2020 Best Online Master's in Public Health Degrees

By OnlineU Staff | Updated March 9, 2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Public Health Badge

This list highlights the 18 best value colleges offering online master's programs in public health. A degree from the University of California - Berkeley has an impressive return on investment, with an annual tuition of $23,104 and alumni reporting a mid-career salary of $115,200. Students at UC Berkeley can choose from the following concentrations: Community Health Science, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Global Health, Health Policy & Management, and Spatial Data Science. Indiana State University, ranked #2, offers an annual tuition of only $10,820.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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Rank School Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 $23,104 $115,200
# 2 #2 $10,820 $110,100
# 3 #3 $15,792 $107,700
# 4 #4 $15,288 $99,300
# 5 #5 $23,922 $101,000
# 6 #6 $11,529 $92,800
# 7 #7 $12,017 $92,100
# 8 #8 $40,250 $102,100
# 9 #9 $12,915 $89,300
# 10 #10 $27,888 $95,000
# 11 #11 $16,221 $88,500
# 12 #12 $31,510 $91,600
# 13 #13 $20,181 $85,300
# 14 #14 $36,435 $87,100
# 15 #15 $18,000 $78,800
# 16 #16 $43,176 $86,500
# 17 #17 $19,950 $77,100
# 18 #18 $20,300 $65,100
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Public Health Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 University of California - Berkeley

  • Annual Tuition: $23,104
  • Median Salary: $115,200
  • Locations: Berkeley (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The Master of Public Health program at the University of California – Berkeley offers a solid foundation in the theories and practices of public health. Students can choose from among the following areas of study to further specialize their program: healthcare management; health policy and economics; global health; epidemiology, infectious disease, and regulatory science; community health science; or data and science for public health policy. Students can also opt for a full focus in health policy and management. While the majority of this MPH program can be completed remotely at the student’s convenience, there are required on-campus visits for a total of 15 days throughout the entire program. This program can be completed in 27 months.

#2 Indiana State University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,820
  • Median Salary: $110,100
  • Locations: Terre Haute (IN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The online Master of Public Health program at Indiana State University will help students advance their careers in the field of public health, as well as prepare them to pursue doctoral studies. Coursework in this online graduate program covers research methodology, statistical methods, policy leadership, epidemiology, and more. A community health internship is required as well as the student’s choice of a graduate thesis or a project. This master’s in public health online program is open to both U.S. and Canadian students.

#3 California State University-Northridge

  • Annual Tuition: $15,792
  • Median Salary: $107,700
  • Locations: Northridge (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The online Master of Public Health degree at California State University Northridge is a flexible program that allows individuals to advance their education as they continue working. Graduates have the skills needed to pursue career opportunities in the field of public health as educators or epidemiologists. The program focuses on the foundational competencies that include evidence-based theory, planning and management strategy, policy, leadership, communications, and systems thinking. Students can specialize their course of study in either community health education or applied epidemiology.

#4 Central Michigan University

  • Annual Tuition: $15,288
  • Median Salary: $99,300
  • Locations: Mount Pleasant (MI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Public Health program at Central Michigan University prepares students for leadership positions in planning, policy, management, evaluation, and research in the field of public health. Students who have completed an undergraduate program certified by the Council for Education on Public Health are given priority consideration for this master’s in public health online degree. Students should have completed prerequisite coursework in math, statistics, and biology before entering the program. Admittance to the program only occurs in the fall semester.

#5 San Diego State University

  • Annual Tuition: $23,922
  • Median Salary: $101,000
  • Locations: San Diego (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

San Diego State University offers an online Master of Public Health program through its World Campus. This intensive, 18-month online master’s degree in public health enables students to grow as leaders and management professionals that possess the skills needed to develop, implement, and evaluate public health programs. This program is designed for professionals in the early and middle stages of their healthcare careers. The flexibility of the program, though rigorous, allows students to continue working as they pursue this advanced degree.

