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Online Public Health Degree Programs

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed November 2017, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • School pages, accessed December 26, 2017: Plant Public health and Molecular Biology Concentration, University of Illinois, http://catalog.illinois.edu/undergraduate/aces/departments/crop-sci/plant-public health-molecular-biology-concentration/; Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, https://www.unlv.edu/degree/bs-biological-sci-biotech; Online Public health Bachelor's Degree, University of Maryland University College, http://www.umuc.edu/academic-programs/bachelors-degrees/public health-major.cfm; Public Health Online Program, Capella University, https://www.capella.edu/online-degrees/bachelors-public-health/degree-outcomes/; BS Public Health Studies, East Carolina University, https://hhp.ecu.edu/hep/public-health-studies/; Majors & Minors, Health and Wellness Department, University of North Carolina Asheville, https://hwp.unca.edu/majors-minors; Interdisciplinary Cluster in Food, Food Systems and Culture, University of North Carolina Asheville, http://catalog.unca.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=10&poid=2263&returnto=563; Public Health Education, Mississippi University for Women, http://www.muw.edu/nhs/hk/publichealth; Public Health Programs & Certificates, University of Utah, http://medicine.utah.edu/dfpm/public-health/programs/md-mph/; Community Health Emphasis, University of Utah, http://health.utah.edu/health-kinesiology-recreation/health/degrees/undergraduate/community-health/; BS in Public Health, Brigham Young University-Idaho, http://www.byui.edu/online/certificate-and-degree-programs/public-health; Core Criteria, Brigham Young University-Idaho, http://ge.byu.edu/content/core-criteria; Public Health Studies, Johns Hopkins University, http://krieger.jhu.edu/publichealth/academics; OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, Portland State University, https://www.pdx.edu/ohsu-psu-school-of-public-health; Urban and Public Affairs, Portland State University, https://www.pdx.edu/psu-online/programs/urban-and-public-affairs; Public Health (BS), The University of Arizona Online, http://uaonline.arizona.edu/programs/undergraduate/online-bachelor-science-public-health-bs; Graduate Certificates, The University of Arizona, http://uaonline.arizona.edu/programs/graduate-certificate; Bachelor of Science in Community Health, Louisiana State University Shreveport, http://www.lsus.edu/academics/college-of-business-education-and-human-development/school-of-human-sciences/department-of-kinesiology-and-health-science/programs; Community/Public Health, University of Central Oklahoma, http://sites.uco.edu/ceps/dept/Professional-Studies-Programs/khs/community-health/index.asp;
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed December 26, 2017: Health and Safety Engineers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/health-and-safety-engineers.htm; Environmental Scientists and Specialists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm;
  • Professional organization pages, accessed December 26, 2017: APHA Membership, American Public Health Association, https://www.apha.org/membership; Member Benefits, American College of Epidemiology, https://www.acepidemiology.org/ACE/Membership/Member_Benefits/ACE/Member_Benefits.aspx?hkey=38ea5130-a900-429a-8ca7-7d7520958355; Membership, The Association of Clinical Research Professionals, https://www.acrpnet.org/membership/;
  • Scholarship, National Environmental Health Association, accessed December 28, 2017, http://www.neha.org/professional-development/students/scholarship
  • Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
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Public health is an intersectional discipline, sitting at a crossroads between the medical, environmental, political and social sciences. It takes rigorous training to learn how to work within the various systems involved and contribute to advancements in health and safety, and a degree from one of the best schools for public health can start you off well on your way.

Degree programs in public health are available at all points on the academic spectrum, from the doctoral level on down to non-degree undergraduate certificates that may take a year or less to complete. Many employers require candidates to hold at least a bachelor's degree, but educational requirements vary from position to position.

If you're a working health care professional and don't have enough free time on weekdays to pursue a traditional degree plan, look into online public health degrees. Online degrees for public health students often permit the completion of lectures and assignments on your own time, making vital continued education programs more accessible for busy adults.

Best Colleges for Public Health Degree Programs

We gathered National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data on more than 250 schools and ran it through our system of analytics to find out which were the top schools nationwide for public health. Click the button to learn more about our methodology, and read on for the list of the ten best colleges for public health degree programs.

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Methodology
1East Carolina University+
ADMISSION RATE
70%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$70
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
59

East Carolina University earned the No. 1 ranking overall thanks to a solid performance across multiple categories. The Greenville, North Carolina, school ranked No. 4 for affordability, No. 3 for its graduation rate, No. 4 for distance education enrollment and No. 5 for its student-faculty ratio.

