Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

We've ranked the best online master's in public health programs. Learn about courses, admission requirements, career opportunities, and more.

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by Marisa Upson

Updated October 12, 2022

Reviewed by Randy Schwartz, MSPH

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The public health sector incorporates investigating and tracking community health problems, educating the public, developing health policies, and enforcing regulations. It spans several disciplines, including education, research, administration, healthcare, and law enforcement.

A bachelor's degree may give you access to entry-level positions. However, many career opportunities in this burgeoning field require a master's in public health.

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Master's programs allow students to specialize in their area of interest. These programs can also help students develop essential research, data analysis, program development and implementation, evaluation and policy management skills.

Many roles in public health are in high demand. For instance, from 2020-2030, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 32% job growth formedical and health services managers and 30% growth for epidemiologists. As of May 2020, these professionals earn median annual salaries of $104,280 and $74,560, respectively.

An online master's in public health program takes about two years to complete. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition and fees for graduate school in the 2019-2020 academic year were $12,410-$28,430, depending on the school type and resident status.

Some top online programs offer reduced tuition fees and do not charge out-of-state fees to distance learners.

Best Accredited Online Master's in Public Health Programs

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Popular Online Master's in Public Health Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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#1 Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

  • Little Rock, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online  | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $383

Out of State | $383

Credits to Graduate

30

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation; International Literacy Association

UA Little Rock offers an accelerated online master's in reading and literacy for new and experienced teachers. The 30-credit program includes classes like teaching children with dyslexia and diagnosis of reading difficulties. Students choose tracks in reading generalist or leading to reading specialist licensure. 

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university. The program requires a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA or a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,495
Out-of-state
$18,750
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
66%
Students Enrolled
9,581
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Edinburg, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $677

Out of State | $1,085

Credits to Graduate

30

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

UTRGV's master's in reading and literacy program runs fully online. Learners choose from concentrations in biliteracy, digital literacy, reading specialist, or English/adolescent literacy. Designed for preK-12 teachers, the 30-credit program focuses on practical and theoretical aspects of reading.

Enrollees complete classes like conducting literacy research, transnational and immigrant literacies, and sociocultural foundations of literacy. Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students must submit a personal statement.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,664
Out-of-state
$16,792
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
29,113
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

Morningside College

  • Sioux City, IA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $310

Out of State | $310

Credits to Graduate

32

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

Morningside offers an online master's in reading and literacy program that helps teachers provide effective literacy instruction. The 32-credit program includes classes like instructional technology, diagnostic teaching of reading, and children's literature. 

Applicants need a valid teaching license or certificate. Prospective enrollees also need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.75 GPA. Morningside requires college transcripts.

Average Tuition
In-state
$31,220
Out-of-state
$31,220
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
63%
Students Enrolled
2,599
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

Evangel University

  • Springfield, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $300

Out of State | $300

Credits to Graduate

30

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

Evangel offers a two-year, cohort-model online master's in reading and literacy degree. The program prepares students to work as certified reading specialists. The curriculum explores strategies, assessment, and current trends in reading instruction. 

Applicants need a current Missouri teaching license. They also need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last two years of undergraduate work. Applicants must submit GRE, Praxis, or Missouri Content Assessment scores.

Average Tuition
In-state
$23,032
Out-of-state
$23,032
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
97%
Students Enrolled
2,300
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

University of Northern Colorado

  • Greeley, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $572

Out of State | $572

Credits to Graduate

30

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

UNC offers a 20-month hybrid master's in reading and literacy program. Designed for working K-12 teachers, the program trains learners to work as literacy specialists or reading intervention teachers. Enrollees learn how to teach the writing process in schools and read research. Students can add a K-12 literacy teacher endorsement.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and at least one year of full-time experience. This experience can include teaching grades K-12, working in a school or public library, or working as an occupational or speech therapist.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,596
Out-of-state
$19,854
Retention Rate
72%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
12,930
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

Baldwin Wallace University

  • Berea, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $550

Out of State | $550

Credits to Graduate

31

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

BW's fully online master's in reading and literacy program focuses on research in literacy education, evaluation methods, and children's literature. Designed for K-12 teachers, the program meets the requirements for an Ohio teaching certificate endorsement in PreK-12 reading.

Learners must complete 50 hours of fieldwork, including a practicum working with children with reading difficulties. Applicants must submit official college transcripts and two recommendations. Prospective enrollees need a valid Ohio teaching certificate or license.

