Online Public Health Degrees 

To meet the need, more online schools now offer public health degrees. Public health professionals study disease, and wellness. Then use their skills to inform people and public health policy. If you want to make an impact, an online degree may ready you for this fast growing field. 

An online public health degree studies health promotion and disease prevention. All with the aim to educate and keep large groups of people healthy. Because of this, classes tend to be a cross section of health science, public policy and program design. If curious about public health, there may be online degrees all levels. Bachelor’s, master’s and PhDs. At each level, you tend to study population health from all sides.  

Bachelor’s programs in public health are basic. You may study the U.S. health care system and factors that affect health and illness. From there, many grads seek one of two paths. A grad degree. Or, an entry level job in community health org’s, non profits, gov’t and worksite wellness. Master of Public Health are professional. You may grow quality research skills while you learn about public health policy and admin. MPH grads may be ready to enter and or seek a leadership role in various public health careers. Doctor of Public Health are terminal degrees. They go deeper into research, leadership, policy and advocacy. As a grad, you may be in a position to design public health programs and devise solutions to today’s issues. 

When looking into this field, you may find CEPH accredited programs. CEPH is the Council on Education for Public Health. Programs that pass their standards may provide timely and quality course work. 

Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health

An online bachelor’s degree in public health is a 4 year degree program. It may entail about 120 credit hours. Fewer if using transfer credits from an associate degree. Most schools award an online Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA). A BA may add classes in sociology and psychology. And a Bachelor of Science in Public Health may have more biology and health sciences. 

Either the BS or BA tend to be practical. You study key areas of public health to learn about its issues, ideas, policies and practices.  The right tactical plan and program is a vital aspect of public health. So, you may also learn to apply public health tactics to improve health, safety and quality of life.  

When ready to apply, you need a high school diploma or GED (plus transcripts). Certain online programs also check for a minimum GPA. The cost of tuition is a variable. If you choose a public college it is about $14,600 per year. Private nonprofit schools ($41,100) and for profit schools ($22,700) cost more as a rule. That said, you may qualify for financial aid such as scholarships and grants. 

Master’s Degree in Public Health

An online master’s degree in public health is a 2 to 3 year program. It may entail about 36 credit hours and there are part time and full time options at many online schools. The most common form of the degree is the Master of Public Health or MPH. It is a professional grad degree and in some careers is entry level.  

A basic online MPH program may look at factors that impact health. Plus ways to collect, analyze and use data to solve issues. The issues can be chronic illness, disease, infection, mental health, pollution, access to health care and so much more. Many programs are for students with an undergrad degree in any major within and outside health. But this may not always be the case with niche areas and some dual degrees.  

When you apply, expect to send all transcripts and possibly meet a GPA range. GRE scores are sometimes necessary also. Apart from these things, a complete application might include your resume. recommendations and letter of intent. The cost of a grad degree varies as well. It may cost an avg. of $11,617 per year at a public university. Tuition rates tend to go up at private schools so these avg. $26,551 per year. 

PhD / Doctor of Public Health 

Both a PhD and Doctor of Public Health (DPH) are the highest awards. PhDs are research based, while DPH programs tend to be for health sciences practitioners. Many online colleges offer both variations. Although most have a residency component along with online course work. These programs may take at least 3 years and varying credit loads. 

In a PhD, this may include a teaching practicum or some research in a real world issue. This format may help you form, delve into and write your dissertation. It is about making an original input to public health that others might put into use.

A DPH has a slightly different take although it does entail research too. You may learn to use science focused research to develop evidence and practice based tactics to improve public health. So, the main emphasis tends to be on executive decision making, influence and advocacy. 

If interested to apply, you do not necessarily need an MPH. But having one may waive some of the foundational classes. That said, you are likely to need both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. When you go to apply, expect to send in your transcripts. Many schools set a minimum GPA, want to read a goals essay, see references and a resume. Some may ask for GRE scores and / or a few years of full time mid to senior level mgmt. experience.  

What can I do with an Online Public Health degree? 

Public health grads work in a wide range of current and up and coming fields. Chronic illnesses and the fast spread of disease means jobs may be available in various sectors. From health care and work place safety. To pollution control and research. As the field of public health careers evolve, there may be options for all levels of education. As a rule, one needs a bachelor’s degree for entry level roles in community health. But the more science focused and admin roles call for a master’s degree or higher.  

