25 Most Affordable Disaster Management MPH Degrees
By Sam MacArthur

mph disaster managementEmergency and disaster management is one of the fastest-growing segments of public health, as post-9/11 investments in homeland security, law enforcement, and emergency response have made for a well-funded, but often confusing and conflicting system. In the 21st century – framed by disasters both natural, and man-made, from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Maria, to the volcanic eruptions of Hawaii – one thing has become abundantly clear: a proper response to destruction requires a complex, collaborative effort. And that requires well-educated, highly trained, and experienced disaster and emergency management leadership.

Emergency Management, Disaster Preparedness, and Public Health

Whether act of God or terrorism, environmental or urban destruction, many factors must come into play to adequately protect lives, preserve property, and, above all, ensure health and recovery. Local, state, and federal government agencies; law enforcement, fire, and rescue; public health nurses and doctors; nonprofits and private industry; civilian volunteers and professionals – all play a part, and all need to be led by smart, capable emergency and disaster management. To fill the need, colleges and universities have spent the last decade building programs in emergency and disaster management, based on the most current research and most innovative methods.

Just as disaster management has many faces, so do the programs; they are housed in many different schools and departments, but public health has led the way; every disaster, after all, is a threat the overall health of the populace. The Online MPH Most Affordable Disaster Management Degree Programs ranking focuses on Master of Public Health programs that are related to emergency and disaster management. These are degree programs that prepare working public health professionals for leadership positions within whatever aspect of disaster relief they may find themselves: government, nonprofit, private sector, or education.

Ranking the Most Affordable Disaster Management MPH Degrees

Some of these programs are available in a distance format, either fully online or in hybrid form, for busy working professionals looking for an online master’s degree in emergency and disaster management. Others are traditional on-campus programs, and many do not require GRE scores to apply. Some universities offer an MPH degree with a built-in disaster preparedness or emergency management concentration, while others offer an MPH along with a separate public health certificate program.

Whatever the type of program, all of the institutions ranked by MPH Online are regionally accredited, and most are accredited by the CEPH. As a Most Affordable ranking, schools are arranged by cost, from the lowest to highest average tuition, based on available data from IPEDS; ranking order is not a reflection of quality, but of price.

1. American Public University

American Public University is a relatively young institution, at least within the higher education industry, but in less than 30 years it has accomplished a lot. APU’s predecessor, American Military University, was founded in 1991 as a for-profit distance education program for military personnel and veterans; American Public University opened a few years later. By 1998, APU was an entirely online school, a pioneer in online education, and today the university is regionally accredited, as well as holding special accreditations in many fields – including CEPH accreditation for its exceptional public health programs.

For working professionals in the public health field who want to move into disaster management, APU’s online MPH program can be combined with a Graduate Certificate in Emergency Preparedness. APU’s master’s degree in emergency and disaster management gives students the expertise they need to take on leadership positions in public health, especially in how to apply theory and research to craft real-world initiatives. Meanwhile, the graduate certificate gives professionals a full understanding of all the agencies and processes involved in emergency preparedness. APU is the first fully online college to be recognized by the Foundation of Higher Education for Disaster and Emergency Management and Homeland Security, an honor that adds to APU’s already solid reputation.

Degree: MPH with Graduate Certificate in Emergency Preparedness
Cost: $$$$$

2. Colorado School of Public Health

The Colorado School of Public Health is a unique institution, quite unlike any other public health school in the US. A program years in the making, the Colorado School of Public Health is a collaborative academic program led by the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado – three of Colorado’s leading public research universities. After five years of planning, the school opened in 2008, operating on the CU Denver, CSU, and UNC campuses, and has quickly earned as reputation as an essential player in health and health education throughout Colorado.

The Colorado School of Public Health MPH is a fully online program designed to increase the public health knowledge and leadership of busy health professionals. Designed to be student-centered, the online MPH degree uses the combined expertise and online instruction of all three universities. Online Master of Public Health students can pair their graduate program with a 15-credit, online Public Health Preparedness & Disaster Response Certificate. This certificate program goes in-depth on topics like response and recovery, communication, and hazard evaluation, adding an extra dimension of expertise to the MPH to create a fully online master’s degree in emergency and disaster management.

