Public Health Degrees – Options & Specifics

Picking the right public health degree and/or program can become overwhelming, especially since there are over 20 degrees, 13+ concentrations, and multiple focuses within the public health field. However, is here to help! We have compiled this list of public health degrees for users to browse and find the right fit.

The expansive nature of public health degree allows for many areas of speciality. Because of this, most colleges and universities that offer a degree in public health will have concentrations that students can declare. Below are 4 of the most common specialties offered:

  • Epidemiology: Study disease, illness and the associated risk factors in a population
  • Environmental Health: Study human health and the health of the environment as it affects the general well being of the population
  • Community Health & Health Promotion: Focus on the needs of all citizens within a designated area and/or teach specialized groups & individuals how to better take care of themselves and their families
  • Occupational Health: create healthier communities & workplaces, promote sustainable workplace environments, develop emergency response & disaster planning

Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) Accreditation

The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is the main accrediting organization of public health degree programs in the United States and is considered to be the gold standard when it comes to accredited public health schools or programs.

What is CEPH Accreditation?

CEPH Accreditation is the process of assuring quality in public health education and training to achieve excellence in practice, research, and service, through collaboration with organizational and community partners. CEPH accredits both universities/schools, along with individual programs. The accreditation process is taken very seriously, which is why it can take up to three years for a school or program to become accredited.

CEPH Accreditation Criteria

CEPH provides accreditation to both schools and individual programs. The main difference is that school accreditation requires a broader range of degree options, must offer master’s and doctoral programs with multiple concentrations in both. Individual graduate and bachelor program accreditations are offered for one degree or many within the university. No matter the accreditation, each public health program and school goes through the same process.

For a school or program to be considered accredited, they must keep records for their enrollment rates, graduation rates, students’ satisfaction, student handbooks, data on faculty and faculty research, plus much more.The universities who apply for and receive accreditation are subjected to a consultation visit, along with site visits. Once a school or program receives accreditation status, they must submit interim and annual reports to help maintain their status.

Why CEPH-Accredited Schools or Programs in Public Health?

Schools or programs that are CEPH-accredited allow prospective students to know that the degree program has completed a multi-level review and meets the nationally-agreed-upon standards developed by public health academics and practitioners.

  1. This ensures that accredited public health degree programs are the most comprehensive.
  2. It allows for credits to be transferred more easily between CEPH-accredited institutions (as long as the performance is sufficient and credits are appropriate).
  3. Some employment opportunities are only available to graduates from CEPH-accredited units; such as jobs at the US Public Health Services, some US military public health jobs, and jobs at some state and local government agencies.
  4. CEPH-accredited programs also allow graduates to sit for the CPH (Certified in Public Health) exam, which is administered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE). Receiving a certification within the field of public health demonstrates not only your knowledge of key public health sciences but also your commitment to the field through continuing education focused on emerging and established public health issues.

Another important thing to note is that CEPH also accredits online programs. For students interested in pursuing any online degrees, for example online MPH programs, they should check to see if it’s accredited.

Last Updated: October 2019