The bachelor's degree in public health studies at ECU is designed to teach students the knowledge and skills they need to either work in the public health field directly after graduation or go on to continue their education in a range of health-related fields. Concentration areas for the program include community health education and worksite health promotion.

Additional Info
2University of North Carolina at Asheville+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$75
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The University of North Carolina at Asheville packages its degree program for public health students as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in health and wellness promotion. The curriculum is designed to help students better understand obstacles to individual and community health and develop strategies for communicating with individuals and groups about how to overcome them.

UNC Asheville's degree catalog also features a unique concentration program designed to take a hard look at one of the most important individual factors in public health — the food we eat. The interdisciplinary cluster in food, food systems and culture requires a minimum of 12 credit hours and includes courses in nutrition, food chemistry, agriculture and the pathophysiology of chronic illness.

Additional Info
3Mississippi University for Women+
ADMISSION RATE
99%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
8

Mississippi University for Women took the No. 2 spot in our affordability category, charging students an average annual amount of less than $5,800 in the 2015-16 academic year. It also had one of the highest admission rates of the 250 schools we looked at in this analysis — more than 96 percent of qualified applicants were accepted in 2015.

If you've earned an associate's degree, up to 62 hours of coursework can be transferred into the B.S. program in public health education at Mississippi University for Women. If you have an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in an Allied Health field, up to 43 career and technical school credits may transfer into the Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) program.

Additional Info
4University of Utah+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$45
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Only one other school on our list had a higher graduation rate than the University of Utah, a large campus with a student-faculty ratio of 16:1. The Salt Lake City institution pulled in high marks on our flexibility metric, thanks to features such as its placement services for alumni and weekend or evening campus-based courses designed for students who are busy during normal working hours.

The University of Utah has an extensive catalog of graduate degrees in public health, including several Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) programs and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program. A community health emphasis to an bachelor's degree in health is available for undergraduate students looking to prepare for a public health career.

Additional Info
5Brigham Young University-Idaho+
ADMISSION RATE
96%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$35
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
13

The lowest average tuition and fees cost of any school that made our top ten can be found at this Idaho outpost of Brigham Young University, a private university with its roots in the Mormon faith. Students at BYUI paid an average amount of $3,830 for the year in 2015, nearly two thousand dollars less than our list's No. 2 school in that category.

This eastern Idaho institution offers a B.S. in public health that can be earned entirely through distance education, if you're shopping around for online public health degrees. The curriculum for the online program includes a mix of health care, community health, nutrition and administration courses.

Additional Info
6Johns Hopkins University+
ADMISSION RATE
13%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$70
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
69

The better than 93 percent graduation rate at Johns Hopkins University took the No. 1 spot among schools on our list and made the top five of all 250 colleges and universities we surveyed. The Baltimore, Maryland, institution also posted our list's highest proportion of public health students among its 2015 graduating class — nearly 11 percent of the over 8,100 degrees awarded in 2015.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) students at Johns Hopkins take approximately 70 credit hours of major-specific coursework and complete an applied experience section with at least 80 hours of documented service in a public health setting. A five- or six-year joint bachelor's and master's program is also available for students planning to go on to the graduate level.

Additional Info
7Portland State University+
ADMISSION RATE
89%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
8

Portland State University earned the No. 7 spot on our list partially on the strength of its fiscal investment in student success. The Oregon institution set aside nearly 45 percent of its annual budget for instructional improvements and academic support expenses, ranking No. 4 among schools on our list in both spending categories.

Campus-based students at Portland State University can earn either a B.A. or B.S. in health studies with an emphasis in community health education, which blends public health and related research with study of public education, community organizing and policy development. The online catalog doesn't list any fully online degrees for public health majors, but the online bachelor's degree in urban and public affairs contains a public health component.

Additional Info
8University of Arizona+
ADMISSION RATE
79%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
42

This public research university in Tucson, Arizona, awarded the largest number of degrees overall of any institution that made our list, conferring diplomas on a total of 9,932 graduates in 2015, and did so with the fifth-ranked graduation rate among our top ten schools. The B.S. in public health at the University of Arizona contains a fieldwork section that must be done on-site at a public health establishment, but the coursework portion can be completed entirely online.

UA also offers several graduate certificates that can add value to your public health skillset once you've completed your bachelor's program. As well as a 15-credit certificate in general public health, students can choose from a list that includes applied nutrition, medical and community health information and global health and development.