Average Tuition
In-state
$33,530
Out-of-state
$33,530
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
3,504
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

Nova Southeastern University

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $1,095

Out of State | $1,095

Credits to Graduate

36

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

NSU offers an online master's in reading and literacy program. Learners can pursue a degree-only track or add a Florida-recognized teaching certification in reading education. The curriculum includes classes like assessment in reading and reading supervision and content development.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university, a minimum 2.5 GPA, and a teaching certificate. NSU requires GRE or General Knowledge Test scores for students applying with a temporary teaching credential.

Average Tuition
In-state
$31,150
Out-of-state
$31,150
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
20,576
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

Sul Ross State University

  • Alpine, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $240

Out of State | $648

Credits to Graduate

30

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

Sul Ross offers a master's in reading and literacy program that runs fully online. Coursework covers reading instruction, language acquisition, and reading assessment. The 30-credit, two-year program requires a portfolio defense and case study.

Full admission requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum overall 3.0 GPA. Applicants also need a master's degree from an accredited university or a minimum 2.5 GPA in the last 60 credits of a bachelor's degree. Sul Ross requires GRE or GMAT scores.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,140
Out-of-state
$18,590
Retention Rate
52%
Admission Rate
100%
Students Enrolled
2,406
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

Saint Leo University

  • Saint Leo, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $510

Out of State | $510

Credits to Graduate

36

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

Saint Leo's fully online master's in reading and literacy program concentrates on curriculum development theory, educational research in policy-making, and integration of reading and writing. The 36-credit program requires classes like emergent literacy and foundations in reading.

Prospective students must submit a current resume, two professional recommendations, a written statement, and transcripts. Applicants need a valid teaching certificate. Prospective enrollees with a minimum 3.0 GPA do not need to submit GRE scores. Saint Leo accepts applications year-round.

Average Tuition
In-state
$23,100
Out-of-state
$23,100
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
72%
Students Enrolled
10,912
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Best Online Master’s in Public Health Programs

Canisius College

  • Buffalo, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $840

Out of State | $840

Credits to Graduate

33

Program Information

Program Accreditation | N/A

Canisius offers an online master's in reading and literacy program that prepares students to meet New York literary specialist certification requirements. Courses include adolescent literacy, emergent literacy, and teaching reading in diverse classrooms. Students complete two field experiences, including one advanced practicum. 

The program accepts applications on a rolling basis. Applicants need a bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a teaching certification. Prospective students must submit two recommendation letters.

Average Tuition
In-state
$27,940
Out-of-state
$27,940
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
3,102
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Public Health Programs

Is a master's in public health worth it?

While a bachelor's in public health can lead to entry-level positions, a master's degree may offer additional leadership roles, epidemiology, education, and policymaking opportunities. Graduates may address life-changing issues such as the spread of infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and inadequate healthcare through the lens of statistics, data analysis, and research.

Additionally, a master's enables students to direct their education toward their career goals. Learners can choose from multiple concentrations, including epidemiology, healthcare leadership, community health services, biostatistics, and nutrition. As a public health professional, graduates with a master's and some experience may find greater earning potential and more job opportunities.

What can I do with a master's in public health?

Graduates with a master's in public health pursue roles in numerous industries, including nonprofits, education, private companies, and local, national, or international governments. Roles vary from educating individuals and communities to having an impact on public policy, managing a nonprofit, or consulting for healthcare facilities or pharmaceutical companies.

A few of the many positions a master's in public health can prepare graduates for include epidemiologist, health informatics specialist, biostatistician, health educator, and healthcare consultant. These graduates also find roles developing public health policies, enforcing regulations, connecting people to health services, and researching solutions to health issues.

Are public health majors in demand?

After the world witnessed the impact of COVID-19, public health majors experienced even greater demand. From 2020-2030, the BLS projects an 8% average growth rate for all U.S. occupations. Several occupations in public health are projected to grow faster than that rate.

For example, during this same period, the BLS projects 33% job growth for biostatistician-related fields, 30% growth for epidemiologists, and 32% growth for medical and health services managers.

Those entering the social service sector can also expect to be in high demand, according to projections. The BLS projects 15% employment growth for social and community service managers from 2020-2030.

How much money can I make with a master's in public health?

