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20 Best MPH Programs in California for 2019
By Sam MacArthur

California has the largest population in the US, several of the largest cities in the nation, and the most economically, racially, and culturally diverse population in the union. That makes public health a particular concern for California, because what happens in California, quite literally, makes an impact on the rest of the world. From natural disasters like wildfires and earthquakes to environmental hazards of development and urban sprawl, California has its dangers. Add to that the needs of underserved urban and rural populations, and public health in California is a unique field.

Health and human services professionals who want to make an impact on public health should consider one of the many California MPH programs available to them. No one knows the needs of the people like the best public health schools in California. For the needs of Cali’s prospective public health professionals, MPHOnline has put together a thorough and informative ranking of the best MPH programs in California.

How We Ranked the Best California MPH Programs

To rank the best MPH programs in California, MPHOnline searched out all of the on-campus and online programs offered in the Golden State from reputable, accredited institutions. We then ranked these programs according to three factors: Reputation (Niche scores); Affordability (IPEDS tuition data); and Return on Investment (Alumni Salary from College Scorecard).

1. University of California, Berkeley – School of Public Health

The University of California, Berkeley’s MPH degree program offers 11 tracks. This MPH readies students to be leaders in public health. Upon graduation, students can find jobs in federal, state, and local health departments, community-based organizations, health care organizations, and research institutes. The MPH degree program is able to be completed in two years.

In the MPH from the top public health school in California, students gain a broad understanding of public health, in the area of health management, social issues, behavioral concerns, and environmental issues. Students learn how to protect communities from environmental hazards, limiting and possible stopping the spread of infectious disease, and training on positive behaviors. Students learn the benefit of creating best practices and becoming advocates for health care quality and accessibility.

Degree: MPH – 11 tracks
Format: On-Campus (one concentration online)

2. UCLA – Fielding School of Public Health

Located in Los Angeles, UCLA offers an MPH California students will feel confident in attending. UCLA’s MPH has eight tracks. This two year degree program provides students the ability to resolve public health issues using professional methodology. Five concentrations are available, some with multiple tracks: Biostatistics, Community Health Sciences, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management.

UCLA is frequently ranked among the top 3 public universities in the nation, and plays a critical role in education, research, and service in the greater Southern California region. The Fielding School of Public Health has been educating professionals and expanding research in public health since 1961, and is frequently named one of the world’s most significant public health schools. That’s more than enough to make one of the best MPH programs in California.

Degree: MPH – 8 tracks
Format: On-Campus

3. University of California, Davis – School of Medicine

UC Davis has one of the best MPH programs in California. The mission of UC Davis is to create public health leaders by educating students with a high quality degree program. UC Davis partners with local community on the campus, such as the Medical School, the College of Law, and the College of Nursing and the College of Engineering, to build an MPH California public health professionals need.

One of the best California MPH programs provides a foundation in general public health, agricultural and rural health, nutrition, reproductive and women’s health, chronic diseases, epidemiological and biostatistical methodology, informatics, infectious and chronic diseases, health economics, health-care quality and outcomes, and others. The mission of the program is to encourage a strong focus on practical health throughout the community in the local county health departments and the California Department of Public Health.

Degree: MPH
Format: On-Campus

4. University of California, Irvine

The University of California, Irvine’s MPH program offers four emphasis areas. The areas are Biostatistics, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, and Sociocultural Diversity and Health. UC Irvine’s mission is to develop independent public health practitioners who are able to create and implement strategies to reduce disease and disability in Southern California and around the world. The course work provides students with an understanding of global public health principles that California MPH programs can learn from.

Biostatistics teaches students how to apply statistical reasoning methods to analyze and solve issues in public health care, biomedical and clinical based research and practice. Environmental Health studies how the health of a population is impacted by biological, chemical, and physical factors. This course prepares students to evaluate homes and other areas for hazardous materials and risk factors. Students analyze data to determine how environment is instrumental in the development of diseases such as asthma, lung disease, and mental health. Epidemiology teaches students to study the patterns of disease and injury to prevent and control health problems. Sociocultural Diversity and Health teaches students to identify the effects of social, cultural, and behavioral factors on health.

