Colleges with Masters in Public Health Programs in the U.S.

Many colleges and universities in the U.S. offer public health programs at the graduate level. Those choosing between schools that offer Master of Public Health or Master of Science in Public Health programs should consider specializations and research opportunities.

How to Choose a Master's in Public Health College

Students who want to pursue a master's degree in public health can enroll in programs available at 4-year colleges and universities. Universities offer both professional and academic master's degree programs in public health; prospective students should choose the one that matches up with their career goals. Students looking for careers practicing public health at a clinic or guiding public health policy at a government agency choose schools that offer a Master of Public Health (MPH). A Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) program, featuring a curriculum focused more on theory than on practice, prepares students for academic careers in teaching or research. Dual degree programs combining an MPH with a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Juris Doctor (J.D.) or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) allow students to start a career as a doctor, lawyer or veterinarian who focuses on public health issues. The Council on Education for Public Health accredits viable programs. When selecting a school, consider the following points:

  • Students' choice of either a MPH or MSPH program should be based on their career goals.
  • Public health master's degree programs differentiate themselves with available specializations, including biostatistics, community health education, epidemiology or public health administration, so students should seek programs that offer specializations in their area of interest.
  • Fellowships and internships are important ways to build experience while in a graduate degree program.

Master's in Public Health Program Overviews

Master of Public Health

An MPH program prepares students to be public health practitioners and work on public policy. Students learn to understand the community context of public health issues and to apply relevant research to solve recurring problems. They must complete coursework and a practicum or fieldwork experience. Some programs also require a thesis or project. Coursework could include:

  • Environmental health
  • Behavioral sciences in public health
  • Epidemiology

Applicants should have a bachelor's degree and scores from graduate exams; prior coursework in mathematics and the sciences is also necessary.

Master of Science in Public Health

An MSPH program trains students to be researchers in the field of public health. Participants typically focus their studies on a specific concentration, such as biostatistics or environmental health. MSPH programs emphasize quantitative analysis and laboratory research. A thesis or research project and practicum may be required to complete the program. Courses typically include:

  • Epidemiologic methods
  • Biostatistics
  • Health systems

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with sufficient preparation in mathematics and the sciences to be admitted. They also need to submit scores from graduate exams.

Top 10 Graduate Public Health Schools

College/University Institution Type
Johns Hopkins University 4-year, private not-for-profit
Harvard University 4-year, private not-for-profit
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 4-year, public
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 4-year, public
Columbia University 4-year, private not-for-profit
University of Washington 4-year, public
Emory University 4-year, private not-for-profit
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities 4-year, public
University of California - Berkeley 4-year, public
Boston University 4-year, private not-for-profit

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