1. Public Health Educator

Public health educators use data to assess a health issue. Then, craft programs and policies that promote healthy lifestyles. This could be a campaign about bullying, diabetes, COVID or any number of issues. For executive roles, it may be useful to have a master’s degree or PhD. 

2. Community Health Worker

Community health workers help people and groups to adopt healthy actions. One way they do this is to hand out info on behalf of medical pros or health org’s. Another is to run first aid and blood pressure screenings. 

3. Health and Safety Officer

Health and safety officers work in the public and private sector. In these areas, they check and assess occupational health. To do this, they scan work places for hazards, enforce rules and investigate accidents. Depending on the position, one might need a master’s degree

4. Epidemiologists

Epidemiologists look into the cause of disease and risk factors. It is their research that feeds public health programs. These in turn, stop or control the spread of an infectious disease. A common entry degree is the MPH. Though many have a doctorate or MD degree. 

5. Health Services Manager

Health services managers plan and direct services, often for health agencies. The role tends to call for admin skills. Above all, those needed to plan budgets, make decisions, hire and train staff. For C suite roles, one may need a master’s degree. 

6. Environmental Health Specialists

Environmental health specialists work in labs. Their role is to collect samples (oil spill, gases, soil, water) and test them. The tests check for things that cause pollution or even an outbreak of E-coli.  

7. Biostatisticians

Biostatisticians work to predict health outcomes. Many work with physicians to design research studies and clinical trials. Then use data analysis skills to make sense of findings. As these roles are complex, one tends to need a master’s degree or PhD. 

8. Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers work in admin and human services. They oversee social service programs that promote public wellbeing, often for a certain group. Like child welfare, homeless, veterans or the elderly. 

Is an Online Degree in Public Health worth it? 

A degree in public health may yield useful skills, prospects and above average earning potential. Jobs in fields that promote health are growing at a much faster than avg. rate. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential may have a bright future. They predict from 10% to 13% more jobs by 2028.  

If you prefer data analytics and research, these are in demand skills too. The need for skilled biostatisticians is even higher. As these pros work in clinical trials for FDA approval, the field should see 31% more jobs by 2028. For those who studied environmental health, there may be other paths to take. EH pros check pollution levels and ensure companies comply. This continues to be a concern that creates about 9% more jobs by 2028.  Another possible job front is infectious disease control. If an epidemiologist, you may face competition unless you take a broad view and look outside one niche. As of now, the estimate is 5% more jobs by 2028 which is average. 

Job outlook aside, salaries in all these fields vary. To give you an idea, community health workers earned an avg. annual salary of $40,360 in May 2019. Those in the top 10% earned more than $68,350. In contrast, epidemiologists earned an avg. of $70,990 and the highest 10 % earned more than $119,290. 

Online Public Health Degree Jobs & Salary

Occupation Average Salary Jobs
Health Educators $55,220 62,100
Community Health Workers (Hospitals) $47,250 61,700
Epidemiologist (Research) $99,770 400
Social and Community Service Managers $67,150 21,900

Top States for Jobs as a Health Education Specialist

State Jobs Annual Mean Wage
CA 7,230 $64,970
NY 4,360 $58,460
FL 3,030 $59,760
TX 2,810 $54,560
GA 2,530 $86,110

What classes will I take with an Online Public Health Degree? 

Online public health students tend to study five core areas. These nurture the skills needed to work with the health and well being of people in a community large or small. 

  1. Biostatistics – to make predictions using public health data 
  2. Social Sciences / Behavioral Sciences – to study the impact of beliefs and culture on health  
  3. Epidemiology – to understand population health and disease transmission 
  4. Health Policy and Management – to be able to craft policy and run public health programs 
  5. Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences – to understand how setting impacts health

You may study many of these topics when you are going for a public health degree online. But each level of degree is likely to do this in a different way. Below are some of the classes you may find at the bachelors, masters and PhD levels. 

Bachelor’s Degree Courses

A public health online bachelor’s degree program is intro level. You may study local and global public health problems with an eye to their causes. Social, behavioral, environmental and workplace. When looking at health disparities and issues, you learn about policy and program options. As a result, classes may meld two areas. Health sciences and health care administration. 

