The Top 9 Programs for a Public Health Degree Online for 2019

Degrees in public health enable individuals to begin a career in a field where trained professionals can positively impact their community and are able to make a difference in the lives of others, every day. Public health officials work with complex issues, such as poverty, drug addiction, and even disaster control. Professionals in the public health field are equipped with the tools and knowledge necessary to develop effective solutions to the most pressing societal problems. These individuals develop policies, improve access to essential resources, reduce environmental hazards, and provide educational opportunities to the community and target populations.

The Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health estimates an additional 250,000 public health workers will be needed by 2020.

Featured Colleges


Capella University Minneapolis, MN

Capella University is a private, regionally accredited online university based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Established in 1993, Capella enrolls over 37,000 students from around the world, with the majority of those students in one of the university’s many online graduate master’s degree programs. According to a recent survey by the National Survey of Student Engagement, Capella offers a better-than-average level of academic challenge and student support.

Capella University offers an online master of public health degree through its School of Public Service Leadership. MPH program students can choose from multiple specializations, including the general public health track, health management and policy, or social and behavioral sciences. Students are guided through an in-depth exploration of public health theories and practices, with a focus on enhancing the communication and collaboration skills needed to develop and implement effective public health programs and actions across professions and within communities. Students are provided the opportunity to learn by practicing real-life scenarios. Capella’s online MPH degree curriculum adheres to all national public health education standards.

Capella also offers a doctoral degree program in public health with specialization areas in epidemiology and health advocacy and leadership. The epidemiological degree program provides a rigorous curriculum plan which focuses on biogenetics, community public health issues, and career roles. The doctor of health advocacy and leadership degree program provides learners with a range of relevant subject matter that is focused on national public health legislation, program development, and implementation. A Doctor of Public Health requires the successful completion of 80 credit hours.


Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH

Southern New Hampshire University, a leader in healthcare education, offers one of the widest selections of affordable, accredited online healthcare degrees in the nation. SNHU programs are designed for busy working professionals who want to pursue or advance careers in healthcare administration, healthcare management, nursing, health promotion, and public health.

Public health covers a broad range of fields — everything from developing and presenting wellness programs in local communities and creating public policies to fighting infectious disease outbreaks in West Africa. Students of any public health concentration all seem to be driven by the same mission: to protect the health of populations and improve quality of life.

Students can break into a rewarding field by earning SNHU’s online Bachelor of Science in Public Health. This online bachelor’s program provides a strong foundation in biological and social sciences and emphasizes evidence-based approaches to program assessment, planning, and evaluation. You’ll also explore strategies for preventing disease, prolonging life, and improving the health of entire populations.


Purdue Global University

Online students can earn degrees from the Purdue University system through Purdue Global University. The school's 180 degrees provide nontraditional learners with the opportunity to earn an education in fields spanning the disciplines. The 56-credit Master of Public Health exposes students to core knowledge and skills in the public health sector. Learners cultivate evidence-based practices and professional competencies necessary to address public health challenges, such as community planning and response to illness outbreaks.

The curriculum includes the study of health behavior, epidemiology, environmental health, and health leadership and administration. Sixteen open electives give students the opportunity to explore an array of topics in healthcare. They apply their knowledge in extracurricular activities personalized to help them meet their career goals, such as through internships and volunteering. Students further build practical experience through on-site training supervised by a preceptor and a faculty advisor. Learners work with the MPH Clinical Placement Team to select a site in their local community that fits the program's requirements. Admission requirements include possessing a bachelor's degree, having a minimum 2.5 GPA, and passing a background check.


Liberty University Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University is a private, Christian university, located in Lynchburg, VA, and founded in 1971. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is considered a doctoral research institution by the Carnegie Classification.

Liberty University’s Master of Public Health is perfect for those interested in a career in health care delivery or public health government, or who want to extend their public health knowledge. Whether your interest is career advancement, education, or community impact, you will achieve a rich understanding of public health through this program. Students can specialize in health promotion, global health, or nutrition. Coursework includes training in biostatistics, epidemiology, research methods, and environmental health.


Benedictine University Lisle, IL

Benedictine University is a private, Catholic institution founded in 1887. U.S. News and World Report has ranked it among the top schools in the Midwest. Benedictine instills value-driven professionalism within their students, ensuring their graduates become ethical leaders in their fields. Students enrolled at Benedictine University receive a broad liberal arts education and global perspective, and develop skills in communications, problem solving, ethics, professionalism, and leadership. The 46 undergraduate majors, 13 master’s programs, two doctoral programs and four adult accelerated programs offered at Benedictine University provide students with a range of options intended to facilitate their success. The instructors teaching the courses have earned the highest degrees in their field and are dedicated to providing an exceptional education.