Degree: MPH with Public Health Preparedness & Disaster Response Certificate
Cost: $$$$$

3. University of West Florida

The University of West Florida had its founding in 1963, after the Florida legislature conducted a study to find the region in most need of a higher education institution. Pensacola – a growing military city, and one far from any of Florida’s existing colleges – was chosen. Today, the University of West Florida serves more than 12,000 students throughout the northwestern region, focusing especially on fields with immediate civil and social impact. That includes fields of study that are of particular interest to military veterans, and to the people of the area – fields such as emergency management. One of the best states to work in healthcare, Florida is also becoming a national leader in public health.

UWF’s online MPH degree comes from the CEPH-accredited College of Health, and provides students with a complete, 42-credit master of public health degree. This interdisciplinary program gives students a comprehensive view of public health, from the local to the global level, while giving students a chance to narrow their focus to their chosen career paths. For those interested in an online master’s degree in emergency and disaster management, MPH students can conveniently add a Graduate Certificate in Public Health with an emphasis in Emergency Management; 3 specialized courses are all that are required.

Degree: MPH and Grad Certificate in EM Public Health
Cost: $$$$$

4. University of South Florida

One of Florida’s four R1 research universities (by Carnegie Classification), the University of South Florida is one of the top STEM research institutions in the nation, as judged by factors like number of patents and amount of NSF funding. Founded in 1956, USF has the distinction of being the first public research university created from scratch in the 20th century, without a preceding institution. While it was USF’s status as a space grant university that helped make its name, today the university may be better known for USF Health, one of the South’s premiere academic healthcare systems. USF is also home to Florida’s first dedicated College of Public Health, founded in 1984.

USF’s online MPH degree program offers a concentration in Global Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief, & Homeland Security that makes for one of the most accomplished and impressive online disaster management degrees out there. With USF’s CEPH-accredited College of Public Health, students can be assured that they are learning the most current, most reputable research, theory, and practice available. Students who already have their public health degree, and who simply want to add to their credentials (and marketability) can choose shorter online certificates in Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief, or Homeland Security alone. Whatever the choice, USF is one of the smartest possible investments for public health professionals.

Degree: Online Master of Public Health in Global Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief & Homeland Security
Cost: $$$$$

5. University of Nebraska Medical Center

The University of Nebraska Medical Center is Nebraska’s foremost academic healthcare system, regularly ranking as one of the top teaching hospitals and medical schools in the nation by publishers like U.S. News & World Report. UNMC dates all the way back to 1880, when the private Omaha Medical College opened, but after the school was taken over by the University of Nebraska in 1902, it became the state’s leading public medical school. By 1968, UN brought all of its health programs together into the UNMC, creating a complex that is the center of medicine for Nebraska. The UNMC College of Public Health, opened in 2007, is Nebraska’s leading public health school.

The world-class College of Public Health offers UNMC’s online MPH degree program, a CEPH-accredited, fully online program designed for the most dedicated of working professionals. UNMC is known for its innovation and service, and the most current public health knowledge is written into the UNMC curriculum. UNMC public health master’s students may also want to take on the Certificate in Emergency Preparedness, an 18-credit program that gives students a full foundation in the National Response Framework and Homeland Security protocol. UNMC also offers a Master of Science in Emergency Preparedness. All of UNMC’s programs are available fully online those students who want an online master’s degree in emergency and disaster management.

Degree: On Campus or Online MPH plus Certificate in Emergency Preparedness
Cost: $$$$$

6. University of Georgia

The first public university chartered in America (in 1885), the University of Georgia is the state’s flagship public research university, widely regarded as a Public Ivy (a public university with the quality and reputation of the Ivy League). Not only ranked one of the top public universities in the US, UGA has also been long recognized as a value, providing the highest level of educational quality for a reasonable tuition rate. UGA is a research leader in areas ranging from business and music to engineering and healthcare, and the UGA College of Public Health, organized in 2005, is a critical part of Georgia’s public health system. In just a decade, the CPH has grown to more than 900 students, and accounts for more than $30 million in public health research initiatives.

UGA’s Master of Public Health degree program is one of the most comprehensive and respected in the South, designed to transform public health professionals into leaders in the field. With a core curriculum dedicated to topics like epistemology, biostatistics, and environmental health, the UGA MPH also offers a number of concentrations, including Disaster Management. The UGA MPH program requires a 300-hour internship, as well as a culminating project, making the program an exceptionally thorough, challenging approach to advanced public health education. With UGA’s master’s in emergency and disaster management, students are prepared for any career the can build for themselves in the public health sector.