#6 University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Annual Tuition: $11,529
  • Median Salary: $92,800
  • Locations: Birmingham (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has a range of options for prospective students. With five concentrations and two dual degrees, online students are able to customize their programs to meet their professional needs. The School of Public Health at UAB uses Canvas learning management software to facilitate its online materials. Students are expected to complete assigned reading, participate in online discussions with their peers, and submit exams and writing prompts on time. Distance learners are assigned a faculty advisor and an academic advisor. Within the MPH program, students may choose concentrations in Environmental and Occupational Health (44 credits), Epidemiology (42 credits), Health Behavior (44 credits), Health Care Organization (44 credits), or Maternal and Child Health Policy Leadership (44 credits). Students seeking an interdisciplinary curriculum may pursue a coordinated 60-credit MPH/MBA program, or a 90-credit MPH/MSW program. Each option under the MPH umbrella includes a capstone course and an internship component. General admission requirements for the online MPH program include a completed application form, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Candidates must have a completed bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Individuals should also have significant experience in the public health field. If the GPA or experience requirements are not met, a GRE score is strongly encouraged. Students may apply for spring or fall terms. 

#7 University of South Carolina-Columbia

  • Annual Tuition: $12,017
  • Median Salary: $92,100
  • Locations: Columbia (SC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of South Carolina’s main campus in Columbia, South Carolina hosts two online Master of Public Health degrees: a Master of Public Health in Health Services Policy and Management and a Master of Public Health in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior. Both programs are housed in the Arnold School of Public Health. Online learning at UofSC Columbia uses tools through Blackboard learning management software and Adobe Connect software. Classes are delivered synchronously, providing an interactive virtual classroom and real-time office hours with public health professors. Some instructors use asynchronous methods that rely on assigned due dates. Technical support is available through the university’s Help Desk, a portal featuring available opportunities for students, and library resources. The 45-credit, MPH in Health Services Policy is designed for individuals who seek training in policy, finance, law, and planning. The 45-credit, MPH in Health Promotion is a professional program for working adults in the public health field. Students develop leadership and advocacy skills to be more effective in implementing public health policy in their communities. Interested candidates in either program must have a completed bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and GRE scores above the 50th percentile. To apply, students must submit a resume, a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. Candidates for the professional MPH program in Health Promotion must have at least two years of field experience. 

#8 The George Washington University

  • Annual Tuition: $40,250
  • Median Salary: $102,100
  • Locations: Washington D.C. (DC)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Individuals seeking a master’s in public health online from the George Washington University may apply for the Master of Science in Health Science in Correctional Health Administration. Available entirely online, students can complete the program in two years. The degree is designed to prepare graduates for work as healthcare administrators within a correctional setting. Participants must complete 36 credit hours with course topics in human resources, fiscal management, and medical informatics. The online program is delivered asynchronously, so students may continue to work full-time while completing the graduate program. Distance education learners may utilize one-on-one tutoring, career services, a writing center, an assigned academic advisor, and resources from the GW libraries. GW’s online students receive 24/7 technical assistance. Candidates should have at least three years of experience in the healthcare field, though direct experience with corrections institutes is preferred. Candidates also must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. To apply, interested individuals should submit a personal statement, a completed application (with fee), a current resume, two letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and a criminal background check with a drug screen. GRE scores are not required. 

