A Master’s in Public Health program helps give students both the scientific and management skills they need to lead teams and organizations focused on health care delivery and improvement. Students learn not only how the science works, but also the ways in which political, social, economic, and demographic factors can affect how health professionals deliver and patients receive health care treatments.
How Do I Apply?
All students applying to graduate programs need to start by preparing a personal statement of professional goals, typically two to three pages long. Students should also contact recommenders who can address their potential for graduate study and/or work in the field of public health. Certain programs may require the submission of standardized test scores, from either general graduate examinations like the GRE and GMAT, or from health-related exams, such as the MCAT. Students should verify if any of the programs they are interested in have work experience or doctoral degree requirements. Programs intended for mid-career professionals, such as Executive Master programs, generally require at least five years of full-time work experience in a relevant field. This can sometimes be replaced by having a relevant degree or certification, such as an MD or PharmD degree.
How Much Can I Earn?
The health care industry is one of the largest sectors of the United States’ economy. Health care makes up around 1/6th of the entire U.S. gross domestic product, and more than 11 million workers are employed in a health care-related field. MPH programs generally offer a number of specialization areas, which allows students to choose from a wide range of career options in areas such as epidemiology or biostatistics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, epidemiologists earn a median salary of almost $70,000 per year. They are also expected to see 5% growth in their job market over the coming year. As the health care industry continues to expand, jobs will continue to become more abundant and lucrative for students working in these important fields.
If you’re interested in Public Health, then check out our list of the 20 Best Master’s in Public Health 2020!
The University of California, Berkeley is the flagship campus of the University of California system. UC Berkeley has more than 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, offered to over 40,000 students. Berkeley was one of the 14 founding members of the Association of American Universities.
UC Berkeley offers an online Master of Public Health program, also referred to as its Professional Masters of Public Health Program. The program offers degrees of specialization for students that include Health Policy & Management, Community Health Services, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Spatial Data Science, and Global Health.
Berkeley’s MPH is structured as a 2-year and 1-semester program (roughly 27 months), though it is possible to graduate in only two years. Students begin by taking six required core/breadth courses, before moving on to interdisciplinary courses related to their areas of specialization and professional interest.
Program applicants are expected to have two years of full-time work experience before entering the program. Students must also have completed a statistics course as an undergraduate, with a grade of B+ or the equivalent. Applicants must submit GRE scores as a part of the admissions process.
Harvard University is a private research university located in Cambridge, MA. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It has an annual endowment of almost $40 billion.
Harvard’s online Master of Public Health in Epidemiology program is a part-time, hybrid format program designed for working professionals. The program includes multiple residency opportunities, including a 3-week, all-day intensive course covering epidemiology and biostatistics. There is also a 3-day capstone residency centered around students’ presentations of their final practicum projects.
Students complete 45 credit hours in the program, which includes courses such as Confounding Control, Ethical and Regulatory Issues in Human Research, and Design and Conduct of Trials in Preventive Medicine. The curriculum also dedicates five hours to the student’s MPH practicum.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of the oldest public universities in the United States, having been chartered in 1789. The school’s students, alumni, and sports teams are affectionately referred to as the Tar Heels. UNC Chapel Hill has been referred to as a “Public Ivy,” meaning it is a school that offers an Ivy League-quality education at a public university price.
UNC is home to an online Master of Public Health program where students attend live, weekly classes delivered through Chapel Hill’s interactive online campus. The program generally lasts between 20 and 36 months, depending on a student’s enrollment status. The credit requirement for the program is between 42 and 49 hours.
Students can pursue any one of the following four concentration areas: Leadership in Practice, Health Policy, Nutrition, or MPH/RD. The concentration a student chooses determines the credit requirement for the degree program. Each program begins with 12 hours of core courses, before diverting into elective and specialization coursework.
The program includes a required field placement for all students. For example, students in the Nutrition concentration are required to complete an internship as a part of their degree plan. This is paired with the Public Health Practicum, which allows students to prepare professional experience with academic learning and support.
The University of Washington is located in Seattle, which is why the school shares a number of historical ties and professional relationships with companies such as Amazon, Boeing, and Nintendo. The school has a number of accomplished alumni, including 20 Nobel laureates.
Washington offers students an online Executive Master of Public Health Program. It is a blended format program, combining online learning with in-person classroom experiences. There are six on-campus sessions required during the program, which students are generally able to complete in two years (seven quarters).