Degree: MPH concentration in Disaster Management
Cost: $$$$$

7. University of Illinois Springfield

The University of Illinois Springfield is the youngest member of the University of Illinois system, founded in 1969. Originally designed as an upper-division college, for bachelor’s completion programs and graduate degrees, today UIS is the UI system’s public liberal arts college, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 10 public regional universities in the Midwest. As a regional university, UIS’s first priority is to provide opportunity to the people of Illinois, and the university began offering fully online degree programs in 1999 to extend its reach to those who need an education, but can’t relocate or easily get to campus. UIS’s online program has been highly ranked, and received multiple awards from the Sloan Consortium for excellence in online education.

The UIS online MPH degree program provides students with a convenient, fully online program to increase their public health knowledge and qualify for advancement and leadership positions. The 48-credit MPH program gives students a full grounding in advancement public health theory and practice, including epidemiology and biostatistics, as well as law and ethics, and students can choose an additional concentration in Environmental Health. Alternately, students who already have a public health degree, but want more extensive, advanced learning, can earn an independent Graduate Certificate in Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security. This interdisciplinary certificate combines courses from public health, public administration, criminal justice, and other areas for a well-rounded, complete professional preparation.

Degree: MPH with Emergency Preparedness track or Graduate Certificate in Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security
Cost: $$$$$

8. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

UGA’s prime competitor for “first public university,” the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first public university to admit students, and remains one of the South’s most prestigious and influential public research institutions. While UNC has been a cultural and educational hub for nearly two and a half centuries, UNC is particularly significant in health research and learning, as the home of UNC Health (one of the nation’s top-ranked academic healthcare systems) and the Gillings School of Global Public Health, the first school of public health in a public university. The Gillings School regularly ranks alongside Johns Hopkins and Harvard for the top public health school in the nation.

The Gillings School is also a pioneer in online education, offering the UNC online MPH degree program as one of the first, and most respected, online public health master’s degrees in the US. Students who want to earn an online master’s degree in emergency and disaster management have a clearly-defined route. UNC’s online MPH degree is a fully distance-based program with concentrations in either Health Leadership or Nutrition; the Gillings School also offers a Certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management, which can be combined with the MPH to create a comprehensive, exceptionally current emergency and disaster management master’s from the foremost public Public Health school in the world.

Degree: MPH plus Certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management (PHDM)
Cost: $$$$$

9. University at Albany (SUNY)

The primary public university in New York’s capital city, the University at Albany (part of the SUNY system) dates back to 1844, when it was founded as a small teacher training school. UAlbany was the first public university in New York to offer 4-year bachelor’s degrees, beginning in 1905, and today the university ranks as a top-tier national university. With its location in the capital, at the heart of New York’s state government, UAlbany is particularly known for programs and research that are focused on civil service, especially areas like public administration, business, criminal justice, social welfare, and public health. UAlbany is also one of the few universities in the US to have a full, comprehensive college focused on emergency management: the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity.

With one of the top public health schools in the nation, UAlbany’s Master of Public Health degree program is designed to prepare students for the complexities of a public health career in a state like New York, with its diverse populations and unique challenges. With a comprehensive set of foundational courses, students are prepared for leadership in public health. Students who are interested in emergency and disaster management can also earn UAlbany’s Certificate in Public Health Surveillance and Preparedness, also from the School of Public Health. Designed in partnership with the research Center for Public Health Preparedness, the preparedness certificate is an excellent option for professionals to qualify for advanced leadership positions in emergency management.

Degree: MPH and Certificate in Public Health Surveillance and Preparedness
Cost: $$$$$

10. Binghamton University (SUNY)

Part of the SUNY system, Binghamton University is considered a Public Ivy and stands as one of New York’s foremost public research universities. Founded in 1946, Binghamton came about as part of the wave of new colleges after WWII, serving the many veterans who returned to school on the GI Bill. Originally, Binghamton was an extension campus for Syracuse, offering bachelor’s completion programs, but since becoming part of the SUNY system in 1950, Binghamton has grown into a comprehensive doctoral research university with more than 17,000 students. Like UAlbany, Binghamton is known for its exceptional professional programs in areas like public affairs and nursing, which come together in the MPH program.