Degree: MPH
Format: On-Campus

5. University of Southern California – Keck School of Medicine

The University of Southern California MPH program is truly a model of California MPH programs. Students must complete MPH core courses, including a 300 hour practicum and a capstone course, and can take courses online or at the Los Angeles campus. Students must take courses geared to their selected concentration as well as electives, with a total of at least 42 credits. This is a two-year program from the Keck School of Medicine and one of the best MPH programs in California. The mission of the program is to enhance students’ public health competency and skill using real cases from industry.

Students develop an understanding of the core values and concepts of public health, along with its history and philosophy. Students receive a foundation of public health concepts and issues, including ethics; health disparities, systems of care, as well as global health and policy, and environmental health. USC’s California MPH programs introduce students to beneficial strategies to put into effect for a positive impact on public health, including advocating for policy changes, effective leadership, and quality planning and constructive evaluation of programs. Students learn the fundamentals of biostatistics, along with the proper use and misuses of health statistics.

Degree: MPH
Format: On-Campus and Online

6. University of California, San Diego – Institute for Public Health

The University of California, San Diego’s MPH program offers two specializations at its La Jolla campus. This is a new program for UC San Diego, with the first semester beginning in Fall 2018. It is a full time, intense program which take about two years to complete with both thesis and capstone options. Students will receive excellent instruction from highly qualified professionals, as well as hands on experience of public health practice in the local community. This new addition to California MPH programs is already one of the best MPH programs in California.

UC San Diego’s MPH program gives students a strong foundation in Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health Sciences, Health Policy and Management, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. This program focuses particularly on key pieces of public health in the 21st century. The program utilizes the knowledge and experience of the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health to address concerns like climate change, mental health, and data science.

Degree: MPH – 2 specializations
Format: On-Campus

7. San Diego State University – School of Public Health

San Diego State University’s MPH degree comes from from a top public health school in California with five concentrations, Biometry, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Health Management & Policy, and Health Promotion & Behavioral Science, in their MPH degree program. The Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics offers the MPH degree with concentration in Biometry. Students gain a foundation in public health issues and methodology and statistics. Students learn how to apply the application of statistical methods to their analysis of data about public health. The MPH in Environmental Health contains courses in the study of environmental health, food sanitation, public health disciplines and public health training.

San Diego State University is one of the nation’s most diverse universities, and California MPH programs require diversity. SDSU is particularly known for their focus on human services, healthcare, and public policy, as well as their service to the community. The SDSU School of Public Health began in 1980 and adds one of the best MPH programs in California to the mix.

Degree: MPH – 5 concentrations
Format: On-Campus (one concentration online)

8. California State University, Long Beach – College of Health and Human Services

The California State University Long Beach MPH in Community Health Education is one of the best MPH California has to offer. CSU strives for excellence in education by providing accredited, quality broad based educations. They expand their regular programs with internships and training giving students greater opportunity for employment. The MPH in Community Health Education gives students experience in critical thinking and industry knowledge, along with hands on experience.

The Master of Public Health in Community Health prepares students to specialize in community health education as it relates to public health. The degree program trains students to study social behaviors in an effort to make programmatic changes to improve community health. Students are prepared for positions instructing at the college level or positions in public and private health, making for one of the best MPH programs in California.

Degree: MPH – Community Health Education
Format: On-Campus

9. University of San Francisco – School of Nursing and Health Professions

The University of San Francisco MPH degree program offers three concentrations; Behavioral Health, Community and Public Health Practice, and Health Policy Leadership. Their MPH program’s mission is to help students become public health leaders who promote community engagement, professional collaborations, and public health advocacy. One of the state’s most respected universities, USF has also made one of the best California MPH programs for the 21st century.