Washington’s MPH is a 63 credit hour program that includes a practicum course and either a capstone project or original thesis. On-campus sessions are completed at the Puget Sound Plaza, in downtown Seattle. On-campus sessions last three to five days each and help students to connect with peers, faculty, and public health professionals from the Seattle area.
Students entering the program generally have five years or more of professional experience in the field of public health. Relevant experience can include work in fields such as pharmacy, nursing, and clinic management, among others. UW also offers a Graduate Certificate program in Public Health Practice.
The University of South Florida is one of the three “preeminent” universities in the state of Florida. It is the fourth-largest public university in the state of Florida, with three separate campuses: in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota. USF is home to more than 50,000 students and 16,000 academic staff members.
USF’s online Master of Public Health program in Epidemiology is a 42 credit hour program, with coursework divided among MPH core (18 hours), concentration core (15 hours), and elective courses (9 hours). The MPH Core courses include Translation to Public Health Practice, Applied Learning Experiences, and Translation to Public Health Practice.
USF has a number of versions of the MPH program available for students to choose from. These include an MPH in Public Health Practice, Global Disaster Management, Infection Control, Social Marketing, Nutrition and Dietetics, and Health, Safety, and Environment. It also offers a graduate certificate in these fields, as well as in additional subjects such as Toxicology.
The University of Florida began in 1884 as the Florida Agricultural College, before eventually becoming a part of Florida’s university system shortly after World War II. Florida has its own Innovation Academy, which supports students interested in innovation, creativity, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Florida offers more than 25 majors that can include a minor in innovation.
UF offers an online Master of Public Health program made up of 48 credit hours of coursework. No campus visits are required as a part of the program. Courses are structured on a semester schedule, with course content delivered in an asynchronous fashion through recorded lectures. Examinations are administered through an online proctoring service.
Courses in the program are divided among 15 hours of public health core, concentration courses (15-21 hours), and the completion of a public health internship (5 hours). The remaining credits in the program are earned through individual seminar and elective courses. Students have seven years to meet graduation requirements.
Students who have a U.S.-awarded, health-based doctoral degree may request a 42-hour accelerated version of the online MPH program. Concentrations available to students in the MPH program include Public Health Practice and Social and Behavioral Science. All students complete a special project related to their internship experience.
New Mexico State University was founded as Las Cruces College in 1888. It is the oldest public institution of higher learning in New Mexico. Each year around the Christmas holiday, the school hosts a “Night of Lights.” During the event, students light more than 6,000 candles while accompanied by performances by the Las Cruces High School band.
NMSU has an online Master of Public Health program that can include a concentration in either Health Behavior and Health Promotion (HBHP) or Health Management, Administration, and Policy (HMAP). Online coursework is delivered in an asynchronous format, to accommodate any working proessional’s schedule.
The MPH degree requires 42 credit hours of coursework. There are 15 core credits, 18 concentration credits, three cultural foundation credits, and three field experience credits required. Students in the HBHP concentration choose between the thesis and non-thesis tracks. Courses common to both tracks include Health Program Planning and Public Health Finance and Budget Management.
New Mexico’s program is available in either the traditional, on-campus format or online via the school’s distance learning platform. The HMAP program concentration is only available for students completing the program online. New Mexico State also offers an online graduate certificate program in Public Health.
San Jose State University is located in downtown San Jose, CA. SJSU has the highest international student enrollment of any campus in the California State University system. A large number of students also end up in roles at Silicon Valley technology firms, which provide significant financial support to the university.
SJSU’s Master of Public Health program is a 42-unit, 24-month online degree program. Students meet on campus in San Jose once each year for 4-5 days, but complete the remainder of their program work online. Courses last between five and seven weeks and are taught sequentially, rather than concurrently.
Sixteen of the program’s credits are dedicated to Health Education Core courses; four credits are devoted to field work, and the remainder are public health core courses. Public health core courses include Health Services Organization, Principles and Skills of Health Administration, and Environmental Health.
Dartmouth College is an Ivy League university located in Hanover, NH. It was one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Dartmouth houses 40 academic departments, divided among five schools: the Graduate College, School of Medicine, School of Engineering, School of Business, and the original Undergraduate College.
Dartmouth offers a hybrid online and on-campus MPH program designed to be completed in 22 months. Dartmouth admits roughly 40 students in each cohort, with students coming from a wide range of backgrounds, such as researchers, policy analysts, and physicians. Students progress through the program taking one course at a time.
