Online Executive MPH Programs

There are many reasons why students pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH). Having an impact on public health initiatives, combatting health inequity and educating the public on life-threatening diseases are just a few. 

For those who seek scheduling flexibility in a degree program and are interested in more leadership-type roles within the public health field, an online executive MPH may be a good fit. Executive MPH programs generally explore organizational leadership and management, health policy and public health, and health systems. Online executive programs can meet the needs of individuals who work full-time or who cannot attend regularly scheduled on-campus classes due other constraints. These programs can help make advanced degrees a reality for many people who might otherwise not be in a position to apply for them.

Online MPH programs usually take students around two years to complete, and some even offer accelerated MPH programming that can be completed in as little as 14 to 18 months.

What is an Executive MPH?

Executive Master of Public Health programs are advanced degree programs primarily designed for professionals who are currently working in public health positions. Online executive MPH programs are an attractive option to many people because they allow them to earn their degree with less disruption to other areas of their lives. 

No two executive MPH programs are identical. But across the board, there are similarities in the topics and concepts covered. In addition to organizational structures and best practices, students learn about public health policies, research methods and how to analyze data, all in an effort to maintain healthy communities across the country.

With an executive MPH, you can work in the following settings:  

  • Hospitals
  • Health departments
  • Consulting firms
  • International agencies
  • State and federal agencies
  • Community-based organizations

Before applying to an executive MPH program, it’s important to know what to expect and what is required of you during and after the application process. Learn more about admission prerequisites, class structure, typical courses, concentrations and more.  

Admission Prerequisites

The regular admissions requirements for an online executive MPH program are similar to those of a traditional Master of Public Health. They include:

  • A bachelor’s degree and college transcripts
  • A minimum GPA set by the school offering the program
  • Standardized test scores, such as the GRE, MCATS, LSAT, etc.
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume or CV
  • Letter of recommendations
  • Previous coursework in math or statistics, biology and/or social sciences

While there are bachelor’s in public health degree programs, many Executive MPH applicants may be from diverse backgrounds, and not mandatory in public health.

In addition to the above admission prerequisites, an online Executive MPH program may also require a minimum of two to three years of work experience in the field of public health.

Typical Class Structure

Executive MPH programs are offered in varying curriculum and classroom structures. An online executive MPH program usually takes about two years to complete. While in these programs, depending on the university you choose, you may be required to take part in an in-person practicum or internship. Most degree programs at this level allow students to choose a specialization alongside the standard degree program, which can give students even more knowledge into specific fields of public health. Choosing a specialization can change the way a student’s curriculum is structured.

Executive MPH Curriculum and Typical Courses 

While in executive MPH programs, students can learn about public health policy making, the methods for researching and providing data, and the many different ways society can be affected by the research done. Executive MPH students can also expect to spend a significant amount of time learning about the different aspects of the environment that can take a toll on public health, as well as the different methods of prevention and awareness present throughout the public health field. Depending on the university you choose, you may be required to take part in an in-person practicum or internship, in order to graduate.

Below are some of the common course topics found in executive MPH programs: 

  • Environmental Health: Environmental health consists of various components that affect the state of the environment, such as pollution and man-made interferences. Students learn about how natural and man-made environments coexist and how each can take a toll on overall public health.
  • Epidemiology: The study of epidemiology helps explain how and where diseases are formed, how people come in contact with them, and how widespread they are. Students learn how to plan, create, and implement helpful experiments that can provide more information on infectious diseases.
  • Issues in Global Health: In this course, students investigate global public health to better understand its influence on the environment, society, and government within their own communities. They study the methods being used in research today, as well as how to apply data from worldwide studies to their work. Topics explored can include population growth, infant mortality and communicable diseases.
  • Public Health Informatics: Students are taught about the influence of informatics on the field of public health. Areas covered include information management techniques, technologies and methods that are helpful in public health work. Some other common topics may include data storage, retrieval and usage.
  • Biostatistics: This course concentrates on public health’s use of mathematics in research and the prevention of disease. It blends aspects from applied statistics with public health research, which can help students understand better ways of collecting and interpreting analytics. Some topics that may be discussed throughout this course can include descriptive statistics, proportions, linear regression, and correlation.
  • Data Management: Computer information systems are used to store and retrieve important public health data. In this course, students are introduced or familiarized with these systems. They can learn more about the research terminology used in public health practice, data-management methodology, and analysis.