Salaries vary based on location, position, and experience level. For example, the BLS reports that epidemiologists, as of May 2020, earn a median annual salary of $74,560, with the top 10% boasting a yearly wage of $126,040. However, those who work in scientific research services see a median annual salary of $99,020, while epidemiologists who work in hospitals earn about $84,420.

Social and community service managers earn a median annual wage of $69,600, as of May 2020, with the top 10% making $115,800. Those who work in New Jersey see annual mean salaries of $92,370, followed closely by New York with $89,870.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in public health?

Medical and health services manager is one of the highest-paying jobs for graduates with a master's in public health. According to the BLS, these managers earn a median annual salary of $104,280, with the top 10% making $195,630.

Biostatistician is another higher-paying career, with the BLS reporting a median yearly wage of $92,270, as of May 2020, and the top 10% earning $150,840. Those with some information technology experience may see even greater earnings. According to the BLS, a computer and information system manager in healthcare earns a median yearly salary of $151,150.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Public Health Program?

Public health professionals work to make communities, states, and countries healthier places for the people who live there. This lofty goal requires substantial research and analytical skills, empathy, and policy management expertise.

Students may pursue a master's in public health (MPH) or a master's of science in public health (MSPH). With both, students can develop skills they will need to help improve health outcomes for the public. However, the MPH degree tends to focus on applied, practical skills, while the MSPH program leans toward research and education.

Many online master's in public health programs offer concentrations that enable students to align their academic studies with their career goals. Some of these concentrations include:

Online master's in public health programs require about 42 credits and take two years of full-time study to complete. However, some accelerated tracks can lead to a degree in one year.

While all graduate programs vary, most public health programs culminate in capstones or hands-on practicums. This may include working with a team to collaborate on public health policies, a written assignment, or an internship with a healthcare, research, or community service organization. Most programs allow students to fulfill internship requirements locally.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Public Health Program?

Principles of Epidemiology

This course covers the epidemiology methods public health professionals use to study disease patterns. Covered topics include determining the distribution of disease and illnesses in specific populations and applications for intervening and controlling outbreaks.

Public Health Systems and Policies

This course examines the U.S. health system and introduces the role of policies in advancing health equality and overcoming public health issues. Students learn about public health advocacy and how to communicate information to healthcare practitioners and the public.

Program Evaluation

This course explores community and other public health programs and the tools used to evaluate these programs. Covered topics include analysis methods, data collections, and the evaluation and assessment of a community's needs.

Public Health Leadership

Students examine the management practices relevant to public health organizations on a global and domestic scale. This course covers behavior science regarding individuals, groups, and organizations and how to analyze organizations and their processes.

Applied Research

This course allows students to apply learned research principles to practical applications. Students complete a public health research project incorporating statistics, data, and other research methodologies, such as variables, reliability, and sampling techniques.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Public Health Program?

While graduate admission requirements vary by program, the guidelines for on-campus and online master's in public health programs are usually similar. Prospective students are typically required to hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Most programs accept a degree from any field, although some recommend a social sciences or biology background. Others require the completion of specific courses in those fields, as well as math and statistics.

Application

School application forms seek basic information, such as educational and professional backgrounds and test results. Prospective students may submit their application package online through the school's portal or website or in a traditional paper format.

Many schools also accept applications through online college application systems, which allow prospective students to submit one application for multiple colleges. However, many of these systems are geared toward prospective undergraduate students.

Test Scores

Some online master's in public health programs require GRE scores. For those that do, a qualifying combined GRE score may be 300 or greater. When optional, an applicant should consider if their scores will enhance their admission package or detract from it. Schools usually require IELTS or TOEFL scores from non-native English-speaking applicants.

Letters of Recommendation

Most programs require 2-3 letters of recommendation. These references should come from current or previous professors and work supervisors. Some schools accept references from any faculty members who can address an applicant's academic and leadership potential in public health. Ideally, ask for letters of recommendation two months before the application deadline.

Resume and Work Experience

Almost all programs require a resume that lists an applicant's work experience. In addition to traditional employment, this experience may come from volunteer sources, internships, and educational programs. The resume should also include any relevant accomplishments, honors, and awards.

Essays

Essays and personal history statements help schools understand applicants' unique strengths and motivations, academic and professional achievements and aspirations, and how their program fits into these. Additionally, because of the critical role data analysis and statistics play in public health, make sure to include any preparation you've had in this field.

