Best Online Masters in Public Health Programs
By Staff Writer

best online mph programs 2015

Distance education is designed to provide greater access to education to working professionals and to people who are unable to commute to or live on campus. CEPH certified online MPH curricula must meet minimum requirements set by the Council. These include a minimum of 42 credit hours and a supervised culminating experience. The culminating experience is completed as a field placement or practicum and/or capstone project. Less common is a master’s thesis, though some programs offer this option for students intending to pursue an advanced degree. A few programs also require students to pass a proctored comprehensive examination in order to earn the MPH.

Featured MPH Programs

Why Choose an Accredited Program?

This ranking includes a mix of accredited schools of public health and programs of public health. The difference in the MPH accreditation process is that, for school accreditation, the institution is reviewed as a whole, whereas for program accreditation, a subset of the institution (such as a program or department) is reviewed. Learn more about CEPH accreditation (Council on Education for Public Health) and read through their thorough FAQ section for prospective MPH students.

Some fellowships and some employers (such as the US Public Health Service, many US military public health jobs and some state and local government agencies) require a degree from a CEPH accredited program or school. The national credentialing exam by National Board of Public Health Examiners is only open to graduates of accredited schools or programs.

How Do You Get You Numbers?

MPHonline’s methodology of determining rank placement is based on Affordability + Reputation and sometimes ROI (if salary data is available). The initial pool usually will include a couple hundred schools; from there we put the data through a formula to generate a ranked list. With this particular ranking, online availability was a leading factor as well U.S. News rankings (if applicable), various IPEDS data points- (student to faculty ratio, tuition) and finally if the institution holds CEPH accreditation.

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

The School of Public Health at Berkeley is one of the oldest in the nation. It was founded in 1943 and was the first School of Public Health west of the Mississippi. It is also the only top ten school not housed in a medical campus, but it partners closely with the University of California – San Francisco. With more than 12,000 alumni working across all health sectors all over the world, Berkeley graduates are building a legacy of impact and innovation.

The 42-credit Generalist MPH that is mostly online but requires two one-week on campus sessions. Core courses are the same as the on-campus program, and it is recommended students complete two courses per semester. Berkeley has the advantage of being located near Silicon Valley, providing cutting edge collaborations, and has a history of 70 years of leadership and excellence in public health education.

#2. Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health

JHU was among the very first schools of public health to be accredited by the CEPH. In response to a CDC call for proposals to create online education for CDC staff, it offered the nation’s first fully online Masters of Public Heath program. Students have a number of concentration areas to choose from, including Bioethics and Human Rights, Child and Adolescent Health, Clinical Trials, Computing Tools for Public Health Research, Data Analysis, Demography, Disaster and Refugee Health, Health Economics, Epidemiologic Study Design and Management, Evaluation and Quality Improvement, Food and Nutrition, HIV/AIDS, Infectious Diseases, Pharmacoepidemiology, Reproductive Health, Risk Sciences, and US Health Policy.

#3. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health

UNC-Chapel Hill was the fourth school of public health and the first state school of public health. Preference for admission to the Global Online MPH is given to applicants with 3-5 years of professional experience. Prospective students apply to one of three available tracks for the 42-credit online MPH: Global Online MPH (GO MPH), Occupational Health Nursing (requires a nursing degree), or Public Health Leadership.

#4. Loma Linda University, School of Public Health

Loma Linda University has provided education in public health for several decades, and began offering the program online in 2004. The faith-based University’s mission is “to bring hope, health, and healing to communities throughout the world through the discovery and dissemination of knowledge while integrating the Christian values of the Seventh-day Adventist Church”. The interdisciplinary SPH is comprised of three academic centers and eight public health concentrations. Students complete a 56-credit curriculum in Public Health Practice or in Health Education.

#5. Tulane University, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Tulane University, located in New Orleans, LA, is the oldest school of public health in the United States and the only one that is combined with tropical medicine. It was established with a special focus on tropical diseases. Many of the courses are live and interactive. The 42-credit online MPH offers specialization in Industrial Hygiene, Disaster Management, and Occupational Health & Safety Management.