#9 University of Massachusetts - Amherst

  • Annual Tuition: $12,915
  • Median Salary: $89,300
  • Locations: Amherst (MA)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst is the flagship campus of the UMass system. The UMass University Without Walls (UWW) is the distance learning platform for its online graduate degrees, which features classes that are entirely online. Online learners at UMass-Amherst have two graduate degree options in the public health field: a Master of Public Health in Nutrition and a Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice. Graduates from either of these programs will receive the same diploma as a traditional UMass-Amherst student. Online learners have access to classwork 24/7 with asynchronous tools through Blackboard learning management software. Distance education students benefit from academic advising, financial aid assistance, technical support, and off-campus library resources. The MPH in Nutrition is a 47-credit program that includes coursework in public health and nutrition science. A 200-hour practicum and a six-credit independent study are required to graduate. The online MPH in Public Practice program is designed for working healthcare professionals seeking a flexible curriculum. The full program requires 42 credit hours and can be completed full-time or part-time in two-to-four years, respectively; students may take one course at a time if needed. A final capstone course and required research courses are required to graduate. To apply, candidates must have a completed bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA and at least three years of full-time experience in the field (two years for the MPH in Nutrition). A completed application packet includes a formal application form (with fee), two letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a current resume, and a personal statement. Students with less than five years of experience should submit GRE scores. Applications are accepted for either the spring or fall term. Prospective students may try out courses before applying to ensure online learning is a good fit.  

#10 Johns Hopkins University

  • Annual Tuition: $27,888
  • Median Salary: $95,000
  • Locations: Baltimore (MD)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Master’s students seeking an online public health degree from Johns Hopkins University may consider the Master of Applied Science degrees from the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Individuals may select a MAS in Population Health Management, Global Health Planning and Management, Humanitarian Health, Spatial Analysis for Public Health, and Community-Based Primary Health Care in Global Health. The MAS degrees are part-time, online programs requiring 49.5-to-51.5 credits that can be completed in two-to-four years. Students complete an integrative service-learning activity before graduation. Online courses use Blackboard learning management software and Zoom video conferencing. Classwork includes simulation exercises (with real-time feedback), listening to podcasts, and required readings. Online students can access disability accommodations, 24/7 technical support, and resources from the Johns Hopkins library system. Students take an introduction to online learning orientation requirements in their first term. Interested applicants must have a completed bachelor’s degree. In addition to the online application, admissions requirements include a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. Each program requires at least two years of professional experience in the field, except the MPH in Spatial Analysis for Public Health, which has no requirement. 

#11 University of South Florida Online

  • Annual Tuition: $16,221
  • Median Salary: $88,500
  • Locations: Tampa (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of South Florida’s main campus offers several online master's in public health degrees. These include an MPH in Epidemiology, an MPH in Global Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief and Homeland Security, an MPH in Health, Safety, and Environment, an MPH in Infection Control, an MPH in Nutrition and Dietetics, an MPH in Public Health Administration, an MPH in Public Health Practice, and an MPH in Social Marketing. The College of Public Health hosts all eight programs. The core classes include biostatistics, policy, behavioral health, and risk assessment. All students must complete an integrative learning experience, an applied practice experience, and a comprehensive exam. The MPH requires a total of 42 credits to graduate. Most students complete the program in 2.5 years. Online learning utilizes Canvas learning management tools and requires engagement via discussion boards, e-mail, and significant reading. USF’s distance learning options include synchronous and asynchronous formats. Students in online programs at USF have access to library resources, including e-journals and research databases. Additionally, academic advising, tutoring services, and a live, IT service desk are offered. Candidates must have a completed bachelor’s degree. In addition, applicants should submit a completed online application form (with fee), GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, a letter of interest, a resume, and official transcripts. Applicants may apply for summer or fall terms.  

#12 Tulane University

  • Annual Tuition: $31,510
  • Median Salary: $91,600
  • Locations: New Orleans (LA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Students pursuing an online Master of Public Health degree from Tulane University can select from five concentrations: Community Health, Disaster Management, Occupational and Environmental Health, Occupational Health and Safety Management, or Industrial Hygiene. Offered through the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the mission of these programs is to expand health equity and advocate for public health policy for underserved populations. The curriculum is designed for professionals in the public health field and requires 45 credit hours to graduate. Coursework includes foundational concepts, general classes, professional preparation, and electives. Students complete an academic residency and an integrative learning experience before graduating. Online students are required to attend orientation on campus. Students can apply for spring, fall, or summer terms. Online learning blends asynchronous, self-paced work and real-time, virtual classes and discussions. Once admitted, students receive peer mentorship and are matched with a student success coach for any questions. Online students can access library services, career services, and 24/7 technical assistance. Interested candidates must have a completed bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. To apply, students should submit an application form (with fee), official transcripts, a current resume, a personal statement, and optional letters of recommendation. No GRE scores or previous professional experience is required. 