Additional Info
9Louisiana State University - Shreveport+
ADMISSION RATE
89%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
5

Founded in 1969, the Shreveport location of the Louisiana State University System stood out as one of the top destinations for students seeking partially online public health degrees. Many general education requirements for the B.S. in community health are likely to be available online, and nearly two-thirds of the student body took at least some coursework in the virtual classroom in 2015.

The list of concentrations for your community health degree at LSU Shreveport includes options for direct practice professions as well as those on the administrative and academic side. Aspiring practitioners can specialize in strength and conditioning, pre-physical therapy and pre-occupational therapy, while future scholars or administrators may choose among health behavior, health and fitness management and non-profit leadership.

Additional Info
10University of Central Oklahoma+
ADMISSION RATE
75%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

This Edmond, Oklahoma, institution reported the third lowest average cost of tuition and fees among schools that made our top ten, charging students just over $6,000 for the year in 2015. Campus-based flexibility was a bright spot here, with weekend/evening courses, placement services and alternative tuition payment plans all available, and more than 28 percent of students took at least some courses online.

The curriculum for the community/public health B.S. program at the University of Central Oklahoma covers health and aging, media advocacy, program planning, community intervention and more over its 124-credit span. UCO is also the only institution in the state of Oklahoma to host a chapter of Eta Sigma Gamma, the national honor society for the health education profession.

Additional Info

Public Health Degree Programs and Common Career Paths

Depending on the public health career you're seeking, you may need anywhere from an undergraduate education on up to a graduate, doctoral or professional degree. A wide variety of entry-level jobs are available with a bachelor's degree, however, in settings such as nonprofit organizations, health insurance companies, community health centers, hospitals and clinics.

Bachelor's degree in public health
Undergraduate students study the history and theory of public health policy and practice and learn ways to apply their classroom lessons to real-world problems in the field. Most programs contain sections on ethical considerations, collection and analysis of public health data and methods for communicating public health issues to policymakers and the public.
Health and safety engineers
use the principles of engineering to develop systems and practices practices that improve working conditions and minimize risk to health and property
Environmental scientists
study environmental problems and their influence on public health, as well as using their expertise in the natural sciences to try and prevent harm to the environment

Career Outlook for Public Health Majors

Being aware of the direction in which the public health career market is likely to move can help you plan your time in school to better prepare you for the inevitable job search that comes once you've finished your degree. Here are some employment projections from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

NOT WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR?

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Public Health

Both public and private organizations recognize the need for advanced public health solutions, and as such there are numerous scholarships available for students pursuing degrees in the field. Some have a national scope, like the National Environmental Health Association/American Academy of Sanitarians (NEHA/AAS) scholarship, while others focus on specific regions or career segments. Here's a short list of financial aid programs for public health students.

ALA Lung Health Research Dissertation Grant
Applicant must be matriculating in a full-time doctoral program with an academic career focus. Preference is given to minority applicants and applicants interested in tobacco control research. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$21,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

October 1

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable for an additional year if funds are available.

Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship
Applicant must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who has recently graduated or is about to graduate from an institution which is a member of or affiliated with AUCC. Applicants presently studying in the U.S. are not eligible. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 30

 

 

Laurence R. Foster Memorial Scholarship
Applicant must be pursuing a degree in public health at a four-year or nonprofit college or university at least half time. FAFSA required. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$10,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

March 1

 

 

NYWEA Major Environmental Career Scholarship
Applicants must be residents of the state of New York and must be high school seniors who plan to enroll full-time in an environment-related bachelor's degree program no later than the fall following graduation. The programs could include but are not limited to environmental engineering, civil engineering with an environmental minor, chemical engineering with an environmental minor, hydrogeology with an environmental emphasis or biology or microbiology with an environmental emphasis. Selection is based on the overall strength of the application.  More

AWARD AMOUNT

$10,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

March 8

 

 

Professional Organizations

The AHPA has a membership of around 25,000 members and offers savings incentives on college tuition, insurance and professional certifications.
The ACE has three membership levels — associate, general and fellow — and members get access to proprietary publications, services and workshops
Members of the ACRP can take advantage of a mentor matching service and a subscription to the award-winning journal Clinical Researcher
Article Sources
Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.

Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.

  1. In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  3. Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  4. Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
    • Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
  5. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  6. Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
    • Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
    • Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
    • Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
    • Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
  7. Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  8. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
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