Public Health Schools and MPH Programs in Massachusetts

Well-documented research shows that education and health are highly interconnected. Massachusetts isn’t just a top choice for public health education because of its university-studded location, it’s also an example of successful public health practice and policy.

Massachusetts ranked second healthiest of all 50 states, in the United Health Foundation’s 2018 annual report [PDF, 14.6 MB]. It  is also one of the few states to rank among the top ten states, in all five health categories: health behaviors, community and environment, policy and clinical care, and health outcomes. 

Boston, the state’s capital city, attracts many public health research facilities and private companies. So, when it comes to pursuing a Master of Public Health (MPH), it’s no surprise that Massachusetts is a great place to look. An MPH can be suitable for individuals from a wide variety of professional backgrounds including registered nurses with their BSN. 

With a wide variety of program choices and courses nearly identical to traditional on-campus programs, you can leverage the benefits of online MPH programs to earn a degree that prepares you for a public health career. 

The above MPH programs in MA are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). It can take up to three years for a school or program to become accredited.

When exploring your options for obtaining a Master of Public Health in Massachusetts, make sure you research available MPH programs in Boston and surrounding areas. By covering all  your bases, you’ll be well informed about possible options available to you: in-person, online, full-time, part-time, and the full selection of different concentrations within each university program.

Overview of Public Health Degrees in Massachusetts

Massachusetts currently has a population of about 6.9 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The poverty rate in Massachusetts is 10 percent and 2.8 percent of the population does not have health insurance. Through public education and planning, members of the public health field play a significant role in reducing these numbers and keeping citizens safe. With an MPH, you’ll not only gain the knowledge about the field, but also the skills to analyze statistics, such as those mentioned above, with a deeper understanding of the factors that drive them up or down.

There is a wealth of MPH programs in Massachusetts to choose from, and some of the world’s most renowned universities are located in Boston. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Harvard University, Boston University, Northeastern University, and Tufts University are all well-known schools offering MPH programs in Boston, with the potential to set you on the path to achieving your career ambitions.

There is also a wealth of concentrations alongside these degree programs that can prepare students for careers working in a variety of professions in the public domain. Healthcare Management and Policy, Clinical Effectiveness, Family and Community Health, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, and Occupational Health are just a few of the specializations to consider as you make a decision to pursue your Master of Public Health in Boston.

School Highlights in Massachusetts

The state is more than just a hub for well-renowned institutions. Similar to its public health profile, Massachusetts maintains an above-average education profile. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, around 90 percent of the state’s residents are high school graduates or higher. Bachelor’s degree holders account for roughly 24 percent of the population, while 20.1 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

There are a number of prestigious public health schools in Massachusetts, such as Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, located in Boston.  Boston University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst also have multiple public health concentrations at all degree levels, and even offer several online options, making the degree more accessible for high-achieving students around the world.

BPH and DPH in MA

While there are some online bachelor’s programs available, they’re generally a bit more limited. If you’re looking to obtain a bachelor’s that will prepare you to pursue an advanced degree in public health, you could start off with a different health degree—nursing or health administration are two options. These are much more common at the undergraduate-level and are available at many public health schools in Massachusetts. For example, Northeastern University offers an ABSN (accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing) curriculum that mixes online and offline coursework. 

For doctorate degrees, there are more options—many public health schools in Massachusetts, including the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, offer a selection of doctoral degrees.

Online MPH Programs in Boston

When sorting through different options for a degree program, you may find that Massachusetts has some online degree programs waiting for your call. From the list of MPH programs in MA above, all the programs are offered in Boston and five out of six can be completed online. 

One major benefit of getting an online MPH is that it is self-paced. Online students also enjoy structured discussion boards and live sessions, which gives students frequent opportunities to express their viewpoints and thought processes. Submitting assignments using online tools offers additional opportunities to learn new technologies, and many students may find they prefer taking exams in the comfort of their own homes.