Official Transcripts

Applicants must request official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended. Many programs require a 3.0 GPA, with some requiring this score only for the last 60 credits obtained in the bachelor's program. Many also accept transfer credits, some up to 25% of the degree requirement, significantly reducing costs and time to the program completion.

What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Public Health Degree?

Career Outlook

An online master's in public health program can prepare learners for careers in numerous fields, including government, nonprofits, healthcare, education, and social services.

Due to an aging population and the continued crisis in healthcare, public health graduates may be in increasing demand. Employers value their learned skills, such as research, data analysis, problem-solving, and oral presentation.

The BLS projects jobs for medical and health services managers to be among the fastest-growing occupations from 2020-2030. The projected 32% job growth during that decade amounts to about 51,800 job openings, on average, each year. On a broader scale, the BLS projects 16% job growth in healthcare occupations, resulting in about 2.6 million new jobs.

Master's in public health degree-holders can help to positively affect the lives of millions of people through the work they perform — as educators, researchers, project managers, or community advocates. The following represent just a few of the many roles these graduates pursue.

See where a master's in public health can take you. Learn more about public health careers.

Career Paths

Epidemiologist

Applied public health epidemiologists may work for state or local governments, educating communities on public health issues. Research epidemiologists often work for universities and federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They investigate patterns and causes of disease and study prevention and treatment strategies.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $74,560

Medical and Health Services Managers

Health services managers typically work for hospitals, private physicians, nursing care facilities, and the government. These professionals may manage an entire organization or a particular department. Responsibilities include overseeing staff, managing finances, and improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare services. Specialized health information managers utilize health information systems to maintain and secure patient records.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $104,280

Social and Community Service Managers

Community service managers oversee community programs, helping develop new social programs and determining the effectiveness of existing programs. They work for government agencies or nonprofits that support public well-being. These professionals may also manage budgets, help raise funds, and increase public awareness.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $69,600

Senior Policy Analyst

These analysts work for the government and corporations, determining the effectiveness of policies and programs. Through data and statistical analysis, they assess a policy and detail their recommendations for improvement. Then, if approved by stakeholders and government leaders, they oversee the implementation of the suggested improvements.

Average Annual Salary (as of November 2021): $79,750

Healthcare Consultant

Healthcare consultants typically work for large healthcare organizations or consulting firms. Through research and data analysis, they identify an organization's financial, operational, or patient care issues and offer feasible solutions. They may spend much of their time talking with employees, writing reports, and meeting with clients and shareholders.

Average Annual Salary (as of December 2021): $79,570

Public Health Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Some students go on to pursue a doctorate in their area of interest in public health. This degree may lead to some of the highest levels of employment in the healthcare industry.

Those interested in academia and research may pursue a Ph.D. Students looking for additional practice and leadership skills may consider a doctoral degree. The following represent a few of these advanced degrees:

Students who receive their master's from a program accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health also may be eligible for the certified public health credential exam.

How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Public Health Program?

Cost

The average per-credit tuition cost for an online master's in public health program can range from about $550-$2,035. Online in-state students attending public colleges tend to pay the lowest tuition rates, while those enrolled in private colleges often find the highest costs. Some online programs grant waivers or do not charge out-of-state fees for some applicants.

Program Format

Schools offer online master's in public health programs in several different learning formats. Asynchronous learning allows students to study at their own pace while finishing assignments by specified due dates. Synchronous programs usually entail weekly scheduled virtual class sessions, offering more interaction with peers and instructors. Some programs also offer part-time formats and accelerated tracks.

Location

Most schools provide their online students with campus-based opportunities. For those interested in on-campus networking, extracurricular activities, or participating in student organizations, a school's location makes a significant difference in travel costs and time commitments. Additionally, some online programs require some on-campus participation. Make sure to check if the online program charges nonresident fees.

Accreditation

Accreditation ensures a school and program meet the highest quality educational standards. Public health programs receive accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health. Regional accreditation for universities and colleges ensures transferable credits, access to federal financial aid, and degree recognition by employers.

Student Support

A few support services that can contribute to an online student's success include an admissions counselor, a faculty mentor, a student success advisor, and an internship placement specialist. Personalized career counseling also may help prepare students for the transition to the job market. Additionally, fostering connections with alumni can support professional development and create career opportunities.

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