Students spend three weeks per year on the Dartmouth campus, where they interact face-to-face with peers and faculty. Students design and complete a practicum project as a part of the program. Courses include Enhancing Teamwork & Communication and Applied Improvement Methods.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana. The student body is made up of almost 50,000 students, including more than 15,000 postgraduates. The school’s annual endowment is over $3.5 billion. Its sports teams are referred to as the Fighting Illini.
UIUC is home to the country’s only 100% online master’s degree in Public Health Informatics. This degree requires 46 hours of coursework, as well as non-credit training in HIPAA research, Human Subjects Research, and Title IX training. The program’s main coursework is divided between School of Public Health courses and degree program core courses. Samples of each of these include Determinants of Population Health and Legal and Ethics Issues in Public Health Informatics. Students complete 28 hours of Informatics core courses and 18 hours of School of Public Health core courses. UIUC offers a joint degree program that pairs the MPH with a Master of Business Administration degree.
In addition to the MPH in Health Informatics, Master of Public Health programs in Community Health Sciences and Health Policy and Administration are also available, along with a doctoral program in Public Health Leadership.
Texas A&M was originally Texas A.M.C., or Texas Agricultural & Mechanical College. The school is home to the George Bush Presidential Library. It is one of six Senior Military Colleges, meaning that it maintains a full-time volunteer corps of military cadets who study alongside traditional undergraduate students.
Texas A&M offers an online Master of Public Health in either Epidemiology or Biostatistics, which can be completed in as few as two years. The program requires coursework such as Epidemiological Methods, Investigation and Control: Acute Public Health Events, and Applied Practice Experience.
Students complete two elective courses toward the end of the program, along with an Integrative Learning Experience Capstone. Applicants to the program are required to submit GRE scores, along with three letters of recommendation and a personal statement. A&M also offers a doctoral program in public health (DPH).
The University of North Dakota is the state’s oldest university and was established six years before statehood was granted. UND was the first school to offer a degree in unmanned aircraft systems operation, and it has one of the best men’s ice hockey teams in the country.
UND is home to an online Master of Public Health program that boasts a 100% graduate employment rate in health-related careers. Students in the program can specialize in either Population Health Research & Analytics, Health Management & Policy, or Indigenous Health. North Dakota’s Indigenous Health program is the only such program in the United States.
The North Dakota MPH is a 42 credit hour program designed to be completed in around 1.5-2 years on a full-time basis. Twenty-one credit hours are dedicated to MPH core courses, while the second half of coursework is dedicated to concentration courses and each student’s culminating experience.
Applications to the program are reviewed on a rolling basis, with students admitted for fall, spring, or summer matriculation, depending on when the application is submitted. Students attending the program part-time can generally meet the graduation requirements in three to seven years.
The George Washington University is often listed as one of the most politically active universities in the country. George Washington hosts a number of national and international politics events, including United States presidential elections and annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
George Washington’s Milken Institute of Public Health offers an online Master of Public Health program. The online MPH includes an option for one of six concentrations, which students can pursue through their elective courses. Concentration areas are: Global Health, Health Policy, Environmental and Occupational Health, Epidemiology and Public Health Research Methods, Health Communication, and Program Planning and Evaluation.
The MPH curriculum is made up of 45 credit hours. These credits are divided among public health core, program-specific core, elective, practicum, and culminating experience courses. Courses are generally delivered in 10-week modules, with four modules offered each year. Students can earn the MPH in two, three, or four years.
In addition to the online program, GW offers a 1-year intensive MPH, which requires students to enroll full-time and to complete roughly 11.5 credits per quarter. There is also an intensive MPH that can be completed in 18 months, where students take roughly 7.5 credits per quarter.
The University of Maryland is a public university located in College Park, MD. Maryland has connections to a number of government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, NASA, and Homeland Security. The Carnegie Foundation classifies UMD as a first-tier research university.
Maryland offers an online Master of Public Health degree program with an emphasis in Public Health Practice and Policy. The program is delivered through a blended learning format and can be completed in as little as 18 months. Students are required to attend six weeks of residency requirements during the program.
The 45 credit hours of MPH coursework includes courses on the principles of public health, public health practice and policy, and internship and capstone requirements. Students take a total of 16 courses in the program. Students can opt to complete a thesis instead of a capstone project, and doing so will satisfy one of their core course requirements.
San Diego State University’s mascot is the Aztec Warrior, formerly known as “Monty Montezuma.” SDSU has often been recognized as one of the most LGBT+-friendly campuses in the country. Notable alumni include NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and LBJ Space Center director Ellen Ochoa.
