Most Affordable MPH Online Programs 2021

By TopMastersInHealthcare.com Staff
Last Updated: February 1, 2021

Altruistic professionals interested in improving the quality of care across communities can earn a master of public health degree. This multidisciplinary degree provides students with diverse competencies required in multiple areas of the healthcare industry. Graduates go on to become medical and health services managers, epidemiologists, health and safety engineers, and health educators.

Students should note that earning potential varies by career and experience; however, MPH graduates earn about $64,970 on average. Online MPH programs typically require about 45 credits, and students can earn their degree in 2-3 years with full-time attendance. Part-time students may need to double the average program length.

Colleges and universities may offer multiple concentrations depending on the resources available to the program, including health systems and policy, humanitarian health, and infectious diseases. Courses may include determinants of health, implementing public health interventions, and public health practice. Students should research programs that meet their needs to determine average tuition rates as prices vary.

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Top 10 Affordable MPH Online Programs
Rank School
1 University of Florida – Gainesville, FL
2 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, NC
3 University of Illinois at Springfield – Springfield, IL
4 University of South Florida – Main Campus – Tampa, FL
5 Mississippi University for Women – Columbus, MS
6 Harvard University – Cambridge, MA
7 Simmons College – Boston, MA
8 Florida International University – Miami, FL
9 New Mexico State University – Main Campus – Las Cruces, NM
10 Oklahoma State University – Main Campus – Stillwater, OK

 

25 Most Affordable Online MPH Programs

1. University of Florida

UF's 48-credit online MPH degree allows students to choose a concentration in public health practice or social and behavioral sciences. Learners pursuing their MPH online complete a six-credit applied practice experience in a nonprofit or public agency setting. They also develop a major paper and presentation describing what they learned during their experience.

By the end of the program, students are capable of identifying and solving public health problems and empowering others. Graduates know how to create and sustain community partnerships and develop plans and policies that positively affect community health.

UF also offers an accelerated, 42-credit option for individuals who already possess a health-related doctoral degree. Candidates must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate. Graduates are qualified to take the National Board of Public Health Examiners credentialing exam. The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health delivers an online MPH program with concentrations in leadership in practice, health policy, nutrition, registered dietitian. Known as MPH@UNC, the 42-credit program combines online coursework with live weekly meetings. Most students graduate in 20-36 months, depending on their enrollment status.

All students take a class on conceptualizing public health solutions, during which they learn to identify and develop solutions to public health challenges. Candidates work with community partners and communicate key information to the public regarding public health policies and programs.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and submit their official GRE scores. Prospective students must also provide college transcripts, a resume, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation.

The Gillings School is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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3. University of Illinois at Springfield

UIS' 32-credit online MPH builds candidates' analytical skills, scientific knowledge, cultural competence, and an awareness of social justice issues. Students may select the general MPH option or engage in a STEM-focused environmental health track. The school also offers an MPH professional track for current physicians taking part in a residency program. In addition, candidates may seek a dual MPH/MPA degree online.

The MPH online program offers a variety of interesting classes, including one on emerging diseases. Students examine new and re-emerging infectious diseases around the world through the lens of public health, exploring disease's impact on economics, geography, politics and policy, and social systems.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA or higher. They should also submit a personal essay and three letters of recommendation. Once enrolled, all UIS online students — including out-of-state distance learners — pay a reduced "e-tuition" rate. University of Illinois at Springfield is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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4. University of South Florida – Main Campus

USF's online MPH program prepares the next generation of public health professionals for a variety of careers, with concentrations in epidemiology, public health practice, global disaster management, infection control, social marketing, nutrition and dietetics, and environmental safety.

The MPH online program features an asynchronous course structure developed with working professionals in mind. Students can complete assignments and participate in discussions largely on their own schedule. Some concentrations do require students to attend a one-week session at the university's Tampa campus. Most full-time students can complete the program in around two years.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and provide their GRE scores, official college transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose. Online learners, including out-of-state residents, can take advantage of a reduced tuition rate.