Binghamton University’s Master of Public Health degree program is designed as a well-rounded, comprehensive program that prepares graduates for careers in any area of public health, whether government, non-profit, or private sector. Focused around population health and global health, the MPH program emphasizes both research and experiential learning; communication and collaboration skills are also a crucial part of the curriculum. The Decker School of Nursing also offers an online hybrid Certificate in Disaster Management that could be valuable to public health professionals. While all coursework is online, students must attend on-campus three times per semester, earning 12 credits to specialize in emergency and disaster management.

Degree: MPH and/or Nursing School Certificate in Disaster Management
Cost: $$$$$

11. West Chester University

Ranked among the top 20 public regional universities in the North, West Chester University began as a private teacher training school all the way back in 1812, before becoming Pennsylvania’s first public teacher’s college a century later. While it may be on the National Register of Historic Places, West Chester University stays firmly in the present, with a strong reputation for professional education in eastern Pennsylvania. With its location in a suburb of Philadelphia, West Chester plays a significant role in preparing professionals in areas ranging from education (the university’s original mission) to business, nursing, and social work.

West Chester University’s MPH degree program offers students a CEPH-accredited, competency-based format to prepare for a career in the public health sector. There are several concentrations available, including Environmental Health, and the MPH Fast Track program allows undergraduate students to supercharge their MPH; by taking master’s courses in their senior year, students can complete their MPH in only one year of full-time coursework. Working professionals in the public health field may also want to amplify their credentials with the 18-credit Certificate in Emergency Preparedness, a thorough, advanced program dedicated to emergency and disaster management. This certificate for disaster management is an excellent opportunity for career advancement.

Degree: MPH Fast Track AND Certificate in Emergency Preparedness
Cost: $$$$$

12. University of Illinois Chicago

The University of Illinois Chicago began in 1946, with a two-year program in Chicago’s Navy Pier that was intended to be a short-term solution to the overwhelming demand of veterans on the GI Bill. By the 1950s, it had become evident that Chicago needed a comprehensive public university, and UIC opened in 1965. Today, UIC is a top-ranked national university, and with the University of Illinois Medical Center, operates the nation’s single largest medical school. UIC is crucial to medicine and healthcare not only in Chicago, but throughout the state of Illinois, from medicine and nursing to public health, with the School of Public Health (founded in 1970) recognized as one of the nation’s best.

The School of Public Health offers numerous options for UIC’s MPH degree program; available either on-campus or online, students in the MPH program can choose specializations such as Community Health Science or Epidemiology and Biostatistics, or tailor their degree to more closely relate to their career goals. Students with public health experience can also choose the Professional Enhancement Program, an accelerated credential. The SPH also offers seven graduate certificates, including a certificate for disaster management. The Emergency Management and Continuity Planning certificate is a 16-credit specialized certificate that can be earned alone, or incorporated with an MPH for an online master’s degree in emergency and disaster management.

Degree: MPH and Graduate Certificate in EOHS
Cost: $$$$$

13. Wright State University

Wright State University began humbly, as an extension campus managed by Ohio State University and Miami University; built on unused land donated from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wright State was intended to address the need for a professional workforce as the city of Dayton grew. In 1967, WSU became an independent public university, and over the last 50 years has developed into a crucial player in Ohio’s public education. With more than 17,000 students, Wright State has emerged as a leader in healthcare education, with the Boonshoft School of Medicine, which also offers the first public health program in the southern Ohio region.

The Wright State Master of Public Health degree program is a CEPH-accredited, interdisciplinary curriculum that uses the resources and faculty of seven colleges and schools, including the Soin College of Business, the College of Nursing and Health, and the Boonshoft School of Medicine. Students can earn their 42-credit MPH part-time or full-time, with evening classes designed for the convenience of working adults. For those who are interested in a career in emergency and disaster management, the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Certificate is a 9-credit program that gives public health and emergency professionals a solid education in the principles of emergency management. Paired with the MPH, the preparedness certificate can get public health professionals to the next level of their career.

Degree: MPH with Public Health Emergency Preparedness (EP) Certificate
Cost: $$$$$

14. Benedictine University

A small Catholic university in suburban Chicago, Benedictine University began in 1887 as an academy intended to educate the Eastern European immigrants who were settling in Chicago. With its roots firmly placed in a mission to provide opportunity and access to those who need it, Benedictine has built a reputation in recent years for innovation and outreach. Benedictine is known particularly for its business programs, which include partnerships with institutions in China, and for its early embrace of online education; Benedictine was one of the first Catholic colleges to begin offering fully online degree programs. Benedictine has also earned national attention for its CEPH-accredited, online MPH program, a model of the form.