#6. (tie) Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health

Emory University is located in what is referred to as the “Public Health Capital of the World“, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Cancer Society headquarters are based. The 42-credit curriculum offers concentrations in Applied Epidemiology, Applied Public Health Informatics and Prevention Science and is typically completed within six years. Although students complete the majority of the program online, students are required to participate in two on-campus sessions per semester.

#6. (tie) University of Alabama – Birmingham, School of Public Health

The online MPH at the University of Alabama – Birmingham offers a number of tracks to choose from: Environmental Health & Toxicology, Epidemiology, Health Behavior, Health Care Organization, Industrial Hygiene, Maternal & Child Health Policy & Leadership, and Occupational Health and Safety. Research opportunities range from “from community organization in the Black Belt regions of rural Alabama to understanding the dynamics of the HIV epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa.” The 42-credit program is housed in the largest academic health center in the southeast.

#8. University of Illinois – Chicago, School of Public Health

UIC offers the fully online MPH in Community Health Sciences, Health Policy and Administration, and is the only accredited school to offer a concentration in Public Health Informatics. No campus visits are required, and materials are accessible to students on their own time rather than live. Examples of their unique ongoing projects include Curbing Violence and Shootings in Chicago, CHEERing on Chicago’s Waterways, Surveying the Stigma of Being Gay in the Latino Community, and Leaving No Mother Behind.

#9. University of Iowa, College of Public Health

The online MPH at the University of Iowa is for practicing veterinarians, therefore a degree in veterinary medicine is a prerequisite. The program is mostly online but requires two on campus sessions, one week at the University of Iowa and one week at Iowa State University. The 42-credit curriculum offers veterinarians an opportunity to enhance their careers while they continue to work.

#10. University of Massachusetts – Amherst, School of Public Health

The online MPH at UMass is offered in Public Health Practice (42 credits) and in Nutrition (44 credits). Students in Public Health Practice come from a variety of backgrounds and bring 3-5 years of professional experience. Students admitted to the Nutrition track have either an advanced degree or 2 years of professional public health experience. Note that the MPH in Nutrition does not prepare students to sit for the Registered Dietitian exam. The Departments of Public Health and Nutrition at UMass have a long history and date back to 1938 and 1945, respectively.

#11. California State University at Northridge, College of Health and Human Development

Prospective students interested in a career in public health education may consider the program at Califfornia State University at Northridge. The 42-credit program leads to an MPH in Community Health Education and includes weekly, evening live online sessions, offering an opportunity to interact with peers and instructors in real time. Students enter and complete the program as a part of a cohort, offering a consistent learning community and opportunity for networking and fostering long term professional relationships.

#12. University of South Florida, College of Public Health

The University of South Florida’s College of Public Health emphasizes health equity and smart urban growth. The online MPH is offered in seven concentrations: Public Health Practice; Public Health Administration; Global Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief & Homeland Security; Epidemiology; Infection Control; Health, Safety & Environment; and Social Marketing. Specific requirements for each concentration can be found in the MPH Guidebook.

#13. George Washington University, Milken Institute School of Public Health

The MPH at GWU is the only program offered in the nation’s capital and attracts students from almost every state and around the world. The online program is 45 credits and incorporates live discussions, offering distance-learning students an opportuntiy to interact in real time. Prospective students choose among concentrations of Health Communication, Health Policy, Program Planning & Evaluation and Global Health.

#14. Medical College of Wisconsin, Institute for Health and Society

MCW’s program is known for its training in occupational medicine, the first concentration to be offered through the College. The program was born from a grant received in 1982 to develop distance learning continuing education for professional development. Today, students complete the 42-credit curriculum to earn a generalist MPH. Course materials are available online anytime and do not require students to be online at any specific time.

#15. University of Arizona, Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health

The 42-credit online MPH at the University of Arizona offers concentrations in Applied Epidemiology, Health Services Administration and Health Promotion. Half of the coursework for each track is specific to the chosen concentration. It is the only accredited college of public health in Arizona, and prides itself in being in the “Top 5 in American Indian and Hispanic graduates among U.S. public health schools”.