#13 University of Minnesota Digital Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $20,181
  • Median Salary: $85,300
  • Locations: Minneapolis (MN)(and 4 others)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Individuals seeking a master’s in public health online may consider two options from the University of Minnesota’s Digital Campus: an Executive Master in Public Health in Public Health Administration and Policy or a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health (MCH). Both are available within the School of Public Health. Online programs from U of M share the same curriculum and faculty as the on-campus versions and are facilitated through U of M’s learning management platform, which includes tools from Moodle, podcasts, and e-materials. Distance education services include technical assistance with 24/7 support via live chat, phone, or e-mail. Students can also access library resources and a collection of online tutorials and workshops. The Executive MPH is a 42-credit program designed for working adults that includes study in policy and data management. While most of the degree is available online in an asynchronous format, students will be required to come to campus intermittently. The degree can be finished in 2.5 years and includes a master’s project with a presentation component and 90 hours of practical experience. The MCH program is a 42-48 credit curriculum dedicated exclusively to programs, evaluation, and advocacy for maternal and child health. Candidates for this degree should hold a bachelor's degree or have at least three years of relevant experience. Full-time, this entirely online curriculum can be completed in two years and includes a practicum experience and integrative learning experience. To apply to either program, candidates must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Candidates should send in GRE scores, a statement of purpose, a current resume, official transcripts, and three letters of recommendation.  

#14 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Annual Tuition: $36,435
  • Median Salary: $87,100
  • Locations: Chapel Hill (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The online Master of Public Health program at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill has two concentrations for a more customized degree: Leadership in Practice or Nutrition. Additionally, an online dual degree is available for an MPH/Registered Dietician. The traditional MPH degree is available through the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Students attend classes live, in virtual classrooms instructed by UNC’s public health faculty. The degree requires 42 credit hours and can be completed in 20-36 months. All MPH programs at UNC Chapel Hill include a practicum, a culminating experience, and a comprehensive exam. The culminating experience is typically a long, research paper on a current public health issue. The MPH/RD program has full-time and part-time options and includes an RD-specific practicum. Students will gain hands-on experience in clinical nutrition, food service management, advanced nutrition, and public health nutrition management. Graduates will gain enough field experience to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam. Online students at UNC Chapel Hill may use resources from the extensive UNC library system, including a live-chat feature with a librarian. Also available is an IT service desk, which may be accessed via phone or live chat. Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree and submit GRE scores and transcripts. A completed application (with fee), a current resume, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation are also required. 

#15 Florida International University

  • Annual Tuition: $18,000
  • Median Salary: $78,800
  • Locations: Miami (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Florida International University’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work has a one-year, online Master of Public Health that focuses on the epidemiological, social, and environmental issues within a diverse population. FIU offers its distance learners an engaging online experience with daily support, real-time faculty feedback, and a personal academic coach for individualized guidance. Online learners use Canvas software to participate in group discussions and complete assignments. Many classes are real-time and virtual, and they are not self-paced, so students are expected to meet deadlines. The MPH can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. The full degree requires 45 credit hours to complete and includes a practicum and an integrative seminar. If a student has at least three years of professional experience in the public health field, the practicum component may be waived. Prospective students must have a completed bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA. To apply, individuals should submit a completed application form, a current resume, a statement of purpose, official transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. FIU has been recognized for its support of students with a military background. Graduates are invited to walk in the on-campus graduation ceremony. 

