The MPH degree is growing, mostly due to the emerging need for high-level professionals' expertise in achieving a healthier public, especially in the United States. According the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, so many public health professionals are retiring between now and 2020 that we will have a shortage of an estimated quarter-million public health positions (250,000 positions!).
The Institute of Medicine put some pressure on United States universities to add accredited public health and MPH programs, saying that the public health workforce must have appropriate education and training to perform its role in its report titled The Future of the Public's Health in the 21st Century. Many universities have brought or are bringing their MPH programs online, but it has been slower moving than necessary given the need for employment of public health professionals.
The Masters Degree in Public Health
At PublicHealthDegrees.org, we have gathered and compiled the most comprehensive database of MPH programs in the US to help with your search for a masters-level public health degree. We understand the need for more public health professionals, and with so many health factors going in the wrong direction in the US, we know the time is now. We have done more research on key programs and curricula, and have summarized below. To get directly in touch with an admissions representative from a program, simply click on the link to the school. Then, either input your contact information to get contacted, or browse their website for the contact information for the school of public health, and get in touch with them.
Consider featured accredited online Public Health programs seeking applicants for a Master's of Public Health:
- 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.
Complete your MPH in 12 months. GRE waivers available.
- UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health, the No. 1-ranked Public School of Public Health, offers an online Master of Public Health program, [email protected]. Earn your master’s degree in as few as 24 months. Part-time and full-time program options are available. GRE, GMAT or MCAT scores are required to apply.
Click for admissions information from OnlineMPH.UNC.edu
- MPH @ Simmons, the online Master of Public Health program from Simmons College, prepares students to become public health practitioners and address health inequity at a local, national, and global level. The program can be completed in 21 months. No GRE required to apply.
Click for admissions information.
About the Masters in Public Health Degree
A Master of Public Health - or MPH - is a fascinating option for those interested in health and health care on a broader scale than provider-to-patient care. The scope of an MPH degree is to prepare an individual to work with the general public or a population to improve health for all. This may include working for a government, non-profit organization, or a for-profit business. An MPH must choose one of the five core disciplines (also known as a track or concentration) to specialize in: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, Health Policy and Administration, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Not all of the disciplines may be offered in every school or program, and some programs offer more nuanced or specialized concentrations to choose from, so it is wise to conduct research on what the school offers before applying to determine which discipline an individual might be interested in. In each of these concentrations an individual will take core courses to gain a solid base of public health knowledge and then continue to take specialized courses in their chosen track. While most programs are a standard two year degree, some will offer extended or shortened time-frames for individuals to complete their degree in. Dual degree (MPH with MD, MBA, JD, etc.) options are also available to individuals in some schools or programs.
Consider a Featured Online Public Health Program
|School and Program Information||Online Program?||GRE Requirements||Time for Completion|
|George Washington University
Online MPH, Online MHI, Online MHA
|check_circle Online||GRE Waivers Available||As little as 12 months|
|University of North Carolina
The University of North Carolina's Gillings School of Global Public Health is an Accredited School of Public Health under the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
|check_circle Online||GRE, GMAT or MCAT scores required||As few as 20 months|
Develop the methodological, leadership, and advocacy skills needed to address health inequity during our 21-month program.
|check_circle Online||No GRE Required||As little as 2 years|
Typical Graduate Level Admissions Requirements for Master's in Public Health Program
The admissions requirements generally include a number of years' experience in a professional, health-related field, a standardized test score (GRE, MCAT, LSAT, etc.) letters of recommendation, a resume or CV and a personal statement. Each school will have a slightly different set of requirements for admissions, so it is important to work with an admissions advisor to ensure your application meets all the requirements.
Classes within a Master's in Public Health Degree
Once accepted, the course load will vary across programs, concentrations, and the amount of time a student chooses to complete their MPH. Using a standard two year degree as an example, a student will complete the core courses, based on the five concentrations, during their degree and often in the first year. These courses teach the principles of epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy and/or management, environmental health, and social and behavioral sciences (Example 1 and 2). After completion of these core courses an individual will continue to take courses in their concentration and elective courses.
Highlights of a Masters Degree in Public Health (MPH)
Most MPH programs especially ones accredited by the CEPH, require rigorous coursework, which is important considering the impact professionals with an MPH can have on communities and nations. There are a number of concentrations and specialties you can choose from - hundreds, in fact. If you have a good idea of what you want to research and study, your specialty should revolve around that. Otherwise, most MPH seekers do very well with the general public health or epidemiology concentrations.
Most popular concentrations for an MPH degree
Not surprisingly, by far the most popular specialty/focus for a masters in public health program are the general public health and epidemiology specialties. The next most common are up-and-coming MPH programs that tend to be focused around data, such as biostatistics, bioscience, and biotechnology. Women's health, community health, health promotions and policy, and health administration concentrations are also very popular.