#16. (tie) Idaho State University, Kasiska School of Health Professions

The online MPH at ISU is a Generalist focus and was designed to make public health training accessible to working individuals as well as those in rural areas that are unable to attend classes at the Meridian and Pocatello campuses. The 48-credit curriculum offers the option to complete either a project or a thesis in the culminating experience. Courses are not held live and materials are available at any time during the course.

#16. (tie) University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health

The University of Nebraska has offered distance education for over 100 years. The online MPH is offered in three concentrations: Biostatistics, Environmental & Occupational Health, and Public Health Practice. Strategic priorities for the College of Public Health include exceptional student experience, cancer prevention and control, community-based health transformation, and health system transformation.

#18. Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica and School of Public Health of Mexico

The Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (INSP), or National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, was created in 1987, bringing together research, education and training with Mexico’s Ministry of Health. It is a collaboration of the Mexican School of Public Health, the Population Health Research Center and the Infectious Disease Research Center. Course materials are all available online, and students meet for a 2-hour live session each week. The online MPH is offered as a Generalist or Biostatistics & Information Systems concentration.

#19. San Jose State University, College of Applied Sciences and Arts, Department of Health Science and Recreation

Public Health at San Jose State University started out as a Recreation program that became one of the first MPH programs that was not housed within a school of public health. The 42-credit program in Community Health Education have many opportunities to interact with peers and instructors through web conferencing and live sessions. Courses are taken sequentially over two years and students are required to attend campus once per year.

#20. University at Albany – SUNY, School of Public Health

The University at Albany – SUNY partners with the New York State Department of Health to offer the online MPH concentration in Public Health Practice. The 51-credit program is fully online with no in-person requirements. Enrollment for most courses is capped at 25 students, allowing for a more personalized experience.

#21. Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University

These two schools have collaborated for over 20 years to provide public health education, and are currently working toward accreditation as a combined school of public health. The 58-credit online MPH in Primary Healthcare & Healthcare Disparities is offered through the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing. Students wishing to earn their MPH through this program are required to sit for and pass the Certified Public Health (CPH) exam, a new requirement as of the 2014-2015 year and unique among MPH programs.

#22. East Tennessee State University, College of Public Health

By East Tennessee State University [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By East Tennessee State University [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Although the College of Public Health is relatively new, ETSU has a long history of providing training in Health Education with a focus on rural communities in the central Appalachian region. It was one of the first programs to offer an undergraduate degree in health education. The Environmental Health department is one of the longest existing programs to offer bachelors and masters degrees in that specialty. Today, the 43-credit degree is offered in Community Health, Epidemiology, and Health Services and Administration with the option of earning a certificate in Biostatistics, Epidemiology or Healthcare Management. Students have the option of attending courses live or accessing them at a later time.

#23. (tie) Augusta University (formerly Georgia Regents University), College of Public Health

The online MPH at Augusta is offered through a collaboration of the College of Allied Health Sciences and The Graduate School at Augusta University. The program partners with the Georgia Regents Health System, the Georgia Regents Medical Center, the East Central Health District and the Georgia Department of Public Health to offer opportunities for collaboration in research as well as internship placements. The 45-credit program is offered with a concentration in Health Informatics, Health Management, Environmental Health, or Social and Behavioral Sciences.

#23. (tie) University of Florida, College of Public Health & Health Professions

The online MPH in Public Health Practice or Social & Behavioral Sciences requires 48 credits, but individuals with health-based doctorate degrees can complete the program in an accelerated 42-credit format. All courses and materials are available on demand rather than live, but individual courses may offer live office hours. The college serves locally through community-based efforts and internationally through a program called Service Plus — “a model that incorporates education and research into efforts to improve the lives of the people in other countries, including Haiti, Kenya, Nicaragua and Mexico.”

#25. University of Alberta, School of Public Health

The University of Alberta School of Public Health is currently the only CEPH certified school of public health in Canada. It’s Centre for Health Promotion Studies is “a Canadian leader in research on socio-behavioural aspects of health.” The online MPH in Health Promotion can be completed in as little as two years or up to six years on a part-time basis. Students participate in classes through live webinars or by viewing recordings.