Apart from core classes, there is likely a choice of electives for those who want more focus. Some students may even cluster them to form a cohesive topic. If not already done, you also take general topics. A few concentration areas are: 

  • Health Education (program design for people to access health services and info) 
  • Global Health (sanitation, clean air and water, disease outbreaks) 
  • Health Care Management (health marketing, economics, strategy and policy) 
  • Emergency and Disaster Response (planning for man made and natural health crisis)
  • Nutrition and Wellness (healthy food choices, goal setting) 
  • Public Health Informatics (mgmt. and governance related to electronic health data)

After the course work there may be a capstone which may ask you to research and write. Online students may be able to complete an internship locally if the need arises. Here are a few other examples of courses you might find at this level: 

Public Health Education

Health communication tactics educate and inform the public about health issues. In this course, you may study mass and social media, the internet and how they affect health outcomes.  

Basics of Epidemiology

An intro to population health. You may learn about the tools used to plan, watch and view health problems. Plus, gain insight into tactics that org’s and systems use to manage the spread of infectious disease. 

Intro to Public Health Law and Ethics

A run down of current and basic issues in health law and ethics that affect the policies and practices of public health. Apart from health care policy you may study the rules that govern health care org’s and health systems. 

Health Care Delivery Systems

A wide look at the nature, org, and function of health services in the United States. Topics may span health care costs and access to services. And, tend to discuss policy for specific issues. Transplants, reproductive tech, end of life decisions and funding. 

Masters’s Degree Courses

Public health degree programs at the master’s level tend to use science to explore health threats and deliver proven solutions. So, you often look at modern problems and how to promote health as well as make care better for all. 

One of the key classes is population based research. In it, you might study big data for health and how to use it in decisions and policies.  Along side you often study statistics to help you reason and make predictions. So you may learn how to derive meaning given a set of data from a health research study. Another topic is health care management. It looks at decision making, policy, solutions and admin. So along with it, you tend to learn about the community practice of public health (healthy people and planet). And ways to promote health using science, making care better for all.  

Online learning aside, many programs include some type of practicum if new to the field. Plus, at the end, a researched written thesis. Either type of capstone reflects your chosen track. A few concentration areas are:

  • Health Behavior and Health Promotion (social marketing, program planning, advocacy) 
  • Global Environmental Health (creating sustainable future, clean air and water, climate policy) 
  • Nutrition (scientific evidence for dietary guidelines and health education)  
  • Leadership (solve urgent public health problems on a local, national and global scale) 
  • Occupational Health (industrial hygiene, regulatory issues for work place safety) 
  • Epidemiology (using data to prevent and track disease across populations)

Here are a few other examples of courses you might find at this level: 

Public Health Informatics

This class is about health information technology. How to use it for public health and population health. As such, you tend to discuss strategy and may learn to match data standards to their intended use.  

Research Methods in Public Health

This course presents the
A basic course in research methods. It tends to discuss ways to collect and manage data within the field of public health. In it, you may study what sets quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods apart. 

Public Health Administration

Learn the practice of systems thinking to make decisions about public health policy. This key public health skill is at the heart of the design and application of strategies. So, you might also explore it with respect to an issue such as food access. 

Advanced Health and Human Rights

Weigh the relative costs and benefits of using a rights based approach in a public health context. As well as explore how public health policies, programs and practices can impact human rights.  

How long does it take to get a Public Health Degree online? 

The time it takes to earn an online degree in public health varies by level and course load. A typical bachelor’s in public health takes four years. Less, for those with approved transfer credits. From there, an online MPH tends to take 1 to 3 years. Length often reflects full time vs part time format, undergrad major and work history. After an MPH, it may take as few as 2.5 to 3 years to earn a Doctor of Public Health. But more if your background is outside public health  

University Level of Degree # of Credits Required Starts Per Year Minimum Months to Complete
Southern New Hampshire University Bachelor’s 120 6 24
Mercy College Bachelor’s 120 3 48
University of Arizona Online Bachelor’s 120 6 48
Old Dominion University Master’s 43 3 24
University of North Carolina Master’s 42 4 20
George Washington University Master’s 46 2 12
Walden University Doctorate 82 QC 12 30
Capella University Doctorate 76 QC 12 36
Indiana University Doctorate 45 1 36

15 Schools with Online Public Health Degrees 

Many online schools offer public health degrees. Here are 15 schools with online degrees in public health at all levels. 