#16 New York University

  • Annual Tuition: $43,176
  • Median Salary: $86,500
  • Locations: New York (NY)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Individuals seeking an online public health degree from New York University have the option of the Master of Public Health with a concentration in Sustainable Development Goals. NYU's online graduate degrees seek to provide flexibility and customization. The MPH may be completed part-time or full-time. Online classes share the same faculty at NYU's on-campus versions and rely on a live-classroom format. Students engage in groups virtually with peers and complete experiential work within their own communities. The 46-credit, MPH curriculum is designed in response to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Graduates are prepared to address public health issues at the government-level, allowing professionals to help countries navigate how to reach these UN recommendations. To graduate, students must complete a 180-hour internship for their culminating experience requirement. Students pursuing online programs at NYU may access academic advising, career services, a virtual computer lab, a software library, a technical service desk, and free Microsoft Office software. NYU's School of Public Health accepts applications for spring and fall semesters. Applicants should submit a statement of purpose, a current resume, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, GRE scores (within the last five years), and a completed form. 

#17 University of Arizona

  • Annual Tuition: $19,950
  • Median Salary: $77,100
  • Locations: Tucson (AZ)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Arizona’s Master of Public Health provides flexible, interactive online experiences designed for working professionals. Students may select from three concentrations: Health Services Administration, Health Promotion, or Applied Epidemiology. The University of Arizona’s online students work with an enrollment counselor who assists them in the admissions process. Distance learners are also assigned an academic advisor, given access to e-tutoring, and are encouraged to network with alumni mentors. The online MPH degree is offered through the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. The curriculum emphasizes real-world practice, and students will have the chance to pursue an internship as part of their degree. Concentration requirements make up half of the curriculum, allowing for a highly focused course of study. Candidates must have a completed bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA to be considered. No GRE or GMAT scores are required. Interested candidates must complete an online application (with fee) and submit official transcripts. Students may apply for spring, summer, or fall terms.  

#18 Benedictine University

  • Annual Tuition: $20,300
  • Median Salary: $65,100
  • Locations: Lisle (IL)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Benedictine University’s Master of Public Health is available fully online and provides students with three possible tracks to specialize their studies: Epidemiology, Health Education and Promotion, and Health Management and Policy. Its online degree follows a faith-based curriculum with core topics in ethics, environmental health, biostatistics, and health policy. Students will study social, behavioral, and biological factors. Participants will complete mini-capstone projects throughout the 58-credit degree, culminating in a 240-hour internship. Online learners at Benedictine University receive 24/7 technical assistance, academic advisement, career services, and access to digital library resources, featuring a live-chat with a librarian for help. Classes rely on asynchronous engagement techniques; students can study and complete assignments on their own schedules, but still contribute to class discussions. Benedictine University employs the Engage Learning Management system to house its online materials and tools. There are six start dates throughout the year. Prospective students must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA.  

Online MPH and MS in Public Health Programs Overview

Program Requirements

Applicants to an online MPH or MS program will need to have already earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Most schools will require transcripts from undergraduate degrees as well as some combination of standardized test scores, personal statements, letters of recommendation, and resumes or CVs. In general, a master's degree in public health will require about two years to complete.

Curriculum

Online public health master’s degree programs cover five major competency areas: biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health services administration, and social and behavioral sciences. In addition to those five areas, common classes will also include occupational safety, health policy, human nutrition, and immunology. The curriculum contains a mixture of classes in social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences, and management issues.

Many MPH programs allow students to specialize in a particular area, such as international public health, human rights, maternal and child health. These programs are usually aimed at aspiring public health practitioners, people who want to lead in organizations like government health agencies, public health research organizations, or private healthcare facilities. Because of the practitioner focus of the MPH, many programs also include a fieldwork requirement. During this requirement, students spend several hundred hours interning in a public health setting of their choosing.

In contrast to the MPH program, the online Master of Science in Public Health degree program focuses more on the natural sciences and quantitative skills which are useful for careers that involve conducting research on issues affecting large segments of the population. Examples of concentrations available in the MS degree program are: environmental health, health policy and management, occupational health, or social and behavioral health.

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