The MPH degree is a degree made to prepare high-level professionals for the emerging need of achieving a healthier public, especially in the United States. According the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, many public health professionals are expected to retire between now and 2020 that the country expects to have a shortage of an estimated quarter-million public health positions (250,000 positions!).
The Institute of Medicine arguably 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, which is intended to equip individuals with the necessary tools need to fill healthcare occupations.
With the growing need of public health professionals and the United States’ concentration on public health education, it’s no wonder that the BLS has stated that employment of healthcare occupations in the U.S. is projected to grow by 18 percent from 2016 to 2026.
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 important health factors like reducing obesity and heart disease rates being such a focus in the U.S., 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 an MPH program, simply click on the link to the corresponding 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 a featured online master's in public health program, currently accepting applicants:
- 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
- The Master of Public Health (MPH) online program from Baylor University, [email protected], offers a specialization in Community Health. Improve quality of life in Texas communities and around the world. The program can be completed in as few as 18 months. No GRE required.
Learn more from [email protected]
- 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 an 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 typically 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 generally a standard two year degree, some programs will offer extended or shortened time-frames for individuals to complete their degree. Dual degrees, for instance an MPH with MD, MBA, or JD, etc., are options that are also available to individuals in some schools or programs.
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 appropriate requirements.
Courses within a Master's in Public Health Degree
The course load of a master’s in public health will vary across programs, concentrations, and the amount of time a student chooses to complete their degree. Using a standard two year MPH 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 often teach the principles of epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy and/or management, environmental health, and social and behavioral sciences (examples include John Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health and St. George's University School of Graduate Studies). 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)
All MPH programs, regardless if they are 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 have the propensity to do very well with the general public health or epidemiology concentrations.
Concentrations for an MPH degree
There are a variety of specialties/focuses for a masters in public health program, including general public health and epidemiology. MPH programs also tend to be focused around data, such as biostatistics, bioscience, and biotechnology. In addition, women's health, community health, health promotions and policy, and health administration concentrations are also among a fair amount of MPH programs
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 often highly targeted and widely studied.
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; one can argue 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 one of the most offered Public Health program online). Most often discussed are the Masters of Arts in Public Health and 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 a 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 in general 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 has chosen and often needs to be found by the student. These two experiences are prerequisites for the student to enter into their chosen 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
Featured 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.
Master of Public Health (MPH) Online from Baylor University
The service-oriented Master of Public Health online program from Baylor University is now accepting applications. Complete the program in as few as 12 months. GRE scores are not required.
Earn a Master of Public Health Online From Baylor
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, these professionals average $32.50 per hour, but the jobs they hold are highly competitive jobs typically within a small job market. Community Health Workers are, on the other hand, highly sought after and have a high projected job growth on average. 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 approximately $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.
Opportunities for MPH degree holders
Professionals holding masters degrees in public health typically work within government and relevant health-based organizations to help develop policies and conduct research, as well as help health organizations that are in charge of regulating 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 and the potential for advanced knowledge in a given 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.