  1. Southern New Hampshire University 
  2. Mercy College 
  3. University of Arizona Online 
  4. American Public University System 
  5. University of Florida Online 
  6. Old Dominion University Online 
  7. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
  8. George Washington University  
  9. New York University  
  10. Johns Hopkins University  
  11. Walden University  
  12. Capella University 
  13. Indiana University 
  14. City University of New York  
  15. University of Illinois

FIND AN ONLINE PUBLIC HEALTH DEGREE

Let’s take a closer look at the online public health degrees that these 15 schools have to offer. 

1

Southern New Hampshire University

Bachelor of Science in Public Health 

Fully Online


This program entails 120 credits. It draws from a few areas to help you understand health and disease. Then study ways to deal with local and global public health issues. As such, courses range from population health. To program planning and advocacy. Sample courses might include: 

  • Health Care Delivery Systems 
  • Statistics for Health Care Pros 
  • Public Health Education

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $31,136
Grad $18,810
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,913 

Average Net Price:
$39,743 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
New England Commission of Higher Education 


This program entails 120 credits. In core classes, you study both psych and sociology. These help you learn how people behave at home, at school, in the workplace and in the community. And, how social class, ethnicity, gender, age, race, and religion affect growth. Classes for the major aim to prep for the role of community health educator. Online students may need to spend some time on campus. Sample courses might include: 

  • Health Psych 
  • Medical Ethics 
  • Computer Soc / Behv Sciences   

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $19,594
Grad $16,146

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$11,491 

Average Net Price:
$15,283 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education 

3

University of Arizona Online

Bachelor of Science in Public Health

Fully Online


This fully online program entails 120 credits. The core topics weave public health principles and practice. You also have a choice of three tracks (more if you attend on campus). Global health, health systems theory and public health practice. Each groups four classes to support the theme. Apart from course work, there is some fieldwork. Sample courses might include: 

  • The World’s Food and Health 
  • Infections and Epidemics 
  • Health and Disease

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $29,428 
Grad $26,160
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$10,651

Average Net Price:
$13,764 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
CEPH, Higher Learning Commission 

4

American Public University System

Bachelor of Science in Public Health

Fully Online


This fully online program entails 120 credits. It explores public law, policy, mgmt., finance, and structure. These areas may help you analyze the U.S. health care system. While also learning to create a plan for efficient health care system mgmt. Core topics aside, you choose a focal track. Study public health for emergencies and crisis. Select nutrition and wellness or informatics. Sample courses might include: 

  • Health Services Org’s 
  • Health Economics and Finance 
  • Public Policy

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $7,324  
Grad $6,615 
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$1,639 

Average Net Price:
$10,995 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Higher Learning Commission 

5

University of Florida Online

Bachelor of Science in Health Education

Fully Online


This fully online program entails 120 credits. It focuses on how to promote healthy lifestyle choices in one on one and group settings. And, takes you through a range of social and behavioral sciences to do so.  UF also has some niche classes in women’s health and minority health issues. Sample courses might include: 

  • Personal and Family Health 
  • Community and Environmental Health 
  • Internship in Health Education  

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $16,580 
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$6,035 

Average Net Price:
$9,755 

Military Programs:
Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
SACSCOC


This program entails 43 credits and includes a practicum. Your course plan includes core MPH classes. These aim to hone skills in applied public health research. You also take four classes in GEH. In them, learners focus on modern health issues faced in the U.S. and around the globe. Topics include food safety, sea level rise, air and water quality. Sample courses might include: 

  • Environmental Health Law & Policy 
  • Global Environmental Health 
  • Environmental & Occupational Health Risk 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $30,840 
Grad $29,851

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$7,573 

Average Net Price:
$16,681 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
SACSCOC

7

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Master of Public Health

Fully Online


This fully online program entails 42 credits. The core program challenges you to think about future public health issues and find ways to solve them. No matter the anchor point (leadership or nutrition), you take the Gillings MPH Core to start with. These frame modern public health issues as well as ways to lessen health disparities. As a result, you also study research methods for population health and data analysis. Sample courses might include: 

  • MPH Practicum 
  • Public Health Solutions 
  • Methods and Measures

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $36,159
Grad $28,278

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$16,164 

Average Net Price:
$10,085 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
SACSCOC

8

George Washington University

Master of Public Health (one year)

Fully Online


This fully online program entails 46 credits. It is the accelerated version. So, takes one year for those who want an intense full time course load. In core classes, you take biostatistics, planning and global health to name a few. Woven throughout you take electives. GWU options cover many focus areas and allow you to tailor your studies to interests. Health communication, epidemiology, health policy and more. Sample courses might include: 

