With the emergence of online public health degrees steadily increasing over the past few years, partially due to the Institute of Medicine's report stating that there is currently a shortage of 10,000 public health physicians, as well as stating the need for more than 250,000 public health employees by the year 2020.
Many universities were challenged to create more opportunities for students to study public health. Because the area of study is so impactful, it is important to have a highly educated workforce. The vast majority of public health workers needed will require at least a masters-level degree, which is why many universities made the decision to work through their school of public health and bring their MPH program online.
We currently have over 35 colleges and universities that offer a public health degree online, or through a hybrid program (more on hybrid vs. online below). Through these almost 40 universities, you will find hundreds of online public health degree options, the majority being masters-level.
We also have featured programs in our database, where you can directly get in touch with universities offering a public health program online and get more information on their program. These are universities that are accepting applications for students right now, and they may be the right fit for you.
- The online Master of Public Health (MPH) program from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University ([email protected]) prepares public health professionals to make a difference in communities around the world, helping students succeed in advancing the health of populations locally and globally. The program is delivered through a dynamic blend of online interactions and real-world experience.
Click here for admissions information.
- Simmons' online Master of Public Health program, [email protected], is designed to give you the real-world skills you need to address health inequity on a local, national, and global scale. You'll learn core public health methodology, leadership, and advocacy skills needed to improve population health equity. No GRE required.
Online Public Health Degrees
With the multitude of resources available online, receiving a degree in public health is readily available. Public health, the science of improving health and safety in communities through education, policy, research and prevention, is a dynamic and diverse field of study. A degree in public health (certificate, Associate's, Bachelor’s,Master's or Doctorate) will prepare an individual to influence and maintain public health.
Why Public Health?
Since a degree in public health can lead to a variety of careers, (research, non-profit, government, health policy, community education, etc.) determining if a career in public health is the right choice may be difficult. When considering this option, it is important to remember that the corner stone of public health is education. This may be educating the general public, a specific demographic within a larger population, policy makers, governments and more. A strong motivation to keep populations healthy and safe is key to any career in public health.
Online vs. Hybrid Public Health Degrees
Some universities do not quite yet have the infrastructure to bring their public health program fully online. Thus, many schools decide to create hybrid programs. With these programs, students take some or the majority of their coursework online, but are required to go to the campus in order to complete at least part of their coursework. Public Health MBAs are very common to have hybrid programs. Many of the MBA programs require face-to-face interaction with peers in a more realistic business or ideation setting, which is why it works for them. This is not the case for every program, however.
Featured Online Public Health Programs
The following schools offer Public Health programs online, and are currently accepting applicants for their programs.
There are 4 different concentrations, 3 dual-degree options, and an accelerated track you can pursue with the Online Master of Public Health Program at Benedictine University. All MPH program tracks are CEPH accredited and online. An accelerated track is available, as well as three dual-degree options, so you can earn an MBA, Master of Science in Nutrition and Wellness or Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior in tandem with your MPH.
First Hand Experiences
Because of its inherent integration in the community, choosing a degree in public health via and online platform may not be suitable for everyone. An individual who will succeed in an online degree must be an individual with access to real-life experiences, easily self-motivated, and dedicated to their education. Many online degree's do not have the capability to provide in-person applications of what is learned. In Traditional education settings this can be achieved through classroom work, class "field trips" and student organizations. It is because these are harder to offer through an online platform that it is important for an individual considering an online degree to have access to these opportunities outside of education.
Employment and Accreditation
Although online degrees are becoming more mainstream, be aware that some employers may have a bias towards online degrees. It is important to make sure that the program being applied to is at a reputable institution. Some online programs are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CePH), an independent agency regulating public health education. Degree programs with a CePH accreditation will ensure a standard of quality in both classes and curriculum. Many employers (although not all) look specifically for individuals with degrees from CePH accredited schools.
The cost difference in tuition is not as clear cut as the benefits of attending an accredited school or program. While some online programs may cost less, others may cost more due to Non-State Residency, technology premiums, and miscellaneous fees. There are some cost savings aspects to online degrees such as transportation, no moving fees, and e-books. Only by fully researching and comparing programs side by side can one determine which option will cost more.