Concentrations in Executive MPH programs

Many executive MPH degree programs allow students to choose a specialization or concentration, much like in a general MPH program. This offers a more targeted curriculum. Areas of concentration or specialization within an executive MPH program can include: Biostatistics, Community Health, Epidemiology, Public Health Informatics, Environmental Health and more.

Weekly Workload of Online Executive MPH

Every online executive MPH program, and student, is unique. But even with the flexibility of being able to study around your job and personal responsibilities, some similarities do seem to emerge. Students in online programs generally get into a routine that allows them to connect with instructors and the classmates, in and around regularly scheduled virtual classes. There are also programs and courses that let you access recorded lectures and interact with faculty and fellow classmates in online forums at any time of day. Students must be self-motivated enough to meet deadlines and keep up with readings and assignments on their own. 

How Long is a Typical Executive MPH?

Most executive MPH programs can be completed in around one and a half to two years. This may be why current public health professionals looking for a quicker alternative to traditional graduate programs gravitate toward this option. Because online executive MPH programs allow for flexible scheduling, timeframes can sometimes also be crafted around the individual’s needs, be that a shorter, standard or longer time period than traditional on-campus programming.

How is an executive MPH different from a regular MPH program?

An executive MPH program is designed for professionals who want to earn a regular MPH degree and already have some years of experience within the field. The executive track allows MPH students to specialize without taking time off from their jobs or other studies.

What’s the difference between Accelerated MPH vs Executive MPH?

An accelerated MPH program is designed so that students can obtain their Master of Public Health degree in as little as 12 months. These programs are fast-paced and may require that students take more courses than in a general or executive MPH program, which typically take two to three years to complete.

Executive MPH vs MHA: which degree is better for leaders in public health?

A master’s in healthcare administration(MHA) is a likely choice for students seeking to prepare for careers in hospital administration, health policy, and health service management, while an executive MPH is suited for students interested in interdisciplinary study and want to focus on public health and diseases within populations. There are both online executive MPH programs and online MHA programs available.

Is an Executive MPH a better choice than MPH if a student has work experience?

Oftentimes, yes but always keep your career goals in mind. Executive MPH programs are a special type of degree program designed for professionals who are currently working in public health positions. Online Executive Master of Public Health programs are also appealing to students because they allow them to earn their MPH without having to step back from their career track.

Are there part-time online executive MPH programs?

Both full-time and part-time online executive MPH program options are available, but not universally. If you are interested, you should ask the schools you are interested in about coursework requirements per term, and about what part-time options are available for your situation.

Online Executive MPH Programs List

If you’re considering an online executive MPH or have a specific specialty track in mind, here are a few options. All the programs below are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)  

Drexel University

School of Public Health

Executive Master of Public Health

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Name of Degree: Executive Master of Public Health

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 56

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum two years professional work experience
  • Official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • CV/resume
  • Personal statement
Learn more about the Executive Master of Public Health from Drexel University

Emory University

Rollins School of Public Health

Executive Master of Public Health

Atlanta, Georgia

Name of Degree: Executive Master of Public Health

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 42


Applied Epidemiology, Prevention Science

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • TOEFL/IELTS, transcript evaluation (for international applicants)
Learn more about the Executive Master of Public Health from Emory University

Johns Hopkins University

Bloomberg School of Public Health

Master of Public Health

Baltimore, Maryland

Name of Degree: Master of Public Health

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 80

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Statement of purpose
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Course prerequisites
  • Minimum 2 years of full-time work experience in health related field
  • TOEFL (for international applicants)
Learn more about the Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University

Kent State University

School of Public Health

Master of Public Health

Kent, Ohio

Name of Degree: Master of Public Health

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 46


Social and Behavioral Sciences, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management

Admission Requirements:

  • 3.00 GPA
  • GRE scores
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • Personal Goal Statement
Learn more about the Master of Public Health from Kent State University

There are many ways to make a difference in your community through the public health profession. An online executive MPH program is one way to enhance your career. Other online MPH programs can also help in that regard. Beyond master’s degrees, many valuable public health certifications or short courses are also available. Because the field of public health is so widespread and integrated into so many areas of society, what you choose to pursue as an advanced degree depends in large part on your passions and career interests. 

Information last updated May 2020