USF's College of Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education in Public Health. The University of South Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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5. Mississippi University for Women

This university's 42-credit MPH online program allows students to customize their learning experience through elective courses like gender issues, stress management, human disease, and nutrition. Students can take all classes online, with no in-person sessions required.

Along with an internship in health education, all candidates must complete a thesis that explores and offers a potential evidence-based solution to a community health challenge. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and pass both a comprehensive final exam and the Certified Health Education Specialist exam to graduate.

Candidates interested in the online MPH program must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school and provide their official undergraduate transcripts, references, an admissions essay, and a current resume. Each applicant also engages in an interview with a faculty member. All distance learners pay in-state tuition rates, even if they live out of state.

Mississippi University for Women is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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6. Harvard University

Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health offers both 45-credit and 65-credit MPH online programs. The 45-credit option accepts individuals with a prior doctoral degree or a master's degree in a health-related field who have completed at least a year of medical or dental school, or who have more than five years of health career experience. The 65-credit track remains open to applicants who hold a bachelor's degree and two or more years of public health-related work experience.

The 65-credit track allows students to specialize in health and social behavior, health management, health policy, or nutrition. The 45-credit option offers specializations in epidemiology, global health, social behavior, health management, health policy, quantitative methods, and occupational and environmental health.

Although most learning takes place online, students do need to attend some on-campus sessions. The program also requires a practicum, which students can arrange through the Office for Career Advancement. Full-time students typically complete their MPH degree in under two years. Harvard is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

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7. Simmons College

Boston-based Simmons offers an online MPH program that emphasizes health equity. The program features self-guided coursework and mostly online classes, with a few in-person immersion experiences at locations around the world. In these sessions, students closely examine public health issues and build their leadership skills to promote social change. Immersions center on issues like racism and oppression, global health and development, and border health and sustainability.

Applicants must provide a current resume, three letters of recommendation, transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities, and a personal essay. They should also hold a bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, along with a passing grade in a college-level math course. The program does not require applicants to take the GRE.

The MPH online program's curriculum includes 12 core classes, two electives, and two health equity change project courses. Full-time students usually graduate in 21 months. Simmons College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

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8. Florida International University

Candidates pursuing FIU's online MPH can tailor program coursework to their interests and career goals. The 45-credit program takes 21 months to complete, and students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA to graduate. A six-credit practicum and culminating experience involves students taking on a public health challenge and developing an evidence-based solution as a final project.

The curriculum includes interesting courses such as AIDS epidemiology and control, which examines the epidemiology of HIV alongside the disease's effects on people, communities, and societies.

Admission requirements for the MPH online program include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Applicants also must submit three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a current resume, and official GRE scores.

FIU's MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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9. New Mexico State University – Main Campus

NMSU's completely online MPH program was designed to meet the needs of working professionals. Students can specialize in health behavior and health promotion or health management, administration, and policy. An asynchronous course format means students can complete class requirements largely at their own pace.

To supplement the online coursework, the university's Albuquerque Center provides students with more than 40,000 square feet of space to engage with fellow learners, receive support services, and meet with academic advisors. The center is also home to a computer lab and conference rooms.

To apply, prospective students should submit official college transcripts, three reference letters, and a personal statement. Eligible applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or better. The online MPH program is open to residents in all but 13 states.

NMSU's public health programs are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. New Mexico State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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10. Oklahoma State University – Main Campus

OSU students who pursue an MPH online focus on addressing public health challenges in rural communities and underserved populations. The program features a flexible format that allows students to take courses and engage in experiences based on their interests and career goals. Students may enroll in elective courses on health psychology, global nutrition, aging, sexuality, and family theory, among many other topics.