Benedictine University’s online MPH degree has been widely cited as one of the best value, and highest quality, online master of public health programs in the nation. This comprehensive public health program is designed along the guidelines of the Public Health Foundation, with a deep grounding in biostatistics, epidemiology, health policy, and health services management. All coursework is fully online, and the 240-hour internship can be completed at students’ current workplace. MPH students who want to specialize in emergency and disaster management can also add the 12-credit Emergency Preparedness Certificate, though the certificate is also available on a stand-alone basis. Graduates of the Benedictine program have proven overwhelmingly satisfied in polls, a tribute to Benedictine’s quality.

Degree: MPH plus Emergency Preparedness Certificate
Cost: $$$$$

15. Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University is a private, Christian college in California that is quickly rising in recognition and reputation through its quality and outreach. Founded in 1899, Azusa Pacific was the first bible college on the West Coast, training students in Christian faith and biblical knowledge. Over time, APU developed into a full college and university, and today stands as a comprehensive, doctoral-level research university – a rarity for Christian colleges. APU is ranked in the top tier of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, and has been named one of the top colleges in the west by publications like Forbes and the Princeton Review.

APU’s Master of Public Health degree program, from the university’s nationally-ranked School of Nursing, is designed to help working adults and current public health professionals earn the credentials they need for advancement. With one face-to-face, on-campus class per week, students can work on their degree full-time or part-time for their convenience. As a Christian university, the ASU MPH program not only gives students a grounding in public health topics like biostatistics and epidemiology, but in Christian ethics and values as applied to social justice and health access. Students can specialize in Disaster Health and Emergency Preparedness, setting themselves on the path to leadership in emergency and disaster management.

Degree: MPH with specialization in Disaster Health and Emergency Preparedness
Cost: $$$$$

16. Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818 as a Catholic academy, Saint Louis University, in St. Louis, MO, was the first university west of the Mississippi, and is the second-oldest Jesuit university in America. SLU’s accomplishments, as a pioneer of higher education in the land of the pioneers, are many, but its contributions to health and medicine are exemplary: the first medical school in the west, providing health education in a region that had no formal medicine at the time. Today, SLU continues as a leader in healthcare, with nursing, dentistry, and the College for Public Health and Social Justice. This unique college combines public health and social work into a program dedicated to advocating for health justice for the poor and underserved.

The only CEPH-accredited public health school in Missouri – and the only one at a Jesuit university in the US – SLU’s College of Public Health and Social Justice is key to the healthcare system of the Midwest. The SLU Master of Public Health program provides working professionals with the convenience of either a fully online, or an online hybrid format; in either case, the program is taught by the same expert faculty. SLU offers a unique concentration in Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness, designed for employment in government, law enforcement, military, and other settings to prevent bioterrorism and infectious diseases. It’s an online master’s degree in emergency and disaster management not quite like any other, from a proven value.

Degree: MPH Concentration: Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness
Cost: $$$$$

17. Thomas Jefferson University

One of the foremost academic health institutions in the North, Thomas Jefferson University was founded in 1825 as a private medical school (originally against the fierce resistance of the University of Pennsylvania). Of course, in a city growing like Philadelphia, there was plenty of room for two medical schools, and Jefferson became a pioneer in combing medical training with actual medical care, starting the first medical school with an attached clinic. Today, the Jefferson Health System is one of the region’s top academic health systems, and Thomas Jefferson University has extended its reach in a merger with Philadelphia University.

Jefferson’s MS in Disaster Medicine and Management is a unique, collaborative program designed in partnership with the Albert Einstein Health Network, a prominent Philadelphia academic medical center. Available in a fully online format (with a 1-week on-campus summer session), this unique master of science program prepares students with an interdisciplinary awareness of the complexity of emergency and disaster management: from psychological trauma to public health, risk assessment to resource allocation. Students who do not need a full master’s degree, but want to add disaster management to their career, can also choose the 9-credit Disaster Medicine and Management Certificate. Jefferson University’s reputation is strong and growing, making the online master’s degree in emergency and disaster management a key investment in a valuable career.