Whichever you choose between 100% online or hybrid is up to you, and it will result in an intelligent career choice for you since public health is a booming industry. It really comes down to your desire to commute to campus for several classes, or if you would rather take your classes and complete all of your homework online from your home or office using emerging technology.
What are the Typical Pre-Requisites for an Online PH Program?
Currently the most common degrees for public health offered online are certificates, Bachelor's and Master's programs. Doctorate and Associate programs, while available, are less common. The pre-requisites for online Public Health degrees will align with the pre-requisites for a traditional degree. This usually means a standardized test (ACT or SAT for Bachelor's, GRE for Master’s), high school or college transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume or CV, and a personal statement. Some certificates and Master's degree programs may also require a Bachelor's degree in public health or similar field for acceptance into the program.
Typical Online PH Curriculum & Classes
Similar to the pre-requisites, the curriculum and classes will be vary depending on the online degree and institution. For most degree programs (not certificates) there will be base, core courses that must be completed before electives or concentration classes may begin. If the school is CePH accredited core classes will consist of Health Policy, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, and public health concepts/theories. These are the main concentrations available to an individual in public health (although more may be available at certain institutions).
Helpful Info: Online Public Health Degrees
1. The online MPH degree is the most popular online public health program
By far the most popular degree offering in the public health space that is offered entirely online is the online MPH degree. Online MPH programs are prevalent in almost every state, with varying concentrations. With the IOM report stating that a quarter-of-a-million public health workers would be needed over the next decade, universities knew they would need to work with their school of public health to bring their programs online in order to meet the demand of the world to hire public health employees.
Because the public health industry makes such a large impact on mass demographics, whether it is a community/town, city, state, or world, advanced degrees are required for nearly every position. Many nurses that already have their BSN (bachelors of science in nursing) gravitate towards moving from one-on-one assistance and care-taking, to studying, researching, and coming up with solutions to help the health and well-being of communities. Both areas are extremely impactful and both are wonderful careers, but you can not argue with the impact you can have on a mass audience by being in the public health field.
2. You actually learn more by studying online vs. in a traditional university setting
According to a study on online learning by the US Department of Education, classes with online learning on average produce stronger student learning outcomes than classes with solely face-to-face instruction in the more traditional university setting. According to the study, the same goes for hybrid programs that incorporate at least some form of online learning.
Considering the emergence of technology in education (EdTech), it is becoming much easier and seamless for students to study online. Learning Management Systems are becoming super advanced, quicker internet speeds are making viewing videos or streaming lectures very common, and navigating websites or interactive activities is second-nature to most online degree seekers. EdTech is highly invested in by venture capitalists and the like, and even the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds grants for education and EdTech companies that they believe will continue to advance the area to make degrees accessible to the masses.
With students performing better and learning more in an online setting, it is a major positive for employers. With the government or government-impacting agencies mostly hiring public health officials, it is also a great move for the United States.
School Spotlight: BPH Degrees
Bloomberg School of Public Health
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is one of the most well-known schools in Public Health. It is known for its quality and diversity in education and student body, preparing students for global health problems. This institution offers certificates, bachelor’s and master's degrees online with the option of part-time. To learn more about the Bloomberg School of Public Health, visit
University of Illinois
The University of Illinois offers a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH in Leadership) entirely online. The total course load is 96 semester hours including a prior Master's degree and a Thesis. As most Doctorate programs, it is intended for public health practitioners who have significant experience they can apply their degree to. This program prepares individuals for career advancement in public health agencies and academic careers. Contact information for this degree can be found on their online catalog.
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University offers a Bachelor of Science in Public Health entirely online. Due to the nature of the BS degree, the focus of this degree is in the biological and social sciences with evidence-based practices. This degree will also expose individuals to statistics, anatomy and physiology, to have a comprehensive understanding of health. Learn more at snhu.edu.
See below and feel free to use our filters below to find all accredited online public health programs in the US, and be sure to contact us if we are missing a program.