San Diego State’s online Master of Public Health program is intended for health care professionals who have at least three years of full-time work experience. The 18-month curriculum is designed to allow students to think critically about health-related behaviors, while still being able to pursue their careers.
This is a year-round program, with students completing two courses per 8-week academic session. There are 10 foundational public health courses, such as Health Program Planning and Assessment. Students also complete elective courses, along with an 18-hour field placement experience and a capstone project.
Florida International University is located in the Greater Miami area. It is the fourth-largest university in the United States, by enrollment, with more than 55,000 total students. FIU’s main campus is home to the International Hurricane Research Center. The school is also home to one of the Top Model UN teams in North America.
FIU’s online Master of Public Health program requires students to complete 45 credit hours of coursework. The program is designed to be completed in around 18 months. Coursework is divided among public health core, online general core, elective, and practicum/culminating experience courses.
Public Health Core courses include Public Health Statistics and Health Behavior and Public Health. The Online General Core covers topics such as health policy, health demography, and environmental health risk assessment. Students take three elective courses, such as Environmental Disaster and Human Health.
Students have up to six years to meet the requirements for graduation. Applicants to the program must have a minimum GPA of at least 3.0 in their final 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. The practicum requirement can be waived for students with at least three years of full-time work experience in a public health practice setting.
The University of Minnesota has played host to a number of important research innovations and discoveries. Some of the discoveries pioneered by faculty and alumni of the school include puffed rice, bone marrow transplants, and the use of hydrogen as a renewable energy source.
Minnesota is home to an online Executive Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice. The program can be completed in as few as 16 months, with the average student completing the program in around 3.5 years. All students in the online program receive in-state tuition rates.
The program is delivered in a hybrid format that combines on-campus summer institutes with web-based course instruction. Program applicants must hold an advanced degree (master’s or higher) in a health care field or a Public Health Certificate in Core Concepts with a GPA of at least 3.25.
Core courses in the program include required classes, such as Foundations of Public Health, Biostatistical Literacy, and Ethics in Public Health. Elective coursework in the program can be completed during the Public Health Institute, which is offered during the last week of May and early June. The institute offers courses such as Applied Critical Thinking in the Workforce.
USC’s student athletes are referred to as Trojans, which originates from a Los Angeles Times reporter’s 1912 column celebrating a come from behind win against Stanford. The school’s mascot is a horse named Traveler, who is ridden by an unnamed Trojan. They make appearances at the school’s home basketball and football games.
USC’s Keck School of Medicine offers a 42 credit hour online Master of Public Health program. Students choose from one of six concentration areas. The program can be structured so that students earn the MPH in just one year, though there is also a two-year version of the program available.
Students take two to four courses each term, depending on their enrollment status. Concentration areas include Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Community Health Promotion, and Global Health. Students with advanced professional degrees (such as an MD or PharmD) may also pursue a generalist track in the program.
In 2019, the University of Nebraska Medical Center was ranked No. 8 in the country by US World News & Report for having the best medical school specializing in primary care. The school was founded in 1880 and rapidly grew in the 1900s, with the addition of schools of pharmacy, dentistry, and nursing.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center offers a number of Master of Public Health degree options. These include concentrations in Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health Services Administration, and Maternal and Child Health, among others. Students are required to complete 42 credit hours in the program.
Core coursework covers Planning and Evaluation, Biostatistics, and Health Services Administration. Elective courses cover topics related to the area of specialization, such as Health Care Finance, in the Health Services Administration track. Nebraska also offers a number of graduate certificate programs in areas such as Maternal and Child Health.
Johns Hopkins is a private university located in Baltimore. The main campus has 10 colleges, spread across Baltimore and Washington DC, and JHU operates international centers in Italy, China, and Singapore. It has an annual endowment of over $4 billion and an overall student population of more than 26,000.
Johns Hopkins offers an online Master of Public Health program that can be completed fully online. Students must complete 80 credit hours of coursework, with courses split roughly evenly between core courses and electives. Core courses cover topics such as assessing population needs, biology and public health, and health equity.
Students are required to complete a practicum experience as a part of the program. This means students must spend at least 100 hours working on a career-relevant project at an established organization or agency. This can be completed all at once with one organization, or through a combination of experiences at different organizations.
Students applying to the program should have a minimum of two years post-baccalaureate, health-related work experience or a doctoral degree in a field related to public health. This work requirement can be fulfilled through experiences such as the Peace Corps, health policy journalism, or research work related to health.