The online degree option is ideal for students who are unwilling or unable to relocate or who do not wish to leave their current employment. Most of the best online MPH programs allow for a part-time study extended over a longer period than traditional 2 year residential programs.
When researching online MPH program options, be sure to check your state’s authorization of distance education – laws that regulate whether an institution can offer distance education in another state. The University of Nebraska has an example of a useful tool on its website.
For this ranking, we chose programs accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health and scored them based on the US News & World Report ranking of each university overall and the cost of tuition based on out-of-state residency.
1. University of South Florida College of Public Health
US News Rank: 16
The USF College of Public Health offers online courses to over 5,000 students each year. The online MPH in several concentrations: Epidemiology; Global Disaster Management and Humanitarian Relief; Health, Safety & Environment; Infection Control; Public Health Administration; Public Health Practice; Social Marketing; and an Executive MPH in Public Health Practice. As the College of Public Health celebrates it’s 30th anniversary, it also jumped from 21st to 16th in the US News rankings.
2. University of Iowa College of Public Health
US News Rank: 17
The University of Iowa’s College of Public Health is program is geared toward individuals who already have a professional degree, such as fellows, medical residents, practicing nurses, or physicians. The 42-credit program is usually completed in 2-4 years. In 2014, over 12,000 people enrolled in the College of Public Health’s continuing education programs.
3. (tie) University of Massachusetts – Amhearst School of Public Health and Health Sciences
US News Rank: 25
The University of Massachusetts offers an online MPH in Public Health Practice or Nutrition. Theirs is a flexible program that allows students to design their own concentration through their choice in elective coursework. Prospective students may apply for spring or fall admission and typically complete 1-3 courses per semester.
3. (tie) University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health
US News Rank: 23
The online MPH in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at USC is designed for professionals currently working in fields related to public health who are looking to advance their knowledge and skills. These skills include program planning, program evaluation, and research. The method of course delivery varies by course and instructor and may include interactive forums and video recordings. The 45-credit program is completed in about 2 years.
5. (tie) University of Illinois – Chicago School of Public Health
US News Rank: 17
UIC has offered online education for over 14 years. Their online MPH in three concentrations: Community Health Sciences, Health Policy and Administration, and Public Health Informatics. Prospective students may apply for spring or fall entry. Examples of ongoing projects at the School of Public Health include Curbing Violence and Shootings in Chicago, Preventing the Spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, and Surveying the Stigma of Being Gay in the Latino Community.
5. (tie) University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health
US News Rank: 2
GO MPH – UNC’s Global Online Master of Public Health – is administered by the Public Health Leadership Program. The 42-credit program is intended for individuals with some experience in the workforce. The degree has a global focus and students can choose to concentrate in Implementation Sciences or in Water and Population Health.
5. (tie) Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
US News Rank: 12
Tulane offers the online MPH in Disaster Management, Occupational Health & Safety Management, and Occupational & Environmental Health. In addition, it offers an MSPH in Industrial Hygiene. Students attend “live” classes in the evening, offering the opportunity to interact with students and instructors in real time. The 42-credit curriculum can be completed in 2.5 years.
8. (tie) University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions
US News Rank: 30
The University of Florida has offered the online MPH since January 2010. The 48-credit curriculum is also offered in an accelerated 42-credit format for qualified professionals. Two concentrations are available: Public Health Practice, which is geared toward working professionals or individuals with advanced degrees, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Students have up to 7 years to complete the degree.
8. (tie) University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health
US News Rank: 19
The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers the online MPH in Environmental Health & Toxicology, Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Health and Safety, Health Care Organization, Maternal & Child Health Policy & Leadership, Coordinated MPH in Maternal & Child Health Policy & Leadership/Master of Social Work. The Environmental Health Sciences options are geared specifically toward working professionals.
10. George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health
US News Rank: 14
The MPH@GW offers live, interactive classes with small student to faculty ratios. Focus areas include Health Communication, Health Policy, Program Planning & Evaluation, and Global Health. The program can be started at one of four dates throughout the year, and the degree can be earned in as little as one year.
11. (tie) East Tennessee State University College of Public Health
“By East Tennessee State University (Sportslogos.net) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
US News Rank: 31
Three of the 5 concentrations of ETSU’s MPH are offered fully online: Community Health, Epidemiology, and Public Health Administration. The 43-credit degree is designed to be flexible for working professionals. The College of Public health strives to be student centered, community focused, and real-world tested.
11. (tie) University at Albany State University of New York School of Public Health
US News Rank: 31
The University at Albany offers a part-time MPH in Public Health Practice. The 51-credit curriculum is usually completed over the course of three years, and provides a solid foundation the core disciplines and methods of public health practice. The asynchronous format allows flexibility for students with work, family, and other commitments because students may access coursework at any time. Individuals with previous public health experience may be able to have up to six internship credits waived.
13. University of Nebraska Medical Center
US News Rank: 39
At the University of Nebraska, students may choose from the disciplines of Biostatistics, Environmental and Occupational Health, and Public Health Practice. The online option allows students access to faculty from all four University of Nebraska campuses: University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
14. University of North Texas Health Sciences Center School of Public Health
US News Rank: 44
UNTHSC SPH offers a Master of Public Health Professional Option entirely online. This 42-credit, interdisciplinary degree is designed to create graduates who will strengthen the public health workforce. Applicants to the Professional Option must have an advanced degree, be currently enrolled in another graduate program, or possess three or more years of work experience in the health professions. The School now offers the MPH in Health Management and Policy online. The 48-credit program can be completed on a part-time basis and is open to all applicants with a bachelor’s degree.
15. Loma Linda University
US News Rank: 44
Loma Linda University is a faith-based School of Public Health that has offered distance education for 30 years. It offers the online MPH in three concentrations: Health Education is a concentration focused on promoting positive health behaviors at the interpersonal, community and societal levels; Lifestyle Medicine will empower current health professionals working with patients with chronic diseases to provide interventions and health promotion; and Population Medicine is for health professionals providing direct patient care and focuses on the social, environmental and biological determinants of health.