#26. West Virginia University, Robert C Byrd Health Sciences Center School of Public Health

The online MPH at West Virginia University is offered as a focus in Social and Behavioral Sciences. The 44-credit curriculum is offered in a thesis or a non-thesis option. The University collaborates with West Virginia State Legislature to engage communities state-wide, including the Appalachian region. WVU earned accreditation as a SChool of Public Health in 2015.

#27. University of North Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health

By Unthscnews (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Unthscnews (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The MPH Professional Option is a 42-credit online program that requires an advanced degree or at least 3 years of professional experience. In addition to meeting the needs of the communities of North Texas, the School of Public Health is focused on reducing health disparities in urban settings and is involved in addressing global health issues. An example of a project addressing the local community’s needs is Health Moms – Healthy Babies – Healthy Communities.

#28. (tie) East Virginia Medical School – Old Dominion University

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The online MPH is granted jointly by East Virginia Medical School and Old Dominion University – combining “a medical school perspective with that of a national leader in higher education.” The program was created in response to results of a survey of Department of Health employees who expressed a need for access to education in the workplace. The 43-credit curriculum offers concentration in Epidemiology or Health Promotion.

#28. (tie) New Mexico State University, Department of Public Health Sciences

The MPH at New Mexico State University is the only MPH program in New Mexico. The online option offers tracks in Community Health Education and in Health Management, Administration & Policy, both of which require 48 credits. The Community Health Education specialization is offered in both thesis and non-thesis options.

#28. (tie) Nova Southeastern University, School of Osteopathic Medicine

Nova Southeastern University’s online MPH is unique in that it is offered in a Generalist as well as a Generalist Spanish Language Option. Although the newer Spanish Language Option has not yet matriculated students, all faculty are bilingual. The college is committed to training professionals to address the health needs of underserved and multicultural populations. The 45-credit program is completed almost entirely online with the exception of on-campus orientation and exit seminars in South Florida.

#31. Mercer University, College of Health Professions

Mercer offers a fully online, 42-credit generalist MPH which can be completed in as little as two or up to five years. The program prides itself in delivering a “solid foundation of public health knowledge while providing a unique understanding of underserved and rural community-based health consistent with the program’s mission”. Mercer is committed to training students to meet growing public health challenges both locally and globally.

#32. Des Moines University, College of Health Sciences

Des Moines University was one of the first to offer a completely online MPH. The 45-credit Generalist degree is offered jointly through the colleges of Health Sciences, Osteopathic Medicine, and Podiatric Medicine and Surgery. Dual degrees are offered in collaboration with a J.D. or B.S. from Drake.

#33. University of West Florida, College of Health

The University of West Florida favors smaller class sizes and a dynamic learning environment. UWF offers a 42-credit Generalist online MPH. Students may complete the program on a part-time basis, but are required to enroll in at least 12 credits per year.

#34. University of Montana, School of Public and Community Health Sciences

The online MPH at the University of Montana is a 42-credit Generalist focus. Faculty work with tribal communities to examine health disparities faced by American Indian communities, as the largest minority population in Montana represents 12 tribal nations. The goal of the School is to train graduates to address “unique challenges resulting from the intersection of rural and global public health issues.”

#35. Florida A&M University Institute of Public Health, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

FAMU’s MPH program is unique in that it is the only one offered through a college of pharmacy. It was also the first online MPH to be offered at an HBCU. The 50-credit curriculum is offered in Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Environmental & Occupational Health, Behavioral Science & Health Education and Health Policy & Management.

#36. A.T. Still University, College of Graduate Health Studies

A.T. Still University (ATSU) was the first college of osteopathic medicine in the U.S. It remains committed to this heritage of whole person healthcare by training entry and mid-level healthcare professionals to become leaders in healthcare administration. ATSU is made up of six schools: Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, Arizona School of Health Sciences, Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, College of Graduate Health Studies, and Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health. The 64-credit online MPH is offered in Generalist and Dental Public Health concentrations and as a dual degree for those earning a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) or (DMD) degree.

