twelve months to complete.

What Are the Education Costs for a Public Health Graduate Certificate?

The cost of a graduate certificate in public health is difficult to estimate. A typical five-course (15 credit) graduate certificate program may cost anywhere from $13,740 at a public college and up to $31,200 per year at private institutions.

What Are the Entry Requirements for a Public Health Graduate Certificate?

Applicants to post-baccalaureate certificate programs need to have a bachelor's degree, usually from an accredited institution. Some schools have a minimum GPA requirement. GRE scores are generally not required for certificate programs.

What Coursework is Required for a Public Health Graduate Certificate?

Junior-level students take foundational courses in epidemiology, environmental and occupational health, biostatistics, public health policy and management, and the sociological and behavioral aspects of public health. Students in executive-level certificate programs take more advanced courses in these areas, including the legal, policy, and ethical aspects of public health.

What Are My Employment Options With a Graduate Certificate in Public Health?

After completing a certificate program, those new to the field can demonstrate their knowledge while applying the credits toward a full master's degree. Those currently working in public health may be promoted to higher-level positions.

School Spotlight

Georgia State University

Georgia State University issues a five-course (16-credit) Graduate Certificate in Public Health that explores foundational concepts in public health theory, practice, and research. Required courses include Introduction to Epidemiology, Fundamentals of Biostatistics, and Introduction to the Health Care System. Students choose two electives from courses in Community Health Practice and Research; Program Planning, Management, and Evaluation; Health Communication; Health Promotion and Education; Environmental Health; Health and Human Rights; and Health Policies.

Getting a certificate in public health that takes about a year to complete may be all that is needed to advance. Earning your bachelors degree is the first step to building a foundation to in public health. Working as an intern is an excellent way to get "your foot in the door" and then move forward with your education with hands-on experience. If you already have a MPH there are doctorate level programs to consider as well.

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Doctoral Programs in Public Health

Ph.D. programs develop the managerial skills necessary for advancement to high-salary senior management positions in healthcare organizations. They typically emphasize healthcare management theory, policy, and law. They aim to cultivate analytical, program management, and communication skills. They also develop the ability to conduct original research.

Two different degrees are offered at the doctoral level: an applied Dr.PH. degree and an academic-track Ph.D. These programs take two to three years to complete full-time, and five or more years part-time.

What Are the Education Costs for a Public Health Doctorate?

The cost of a doctorate in public health will depend on the school you choose. Most Ph.D. programs require 60 credits, which can amount to $55,000 at a public college to $125,000 at a private university.

What Are the Entry Requirements for Public Health Doctoral Programs?

Applicants must typically have a prior master's degree. GRE or GMAT scores are also required. Doctoral programs in this field typically only accept applicants with several years of experience in the health care field.

What Coursework is Required for a Public Health Doctorate?

Doctoral programs include advanced courses on the U.S. healthcare system, health system policy, biostatistics, epidemiology, and environmental health. Candidates also learn statistics, research design, and research methods. They must complete and defend a dissertation, and pass qualifying exams. Those pursuing a Dr.PH. typically need to complete an additional practicum at a health care organization.

What Are My Employment Options With a Doctoral Degree in Public Health?

Graduates fill high-level research and leadership positions that involve designing healthcare policies and managing service delivery at large organizations. For example, they work for public health departments, hospital systems, large health maintenance organizations, and legislative bodies at all levels of government. Graduates of Ph.D. programs become faculty members at colleges and universities.

School Spotlight

University of California Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley grants a Doctor of Public Health (Dr.PH.) degree that draws upon coursework from the Schools of Education, Public Policy, Social Welfare, and Business to give candidates an interdisciplinary, holistic understanding of the factors that influence health and disease.

Candidates with a Master's in Public Health from a program accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health and at least two years of subsequent leadership experience in the field can complete the program in four years. While others may be admitted, they will take longer to fulfill all of the program's requirements.

Students complete 48 units of coursework, including required classes in management, research design and methods, public health ethics, and leadership. They may also choose from courses in Health Politics and Policy Analysis, Public Health Interventions, and Environmental Health Sciences. All candidates must complete a research and/or residency requirement.

Rutgers University - New Jersey

Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health (Ph.D.), as well as a Dr.PH. degree. Both require a minimum of 72 credit hours. Candidates in the Ph.D. program must complete 9-15 credits in core areas of public health, and 33 credits of coursework in such areas as environmental and occupational health, biostatistics, epidemiology, health education, and health systems policy. Students in both programs must meet a residency requirement, serve as a teaching assistant, pass a qualifying exam, and successfully defend a dissertation.

Public Health Certification

The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing administers optional credentials, including Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES). To earn CHES certification, an individual must meet certain education requirements, pass a competency-based exam, and participate in continuing education. MCHES certification requires at least five years of work experience in the health care field.

The National Board of Public Health Examiners administers a Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential. Applicants must be a student or alumni of a CEPH-accredited program, must have at least a bachelor's degree and five years of work experience in public health, and pass a 200-question exam that covers the five core areas of knowledge covered by CEPH-accredited schools. They must earn 50 recertification credits every two years by participating in continuing education opportunities and contributing to the profession.

Skills You'll Learn While Studying Public Health

  • Speaking - Effectively communicating health information to the public is central to the work of public health professionals.
  • Active Listening - Public health professionals must actively listen to patients, members of the public, and other stakeholders.
  • Critical Thinking Managers must be able to identify and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to problems or programs.
  • Writing - Public health professionals must be able to write informational materials and reports.