Online programs accredited by the CEPH are recommended for current and aspiring public health professionals seeking reputable and relevant degrees. In general, accreditation can help students qualify for more competitive and meaningful careers and even pursue licensure, if they choose.

All the online MPH programs we compiled are accredited by CEPH.  

Public Health Careers Outlook in Massachusetts

Employment for all healthcare occupations is projected to grow at a rate much faster than average for all occupations in the United States, adding about 1.9 million new jobs between 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Factors like an aging population and the increased demand for healthcare services across the board contribute to the fast-growing healthcare industry—and it holds plenty of opportunity for recent MPH graduates. 

Even though there isn’t specific data on the outlook of public health careers in MA, the combination of the overall growth of the healthcare field in the U.S., plus the number of health organizations in MA,  this would be a fine state to choose. There are multiple opportunities to pursue a public health career in MA, but jobs may be especially prevalent in urban hubs including Boston. And given that Massachusetts has exceptional health outcomes and high-ranking health policy and care, public health professionals seeking opportunities for job growth can consider this destination.

Specializations to Consider in Massachusetts

Residents of Massachusetts rely on dedicated public health professionals to keep them aware of infectious diseases and other medical dangers within their area. When selecting a specialization or focus area, consider your interests, job outlook for various roles and the most pressing public health needs in the state. Reviewing the most recent state health assessment or visiting the Massachusetts Public Health Department’s website, is one way to gain insight into the major public health needs of the state.  

Public health specializations in MA to consider include medical science and environmental science. National employment of medical scientists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, according to the BLS. That rate is faster than the average for all occupations which is 5 percent. The same goes for environmental scientists and specialists. In 2019, medical scientists received a mean annual salary of $106,610, while environmental scientists earned a mean annual salary of $83,450 respectively, while working in Massachusetts.  

A focus in epidemiology enables MPH graduates to combat illness and disease across the entire state. The BLS reports that the employment for epidemiologists nationwide is growing at 5 percent. The mean annual pay for Massachusetts epidemiologists in 2019 was $114,220, according to the BLS. Note that pay for epidemiologists varies by employer, industry, number of years of experience and more.

Nationally, health educators and community health workers see even more demand than epidemiologists. From 2018 to 2028, jobs for these two professionals will grow 11 percent. According to the BLS, health educators or health education specialists in Massachusetts earned an average annual salary of $66,420 in 2019.

Organizations to Work with a Public Health Degree

Equipped with an MPH, there are a wide range of work settings and organizations that you can consider. Government organizations, schools and even companies outside of the healthcare sector require the expertise of an MPH-trained professional. Here are few Massachusetts-based organizations:

  • Massachusetts Department of Public HealthThe Massachusetts DPH regulates, licenses and oversees a wide range of health-related professions and services. It also works directly with epidemiologists, medical scientists, and other public health professionals to develop disease prevention strategies among other tasks.
  • National Institutes of HealthThe NIH is a leading force in health-related research, funding and training across the country. You can search for jobs on their website and filter results by location. NIH offers a variety of administrative, scientific, and executive careers for public health professionals. 
  • World Health OrganizationA tributary organization of  the United Nations, the WHO, is made up of a massive workforce dedicated to promoting public health in virtually every country in the world.

Local State Public Health Resources

For more information, explore the following public health resources in Massachusetts: 

  • Massachusetts Public Health AssociationA private, non-profit organization with statewide membership, the MPHA promotes health equity and education across Massachusetts with its involvement in different programs, policies, and advocacy efforts. 
  • Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses. The official state organization for Public Health Nurses, the MAPHN is committed to bettering health outcomes in communities across Massachusetts—engaging in a variety of advocacy efforts and initiatives to do so. 
  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health. This organization oversees an expansive range of healthcare professionals and services. Visit the website for more information.
  • U.S. Census Data for Massachusetts. This organization generates a wide range of population-based statistics about Massachusetts, including population profiles on health conditions, health education, health policy, and more. This data is particularly useful for public health professionals who work on developing health assessment reports and public health policies.

Information last updated May 2020