  • Social and Behavioral Approaches to PH 
  • Leading Self and Teams 
  • Health Promotion Programs

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $56,935
Grad $31,770

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$29,939 

Average Net Price:
$38,829 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
CEPH, Middle States Commission on Higher Education 

9

New York University

Master of Public Health

Fully Online


This full online program entails specific credits for each of the 9 tracks. Each track covers core public health areas. While the track you choose deepens your grasp of themes and issues specific to that area of study. Choose from areas like Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Biostatistics and Epidemiology. Sample courses might include: 

  • Global Health Diplomacy 
  • Climate Change 
  • Environmental Injustice

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $53,308
Grad $33,408
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$30,532 

Average Net Price:
$37,739 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
CEPH, Middle States Commission on Higher Education  

10

Johns Hopkins University

Master of Public Health

Fully Online


This fully online program entails 80 quarter credits. It is a part time option (2 -3 years) though there is an on campus option that takes about 11 months. The core classes are basic and provide insight into the profession and science of public health. So, you study all of the key knowledge areas including biostatistics, epidemiology, demography and policy. Sample courses might include: 

  • Public Health Problem Solving 
  • Environmental Health  
  • Biological Sciences

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $55,350
Grad $55,350 
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$40,594 

Average Net Price:
$28,999 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program & dedicated point of contact.

Accredited:
CEPH, Middle States Commission on Higher Education 

11

Walden University

Doctor of Public Health

Online/Residency


This program entails up to 82 quarter credits, but those with an MPH may have fewer. There are also two brief residencies. The aim of the program is to grow skills as public health leaders who might work in agencies, institutions and community org’s. As a result, you take classes in public health policy, advocacy and program evaluation. All while taking research classes and studying issues of global public health. Sample courses might include: 

  • Research Methods for Public Health 
  • Applied Field Experience 
  • Public Health Data Analysis 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,150
Grad $12,039 
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,900

Average Net Price:
N/A

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
CEPH, Higher Learning Commission 

12

Capella University

Doctor of Public Health

Fully Online


This fully online program entails 76 quarter credits. It is for professionals who aspire to high level leader roles. The classes aim to help you apply research to design public health programs. And, to devise solutions that address long term issues as well as detect emerging trends. Apart from course work there is a doctoral capstone and a hands on practicum. Sample courses might include: 

  • Community Health Behavior 
  • Applied Epidemiology 
  • Public Health Policy Design 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,540  
Grad $14,767
Special rates available for military students 

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,781 

Average Net Price:
$17,368 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Higher Learning Commission 

13

Indiana University

Doctor of Public Health Global Health Leadership

Online/Campus


This program entails 45 credits and is about 80% online. It looks into the public health problems facing the world and has a global curriculum. That means some of the faculty bring points of view to the table from outside the U.S. As such, the target student is mid to senior level and working full time in an org which can impact population health. Sample courses might include: 

  • Org’l Leadership 
  • Leadership in Global Health Systems 
  • Financing Global Health

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $36,512
Grad $31,932

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$11,541 

Average Net Price:
$13,036 

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Higher Learning Commission 

14

City University of New York (CUNY)

PhD in Community Health and Health Policy

Hybrid


This program entails 42 credits and includes a teaching experience. As a result, while some classes may be available online, it may require on campus presence. The goal of the courses is to advance scientific understanding. Above all, about the social causes of health, health behaviors, the delivery of health services and sound health policies. As a result, you may take part in research that informs community health interventions. Sample courses might include: 

  • Cities and Health 
  • Public Health Economics 
  • Seminar in Health Policy 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,880
Grad $23,160

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$4,724 

Average Net Price:
N/A

Military Programs:
Dedicated point of contact.

Accredited:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education 

15

University of Illinois at Chicago

Doctor of Public Health

Online/Residency


This program entails 64 credits. It is for mid career public health professionals who want to expand their knowledge and practice. As such, it aims to grow the skills to lead practice based research, influence public health policy, and effect change. Apart from a range of classes, there is a DrPH dissertation and 3 day residency. Sample courses might include: 

  • Biostatistics 
  • Leadership in Public Health Policy 
  • Personal Leadership   

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $27,566
Grad $23,580 
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$11,960 

Average Net Price:
$12,322 

Military Programs:
Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Higher Learning Commission 

*Unemployment Earnings.  Sources for school stats and data include the NCES and IPEDS.