Through class projects, students learn to assess community needs, create plans to address challenges, and simulate how they will implement their plans. Common focus areas include substance abuse, mental health, food insecurity, obesity, and maternal and child health — issues affecting families and communities throughout Oklahoma. Toward the end of their studies, learners complete a practicum at a program-approved public health site.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. They also must provide a current resume, a 1,500-word statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and official GRE scores. Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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11. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health offers a Council on Education for Public Health-approved online MPH that allows working professionals to pursue an advanced degree. The MPH online program's part-time format means students take 1-3 classes each term, typically graduating within three years. The program features three start dates throughout the year, and students work in cohorts of 60 or fewer of their fellow learners.

Distance learners can complete some course requirements in person at the university's Institute of Public Health, which offers condensed classes in the winter and summer semesters.

Qualified applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, along with at least two years of public health experience. Prospective students should also submit three letters of recommendation, a goals statement, and GRE scores.

Johns Hopkins is located in Baltimore, Maryland. All distance learners, including out-of-state residents, pay the same tuition rate. Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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12. East Tennessee State University

Located in Johnson City, ETSU delivers a fully online MPH degree with an epidemiology focus. Students learn to use data and research to assess public health concerns, reduce risks for disease within particular populations, improve community health, and influence effective public health policies.

Incoming students are expected to hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA, and to submit three letters of recommendation and their official GRE scores. Individuals who possess a master's degree or who have taken the GMAT in the last five years may seek an exemption from the GRE requirement.

ETSU's distance learners can access the school's Graduate Student Success Center, which provides academic advising, career services, personal counseling, goal setting, and online tutoring.

The university's public health program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. ETSU also offers reduced tuition for students who take all their courses online in a semester.

East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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13. University of Memphis

UofM offers two MPH online programs: a conventional two-year degree and an accelerated 12-month option. Students on either track can take all required courses online and specialize in biostatistics, epidemiology, health systems and policy, social and behavioral sciences, or urban health.

The 42-credit program includes 18 credits of core classes and 18 elective credits, along with six credits consisting of a field experience and a master's project. Students must maintain a B average to graduate and take the Certified in Public Health exam.

To apply, prospective students provide official college transcripts, GRE scores, a statement of purpose, three recommendation letters, and a resume. The program only considers applicants with a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA.

The online MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. Distance learners through UofM Global pay a reduced tuition rate. The University of Memphis is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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14. University of West Florida

Located in Pensacola, UWF delivers a 42-credit online MPH program accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. The program features concentrations in general public health; global health; and health promotion, education, and behavior.

All students complete a two-term, six-credit practicum, during which they work directly with an approved internship advisor. Before graduation, students take a comprehensive exam. Program participants must maintain a B average to remain in good academic standing.

Eligible applicants to the MPH online program must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They also must provide their official GRE scores, a statement of their career goals, three letters of recommendation, and a writing sample.

Out-of-state candidates taking classes online can apply for waivers to reduce their tuition. Distance learners also receive access resources like academic advising, career counseling, military services, and technology assistance. University of West Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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15. Creighton University

Creighton's flexible MPH degree teaches students to promote meaningful change by meeting the needs of underserved populations around the world. The MPH online program's asynchronous format was developed to provide working professionals with maximum convenience. Students may also choose from concentrations in health policy and ethics or healthcare management, and/or seek graduate certificates in bioethics and healthcare management.

Program participants take part in a practicum experience tailored to their interests and career goals. This component involves working with a public health professional and completing a capstone project prior to graduation.

Application materials for the MPH program include a current resume, a personal statement, official college transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, but do not need to provide GRE scores. Students may begin the program in August, January, or May of each year. Creighton University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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16. East Carolina University

ECU is located in Greenville, North Carolina. The university's Brody School of Medicine offers a 45-credit online MPH program featuring concentrations in epidemiology, community health and health behavior, and health policy administration and leadership. Students also engage in a 240-hour field placement and submit a final professional paper detailing the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a research project.

Applicants to the MPH online program should submit their official college transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a letter of intent, a resume, and their MCAT or GRE scores. The program requires incoming students to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.