Degree: M.S. in Disaster Medicine and Management or Certificate
Cost: $$$$$

18. Penn State World Campus

Recognized as a Public Ivy, Pennsylvania State University has been one of the foremost institutions in the North since its founding in 1855, when it began as the Farmer’s High School. As an agricultural school, Penn State became Pennsylvania’s land-grant university in 1862, providing the most modern agricultural and mechanical education of the day, but that started something that would become arguably more important – Penn State’s distance education program. Beginning in 1892, Penn State offered correspondence courses so farmers throughout Pennsylvania could learn new scientific techniques, and a century later, Penn State built on that heritage with Penn State World Campus – one of the first public, fully online university campuses.

Penn State World Campus’ online MPH degree provides public health professionals with a CEPH-accredited, 42-credit graduate degree from the Penn State College of Medicine. The online MPH degree offers four specializations, including Health Systems Organization & Policy, but for students who want to specialize in emergency and disaster management, the Graduate Certificate in Public Health Preparedness is an ideal choice, either to add to the MPH, or as a stand-alone addition to an existing degree. Also fully online, the PHP certificate is offered as part of the Homeland Security Program, and is especially designed for professionals who want to advance in Homeland Security.

Degree: MPH and Graduate Certificate in Public Health Preparedness
Cost: $$$$$

19. New York Medical College

New York’s only medical school outside New York City and Albany, the New York Medical College dates back to 1860, when it was founded as an innovative, cutting-edge institution focused on reforming medical treatment and education. Designed as an intentional reaction to the backward methods used in the city, NYMC’s early years pioneered patient-focused care. Today, NYMC is part of the Touro College and University System, and is the leading healthcare educator in the Hudson Valley region. Notably, NYMC has been recognized for its new Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters, a leading research center dedicated to public health response to terrorism.

NYMC’s online MPH degree program is intended as a comprehensive, integrated public health program, bringing together all areas of public health, such as health policy, education, emergency management, and environmental health, among other specializations. This holistic approach is in keeping with NYMC’s mission and philosophy, but students who just want to focus on emergency and disaster management may want to choose the Graduate Certificate in Emergency Preparedness. This 15 credit certificate can be taken as a stand-alone credential, or attached to the MPH program; in either case, coursework can be taken in a fully online format for convenience.

Degree: Master of Public Health with Graduate Certificate in Emergency Preparedness
Cost: $$$$$

20. George Washington University

Founded in 1821, George Washington University was named for the first president, who advocated for a college in the nation’s capital, but did not see his intention materialize in his lifetime. One of the most prestigious institutions in the world, GWU’s connections to Washington DC make it one of the foremost universities for students planning careers in politics, public service, and government contracting. GWU is home to one of the oldest medical schools in America, while the Milken Institute School of Public Health is ranked one of the top 20 public health schools by U.S. News. With its location, Milken Institute is a prime destination for students who want to work in the higher reaches of national public health.

GWU’s online MPH degree program is one of the most respected, and highly ranked, online MPH degrees in the world, and is offered in a number of different formats to accommodate working public health professionals. Depending on their education level, and the time they can devote to study, students can choose from a 1-year accelerated MPH, 18-month accelerated, or customizable program. Students who want to pursue an online master’s degree in emergency and disaster management may look into the online Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management and Public Health, an 18-credit program that can also transfer to a full-time master’s program. Whatever the case, George Washington University’s public health programs are a launching pad for a distinguished career.

Degree: MPH and Emergency Management and Public Health Graduate Certificate
Cost: $$$$$

21. Emory University

Emory University is one of the most prominent of the Southern Ivies, the elite private universities in the South that are counted as equal in stature to the Ivy League. Founded in 1836, Emory was founded by the Methodist Church, and over its nearly two-century history has established its reputation as a leader in a number of fields – especially health. In addition to ranking as a top 25 national university, Emory is known for Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s largest and highest-ranked academic medical system. Emory is a center of public health, and its campus borders both the Centers for Disease Control and American Cancer Society, while the International Association of National Public Health Institutes is housed at the Emory campus.

As should be obvious, Emory is one of the best places in the world to study public health, and the Rollins School of Public Health ranks in the top 10 public health schools nationwide. The Rollins School offers several degree options, including the MPH (for traditional students), the Executive MPH (for working professionals and executives) and the Master of Science in Public Health. For students interested in emergency and disaster management, the Rollins School partners with the CDC Emergency Response and Recovery branch for the Graduate Certificate in Humanitarian Emergencies. Between Emory and the CDC, students cannot receive a better – or better-connected – master’s degree in emergency and disaster management.