Behavioral Health enables students to focus on behavioral health issues in local and global communities while integrating evidence-based, theory-informed, integrated and holistic, social justice approaches. Students receive training in behavioral health, health promotion, and health care delivery to all. Community and Public Health Practice prepares students for jobs in the public health field by studying public health issues globally. Students study sexual, mental health, health economics, food nutrition, and global health. Health Policy Leadership provides students clinical concentrations to prepare them for jobs in public health policy, management and leadership, and global health.

Degree: MPH – 3 concentrations
Format: On-Campus

10. San Jose State University – College of Health and Human Sciences

One of the best MPH programs in California, from San Jose State University is offered on campus through regular sessions and online through International and extended studies. These sessions offer flexibility and the ability to finish their degree in two or more years, if need be. San Jose State has also been noted as one of the top institutions for community public health.

Students will gain an understanding of health education and public health competencies, become advocates for health equity and change existing policy. They will learn how to create better programs and gain a strong foundation in conceptual frameworks. San Jose’s program integrates teaching, service, and research blended with networking with community programs and partners. The mission of the program is change public health through social justice with a planned and empowering community.

Degree: MPH
Format: On-Campus and Online

11. California State University, Fullerton – Department of Public Health

California State University, Fullerton’s MPH degree program offers flexible scheduling options. Students have the option of attending evening or late afternoon classes. This MPH California degree program permits degree candidates to gain hands-on experience as research assistants. Additionally, there are three tracks: Environmental & Occupational Health, Gerontological Health, and Health Promotion & Disease Prevention.

Cal State Fullerton was established in 1957 and currently has the largest student enrollment of the 23 schools that comprise the California State University system. Its 236-urban campus is home to more than 40,000 students. Cal State Fullerton is recognized as an institute of higher learning that services the Hispanic population. Both Forbes and US News & World Report nationally recognize Cal State Fullerton as a top public health school in California. Cal State University’s MPH program has received accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Degree: MPH
Format: On-Campus

12. National University – School of Health and Human Services

The School of Health and Human Services offers National University’s California MPH programs at their San Diego campus and online. Students attending one of the best MPH programs in California graduate with the skills to help improve the health care community in which they work. Coursework is offered in 4-week classes. Graduates must complete 72-quarter units to earn the MPH degree. Specialization is available in Mental Health, Health Promotion, and Healthcare Administration. For those pressed for time, students have the option to complete their coursework entirely online.

National University is the flagship institution of higher learning of the National University system. The school was founded in 1971. The university offers programs throughout California, online and in Nevada. National University’s degree programs are designed for adult learners. Its online and 28 campuses serve nearly 24,000. National University’s MPH program has received accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Degree: MPH
Format: On-Campus and Online

13. California State University, San Bernardino

California State University, San Bernardino’s Master of Public Health degree program, from the College of Health Science & Human Ecology, is designed for healthcare professionals seeking an advanced career in public health. CSUSB is recognized as one of the best MPH programs in California. The College of Health Science & Human Ecology aligns with the following values: Advocacy, Professionalism, Innovation, Equity, and diversity, among others. CSUSB’s MPH program graduates must complete 45-quarter units to earn the MPH degree.

California State University, San Bernardino is a public, space-grant school founded in 1965 by the state’s legislature. European CEO magazine recognizes Cal State San Bernardino as one top business schools across the globe. Its 440-acre main campus is home to more than 20,000 students. The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredits California State University, San Bernardino’s California MPH programs.

Degree: MPH
Format: On-Campus

14. California Baptist University

California Baptist University’s MPH programs is available with flexible on-campus classes. Classes take place only two times per week and in the evenings. Degree graduates must complete 48-units within a 2-year timeframe to earn their MPH California degree from Cal Baptist. Coursework offers student 2 academic tracks: Health Policy & Administration, and Health Education & Promotion. Students have the opportunity to earn membership to national health education honor society, entitled Eta Sigma Gamma.