Featured MPH Programs


The following schools were not included in this ranking due to a lack of data. Prospective applicants are encouraged to also look into these online MPH programs.

NR. University of Minnesota

School of Public Health

The SPH at the University of Minnesota has been ranked in the top 10 schools of public health for the last 60 years and ranks 3rd in NIH funding. The 42-credit “advanced standing” online MPH is offered in Maternal and Child Health and is rooted in principles of social justice. Applicants must hold an advanced degree or possess at least 3 years of professional experience.

NR. University of South Carolina

Arnold School of Public Health

The University of South Carolina offers the online MPH in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior. In 2000, Norman J. Arnold and Gerry Sue Arnold endowed the school, making it the first public institution of public health to be named. The 45-credit program takes 22-24 months to complete and is intended for practicing health professionals. Courses are not live but are designed to be interactive.

NR. Northern Illinois University

School of Nursing and Health Studies

The School of Nursing and Health Studies at Northern Illinois University combines the programs of nursing, public health and health education. Students have the option of specializing in either Health Promotion or Health Services Management. The 46-credit curriculum offers the option of completing a thesis.

NR. University of Southern California

Keck School of Medicine

The University of Southern California prides itself as “one of the world’s leading private research universities.” Students at USC can choose from four tracks: Biostatistics & Epidemiology, Health Education & Promotion, Global Health Leadership, or GeoHealth. The 47-credit online MPH can be completed in as few as two and up to five years.

NR. New York Medical College

School of Health Sciences and Practice

New York Medical College prides itself in its “strong history of involvement in the social and environmental determinants of health and disease, and special concern for the poor, the powerless, and the helpless”. The online MPH at New York Medical College is offered in Behavioral Sciences & Health Promotion, Environmental Health Science, and Health Policy & Management. Each specialization requires at least 46 credits and can be completed on a full or part-time basis.

NR. University of New England

UNE Online

The University of New England is Maine’s largest private university and only medical and dental schools. The 46-credit Generalist online MPH curriculum can be completed in as few as 18 months. Student-centered learning is emphasized and is reinforced with dedicated student support specialists.

NR. Kent State University

College of Public Health

Kent State University was recently awarded CEPH accreditation as a College of Public Health. It offers a practitioner-focused, 46-credit MPH in Health Policy & Management. Courses can be completed in 24 or 27 months. The College of Public Health was specifically created to “educate and train students to meet the current and projected shortage of public health professionals in Ohio and the nation.”

NR. University of Alaska at Anchorage

Department of Health Sciences

UAA’s online MPH is unique in that it offers “a particular focus on the needs of Alaska and the circumpolar north”. The 42-credit program is offered online but requires one trip per year to the Anchorage campus. As part of the culminating experience, students may choose between a project practicum and a thesis practicum.

NR. Northeastern University

Bouve College of Health Sciences

The Bouve College of Health Sciences offers an online MPH in Urban Health with the objective “to provide society with knowledgeable, professionally-educated, racially and ethnically diverse individuals who promote and protect the health of urban communities through innovation in practice-oriented education, research, and service.” The non-thesis, professional degree requires 42 credits and can be completed on a full or part-time basis up to 5 years.

NR. Loyola University Chicago

Health Sciences Division

The online MPH at Loyola is “inspired by Loyola’s Jesuit tradition of justice and freedom of inquiry”. The interdiscipliary focus of the program creates opportunities for students to take courses through the Stritch School of Medicine, the School of Law, the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy, the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Institute of Environmental Sustainability. While students and instructors come from various backgrounds and traditions, “all are committed to the Jesuit heritage of promoting social justice”. The MPH in Public Health Policy & Management is 44 credits.

NR. Benedictine University

College of Education and Health Services

Benedictine University is a Catholic University founded in the Benedictine Tradition and has been graduating students in public health for 30 years. The generalist degree offers specialization through earning a certificate in Health Management and Policy, Emergency Preparedness, Health Education and Promotion, or Epidemiology.