The 66-credit master of public health program offered at Benedictine encompasses the fundamentals of the discipline. Graduates of the program are equipped with the skills necessary to effect change, respond to local needs, and anticipate the needs of local and international public health. Students enrolled in the program are required to complete 40 hours of core courses in order to provide a conceptual and factual skill base. The program offers students the opportunity to select an area of concentration comprising 20 credits in health education, dietetics, disaster management, health services administration, or health policy. The program includes studies in statistical reasoning, analyzing and solving public health problems, addressing environmental hazards that might pose risks to human health, studying patterns of disease and injury in certain populations, and developing public health programs. Students are also required to complete an internship.


A T Still University of Health Sciences Kirksville, MO

A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, established in 1892, was the first college of osteopathic medicine in the nation. The university was founded on the basis of educating students to become compassionate and competent healthcare professionals committed to the advancement of the field. Offering more than 20 master’s degrees and a range of doctoral degrees, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences has emerged as one the leading health science universities in the nation. Graduates of A.T. Still University are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to promote positive change in the industry. A.T. Still University is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The master in public health degree offered at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences is a 60-credit, 15-course program which can be completed entirely online. The program trains students to anticipate and address varying health care needs and to become leaders dedicated to improving the health of their communities. Students learn to become competent professionals capable of devising and implementing healthcare resources and programs to confront complex national and global issues such as violence, injury, substance abuse, infectious diseases, and environmental hazards. Courses within the program include health services in the U.S, epidemiology, fundamentals of research in public health, introduction to public health concepts, biostatistics, environmental health sciences, public health financial management, human resource management, and public health policy and politics.


American Military University Charles Town, WV

A member of the American Public University System, American Military University serves a student body of over 50,000 students located in more than 100 countries and offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs. Flexible programs can be tailored to meet the individual needs of the students, with monthly enrollment options, and eight or 16-week sessions offered. The course syllabus, assignments, procedures, and tests are all available online with course materials mailed to the students to assist with completion of the assignments. The 200 full-time faculty members are experts from around the world with experience as leaders in government, business, and public safety organizations. The American Military University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and the accrediting commission of the Distance Education and Training Council.

American Military University offers several degree options for the public health major: Associate of Science in Public Health, Bachelor of Science in Public Health, and Master of Public Health. These programs are designed to prepare students for careers in the public health field, monitoring and evaluating the needs of the communities around the globe. Students learn to identify environmental hazards, promote health practices and behaviors, and develop and implement effective policies. The program ensures that students develop a comprehensive understanding of the public health issues confronting society. Students complete coursework in science, psychology, sociology, public policy, management, and finances. Specialization areas are offered in emergency and disaster management or homeland security. Courses within the program include moral issues in health care, public health in America, epidemiology, quarantine, public policy, research analysis and writing, and health services organizations.


Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA

Duquesne University, established in 1878, is a private, Catholic university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The high quality, flexible degree programs offered through online formats at Duquesne University provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to become successful professionals in their field of study. Degrees are offered in a range of disciplines at associate, bachelor’s and graduate levels.

The 36-credit Master of Arts in Policy Analysis and Administration offered at Duquesne provides students with the fundamental skills required for a career in policy and administration. Students learn about policy analysis and social science research methodology, as well as the nature of policy making, and examine organizational areas requiring trained professionals, such as the public and private sectors and non-profits. The program allows students to investigate a specific area of study within the field, such as environment, housing, community development, or health. Students who intend to pursue a career in public health will attain the knowledge necessary to become successful professionals within the industry. Required courses include social and public policy analysis, the politics of civic problems, women and politics, policy implementation, and American politics and policy.


Philadelphia University Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia University, founded in 1884, is a private institution recognized as a leader in architecture, design, engineering, business, textiles, science, and health. Philadelphia University is dedicated to providing high-quality, challenging degree programs with flexible schedules tailored to meet the needs of their students. Philadelphia University’s distance learning program uses the latest and most advanced technologies to deliver their courses. Students are able to participate in asynchronous and synchronous discussion boards, complete online testing and assignments, access online journals, and enjoy an interactive educational experience comparable to that enjoyed by traditional students. Philadelphia University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

The 36-credit Master of Science in Disaster Medicine and Management offered at Philadelphia University provides an innovative and challenging program, and was developed in response to pressing issues that have become increasingly prevalent in the world today. Environmental disasters, threats of terrorism, and environmental hazards have created a need for qualified, trained individuals with relevant expertise. Students enrolled in the disaster medicine and management program will study public health in relation to hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, war, chemical and biological terrorism, major power grid disruptions, and mass casualty situations. The program evaluates public safety policies and health systems and emergency medical services, as well as examines disaster management. The program can be completed in one to three years, with courses taken in four 12-week semesters.

To determine the best online public health programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school's commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the 9 best online public health programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school's ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category's ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.