California Baptist University was established in 1950 as a Christian institution of higher learning. The school is affiliated with the California Southern Baptist Convention. Cal Baptist’s school motto is Live Your Purpose. Cal Baptist’s main campus of 160-acres is home to more than 10,000 students. US News & World Report recognizes California Baptist University as a Best Regional University. CBU is notable among California MPH programs for its focus on Christian ethics and service.

Degree: MPH
Format: On-Campus

15. California State University, Northridge – College of Health and Human Development

California State University, Northridge’s MPH degree comes from the CEPH-accredited College of Health and Human Development. This MPH California program prepares graduates to enter the workforce as a public health professional ready to solve the healthcare care needs of the world. Students have the option of selecting from choosing one of two academic concentrations: Applied Epidemiology and Community Health Education. Its 42-unit California MPH programs are generally completed in 2 ½ years.

California State University, Northridge was established in 1958. Cal State Northridge holds the distinction of having the largest student body of undergraduate students. The school’s suburban campus is about 350 acres and home to nearly total 40,000 students. Cal State Northridge ranks 10th in the country, regarding the number of undergraduate degrees bestowed upon the country’s most underrepresented minorities. Cal State Northridge is ranked among the best MPH programs in California.

Degree: MPH
Format: On-Campus

16. California State University, Fresno – College of Health and Human Services

California State University, Fresno’s MPH degree comes from the Department of Public Health in the College of Health and Human Services. Fresno State is ranked as a top Public Health School in California and accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). On-campus coursework focuses upon the varied needs of the diverse populations located in the Southwest United States. The California MPH programs offered by Fresno State are completed in three years. A student’s education culminates in either a capstone project or a thesis.

California State University, Fresno was established in 1911 and is one of the schools within the California State University system. Fresno State offers distinctive facilities that include grape and raisin vineyards, a planetarium, a university farm, and a nationally ranked Equestrian Team. Fresno State’s 388-acre campus is home to nearly 25,000 students.

Degree: MPH
Format: On-Campus

17. Loma Linda University – School of Public Health

Loma Linda University offers California MPH degrees through their School of Public Health (SPH). Loma Linda graduates seeking an MPH California degree can select from five areas of concentration, either online or on-campus. They include Global Health, Health Education & Wellness Coaching, Epidemiology, Population Medicine, and Nutrition with a Coordinated Program in Dietetics. To graduate, students must complete a 400-hour practicum in the student’s choice of a community organization, a hospital, or a local health department. The practicum offers students the chance to apply the knowledge gained in the LLC classrooms.

Loma Linda University was established in 1905 and is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) has accredited Loma Linda University’s School of Public Health. LLC’s School of Public Health is within a stone’s throw of size other public health institutions of higher learning, allowing for interdisciplinary coordination among programs.

Degree: MPH – 5 concentrations
Format: On-Campus and Online

18. Charles R Drew University

Some top California MPH programs from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science are offered through their College of Science and Health. Drew U specifically offers an MPH program dedicated to Urban Health Disparities and serving the needs of underserved populations. The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredits Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. Drew U’s MPH California degree program follows the school’s tradition of civility, honesty, transparency and ethical practices. Coursework to be completed includes 45-credit evening hours during five semesters.

Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science was established in 1966. It is recognized as both an institution of higher learning that serves minorities and a Historically Black University (HBCU). Drew U is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The school was chartered in response to the Watts Riots that occurred in 1965.

Degree: MPH – Urban Health Disparities
Format: On-Campus

19. Claremont Graduate University – School of Community & Global Health

Claremont Graduate University’s MPH degree program, from the School of Community & Global Health, is intended for students seeking a career in the field of healthcare to promote healthy living and disease prevention in international settings. On-campus coursework includes 48-units which require two years to complete. Degree graduates attending this MPH California program have the option to select from several areas of concentration. Students choose from Applied Biostatistics & Epidemiology, Health Promotion, leadership & Management, and Education & Evaluation. California MPH programs, like CGU’s prepare graduates for impactful roles of leadership in the challenging field of health care.