Expect challenging but rewarding coursework
Because the implications of a public health professional are so critical and on such a large scale, coursework for an MPH degree is highly targeted and widely studied. There are "best practices" for much of the MPH coursework, particularly with CEPH-accredited MPH programs.
According to the ASPPH, MPH curricula requires at least 42 credit hours, and should be similar across most programs to ensure consistency in academics across multiple institutions. There are varied learning objectives based on specialty, but in general, knowledge, comprehension, application, and analysis are the key points of emphasis, and they should be heavily weighted on the specialization or concentration rather than the core public health coursework.
There are multiple opportunities for masters degrees in public health, the most common being the MPH (Masters in Public Health - the Online MPH is also the most offered Public Health program online). Most common Masters of Arts in Public Health, as well as Masters of Science in Public Health degree opportunities. The arts specialization mostly focuses on social and humanity issues, while the science option focuses mostly on statistics and data, as well as science-based studies. The ASPPH developed Learning Taxonomy Levels for Developing Competencies & Learning Outcomes Guide that covers how students should go about learning within the MPH domain.
Other Requirements for a Master Degree in Public Health
Two other requirements that MPH students will need to complete for their degree are a capstone and practicum. The capstone project or seminar is a culminating experience. Consisting of a paper with an oral presentation. The thought behind the capstone project is to have a student utilize all they have learned through their degree and apply it in one, organized method to show their level of compression and application. The second requirement is a Practicum Experience which provides the students with a field-based experience in which to apply their freshly learned skills and knowledge. This practicum experience must be in the scope of the concentration the student chose and often needs to be found by the student. These two experiences are preparatory for the student to enter into their chose field of public health.
Accredited MPH Programs by State
You can use the below list to find public health programs in each state. Go here to view online MPH programs.
Public Health Programs by State
Top Universities Offering MPH Degrees
Online MPH at the George Washington University (MPH @ GW)
The online Master of Public Health (MPH) program from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University (MPH @ GW) 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. Complete your MPH in 12 months. GRE waivers available.
Click here for admissions information.
Online MPH at the University of North Carolina (MPH @ UNC)
UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health, top-ranked on U.S. News' most recent list in 2015, offers an online Master of Public Health program, MPH @ UNC.
Admissions information at OnlineMPH.UNC.edu.
Online Master of Public Health at Simmons College
MPH @ Simmons, the online Master of Public Health program from Simmons College, prepares students to become public health practitioners and address health inequity at a local, national, and global level. The program can be completed in 21 months. No GRE required to apply.
Admissions information at Online.Simmons.edu.
The reputable Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health has multiple concentrations at all levels, and especially at the Masters level. It also offers a multitude of degrees online, and is even ranked a top 20 health school by US News & World Report. The Mailman School of Public Health is one of the oldest, built in 1922, and alum have worked in government, hospitals, education, and for private corporations. They even offer an accelerated MPH program for those looking to quickly obtain their MPH.
Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice has interesting MPH offers, including a number of dual degrees in areas such as MPH: Public Health and Nutrition and Dietetics and an MPH in Public Health and Social Work. SLU is accredited by the CEPH and is a member of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. Their Public Health and Social Work programs also hold high honors from US News & World Report, with top-25 rankings for each.
Public Health Career Opportunities as a Master's Degree Holder
The work available to an individual with an MPH is narrowed down by the concentration chosen, but can be varied and broad. For example, epidemiologists investigate a disease or health outcome, what the cause was and the spread of the disease. These positions are some of the highest paying positions available to those with an MPH and concentration in Epidemiology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they average $32.50 per hour, but are highly competitive jobs with a small job market. Community Health Workers are, on the other hand, highly sought after and have a high projected job growth. Individuals whose MPH was concentrated in health management, health policy, health education, or many other concentrations can often work as community health workers. The hourly rate for a community health worker is $16.70 per hour. Other careers available to an individual with an MPH include environmentalist, emergency response specialist, disease ecologist, health promotion program coordinator and medical writer to name a few.
Plenty of opportunities for MPH degree holders
Professionals holding Masters degrees in Public Health typically work within government and like organizations to help develop policies and conduct research, as well as help health organizations regulate the industry. They also work to create and improve educational programs for the masses, and help communities achieve health and growth as a whole.
Those with an MPH tend to have an abundance of career opportunities, especially in government or high-end private research companies or corporations.
A Master in Public Health provides a broad knowledge of public health, for specialization. It can be quite rewarding as a career and requires problem solving and ingenuity. It pairs well will other degree options and can stand on its own.