Starting in August 2020, students can enroll in ECU's new School of Rural Public Health. By combining multiple disciplines, the school aims to identify and address public health challenges in rural and underserved communities. ECU's online MPH is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

East Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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17. Shenandoah University

Shenandoah's School of Health Professions offers an interdisciplinary online MPH program that focuses on identifying and addressing public health problems in rural and underserved communities. The 45-credit program includes a course on rural health systems, in which candidates explore the health disparities and challenges many rural residents face. Students may also take elective courses on maternal and child health, global health, and environmental health.

Applicants to the online MPH program must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary institution. Application materials include two letters of recommendation, a resume, a personal statement, and official GRE scores.

The School of Health Professions also offers a physicians' assistant/MPH dual degree, which features 15 overlapping credits between the two degrees. An accelerated bachelors-to-MPH option allows Shenandoah undergraduates to seamlessly move into more advanced studies.

Shenandoah is located in Winchester, Virginia. All graduate students pay the same tuition, regardless of their residence status. Shenandoah University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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18. Touro University Worldwide

Vallejo, California-based Touro University Worldwide offers an MS in health sciences degree with a concentration on public health. The program focuses on disease prevention and health promotion as it prepares learners to serve as leaders in public agencies, nonprofits, businesses, schools, and healthcare organizations worldwide.

The 36-credit program includes 12 core and two elective courses. Before graduating, students complete an integrative capstone project, in which they choose a public health challenge, review existing research, and create an action plan based on the knowledge they have gained throughout the program. Students present this project through a final paper.

Eligible students must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. The school offers a flat, per-credit tuition rate for all graduate students, including out-of-state residents.

TUW's MPH online program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. Touro University Worldwide is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

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19. Augusta University

Located in Georgia, Augusta University offers a mostly online MPH program for the next generation of both clinical and non-clinical public health professionals.

Students in the health management concentration gain the necessary skills to serve as leaders and administrators in the field. The program's health informatics track focuses on information systems design, execution, analysis, and management. Students may enroll full time or part time and fulfill internship components at approved locations close to where they live. Full-time students typically graduate within two years.

Applicants to the online MPH program must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.8 GPA and submit their official college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores. Applicants must also take part in a personal interview, during which they answer questions and discuss their qualifications for the master's program.

The online MPH is accredited by the Council Education in Public Health. Augusta University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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20. University of Michigan – Flint

Developed in partnership with the City of Flint, UM-Flint's hybrid/online MPH program gives students the practical skills they need to make a difference among underserved populations. By the time they graduate, learners possess advanced knowledge in biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, program planning, and social determinants of health.

The 45-credit program maintains a flexible structure for the convenience of working adults, with both part-time and full-time options. Although students take many of their courses online, they also engage in some on-campus classes and take part in an integrative learning experience.

To apply, prospective students should submit their official college transcripts, three recommendation letters, a personal essay, and a resume. Eligible applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, including a GPA of at least 3.0.

UM-Flint offers a variety of resources and opportunities for distance students, including academic advising, graduate research assistantships, career services, and tutoring. University of Michigan-Flint is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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21. University of South Dakota

Focusing on the needs of rural populations, USD's MPH online program takes an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates biostatistics, environmental health, behavioral sciences, health services administration, and epidemiology into a cohesive educational experience.

Students learn to help healthcare organizations survive and innovate in an era of industry reform, while examining best practices is health promotion, health analysis, and disease prevention. The 42-credit online MPH includes an integrative learning experience that includes a seminar and a research project on a public health topic of the student's choosing.

Qualified applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or above. They also submit at least two letters of recommendation, a personal goal statement, and official college transcripts.

All USD online students pay the same tuition, regardless of residency status. Distance courses run asynchronously to maximize convenience for working learners. University of South Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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22. Michigan State University

MSU's College of Human Medicine delivers a completely online MPH program that features asynchronous courses. Students may complete assignments, discussions, and exams when and where they find it convenient.

The 43-credit program includes a variety of elective courses on subjects like public health policy, global and cultural public health, epidemiology and biostatistics, nutrition, and infectious disease. Students also work with an experienced professional in the field during a six-credit culminating experience, in which they complete a capstone project before graduation.