Claremont Graduate University was established in 1925 as part of the world-renowned Claremont Colleges. It is located about 35 miles to the east of Los Angeles, CA. The school is recognized as the oldest university of only graduate studies. Through the Pacific Rim Global health Framework, Claremont Graduate University students participate in partnership organizations from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, Bangladesh, and the United States.

Degree: MPH
Format: On-Campus

20. Touro University California

Touro University California’s MPH degree program has received accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Degree graduates attending this on-campus program have the option to select from two academic tracks: Global Health and Community Health. In addition to the concentration coursework, students must successfully complete the core disciplines of one of the best MPH programs in California: Health Policy & Management, Biostatistics, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Epidemiology, Environmental Health Science, and Health Policy.

Touro University California was established in 1997 and is located in the San Francisco Bay area in mid to Northern California. Touro University has been established on the following values: Inter-professionalism, Respect, Service to Society, Intellectual Inquiry, and Student-Centric education.

Degree: MPH – 2 concentrations
Format: On-Campus

What are the Requirements to Get Into a MPH Program?

Obtaining a Masters in Public Health offers opportunities for a career in the medical and health field. The challenge is getting the degree and obtaining your education to prepare for your future. When you want to work on a degree program in California, you will need to start with learning the requirements to get into a program.

When you are looking at MPH admissions into a college or university in California, you will notice that standards differ based on the specific educational institution. MPH programs California no GRE differ from programs that require a GRE, so evaluate the details before you assume that you will get into the program.

In general, you will need to provide transcripts from your undergraduate program and details about your grades. You may need to meet a minimum standard for your grades, but the details about GPA standards differ for each university or college. Students will also need to provide a copy of their resume with a cover letter, recommendation letters, and a personal statement. Some universities may ask for details about your financial situation to determine if you may qualify for certain financial aid opportunities. In many cases, colleges and universities will ask for a GRE and may ask for the results of a TOEFL exam if you are a foreign student.

How Hard is it to Get Into an MPH in California ?

The difficulty of getting into MPH programs in California depends on the college or university. At the public university UC Berkeley, public health major students may find that they need to meet different standards when compared to other colleges. As a private institution, USC MPH acceptance rate is kept very tight as a way of making sure students get the most out of their resources, and keeping the USC name elite.

When you are looking at the Berkeley MPH acceptance rate, or the acceptance rate for any other California university, you will want to focus on evaluating their standards. The university may have a limited number of spaces for students, so you want to make sure you meet or exceed their minimum standards. The admission standards set the foundation to determine if you have an opportunity in a specific university.

Keep in mind that programs may emphasize specific areas of public health, so you may need to specialize in a particular field. Colleges and universities with specialized courses may take in more students when compared to programs with general studies.

How Much Will It Cost?

The costs of a MPH degree in California depend on the university and their tuition standards. USC MPH online tuition will usually cost less when compared to traditional college programs. The key is looking up the details about UC Berkeley MPH tuition and related costs before you assume that you can afford a specific college or university.

As a general rule, colleges and universities will charge based on the number of credits you take each semester. Online programs may focus primarily on the credits while traditional colleges may charge per semester with a number of classes in each semester. The exact method of charging tuition will vary based on the college or the university.

When you look into the specific costs of a university or college, keep in mind that tuition is only part of the expense. You may need to add fees and other costs based on the classes and their standards. For example, a class may require a lab fee or you may need to file an application fee when submitting your application for admission. Do not ignore additional fees, since they do add to the costs of your degree program. You should also consider financial aid options available through the college or university, such as an internship or a fellowship, since it can help cut back on the costs.

Getting a Masters in Public Health is a process that starts with admissions. You want to make sure you meet the standards of the college or university to increase the chances of getting accepted into the program. By clarifying the standards early and checking into the costs, you can avoid complications with your application and increase the chances of getting into a program.