Degree: MPH, MSPH, and Graduate Certificate in Humanitarian Emergencies
Cost: $$$$$

22. University of Southern California

California’s first private research university, founded in 1880, the University of Southern California has played an outsized role in the development of Los Angeles, Orange County, and Southern California in general over nearly a century and a half. As Los Angeles grew, so did USC, building relationships with the city, state, and internationally across the Pacific Rim, to the point that USC today accounts for a more than $8 billion economic footprint in California. USC has been a leader in culture, arts, engineering, and computer science (as one of the first ARPANET nodes), while the Keck School of Medicine and USC Health are crucial components of Southern California’s healthcare system.

The Keck School offers the USC Master of Public Health degree, a CEPH-accredited program that has been recognized as one of the finest in the nation. With its location in the heart of Los Angeles, the USC MPH is one of the most diverse programs of its kind, with a variety of emphasis areas and a high degree of customization available. The Keck MPH is also available in a fully online format, which can be completed in as little as one year by well-prepared, full-time students. USC’s highly adaptable curriculum can allow a motivated student to craft the Global Health Leadership concentration into an online master’s degree in emergency and disaster management, and the USC name and connections can lead a graduate anywhere.

Degree: MPH Global Health Leadership Concentration
Cost: $$$$$

23. Georgetown University

The oldest Catholic university in America, Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit research institution founded in 1789 in Washington, DC. With its location in the nation’s capital, Georgetown has established a reputation as one of the best-connected and most influential universities in the US over its two centuries, with alumni including presidents, Supreme Court Justices, Congressional representatives, and more diplomats than any other college. Georgetown is also home of the Georgetown University Medical Center, one of the foremost academic medical complexes in the states.

The GUMC offers a unique Master of Science in Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases, a cutting-edge program that gives students a full grounding in the biological and medical principles of health security, emerging diseases, and risk management. Students who do not need a full master’s degree may be more interested in the Graduate Certificate in Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases, a one-year, fully online specialization. With Georgetown’s connections to the federal government and Washington, DC, graduates can expect to find positions in public health, security, and private industry waiting for them – along with a rewarding income.

Degree: Master of Science in Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases or Online Biohaz Graduate Certificate
Cost: $$$$$

24. Tulane University

Louisiana’s premier private research institution, Tulane University was founded in 1834 as a public medical school, and the health of New Orleans and Louisiana’s people remains central to Tulane’s mission. The Tulane University Medical School is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the US, while the Tulane Health Sciences Center has made its reputation as one of the leading academic health complexes in the nation. Tulane is also home to the innovative School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, one of the oldest public health schools, and only tropical medicine schools in the US.

Tulane’s MPH in Disaster Management is a 45-credit, dedicated program that is focused specifically on emergency and disaster management. Students learn the theory and scientific principles around preventing and intervening in both natural and man-made disasters, especially as they affect underserved and vulnerable communities. Students must also complete a 200-hour internship, and a culminating project analyzing some aspect of disaster management. With Tulane’s experience in New Orleans – particularly as one of the leading forces in the recovery from Hurricane Katrina – Tulane’s School of Public Health is one of the most ideal institutions to earn a master’s degree in emergency and disaster management.

Degree: MPH in Disaster Management
Cost: $$$$$

25. Johns Hopkins University

Quite possibly the name most associated with medical research in the public mind, Johns Hopkins University is also one of the most influential institutions in the history of higher education. Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins pioneered the combination of research and education that defines the research university, and became the model for modern higher education. Johns Hopkins has been one of the most significant medical research institutions worldwide, counting the Bloomberg School of Public Health as the oldest and most prestigious public health school in the world – ranked as U.S. News & World Report’s #1 public health school since the ranking began in 1994.

Johns Hopkins’ Master of Public Health degree program carries the most trusted name in medicine, and provides students with the highest level of education, experience, and support. Students can choose a full-time, on-campus MPH program, which can be completed in as little as 11 months, or a part-time, fully online program, which can take 2-3 years. An interdisciplinary curriculum and a focus on collaboration prepare students for the real world of the public health profession. Current students in the Bloomberg School can also apply for the Public Health Preparedness certificate program, a 20-credit, intensive focus on the risk, surveillance, and emergency response.

Degree: MPH plus Public Health Preparedness certificate
Cost: $$$$$

Cost Key

$$$$$ = >$10,000
$$$$$ = $10,001-$20,000
$$$$$ = $20,001-$30,000
$$$$= $30,0001-$40,000
$$$$$ = >$40,000