Online education is increasing in popularity, and the Masters of Public Health degree is no exception.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, the average projected job growth rate between 2012-2022 is 11% for all professions. The projected growth rates for common jobs sought by MPH graduates are:
- Health Educators and Community Health Workers: 21%
- Epidemiologists: 10%
- Environmental Scientists: 15%
- Biostatisticians: 27%,
- Medical and Health Administration: 23%,
- Public health leadership positions such as Social and Community Services Managers: 21%
- Occupational Health and Safety Specialists: 7%
- Nutritionists: 21%
Prospective students who are interested in pursuing a Masters in Public Health may wish to consider an online degree. This option may be especially attractive to working professionals who cannot or do not wish to leave the workforce to pursue the degree, move to attend a campus-based program, and/or have personal or family obligations that prevent them from attending an on-campus program. The programs included in this ranking are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, an independent agency recognized by the US Department of Education. The accreditation process for online programs is the same as for campus-based schools of public health.
This list ranks the best CEPH-accredited online MPH programs based on total cost of the program (tuition and fees). The cost of elective courses and field experiences are not included because they are at the discretion of the individual student. Programs that offer both in-state (resident) and out-of-state (non-resident) tuition are ranked according to in-state tuition. Cost data were obtained from the most recently available information on each program’s website. Excluded from this ranking were online programs that required on-campus attendance beyond initial orientation and final graduation (hybrid programs).
MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE PROGRAMS
1. University of New England Westbrook College of Health Professions – $11,215
The 46-credit, asynchronous Generalist MPH degree can be completed full- or part-time. Students have access to all materials through an online library, and students who live close to campus may use campus resources. Students have the opportunity to apply to a 2-week immersion program in Ghana that is held in August each year.The Ghana Cross Cultural Health Immersion program is a collaboration among UNE’s Center for Community and Public Health and the Ghana Health Service, the University of Cape Coast and several US based organizations.
2. New Mexico State University Department of Public Health Sciences – $12,859 RESIDENT ($40,877 for non-residents*)
*non-residents enrolled in 6 credits or less qualify for resident tuition rates
At NMSU, students may earn an online MPH in Community Health Education or in Health Management, Administration and Policy. The program’s mission is to train professionals “with particular emphasis along the U.S./Mexico border, tribal, and rural health communities“. It is generally advised that students complete the 48 credit curriculum by taking 2 courses per semester over the course of 3 years.
3. University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health – $13,468 RESIDENT ($32,136 for non-residents)
The UNTHSC program is designed to advance the knowledge and skills of working professionals, focusing on the areas of Health Policy and Management, Professionalism and Leadership. For admission to the MPH Professional Option online program, students must hold an advanced degree, must be currently enrolled in an advanced degree program (excluding MPH), or have three or more years of relevant professional experience. Students typically complete the 42 credit degree in 2-3 years. For those already holding an advanced degree, up to 12 credits may be applied to earn a Sequential Masters degree in as little as 1 year.
4. University of West Florida School of Allied Health and Life Sciences – $16,153 RESIDENT ($20,111 for non-residents)
The University of West Florida’s online MPH program launched in 2006. The curriculum requires 42 credit hours, and students must enroll in at least 12 credit hours per year, giving students a maximum 3.5 years to complete the degree. Alabama residents may be eligible for in-state tuition rates plus a fixed fee. Non-residents residing in the United States are also able to apply for an out-of-state tuition waiver, but must reapply each semester. Students residing in the states of Minnesota, Iowa and Maryland may not be authorized to enroll in this degree program.
5. Idaho State University Kasiska School of Health Professions – $18,576 RESIDENT ($28,512 non-resident)
Idaho State University’s MPH program is offered fully online as of August 2014. Students from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible for in-state tuition through a tuition-reciprocity agreement called the Western Regional Graduate Program.
6. Northern Illinois University School of Nursing and Health Sciences – $21,120 RESIDENT ($35,930 non-resident)
NIU offers an MPH with a specialization in either Health Promotion or Health Services Management with an option to take the Certified Health Education Specialist examination or Illinois Nursing Home Administrators Licensing Examination, respectively. The curriculum is 43-46 credit hours for the non-thesis option; students opting to complete a masters thesis will require 6 additional credits. Average time to completion is 5 semesters at 9 credits per semester.
7. University of South Florida College of Public Health – $22,148* RESIDENT ($26,640* non-resident Reduced Rate Program)
(*based on 48 credits)
USF offers an online MPH in several concentrations: Public Health Practice, Public Health Administration, Global Disaster Management and Humanitarian Relief, and Infection Control (Epidemiology and Health, Safety and Environment are excluded from this list because they require some on-campus time). Concentrations range from 42-49 credits to complete. Non-residents may qualify for reduced or in-state tuition through the Reduced Rate Program or the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Academic Common Market. The Reduced Rate Program applies to all of the online MPH concentrations except for Public Health Administration. Residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia belong to the SREB and can apply for in-state tuition through the Academic Common Market if they are enrolled full-time (at least 9 credits per semester).