The MPH online program's application materials include a personal statement, resume, three recommendation letters, and GRE scores. Applicants may also submit an optional academic statement. Eligible candidates must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

Students may begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Once enrolled, all distance learners pay the same tuition rate. Michigan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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23. Austin Peay State University

With its concentration in public health education, APSU's MS in health and human performance allows full-time candidates to earn a master's degree in only 12 months of study. The program also offers a two-year option. All graduates may sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist exam.

In addition to public health-focused courses, students take a class on grant writing and one on advanced research methods in their final term. The program does not require an internship or practicum experience. One of the more interesting courses focuses on community organizing. In this class, students learn how to engage in health promotion and advocacy at multiple levels, providing sound public health education to communities across the country and around the world.

Candidates applying to the online MPH program should provide their official college transcripts and GRE scores. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA above 3.5 do not need to take the GRE. While APSU's main campus is located in Clarksville, Tennessee, all distance learners pay the same tuition, regardless of where they live. Austin Peay State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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24. Concordia University – Nebraska

Located in Seward, Nebraska, CUNE offers a 39-credit MPH online program that features flexible eight-week courses.

The program's health policy and administration concentration explores advocacy and policy's effect on community health at the local, state, national, and global levels. Students come to understand how leadership can make a big difference in promoting good public health.

The community health education track focuses on identifying, assessing, and addressing public health needs in diverse communities. Students learn about various theories of health behavior and how public health professionals can best communicate with populations.

To apply, prospective students must provide their official college transcripts, a resume, and a 500- to 750-word letter of interest. The program does not ask applicants to provide GRE or GMAT scores. Eligible students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

CUNE's online graduate students pay the same tuition, even if they live out of state. Concordia University-Nebraska is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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25. California State University – Northridge

The Tseng College at CSUN offers an online MPH that students can complete in seven terms, or about 30 months. The program incorporates both research and practical knowledge into the key areas of biostatistics, epidemiology, health policy, social and behavioral science, and environmental health.

One of the core classes, communication in health education, explores how effective interpersonal communication can help professionals effectively increase awareness on public health issues and disease prevention. The course covers the mass media, social media, communication campaigns, and other methods for reaching target audiences.

Qualified applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Individuals with above a 3.0 GPA do not need to submit their GRE scores. All distance learners pay the same tuition rates.

CSUN's online MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. California State University-Northridge is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

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Applying to a Graduate Program in Psychology and Counseling

Online MPH admission requirements vary by school. Schools typically require a 3.0-3.5 GPA, and students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited program. While programs do not require a specific undergraduate degree, students may need to hold a degree in a relevant field.

The best programs often require 1-2 years of professional experience in a public health field. However, schools may offer to waive this requirement for students with enough medical school credits. Other requirements may include letters of recommendation from former instructors or employers, an interview, and a statement of purpose or career objectives. Students should plan to submit GRE or GMAT scores; schools may also accept MCAT or LSAT scores.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is public health a good career?

Public health is a vast and growing field that requires highly skilled professionals. Graduates with an online MPH master's degree qualify for roles, including health educators and public health administrators. In fact, Bureau of Labor and Statistics data projects a 13% increase in job outlook for health educators and community health workers.

What is accreditation and why is it important?

Accreditation in postsecondary schools exists to ensure that schools and programs meet minimum standards of quality. All students should look for regionally or nationally accredited schools, while MPH students should look for programs accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

How long does it take to earn an MPH?

On average, students can earn their degree in 2-3 years with full-time attendance. However, nontraditional students with personal and professional obligations may want to consider part-time enrollment, which can double the length of a typical program.

What is the difference between an MPH and an MHA?

An MPH prepares students to address health issues within target populations. Tasks include analyzing current techniques used to identify patterns of disease and developing solutions. An MHA is designed to educate future healthcare leaders about how to manage healthcare institutions, and core topics often focus on business principles.

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