Why earn your public health degree online?
Make Global Connections
Complete an online MPH degree in as few as 12 months from an institution with global connections.
Expand Analytical Thinking
Learn about the important roles that data and technology play in healthcare.
Tackle Society Challenges
Our online curricula focus on the practical applications of global health, policy, and more.
Browse accredited online MPH programs New
Online MPH degree programs
What can you do with a master’s degree in public health?
You may be wondering, what is public health and what exactly do public health professionals do? Public health professionals advocate for the wellbeing of people in communities across the globe. They coordinate measures to slow infectious diseases such as COVID-19, develop affordable housing programs to mitigate overcrowding, curb the global effects of climate change, and more. In other words, public health professionals are some of our greatest protectors.
With an online master’s in public heath, you can actively promote the physical, economic, social, and environmental prosperity of your community. Our online MPH programs give students the concrete tools necessary to make a positive impact.
Admission requirements for a master of public health
Admissions requirements and prerequisites for an online master’s in public health vary based on university and program. In general, most MPH programs require:
- A bachelor's degree and college transcripts
- A minimum GPA score
- Standardized test scores, such as the GRE
- Personal essays or a Statement of Purpose
- A resume or CV
- Letters of recommendation.
Some programs no longer require GRE scores to apply. However, they may require prerequisite courses in math or statistics and biology and/or social sciences. You should complete these courses before you submit your online MPH applications. Many programs also require health-related work experience to apply.
An online master’s in public health might take anywhere from 12 months to three years to complete. Timelines vary depending on your program of choice as well as your preferred schedule — full-time, part-time, accelerated, or extended — and if you decide to pursue a specialization. In addition to online coursework, students are often required to complete 100-200 hours of in-person practicums to gain hands-on experience.
When you enter your online MPH program, you will engage with foundational course material that covers the broad scope of public health. As you advance within the program, you will be able to focus your online master’s degree in wide variety of specializations — or pursue a more generalist path — depending on the program and your interests. These courses and specializations may include:
Foundational course examples:
Principles of Epidemiology
Foundations of Public Health
Assessment and Planning in Public and Community Health
Public Health Solutions
Potential areas of specialization:
Leadership and Public Health Practice
Women’s Reproductive Health
Master of public health jobs
Public health careers are dynamic and include multiple pathways to success. You may be wondering what might be available in terms of MPH jobs for those who hold a degree above a bachelor's. With an online MPH degree, you could work as a biostatistician to reveal medical knowledge hidden within complex datasets. Or your passion might be to spearhead educational campaigns as a health educator. Regardless, there is a job in public health to fulfill your interests. Listed below are the major public health career categories that can shed light on what can you do with a master’s degree in public health:
Biostatistics and informatics jobs
Community health jobs
Public health education jobs
Emergency management jobs
Environmental health jobs
Mental health jobs
Global health jobs
Epidemiology and research jobs
Medical practice jobs
Public policy and administration jobs
Social and behavioral science jobs
What to expect in terms of a career in public health: salary
Careers in healthcare continue to report exponential expansion, which may help you decide if public health is a good career for you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.6 million new jobs.”¹ Now is the time to join the millions of public health practitioners leading powerful community change.
Median annual pay for key public health careers (2021).
Community health and health education: $48,860³
Dietitians and nutritionists: $61,650⁵
Medical and health services managers: $101,340⁶
How to become a public health professional
Public health professionals are leaders. They stand at the frontlines to protect local and global communities, dismantle systemic disparities, and champion equity and health.
To excel in a career in public health, you must be highly motivated to create sustainable, ethical change. Public health professionals often possess a scientific and strategic mindset with clear writing skills and attention to detail.
As a public health specialist, you will leverage your cultural competencies and effective communication skills to meet challenges, big or small, with proficiency and professionalism.
Find the best online MPH program for your public health career
Discover an online MPH program that checks every box. You may consider these factors when you’re evaluating which is the best online MPH program for you:
School prestige: Explore top-ranked universities and CEPH-accredited programs that will challenge you and develop you into a world-class public health professional.
Length of study: Choose an online master’s program with a length of study that best suits your busy schedule: full-time, part-time, accelerated, or extended.
Field placements: Participate in in-person field placements or practicums that immerse you in the multidisciplinary world of public health.
Graduation rates: Review graduation rates to better understand the quality of an online master’s program.
Career outcomes: Learn what to expect from the job market and research post-graduation employment rates of program alumni.
Frequently asked questions
For entry-level public health positions, a master’s degree may not be necessary. However, if you are interested in securing a leadership role that requires management skills and advanced knowledge, a master’s degree may be required.
An online MPH degree prepares public health professionals to work in local and global communities. These professionals slow the progression of life-threatening diseases, provide resources to neglected urban neighbors, combat childhood obesity, and more. With an online MPH, you can meet complicated challenges with evidence-based solutions.
Prerequisite courses for an online master's in public health (MPH) degree programs will vary, but they usually include math or statistics, biology and/or social sciences. Remember to review your prospective program’s admissions requirements to ensure you’re ready to apply.
Online MPH programs can range from 12 months to three years to complete. This depends on your chosen schedule: full-time, part-time, or accelerated. On average, a full-time student will likely complete their online MPH degree in 18-20 months.
A career in public health is full of diverse and dynamic opportunities. Moreover, a career in public health is highly rewarding and impactful. You will touch the lives of people in communities across the globe and make real change for the betterment of society and the environment.
Tuition varies depending on university, length of study, number of required program credits, and whether you qualify for in-state or out-of-state tuition. Check with the programs you are interested in for details on program costs. Many programs offer financial aid and other tuition assistance options.
¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Healthcare Occupations, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm (visited May 2022).
² Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Mathematicians and Statisticians, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/mathematicians-and-statisticians.htm (visited May 2022).
³ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Health Educators, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm (visited May 2022).
⁴ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Epidemiologists, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/epidemiologists.htm (visited May 2022).
⁵ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Dietitians and Nutritionists, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm (visited May 2022).
⁶ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical and Health Services Managers, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm (visited May 2022).