8. University of Montana School of Public and Community – $22,568* RESIDENT ($83,412* non-resident)
(*based on part-time enrollment)
As of 2014, the University of Montana’s MPH program is offered entirely online. The 42-credit degree can be completed in 2 years at full-time status or 3.5 years part-time. The mission of the generalist MPH degree is to “to prepare public health practitioners who will use global insight to improve the health of the people of Montana and other rural areas.” Cost of attendance varies by full- or part-time status, and there are a few opportunities for tuition waivers for individuals that qualify as dependents of faculty/staff, orphans of war, or veterans, for example.
9. University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health – $22,862 RESIDENT ($46,506 non-resident)
UAB offers an MPH with concentrations in Environmental Health & Toxicology, Occupational Health & Safety, Health Care Organization, and Maternal & Child Health Policy & Leadership. Residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia may be eligible for in-state tuition through the Academic Common Market. Residents of Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon are not currently eligible to enroll in this program due to the State Authorization issue, be sure to check back for updates as UAB is currently seeking authorization in these states.
10. East Tennessee State University – $23,306 RESIDENT ($29,584 non-resident eRate)
ETSU offers an MPH in three concentrations: Public Health Administration, Epidemiology, and Community Health. The degree, which requires 43 credit-hours, can be completed full-time or part-time. Both residents and non-residents may apply for scholarships, or the eRate and Academic Common Market (ACM) programs. The eRate program offers reduced tuition for non-residents taking courses exclusively online. Currently, only residents of Georgia seeking an MPH in Epidemiology can apply for Academic Common Market. ETSU provides a helpful document with the contact information for state coordinators of the ACM for further information.
11. University of South Carolina – $23,440 RESIDENT ($29,020 non-resident)
UCS’s MPH in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior is a 45-credit degree that is completed over the course of 22-24 months. It is designed for current practitioners and professionals with a minimum of 2 years post-baccalaureate health-related experience. The flexible format allows students to continue to pursue professional and personal growth outside of “class”.
12. Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine – $25,190
The MPH offered by NSU is a 42-credit, generalist degree that may be completed part- or full-time over 2-5 years. Courses are offered entirely online in both synchronous and asynchronous formats, but students are required to attend campus for an orientation weekend before matriculation and at the conclusion of the program. All students pay the same tuition rate, but there are a few scholarships and grants available, including veteran’s benefits.
13. Des Moines University – $25,200
DMU is a university devoted to the health sciences. It offers a 45-credit generalist MPH that can be completed in 2 years at full-time status, but students have up to 7 years from acceptance into the program to complete the degree. Under new leadership, DMU has updated its mission and values, and a vision “To improve health for all through our commitment to innovative education, scholarship, service, and advancement of public health.”
14. University at Albany – State University of New York School of Public Health – $25,314 RESIDENT ($46,173 non-resident)
The fully online MPH in Public Health Practice is a 51-credit curriculum that is in asynchronous format. Generally, students will participate in classes that are limited to 25 persons. Students can apply for entry in the fall or spring
semesters, and the program is completed in 3 years on average. The School was opened as joint venture of the University, the New York State Department of Health, and later Albany Medical College, which provides a variety of
collaboration and internship opportunities.
15. University of Massachusetts Amherst – $26,667
UMass Amherst offers an MPH degree in Public Health Practice and in Nutrition. Prospective students for the 42-credit Public Health Practice concentration must have 3-5 years of professional experience in public health or health care. Students can apply for admissions for the fall or spring semester, and have up to 4 years to complete the degree. You can read profiles of recently graduated students on the website. The MPH in Nutrition is the only fully accredited and fully online program of its kind. Admission requires either an advanced degree or 2 years professional
experience plus coursework in nutrition and physiology. The 44-credit program is usually completed in 3 years.
16. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health – $27,928 RESIDENT ($61,822 non-resident)
UNC’s Global Online MPH – or GO MPH – is a track of the school’s Public Health Leadership Program. It is designed for “individuals who already have a professional identity“, requiring 3-5 years of professional experience for admission. The 42-credit program is designed to be completed in 3-4 years, and students are expected to take 2 courses per semester.
17. University of Florida College of Public Health and Public Health Professions – $28,116
The University of Florida offers an MPH in Public Health Practice and in Social Behavioral Sciences. The degree in Public Health Practice is geared towards experienced professionals or advanced degree holders and is not appropriate for new bachelor’s graduates. It is a 48-credit program (42 for those with a health-related doctoral degree) meant to enhance the knowledge and skills of professionals already working in the field. It can be completed in as few as 2 years but no more than 7. UF has historically offered an MPH in Social Behavioral Sciences with three tracks (Generalist, HIV, Aging/Geriatric Care Management) but, according to the website, are only taking applications for the PHP program at this time.
