Online Colleges with Masters of Public Health Programs: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online Master of Public Health school. Keep reading to get an overview of the program options, on-campus factors, and common topics offered for the field of study.

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Students pursuing an online master's degree in public health will want to pay close attention to potential concentrations in programs. Other priorities include where students wish to take their career and the actual format of the courses.

How to Select an Online Master of Public Health School

Students considering online schools with a master's program in public health must make their decision based on several key factors. Public health is a field that deals with the science and application of policies that affect the health of whole populations. A master's degree is the most common credential for entry into the field. Degree programs can be found in fully online and hybrid formats by 4-year colleges and universities. Students must weigh the public health concentrations with course limits and their career options.

Public Health Concentrations

Public health is a program that leads to a variety of careers in healthcare and other fields. Many online programs allow students to specialize in a particular area of public health, including epidemiology, public health management and biostatistics. Each concentration is designed to tailor a student's education to careers in that area of the public health field.

Course Limits

Some online master's programs are designed specifically for adults actively working in a health field. As a result, some schools will limit the maximum number of credits that students can take in a single term. Students without work constraints should compare program requirements to ensure that a limited program will meet their needs.

Career Options

Most online graduate programs in public health are focused on the practical skills needed for managing healthcare facilities, community outreach programs and other initiatives. However, online programs are available with emphasis on research and theory in public health. These programs typically lead to careers in policy development and public health research.

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Online Master of Public Health Programs

Online Master of Public Health

The most common degree program for entrance into a number of public health-related careers is the Master of Public Health (MPH). This program varies in length from 42-60 credits and may offer a wide range of specializations. Online learners attend lecture and upload assignments via online learning platforms. Online learners may be required to complete an internship or practicum and a final project. The curriculum typically covers:

  • Health science
  • Epidemiology in public health
  • Social and behavioral sciences
  • Biostatistics

Online Master of Health Administration

The Association for Schools of Public Health identifies health administration and health services administration programs as additional master's degree options for those interested in public health (www.whatispublichealth.org). These are also professional degrees focusing primarily on the management of clinics and other public health organizations. Some online programs require short on-campus sessions, in addition to health management internships or practicums. Courses in these programs might include:

  • Health law and ethics
  • Health information systems
  • Healthcare financing
  • Organizations and delivery systems

Schools with Online Master of Public Health Programs

The Berkeley School of Public Health contains an online master's program. The duration is two years, and it does require one campus visit during each year. Along with an interdisciplinary curriculum, the program also offers a concentration in health policy and management. Berkeley also plans to add specialized certificates to supplement the master's degree program.

Johns Hopkins' School of Public Health in Bloomberg offers a Master of Public Health, which can be taken full-time, in-person and earned in eleven months, or as a part-time format with online classes that wraps up in two to three years. One to two weeks per year on campus are required as part of the part-time option.

Creighton University has a Master of Public Health with two options for concentrations: Health Policy and Ethics, or Public Health Services Adminsitration. Unlike the previous two programs, this program is completely online, and the degree can be earned in two and a half years.

Earning a Master of Public Health degree online typically requires a minimal investment of time on campus, but certain programs skip this option and allow you to earn the degree without ever setting foot on the grounds of a university.

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