18. University of Nebraska Medical Center – $28,905
The UNMC offers MPH degrees in Biostatistics, Environmental & Occupational Health, and Public Health Practice. All three concentrations require 45-credit hours to complete, and tuition estimate was based on 2.5 year program length. Prospective students may apply to begin in either the spring or fall semester. There are limited scholarship opportunities available for both residents and non-residents, and they list a number of outside scholarships students may apply for. You can use the University of Nebraska’s handy tool to determine whether they are authorized to offer these programs in your state.
19. University of Iowa College of Public Health – $32,046
The University of Iowa offers a General MPH degree as well as a track specifically for practicing veterinarians. The General MPH option is for individuals who already hold a professional degree. The 42-credit program can be completed in 2-3 years.
20. Medical College of Wisconsin – $32,130
MCW offers an MPH in Public Health Practice. Student may complete the 42-credit program full- or part-time, but must be finished within 5 years. The program is currently housed within the Institute for Health and Society but was a pioneering program for the College back in 1982. Initially focused on Occupational Medicine, the concentration in Public Health and General Preventative Medicine was added in 1992.
21. Florida A&M University – $32,500
Prospective students for FAMU’s MPH program in Public Health Practice must possess at least 3 years of professional work experience. FAMU was first MPH degree offered online from an HBCU, and is housed in within the College of Pharmacy. The 50-credit program can be completed in 5 semesters for full-time students, while part-time students take 2 courses per semester.
22. Oregon Health & Science University/Portland State University – $32,728* RESIDENT ($42,124* non-resident)
(*based on the average 2.5 years to complete program)
Oregon’s online MPH is offered in Primary Health Care and Health Disparities. OHSU embraces the concepts and principles of Primary Health Care as “both a philosophy and an approach to providing health services.” Students complete the 58-credit program in 2.5 years on average but can take up to 7 years. Residents in bordering counties of Oregon may be eligible for in-state tuition.
23. University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health – $40,443*
(*based on 51 credits)
UIC offers an MPH in Community Health Sciences, Health Policy & Administration, and is the only program to offer a concentration in Public Health Informatics. The programs range from 42-51 credits, and are provided in a primarily asynchronous format. UIC faculty and students are involved in the local community and beyond through programs including Curbing Violence and Shootings in Chicago, Preventing the Spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, and No Mother Left Behind.
24. Benedictine University – $40,920
As a university, Benedictine is “distinguished and guided by [their] Roman Catholic tradition and Benedictine heritage“. Benedictine offers one of the more diverse selections of concentrations for their online MPH, including Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health services management, Health policy, Environmental Health, Behavioral and Social Aspects of Public Health, and Biological Aspects of Public Health. Working students typically take one course per session to complete the 66-credit program, and 6 sessions are offered per year. New students may apply for a $10,000 tuition award to help offset program costs.
25. New York Medical College School of Health Science and Practice – $42,280
NYMC offers an MPH in Health Policy & Management, Behavioral Sciences & Health Promotion, and Environmental Health Sciences. At full-time status, the 46-credit degree can be completed in as little as 2 years. The school has a long, rich history and tradition of an “emphasis on public health and social issues affecting medicine“. NYMC offers a tuition discounts to employees and their spouses and dependents and to active services members.
26. Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine – $50,225
The MPH program at Tulane is structured more like a traditional degree program with its live and interactive courses. Most students progress with a cohort of other students and complete the program in 3 years. Tulane offers tracks in Occupational Health & Safety Management, Occupational & Environmental Health, and Disaster Management.
27. Loma Linda University School of Public Health – $50,920
Loma Linda University offers an online MPH in Health Education and Population Medicine. Applicants to the Health Education concentration must possess a professional license in a health-related discipline or 2 years of professional
experience. The Population Medicine track is geared toward practicing health professionals and as such, does not admit students directly from undergraduate programs. The average time to complete the degree part-time is 9 quarters, or 2.33 years. Though actively pursuing authorization in all 50 states, LLU can only offer distance education to prospective students residing in states on their approved authorization list.
28. Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences – $53,415
Northeastern University offers an online MPH in Urban Health that focuses on racial and ethnic health disparities and how characteristics of urban environments affect health. The 42-credit degree can be completed in 2 years at full-time status or up to 5 years part-time. Faculty research areas include Social Epidemiology, Built Environment, Neighborhood Characteristics, Public Health and Advocacy, Health Policy and Law, and Governmental Public Health.
29. George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health – $64,800
The online MPH at GW offers tracks in Health Communication, Health Policy, Program Planning & Evaluation, and Global Health. It can be completed in as little as one year or up to 4 years if completing part-time. The synchronous format of the curriculum requires students to attend weekly, live, online courses. Students also have access to cross-university online courses at the University of North Carolina, the University of Southern California, American University and Washington University.
30. University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine – $75,379
The online MPH at USC offers concentrations in GeoHealth, Biostatistics & Epidemiology, Health Education & Promotion, and Global Health Leadership. The self-paced, asynchronous format allows students to complete the 47-credit program in as little as 2 years at full-time status, or part-time over up to 5 years. In addition to recorded sessions, students can attend live sessions and study groups to interact with faculty and other students.